American writer

What Is Hikikomori? Could It Be One of Japan’s Most Serious Problems?

Nearly 700,000 young Japanese people are missing. They have seemed to drop from the face of the earth. They do not work, they do not engage socially, and they are gone for years at a time. These tend to be largely young men between the age of 15 to 34. These young people will suddenly…

Is ‘Ninja Gaiden’ One of the Most Important Games Ever?

When I was little and just learning games from my older brother, I would watch him and his friends play our NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) for hours at a time. I remember watching him beat all of Super Mario Bros. 3 in one sitting (no warps). I remember watching him play The Legend of Zelda,…

Is Mass Immigration the Only Way to Save Japan?

Many years ago before I came to Japan, I was taking part in a short-term intensive Japanese study facility to prepare for my coming trip. One of the students ahead of me in the class went a few weeks before my cohort and I. We sent him a letter asking, “What’s Japan like?” In his…

Did You Know That Japan Had Its Own Nuclear Weapons Program?

Many years ago, I attended an anti-nuclear assembly in Wakayama, Japan. This was in about 2007 or 2008, well before the March 11, 2011 earthquake that would shut down the country’s entire nuclear power program. The speaker was very much against nuclear power and nuclear development of any kind. Her speech was rather self-congratulatory as…

A Trip to Hakone Inspired by a Lovely Photo of an Artwork in a Museum

When I made the decision to move to Japan, naturally, I went online to figure out all the things I wanted to see and do while I lived abroad. The picture below was one of the very first I Pinned. I thought that it was breathtaking and I wanted to stand in that spot and…

Do You Know That 2 Out of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Are in Tokyo?

The most awaited annual release of the list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants has come out for 2016. As expected, Japan was well represented in the top 100. However, 2 restaurants from Tokyo made it to the top 50! They are RyuGin and Narisawa. 1. RyuGin (龍吟) theworlds50best.com/ In an unassuming block in Roppongi…

Has Everyone Forgotten About the JRPG Classic ‘Parasite Eve’?

In the past few years, the world of gaming has one under heavy fire from progressives and women’s rights groups claiming that female game characters are incredibly sexist. They especially point to games made in Japan where it is common for female game characters to be clad in less fabric than you might find or…

Is the New Godzilla Film Worth Watching? A Pre and Post Viewing Review

As a child, I loved Saturday mornings and afternoon tv. One of my favorite channels in the mid to late ’90s was the Sci-Fi Channel. Almost every weekend, they would play a lot of the old classic sci-fi movies or B-movies from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. Some of my favorite were the Godzilla (ゴジラ)…

Saigo Takamori, the Real Last Samurai With a Fascinating Story

One of the aspects of Japan that attracts many people is samurai. Noble Japanese warriors wielding deadly weapons with codes of honor is a cool concept for many people. Although the blockbuster movie starring Ken Watanabe and Tom Cruise, The Last Samurai, was based on the true Japanese figure, Saigo Takamori, the truth does not…

Enjoy Traditional Dance With Modern Music at the 2016 Tokyo Yosakoi Festival

The heat of the summer might have abated at last, but the streets of Tokyo are still searing! In an upcoming festival, yosakoi dance teams from around Japan will take over the Ikebukuro station area and be performing live! Yosakoi is a style of dance that blends traditional elements of Japanese costumes and dance movements…