living in Japan

How to Use the Super Convenient Coin Laundries in Japan

Laundry is something we all have to worry about, and if you travel frequently, keeping your clothes clean can be a bit of a challenge. Youth hostels and hotels may offer dry cleaning services, but these can be expensive and costs can add up quickly. Additionally, if you are living in Japan, buying your own…

Why Do So Many Japanese People Sleep On The Train?

I have been teaching English in one of Osaka’s most prestigious high schools for years. Despite it being one of the best high schools in the prefecture, I noticed a big problem in one of my classes. Whenever I entered the classrom, I would find that 20 to 30 percent of my students were sleeping…

Japan’s Deadliest Animal

As summer nears, Japan’s most dangerous animal will start appearing in many places. We are not talking about bears, who roam Hokkaido and the northern part of Honshu. We are also not talking about the dangerous box jellyfish that shows up around Okinawa when waters start to warm. Oh, no. The beast we are talking…

How to Take a Bath in a Japanese Household: 5 Rules That May Surprise You

Visiting a Japanese home comes with a lot of rules. If you have ever had a homestay family or visited a friend, you may have already noticed that you need to take a small gift with you and make sure you wear slippers and different slippers for different parts of the house! Etiquette and social…

Why Won’t Japanese Sit Next to Foreigners?

Picture this. It’s 8 AM and you are taking the Tozai Line to work. The train is packed. Absolutely packed. People are so close to each other they could morph and become a new creature. For some, having someone glued to their bodies like that represents a level of intimacy that is often reserved to…

What Do Japanese Think About Filipinos?

According to the Ministry of Defense, Filipinos are the 3rd or 4th largest foreign population living in Japan (depending on the year, it continues to be a toss-up with Vietnamese residents), and they have had a long and strong presence in the country. The number of Filipinos living in Japan had increased in the late…

How Can You Find If A Murder Took Place In Your Neighborhood?

After months of spending your limited free time stressfully looking for the perfect place to live, you end up finding a 1LDK apartment in coveted Chiyoda ward. It’s a dream property. An apartment of that size in the heart of Tokyo is rarely available, and much less at the price that is being offered to…

Roppongi Nightlife: How to Stay Safe

Roppongi has grown to become the most diversified district for nightlife in all Tokyo. The mixture of all the luxury apartments surrounding the area, offices, shopping centers, boutiques, restaurants, bars, clubs, and a thriving expat community have shaped Roppongi’s character and largely influence how Tokyoites feel about this district. It’s elegant. It’s expensive. It’s entertaining.…

“Taking the Plunge”: Perspectives from a Seasoned Expatriate in Japan

Despite never having met Brad, there was almost an expected sense of familiarity before meeting. I knew we shared some kind of common background hailing from the same alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin; his firm Texan handshake and relaxed demeanor only served to confirm my expectations. He suggested a Japanese restaurant within…

How to Avoid Culture Shock While Living in Japan

Culture shock is an inevitable topic amongst expats in Japan. Inevitable social misinputs and missed social cues can wear anyone down. After the novelty of being surrounded by the Japanese language wears off, some people find themselves socially isolated and functionally limited because of their lack of Japanese ability. Having to go through an awkward…