I am lucky enough to have experienced life in several different countries, yet after having lived in Japan for many years, I must say that the Japanese attitude towards work is, on the whole, the most loyal and self-dedicated that I have ever witnessed. It is no surprise that the Japanese work ethic is world famous, having seen their sense of civic order and respect for each other.
by Remi CharpentierRead More
By the time this goes to press, I’ll be back in Japan after two months in rural USA. Being a freelancer, I go home every year for an extended period, and while I never really got to take a vacation, I did find some time between jobs (and oh-so cheap American beers) to ponder the many things I like and miss about Fukuoka from my makeshift “office” in Podunk, Pennsylvania.
by Joel Dechant, Translator/InterpreterRead More
In Fukuoka, local high school students participate in campaigns to raise awareness of subway etiquette. Student posters are hung on the walls and messages are broadcast throughout the stations to remind people of proper etiquette. Recently, I have heard stories of poor rider manners, but I don’t think it is at a level that is a cause for concern.
by Wonah Lee, Busan (Korea), Project PlannerRead More
For most Westerners, Japan is the perfect getaway. Its culture could not be more foreign, but its modern and civilised society allows them to feel right at home. But what if a foreigner looks no different from the Japanese?
by Fiona Chan & Sze Tan, Singapore & Singapore, Journalist & LawyerRead More
I wonder why the thought of a gaijin being approachable like everyone else is so… foreign. Maybe it’s because they assume I don’t speak Japanese. Maybe it’s because they assume that I’m just a passing tourist. Maybe they don’t want foreign customers. I think it’s a bit of all of the above.
by Shayne BowdenRead More
Like most countries, Japan is filled to bursting point with brands, but here their reign is enforced with a unique and often unsettling vigor. They scream at us from billboards, interrupt the TV programs they sponsor, and fill vending machines with more varieties (I use the word lightly) of coffee than even the most exhausted salaryman could want or need.
by Jesse KirkwoodRead More
Japanese buses are mobile libraries. Of course, there aren’t any shelves of books. But they are ridiculously quiet. Everyone either speaks in hushed tones or not at all. And you dare not breathe too loudly lest you disturb the peace and quiet. (That is unless you are on a bus filled with school children…but that is entirely another matter!) Don’t jangle your keys. Don’t shuffle about. Most importantly, do not use your cell phone; not even for texting, according to some old ladies. I was “strongly urged” by an older lady that my cell phone needed to be completely off, and, indeed, she was obliged to turn it off for me. Yes. The hallowed space that is a Nishitetsu bus will not be desecrated by your noise and or text messages!
by Dena-Kae FergusonRead More
Since I moved to Kurume last August, my family back in Scotland have suffered many a Skype complaint about my 30-year-old aircon unit and the grim limitations of my bank card. They no longer see Japan as one big Tokyo, buzzing with cyber progress; in fact, my Dad has compared my life in Japan to Britain in the late 1970s, when unemployment led to widespread cutbacks and frugality. In terms of technology and office practice, the Japan of the 1970s too is probably pretty similar to Japan today. But why is this such a surprise for a newcomer? Why the contrast between the image of Japan and the reality of my frustrated phone calls back home?
by Hannah AuldRead More
age 65 of the Sunshine English Textbook for second-year, public JHS Students paraphrases one Ms. Severn Cullis-Suzuki, known better, perhaps as “The Girl Who Silenced the World for 5 Minutes.” How did she earn such an eminent moniker? She dared to browbeat every adult on Earth for six minutes, and forty seconds! Google her. Have a listen. I dare, YOU!
by Matt SimpsonRead More