10 Reasons Japan Is Still Stuck In the 80′s

Big 80's hair at it's finest.  Go to Kabukicho and you may be able to find hair that's eerily similar.

Many a foreigner will confess that Japan can be a super easy place to live. For those who have been here for maybe two years or longer, you may start to experience that cycle. You told your family and friends that Japan was temporary, that you'd just be here for a year. One year becomes two, two years become three, three becomes five. Five years become ten years, a wife, kids, and the desire to stay in Japan for the rest of your life. If you’re not careful, Japan can become this mellow, Continue Reading …

Nihongo Challenge N4-5 Kanji Textbook Review

Review of the N4-N5 Nihongo Challenge Textbook

Kanji is one of those subjects that classroom Japanese students and Japanese self-study advocates alike struggle with. Believe me, I know first hand that studying kanji can be a rather sharp pain in the butt. 

 Why is learning/studying kanji so damn hard? Well, for starters there are just so frickin' many of them: they say to be proficient at reading newspapers, magazines, etc. you need upwards of 1500 characters! Just hearing that is enough to dissuade the Japanese dabbler, or even a Continue Reading …

Genki One: Japanese Textbook Review

Genki One Japanese, Textbook Review

If you’re an expat who didn’t major in Japanese during your college days and you’re starting to learn Japanese from scratch here in Japan, it can be daunting to say the least. You’re not alone. Actually, you would be exactly like me when I came. I didn’t really start studying Japanese until I was several months into the first year of my stay. I had a pretty comfortable, English-teaching position at a nearby 英会話 (eikaiwa - English conversation school). I had a pleasant routine going. 1. Continue Reading …

The Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Course Review

Kanji Learner's Course with Stars

Remember when you started studying Japanese and you thought, “This is fun!” “This is exciting.” You started learning those basic phrases and actually started remembering them! You even got that hiragana stuff down without even breaking a 汗 (あせ-sweat). You started wondering what all the “learn Japanese” fuss was about. THIS is one of the hardest languages to learn…PSSH, whatever. But somehow or another you stumbled on a trainload of Japanese symbols that you couldn’t read whatsoever: Continue Reading …

10 Japanese Train Irritations

Japanese Train Irritations Plain

Yamanote. Hibiya. TX. Keihin-Tohoku. Chuo. Sobu. What do all of these words have in common? Are they the names of the newest hottest anime series from Shonen Jump? Nope, guess again. Are they the Japanese names of Donald’s six illegitimate Japanese children? NO! See?!? that’s how rumors get started! You know what, just forget it. I’ll tell you the answer. These are the names of several of the many train lines here in Japan. The Yamanote, Keihin-Tohoku, the Chuo, and Sobu lines are Continue Reading …