Trying to Maintain Balance in Japan

When I initially wrote this in 2019, I was back home visiting my family and friends so I took time to just sit back and reflect on my life in Japan so far. I forgot that I had this in my drafts for almost a year and given the current COVID situation that we currently live in, I thought I’d revisit and finish this post.

Regardless, It doesn’t come as a surprise to me that the Japanese lifestyle is completely different to the life I once had back home, but over time I managed to settle in to my new environment. However, even for someone familiar with Japanese society, it can eventually become quite taxing to the mind and body.

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Love & Japan Part 3: Distance

Welcome to another edition of Love & Japan. Compared to the previous two editions, however, this one is going to be bit more reflective and serious as this is a topic I am sure most of us have experienced at some point in our lives: distance. While this one doesn’t pertain to love specifically, this post relates to those of us who have someone close or dear to us, but cannot see as much as we like due to distance or other circumstances.

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The Naked Director: Breaking Bad Meets JAV

NOTE! The post contains minor spoilers and content of an explicit nature

Rarely do I write about television shows on my blog, but I couldn’t help but write about my thoughts on The Naked Director, a new show from Netflix. Apart from its title, what mainly caught my attention was its subject matter: porn. Those of you who have watched a Japanese drama series before would probably know that this sort of show wouldn’t air on Japanese TV so Netflix definitely felt like the best choice, especially when you consider some of the high-profile actors in it, such as Ryo Ishibashi (Audition, The Grudge), Koyuki (The Last Samurai) and Takayuki Yamada (13 Assassins, Densha Otoko).

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Reflecting on the Kyoto Animation Incident From Japan

By now almost all of us have heard about the tragic news regarding Kyoto Animation (KyoAni). Not only did the news tragically affect anime fans around the world, it also affected Japan in general as it is now being regarded as the most violent event to occur in Japan following World War II. Now while most of you may know that I’m currently doing my Masters studies in Kyoto, what you may not know is that my dormitory is actually located two train stations away from where it happened (I was in class during this time). When I realised this, the weight of the tragedy affected me greatly. Naturally, my friends and family back home were worried about me when the news broke out so I reassured them that I was OK.

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Love & Japan Part 2: I Went on a Date

Who would’ve thought that more than a week later I would write a Part 2 of this post (I did promise I would do it in my previous post, didn’t I). So remember I talked to you about the drama club and how joining them had a positive effect on me and my confidence? Well, turns out it would also lead me to going on a date with one of the members. Now I’ll be honest about two things here: 1) I didn’t expect to have feelings for her and 2) I didn’t “technically” ask her out myself.

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A (Humourous) Guide to the Japanese Language

So the other day I was taking a nice, nightly stroll around Kawaramachi after watching Godzilla: King of the Monsters (which was actually a good movie) and caught a Starbucks in the corner of my eye which allowed you to enjoy your nice cup of pumpkin spiced latte coffee near the banks of the Kamogawa River. Intrigued by this prospect, I went inside and, as always, ordered my coffee in Japanese. However, on this day, I also brought along my coffee tumbler so I asked the barrister, in Japanese, if it was OK for him to put the coffee in the tumbler instead. Instead of asking him “Kore, ii desu ka (Is this ok)?” I accidentally asked him “Koko ni ii desu ka (Is it OK to have my coffee here [while pointing at my tumbler])?” It took a brief second for the barrister to realise what I actually wanted to say, to which he replied with “Hai. OK desu (Yes, that’s OK)”.

So this embarrassing language blunder is only one of many times where I’ve accidentally said the wrong thing while having the right intentions, but I guess this is just part of the language learning process, right?

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My Saturday Night Listening to Japanese Rap Music

It’s another Saturday night in Japan. You’re sitting in your room, trying to work on an assignment that’s due very soon and suddenly you hear a familiar voice calling to you. “Who can it be?” you ask. Oh, it’s just YouTube enticing me to procrastinate again by watching silly videos or listening to my favourite music. But wait, your brain needs to come up with something that you want to watch. What will it be tonight, brain? Try not to laugh challenges? Gaming? Silly cat videos from a bygone era? “Oh, I know!” says my brain enthusiastically. “How about we watch some more videos about Japan. You always love those, don’t you?”

“Sounds great,” I say to my brain, “but what about Japan are we going to look for?”

“What about…Japanese…”

“Yes?”

“RAP MUSIC!”

NANI!?

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Making Japanese Friends: Possible or Impossible?

So at this time of writing I have lived in Japan (specifically Kyoto) for almost two months now, experiencing so much in so little time. From visiting Tokyo, Kobe and Osaka to eating a wide variety of Japanese foods to even having an almost awkward encounter with a female staff worker at an onsen, these are just some of the things you’ll never get a chance to truly experience back in your home country. But while all these things are nice and dandy, sometimes it’s nice experiencing these things (except for the awkward onsen encounter) with other people, especially with local Japanese friends who have more knowledge of these things than you do. “But wait,” you ask, “how hard is it to make a Japanese friend?” Well, my friend, the answer to that is pretty complicated so today I want to talk about this topic and share some of my experiences with trying to make Japanese friends.

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