A man and woman are seen on a deck in the distance, with a body of water and ship in the background, and a blurred tree in the foreground.

JET-setting into the Deep Countryside of Japan: My Experience

When I taught English abroad in the inaka (countryside) of Japan, I lived in a very small, very old mountain village. From afar, it was beautiful. Rice fields surrounded the mountain, lush greenery was everywhere, and in the summer, tall cumulus clouds floated slowly across the sky. It was like a scene straight out of … Read more

An image of fireworks in the sky with the many buildings of Tokyo all around. Tokyo Tower is in the center of this image.

Temples, Soba, and Bags, Oh My! Celebrating New Year’s in Japan

3!..2!…1! Happy Pretend-the-world-isn’t-burning-down-around-us-Day! Happy New Year! Midnight strikes! Cue the kiss, or awkward “Do we hug, or high five? Or…” with your buddies that you may not be on intimate terms with. Go in for that hug! Be bold! It’s a new you, baby. And whether you’re breaking out of your shell over the New … Read more

A young Asian male and female taking a selfie with a smartphone in front of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, Japan.

9 Cultural Mistakes Foreigners Make in Japan and What To Do Instead

Let’s face it – if you’re new to Japan, you’re probably gonna make a few cultural mistakes. And you wouldn’t be alone. Deeply rooted in tradition and religion, Japan has a rich and complex culture, with what seems like a million unwritten rules. That’s pretty tough to navigate, even for Japanese people. Just like with … Read more

3 pieces of Pitan, or Chinese Century Eggs. On is unshelled, one is in its shell, and the other is covered in some kind of brown material.

Chinese Century Eggs – Don’t Do It!

  I have tried many weird and crazy foods in Japan.  Some of them were absolutely delicious, while others made me want to gag.  By far the worst thing I ever ate is something called “pidan” or “pitan.”  If you don’t know what this is, consider yourself lucky.  They are Chinese preserved eggs that you … Read more