It’s not you, it’s your website.

A new tumblr site has been getting pretty popular on my Facebook feed called It’s not me Japan, it’s you.  Basically, it’s quick list of memes & commentary about the little quirks you run into living and working in Japan.  For the most part, it’s kinda funny.  Take this post…

David Cameron meets Shinzo Abe

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One thing that I love about teaching elementary school schools it’s that I can be as goofy as I want and the kids will almost always laugh (pending that they understood).  😀

Unexpected things about Japan – Part 1

So you may have seen something similar to this, but I’d like to share some unexpected things I found out from Japan after moving here.  I’ll write more parts as I think of them.

  1. Tom and Jerry cartoons have voice actors – Weird, huh?  I kinda enjoy it though since you already understand what is happening.  It’s like a really simple Japanese lesson.
  2. People use their emergency blinkers to park anywhere – This still irks me a little, but not so much since I realized that I could do it too.  Basically, since parking is limited in a lot of areas, people will pull over, use their blinkers and hop out to do whatever they need to do.
  3. Japanese kitchens rarely have ovens – If you’re a hobbyist chef like me, this may be a shocker.  The best thing I could get by with is a microwave/toaster oven that I was able to get at a recycle shop.  The only place I’ve seen full-size ovens at were some of the community kitchens where they have cooking classes/clubs.
  4. shopping =/= shopping – When I first got here, I made it a mission to figure out how to use to shop.  Back home, I used not only because of the convenience of online shopping, but because the prices were usually better, paired with Amazon’s great customer service.  Since Amazon has a barcode scanner built into their app, I would frequently check prices online in stores to see if it’s worth buying now or ordering it on the Internet.  In many cases, I’ve found that the prices usually don’t vary that much.  I’m not really sure why this is the case.
  5. Beer in Japan is taxed by its malt content – Malt is the partially broken down starches of the grains used in beer brewing.  It gives beer its alcohol content and body of flavor.  Bitterness and other scents are caused by the addition of hops and spices.  So as you would expect, all-malt beer in Japan, even if it is terribly made, is expensive.  This has pushed breweries to produce a cheap beer called “Happoshu”.  It’s an extremely low malt beer with other grain alcohol mixed in after fermentation is complete.  Sometimes the brewers will get fancy and add some interesting hops to the beers, but in general, they usually have an extremely light, bitter taste with some kind of odd “bite” (maybe it’s the liquor or funky hops).  In short, these beers make a Bud Light taste delicious by comparison.

So I’ll try to make a recurring series of these.  Leave me a comment if you have any questions!

Real facts about living in Japan

All too often, I get updates in my news feeds about the latest crazy thing going on in Japan.  The latest being that young Japanese adults have stopped having sex.  Actually, since a lot of bloggers have been calling those news stories out (and rightfully so being borderline racist), I haven’t seen anything as of late, but I imagine it’s only a matter of time before a journalist decides to get another story about Japan brewing for more page clicks.  To sum up these articles, they essentially extrapolate that since a very small subset of Japanese people act a certain way, then a larger super-sect of those people must be doing the same.  For example, let’s take something popular in American news right now… The Knockout Game.  Would it be alright if a Japanese person came up to someone and said (mind you, in perfect English, of course), “Oh, I don’t think I want to visit New York City or Chicago, I heard that random teenagers play a game where they try and punch someone in the face as hard as they can.”
Well, yea, that would be incredibly offensive, but that’s exactly what these news articles about Japan say to Japanese people.  Also, as it turns out, the Knockout Game is a phony threat as well!
So next time you see one of these “crazy” Japan stories, take them with a grain of salt.  There’s probably a lot more to it than what the story leads on.  After living in Japan, you learn that Japan isn’t crazy, but rather, has a different way of doing things.

Still here!

Per the request of my family, I am going to try making more posts.  I currently have a couple story ideas that I am still fleshing out.  If you have something you want to hear about Japan, then let me know!

Japan Woes story 1

Errrmaahgad, just spent the last hour trying to figure out what this unfamiliar postcard with a sticker on it was. My coworkers told me it was for my travel expenses like rental van and gas from Kitakata to Miharu. Keep in mind that this conversation was in Japanese, which is why most of my sentences are short.
(What do I do with this? I’ve already moved… (>_<)# )
Me: Do I bring in receipts?
“No, they don’t need them.”
Me: Okay, but in my interview, you said you were only paying for me to come to Miharu, not my stuff.
“Yes, that’s right.”
Me: Okay, then do I write my expenses on the back?
“No, they don’t need that either.”
Me: Then what’s this sticker for?
“You pull it off.”
Me: And put it on what? a receipt?
Me: Uhhh, so is this sticker just a present?
“Uhh, yea…”
**So I go back to my desk and try translating all the kanji on it that I can. Still doesn’t lead me to anything. I start to notice that this postcard looks a lot like a game piece. So I start to hold it up at various angles, shine my bike light through it and try to see if I can read anything through the sticker. Can’t see diddly.**
Finally, my coworker next to me keeps making a peeling motion over my postcard game piece.
(I’m not going to peel this now! What am I going to stick this on now?)
Me: How much money am I going to get?
“Up to 2000¥.”
Me: Okay, when?
“It’s under the sticker.”
Me: Eh, ok… Is this a game?
(???) What? No… [laughter at my expense]
Me: Erg, okay, then how do I get the money?
“By bank transfer”
Me: Then what do I use this sticker for?
Me: (AAAAAAAAAAAAGGGH! That’s it. I’m peeling this sticker off. I don’t even care anymore about it!!)


I am a dummy…

(Oh, wait a minute… This is a receipt telling me how much my paycheck deposit is going to be. Gawd-dangit, I am an idiot.) I’m sorry, everyone.

Just sharing this story to give you a peek of what it’s like to move to another side of the world. My entire week at my new job has been like this.

Mathematical Anarchy


“Now, prepare to marvel at the mysteries of the universe as I make this remainder disappear.”

I have mixed feelings about these silly impractical math problems being posted on Facebook. On one hand, you are NEVER going to run into this in real world use (Unless your going to be a mathemagician). On another hand, it makes me sad that people don’t know the basic algebra order of operations, which still IS a needed skill. “On the third hand”, I’m sick of people arguing over the correct order of operations because of a literal vs. practical application of PEMDAS. It’s a hypothetical math problem, people!