Rikuto’s First Time at the Beach

I can’t believe it’s been two months since I last posted on the Long Countdown. I even missed the last Japan Blog Matsuri about Favorite Places in Japan, which was a shame because this place would certainly qualify: This is one of many beautiful, sandy beaches at the foot of Shizuoka prefecture’s Izu Peninsula. We went down there in Golden Week, and it was Rikuto’s first time ever to see […]

Slow Times in Kakamigahara

April’s Japan Blog Matsuri, hosted by Ken on What Japan Thinks is all about Slow Times in Japan, the opposite to last month’s blog carnival about Fast Times, for which I wrote about some of my off-beat experiences in Japan. As a self-employed, work-at-home dad living in the countryside, I have a lot of free time. As most of you know, I’m usually glued to my computer screen, but three […]

Offbeat Tales of My Time in Japan

This month’s Japan Blog Matsuri, hosted on The Ghost Letters, is all about Fast Times in Japan, so here are some of my wilder experiences, at least the ones I don’t mind my mum reading! The Surprise Visit I first came to Japan for a three-month holiday. A Japanese friend had earlier invited me to stay with his family, but I hadn’t heard from him in the month before I […]

Make the Most of 2009

Bill Belew from the Rising Sun of Nihon is asking how we resolve to make the most of our stay in Japan this year. For most people, I’d imagine learning Japanese and visiting new places would be high on the list of things to do, but since I’ve been here for over ten years, the fact that I’m in Japan doesn’t weigh heavily in my plans for 2009. Instead, I […]

Picking Through Someone Else’s Rubbish

There are 15 families in our neighborhood, and we rotate the twice-weekly task of unlocking the “gomi” station before 6am, then coming back, cleaning it out and locking it after the garbage men come at 8am. The rules couldn’t be simpler – put out your burnable rubbish between those hours in a designated city rubbish bag. There are different days and places for disposing of plastics, cans, glass, cardboard and […]

Looking Outside My Japanese Window

Shane Sakata from Japan’s Online Culture and Travel Magazine, the Nihon Sun, is asking us for photos of the real Japan from the windows of our homes. The timing is a bit off since we’re having the house painted right now, but that just adds to the realism… Fortunately, we still have a pleasant view out the back window, so long as you ignore all the power lines… My former […]

What Has Japan Taught Me About England?

This is my last minute entry into November’s Japan Blog Matsuri. I was going to skip it this month, as the question, “What has Japan taught you about yourself?”, would require me to take a deep look inside and pull out something wise and intelligent. Instead, here are a few things Japan has taught me about England… Ascending the throne When I first came to Japan, people would say “Give […]

Five Things Meme – More About Me

The most successful freelance writer I’ve ever known, Michael Kwan, has asked me to tell the world about myself in the latest self-introduction meme. Let’s get straight into it… 5 Things I Was Doing 10 Years Ago: Learning Japanese Living in a one-room apartment in Nagoya, Japan Eating instant noodles and paying off debts Teaching English Hanging out with a guy called Bamboo 5 Things on My To-Do List Today: […]