Safety first in Japan

Japanese people are very concerned with safety. One of the first Japanese words I learned after arriving in Japan was anzen (安全 ), the Japanese word for safety. A well-known example of this concern with safety is the method of 'pointing and calling', shisa kanko (指差喚呼), used by public transport operators in Japan. Japanese train... Continue Reading →

Japanese people are human too

Recently I moved back to Belgium after having spent a year in Japan. People often ask me about my experiences in Japan. One of the questions that I get asked the most, is "Did you get to know any Japanese people?" Quoted out of context like this, the question may seem fairly innocent. Although the... Continue Reading →

Hot ‘n tasty man

One of the things that surprised me while living in Japan, was the fact that there are so many seasonal foods in Japan. Coming from a country where it is considered completely normal to eat tomatoes all through winter and where young people think pineapple is a local produce (it's not!), I was charmed by... Continue Reading →

Crazy butterfly in Kyoto

While attending Kyoto's Aoi Matsuri (Hollyhock Festival) last week, I came across an endearing scene. A huge black butterfly had decided to have a rest in the sun, right on top of someone's head. The person in question was keeping very calm, quietly posing for photographs. After a few minutes the butterfly took off and... Continue Reading →

A day in paradise

Around the middle of April it was cherry blossom time in Japan. Needless to say I had been looking forward to this for a while. When foreigners think of Japan and typical Japanese things, the beauty of the cherry blossoms is one of the first things that comes to mind. My anticipation was only increased... Continue Reading →

Angry Birds Real Estate

At first glance I thought this place was a day care center. The balloons, the bright colours, the cute (kawaii) animal drawings... But a closer look revealed that this place is in fact a real estate agency. It is a clear example of the cultural difference between Japan and Europe. Whereas in Japan this styling... Continue Reading →

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