Who are YOU, dear reader?

One of the drawbacks of WordPress is that I can see how many people visit this blog, but not much else about them. Are you all related to me? Probably. But maybe the same person is visiting over and over. I have no idea!

So humor me and leave a comment here with who you are/ where you’re located/ how you ended up on this blog.

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257 thoughts on “Who are YOU, dear reader?

  1. Hi, I’m Sabrina and I’m from the small island of Malta which is in the Mediterranean. I know this is a long way from Japan but I have always been fascinated with the Japanese culture and cuisine. I ended up here after researching Japanese breakfast since I am planning a trip to Tokyo after I graduate. Interesting blog πŸ™‚

    • Hi Sabrina, thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. A trip to Tokyo sounds wonderful. Might I recommend something? Try also venturing outside of Tokyo. I find Tokyo culture is quite specific and outside Tokyo you will see a very different Japan. It is interesting to see the two.

      • Where would you recommend visiting? I was planning my trip around the end of April/ beginning of May. I’m also quite a foodie, do you recommend any particular places or dishes? I would like to try both typical street food and fine dining.

        • I hear Kamakura is beautiful and not too far from Tokyo although I haven’t been there myself. Maybe Tohoku? I hear they could use the tourism income to help rebuild the region. There are great hot springs in Tohoku. Of course Kyoto has a very special atmosphere, although there are so many tourists these days.

          As for food, there is so much regional variety in Japan that it is very difficult to recommend something, since I always lived near Nagoya. In any case it is nearly impossible to eat bad food in Japan. Just be adventurous and don’t be afraid to ask local people or restaurant staff for advice.

  2. I am a half-Japanese American (mostly) living in California. I am a bit of a nomad, making frequent trips to Japan and back to my childhood home on the East Coast. Although I grew up fully American (never speaking Japanese at home), I have become more attached to my Japanese background as I have grown up. I majored in Japanese in college, then lived on a Fulbright for a year in Japan. In graduate school, I am studying cultural psychology with a focus on understanding how cultural differences between the U.S. and Japan affect human psychology. Also I am a budding food blogger at TheGreenTurnip.com. I write about simple, Japanese-inspired meal prep. I am mostly focused on vegetables, since I am currently trying to become a Japanese vegetable sommelier. I found your blog because I was looking for others in the Japan blogger community. It is so nice to meet you! Thanks for reaching out to us, your readers. Happy blogging to all, Jessy

    • Your point of view sounds very interesting. I am very much interested in cultural differences myself and to approach them from a psychological perspective is very interesting. Do you write about this as well? I looked at your blog link but there isn’t much there. One of these days, I will post about a dinner I had in a restaurant in Nagoya where the main course was only raw vegetables. πŸ™‚

      • Hi! Thanks for your reply. I just started my blog two months ago, so I am still furiously writing to make content. I do have 30 articles, but I am trying to write more and more! I have not addressed my half-Japanese background…yet. But I thinking about addressing it. Oh! I am going to be in Nagoya in a few months. Do you remember the name of the restaurant?? I would love to go! Jessy

        • I think the name was Matsuzaka Meat&Vegetables http://www.gargery.com/pick-up/95/. We ate a many course meal, of which one course was entirely raw vegetables. That is the dish we came for. It was beautiful and delicious. Other than that, we had great wagyu and also lots of French cuisine inspired dishes. And delicious bread, a rarity in Japan. When we went, it was a very new place and affordable. I heard from my friend that it is now a very hip place and difficult to get into. I’d say book well in advance and perhaps ask about prices first.

          • If you are willing to splurge a little on food, I can also recommend Sushi no yoshino in Nagoya. Although I haven’t been there myself yet, I hear the sushi is very good and they serve it on gorgeous custom made pottery by Michikawa Shozo.

          • Thanks so much for taking the time to share the name with me! I definitely know that restaurants can get totally booked in Japan. I will do my homework ahead of time. So excited to go! Thanks, Jessy

  3. I’m just a student who has done a lot of traveling but really misses home. I just happened to stumble on your blog one day and now I’m here. So, really, I’m just Kamiko. I really like what you are doing and I hope you continue. It’s nice to see someone trying to get others to appreciate Japan and I truly hope you continue.

  4. Ohayo, Haruko-chan,

    I stumbled upon your blog when looking for a good picture of a mukade for a writing project. I am an American, now living in the UK for the last 16 years, but I lived in Japan (Kyuushu, Miyazaki-ken) twice (1987-1988, 1990-1993). Sadly, I have not been back since then — maybe someday! — but I enjoyed your writing and photographs from your year in Aichi-ken very much, especially your comment about seeing Belgium and Europe with ‘Japan eyes’ since your return. You are absolutely correct — living in Japan does change the way you see the rest o the world.

    Best wishes,

    Karen Fellows

    • Thank you so much Karen! Yes, travelling changes the way we see things. I also love to know what foreigners living in Belgium think about my culture. That also helps me to see things in a different light. I hope you get to go back to Japan oneday. I want to go back as well. Here’s hoping!

  5. Hello! I found this blog thanks to my editor. I’m writing an article about global interest in Japanese design products. Where do you find your Japanese design online? Is there a good store in Belgium? Do you know of any stores that I can contact who offer products made in Japan and retailed globally?

    THANKS!

    Amelia

  6. Hi, I’m Ellen, I now live almost a year in Toyota-shi with my husband and children. Guess which company my husband works for πŸ™‚ Originally from Leuven, Belgium πŸ™‚ I came across your blog when searching for a good sushi place for our Belgian girls night out πŸ™‚ If you have any recommendations ….

    • My favourite place for sushi in Toyota-shi is Totomaru. It is a kaitenzushi and the quality price ratio seems very good to me. It’s one of the nicer kaitenzushi places (not like sushiro or something like that). 5-25 Tozukacho, Toyota 471-0869, Aichi Prefecture +81 565-31-5153 But if you are more than 4 or 6 people, you might have to sit in separate booths. Also there can be a little wait, depending on when you go of course.

      I used to live in Leuven for 9 years and still visit it regularly! Enjoy your time in Toyota-shi. Wish I was there πŸ™‚

  7. Hi!

    This is Charles from Chihuahua, Mexico!

    I stumbled upon your blog by mere chance. A dear friend of mine is a japanese teacher where I live and I’ve always been attracted to japan’s culture. I liked your blog so much that I’ve just subscribed πŸ™‚

    I’m a writer as well and I’m currently working on an article about rumors (how they spread and how much of our knowledge is based on them). As I was browsing through you blog, I fell in love with one of your pictures (one that has a bunch of birds lined up among the power lines) and I wanted to ask you if it would be possible to use it on my article. I would obviously credit you and refer my few readers to your site.

    Anyhow, keep it up, I’ll be checking your blog from now on πŸ™‚

    • Hi Charles, thanks for checking in. I’m so glad you like my blog! And yes, you can use my picture. I would love a referral back to my blog, thanks. Your article sounds interesting. If you let me know when and where it’s published, I’d gladly read it.

  8. Ohayo gozaimasu, Haruko-chan,

    Found your blog by accident. I live in Hawaii and visited Japan for the second time in October 2013 with my family and my sister and her husband. We spent a week in Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Fukuoka on our own using the rail and other transportation, as well as a lot of foot-mobiling. We had a wonderful time because we spent time visiting interesting places and eating delicious food where ever we found something interesting. Your December 2014 post on oden reminded me the shop that sold oden on the little alley in Kyoto where our small inn was located. So oishii and filling. Look forward to visiting again.

    • Hi Walter! Your trip to Japans sounds amazing. I do think the food is one of the things that I love most about Japan. You can pretty much walk into any place and have a decent meal.
      So you are from Hawaii. That is one of the places that I would love to visit some day. Seeing it on tv, it looks so beautiful. Isn’t there also a large Japanese community in Hawaii?

  9. Doug. Retired old guy living in western Canada. Drinks green tea (sencha). Stumbled on your blog just surfing Japan. Sorta digitally traveling to places I’ll probably never see in person. Google maps street view is a good way to “see” & drive around the countries I travel to. You cover a lot of interesting things about Japan. Thanks for writing & photographing about your experiences.

    • Hi Doug, thanks for leaving a comment! I’m glad you like my blog πŸ™‚ The internet is a wonderful window onto the world, I agree. It allows one to travel without leaving home. And street view is wonderful as well. I use it often. Enjoy your further digital travels and your cup of sencha!

  10. Konnichiwa Haruho-san
    I was searching the internet for the name of a Japanese butterfly, and clicked on your sumo link (I like sumo a lot) and was having a look around.
    I’m from New Zealand, travel to Japan a lot and love it so much started a business taking people to see the country – not huge groups, small stuff so people can see and experience Japan and do what they want.

    • Your business sounds great! It sounds like a great way to share your love of Japan with others and getting lots of oportunities to travel yourself πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  11. This blog is a gold mine! I’m a US citizen who just arrived to Japan on the JET program and am trying to learn as much as possible as early as possible. I’m up in Aomori-ken. I think this blog is a great resource for JET participants. Is it okay if I share the link? Thank you for this great resource! A friend of mine in the states sent a link to your KY post because she had just learned about that term. I liked your explanation and I decided to look around a little more. πŸ™‚

    • I’m so glad you like my blog! Of course you are more than welcome to share it with others. The more sharing, the better. Good luck with the JET program! I hope you will have a wonderful time in Japan.

  12. Holly here. Japanophile, Canadian, mom, recently dairy free due to my daughter having severe cow’s milk allergy. Wound up here through a Google search on “traditional Japanese breakfast” while brainstorming ideas on how to feed my family without our old standbys of porridge and yoghurt. Knowing that the Japanese don’t consume much dairy, I figured that would be a great starting point towards living a dairy free lifestyle, as well as a very safe cuisine with which to experiment while we make the transition. Always love reading about my favorite culture!

    • Hi Holly, thanks for getting in touch! I also don’t eat dairy due to a food intolerance, so I have had to look for different breakfast options myself. My current favourite is oatmeal with sugarfree almond milk and fruit. I’m also a fan of omelette, optionally with vegetables and potatoes. I do love Japanese breakfasts, not only because they are dairy free but also because they are so nutritous that they get me through the morning feeling thoroughly energized. The only downside is that they are so much work to prepare! Let me know how you get on with your diary free breakfast experiments. It might give me a few ideas as well!

  13. My name is Larry. I live in the U.S. I have always been fascinated with the Japanese people, culture, and their way of life. I would love, some day, to live in the mountains of Japan. I wouldn’t mind having a pen pal, from Japan, to communicate with and share in the exchange of our different lifestyles and daily habits. Thank you for offering this web site.

    • Hi Larry! Thanks for getting in touch. I am sure you could easily find a Japanese penpal through the internet. A quick google search led me to interpals.net and hipenpal.com. Maybe you could contacting one of those people who would like to practice English? Good luck! πŸ™‚

    • Hi Marianne! Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I always love to hear from readers and it is extra special when someone I know follows the blog. So thank you for that and I hope you will continue to read my stories in the future πŸ™‚ Say hi to Tinne from me!

  14. Hi! I am a student in the USA who dreams of traveling abroad to Japan to study or work there. I have been interested in Japanese culture and language for many years now, and just now am taking a Japanese course. You have a wonderful blog here! I have subscribed, and love hearing new and awesome things about Japan when you post! Keep up the good work, Haruko-chan!

  15. I’m waiting to hear back from the JET Program about a job. I’m reading Japan blogs to gain more information about Japan and to keep from going crazy.

  16. Hi! I’m from Peru, but I’m moving to Japan in April to do my master’s. A friend of mine sent me a link to your post about mukade and I wasn’t expecting that at all T_T I hope I never get to see them T_T I’m reading many of your posts and they seem very insightful, useful, and funny, too. Thanks a lot! Hey and if you have a general advice about living in Japan it would be very much appreciated πŸ™‚

    • Hi Manuel, thanks for commenting! Good luck with your move to Japan. I’m jealous πŸ™‚ If you like some general advice, check out the page ‘Japan guide’. That is where I tried to give an overview of the things that helped me in Japan.
      Maybe I can throw in a Peru specific tip: there is a large Brazilian community in Japan, so if you ever feel homesick or need products from home, I am sure you can find a Brazilian supermarkt in almost any moderately sized city in Japan. Probably the range of products they carry will be similar to what you are used to at home (it was even rather similar to Belgium, compared to Japanese supermarkets at least).

  17. I am from Australia and I am currently applying for jobs teaching English in Japan. πŸ™‚ I came across this blog while I was doing some research into Japanese culture. Have bookmarked/followed it as I think it might prove to be very useful in the coming months before I head off on my Japanese adventure.

  18. Remember reading through a sizable chunk of the GaijinChronicles blog and wanting to read so much more. I’m Japan bound in a couple of years (have visited in-laws there many times, and stayed 3 months for a visitor visa once), perhaps for quite a few years. Just looking for other expat views of what I’m getting myself into.

    • I really loved living in Japan. It was only for one year though, so I am not sure what it is like if you are there for several years. Also, I imagine being an expat or actually living there long-term is also a bit different. But I would love to go back someday!

  19. I saw a video of a Japanese man gift wrapping a box on digg, which led me to click on the youtube link, which in turn led me here. I am from Connecticut in the United States and I have been many places around the world, but never to Japan. My father has gone a few times, and my brother in law lives there with his Japanese wife. Maybe someday.

    • Hi Justin, thanks for commenting. I was already wondering where all that extra traffic came from. I hope you get to visit Japan someday. It’s a very interesting place to visit, especially if you have ‘locals’ like your brother in law and his wife to show you around.

  20. Hajimemashite, Haruko-chan!

    Thanks for liking my blog post, which led me here and gave me an opportunity to enjoy your impressions of Japan! It’s been a few nice reads, keep it up!

    Me? I’m just a finance-interested guy who’s on his second East Asian-issued ID number and hoping to stay around if I can. The last one happens to be from Taiwan, so I’ve been lucky enough to take a few trips over to Japan since it is pretty much the shortest possible flight. πŸ™‚

    Looking forwards to seeing more posts from you and nerding out with your other readers on all things Nippon!

    • Hi Timmy! Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. Taiwan sounds like a fascinating place as well. I heard there’s a lot of delicious tea to be had in Taiwan. Here’s to nerding out on Japan! Let there be lots more in the future!

  21. I’m just some dude from Hong Kong who stumbled upon your awesome blog. My wife and I love Japanese food and ryokans. We visit Japan at least twice a year for vacation. I’m very slowly teaching myself Japanese as a hobby. Cheers!

    • How fortunate you are to live so (relatively) close to Japan! Is there any specific area in Japan you like to visit, or do you go somewhere else every time? Hong Kong seems like a fascinating place as well. It’s nr. 2 on my travel wish list, after returning to Japan of course πŸ™‚

      • I know we’re really lucky to live close to Japan, but I think it’d also be cool to live in Europe or the US and be able to drive over to neighboring EU countries or US states too! Instead we have to hop on a plane every time.

        We’ve been fortunate to have visited many different places in Japan, and aside from Tokyo (sheer convenience of Haneda), we tend to travel around and visit new places. Recently, we went to Kansai for the first time (not sure why it took us so long!). It’s so hard to choose a favorite place in Japan cause they all have their own charm. Sometimes its the surrounding area: hiking around the beautiful Oirase river in Aomori, other times it’s the awesome hospitality: great experience at a beautiful ryokan in Noboribetsu during the sleepy winter season. Of course the food is a great attraction for us as well. I guess our next Japan travel goal is to visit the small northern islands in Hokkaido. Seen and heard many good things about that area.

        I’m biased because I live here, so Japan is so much more appealing to me. However, you should definitely visit Hong Kong at least once to see what it’s all about πŸ˜€

  22. Helle
    I am a french woman, living in Japan since last year. I found you while searching blogs about Japan. I am always searching interesting facts and places to see.

    Oshida Lucile

  23. Hello Haruko-Chan,

    It was you who actually found me! I came across your blog after you liked some of my posts, so thanks! I am originally from Spain, although I lived in the States for a long time. Now I am back in Spain and ready to start preparing my PhD dissertation on Japanese Art {more like an Anthropological study with a little bit of Art History ;)} I am currently looking for scholarships that can take me there, so hopefully in about year I will be able to blog from beautiful Japan (I honestly can say thatΒ΄s the part I am really looking forward to! Fingers crossed!)

    I absolutely love your blog!
    Best regards from Spain πŸ˜‰

    • I’m so glad you like my blog! Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment πŸ™‚ I hope you will get a scolarship to go to Japan. Living there is a unique experience. There is so much beauty there. I just can’t get enough of it. Best of luck with your PhD!
      Best wishes,
      Haruko

  24. Hi. I found your blog after you liked a chicken ramen recipe on my new cooking blog. I finally managed to visit Japan this year and remain fascinated with the country. You’re blog is a great insight to areas I didn’t visit and things I didn’t experience. Thank you.

  25. Woooo—–!!!*^o^*
    Haruka-san, thank you for the information. I end up this blog while looking for hitotsu lyrics.
    When I worked about 5 months in Kobe, I didn’t have time to enjoy Japanese music unless street performance. I miss my Japanese friends and recalled a beautiful memory when I had to put my towel on my head. Ah, that days. So now I singing hitotsu and crying alone.. Thank you.

    をレックス

    • I can understand your feelings. I also miss Japan very much and I also feel like crying when I hear Hitotsu. The emotion in the song is just so strong. But even crying about happy moments in the past can be a nice thing in some way, don’t you think? Best wishes to you!

  26. Hi there,

    My names Andy Smith and I live in Portsmouth, UK. I ended up on this here because you read and kindly liked my recent blog. Worked out pretty well for me because your site has given me some excellent bits of information about Japan and has already been book marked for my future travels to the country!

    • Hi Andy, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I wish you the best of luck with your future trip to Japan. It is a beautiful country and I’m sure you will have a wonderful time!

      • I hope so. Like yourself I have always been a bit of lover of Japan. Hopefully when I get out there I’ll be able to share some of my own unique experiences with you!

  27. Hi there! I *love* this idea to ask readers to tell you about them. Do you mind if I copy the idea??? So, to answer you, you found me. πŸ˜€ Thank you! I’m in Canada at the mo but lived in Japan for three years and married a Japanese dreamboat and then we moved to Canada. We’ve been here for a shockingly long but short five years and our life includes aka-chan now. I’m going to turn the tables and ask how you found me?? Do you also love atrix?? Have a great weekend!

    • Yes, please go ahead and copy it. I copied it from someone else myself (〃ω〃) I found you by checking all posts tagged ‘Japan’ in my WordPress reader. I tried Atrix hand cream when I was in Japan, but I don’t remember it specifically, so I don’t think it made a big impression. Just an adequate hand cream as I remember it. I do really miss Japanese deodorant. Most Belgian deodorants smell so chemical that they give me a headache. Japanese deodorants seemed more natural and were still really effective.

      • Good to hear! Ha ha ha! Yes, I suppose atrix is not for everyone. *sigh* πŸ˜€ Okay… I’m having deju vu. Did I already reply to this?? Oh well. πŸ˜€ I won’t tell my Finnish deodorant/anti-p story again, just in case.

  28. Hi there, Im a regular visitor to Toyotashi (I’m with Toyota Canada). I found your blog as I was looking for festivals in Nagoya and Toyota for this fall when I return with my family. Its been 10 years since my wife joined me and a first for my daughter. Great to see a blog about my “home town” in Japan! Cant wait to get back.

    • Hi Tom, great to hear from you! I’m so jealous of you for being able to take regular trips to Toyotashi πŸ™‚ I am currently working on a Toyota Calendar. Maybe it will be helpful when you return this fall, as it will include some festivals as well. I hope to publish it soon.

  29. hi, I’m a housewife in Kobe,Japan.I’m so excited to see your blog.I saw the “Sho-do” page in your blog, and really surprised.I guess it is so difficult to understand “do(road)”, because it is very profound.However you really understand well and wrote down it. I also had learned it in my childhood and love it now. By the way, my son will visit Belgium soon.I envy him.I’d like to go there someday before long.I’m sorry I’m not good at English.Thank you for reading this comment.

    • Hi Kazumi-san. I loved reading your comment! Thank you so much for visiting my blog. It is also very nice to hear that your son will visit Belgium soon. Is he going for holiday or for studies or work? Please contact me if you need any advice for your son. I would happy to help out.

  30. Hi. I’m a Vietnamese but living in Adelaide, Australia. I love experiencing different cultures by the mean of pictures, people and food. And Japan is always the most interesting culture in my list. It starts to make me think of what is a genuine life in Japan, besides all of the mere and genreal information on internet, that is the point to lead me to your blog. Your blog completely provides every sense of Japanese life in genuine way. Keep up the good work. I am looking forward to see every new post. Cheers

    • Thank you so much! I am really glad that you found my blog helpful. It is great to know that my initial goal, showing everyday life in Japan, is actually reaching people πŸ™‚ Thank you for leaving a comment!

  31. Well hi! Quite frankly your site came up as one of the suggested ones on my wordpress. It might be because Japan is one of my tags that I search articles by, or maybe because my own blog is actually focused on Japan, or more likely a specific part of it which is a pilgrimage. But as I read your ‘About’ section, I have to say that we have more in common than I initially thought. You see, I will be going to spend a year in Japan as well this September as a part of my degree and I can bet anything that your blog will serve as a point of reference with certain aspects of Japanese life that I might and probably will find befuddling. So thank you for creating this bog in the first place (^_^ )v

    • Hi Janie. Thanks for leaving a comment! You are so lucky to be moving to Japan soon. I’m a bit jealous πŸ™‚ Pilgrimage seems like a very interesting topic for a dissertation. I only know about the shikoku pilgrimage, but I’m sure there are many in Japan. On your blog you mention Oliver Statler. Do you know Karen Muller? In her book and documentary ‘Japanland’, she also discusses the Shikoku pilgrimage. I can recommend the book and documentary wholeheartedly. Good luck with your adventure in Japan and with your studies!

  32. hello i’m from the philippines πŸ™‚ I’m always interested with Japanese culture. I search for blogs that has do with Japan and I stumbled upon yours from a blog roll of someone who’s blogging a about their life there, as well (i forgot from which blog was it though). I really enjoy reading your posts ^__^ Is it creepy that I read everything you posted in here in one sitting, please say no (hehe). Please keep posting, thank you!

    • Your breakfast sounds intriguing to me, because I also eat oatmeal for breakfast. But I make mine with almond milk and dried cranberries. So the egg-thing sounds like something new I could try someday. Do you mix the egg with the oatmeal or eat it separately? Do you cook the oats with milk or something else?

      I gather from your e-mail that you are from the UK? Is that breakfast common in the UK? Or is it just something you like, or some kind of health food?

      As far as health food and power breakfasts go, nothing beats a Japanese breakfast though. If only it weren’t so much work to prepare in the morning…

  33. Hi, I’m from Romania. I got here when I googled “Japanese traditional breakfast”. I’m going on my first trip to Japan in a couple of days and I’ve found lots of useful information on your blog. And it’s also a very nice read! Thanks!

      • Hi Diana!

        You are so lucky be travelling to Japan in a few days. I think you picked the best time of year to visit Japan. Spring has just started, the weather is nice and the plum trees are in bloom everywhere (so I hear from my Japanese friends). And if you will be staying for a few weeks, you might also catch the cherry blossoms.

        I’m so glad that you found my blog useful in preparing your trip. Thank you for leaving a comment to say so ^_^

        Have a wonderful trip!

  34. Hi. I’m Ray from Ottawa, Canada. I ended up on your website after Googling the sumo wrestler, Takayasu. I was pleasantly surprised to that you have written several bogs on your experiences related to sumo in Japan. I noticed that you even had a chance to meet Takanoyama (my father was Czech, so I have a special connection with him). You were right about his popularity. Sumo fans seem to like cheering for the extremes: the extremely fat and the extremely skinny. Takanoyama is known for his inability to gain weight. His stablemaster even tried to help him gain weight by injecting him with insulin. The best thing about Takanoyama is that he is fearless and extremely strong for a thin rikishi. If you watched him in his prime, he had some amazing wins in the raised ring! Thanks for sharing all your interesting experiences in Japan.

    • Hi Ray!
      Thank you so much for leaving a message. It’s always really interesting to learn more about the people who are reading this blog.
      When I was researching the Takanoyama article, I did read something about his stable master trying to help him to put on weight. I heard the stablemaster’s wife would prepare special meals for Takanoyama in the middle of the night, and thanks to that, he weighed over 100kg for a little while.
      It’s a shame that I can’t really follow sumo anymore, now that I live in Belgium. When I was a kid, they used to show it on the Eurosport channel. I hope they bring it back someday. Considering how popular Japan has become in Europe recently, I’m sure it would catch on.
      Is English commentary sumo available in Canada? And did you ever have the pleasure of attending a live sumo tournament?

      • Hey Haruko-chan (somehow I doubt that that is your real name…),
        Thanks for the reply. I wasn’t expecting to hear back from you so quickly. Like you, I had the opportunity to live in Japan, Tokyo to be precise. During that time, I fell in love with sumo and became a “dedicated fan”. My favourite wrestler from the beginning was Harumafuji (originally Ama). Sadly, I left Japan three months before he was promoted to Yokozuna. Sigh.
        Although sumo with English commentary is not available here in Canada, I do watch every tournament on the cable TV station called “TV Japan”. I had been following on line as well, but in January of this year, the JSA shut down the free service. Double sigh.
        Hope you are coping with your “separation” from Japan. btw, my son is finishing his Master’s degree at Louvain-la-Neuve. Small world.
        All the best

        • Indeed Haruko-chan is not my real name (as mentioned in the about page). But I like the thought of having a blogging alter ego.

          My separation from Japan is difficult to get used to. As time goes by, I seem to miss it more, rather than less.

          Is your son doing some kind of internation exchange programm? I myself studied at the university of Leuven, which is the university that Louvain-la-Neuve belonged to originally. Small world indeed.

          Best wishes
          Haruko

          • My son is finishing a Master’s in Communications. He applied to LN directly. btw, the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in Osaka began on Sunday. Takanoyama is back down in the Makushita Division, out of the Juryo Division. But I am preoccupied cheering on Harumafuji as he returns from sitting out the New Year’s Tournament with an ankle injury. Sumo is a tough, tough sport.

            Cheers,
            Ray

  35. Hi πŸ™‚ IΒ΄m Lucia from Slovakia πŸ™‚ When I was a child, my dad gave me a book by James Clavell – Taipan. This book was a reason why I started love Asia. πŸ™‚
    Today I tried found some interesting articles about daily life in Japan and… I found your blog. πŸ™‚
    Actually I didnΒ΄t hope that IΒ΄ll find something so interesting! πŸ™‚ Thank you very much for it! πŸ™‚
    You are doing great job! πŸ™‚
    P.S. I have “The Japans” between my favourite pages from today πŸ™‚

  36. Hello! My name’s David and I live in New York state (not New York City). I studied abroad in Japan last summer, which is when I started blogging (thegarbagemaninjapan.wordpress.com), and I’m hoping to get back sometime relatively soon. Since I was pretty much rooted in Tokyo the entire time, I didn’t get to see much else of the country.

    Your blog was actually suggested on my reader, so I skimmed your posts and found a bunch of interesting topics – so I’ll be following whatever else you post from here on out as well!

    Thanks!

    • Hi David! I’m so glad you like my blog ^_^ Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment! I wish you the best of luck with your future plans. I hope you get to realize your dream of teaching English in Japan! I also dream of returning to Japan someday πŸ™‚ Let’s both do our best, ね?

  37. Hello,
    It was 4 years ago with my very first time to Japan, that I can say “I fell in love” with this country !
    I have been hooked ever since. I hope to return soon and discover new places, new faces and new aspects of this amazing society and beautiful country.
    Best Wishes from Geneva and ozonedesignlifestyle………….

  38. γ“γ‚“γ«γ‘γ―γ€œγ―γ‚‹γ“γ‘γ‚ƒγ‚“! I can’t believe how much we seem to sound like each other! I am so passionate about Japan like yourself, that I’ve found myself living and working here, living my dream life! Although I did a working holiday in Japan for 1 year last year and have now been working in Japan since April this year, I’ve only JUST got around to writing my first blog! I’m all about doing crazy, fun experiences, and because I’ve got a huge truck load of them stored up with photos to match, I’m basically doing a back-track blog to catch up on all the amazing sights and experiences I’ve encountered so far! I love your blog very much and I would love it if you could give me some pointers to improving my blog since I’m such a newbie to all this! haha Hope to hear from you soon~! γ‚ˆγ‚γ—γγ€œ

    • Hi! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment ^_^

      As far as the blogging goes, I am also just making it up as I’m going along. So I’m not sure that I could be of much help. The things that I do try to keep in mind about blogging, go against most of the blogging conventions that I’ve read about. My ‘rules’ are: less is more and quality over quantity. I also try to present information in a way that is easy to digest for people.

      I commend you for living your dream. Was it difficult to find work in Japan? How did you go about it? And what kind of work do you do? I hope I will have the oportunity to move to Japan again someday too.

      Good luck with your blog!

      • haha fair enough! Thank you πŸ™‚ Well to be honest there are a lot of jobs out there, but I was looking for a really good job that I thought would suit my lifestyle needs (not working anymore than 20 hours per week but earning more than enough to travel, save etc haha) so it took me about 3 months to find my job while looking online basically every day. I am an English teacher and I teach students from age 3 until adults so the variety in my job keeps me very interested and passionate. If you do decide to come to Japan again, please feel free to contact me πŸ™‚ I’d love to meet up if both our schedules can allow for it!

  39. I am a Japanese who have been living in the U.S. for 28 years. I think I will keep hiding behind the Imari vase, my profile photo, because I think I am close to the moms of many bloggers. I don’t want them to feel that they are being watched by their mothers (lo).

    • I mean, my age must be close to the mothers of many bloggers. I still have a long way to go in English. Blogging is good for me to work on my English.

      • I commend you for writing in English as a Japanese blogger. I find it very interesting to read about the perspective of Japanese people living outside of Japan. Unfortunately my Japanese is only at a beginner’s level and I can’t understand blogs that are written in Japanese.

        Please don’t worry about things such as age. I think there is no restriction whatsoever on blogging. It’s a very good way to bring different people together, overcoming things such as distance, cultural differences and age differences. I look forward to meeting you again online (^_οΌΎοΌ‰

    • Unfortunately I am no longer living in Japan. I have just spent a year living there because of my husband’s job. But as his project finished, it was time for us to move back home to Belgium. I really miss living in Japan! I had a great time there. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  40. I stumbled upon your blog after you liked of my posts. Great blogging! I love all the useful and interesting information – I’m only in Japan for 3 months, just arrived last week and I still need some advice on getting around!

  41. Hi
    Keep up the wonderful blog. I only wish I’d discovered this around 4years ago when I first came to live here. Japan is a beautiful country. The language the culture and nature so entwined its a real journey everyday. I can honestly say that every week I find something new about the aspects I just mentioned. A real pleasure living here.
    .

    • I completely agree with you. I always find that the slogan of the Japan Tourism Association captures it perfectly: “Japan, endless discovery”. The one year I spent in Japan seemed so short. I feel I could live there a lifetime and still discover new things all the time. Hopefully I can return someday. I’m glad you enjoy living in Japan. Treasure your time there! πŸ™‚

  42. Afternoon! I live in England and visited your blog after seeing you liked a piece of art I blogged called The Great Wave off Kanagawa. Have a lovely weekend πŸ™‚

  43. Hi there!
    I just discovered your blog here – I love it! I used to live in Asia for a while and still travel to The Japans whenever I can. At the moment I live in Graz, Austria.
    I look forward to reading more from you!
    Sincerely,
    Joanna

    • Hi! You seem to have lived a very international life so far. Good for you πŸ™‚ Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I hope you will still get many a chance to visit Japan in the future. I can relate: I never seem to get enough of it myself ^_^

  44. Hi, Thank you very much for give me a nice on my page.
    I have just started my blog on the WordPress site, so I’m happy with your nice.
    Coincidentally, I was born in Toyota and raised up in Nagoya. Now I live in Hiroshima Prefecture and I am thinking to introduce about Hiroshima area in English. I would be happy if you allow me to be your blog reader. My blog consists of mostly Japanese but I would try to increase English introduction pages too. Thank you.

    • What a coincidence that you are from Toyota! I really enjoyed living there. I have never been to Hiroshima but I hear it’s very nice as well. Good luck with your new blog! I commend you for writing in English as well as Japanese. γŒγ‚“γ°γ£γ¦γ­οΌAnd thank you very much for following my blog ^_^

  45. Hi there! I came across your blog after you commented on the Japan-Australia blog site about sumo πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ I’m loving your posts. Very interesting and insightful. I’m living in Tokyo and recently started my own blog.

  46. Hi! I’m a student in India. I’ll be in Tokyo for the next two and a half months (starting 13 May) for my internship at Sony, Tokyo! Was reading about life in Japan and came across this blog. Really useful. Thanks!

  47. Hi, Love your blog. Have loved Japan since visiting as a teenager, many moons ago, and I raised funds for the Big Earthquake. I watch NHK world now and follow blogs.

  48. Well . . . you found ME, Sweet Cheeks! Forgive me, we Aussies are SO forward! But we do like to laugh. Through working as Marketing and Communication Manager at one of Australia’s largest local governments (Logan City in Queensland) I was privileged to oversee a substantial international relations program and we had two sister cities in Japan: Hirakata near Osaka and Shibukawa which is known as the bellybutton of Japan. I was lucky to lead three trade missions there and receive many more back home. It taught me so much about that fascinating country and its equally fascinating people. Though you could spend a lifetime learning more!

    • You are so right! Japan is endlessly fascinating. You are very fortunate to have so many oportunities to get to know the country and the culture. And thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  49. I an American who lived in Japan from 1994-1996 as a break from college (bartended, taught English, studied Aikido, etc.) I was young and it left a big impression – I loved Japan (though not everything about it), and I miss it. I am now a researcher/professor of medical statistics and aging in rural Quebec.

    I found your blog when you liked my post comparing Korean and Japan. Tottemo natsukashii desu! Nihon no asa-gohan wo tabetai (kedo biiru ha enryo shimasu.)!

    As an American, I also wrote the following post on my time there:
    http://maketheworldworkbetter.wordpress.com/2012/07/27/the-value-of-living-abroad/
    Admittedly, Europeans have less need of this advice than Americans, but there you have it…

    Alan Cohen

  50. Hi! I’m half Japanese half Italian living in Australia πŸ™‚ I’m glad I found your blog – it was just through following the ‘Food’ feed on WordPress and your ‘Traditional Japanese Breakfast’ post popped up. Looking forward to the next post! I have my own blog about all things Japanese. Check it out if you have time πŸ™‚

    http://www.japalianblog.wordpress.com

    • Hi! Thank you for commenting, and for saying such flattering things πŸ™‚ I visited your blog and I love the look of it. It looks stylish with attention to detail. I look forward to reading your future posts. With such an international background, I’m sure you will make some interesting observations!

  51. Yet to stroll through your virtual abode, but found ya from angrygaijin’s post that he linked to badboy’s in the comments in his recent post.

    I’ll just say two thoughts as a prelude (and most likely quite a bit more after I go ahead and indulge in your blog a bit)- always curious to read more foreigners’ impressions of living in Japan, as I too am planning on moving my white ass over there this year and hopefully stay for a long, long time.

  52. Hey,

    I’m a 21yr old guy, living in antwerpen, Belgium.
    I’ve been fascinated by japan for years, and hope to someday move there for some time, if not permanently. Bumped into your blog just now, and it’s awesome. Thanks for sharing πŸ˜€

    • Hi! Thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment. It’s always fun to know who visits this blog. You know, when I just started this blog I was always most excited to discover readers from far away places. Recently however, I get particularly excited to discover Belgian visitors on my blog πŸ™‚ It feels reassuring that there are other Japan-o-holics out there, not too far away. I hope you make it to Japan someday. It’s a wonderful place.

  53. Hi Helena!!!

    I’m from Venezuela living in the USA probably moving to Toyota City for the same reason you were there…. I have a couple of questions that I’ll love to ask you. I wrote a comment here the other day but I cannot find it… I don’t know if I need to be register in the wordpress site…

    I hope to hear from you soon, Mariolga

    • Dear Mariolga,

      Congratulations on your impending move to Japan. I loved life in Toyota City and I hope it will be the same for you!

      You don’t need to be registered on wordpress to comment on my blog. You only need to enter your name and e-mail address. I’m not sure what happened to your previous comment here. Maybe it got filtered out or I accidentally overlooked it? In any case thank you for commenting again. I will send you an e-mail to discuss your questions. I hope I can be of help to you.

      In any case good luck with your move!

  54. Hi! I’m Sarah living in Philadelphia in the United States. I’ve studied the Japanese language for a couple of years, but I had to take a hiatus because of graduation and other things. Now, I’m pretty rusty. Anyway, I’ve always had a deep desire to go to Japan. I’ve always been a huge fan of the aesthetics, and I admire many other things about the Japanese culture… so I love reading and learning everything I can about it until I can experience it firsthand! I’m working on saving up the cash to go! That’s part one of how/why I came to this blog. Part two is… you liked a post of mine. πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to read yours!!

    • Hi Sarah! Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment! Congrats on your new blog. I hope you get the chance to visit Japan someday. It’s such a beautiful country.

      Just like you, I have been neglecting my Japanese language study for a while now. I really should start again. Maybe your example can serve as an inspiration πŸ™‚ γŒγ‚“γ°γ£γ¦γ­οΌ

  55. Hi! I’m Indonesia living in Australia. Thanks for sharing your Japan story! πŸ™‚ I’m going to Japan next year as an exchange student for a year. Your blog helps me a lot getting to know Japanese culture before I get there! I’m very excited to see the real place! πŸ˜€ Greeeeaaaat blog! love it πŸ˜‰

    • Wow, *jealous* πŸ™‚ I think being an exchange student is the best way there is to get to know a foreign culture in depth. Are you staying in a host family? I hope you have a wonderful year! Feel free to contact me with any questions you have about Japan. I will do my best to answer them.

  56. Hi there! I’m Vera. I’m from Singapore but living in Leeds, UK.
    I found your blog while searching for posts about Japan in wordpress. I was interested in what you have to say about the movie ‘Departures’. My husband and I watched it a few months ago and really enjoyed it!

    • Hi Vera! Thank you for commenting! Are you interested in Japan for any particular reason or just in general? I’m glad you liked the movie ‘Departures’ as well. I think it is a very good movie if you want to get a feel for Japan.

      • Hi Haruko-chan, I have been to Japan a few times and lived in Matsumoto for 6 months. I really enjoyed it and really love Japan food and find the japanese culture very interesting! We are visiting Japan next April and I’m really looking forward to it! I also enjoy reading your blog too! πŸ™‚

  57. Hey guys,
    great idea to ask for feedback about your readers! I’m a German expat living in Osaka and I found you via Freshly Pressed during lunch break. But this survey is actually more interesting than the posting that brought me here… πŸ™‚

  58. Hi I am from California; USA. I found your blog via Cameron’s blog, I am interested in Japan cause I plan to visit my husband’s family there someday. (My husband’s cousin is an expat living in Hokkaido with his Japanese wife. He actually met his wife while she lived here in California.) I am always interested in looking for new interesting blogs that are active to add to my blogroll. πŸ™‚

  59. Am I related? I don’t think so, although we speak the same language, Dutch :-). I’m Michael and I am from Suriname. A lot of readers are probably wandering, what is Suriname? The republic of Suriname (to use the full name) is a small country in the Northern part of South America, North of Brazil, East of Guyana and West of French Guyana (were the French launch their Ariana rockets).

    How I ended up in your blog? That’s one of the funny things of Internet, it makes the world small. I was watching KRO Spoorloos (a dutch television series about finding lost relatives). Wasn’t one of your questions about being related :-)? To make a long story short, in that particular episode there was a woman who found her father, whom she had never known, in Austria. The sad part of the story was that he was suffering from Korsakoff’s syndrome. Because I had never heard of this decease I googled it and came across the wikipedia page explaining this disease. As one of the causes was mentioned a bite by a Japanese centipede called mukade. Very interesting because my wife is an entomologist, and from time to time I go through her books about diseases transmitted by insects and other invertebrates, but I hadn’t come across this one yet. My first intention was to ask her if she new about these centipedes, but since I was already sitting behind my computer a quick search about mukade bites was quicker and bingo, there was your blog.

    Your blog is very interesting indeed. I didn’t only read about the mukades but all your other stories as well. I found them very interesting. I like other cultures and I think it is written in a very observative way. I also liked that sometimes when you came across a situation you also wandered how a Japanese would feel in such a situation (for instance the comparison of the wide array of sauces in Japan compared to the wide array of cheeses is Belgium). I also noticed that a lot of things that were strange for you are quite normal here in Suriname, like the number of sauces, the apple shaped pears, the shaved ice (called schaafijs locally), the Will car (all 3 model you see here on the streets) and the sweet potato.

    But of course the other things you wrote about I didn’t know and it enlightened me a lot. Keep on blogging!

    • Hi Michael,

      Thank you for that wonderful story. It was interesting to read about all the steps that eventually lead you to this blog. Life is funny that way sometimes, don’t you think so?

      As for me, I have heard of Suriname but unfortunately I have never been there. I did, however, used to live in Venezuela for a while so I imagine the food and climate might be similar. But it must be so interesting to have a mix between that tropical atmosphere and Dutch culture. I’d love to hear more about it. And I also know the TV programme you mentioned, ‘KRO Spoorloos’. My mother watches it every week πŸ™‚

      I’m very glad to hear that you like my blog. Thank you for taking the time to tell me πŸ™‚ I love other cultures too and Japan is just so fascinating. There is so much to see, it makes for a sheer endless source of blogging inspiration. I hope I can keep the stories coming for a good while longer.

      Haruko

  60. I’m Dara. I’m Irish, and I live in Osaka. Read my blog to find out more!

    I found your blog because it was reblogged by eihongo (Kansai-ben). Now I am enjoying reading your earlier posts.

  61. Hey there, I’m from Veracruz, Mexico and I’m an English Language Teacher and as someone mentioned above I have used some of your posts, videos and photos as a teaching material, mainly to share and spread different lifestyles worldwide among my large number of students (300 each school year) πŸ™‚
    But mainly I’m a fan of Japan and I love reading your posts, personal stories and opinions.
    Best regards
    Dario Prado

    • Hi Dario,

      Thank you so much for reading the blog and leaving this comment! I am honoured that my posts are being used to teach English and that so many students are reading my stories.

      I’m really glad that you like reading my blog. I will try to keep the Japan stories coming πŸ™‚ Comments like yours really motivate me to do my very best for every post. Thank you!

      Best wishes,
      Haruko

  62. I’m M.L. from Washington state, and I found your blog while searching for something about Happy Tree Friends, but in Japan.

  63. Hello,

    Thanks for the nice read. I stumbled upon your blog while Googling for “coffee beans Toyota City Japan” hahahaha. My name is Will and I have an addition πŸ™‚ There, it come out. I’ve frequented the Starbucks in TC and will have to agree that it is very expensive……back home, a Grande BOLD will run you the equivalent of approx. 200 yen only.

    This is my 5th, or it is 6th time in Toyota shi. I work for Toyota Motor Corp overseas plant and the last time I was here was about 3 years ago. I arrived yesterday and this morning, I was trying to plan my jet lagged weekend.

    Thank you for starting my 2 week stay.

    Is the Golden Shower worth the effort? What’s your favorite restaurant? I’m staying at the TCH near the Toyotashi Station.

    • Actually the Golden Shower restaurant has closed recently, before we got a chance to try it!

      But there are a lot of nice restaurants near Toyota Castle Hotel. On the 8th and 9th floor of the T-face building there are lots of restaurants and most of them are quite good. Other than that I recommend Tsubasaya and Hana no Mai as far as izakaya go. And if you are in the mood for burgers, check out Americano bar. I have made a google map with all the locations (click here). Enjoy your time in Toyota City!

  64. Hey there πŸ™‚
    I’m Ritika from India. I ended up here while going through a couple of blogs and yours seemed interesting. i harbor immense fascination when it comes to Japan, and your posts are engaging. SO, there. πŸ™‚

  65. I’m Gerardo, from Mexico City, and I became aware of your blog in the days after the great 9.0 earthquake that ravaged the northeastern side of the country. I told you about a local device called Gragraph, which works both as a seismograph and a quake alarm and is a local product from Japan. I subscribed to your blog because I found it really fascinating. Being intrigued by this mystical/technological country I was instantly hooked on your enlightening depictions of life in the land of the rising sun. I have enjoyed all of them, but especially the one on the Geisha. It was a surprise to me that you are Belgian by birth; for some reason I always had the feeling that you were American. Belgium is widely known in my country, Mexico, because of the amazing chocolates, but it was also startling that Belgium produces do many different beer brands. Thank you so much for sharing with the world your views on Japan through your superb writing skills. Regards.

  66. I am a little Texan from Texas over in the USA, where I live and work for a small company in my college town. I grew up on a farm where my parents still live. I love to garden and absolutely love flowers. I found your blog when you tagged a post with ‘flowers’ and I look forward to reading your future Japan stories (and Belgian stories when you return)!

  67. Hi, Just left you a message in the “About” category. I love this blog. Since I will be visiting Toyota City the end of this month your blog was so nice to read and get an idea of what I will be seeing. I’m starting to get excited and your blog was something I found after reviewing the internet to get all the info on Toyota City and the surroundings.

    I look forward to hearing from you with any info you can give me. Would love to meet you while I’m in Toyota City. Thank You so much for sharing and easing my mind a little about this trip through reading your blog. I’m in my 40’s and never been out the United States, so while I’m excited I’m still a little unsure of food and etc…

    So happy for you and your husband and your adventure together!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed reading my blog and that the information on here could help you! Japan is a wonderful country and the people here are so kind and welcoming. I’m sure you’ll have a great time!

  68. Hi,Helena!I finally can leave a comment here!
    I always enjoy reading your posts,and I am in a photo of Kotatsu!!
    Let’s enjoy life in Japan together!
    Say hi to Dennis,too!

  69. Hello Helena,
    I am one of the regular follower of your website. Sorry just now sending you messages. We also come from belgium. My husband work at TME. I really like your web page. It has been very helpful for me . I am also living in Japan, toyota city, about 2 months. Once we met in korankei park. I look forward to read your new Press. Tank you..

    • Hi Nurdan! Yes I remember you and your cute daughter. Thank you for following the blog and commenting. It’s always very nice to learn more about people following the blog.

      I saw on your blog that you went to the meet and greet in Nagoya. Maybe we can see each other there next month.

  70. Hi there,
    I used to live in Toyota shi between 2002 and 2005 and teach English in the local high schools. I haven’t been back since then but I still get nostalgic for the place every now and again. Your blog is the only one I’ve ever found about daily life in Toyota. It brings back lots of memories.
    Anyway, keep up the good blogging!

    Neil

  71. Hi Helena,

    You may remember me..we met in Copenhagen a few years ago…as a current foreigner in the UK, it is always interesting to see how others get on abroad, especially if outside the Europe/American/Australia comfort zone. Hope you guys have a great experience and keep up the excellent blog. Also, great idea having this section on it! May put on my cycling-related blog ;).

    • Hi Alberto,

      Yes I remember you. Japan is indeed quite different from the ‘Western-countries comfort zone’. But all the culture differences here are fascinating!

      I’m glad you like the blog. I have to admit that I got the idea for the ‘dear reader’ section from someone else’s blog too. So feel free to use it πŸ™‚

      I hope you are enjoying London. I haven’t been there yet but it seems like a vibrant and interesting city!

  72. Nice blog πŸ™‚ You write about Japan in a very non-judgemental way and convey well many of its quirks.

    I found my way here after searching for other “travelling in Japan” blogs. I had a short 3 week trip around Japan last May and I’ve been blogging about the trip (lemonsqueezyjapanesy.wordpress.com) ever since I got back to Ireland.

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

  73. Hi Dennis and Helena,

    Let me start by giving my support to the Japanes People who have suffered a lot due to the tsunami.

    I’m Eddie Voorspoels, a friend of Denis’ mother Ria. She invited me to have a look at your blog as she’s very proud of her son and daughter in law that you have this experience in Japan. It’s a good thing TOYOTA is offering you the chance to do this. I also think it’s important for all to learn about different cultures. Psychology will certainly have different aspects over there, not? I hope you have a very good time over there, so besides work, enjoy being there.

    kind regards,
    eddie

    P.S. My Toyota is fantastic ! πŸ™‚

  74. Happy to hear Kevin’s is open, and that you’ll be able to stop in. He and his wife Masami san are so welcoming, and a lot of fun. Be prepared to have your pic taken, and take a moment to fully appreciate the sheer number of photos on the walls (and even the ceiling). So many people from so many places in the world have had a beer or two at Kevin’s place. Most amazing to me is that he remembers so much about so many of them, and can usually locate a photo of someone specific despite the vast size of his collection!

  75. Hi! I’m a friend of Hanae san. I’m an American, from Michigan to be more specific. I lived in Nagoya summer of ’05 – summer of ’06. My experience in Japan was wonderful and life-changing! I really miss it. Seeing pics taken at Tsubasaya has made me both sentimental and hungry! πŸ˜€ Is Kevin’s place in Toyota shi still open? Have you been to Urano Sake Brewery yet? (Best sake EVER, imho!) I found Japan just fascinating, with it’s unique combination of the familiar and completely unfamiliar – small example, Jusco looks a lot like Meijer, but the shelves are filled with all that mystery food! πŸ˜€ Some days were frustrating, some were beyond sublime, all were like living on another planet. A friendly and hospitable planet, though! Looking forward to visiting Nagoya, Toyota shi, etc., through your blog.

    • Hi Ann. I’m so glad you like my blog!

      A lot of people have asked me about Kevin’s place but unfortunately it closed before we got here. But there are some rumours that it will reopen after renovation. Meanwhile one of the waiters started another place called Joker’s but we haven’t been there yet.

      We haven’t been to the sake brewery either. But thanks for the tip. We’ll check it out.

      • It seems I have been confusing Kevin’s and Ricky’s. Apparently Ricky’s is the place that closed down and Kevin’s is still in business. I’ll check the place out this weekend and report on it πŸ™‚

  76. I was looking up information on mukade while talking with a friend of mine on GoogleTalk. We both lived in Japan on JET 2007-2009, and its a bit of nostalgia and a whole lot of fun to see pictures and read stories about daily life in Japan. Most of the stuff out there is just focussed on the ‘weird’ parts of their culture, not just day-to-day living, shopping, eating, matsuri et al.

    The reactions to the mukade by the store clerks are hilarious and ubiquitous to all japan. I remember finding a praying mantis at a school festival, and picking it up to put it somewhere safe – cue panic by every student and staff member there.

    Either way, your blog is a lot of fun to see. Keep it up!

    • Hi Kit. Thanks so much for the great comment.

      Indeed when I was a Japan-o-holic myself before coming here, I found it very hard to find information about daily life in Japan. As you say, it’s mostly about ‘the weird stuff’. So I set out to write about the stuff I always wanted to know before coming here, all the little things in daily life. I’m glad you like it!

  77. This is Shinn from Singapore! Well, I’ve been interested in Japan especially ever since stepping foot into Japan some weeks ago for Project YUME. So it is nice to see your blog with things about Japan, reminds me of those memories and of how I must step foot into Japan again because that 9 days that I went, just isn’t enough.

    I expect myself to be visiting the Europe region more often now as I move to Switzerland for 2 years to finish up my degree in international hospitality management at Lausanne Hotel School (EHL) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Have always been in the hospitality and tourism industry and especially this year, I’ve travelled even more and realised how much I can learn from each country, each city, each attraction and each person I meet.

    I’m looking forward to read more about your life in Japan while I immerse myself in Swiss but would definitely love some asian updates πŸ™‚

  78. Hi, I am from Malaysia and currently living in the UK. I have just recently re-blog on WordPress and saw your post about earthquake on the frontpage of WordPress. Japan is in my list of places to go and I certainly would love to visit it in near future.

    Reading your blog just made me envious but I am quite determine to visit there sometime.

    Nice to meet you by the way!

  79. Hi, I am from Malaysia. I stumbled upon your blog just now, because you were freshly pressed. I am looking forward to read your notes on life in Japan.

  80. I am wordspen and live in Kanagawa prefecture. An American, recently retired from the U.S. Navy, married to my heart’s love, which is my Japanese wife of 20 years. Welcome to Japan and it is true the earthquakes have again picked up frequency, I’ve felt a 3+ in our area for the last four consectutive days and when the big one hit northern Japan the earth moved as if I were on a ship in a storm at sea and I was as far south of 80km from Tokyo. Be glad you were not in Nagoya because if that was your first earthquake you may have come close to a heart attack. How did your husband get a job with Toyota? Now that I’m retired I’m looking for employment as we plan to move back to the United States.

    • Hi wordspen, thx for your comment. My husband is an engineer and applied for a job at Toyota right before graduating from university. He was hired by Toyota Motor Europa, so I’m not sure I can help you out with information about Toyota USA. In any case, good luck with the job hunt!

  81. I’m reader from Indonesia. I’m looking for listening practice materials (recount an experience in English). It’s very useful for me if you can read the text “My first earthquake” (That’s interesting written) and record your voice. Send to me ddnsuherlan@yahoo.com. Please write more and I will come to your blog.Thank you.

  82. Hey Dennis and Helena, I am related to both of you! Well, no, I don’t really think so.

    I ended up hear because I like to blog and I happen to see you were freshly pressed today. A congratulations is in order [clapping and applause]!

    I also am a self-proclaimed Japanophile, as well as the co-creator of a small charity that raised support and awareness for the victims of the Tohoku earthquake. If you are interested you can check out our blog http://calicares.wordpress.com/.

    Hope you are doing well, and I look forward to reading of your impressions.

  83. I am an American. I live in Pennsylvania near the city of Philadelphia. I came across your blog a few minutes ago when I pressed the ‘freshly pressed’ button. I saw that you were in Japan and that there was another earthquake. A friend of mine lives in Yomitan-son Nakagami-gun, Okinawa so I wanted to check what was happening. I wish you a wonderful year on your adventure.

    • Hi, I came across wordpress while searching for info on Kevin-san and Masami-san of Kevins Gaijan Bar near the railway station in Toyota City. I spent 4 months eating at Kevin’s after work, a few years ago while working on product development at Motomachi. Kevin’s to me was home from home. My wife and I have sent a Christmas card to Kevin and Masami every year now for 9 years. But have not had a reply. Is Kevins still going? I know the motor manufacturing recession has hit Toyota City bad or so I hear.
      I want to re-visit Japan again when my contract in Turkey for Ford is ended, and would like to take my wife to Kevins just to say ‘hallo’. I’ll keep a look on the site for any reply. thanks, Peter Jackson.

      • Hi Peter,

        I have heard many similar stories from other foreigners in Toyota City about Kevin’s bar. I think it is a favourite hangout for many foreigners.

        I myself have only been there once, sometime in the spring of 2012. At that time it looked like they were still going strong. They immediately took a picture of us to put on their ‘gaijin wall’, which at this point not only covers every wall but also the ceiling (in multiple layers, if I’m not mistaken).

        I hope you get a chance to return to Japan, it is a wonderful place!

        Haruko-chan

        • Yes, Kevin’s is still going. Just talked to him on the phone to let him know I was coming back to Japan for good next year. I worked for Toyota after I retired from the Navy. I still am able to maintain an apartment in Toyotashi, as I still do work for them since my boss suffered a heart attack in 2010.

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