The long hiatus

Good bye Japan

Please go forgive the extremely long time since my last post. Trying to find any sort of time in recent months has been extremely challenging, especially when you consider more recent circumstances e.g. COVID-19.

For those of you who have just discovered this blog, welcome! I hope you enjoy all that there is on this site and also a quick note. I am extremely supportive of the term “cultural appreciation”, which is even if it sounds wrong by modern standards, I will try to use the same terms that appeared in history- but explain the difference in meaning. The example from this blog concerns my earlier post on COVID-19. In that post I called it “the Chinese Coronavirus” which is what it was known by until the start of March- when it became a global issue.

Does it make what I posted fine- by older standards yes, but by today’s standards (less than a month later), no. That is history in a nut shell.

Moving on from this, the month ahead, will be a mod podge of posts concerning all that I researched and detailed before my departure- and it will most likely take longer than a month to do.

I will still be posting on Japan in the future but the focus may move away from “look what I did” to “look what happened either historically, culturally, or linguistically in Japan”.

I hope you all remain safe and well in these uncertain times. Thank you for reading and happy exploring!

Quick note, I will never delete old posts- because that is what I thought was correct at the time. Information changes and develops, but it is important to have a record of what I once thought!

The month ahead: resolutions

Photo by Breakingpic on

It’s been quite a month- even if you disregard the 2 weeks when I was unable to post.

I hope awareness month did prove to be useful and don’t worry- I’ll continue to post topics that I believe need more attention but this will also include global topics- not just Japan.

Now January, and as said in the “goodbye Japan” post, I will be leaving Japan this year which is not something I planned for but is something that I must do. But don’t worry, you will only see this change in April. So, in the meantime, please expect some posts about leaving Japan.

Now resolutions: for many people the new year is a time for change and renewal but most people fail their resolutions as they try to do too much, too soon. What I will post will be a step-by-step guide to being health in Japan. It’ll start small and build up and I will be following this as well.

Resolution 1

For January 1st, the first step is simple: get up at the same time most days. A steady sleep schedule is required as a foundation for a healthy lifestyle. What I have discovered during my life in Japan is simple- Japan operates on Japanese time and most places are open during the day with few things being open outside the 9-5 life.

Additionally, a sleep schedule allows a regular sleep pattern and reduces the chances of some NCDs (non-commutable diseases) such as high blood pressure, diabetes (if you saw my previous post I’m not diabetic woot!), risk of heart disease etc. Furthermore, sleep deprivation can contribute towards loss of balance, mood changes, loss of libido (sex-drive), weakened immunity, and memory issues.

Do all of that sound like a fun time to you? No, well get some sleep! The practise of getting enough sleep is called “sleep health” and getting enough sleep is a global problem- mostly in HDCs (highly-developed countries i.e. the US, UK, Germany, Japan etc). Some things you can do improve your sleep health is reducing screen-time before bed-time, exercise daily, and have a relaxing bedtime ritual.

It is something I am working on as well- don’t worry I’m no where near perfect either!


2019 a year in review

2019 has been a hectic year for me and a lot has happened. It was the year I came back to Japan as a working professional instead of an exchange student- which has been an interesting experience, and I am very happy I did so. However, my ambitions for my future lie beyond Japan- so it is also the year that, in some respects, I must forget about Japan.

Coming to Japan, I was a smoker and extremely overweight (read obese). When I came to Japan on the 4th of January, I was 128 kg and at time of writing I am 97.5 kg- a definite improvement but there is still a lot more work to be done!

With regard to smoking, again at time of writing, I have not smoked for 6 months, 5 days and 1 hour- and I don’t miss it. It will take a lot of time for my body to recover from the abuse I put it under, but I’m going in the right direction.

The other resolution that is popular is exercising more and again I accomplished that. Exercise has become an important part of my life because strangely, it is when I do my best thinking- about my future, about my life currently and about future posts and plot points for my stories I write.

Alas, 2019 also brought about challenges including the deaths of my Uncle Kevin and my Grandmother. I knew before coming to Japan that I could be unable to say goodbye if someone died- but facing this reality was completely different. Additionally, my last remaining grandparent, my Nana, has been diagnosed with stage 3/4 Parkinson’s disease (which is the reason for my repatriation in April).

Furthermore, there was a period of time that my father and sister faced challenges that I have been unable to help them with including hospitalization, medical emergencies, problems with hosing, social isolation and depression- things that I would have been able to help with. Finally, I would have been able to help my cousins (or at least offer help) when their father died.

While I have experienced some brilliant things in Japan, I feel I have also experienced hardships as well. So please be aware of this if you are coming to Japan- there will be positives and negatives as well.

My final note on 2019: it’s been a mixed bag but I think many other people also feel this way as well.

How was 2019 for you? Good, bad, or indifferent?

Thank you for reading and happy exploring in 2020.

New year plans

Planning to say good bye to Japan

Before I give my review of Japan, it is important to say that the 3 strike rule has been exceeded in 2019. If I ignore the numerous times one of my family was hospitalized, my Uncle died, my Grandmother died and finally my Nana has been given a life limiting diagnosis. This is the final nail in the coffin to my life in Japan, and I am sad to see it go.

However, it has been said that only people who love Japanese culture can thrive here, but that is not necessarily true. Only people who love Japanese culture and who are willing to make major concessions can thrive here.

What do I mean? Simply put, Japan operates as a closed country and is unwilling to accept others.

Firstly a bit of background information. I am a Japanese speaker and I did study Japanese culture, language and history extensively as an undergraduate- so I have an excellent understanding of “why?” in Japan. However, understanding why something is, doesn’t always help.

During my time in Japan, I have had people seemingly be nice to me in English and say rather offensive things in Japanese to their friends, I have had people literally run away from me because I’m foreign, I have had people shun me, ignore me, and I am tired of it.

This blog will reflect global cultures and histories but it will always be heavily influenced by the country I live in. In 2020, Japan will become the UK. Or to be put a different way, I will seek to complete another degree in something I am passionate about and almost forget about Japanese.

Even writing this is hard. Will I stop my exploration into Japanese culture and history? No, but I need to do something that gives my life purpose and being in Japan is not one of these things.

The sad part about this is that I don’t think I will miss Japan. Have I met some brilliant people, yes, however I just have colleagues here- no close friends nor family.

I will not be moving immediately and I will give more information once more things are clear. Awareness month was my attempt to leave a positive legacy in Japan and help those who need it.

No matter my wants, or what I once wanted, I believe that I will never be accepted in Japan or be seen as more than a foreigner even if I were to marry, and I know many foreigners who have, I would remain an outsider.

As I said when starting this blog: let’s explore global cultures and histories together, not just Japan.

Thank you for reading and happy exploring.

December: awareness

As November draws to a close, and I reflect back on what I have experienced, seen and forgotten to blog….well no-ones perfect, and what I wanted to do- which is a rather long list.

I have done quite a bit and ironically, the death of family members did help but I have also come across problems in Japan either by reading the paper or by researching histories of places I have only briefly mentioned.

Japan is changing- there is no argument about this. However, there seems to be a reluctance to change, to want to change.

Along with this, Christmas (believe it or not) is coming and people embrace the festive atmosphere and become extremely charitable and what I would like to do is raise awareness of social or medical problems in Japan or actions Japan is taking on the global stage.

There will still be blog posts about new items, new places and new experiences. But, as it is the festive season, I am being a bit more financially cautious, unfortunately, so I will not be able to travel to the places I want to to highlight the cultural differences and experiences that are there.

I do believe that there needs to be more awareness on wider issues in Japan and this is what I would like to do. Please note, some topics will be difficult to discuss and what I am asking for is cultural understanding. I have a different cultural background to Japan and you my readers also have a different cultural background to I.

I hope that I keep you interested and help your awareness of Japan to grow.

Thank you for reading and happy exploring.

I have been made aware of some technical difficulties that some users have experienced while browsing. I am looking to get this resolved as a priority. Thank you for your understanding.

November: time to try something new

Theme of the month: change

A change is needed I think (Nabari- between Nabar-eki and Akameguchi)

Just like the coming and going of seasons, a new month is upon us once again.

These past 2 months have been challenging up be put politely. I have lost 2 family members and I have lost time due to grief (which I think anyone can understand).

However, I have found that- even with the intention of posting about health products, care etc in Japan (posts which I have written but not posted) my personal life did take priority and I seem to have sent a remarkable amount of time in my apartment and doing the same-old-same-old things time and time again.

Therefore, November’s theme is change and trying something new. But to ensure that I don’t get burnout from everything going on and just hid in my bed, I will explore new places (the big event), and have smaller posts where I try new products and go to new shops, temples and cafes- something a but nicer.

I addition to this, I plan on uploading 2 posts a day, 6 days a week (with day 7 being reserved for either a day of rest or uploading from my backlog).

I hope you enjoy what the new month has to offer.

As always, I hope you enjoyed reading and happy exploring.

Lifestyle changes: living in Japan

Living in Japan changes you, but how much?

Kanpai- not sake but miso soup (old picture)

As September rolls into October, I remember the ‘Stoptober’ campaign in the UK which is designed to get people to quit smoking. This made me think of the progress I have made since living here.

When I arrived in Japan on the 2nd of January 2019, I smoked, drank regularly and weighed 128 kg, not a nice picture, but since I am tall, I hid it.

It is now October, I no longer smoke nor drink and I weigh 108 kg, and have a much lower percentage body fat. I have lost 20 kg so far this year, but what next?

My original weight loss goal was to get to 110kg this year, goal completed! Next will be the most challenging task while living in Japan (besides trying to have an active social life) sugar.

The problem with sugar in Japan is that it is everywhere and added to everything. Sugar consumption is almost as bad as salt consumption. But that’ll be next.

How else have I changed? I have gained a greater appreciation for the UK. Japan at times is an extremely different country and while the majority of people I have met here have been brilliant, there is always a sense of “the Japanese and the others”.

Japan is slowly diversifying and becoming more open, but it does feel rather isolating at times. In the UK, I have always been part of the crowd and standing out here does feel strange at times.

The final major way I have changed is my perception of myself. I am much more aware of myself. What I am doing, how I am spending/wasting my time and where I want to go?

So the question remains, why Blog such a post? This month’s theme will be self and global improvement, in other words what’s healthy to do in Japan, what you can buy and be healthy in addition to global efforts to improve global health.

Thank you for reading and happy exploring

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