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 times a week, my wife […]

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 resolve to be a good […]

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 my regards to the queen!”, […]

Even Japan Plays Korfball

When I was at university, I played on the Korfball team. It didn’t quite have the wow factor of football, basketball or rugby, but I was proud to be a starting member for the Essex first team, even though we were awful! Nick, what in the world is korfball? Korfball is the world’s only true mixed gender team sport with the rules laid down so that both men and women have equal opportunities. [Korfball.org] Korfball […]

What’s My Name? Revisited

This month’s Japan Blog Matsuri theme is The Language of Japan, and I’ve been scratching my head all month over what to write. I haven’t studied Japanese for years now, and although I have a few amusing stories of miscommunication, nothing worthy of an entire blog post. So, I delved into the LongCountdown archives and submitted an article I wrote back in March 2007. It’s about the confusion that arises from having a foreign name […]

New Narita Express Coming 2009

I came to Japan in July 1997, arriving at Narita airport late in the afternoon, with the intention of getting to Nagoya by nightfall. The first challenge was to get to Tokyo so I could somehow board a Shinkansen bullet train and head west. The NEX welcomes you to Tokyo With signs in English, it wasn’t too hard getting a ticket and boarding the Tokyo-bound Narita Express. Although I was looking forward to riding the […]

Reviving the Japan Blog Matsuri

I’ve been working behind the scenes with other members of JapanSoc to revive the old Japan Blog Matsuri. This is a monthly blog “carnival” where given a theme to write about, bloggers everywhere are invited to share their stories with everyone else. It’s a great opportunity to find new blogs and attract new readers to your own. Organization and Announcements The Japan Blog Matsuri Newsroom is where things are being organized, and I can now […]

What’s my name?

In my post about choosing a name for our son, I said that one reason for giving him my wife’s family name, i.e. a Japanese name, is because it would be more convenient. In this post, I’m going to write about my experiences of having a non-Japanese name in Japan. Informally, my name Nick is pretty hard for Japanese people to pronounce. They tend to say Ni-koo, or nikku in romaji. Having been in Japan […]