Where do we go from here?

So a few months ago a pretty big decision was made, and as I sit here looking out over a pink Fuji, sunrise spilling over the mountains and reflecting off the snow, I can’t help but think on it. That decision was to re-contract in Japan, putting off our permanent departure from this coming summer …

Continue reading Where do we go from here?

Isolation and Teaching in Japan

There’s nothing like the arrival of someone new into your life to make you question where you stand. Especially when that someone is starting from the exact same point you did years ago. I have a new co-ALT (Assistant Language Teacher), and she’s warm, kind and funny. We get along really well and I feel …

Continue reading Isolation and Teaching in Japan

Finding my Kanji Name and Japanese Naming Conventions

Kanji learning is a scary activity for those learning Japanese. Not only are there 20,000+ characters (2,136 being the literacy requirement) but each one has multiple meanings and pronunciations. I know, right! The size of it all, and the sheer cultural dissimilarity, is massively intimidating. But it is endlessly fascinating for those interested in language, …

Continue reading Finding my Kanji Name and Japanese Naming Conventions

おみくじ Omikuji: A Japanese Fortune Telling Slip

A Japanese language teacher gifted me an おみくじ, Omikuji, from the Dazaifu Tenman-gū, a famous shinto shrine in Fukuoka, Kyushu. She sat down to explain it to me, letting me know that Omikuji is best translated as a 'Fortune Slip'. As the Dazaifu Tenman-gū is a large and famous shrine, they had English Omikuji available. She happens …

Continue reading おみくじ Omikuji: A Japanese Fortune Telling Slip

語呂合わせ Goroawase – the Art of Japanese Mnemonics

Smiling, and with the slight self-awareness that comes with starting a conversation in an otherwise empty staff room, one of the older teachers at work swung round in his chair today to speak to me about Shakespeare. As a literature graduate who has seen that meme illustrating the heart wrenching uselessness of my degree far …

Continue reading 語呂合わせ Goroawase – the Art of Japanese Mnemonics

Gontran Cherrier – Tokyo’s French Bakery

On a rainy afternoon in Tokyo it pays to be sat in a large window. From here, you can watch as the lights change and opposing hordes of umbrellas crash, then merge. It's a fitting tribute to commuter culture in Japan. As the sky darkens, the multicoloured lights wash over the pavements like glitter shifting over …

Continue reading Gontran Cherrier – Tokyo’s French Bakery

VIA – A Cycle Café in Saitama, Japan

The Breakdown VIA is a cyclists’ café filled with references and in-jokes for the dedicated cyclist, as well as serving as a pit stop on a much longer journey. However, if you’d like to get out and see a bit more of the Japanese countryside, then this’ll be a nice day out. VIA Opening Hours: …

Continue reading VIA – A Cycle Café in Saitama, Japan