The first writing I ever published on life in Japan was for a blog I launched in 2008 — 10 years ago this month, in fact — called Loco in Yokohama. And in recognition of this occasion, I would like to revisit the blog post that got the ball rolling for me, career-wise.

The first post on my newborn blog was titled “An empty seat on a crowded train.” If you’re a conspicuous non-Japanese living here who rides the trains or buses, or goes to cafes or anywhere in public where Japanese people have the choice of sitting beside you or sitting elsewhere, then you’ve likely experienced the empty-seat phenomenon with varying frequency and intensity.

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