| Sep 27, 2013

When worlds collide


My Japanese language skills mostly stink. And always have. Yet it's an odor to which I've grown accustomed. My excuse is that I came here to work, had little time for study and when I found I could get by, that's just what I did. I ...

| Sep 13, 2013

My day at the races


The surface of the coffee in my Starbucks cup begins its gentle dance, the signal to lift my head. No, this is not "Jurassic Park" and the vibration is not due to an approaching T-Rex. It's Takadanobaba and the train station quivers with the force ...

| Aug 16, 2013

Some words of self-introduction


Ask what's good about life in Japan and answers always vary. One foreign resident's passion is often another's poison and you can count on similar divergence with what makes Japan difficult. Language, commuter trains, high costs, big bugs — everyone has their own particular bur ...

| Jul 5, 2013

Stressing on stress


The Internet is ablaze with lists suggesting ways to fight back against the deadliest foe of modern man — stress. Yes, stress. It will boil your blood pressure, electrify your nerves, scramble your stomach, ruin your happiness and lead you straight to the grave. As ...

| May 25, 2013

The junkie and his fix


"Weird," he says. "Give me something weird." The menu boasts both fish sperm and odorigui — small fish you chew while they're alive. But such food is not on his wish list. At least not anymore. My dinner friend has lived here for years. Years, he ...