Category: Blog Posts

Hanami (花見) – Flower Viewing

By Jessica Hutchison   One of the most recognized symbols of Japan is the cherry blossom (Sakura 桜). You can find cherry trees all over Japan, generally lined up along paths and rivers. During most of the year, you may wonder why there are only…

Kawaii Culture

  By Jessica Hutchison   As you start to learn more about Japan and its modern culture, you will probably run into one word a lot: kawaii.   Chances are since you’re on the internet, you’ve already heard this word. Maybe even in real life…

Sun’s Out, Shogun’s Out

By Jessica Hutchison   By now, hopefully, you have read my article about samurai and Western misconceptions we have about them. Samurai are very popular and super interesting. There’s no way I could cover everything cool about samurai in that one article. So here we…

The Emperor: Why is he a Big Deal?

By Jessica Hutchison Japan has an emperor. Who exactly is he, and why is he important? Today, I’m going to try and explain that. The concept of an emperor is pretty foreign to most Americans. I mean, America has had some pretty close ties to…

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Yōkai, Demons, and Ghosts—Oh, My!

By Jessica Hutchison   Recently in Japanese media, supernatural beings have become pretty popular.   Well, I say recently, but they’ve really been popular for the last few hundred years. Japan has some amazing ghost stories, and it is well known for them. If you…

Travel Guide for Lodging in Japan

  Photographer: Conor Bodily By John Sorenson   Making travel plans in a foreign country can be downright terrifying. You never know what you’re getting yourself into without having experience yourself. It can be difficult to get a straight answer to the most basic questions,…

Japan-ified Holidays

By Jessica Hutchison Japan has a lot of unique holidays. From O-Bon to Children’s Day to the Emperor’s Birthday, it can be a bit hard for a foreigner to keep track of all of them. But there are a few that the Japanese have adopted…

Kachi Kachi Yama (A Japanese Monogatari)

by Jessica Hutchison A long, long time ago there was an old man and an old woman. They were poor, had no kids, and lived in the middle of nowhere. This is how every Japanese folktale starts so you might want to just commit that…

Japanese Business Quirks

Jessica Hutchison Whenever you’re working in a foreign country, you’re going to run into different customs. I mean, even America can have some strange business customs.   It’s good to understand the culture you are getting into, not just so you can impress a potential…

Japanese History in About Six Minutes

Jessica Hutchison In order to understand any culture, learning the history can really help. And Japan is no different. Japan has a wild history with dramatic changes in culture, government, and how they feel about foreigners. Figuring this out can really help you see where…

What You Might Not Know About Geisha

by Jessica Hutchison Geisha are a popular image of Japan. Most people who see a geisha, even if they aren’t familiar with the term, will probably associate her with Japan. However, people in the West also have a rather large misconception when it comes to…

Uchi and Soto

by Jessica Hutchison If you really want to understand Japanese culture, one of the things you really need to get is where you stand. Knowing your social standing in any sort of group situation dictates everything you do, including how you speak. We can coast…

How America Has Ramen All Wrong

Ramen is reminiscent of the cheap food from your college dorm room days, but not all ramen is created equal. In Japan, ramen is nothing like the dehydrated noodles with sad flavor packs we know in America. Check out how much better ramen can be than that sad, boring bowl you’re munching on right now.

Why Direct Translation is Killing Your Japanese

By John Sorenson There are a lot of pitfalls involved in learning a new language. Learning a massive amount of vocabulary, developing new reading and writing skills, and practicing proper pronunciation are all difficulties that just about everyone is aware of when they begin to…

Traveling in Japan with Dietary Restrictions

Special diets are hard. And traveling abroad with any sort of dietary restriction—especially in a country that doesn’t speak English—can seem impossible. But it is doable! Having lived in Japan for over a month on a gluten-free diet, I am here to give you some…

Sacred Time pt. 1

Due north of Tokyo, Niigata Prefecture lies on the western face of Japan, bordering the sea. Niigata’s terrain is carved with enormous mountain passes that mark the northern end of the Japanese alps. These soaring slopes are covered with heavy snowfall in the winter months,…

Writing a Japanese Resume

So you want to go to Japan, or you are in Japan and you want to apply for a job. That’s awesome. Congrats on your goal. However, when you look at that nasty blank template that you downloaded from the internet you have absolutely no idea where to start.

Takayama: Japan’s best kept secret

There’s no better place in Japan than Hida Takayama. Ask foreigners and they will likely never have heard of this small town, nestled in the Japanese Alps. Ask Japanese natives and they will tell you it is a favorite destination for the Japanese to go…

Minute and Hour Exceptions

Time in Japanese can be a easy thing to mess up. Which is why we made this easily printable 100% perfect reference. Make things just that much easier.   Watch out for the small ‘っ’ it can throw you off if you are not careful….

Why Japanese People Wear Masks

If you go to Japan, you’ll notice that they do a lot of things differently. Even though they seem out of place to us, they are actually pretty normal there, and Japanese people probably don’t even know we think it’s weird.   One thing that…