Yomenai

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I Cant Read

No this post is neither about illiteracy nor my own inability to read Japanese. It is also not a confession of my own illiteracy or an accusation that students in Japan cannot read English. Yomenai directly translated does mean ‘(I) can’t read,” but I am referring to “reading the air” not written words. Kuuki Yomenai (KY) is a phenomenon in Japanese culture that refers to ignorance of social norms and cues. Continue reading

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Gaijin Sensitivity

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YOU are a Gaijin

Is it just me, or do foreigners (gaijin) in Japan have some serious identity issues? I recently saw a picture on the Japan Today news site of a karaoke establishment that posted a sign saying “Karaoke is Japanese culture. Welcome foreigner.” This resulted in several comments about how racist and xenophobic Japan is. I find it ironic that an effort at attracting and welcoming foreigners is taken as a racial slur. How can a welcome sign be an indicator for xenophobia? Continue reading

The Burger Ninja

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A Lesson

Change is not always bad. An odd thing to learn from Japan. This is a country where time honed tradition and history always seem to trump innovation and modernization. You can drink tea, eat ramen and watch sumo, and get the exact same experience as you would have a hundred years ago. Japan’s reputation is as a country with a long memory and a short tolerance for change. Continue reading