The Meaning of ‘Excuse Me’ in Japanese

They say that Eskimos have fifty words for snow. I don’t know if that number has been updated to take climate change into account. But one thing I do know: Japanese has no shortage of words that express...

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How to Get a Refund in Japan

If I had to sum up the process of getting a refund for something you bought in Japan, it would be this: You can’t. Well, that’s not entirely true. You can absolutely get a refund for some purchases. But compared to how...

Enjoying Your Japanese Meiwaku Towel

Do you ever have one of those days where you perform major remodeling on the exterior of your home, inflicting several weeks of construction noise and dust on your neighbors? I hate it when that happens. But when it...

The Most Non-Japanese Japanese Word

You probably didn’t know this, but the Japanese language can be difficult. Of course, the grammar is complicated. And don’t get me started on particles, the parts of speech that are the bane of every Japanese student...

Enjoying Japanese Onsen Tamago at Home

Sometimes on a lazy weekend morning, I venture out to my local Denny’s for breakfast. Mind you, this isn’t the American version of Denny’s. You won’t find oversized Grand Slam plates or umpteen ways of serving up fried...

The Little Joys of Everyday Life (in Japan)

There are so many big cultural touchstones that draw people to Japan from across the globe. Manga and anime, sushi and tempura, bullet trains and sports cars, rakugo and Noh, sumo and karate; the list seems endless. And...

Japanese Income Tax Season is Here

As March arrives in Japan, many people across the country are wishing away the brisk air and looking forward to flowering cherry-blossom trees. But it’s not all pastel dreams. Lurking behind the spring air, Uncle...

Apartment Shopping in Japan

Finding a new place to live can be stressful. Beyond the pressure of getting “the perfect place,” you have to think about square footage, price, location, good schools for the kids, noisy neighbors, and commute times...

Grown-up’s First Japanese Book

I finally finished reading a book written in the Japanese language! You might not believe me, especially if you learned about my Shelf of Shame earlier this year. I have a bad habit of buying Japanese books and...