Author - Tim Patrick

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...

Boku and Shimobe, The Humble Servant

I often dream of a day when I can sit down in front of a TV in Japan, flip through the channels, and understand completely what is being said on every program. Except for repeated news stories about the coronavirus or...

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...

Visiting Tokyo During a Pandemic

When I moved to Japan a few years ago, I expected to engage in local tourism: visit thousand-year-old temples and castles, take in a bit of sumo or Noh, ride the bullet train to the far reaches of the country, have my...

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...

How Fast is that Japanese Train?

Japan Rail (JR) and the other major train companies provide a variety of regular and express services. Unfortunately, they use a jumble of names and speeds for these services that don’t necessarily carry from one system...

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...