Category Archives: Japan

Japan, what else do i need to say? who knows.

Making of the Katana: Behind the scenes with a Master


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A few days ago I had the amazing opportunity to meet, speak with, and watch the famous Japanese blacksmith Masahira Fujiyasu work during a special event at the Minka-en grounds in Fukushima City, thanks to the hard work and planning of Andy Coombs and the Fukushima City Tourism and Convention Association. This type of event hasn’t been held for over a decade and the majority of Japanese people never get this opportunity, let alone a foreigner.  Mr. Fuhiyasu’s master was a national treasure of Japan and I am told that Mr. Fujiyasu is the last classically trained blacksmith that has mastered techniques of making Kamakura and Muromachi period styled blades. What added to this even more was the opportunity to speak with him and his students during lunch and while he was taking a break in the afternoon.
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How to Advance as a Martial Artist (3)


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Part 3 of the How to Advance as a Martial Artist:

Be open minded

Try new (more…)

Flu Vaccines in Japan


The Flu season here in Japan is coming to an end as spring is slowly arriving. There are still a few students out with the Flu, but that`s a major improvement from the 10-20 percent of the students that were out due to the flu a few weeks back.  That percentage was pretty consistent from elementary schools to Middle schools in my area. I thought that was an alarmingly high number, but the reaction was more of “仕方がない” (it can’t be helped).  From there the students that have the Flu are to stay at home and the students remaining are to wear medical masks and should be extra vigilant when washing their hands. You also can`t forget about “うがい,” the act of gargling tea or water.
I had not thought much of it recently, but it came up again in conversation and an interesting but basic question was asked.
“Does Japan have the flu shot?”
Yes, Japan has and uses the Flu shot, but it`s apparently a bit expensive and not covered by insurance most of the time.  This was a bit of a surprise as the health insurance here in Japan is usually pretty solid.
The Flu shot is free or cheap to the elderly, but can be 4,000 yen (~$35 USD) or more for anyone else. There seems to be the mentality of it`s too expensive to do get done yearly, but if you get the Flu and go to the hospital for treatment, it`s covered…

日本の運転に対してアメリカの運転


 

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私の本もとの出身は、年中暑いフロリダです。中学生の時にニューハンプシャー州の北部に引っ越しました。気候は会津地方と似ています。 Read the rest of this entry

Driving in Japan vs. the USA


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In the USA, there are no Kei-cars(軽自動車). I had never seen a Kei-car until I moved to Japan and started driving one for work. Read the rest of this entry

Japanese and American Thoughts #2 Sex Talks


Having a conversation with a friend from Japan and comparing our thoughts on things we found strange or unusual about each other’s Country, while trying to explain, defend, or (agree and then) explore the aspects of our cultures. Part 2

There is so much to talk about so this is part two; We decided to continue by covering a few aspects of conversations around sex. I almost cut out a few key sections, but I wanted to keep the conversation as whole as possible as is the point of the conversation.

Japanese and American Thoughts #1 Public Baths


Having a conversation with a friend from Japan and comparing our thoughts on things we found strange or unusual about each other’s Country, while trying to explain, defend, or (agree and then) explore the aspects of our cultures.

There is so much to talk about so this is part one. We decided to start off with the conversation by diving into the public baths in Japan.

Japanese and me, so far [part 4] (IS 6)


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About two weeks into the semester at Kansai Gaidai, I found myself enrolled in a Shorinji Kempo martial arts club.  The clubs in Japan are Read the rest of this entry

Japanese and me, so far [part 3] (IS 5)


Once in Japan I was hit by culture shock in varying degrees depending on the situation.  I was also horribly nervous and could hardly say a few words to figure out where I was supposed to go to pick up my luggage, let alone have a conversation.  Within a week I was able to hold a shaky conversation and after a month, I was talking to everyone and anyone I could.  I had always been Read the rest of this entry

Japanese and me, so far [part 2] (IS 4)


From there I entered college with a drive to learn and to push myself.  Having a desire to learn another language has become a driving force in my effort to learn Japanese and is incorporated into my major.  I started off not truly knowing how to study Japanese and I would often spend most of my time staring at the pages of my textbooks, trying to absorb the information that way.  This was horribly ineffective and after the first few chapters I started struggling.  Most of the grammatical structures, vocabulary, and conjugations would make some sense for a day or so and then I would forget them or make the same errors again and again.

I was lucky enough to meet several Japanese exchange students right around the time when I was struggling most.  They were very kind and started helping me practice my Japanese a few times a week.  They would quiz me over and over again on vocabulary until I knew what they were going to say just by the first syllables that left their tongues.  Once I was able to create my own sentences, not just repeat common phrases everyone had memorized, I would say anything and everything I could in Japanese to them, and I listened intently each time any of them spoke to me.  I still struggled in class and my skills were poor all around, but I was still passing my courses at a level to continue.  These people that helped me have become some of my best friends and I am still in contact with them today, driving me forward still.

I tried twice to go to Japan as an exchange student and had to cancel my application for abroad due to financial situations, caused by steep increases in the university’s fees up to $5,000 in one year.  I tried for a third time and was able to study abroad in the Fall of 2012 at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan.  I was kept busy working throughout the summer, keeping me distracted for the most part from my studies, almost as if it was all a lie.  Once I had let it sink in that I was accepted and the initial exhilaration had worn off, I started worrying about the different regional dialects of Japan, especially Osaka, where I was headed.  I had heard from others that the dialect, known as a“-ben” in Japanese, in Osaka was particularly difficult and that words conjugated completely differently, nearly influencing a change in area of study.  Yet the area was perfectly located; the university was in the middle of a triangle of absolutely beautiful cities, Osaka City, Nara, and Kyoto, all within about an hour or so by train.  With this in mind, my motivation spiked once more and I set off for Japan.

kansai gaidai

kansai gaidai