Christmas in Japan

If you start humming ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,’ most Japanese junior high school student’s eyes will light up, because they know the Japanese version: “Makka na ohana no tonakaisan wa itsu mo minna no waraimono. ” (The English translation of their first line: “The reindeer with the bright red nose, always a laughing-stock to everyone.”)…

Pescatarian in Japan

My one year anniversary of arriving to Japan has just passed, and I have a lot to be grateful for. I have a job, a car, a bike, an active social life, and a surprisingly big apartment, which I especially appreciate because it’s the first time I’ve a kitchen entirely my own. In the past few years, I’ve started to love…

Summer in Japan

Summer in Japan is cicadas. Summer in Japan is humidity, festivals, and fireworks. I’m in my apartment now, typing away, while outside I can hear the festivities of a neighborhood’s barbecue. Normally, I might be tempted to go outside and introduce myself. However, my lack of Japanese has been hindering my interactions with the locals….

My New Life in Japan

I watch the rice paddies and steep mountains drift past me. The peaceful scenery calms my wild mind. What does the year have in store for me? I wonder as I near my new home. I’m en route to Fukui City, Japan, in a bus filled with English teachers from all overnthe world. Behind me, Stephanie…

12 Places I’ve HelpX’d At

HelpX, or Help exchange, is a way to travel for free by volunteering in exchange for food and accommodation. There are other similar models like Workaway and WWOOFing, but the one I use is I volunteered my way across New Zealand and Australia from 2011-2013, and later found places to volunteer in Bali and Japan. Typically, I would volunteer from 4 to 6 hours a day and then have the rest of the day free to do whatever I wanted. After doing this podcast with my author and travel friend Rollie Peterkin where he asked about some of my favorite volunteering experiences, he recommended that I write them all down. So here they are, in chronological order!