Kyoto for a day

A few weeks ago, I was surprised by a message on my phone from a mysterious sender. It read, “Do you want to go to Kyoto with me?” It took me a few minutes to figure out who it was from, but once I did, I immediately replied, “Yes!” Kaoru is a young Japanese teacher at my school…

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.”)…

Fall Vignettes

Fall is drawing to a close. The days are getting shorter, and the nights are getting colder. Winter is settling in, and it’s time for me to reflect on my teaching and life in Japan. As always, there have been highs and lows, and today I’ll share a few of each. Joining Art Classes On a…

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…

Big Questions

Miraculously I’ve learned enough Japanese in the past year to survive in Japan and do adult things by myself, like get gas and buy train tickets . In order to force myself to study, I found a private tutor who I meet with twice a week. Our  one-hour lessons consist of grammar practice and explanations, and we also enjoy…