That’s me, on the day I moved to Terracina in 2010; the first day of what was meant to be a three-month writing retreat. After three years of expat life in Japan and Ireland – living out of a suitcase, panic attacks every time I bought something larger than a thimble – I had just the poorly-matched clothes on my back. It was a simple plan; I would live in my grandparents’ empty apartment. I would eat Italian food and lie out on the beach. I would finish my Master’s thesis and work on my novel. It would be easy, seeing as there were no distractions; I didn’t know a soul.

That was six years ago. And this was once an expat blog; one of the millions of expat blogs hatched in 2006. I was just going to be gone for a year. But it was that age-old chestnut; I Eat My Pigeon was something I wrote for my friends and family back home, and then something that grew into a network of other expats and writers. I Eat My Pigeon gave me the courage to pitch my first travel articles, which, after a few years, led to writing for CNN Travel and Fodor’s Travel Guides. I Eat My Pigeon gave me the courage to apply for my master’s in Creative Writing, which I got in 2011, from Trinity College Dublin. I Eat My Pigeon followed me from my earliest expat days, writing about my daily humiliations as a gaijin in Osaka, Japan. Then I wrote about getting my master’s in Ireland. Then I wrote about my life in Terracina, Italy. 

The reason I came to Terracina and the reason that I have stayed for so long are very different. Very personal. The stuff of Novel #2. But for the moment, here are some questions I am prepared to answer:

Wait … you eat your what?

My pigeon. “I eat my pigeon” refers to a Japanese language mistake I made about a month and a half into my time in Japan.

What were you trying to say?

“My hat – table!” One night I forgot my hat on a table at Britannia, a “British pub” in my neighborhood. Of course, the proper thing to say to the staff when I ran back inside was “Excuse me – I forgot my hat!” but my Japanese was so poor that the only thing I could think of to say was “my hat – table!” … or what I thought was “my hat – table.”

I dashed into the pub, blurting ““私のハト食べる!” to the puzzled staff, snatched my hat and dashed back out - quite pleased with myself. I had just learned how to denote possession and I knew that many words in English could be used in Japanese, such as “ice cream” (pronounced aisu kur-ee-mu) and “card” (pronounced kaa-do). “Hat” and “table” are not such words. “Taberu”  means “to eat” and “hato” means “pigeon.” I eat my pigeon.

You dork. Did you ever figure out how to say “Excuse me – I forgot my hat”?

Yes; “すみません – 帽子を忘れた!”

I have no idea what you just wrote. How many languages do you speak, anyway?

English is my native language, but since my parents are immigrants from Italy and Guatemala, I grew up trilingual. Then, when I moved to Japan, I was determined to learn Japanese. In February of 2009, I passed the 3-kyuu Japanese Language Proficiency Test, which puts me at about early Intermediate Level. This should, in no way, suggest that I speak Japanese.

In Italy, I conduct my life in Italian. If the dialogue seems a little wonky some times, it’s because I’m amusing myself by giving you a literal translation. I’ve lived here six years and my Italian level has improved significantly – I read novels regularly and passed my written drivers’ license test, if you want an indication of my skillz and that was awesome, I am awesome – but this should, in no way, suggest that I speak Italian.

I went back to teaching ESL full-time in October of 2013 so most of my time is spent thinking about the acquisition of language – the learning and the teaching of it. I’m completely fascinated by it, and have lots to say about it, so I hope this will be fascinating for you, too. If only my students were half-as-interested in this shit as I am.

And what about the poor pigeons? Have you ever eaten one?

NO, and this is what I consider to be my fatal flaw. Jellyfish, alligator, horse, buffalo, rabbit, goat, pheasant, quail, all manner of offal including rooster testicles in Hungary, but not once, not yet, no pigeons. Dammit. Dammit. Dammit.

For more Pigeon-eating fun, follow:

IEatMyPigeon on twitter, on Facebook, but most of all, on Instagram



23 thoughts on “About

  1. rachel beto says:

    The pigeon story is hilarious! And look at you now…

  2. Hesham says:

    had you really eaten any pigeons in your life ?
    pity if you have not done that in real life , they are the best thing that could be eaten , i think i had more than a dozen this week

  3. Marcus says:


    Thanks for your positive comment on my Vagablogging post “Living the Indiana Jones Fantasy.” It’s nice to get encouraging feedback once in a while.

    How is Japan? I’m from Hawaii and currently working in Taiwan. Got the travel bug now, not sure if I’ll ever make it out. My blog is over at this URL:




  4. Akiko says:


    At the editorial team of G’Day Japan, an English magazine published in Sydney about traveling/eating in Japan, we have been scouring the web for THE BEST JAPAN Blogs!
    We are upgrading our website as well, and we would like to have your website linked to ours, like below.


    If we don’t hear from you within a week, we will assume you are ok with that.
    If you have a problem, please let me know and we will take down your website asap!!

    Thank you and keep up the fab work..
    G’Day Japan

  5. Yoli says:

    I like you pigeon lady. You crack me up.

  6. Jamaipanese says:

    you ate pigeons? sugoi!

  7. Steven says:

    Great blog. Following on twitter AND wordpress:)

  8. Hello,

    I’m a casting assistant on an American TV show called “House Hunters International.” I came upon your blog and loved it. We currently casting episodes of our program and we were wondering if you would be interested in participating with our show. From your blog, you seem like the ideal candidate!

    Our show follows house hunters through their search for a home in countries around the world. The contributors must be fluent in English and be 25-50 years old. Participating in our show is a lot of fun and a great way to document your exciting search for a home and new life abroad. In addition, you will receive compensation for your time and efforts.

    If you might be interested in participating with our show, let me know and I can send you more information. Please contact househunterscasting@leopardfilms.com.

    Have a wonderful day.

  9. Craig says:

    Hi mate, just found your blog via stumbleupon and love it. Added you to the Indie Travel Podcast blogroll :)

  10. Brittany says:


    I am reaching out to you regarding a fairly new program UpTake has started called, Travel Gems from Bloggers.

    UpTake.com is a travel research site that helps users make better decisions about where to go, where to stay, and what to do. We are growing nicely and are a Top 50 Travel site on Comscore, with traffic that is well in excess of 2M Unique Visits per Month.

    This program is a way to showcase bloggers content across our site as a helpful resource to our users. It also helps bring awareness and traffic to those who participate.

    Here is a link explaining the program in more detail: http://www.uptake.com/travel-gems-for-bloggers-how-it-works.html

    If you have any questions, feel free to let me know!
    I look forward to hearing from you!


  11. Reannon says:

    Hi there,

    I like your blog! I think you win the award for the most unique blog title. ; )

    Anywho, I applied to write for a company called World Trade Press because they’re looking for writers who can write about Japan.

    But they wanted someone to write a guide for Osaka and although I’ve been there, I never spent enough time there to feel comfortable writing multiple posts about it. But I remembered that you used to live there so I thought maybe you’d be interested in applying?

    Here’s the link:


    They pay 5 cents a word. Anyway, good luck. : )

    And you can totally delete this comment if you want…I would have emailed you but I didn’t see an email address listed anywhere (???)

    • ieatmypigeon says:

      Hey, Reannon! Thanks for commenting – I really enjoyed your guest post on Vagabondish (who cares what those bitter guys have to say???). Thank you for the heads up; this sounds right up my alley.

      Take care!


  12. George says:

    Hey, This is a wonderful blog! Would you be interested in being a guest for Onetravel? Please let me know and we can set something up.

  13. Michi says:

    We share similar nationalities! I recently stumbled across your blog and LOVE it!
    I’ve been meaning to take a Creative Writing course (or courses) for some time now. Do you have any recommendations? I’m currently completing a Master’s program here in Spain, so I wouldn’t want to jump into another one, but if you have any extra information about “smaller” creative writing programs or classes in the U.K., I would greatly, tremendously, appreciate it!
    Thank you, and keep on writing! :)

  14. snatshot says:

    Lovely blog! :) I can relate to your pigeon story, have lots of stories that haunt me still through friends. Most recent one had to do with pronunciation I said my ‘ass’ hurts instead of NECK. Eating pigeons is not too bad ;)
    Cheers and keep on writing ^^

  15. Hi,
    I would like to invite you to join my Global Expat group pages on Linkedin and facebook. We are dedicated to assisting the expat family in their years abroad as well as the trailing spouse (STARS) in maintaining a career. Also, check out our website, http://www.global-expats.com

    Please feel free to post links to your blog in our groups and increase your audience.

    Best regards,

  16. Found your blog because Barbara from Holeinthedonut nominated us both for the 7 Things project. I can only say I am delighted to have found you, and now look forward to flicking back through your blog and reading more! I can’t understand how I missed you in the past! Love the way you write and your attitude to life.

  17. Claire says:

    You have such a great blog! And the pigeon story is hilarious. Thanks for sharing your travels with the world :)

  18. Edna says:

    Found your blog via Mary-Anne (I think…it was one of the China expats on twitter) and I love your serial expat-ing! I also spent the last four years in three different countries, and am on my fourth now. And I’m actually looking into the Masters programs at TCD! I’d love to live in Ireland for a year, I’m a severe hibernophile. Anyway I’m glad to have found your blog just as you’ve started blogging again; maybe we’ll cross paths in our travels some day!

  19. Carly says:

    Hey, because I truly love reading your blog and checking out your inspiring pictures, I’ve nominated you for the Lovely Blog Award. Check out my blog for more information!

  20. Te says:

    Hey, great blog! I spent 45 minutes browsing your posts yesterday when I should have been marking grade 11 essays. Ah, well.

    Love the story behind the title. Language mistakes can be so funny. I once had a language student tell me he wanted to improve his ‘grandma’. I’ve made some funny ones too, once told a Spanish person to cagate rather than callate…oh and told a Spanish postman I wanted to send a backpack full of happy (rather than the contents of the backpack) back to Australia.

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