Blue Roses

At night, there are the nightspots and free concerts. My group of friends tends to meet up around midnight – when my friends in the tourism and hotel industry get off from work; when the nightspots start getting packed – and those of us who don’t live at home*  and might not have eaten dinner […]

Un-Turkey Day

Thanksgiving in Japan, 2008:  The equipment: Two gas burners, one toaster oven, one microwave, no kitchen counter. The menu: Pan-roasted chicken, Maggie’s World Famous stuffing, mashed potatoes, canned corn, green bean casserole, gravy, dried cranberries, Mon Frere red wine. The Veuve Cliquot Champagne was a congratulatory gift from Nakata-san after Obama was elected.  Thanksgiving in […]

Your 168-Word Mini Japanese Culture Lesson

“The Karate Kid” helped make it cool in America to use the Japanese honorific “san,” but Mr. Miyagi was only telling part of the story. The Japanese will often use honorifics at the end of someone’s name to designate their relation to themselves; “san” is just one such term. “San” is used for someone you […]


British Steve (one of my fellow teachers and friends here) says all of his schwa sounds as “oooh.” “Say ‘lover’, Steve!” urges American Mike, his roommate. “Loooova,” Steve will say gorgeously. “I don’t have an accent. I don’t know what you guys are talking abOAT.” says Alan from Ottawa. “But that letter you keep trying […]