2016

“It went by too fast!” – says myself at the end of every year. Then I’d try to recollect what I’ve done in the past 364 days. Finally, I’d whimper silently at the undeniable fact that I will age one year older. It doesn’t help much to have a birthday in February, you’ll feel you’re aging faster than everybody else. The year 2016 was an … Continue reading 2016

Living Japan #5: Tokyo “City Girl”

Last July I celebrated a year of living in Japan. Work contract has been extended, so I’ll hopefully be celebrating a second year anniversary next year. As I enter my second year, I made a decision to move to Tokyo. I moved from the suburbs of Yokohama, where most residents were grandmothers and high-school students and residents’ festivals were held frequently. There’s nothing wrong with … Continue reading Living Japan #5: Tokyo “City Girl”

Living Japan #4: Hygiene and yes, the toilets

You’ve seen videos of Japanese school kids cleaning up their classes together or the Japanese supporters tidying up their sections at a World Cup 2014. So “Japanese”, aren’t they? The habit of keeping personal hygiene starts since childhood. Many Japanese adults still brush their teeth after meal. Although the dental medics society have been continuously debating on the merits of brushing teeth before meal or after meal, I’ve … Continue reading Living Japan #4: Hygiene and yes, the toilets

Amy: Jewel Faded Too Soon

Amy was a diamond. Shining bright in her powerful voice. She evolved from a raw talent who jams cheesy line yet catchy melody to an uncanny lyricist with characteristic jazz. But Amy was clearly fighting depression. Nothing was well planned, she was a vulnerable young girl who went deep without needed protection system. Amy wanted to get better. She got out of drugs, but alcohol … Continue reading Amy: Jewel Faded Too Soon

Book Review: “All the Light We Cannot See”

It’s been a while since I last read a book as touching as this one. Anthony Doerr masterfully tells the story in short chapters – no longer than five pages each – flowing with detail. I found myself too emotional to flip a page at times, but I always did to answer my urgent question, “Then what happens?” The short fractions did not fail to catch attention … Continue reading Book Review: “All the Light We Cannot See”

Living Japan #3: Mission Apartment, Part One

If you’re considering moving to Japan, be ready to get on board the major first mission. I didn’t have to do too much for moving to Italy and Malawi, for having found good places to live in before arriving. But moving to Japan was different because my company let us live in the dormitory while finding by ourselves a place that fits our taste. So … Continue reading Living Japan #3: Mission Apartment, Part One

Book Review: “Norwegian Wood”

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami This is not my first Murakami, unlike many recommend it for. Thus I joined those who complained about its “commonness” – in the beginning. I was disappointed to find the theme of suicide and sadness like in other Japanese novels. Too typical. Plus I was reading this after a novel on World War 2 which was also drenched in death … Continue reading Book Review: “Norwegian Wood”

Book Review: “Kitchen” (and “Moonlight Shadow”), Banana Yoshimoto

Just finished a book by another Japanese writer, this one with young people set in the more recent years. I was actually reading another book of speeches, but it was left behind when I moved so I can’t finish it yet. Banana Yoshimoto’s style is contemplative and fresh. If you like Murakami, most likely you’ll like her. Here’s My thoughts on “Kitchen” : Goodreads Next review: … Continue reading Book Review: “Kitchen” (and “Moonlight Shadow”), Banana Yoshimoto

Living in Japan: Eating with Chopsticks #2 – Non-Alien Registration

Today after lunch, a department staff kindly took me to the Hayama Town Hall to register myself as a resident. The building was familiar; I remembered seeing its image when googling about the town. There, I was comforted by the system and people’s efficiency. Registering as a new long-term resident is convenient. Let me explain from the start. Weeks before my arrival, I was asked … Continue reading Living in Japan: Eating with Chopsticks #2 – Non-Alien Registration

Living in Japan: Eating with Chopsticks

A few months ago I got an offer to work at an international research-based NGO based in Hayama, Japan. Yesterday night, I landed safely at Tokyo Narita airport, took a 2,5 hours regular train ride to Zushi (the nearest town from Hayama), and officially started my new adventure in the sushi homeland. A dinner was prepared for me in my temporary room. Starving, I automatically … Continue reading Living in Japan: Eating with Chopsticks