5 Reasons Japan is NOT technologically advanced

Japan tech savvy

On my most recent trip to Japan I once again asked myself this question:  Is Japan really technologically advanced?

Advanced robotics.  Giant mechas.  Bullet Trains.

To much of the world, Japan is seen as the world of the future.  It’s no surprise the  country that invented the Mario Brothers and the hybrid car is known worldwide as the most high-tech.

So when I moved to Japan, I was expecting to walk into the future.  I was ready to see what life would be like in a world where technology ruled. read more

The Shocking Truth About Women’s Salaries in Japan

photo credit: filmmaker in japan via photopin cc

photo credit: filmmaker in japan via photopin cc

As I was doing some random internet searching on average salaries across the world, I found a link for data on Japan. While the average, annual earnings of a 24-27 year old for your average Tokyo salaryman was alarming (27,000 USD/year), what shocked me even more was this:

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Photo credit: World 104 Blog

For those that can’t read Japanese, the men’s salaries are listed in blue and the women’s are in pink.

While the pay increases for men as they age, the salary for women actually decreases. In Japan, women don’t even come close to earning as much as their male counterparts—in their entire lives. I knew the pay gap was quite atrocious in Japan, I had lived there and read enough research, but this bar graph was like being splashed with cold water. It’s that bad? read more

Interracial Dating and the Japanese Drama Massan

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Image Courtesy of Sachi’s blog

When I heard about the newest show to premiere on NHK, “Massan,” was all about the trials and hardships of a marriage between a white woman and a Japanese male, I was a bit skeptical. I was afraid the show would be another ridiculous showcase of stereotypes about foreigners. The advertisement revealed a blonde hair, blue-eyed woman frolicking around the fields of Scotland with an attractive Japanese man running to embrace her.

Oh god, I thought.

This is going to be another repeat of My Darling is a Foreigner. read more

5 Reasons to Live in Japan

While Americans think nothing can top life in the states (why would anyone move abroad?!), I would like to list some reasons why Japan still tempts me to drop everything here and run back to its loving, but poisonous embrace.

The Convenience Store

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The first thing I do when I go back to Japan is run to 7-11 or Family Mart, fall to the linoleum floor and sob with joy as that familiar door jingle rings through my ears and welcomes me home.

For those who have never been to Japan, you may think: “it’s just a 7-11.” read more

Speed Dating in China

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The location for the Chinese-Japanese Friendship Group’s speed dating event seemed like a place where love goes to die. From the outside it looked like a local convenience store, the kind where you can easily purchase 50 cent baijiu (rice liquor) and tar filled cigarettes–maybe even a cell phone charge card. If it weren’t for the hand written sign taped to the wall adjacent to the shop keep, we would never know that a dating event lie in wait just beyond the foul stench of the convenience store’s stinky tofu, and up the stairs from the grime filled storage room. read more

Asian Guys Like “Stupid” Girls

*WARNING: I do not think Asian men or women are stupid.  This is a satirical post mixed in with personal opinion, read it with a grain of salt*

I Like Stupid Girls (Chinese Version)

IMG_4171I like to believe that the majority of western men don’t date women for looks alone, and intelligence plays a small role in the selection of a partner.  Personality–most importantly, intelligence–plays a huge role in who we want to date or spend the rest of our lives with.

Not for Asia.

It was about two years ago when my friend got a new girlfriend.  He had been single for quite some time and, despite being 25, had never truly had a girlfriend.  When his friend set him up with a fellow girl from Hunan, he was elated to meet her.  On the first date they hit it off, and by the second date things were starting to get serious.  As his best friends, he wanted us to meet his new girl and give him some very important feedback. read more

Overcome the Language Plateau

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We all hit it.  That point in our lives where the fast growth suddenly comes to a halt and we run right smack into a wall with no exit.  We just can’t seem to escape and find a way to start moving forward again.  You feel trapped, you feel helpless, and no matter what you do you still see yourself at the same place you were a mere few months ago.

I’m not talking about a mid-life crisis.  I’m talking about learning Japanese and Chinese.

There’s always a point in language learning where you feel comfortable, but you’re not feeling the growth.  You find yourself studying, pushing yourself to the brink in trying to chat up the locals, memorizing your flashcards–but the amount you’re learning and the rate at which your language ability is maturing is far slower than when you first started.  I think all languages learners, whether it be French or Spanish, encounter the dreaded language plateau and feel stuck. How can I get better ? What can I do to improve my language studies? read more

Taking the JLPT Test in China

The Horrors of Taking the JLPT Test in China

I took the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) N1 last Sunday.  I won’t even go into the logistics of the test.   Like, who says あるまじき anymore?  Whatever.

What I want to complain about is: The test center.  I signed up for the nearest testing location in Shanghai, which  was deep in the-middle-of-nowhere subrb.  I get to the university (testing location) and ask the nearest guard about the JLPT test, and she’s oblivious.  She points me to a nearby sign that has some stuff on it.  Lo and behold, it lists all information about the JLPT–except where to actually take it. read more