The Truth About Working at a Japanese Company


The clock struck 5—it was officially time to head home and call it a day at the office.

Yet no one was leaving.

Japanese companies worry about local staff pressing legal charges for unpaid overtime in the U.S., so they order us to clock out at 5 p.m.  Of course, I wasn’t complaining.

So just like I do everyday, I shut off my computer, grabbed my purse, bowed and announced to the office:

O saki ni shitsureishimasu” (I humbly apologize for leaving early).

To which they instantaneously replied, read more

5 Reasons Christmas is Different in Japan


Japan has this strange tendency to take western holidays and slightly alter them.  I mean, look at Valentine’s Day–girls, not guys, give the chocolate and flowers–wha?

While China just plain doesn’t celebrate Christmas, the Japanese have, much like Valentine’s Day, adopted Christmas and celebrate it in their own special way.  Japanese Christmas traditions are so strange and bizarre, most Americans are stumped–or frankly, borderline offended at the perception and celebration of this Christian holiday in the land of the rising sun. read more

What the Japanese Deem Romantic

Japan and the Moon

blogphoto3K and I were walking through the streets of Beijing.  We were with a loud, rowdy mix of foreigners and Chinese, and the feeling of summer was fresh in the air.  The district we just passed through was famous for Sichuan cuisine and outdoor eating.  The whole road was lined with red lanterns and hundreds of tables on the sidewalk, each filled to the brim with steaming hot fish, boiling red pepper hot pot or stir fried vegetables and meat.  The floor was littered in peanut and sunflower seed shells, the official snacks of China.  The street was loud, but in a good way, the way that makes a city feel alive.  Whole. read more