Tag Archives: Culture

Mansion Hunting

On Tuesday I visited seventeen Osaka apartments with Akamori-san from work and the shy young real estate agent, who patiently walked up and down stairs with us in the 95-degree, 60%-humidity weather. He carried a bag of slippers and a … Continue reading

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Star-Spangled Spandex

8 a.m. I thought Vasona Park would be peacefully empty.Never have I been so wrong. Half of Silicon Valley’s denizens have come out to jostle each other on this bike path. Quiet and determined, people of all ages, origins, and … Continue reading

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In Flip-Flops and Summery White Shirts

In flip-flops and summery white shirts, on a whim, we clean out the last remnants in my parents’ house. Sister, brother, sister-in-law, daughter, me. The waves of heat in the attic are almost too much for the two Californians. Mountains … Continue reading

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Judgmental Ways

In Osaka, a strange woman walks up to me in a restaurant and tells me I shouldn’t have ordered the raw egg if I didn’t want to eat it. It’s such a waste. (From the picture, I thought it was … Continue reading

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Just between You and Me

My friend Kelly says I should get a Japanese boyfriend so I can really feel a part of society here, not always be on the outside. Kelly was originally from China, and we speak in English (sprinkled with Japanese and … Continue reading

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Segregated

I’ve hesitated to post this one, because I’m unsure how I feel about it. I wrote this three weeks ago. ~~~ Lunch is a quick affair in a big cafeteria a maze of hallways away. (It’s also company subsidized and … Continue reading

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Gomi (Garbage): Paralyzed by the Options

“This is one of the most difficult parts of living in Japan,” mutters a Japanese executive newly returned from expat life in the States. He scrunches a foil chocolate wrapper between thumb and forefinger, and his hand hovers over the … Continue reading

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Sure, Step Outside the Lines, Just Not Too Far

Daydreaming on my walk to work the other day, I walked on the wrong side of the street towards my office’s security gate. Crisp white lines, combined with orange cones and poles, demarcate the correct paths for pedestrians. Employees round … Continue reading

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16-Legged Eating Machine

Near the train station is one of those stand-up noodle-and-beer bars with the noren curtains (暖簾) hanging halfway down. Every night after work, I see a row of legs exposed beneath the curtains, always in blue, gray, or black slacks, … Continue reading

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New Words Are Moving In, But Not Fast Enough

I hear a funny word: chuu-ta-han-pa. It sounds familiar. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard it and have even looked it up before. It doesn’t sound like Japanese, not even like the normal two-syllable Chinese-borrowed words. Suddenly I hear it everywhere—on … Continue reading

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