Gaijin Smash

The word gaijin has a bit of a distasteful edge to it – though it directly translates to “outside person” and its intended meaning is often simply “foreigner”. The implication though is “not one of us” or “outsider”, and too often is put into a negative context. Without the negative context though, it is difficult... Continue Reading →


Cycling Amakusa

Last night, Clare and I returned from a magical journey to Amakusa – an island in the southern part of Kyushu. The pictures are difficult to caption and the trip itself was almost too much to describe but here goes. Clare mentioned the idea of a cycling trip in Amakusa to me a few weeks... Continue Reading →

why we learn (& teach) languages

Experiences like this make you wonder why you are doing them. Why does the Japanese government want a whole mess of foreigners sprinkled throughout the country, having misunderstanding after misunderstanding, many awkward moments, cultural blunders, chance encounters, experiences of a lifetime...? Is English that important that they want to spend hundreds of MILLIONS of dollars... Continue Reading →

what do you like to do?

How many times have you been asked, "What do you want to be?" How many people have you asked that have actually known? Maybe you found a (lucky?) few who have had it all figured out from the time they could make the jump from, "I want apple!" to "I want to be a doctor!"... Continue Reading →

aisatsu addendum

Through a friend of a teacher I work with, last night I found myself in a three hour lecture and conversation group on green tea and Japanese manners. Without fully understanding what I was getting into, I was keen to attend when I first heard about it. It turned out to be much more than... Continue Reading →

What does your space suggest?

After writing the post about Katazuke and the Konmari method, I did a little bit more research. This naturally lead me down a deep rabbit hole of Konmari-ing everything I could until way past my bedtime, and then waking up at 5:30am and continuing the process.   Cleaning is rewarding in itself. It is a task that when finished, you can immediately enjoy the results of. In the Power of Habit, I recall one section where Febreeze is used as a case study. After the development of Febreeze, market... Continue Reading →

the magic of responding properly

へんじ - henji - 返事 - reply or answer 返る/巣(カエル/返す)- to return (something), to go back 事 - a thing   Mr. Tanoue, a truly unique and incredible teacher that I work with, has an incredible system of classroom management. His students have formed groups – notice I didn’t say he made the groups. They... Continue Reading →

katazuke and konmari

Katazuke 片付け (かたずけ) 片- one-sided, leaf, sheet 付ー adhere, attach, refer to, append The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (which inspired the title of the magic of greeting of course) became an instant sensation and has sold over – copies worldwide. There are innumerable pins on Pinterest and countless articles on blogs and in newspapers, not to mention... Continue Reading →

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