Author: gunmagreg

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What’s Your Blood Type?

January 31, 2011 | Guides | No Comments

I have been living in Japan for the past eighteen months and still to this day, and much to the shock and horror of the Japanese people I encounter, I have no clue what my blood type is. The first question I was asked by my students during my self-introduction on the first day of class was, “What is your blood type?” Never in my life have I been asked that question by anyone, let alone a fourteen year old kid in broken English. (more…)

Stay Warm Guide

January 17, 2011 | Guides | 1 Comment

Like it or not, winter is upon us, and living in Gunma inevitably means chilly mornings in your uninsulated house, long treks to school through heavy snow, up hill both ways, on a bike, and acquiring a fondness for the smell of kerosene. (more…)

Chicken Soup

January 11, 2011 | Food and Drink | No Comments

In case you have not noticed, winter is here in Gunma. While the howling wind whistles in through the windows and the sun sinks down behind the horizon at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, no one wants to do anything except cuddle up in a quilt on the couch (or under the kosatsu) and eat something warm. (more…)

Fuel Efficiency Girl Heidi

December 20, 2010 | Japan life | No Comments

You see them every day, dangling from your student’s backpacks and adorning their pencil cases. Trinkets and curios of popular characters your students subscribe to, and for the most part they are recognizable, like Totoro or Hello Kitty. But sometimes a character so cripplingly bizarre pops up that you suddenly find yourself on the wrong side of a vaguely unsettling generation gap, as you are grossly uninformed as to what is popular with your students. Care to be let back into the loop? (more…)

Thoughts on Japan

December 17, 2010 | Japan life | 1 Comment

A few weeks before I left North Carolina for Japan, I met my friend Juan Eduardo for a coffee at Starbucks. He is an immigrant from El Salvador who has lived in the U.S. for the past six years. We were sitting at the metal café tables outside the shop, watching the traffic go by on Battleground Avenue and enjoying the warm June sun. (more…)