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By Keith Watson | 9th August 2011 | 1 Comment

I must confess my stupidity. During my first 12 months in Japan I have been confusing the Japanese emoticon for ‘smiley’ with the one for ‘angry face’. It suddenly dawned on me, with a cold chill of realisation, that every time I emailed a new friend for the first time, or made a plan to meet up at the weekend, or sent an SMS to one of the teachers at my school, I’ve done it with a dirty look.

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By Claire Kelly | 28th July 2011 | 3 Comments
I’m melting! I’m melting!

Has your kitchen turned into an oven? Your living room into a sauna? And your bedroom into a hot yoga studio? If yes, it’s likely you’re living in the middle of Japan during the middle of summer. And, oh yeah, in the middle of an energy crisis.

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By Kaitlin Kirby | 26th July 2011 | No Comments

Summer festival season is upon us. For many Japanese people it means garnishing portable shrines and dusting off traditional costumes to parade through town. For all people it means enjoying fun in the sun, food stalls and fireworks. Nothing tops off the festival season better than doing it in style!

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By Jessie Zanutig | 10th February 2011 | 4 Comments

For Americans, getting a Japanese drivers license can be an absolute nightmare with often an entire spring-break devoted to mastering the driving course. For the rest of us, one simple afternoon at the driving office is all it takes to hit the roads again!

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By Jessie Zanutig | 31st January 2011 | 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.

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By Jessie Zanutig | 17th January 2011 | 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.

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By Jessie Zanutig | 29th October 2010 | 5 Comments

Thinking of hitting the slopes this winter?  The snow is already falling and Gunma just so happens to have some of the best snow and ski hills in all of Japan. It would be a crying shame to miss out on all that fresh pow!  Whether you are a seasoned rider or a newbie, there are plenty of opportunities to ride your heart out all winter long!

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By Leanne Grace Costa | 23rd March 2010 | 2 Comments

I’ve always enjoyed an active lifestyle (dancing, the gym, kick boxing, etc), but when I came to Japan I found it difficult to find affordable hobbies similar to the ones I had done back home. I had run in the past, nothing too hardcore, just a 30 minute jog around the park, so I decided to take it up again.

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By Marcus Smith | 12th March 2010 | No Comments

Because your apartment is likely just as cold as it is outside and you know it. This advice is probably best suited for those of you who have just arrived in Japan and are looking for hobbies to occupy your time.  But hopefully, this will also prove useful for those of you who are having a hard time dealing with the unreasonably long, dark and cold Gunma winter (I’m from South Carolina and don’t usually have to deal with this).