I never thought that I would have been in Japan this long, but it has been more than 10 years since I left America and now I have a degree, a job, a husband, and 2 cats. Japanese is my second language, and I currently do work related to domestic digital marketing and IT.
From the Western person’s point of view, I think talking about Japan seems to evoke a strange mix of traditional elements combined with weird pop culture influences that, I feel, does not quite accurately represents how the country and it’s people are. I will keep my posts “real” because what actually goes on in Tokyo is way more interesting than the sensational bits and pieces of information that you will see floating around the internet. Sorry to burst your bubble, but those underwear vending machines really weren’t a thing.
In the English-speaking expat community, the vast majority of people you will run into will be men, and they have …their own thing going on. It can be hard to find a non-Japanese woman here to relate to, but from the various ladies I had the chance to meet and get close with while living here, we seem to have quite different thing going on when compared to our male counterparts. Some of it is to be expected considering how gender roles are played-out in this society, but some of it is unexpected and keeps you on your toes.
Parts of Japanese life is amazing. Becoming fluent in Japanese, making friends, going through school and working… even just wandering the seemingly infinite amount of narrow back roads finding new places to eat in the city is amazing.
Other parts are quite stressful. No matter how long you live here, you can never full blend in, and even well-meaning people can come off as invasive or rude. I think the typical image a Japanese person has of a foreign person is a white, tall blond male, so when you don’t fit into that stereotype people sometime just don’t know what to do with you. As an American with a Japanese husband, this also confuses people at times because usually it is an American man with a Japanese wife, but hey… statistically speaking if you are living here isn’t easier to meet a Japanese person to get together with?
I’ll use pics, (amateur level) infographics, and hand drawn comics to explain the various aspects of daily life, Japanese beauty trends, international marriage, Japanese media, working, and whatever else I fancy.
Please feel free to ask any questions. I’m more or less an open book. Also, let me know if you want to use any of my pictures or drawings. It would probably make me very happy.
Contact me at jlshinehouse at gmail dot com.