X-Pat Files - March 2007
to you by H&R Consultants)
The X-Pat Files Community
E-Newsletter provides a forum for
the spread of information useful for English speakers living in
Aichi. You can use the newsletter as an informational resource,
and of course you can send in information you would like to share.
This newsletter is a community service from The Japan Real
Estate and Relocation company, H&R Consultants
and is edited by
Sue Conolly (www.sueconolly.net).
Contents for This Edition
1. Pets in Japan
2. Dog Run
3. Eating Out in Nagoya
4. Fairy Dentist
5. Springfest '07
7. World on Demand
8. Meet & Greet Luncheon
9. Charity Yoga
1. Pets in Japan
There are three ways to have a pet in Japan. You bring your own
with you, you buy one here or you adopt one.
To bring your pet from home (or to take one home again with you), the
very best website outlining what you need to do is the Animal
Quarantine Service website.
Please keep in mind that some airlines will not ship animals during the
summer months, so special arrangements will have to be made with each
Buying a pet in Japan is pretty straightforward, however please be
aware that many pet shop chains practice unethical treatment of
breeding animals. A much safer and more ethical way of purchasing
a puppy (or other pet) is to visit a reputable breeder. Some dog
breeders within driving distance of Aichi Prefecture listed
below. Please take note that the information has been gathered
from the internet from pages that describe "reputable breeders",
however it is always best to check the facilities yourself and meet
your potential puppy before making a decision. If you do buy a
dog in a pet shop, ask about pedigree and if possible get information
about the kennel into which the puppy was born.
Komada (Mie Prefecture) - Flat
Coated Retriever, Pomeranian, Jack Russell Terrier, Border Collie,
Vanity Fair (Aichi Prefecture) -
Prefecture) - Collie
(Aichi Prefecture) - Poodle
Dog Land Haru (Mie
Prefecture) - French Bulldogs,Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Weimaraner,
Burmese Mountain Dog, Newfoundland, Welsh Corgi, Miniature Dachshund etc
Paradise 7 Kennel -
(Shizuoka Prefecture) - Labrador, Golden Retriever
SS Angel - (Aichi Prefecture)
- Corgi, Dachshund, Chihuahua, French Bulldog, Schnauzer, Papillon,
Dandle Dilmont Terrier
It is vital to be informed about the breed of dog you want to buy, as
your new family member will be with you for a long time. One
extremely useful site which compares the pros and cons of many breeds
If you are planning to adopt a pet and don't mind possibly accepting a
mixed breed, there is a puppy adoption service in Nagoya, the Nagoya
City Animal Protection Center (Japanese
website only), which also has kittens, puppy training classes and
other events. The requirements for adoption are:
1 That you are a resident of Nagoya City
2 That you are an adult
3 That you live in a place where it is possible to keep a dog
4 That all members of the family agree
5 That you agree to take on all responsibility for the health and care
of the animal, and for making sure the animal does not cause a nuisance
6 That you will have the pet spayed, whether male or female.
7 That you will respond to post-adoption follow-up questioning.
8 That you will have the animal undergo responsible toilet training
(information provided on adoption)
9 That you will undergo obedience training with your pet (information
provided on adoption)
The process for adopting a puppy at this facility is quite lengthy,
because they want you to make your decision very carefully. You
must meet the puppy, make your decision, apply and then the puppy will
be granted to you if you meet the above requirements and you are the
only person to apply for that animal. If you compete against
someone else for that particular animal, and lose the draw, you are not
offered another puppy in its place. This is to guard against
people just taking "any" puppy and then regretting it later. If
you are not offered your puppy of choice, you can go through the
choosing and application process again from the beginning.
Address: 106 Heiwa-Koen 2-Chome, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya (in Heiwa Park)
Phone Number: 052-762-0380
Fax Number: 052-762-0423
Please note: You may also take stray animals to this facility if you
find them on the street and are unable to keep them yourself, but if
you do leave the animals there it is in the knowledge that the animals
may be destroyed if they are unsuitable for adoption.
Another good place to look for a dog to adopt is Animal Refuge Kansai, a non-profit
organization animal rescue facility located near Osaka. This
website has a lot of information about the responsible practice of
owning a dog in Japan.
You must register a dog but not a cat, at your local city ward
office. When you do this you will need to take the Quarantine
Certificate that you were given at the port of entry. You only
need to do this once in Japan, although if there is any change in
status, i.e. the dog goes missing (or dies), if your address changes or
you leave Japan, then the city ward office must be notified.
Etiquette and Care
You are required to walk your dog on a leash at all times and if
you live in apartment building, you will be required to carry your pet
in the communal areas and elevators at all times. You must also
clean up after your dog when out walking, and your pet is required to
have a rabies vaccination every year.
Pet Hotel and Grooming Salon
These are often attached to pet shops, but also
Pet Aid in Ishikawabashi is a
grooming salon and pet hotel, and offers health consultation (English
available). The address is 5-4-1 Dankei Dori, Showa-ku, Nagoya
(150 meters North of Ishikawabashi intersection, two buildings past the
Shell gas station) and the phone number is 052-837-1123. Please
for a map.
I would like to recommend an excellent dog training system, and
an English speaking dog trainer who will come to you home and help you
to make your pooch the perfect partner. The system was created by
an Australian, John Richrdson who has been dubbed "The Dog Whisperer"
because of the movie "The Horse Whisperer", and because he helps
previously "unhelpable" dogs with problems like over-barking,
aggression, and of course the regular stuff like jumping up, running
away from you, generally being cheeky at dinner time. The system
all takes root from dog psychology, and uses no violent methods like
yelling or hitting, in fact another reason he's called the dog
whisperer is that he almost whispers some of the commands. The
book "The Dog Whisperer", also by John Richardson is available online
The Nagoya representative of this system is Yuri Misaki, and she will
come to your home for 8000 yen and stay for two hours. During
this time she will ask you a lot of questions about your family
routine, meet your dog(s) and see them in their environment, and teach
you some basic things you can start doing to impress on your pooch that
you are the "Top Dog". This instills in the dog a feeling that
you are the leader, which makes him actually happier because he is
never confused about his position in the pecking order of the family,
and it makes him easy to train.
Yuri will come to your house as often as you need her, leaving a couple
of weeks in between each visit so you can implement the work.
website (Japanese) http://www.dogtechjp.com/
website (English) http://www.dogtech.com.au/
Another dog trainer I found on the internet is In the Dog near Hongo Station in
Meito-ku (map here).
In the Dog's owner used to train service dogs in California. He was
also a member of APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers, US) and a Delta
Society Certified Pet Partners team evaluator. If you would like to
learn to how to train dogs, please give him a call or pay the shop a
Website (Japanese only): www.inthedog.co.jp
If you have a dog in Japan, you may have noticed that your
garden (if you have one) is rather unsatisfying for a good run
The good news is, that there are places you can take your dog for some
off-leash fun and socialization with other dogs. Mostly these dog runs
cost money and are attached to "Dog Cafes" where the owner can enjoy a
cup of tea with their pooch by their side. However, one dog run
Nagoya is on public land, completely free and made possible by
volunteers. It is the dog run at Shonai Ryokuchi Park in Nishi
Open from around 9am until dusk, owners must be responsible for their
own pets. This means intervening if a fight should break out, and
picking up your dogs own poo and taking it home (this is also the norm
when walking your dog on the street). There is a smaller pen of
300 square meters, and a larger pen of about 800 square meters.
addition to this, as if for the naughty puppies who don't get on with
other dogs, there is a third enclosure which is seperated from the
To use the facilities, your dog must have been immunized in the last
year, and not be in heat. Aggressive breeds such as attack dogs
not allowed. Volunteers in the dog run are recognizable, but
it is a condition of entry that each owner is entirely responsible for
their own pet.
This map to Nagoya
Soccer League doubles nicely for a map to the dog run, which is
just past the soccer grounds, on the right.
3. Eating out in
Eating out in Nagoya provides a great chance for you to sample some
great Japanese cuisine along with a range of international foods
including; Italian, Chinese,
Eating in a Japanese restaurant is usually a little more difficult than
eating in a Western restaurant as the menus and restaurant names are
usually in kanji or katakana. Mastering katakana is very helpful
eating out. The following terms and explanations should help in
（弁当)）– Japanese prepared lunch consisting of rice and small portions of
other foods such as fish, chicken, vegetables, pickles, etc. This
of fare is readily available and priced from very low to very
There are even shops that specialize only in obento.
Izakaya （居酒屋）– a Japanese pub,
where the food is meant to be an accompaniment to the drink.
Usually small dishes are shared
by the whole table.
Kaiseki and Honzen ryori （懐
石•本膳料理）– traditional cuisine served in many small courses. This
quite expensive, especially when served by waitresses dressed in kimono.
き焼き）– probably one of the most well known Japanese foods in the Western
world. Thinly sliced beef, cooked together with various
tofu, and a kind of noodle (in the Nagoya area this is usually
kishimen) in a communal iron pot at the table. Stock mixed with
shoyu (soya sauce), and a little sugar makes up the cooking
take the hot ingredients from the pot to your own bowl and dip in raw
（しゃぶしゃぶ）– is very similar to sukiyaki except that the meat is usually
of higher grade and is boiled in water rather a broth. It is also
eaten with a sauce not raw egg.
司）– many Westerners believe this means raw fish which is not actually
true. There are many different types of sushi, the best known
being nigiri-zushi which is raw fish
on a lightly vinegared rice ball. Norimaki is also a very popular
type of sushi. Norimaki
consists of a piece of raw fish or cucumber at the center wrapped in
rice and nori (seaweed).
The sushi is then dipped in shoyu
(soy sauce) and mixed with wasabi (green horseradish),
accompanied with pickled
It is usually more appropriate to use chopsticks when eating sushi but
use of fingers is not frowned upon and in fact is the traditional
method of eating sushi (that's what the hand towels are for, before you eat).
is very elegantly sliced raw fish. It is usually served on a bed
of shredded daikon (radish) or a shiso leaf.
ぷら）– consists of seafood and vegetables, lightly battered and
deep-fried. It can be purchased in very high-class restaurants or
your local supermarket.
Tonkatsu （とんかつ）– is breaded
pork cutlet (sometimes chicken and shrimp cutlets also) which have been
breaded and deep-fried. In Nagoya, miso-katsu, tonkatsu with a miso based sauce is a local
Yaki-tori （焼き鳥）– usually
grilled chicken on a stick. Popularly served in izakaya style restaurants.
Noodle Shops – are great places to catch a quick
bite to eat and
where you’ll find many people also slurping down bowls of hot (in the
winter) and cold (in the summer) noodles. The different types of
noodles include: udon noodles（うどん）, which are
thick wheat based noodles, soba noodles （そば）which are long
and skinny noodles made of buckwheat sometimes served cold as zaru soba（ざるそば）, and ramen
（ラーメン）which are thin Chinese noodles.
As is well known, Japanese food is eaten with o-hashi
(chopsticks) and if you are not familiar with their usage please
take note of the following tips:
* Always hold then near the thickest end of each stick.
* Keeping the lower chopstick steady, move the upper one with a
scissor-like action (actually like holding a writing instrument),
pinching the food between upper and lower, narrow tips.
* When taking food from the communal dish, turn your chopsticks around
and pick up the food with the thick end of the chopsticks.
The following tips are recommended to avoid
in order to avoid upsetting your host:
* Waving your chopsticks around aimlessly over the food, trying to
decide what to take next.
* Spearing food with the points of the chopsticks as if they were a
* Pulling the dishes towards you using the chopsticks-always make sure
to pick the dishes up in our free hand.
* Passing food to someone else with your chopsticks
* Above all, don’t stick your chopsticks vertically into the rice bowl
- this practice is symbolic and only occurs at funerals.
4. Fairy Dentist
(Thank you to Jillian
Sugiyama for this submission)
If you, or you
children, need to visit a dentist for work, check-up or cleaning, I
would highly recommend Fairy Dental Clinic in Kasugai quite close to
Nagoya International School. The equipment is state-of-the-art, and the
dentist is very kind and gentle. His clinic is very child friendly -
there is a play area complete with a DVD and assistants who will watch
your kids while you get your work done. You too can watch a DVD while
you are getting your work done. He is very respectful of children. His
wife speaks English and I think he may speak some too. Oh yes, and she
has a lovely herb garden where you can relax prior to your treatment.
No more excuses not to go to the dentist! Keep your smile looking great!
Fairy Dental Clinic, General and
Address: 7-5-10 Fujiyamadai, Kasugai City
Hours: 9:30am - 12:00pm and 2:00pm - 7:00pm
(Saturdays open only until 5:00pm)
Closed: Thursdays, Sundays, Public Holidays
(Weeks that contain public holidays, also open on Thursdays)
(Thank you to Sheri Yasue for this
Sprinfest is a two-day multi-cultural annual event which brings
different elements of international music, food, art and style.
Springfest is designed to promote environmental awareness. Springfest
is fun and upbeat, energetic and colorful!!
Springfest is an event designed to bring together different cultures-
and to help promote communication between different cultures through
the exchange of great music, art, food and style.
Springfest is a free event for all ages to attend-and is a unique
opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with artists, musicians,
performers, and creators of many different cultures!
Artists and performers interested in taking part are encouraged to
contact Springfest through their website for more information.
Dates: April 21st-22nd, 2007
Place: Central Park near the TV Tower, Sakae Station
A full life in Japan begins with a full stomach, and a
full stomach always begins with rice. Walking through the
supermarket you are always faced with giant bags of varying quality and
price, but how to separate the "wheat from the shaft".
The answer comes in two parts, but first you must ask yourself the
question: how much do you value taste and quality, over convenience and
easiness to prepare. If you don't care about taste particularly,
then the easiest option for Japanese rice is to buy non-wash rice, or musenmai (無洗米) which you can use
directly from the bag. To a Japanese palate it won't taste
divine, but if you're just new to Japanese rice then you may not even
notice the difference. There are various different brands of musenmai, but it doesn't matter
which one you buy, since you're not aiming for gourmet taste in the
For a true Japanese experience, avoid the label musenmai. For normal, non-musenmai rice, it is necessary to
wash or "polish" the rice to remove traces of starch. If you have
a rice cooker, you can prepare your rice in the morning to be ready in
time for dinner, which will give your rice the soaking time it needs to
be super-tasty (more than 30 minutes soaking time is recommended in
summer, at least an hour in winter).
Here's the procedure I use to cook rice with my rice cooker:
1. Add rice to a large bowl full of water (usually the rice cooker
2. Cover with water, and wash
in a clockwise circular motion. I usually develop a little bit of
a rhythm for this - if you can imagine a very gentle one-handed kneading of the rice you've got the
right idea. Don't press on the rice too vigorously though as you can
crack the rice.
3. The water will have white almost immediately, unless you've
accidentally bought musenmai
rice which does not need washing. Discard the white water, then
cover with new water and repeat the process 3 or 4 times (until the
water only turns slightly white).
4. Drain the rice, then cover with new water (I use filtered
water for this last cooking process). Let it sit for at least 30
minutes before cooking it (at least 1 hour is better in winter).
5. To get an idea of how much water to add to how much rice, it
is easiest to use the guide on the inside of the rice cooker.
Japanese rice storage bins dispense the rice in measurements of one cup
per push of the rice dispenser. If you have three cups, then the
water level should be to the "3" of the line marked "white rice" or hakumai (白米 - check this website
for a picture of this). The other measurements are for if you are
making okayu or soupy rice.
You might have to experiment with this a little if you are not using a
conventional rice dispenser to get the exact measurement for one cup.
6. Set the rice cooker to a certain time, or just push the start
button for perfect rice.
7. When you open the rice cooker, "cut" the rice with your rice
serving spoon, the shamoji.
This lets the air circulate around your newly fluffy rice.
Stirring the rice in this way will make your rice perfect, but after
you've done this close the rice cooker again. Never leave the
rice cooker open unnecessarily as your rice will go hard.
8. Rice left uneaten can be left overnight and used for
breakfast, but the longer it is left after a certain time the less
apetizing it will become. One method to store leftover cooked
rice, is to wrap well in cling wrap, put this packet in a ziplock bag
and then freeze. The moisture will be retained in the rice, and
upon microwaving should return to its former glory (more or less!)
Now, if you're a real rice snob, then I'm told that gas rice cookers
yeild the best tasting rice, and that next to gas then IH rice cookers
are the best. You'll want to talk to the electrical store before
purchase your rice cooker to get the latest information on rice-cooking
technology. People take this really, really seriously.
For those without a rice cooker, I found this illustrated
explanation on the internet: Use a heavy pot with a top. Add
approximately 1.2 cups of water per cup of rice depending of desired
firmness of rice. 1 cup rice is 180 cc, 216 cc water is 1.2 cups.
First, bring water and rice to a boil on a strong fire. Reduce to a
medium flame, continue to cook for 5-10 minutes. Simmer on a low fire
for 15 minutes. Breifly turn heat high to allow excess water to
evaporate. Turn off fire. Do not open the top. Let rice stand for 10
minutes. If a heavy pan is not available, place a cup on top of the lid
If you are going to get really into the rice thing, you're going to
want to decide which type of rice tastes best to you. The big ten
kilogram bags take a long time to get through, so experiment with
smaller packets to decide on which rice suits your needs the
Here are some of the types of rice in Japan, listed by the region in
which they are grown.
Hokkaido - Yukihikari &
Tohoku - Hitomebore &
Sasanishiki & Akitakomachi（ひとめぼれ・ササニシキ・あきたこまち）
Hokuriku - Koshihikari &
Kanto - Koshihikari &
Chubu - Hatsushimo &
Koshihikari & Nihonbare（ハツシモ・コシヒカリ・日本晴）
Chugoku - Koshihikari &
Nihonbare & Akebono（コシヒカリ・日本晴・アケボノ）
Kyushu - Koshihikari &
Hinohikari & Yumehikari（コシヒカリ・ヒノヒカリ・ユメヒカリ）
As you can see from this list, Koshihikari tops the list for the number
of regions in which it is grown. Koshihikari (コシヒカリ, 越光) is in fact the
most popular variety of rice cultivatied in Japan. Koshihikari
was first created in 1956, by combining 2 different strains
of Nourin no.1 and Nourin no.2 at the Fukui Prefectural Agricultural
Research Facility. It has become very popular now in Japan, in part due
to its good appearance. It is one of the most highly-grown varieties of
rice in the country, and its taste is said to differ per region. Some
people think very highly of the Koshihikari harvested in Uonuma area of
Niigata Prefecture and so traded at the most expensive price in all of
Japan. The character for koshi (越) is used to represent old Echigo
Province, which stretched from present-day Fukui to Yamagata.
Koshihikari can be translated as "the light of Echigo".
Other rice varieties close to its strains, such as Akitakomachi,
Hitomebore, and Hinohikari have been created afterwards by
cross-breeding Koshihikari with other Japanese varieties of rice.
For some varieties of rice that may
contain less preservatives than other forms of rice, you might try for Omi rice made in Shiga
Prefecture on the banks of Lake Biwa. In recent times much effort
has been made to keep Lake Biwa clean as it supports the life of more
than one million people who live around its shores. In this area,
you can find popular strains such as Koshihikari,
Kinuhikari and Nihonbare, with some new varieties
such as Yumeomi and Akinouta. To try rice from
this area, look for Shiga Prefecture on the label （滋賀）, or the kanji
for Omi Rice （近江米）.
All of the above refers of course to white rice which is most popular
in Japan. Brown rice or genmai
（玄米）has in the past been associated with poverty and wartime shortages,
and was rarely eaten except by the sick, the elderly and as a cure for
constipation. This traditionally looked-down-upon kind of rice is now
more expensive than common white rice, partly due to its low
consumption, difficulty of storage and transport, and higher
nutritional value. It is a key part of the macrobiotic diet which was
developed by Japanese philosopher George Ohsawa.
7. World on Demand
World on Demand (WOD) is a new age television option. Streamed through
the Internet, World on Demand is the first of its kind in TV viewing
pleasure; you can watch on your PC or play it through your television
using a "Set-Top-Box". WOD is a legitimate service (not underground
television) and its viewing quality surpasses any Internet TV option
you have ever seen.
WOD makes it possible to view TV in Japan that you couldn't see before.
Channels are continuously being added to the service, and WOD already
has rights to some viewing pleasures we have always been waiting for in
Japan (eg. the cricket world cup).
World on Demand is the way TV is heading in the future. TV through the
Internet, movies and documentaries "on-demand", and also the ability to
build both open and closed "viewing communities", so that you can view
your TV with other like-minded people (in an open community) or with
your friends (in a closed community).
Try something new! Of course, you can sign up on-line immediately
through an array of payment methods, and you will have instant access
to the package or channels you choose. Take a look today at www.worldondemand.net !!!!
8. Meet & Greet
(thank you to Helen Braithwaite for
Are you new to town? Do you want to get out and meet new
people? Or do you just want a nice lunch in a quiet, relaxing
atmosphere where you can chat with new friends and old friends?
The Meet & Greet lunch is held on the second Tuesday of the month
at Shooters Sports Bar and Grill in Fushimi.
Date: Tuesday, 13th of March
Time: 11:30am -
Price: 1500 yen for buffet lunch and a drink
RSVP: Please RSVP by Saturday the 10th of March
to Helen Braithwaite at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 090-2186-3717
during office hours.
Shooters has a relaxed atmosphere and is closed during the day
except for our event, so we have the run of the place. This means
that it is a VERY easy event for mothers with babies or small
children. It also means, however, that I must ask for an RSVP so
that Shooters can cater for the correct number of people. Since
they are opening the restaurant especially for us, I want to keep these
Meet & Greet lunches well attended as they are a valuable resource
for newcomers to the area. Please mark it on your calendar -
every month on the second Tuesday, and let me know if you can come.
9. Charity Yoga
(Thank you to Marie Langlois for this
something for yourself while helping others at the same time!
Saturday, March 17th
6:30pm - 7:30pm
ViAura Yoga Studio
Takasaka Building, 9F, 3-14-14,
Nishiki, Naka-ku, Nagoya
(30 second walk from Sakae exit #1, Higashiyama (yellow) subway line,
click here for map)
Please contact Marie at email@example.com, or call 090-6581-8508
to reserve your place.
• Limited space available
• A minimum of a 500yen donation would be greatly
• All proceeds will be donated to a local orphanage
I imagine myself as a wild animal, born into a habitat. In
my case, I spent eighteen years in my natural habitat becoming "tame",
after which I suddenly moved myself into another wild and unfamiliar
environment. When I say suddenly, I mean that I woke up one
morning with an idea to live in Japan, and three weeks later I was
alighting from a plane on the tarmac of Narita Airport with a working
holiday visa stamped in my passport. Moving from one environment
to another in such a sudden and seemingly unprovoked way was as
frightening as it was exciting. It was almost unbearable on the
downward descent of the plane, that an actual tear or two rolled down
my cheeks. I was heading into wild territory.
As I write this on my little laptop in the Mister Donuts, two high
school students who might well be just the age I was when I made that
journey, are lamenting the fact that they can't sit at their table of
choice. I've seen them in here before. I think I might be
at their table. Their only choice of seat seems to be along a
counter or at a small table for two. Iya daaaa.... iya da iya da iya daaaa...
it seems that we really and truly are creatures of habitat. Why
did I make the sudden and drastic decision to change mine, and what
happened when I did?
I changed my habitat I think because I sensed it would make me into a
different animal, and while I didn't know what kind of animal this
would be, I felt it would be stronger. I had studied Japanese
meaninglessly for six years at school, with minimal to no contact with
real live Japanese specimens. In my own little Australian bubble,
I played with the words and grammar particles of the Japanese language
much like one might crack a code in a Nancy Drew novel. When I
woke up that morning, I knew that I'd gone stale, and I wanted
something fresh. I called the Japanese Consulate, applied for a
passport, got a loan, bought a ticket.
The first thing to happen in my new habitat was that I freaked
out. Tokyo is a monster city to a little Australian from the
sticks. My freaking out took me to other more habitable Japanese
places - Okayama, Kurashiki, Iwate, Sendai. I settled on Sendai
and found my habitat in a two room tatami apartment on the first floor
of a two storey nagaya.
It was the kind of run-down place you might expect to see in a Japanese
TV Drama when the authors are trying to emphasize the poverty of the
situation. I loved it, though. Me and my little red plastic
black and white television, given to me by an English teacher who'd got
it from the gomi. It
all felt right.
Paulo Coelo wrote in The Alchemist
that when you are on the right path, the universe conspires to make it
happen. This is the way it was with me. To the naked eye I
was a wandering soul, being taken from Tokyo to Okayama to Iwate to
Sendai with nothing behind my decisions but an awkwardly arranged
homestay and a Japan Rail Pass. To the universe, I was going
exactly where I needed to go to meet the guy who turned out to be my
husband and the father of my children.
What else has changing my habitat given me? What hasn't it given me? Through
living in Japan, I've had to face each and every one of my demons, and
I've carved out my own life in exactly the way I've wanted it. I
can see the potential in everything, and that's because I've seen that
everything does not hail from
my narrow little view of the world. It's all so much
bigger. And it's all good. I spent my years lamenting the
negative aspects of Japanese culture as I knew them. I've had my
fair share of hissy fits at shop assistants who could not bend a rule
to help me. Far from enlightenment, I still struggle with the
daily issues of my life, but now I get glimpses of how perfect the
world really is, if you let
it. Struggling against
the status quo and swimming against the tide doesn't get you anywhere,
all you get is very tired, and stale again no matter what habitat you
put yourself in.
To really get the most of your change in habitat, go with the
flow. Don't lock yourself away in a cocoon of Fox TV, Skype and
Foreign Buyers Club. These comforts from home were not available
to me all those years ago on my working holiday visa and I feel that I
was given a real opportunity back then to see myself in the light of a
new habitat. These days, I don't even have to change my address
to change my habitat. Now that I see the potential, I see that
what I put into my life directly affects my immediate environment.
Note: I would like to announce
my new website, also along the theme of habitat. It includes my
new blog, photos, photo movies and a podcast. While it is still
in its baby stages, I hope you will appreciate where it's coming from:
my own very personal habitat!
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