If you are living in or moving to Japan, or just love this place, scroll down for practical information, guides, pictures, and more. I began writing these pages about a year after moving to Japan in 2002, and I sometimes stop by to make updates. Now I live in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (see Photosensibility.com).

Home -> The Japanese Window

My favorite tools for learning Japanese and sharpening my listening skills in Japanese are the fun, free podcasts at Japanesepod101 (www.japanesepod101.com).

Living in Japan 101 - I found several guides on the Internet that were helpful when we planned our move to Japan. So why write another one?  Every guide was based on a different person's experience.  Each had strengths and weaknesses, and none were perfect in the details. That's why you should read two or three and compare them. This guide covers critical information and concerns about moving to Japan and living here that were important to us, including housing, money, food, transportation, phone services, and the Internet. 

Living in Japan 101: Getting Started - >

Living in Japan 202 - The longer we live in Japan, the more we learn.  We're so grateful for the friends who have given us tips along the way.  In many ways, we would be lost without them.  The purpose of this section is to do that for you.  Here are some stories and insights from our own experiences living in Japan.  There aren't many guides yet, but the number will grow with time. If you want to send a short article please let me know.

Climbing Mount Fuji ->
Giving Birth, Having a Baby in Japan ->

Buying a Car in Japan ->
Japanese Driver's License and Driving Test Tips ->

Shibuya - Shibuya is a place where people search for the new Japan.  It has it's own culture and style, with hints of Seattle, Venice Beach and Times Square.  It's not just the tourists who show up with their cameras.  Shibuya is crawling with Japanese videographers and photographers, from serious looking college students to suave looking young men seeking bizarre teenage girls. Almost everyone is looking for someone or something, or desperately wanting to be found.  So does Shibuya hold the secrets to the future of Japan?

Shibuya ->

Glimpses of Japan - Here are some of my favorite photos from our time so far in Japan.  I enjoy the way that pictures can reveal glimpses of truth in a captured moment, so  I hope these photos will help you see and understand Japan and Japanese people. If you enjoy these photos, please come back.  This collection should grow in quantity and quality over time.

Youth and Youth Culture ->
Temples and Shrines ->
Japanese Festival (Houjiou Godai Matsuri) ->
Cityscapes and Urban Details ->

Japan Cherry Blossoms 2003 ->

Something Different - Moving to a new culture is hard work.  It takes effort to accomplish simple tasks, and it's worse if you don't speak the language. Many people feel isolated and helpless. Some even end up rejecting, or even hating their host culture.  With all this in mind, one of the best pieces advice for anyone moving to Japan (or anywhere else) is to go with a sense of humor. Fortunately, Japan will give you many opportunities for humor.  Here are some images and moments that have caused us to smile or even laugh out loud.

Something Different ->

Costco Japan - Japan is known for a lot of things, but not for discount shopping.  We are learning to make the most of our budget and doing pretty well. But along with many other expatriates and Japanese, we are excited because we have a Costco nearby (the Machida store).   At Costco you can find everything from spaghetti sauce and frozen lasagnas to barbecue grills (just like at the USA branches).

Costco Japan ->

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(c) 2008 Andy Gray