He writes about Japanese culture, inter-cultural communication, dating, and travel. His article about sexless Japan was shared more than 1, times on Facebook. He has been to over 30 countries, from Eastern Europe to South East Asia, where he enjoyed talking to local people and listening to their stories.
When I was little, grown-ups would often tell us about the war. Sometimes, A-bomb survivors came to our school to share their experiences. Hiroshima has Peace Memorial Park, and it was our favourite hang-out spot, not because of the history, but because of its central location. To a child, the dome looked almost sacred. They merely told us that the war was bad and should never be repeated. Discovering the outside world When I was 13, I went to the States on a one-month homestay programme.
Sure, we had English classes in junior high school, but for a Japanese speaker, one year was barely enough to be able to hold a decent conversation. How bad was my English? My host brother always said it when he gave up explaining things to me in English. Despite my quasi non-existent English, I really enjoyed the homestay. After coming back to Japan, I started thinking about studying in the States for a year.
Fortunately, my high school had a study abroad programme. I had never been more disappointed in my life. Getting serious with English I was jealous of those who were chosen for the study abroad programme. I felt as if they had taken away my future, because I had been daydreaming about going to the US and becoming fluent in English.
The thought of them speaking English fluently after a year was unbearable. The only way I could overcome the disappointment was learning English on my own. But I was clueless. One day, I had an idea: If the most effective way of learning a language was immersing yourself in it, reading books would certainly be one way. I went to a bookshop and bought a book that looked easy enough.
But when I finished it, I felt my method was finally working. I was interested in modern philosophy, traditional music around the world, travelling, etc. I was always reading books, sometimes during classes. Reading books was my way of connecting to people who had great life experience and knowledge. Once, I was interested in Arabic letters. I would practice writing them when I was bored during classes. My classmates must have thought I was a weird guy.
It was my first solo trip. South India was a very friendly place. A lot of people talked to me: In Japan, nobody had talked to me like that. The cultural difference was very interesting. I came across western travellers once in a while. I met a British guy and I told him I was I still remember the exact wording.
I also met an American guy at a music concert. We were both interested in Indian classical music, so he took me to his place and showed me musical instruments he had bought in India.
He was so happy to talk to me that he invited me to dinner. He footed the bill. He knew I was only a penniless 17 year old after all. She was called Carla Bruni and had been a supermodel before she made her first album. In her interview, she said she would deliberately record mistakes because being imperfect would make her more relatable.
I definitely should listen to her songs. I would listen to her day and night, and I developed a strong interest in French. But I was hesitant to learn a new language because I knew it would take a long time. Eventually, I gave in to the temptation. Studying abroad When I decided to go to university, the first thing I thought about was the study abroad programme. I liked the idea of going to a non-English-speaking country.
I was very excited because for the first time in my life, I had the opportunity to live abroad. What I really learnt in France I studied philosophy and literature in Lyon for one year.
There were a lot of international students mostly European in my university. I absolutely loved meeting people from different countries. Unlike when I was in high school, I made a lot of friends. We all spoke French, and there was a strong sense of community amongst French speaking expats.
I also realised I was quite ignorant about the world. I asked my Brazilian friends a very dumb question: Later, I found out that Portuguese was a romance language like French, which made me curious about the language. One day, my Brazilian friends took to me to a mini-carnival parade in Lyon. I saw a Brazilian group playing samba. As soon as I heard them, I fell in love with Brazilian music.
The second semester in France, I took a Portuguese class because I wanted understand the lyrics of Brazilian songs. By that time, I was regularly going to a local Brazilian party. I asked my friends for song recommendations, and I would listen to Brazilian music all the time. I made some French friends through Brazilian music.
One day, I was walking down the street and bumped into one of those friends. She told me she was going to a Latin club that night, and asked me if I wanted to come. I had never been to a Latin club before. What I saw in the club was something entirely new. Men and women would pair up and dance together. The dancing looked very sophisticated. I tried to figure out their steps, but it was too complicated to follow.
It was as if they were performing magic tricks. My friend told me the style of the music and the dance was called Salsa. I was greatly interested, and decided to learn how to dance Salsa one day. A few months later, I was taking weekly Salsa lessons. So that was it: I went to France and learnt Portuguese and dancing Salsa.
What happened to philosophy and literature? Well, I forgot all about them. Post-France life My life can be divided into pre-France and post-France. France made me realise I would thrive in a multicultural environment. After France, I sought international communities in Japan.
I started making new friends. Writing a book In , I was on the Narita Express on my way to the airport. I was going to Jamaica to spend the New Year holiday. By the time I got off the train, I already had book ideas. I chose to write about multicultural dating in Japan because I thought I had something valuable to offer.
I knew it was hard to find reliable information in English on the subject. A lot of what I found on the Internet were disrespectful comments towards Japanese women, except for a few good blog articles. Writing the book was nothing but fun.
My favourite part was interviewing people. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to their life stories, and I believe they are worth sharing. That is why reading books is so valuable. I have to say that your use of very clear plots to press your points and qualifications about the data and their treatment for your plots was what made me quite happy, owing to past scientific training. Thanks for your post!