“It’s amazing how few social connections we are away from each other. I once met these doctors who showed me pictures of their now grown-up children. I realized the photos were taken at the exact same place where my husband had traveled to many years ago in India. I suddenly remembered the story of howContinue reading

“He’s very shy. He won’t even let me take his picture with my phone, let alone a stranger. But his older sister’s not camera shy. Actually, she’s inside this building, auditioning for a TV commercial role as we speak. We’re from India and I’ve been living in Japan for 13 years. Both of my kidsContinue reading

“I wasn’t very serious in life. That’s why I’m desperately making up for it now. I’ve been here since 1989 and it’s only five years ago that I finally opened this restaurant. I’m from Nepal. I learned about Japan when my uncle got captured by Japanese soldiers during the war. You see, we got involvedContinue reading

“I wasn’t allowed to go out at night after school or work. My parents were always worried about my safety. I’d go straight home while my friends were out having fun. OK maybe there were a few exceptions. But only when I asked for a special permission in advance. However, I don’t blame my parents.Continue reading

“I used to suck at fighting and was no good at sports when I was a kid. I was this quiet boy who’d hide behind his older sister. But my dad, who was a judo practitioner, he encouraged me to learn kendo in elementary school. From there I moved on to judo, and eventually wrestlingContinue reading

“I think my Japanese friends like hanging out with me because they feel free to be who they are when they’re around me. In a way, I know more about them than their friends do. I feel like people don’t normally open up or share their opinion or problems here. But for some reason, theyContinue reading

“The train commute in Tokyo is horrendous. You get pushed around, touched, and sometimes even groped. For four years, I did a 40-minute commute to work and it was brutal. The only way to survive is to feel nothing. To be on zombie mode. So I practiced feeling nothing. Otherwise your emotions get the bestContinue reading

[Tiếng Việt ở dưới]“It’s always been my biggest fear to not be heard. I’m from Vietnam and when I was 10, we moved to Hanoi. I felt ignored by people from the big city because I was a ‘village girl’ who came from the countryside. I didn’t have that ‘city vibe’. Years later, I cameContinue reading

“I’m from a place in Japan that’s called ‘Ninja City’. I was a high school teacher for 10 years. While teaching social studies to Japanese students, I noticed how strong their stereotypes about other countries were. But they didn’t engage in deeper discussion and had the same opinion (or no opinion) as their peers. IContinue reading