How Safe Is Dumaguete? 8 Safety Tips From a Local

The following is a guest post from my Filipino friend Leanne, who has lived in Dumaguete her whole life. She shares her personal experiences with safety hazards in Dumaguete—and how to stay safe! ———— Dumaguete City has been recognized as one of the best places to retire in the Philippines. And as a local, I … Read more

11 Interesting Facts About Cheese in Japan

As an American or European, it can be easy to have distorted ideas of the world when it comes to cheese. I remember at one point, I didn’t even realize that most East Asian cuisines are basically cheese-free. But if you go spend some time in Japan, you’ll certainly notice differences in cheese availability, quality, … Read more

Do Japanese People Have Middle Names?

It’s odd how middle names are so common across the world, and yet, many people never use their middle name—or even share it publicly. Why do we even have them? Well, today we’re looking at a country that doesn’t have them: Japan. Japanese people generally do not have middle names. On official Japanese paperwork, there … Read more

Why Do Japanese Say Last Name First? Japanese Names 101

Years ago, I remember researching some Japanese celebrities online, and I’d often find their name written two different ways. Basically, their first and last name would be switched around. It confused me. What could explain the inconsistency? Japanese custom is to put the family name first, as in China and Korea. This is called “Eastern … Read more

Cereal in Japan: 9 Things You Need to Know

Today I’m covering one of the biggest unexpected forms of culture shock that many Americans experience when they get to Japan: Breakfast cereal. In America, we’re accustomed to full grocery story aisles dedicated to big, colorful cereal boxes. The boxes are covered with cartoon mascots that are advertised to kids since birth. In Japan, the … Read more

Are There Ovens in Japan? All Your Questions Answered

Some people are surprised to find when they get to Japan—their apartment doesn’t have an oven. What’s going on here? Do Japanese people not use ovens? What is going on here? Most Japanese kitchens do not have large convection ovens like those common in the West. Instead, they have smaller fish grills, microwaves with built-in … Read more

What Is Considered a Lot of Money in Japan?

If you’re new to using yen, it can take a while to get a feel for how much it’s worth. Aside from conversion rates, you also need to consider the costs of rent and products in Japan, too—right? Well, luckily, it’s not that hard. After currency conversion, the cost of living in Japan is similar … Read more

What Does Holding Hands Mean in Japan?

Japan’s dating culture is quite unique. From the “confessions of love” (kokuhaku) to White Day (March 14th, the follow-up to Valentine’s Day), there’s a lot to figure out. Today, we look at hand-holding. What does holding hands mean in Japan? Holding hands has a generally romantic meaning in Japan, as in other countries. Holding hands … Read more

Hugging in Japan 101: Is It Rude? Do Japanese Like Hugs?

As an American, I’ve often hugged strangers upon first meeting them. Usually, it doesn’t freak anyone out too much in the U.S. or any Western country. But there’s a bit more risk of awkwardness when doing that in Japan. In this post, I’ll explore how Japanese people view hugging—and how that’s changing with younger generations. … Read more