General Store (Old Sapporo Buildings #2)

Another morning walk encounter. This stalwart purple block unit hasn’t been open for at least a decade (we believe). The ground floor remains permanently shuttered.  Yet the electricity still pipes through to the two vending machines. Don’t know if they generate enough income to even pay the utility bill.

Fishmonger / Dry Cleaner (Old Sapporo Buildings #1)

Starting a series documenting some of the old buildings I come across in my walks around Sapporo. Today’s comes from my morning route up Asahiyama along Asahiyama-Dori. In the day time the right/yellow half is a fish shop. What is more interesting is the blue dry cleaner sign on the left side, which hasn’t been […]

COVID-19 and the Image of “Safe” Japan

For as long as I have lived here, Japan has always evoked this image as a “safe” country. “Safe” in the immediate physical harm sense, I could go on ad nauseam about the “unsafe” nature of the overall business/workplace culture to the human psyche. But in terms of my physical safety, I probably haven’t lived […]

Christmas, Thanksgiving, it’s happening…

It’s that time of the year. ‘Twas the night before American Thanksgiving as I write this, not a salaryman was stirring, not even Takashi-san who just put in a 15 hour day for zero overtime pay. Especially not that guy. But Thanksgiving 2019 comes at a particularly well deserved time in old Nippon, as the […]

The Joys of Japanese Style Bait Fishing

I have done Western style fly fishing since I was a teenager. Not well. I can barely tie my own flies, and my casting technique has been flawed. But I stuck with that method and managed to land some decent fish through the years. Then I discovered the Japanese method of tenkara, and immediately threw […]

Low Productivity, Japan’s Dirty Little Secret

“The streets are so clean!” “Such excellent service.” “Public Transportation is quiet, clean and efficient.” “Gift wrapping is included with any purchase?!” “Japanese students clean their own classrooms!” “The streets are safe.” These are the common refrains you hear everywhere about Japan, and I left out quite a few for brevity sake. All these statements […]

Christmas Where Nobody Cares

Does Japan celebrate Christmas? No. Sure you will see Christmas trees in the shopping malls and illuminations throughout the winter, but those have little to do with the actual holiday. There are holiday sales galore, because who doesn’t love a good sale? But that warm, hearthy, childlike anticipation that reaches crescendo in the early hours […]

Japanese Free Time

Quite a few years ago, before I set foot in the Japans, there was a policy shift in the Japanese school system. They stopped holding Saturday classes and cut back on some coursework. It seemed a step in the right direction. It was supposed to help invigorate the youth, help them to more independently discover […]

Death & Destruction of Japanese Domiciles

With an aging society (as discussed earlier), you would expects there to be a huge surge in available home to purchase. But you would be terribly wrong. In fact, because of a variety of cultural-economic issues, purchasing a used home is anathema to the Japanese way of life. This saddens me because every day I […]