Fear and Trembling

During one of my more excited “I’m going to Japan!!!” disclosures a colleague of mine pointed me in the direction of this little book by Belgian writer Amelie Nothomb about a French girl and her experiences as she takes on a  job as a translator in Tokyo.

Being a Belgian guy, I was actually thinking some Japanese working ethics would do us good,  as our politics have evolved a bit too far left in my opinion. This book however introduced me to what I hope to be an extreme example of “classic” corporate life in Japan…

I love the idea of working hard, respecting your colleagues, doing as much as you can to deliver work you can be proud of, etc. Not being able to challenge your boss or talking to someone at level n +2 however is a bridge to far. At a certain point, core positive values such as entrepreneurship and pragmatism are even considered as western decadence. Now we are talking about several bridges 🙂717Rq7FW8JL As always the truth is in the middle and I suppose and hope a lot has evolved since the time the book was written (about 15 years ago). I think the book succeeds however in setting the boundaries of what I consider western working culture and Japanese working culture, which was very interesting. And it’s a fun read as well! So go check it out 🙂

I would also love to see some tips on other books that will expand my view on my soon to be destination!

Lost In Translation

Our trip to Japan is getting closer as we speak! The flight has been scheduled, the hotels have been booked, … so what’s next?

The idea of me walking around and not being able to grasp  at least a bit of the Japanese language is something that bothers me. I don’t want to stand there, staring at the signs around me without any means of comprehension whatsoever.

Time to make that language gap a bit smaller!

Although used in many public places, I didn’t want to be dependent on Romaji (Japanese written in Roman script), so my first step was to learn the 2 main alphabets in Japanese language, namely Hiragana and Katakana.

I found a fun app for my Iphone that helps teach the alphabets using mnemonics, basically using drawings & stories associated with the signs, helping you remember the signs with less effort than I expected.

You can look for Moku in the app store (I Assume it’s the same for Android, etc.) or you can go to their website for more information on how it works. It worked great for me!

moku

If any of you readers has advice on what to do next, I’d love to read about it in the comments 🙂

See you!

Enter Matcha Mania

“What the hell? Green Ice cream?”

It’s the first thing I remember saying when one of my friends was showing pictures from her last trip to Japan. No way was I ever going to eat green ice cream!

As you can image from the title of this blog I couldn’t have been more wrong 🙂

One sip of Matcha Milk accompanied with some Matcha flavoured Kit Kat was the only thing needed for me to get hooked. And by that I really mean hooked!

So hooked, that me and my girlfriend have made it our mission to find out everything about Matcha!

We’re determined to find out everything about it, ranging from the classic ceremonial Matcha to the flashiest of  Matcha candy we can get our hands on.

We even took out some time to learn about it on our first ever trip to Japan in may! Ofcourse we’re going to write about our adventures along the way. Or at least I will and she will take most of the pictures 🙂

We’ll try to make this fun & informative, reaching out to anyone with an interest in Japan, matcha, green tea, delicacies in general and anyone who happens to stumble upon us 🙂

Welcome!