About us

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Konnichiwa!

We are a Finnish-English family from Brighton, England. In March 2014 we moved to Osaka, Japan for three years without any real prior experience of the culture, people or places in Japan. Don’t ask us where we found the courage to do it. Half of our friends and family saw it as an act of complete insanity and half as a definite sign of mid-life crisis. Both halves were right; our move to Japan was probably a combination of both of those. But we love it here!

This blog is about our experience of life and people in Japan, and what faux pas we make and what awkward situations we find ourselves in because we don’t know the language or the Japanese way to behave. And how peculiar, comical and downright weird many Japanese (and Finnish and English) people and customs are.

I hope you enjoy reading about these layperson’s anthropological observations.

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17 thoughts on “About us

  1. Thanks for a few moments of unstoppable laughter… I so relate to everything you are writing about. These types of cultural experiences are best when described by someone who hasn’t been here all that long.

  2. Hi Brightoneagle!

    I am a television producer working on the US travel show ‘House Hunters International’. We are looking for English speaking expats who have recently moved abroad to feature on our show. I wonder if you might like to share your story?

    House Hunters International is a half-hour TV show currently airing on the Home and Garden Television Network (HGTV) in America. The series is designed to de-mystify the international home-buying / renting process, by going behind the scenes of a house hunt where expats and their real estate agents tour 3 homes. At its core, House Hunters International is a travel show concentrating on the idiosyncrasies of the locales and what makes them special and different.

    Here is a link to show you what our show is all about!

    https://vimeo.com/75803046

    We would love to film in Japan again so please get in touch if you might be interested in finding out more!

    Best wishes,

    Michelle

    Michelle James
    CASTING PRODUCER LEOPARD USA
    1-3 St Peter’s Street, London N1 8JD – +44 20 7704 3300
    michelle.james@leopardfilms.com
    http://www.leopardusa.com
    https://www.facebook.com/leopardusa
    https://twitter.com/leopardusa

  3. Dear Brightoneagle,
    I will move to Osaka for two months next June. I’m a researcher at the University and I stay in a residence in the Suita Campus.
    I’m quite excited but also scared of this short period abroad. My main concern is the food. I’m quite spoiled! I think I will eat rice only, for two months.
    I have just started to read your blog, It is really interesting. Thanks for sharing your experience.
    All the best
    Simona

    • Dear Simona,

      Thank you for you comment – it’s nice to hear you like my blog. 🙂

      You don’t need to be scared – I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time in Osaka – it’s such a great city in many ways, and Suita is a lovely place not too far from Osaka city centre. Willl you be working at Kansai University? What’s your field?

      The food in Osaka is amazing! Unless you are a vegetarian, you’ll have so much choice that you’ll be able find something more interesting that just rice 🙂 Is there anything specific that you do not eat?

  4. Hi,
    thanks for your reply
    I’m an associate professor and I will spend two months at the Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences. My research focuses on novel strategies for delivering drugs to tumors and I mainly study the pancreatic cancer.
    I accepted to leave as big bet with myself, show again that I’m able to take a luggage and integrate a new environment as I did when I was 24 and I get my first trip abroad. as erasmus student.
    Now after 10 years, a more or less stable life in Paris again another challenge!
    About food, well, to be simple I eat only chicken, cooked fish, rice, pasta, some fruits and vegetables, but no sauces, no oil, no dairy, , no sushi, no soups..;
    well i think it will be hard at the beginning but I can handle it 🙂

    • Hi Chloe,

      Cancer research – Wow! Sounds interesting!

      If you’ve done an Erasmus exchange 10 years ago you’ll be fine doing a 2 month exchange now. Japan is such an interesting place to visit and live. I’m sure you’ll have an amazing experience.

      Ok. You might encounter some problems when eating out, although one can pretty much find anything they fancy in Osaka – it’s not only sushi, noodle soups and traditional Japanese food, for instance, there are several French restaurants in Osaka 🙂

  5. Hi, sorry for the delay of my reply but I’m quite busy at work now.
    thanks for the advice, my dream would be a western supermarket but i guess I wil have to face the japan stores and handle with! I will not find my cheerios for breakfast but chicken should be chicken everywhere in the world!

    I will work hard for two months and then my boyfriend will join me for a two weeks trip,We were looking on the airbnb website, it seems we can find nice flats to rent.

    have a good end of the day!
    cheers

    • Hi Chloe,

      There is a Costco in Osaka and several little Western shops that sell things that may be difficult to find in a Japanese supermarket – like cerial.

      If you need any help re planning your stay in Japan or when you are actually here, feel free to give me a shout. 🙂

      • Dear Brighton Eagle,
        I have just booked my flight! It’s true I will leave! Now I have to ask yyou help if possible. I need to fill the form to be authorized to allow drugs for more than 1 month with me. I guess you did too for you child. do you have a copy I can have a look to be sure I fill it well? I can give u my private mail adress, or otherwise via FB.
        thanks a lot
        all the best

  6. Hi Chloe,

    Great news about the flight(s)! Welcome to Osaka 🙂

    I am sorry but we never had any forms re quantity of medicine when we came to Japan. To be honest, I never knew that you are supposed to fill in a form if you have more than one month’s worth :0 This might be because the only ‘medicine-like’ substance we travel with is insulin. But we do frequently have several months worth when we go anywhere (which most medical professionals would recommend – just in case). We do have a letter from our daughter’s doctor in England and also in Osaka to say that in her hand-luggage she will have insulin, needles, cannulas, test strips etc. but no-one’s ever mentioned anything about the quantities that we can have on us.
    Perhaps it is dependent on the drug your are bringing into Japan….?

    If you could let me have your email/fb, I’m happy to help you any way I can. Do you follow my blog? I mean, do you get an email when I post a new blog post? If you do, I have your email address somewhere in the system. I could try to look for it. Or if you are happy to post your email here temporarily, I could delete it as soon as I’ve written it down.

  7. Hi, thanks for your reply.
    the form I have to fill is called Yakkan Shoumei, and it should be filled for any drug (including aspirin, in my case just birth control pill)
    But It is quite strange you can bring your insulin, needles and so on without filling it… maybe it’s because you have a doctor in Osaka.

    My mail is xxx
    thanks!

  8. Great blog! We loved our time in Osaka! And now we’re loving our time in Helsinki & discovering all the differences here from Australia / New Zealand. One thing I think Japan and Finland have in common is they both feel like incredibly safe countries to visit. And there’s no fear of nudity in the onsen / sauna. ; ) Looking forward to reading more ; )

    • Thanks Mel! I discovered your blog yesterday and loved it. In your blog you compare Finland to AUS/NZ and in my blog I compare Japan to FIN/ENG. Expats, and their observations 😀 Can’t wait to read more on what yours are! PS. Sorry, I missed your post(s) on Osaka. Did you use to live here?

    • Thanks Rachael 🙂 I’m glad you like my blog.

      Did you use to live in mainland Japan? – or did you move straight to Okinawa?

      We are going to Okinawa in the autumn for a holiday. It looks beautiful there!

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