Author Archives: Michael Gakuran

There’s Always a Way! – しょうがある!

What’s しょうがある? The opposite of しょうがない, of course! That oft-muttered phrase that reeks of apathy and giving up. I’ve always hated it myself, and recently a reader contacted me to link me to Man-san, a Swedish man rapping in Japanese, who shares the same sentiment. Only he does it in style!
Posted in Other | 6 Comments

Kawatana Human Torpedo Training School

We reached the end of a long, winding road that snaked through a tiny Japanese village in Kawatana, infamous for being the site of a kaiten (回天) training school. Kaiten are the manned suicide torpedoes used by the Japanese Navy during WWII to take out enemy vessels.
Posted in Haikyo / Ruins | 18 Comments

The 7 Stages of Gaijinhood Revisited

After a stunningly shrewd post by Our Man in Japan, a wily Durf left a snarky comment in reply linking to this blog. It’s left me scrambling around doing a bit a soul-searching, so I figured I would tap it out on the computer like my old Livejournal days.
Posted in Japan | 42 Comments

Are You Just Recollecting Japanese?

Have you ever had that feeling of frustration when, having learnt a word one day, the very next it seems to cease to exist inside your head? Spaced Repetition can help you stop this happening. Here’s a look at SRS systems and the ‘forgetting curve’.
Posted in Japan | 11 Comments

Ruins of the Imari Kawanami WWII Shipyard

The Imari Kawanami Shipyard (伊万里川南造船所) is a favourite among haikyo fanatics not least because of its infamous history, but also the way nature is reclaiming the area. Light pours through gaping holes and insects dance in the beams; vines climb every wall and concrete slowly crumbles.
Posted in Haikyo / Ruins | 32 Comments

Endangered Chinese Pond Turtle

One overcast day, about halfway through my solitary wanderings in Japan, fatigue finally caught up with me. I left the manga cafe in search of Ritsurin Koen (栗林公園), one of Japan’s most beautiful gardens, for some peaceful walking and photography to recharge.
Posted in Photography | 7 Comments

The Gruesome ‘Art’ of Daikichi Amano

I’m not going to be roundabout with this. Today’s post borders on the sickening. If you want to hang onto your dinner or are easily offended, go back now. Even it takes a lot to offend you, consider yourself warned. But if you’re feeling a mite plucky, come with me on a philosophical journey.
Posted in Japan | 50 Comments

Child’s Play on Hashima Island

As we climbed atop the shattered concrete building a new morn greeted us, its warm beauty in stark contrast to the mournful ruins that lay in slumber. I imagined the children past and vibrant memories they might hold of this rooftop slide.
Posted in Photography | 7 Comments