Author Archives: Michael Gakuran

The Best Resources for How to Learn Japanese

Learning the Japanese language can be very fulfilling, but there is no doubt that it is challenging. With self-study and learning Japanese online for free becoming more and more popular, it can be tough for the beginning student to find good quality resources.
Posted in Japan | 21 Comments

Urbex at the Grain Tower Battery

Way back when I was first beginning the hobby of Urban Exploration in the UK, I visited a site fairly close to home. The Grain Tower is located on a mud-flat at the east end of the Isle of Grain and is a well-known spot for exploration. Access is only for a few hours at […]
Posted in Haikyo / Ruins | 11 Comments

Touring Lake Biwa on a Mama Chari Bicycle

A couple of weeks ago I headed out with a group of friends from work to take on the challenge of touring Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, just north of Kyoto. All on a cranky old Mama Chari too – the sort of bicycle old ladies like to ride. With the weather on […]
Posted in Adventure, Japan | 21 Comments

Thoughts on Discussing Other Cultures

“To ask is a moment’s embarrassment, but to not ask will bring a lifetime of shame.” So goes the Japanese proverb: 聞くは一時の恥、聞かぬは一生の恥. (Thanks to Jake Adelstein for pointing me to it.) It’s an issue I’ve sparred with my entire life, and it doesn’t look set to end any time soon. Just when is it okay […]
Posted in Japan | 22 Comments

The Foul Stink of the Japan Snake Center

The Japan Snake Center isn’t really a haikyo, or it shouldn’t be. An active facility with a rather steep 1000 yen entry fee, some of Japan’s foremost experts on snakes come here to work. They hold bring-your-snake-day pet contests and open lectures on measures dealing with Japan’s poisonous snake, the mamushi. Not surprisingly, it’s also […]
Posted in Haikyo / Ruins | 25 Comments

Great Tohoku Earthquake (Latest)

I’ll be updating this post with ongoing announcements about the huge earthquake that is occurring in the Tohoku region of Japan. It has been labelled in Japanese the 東北地方太平洋沖地震 (Tohoku-chiho Taiheiyo-oki Jishin), the biggest earthquake ever to hit Japan. It struck at 14.46 with a magnitude of 9.0 and was assigned the highest level 7 […]
Posted in Japan | 15 Comments

Great Tohoku Earthquake 5

Aftershocks seem to gradually be getting less and less and the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is, while still serious, improving little by little. Radiation levels and leakages are being monitored.
Posted in Japan | 158 Comments

Ruminations on Citizen Journalism and Media Bias

This past week has been truly life-changing. Japan has suffered at the hands of one of the strongest earthquakes the world has ever seen, endured colossal damage from a towering tsunami and fought bravely against a troubled nuclear reactor. Thousands of people are still missing and many more homeless. For me however, living safely in […]
Posted in Japan | 32 Comments