Ikea In Tokyo

“You buy furniture. You tell yourself this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple of years you’re satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you’ve got your sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes, then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then, you’re trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now own you.”

The Narrator, Fight club.

I love Ikea. It’s full of stuff that I want for absolutely no reason, but It never used to be that way. I used to hate Ikea. With a passion. My mum would drag me there every so often to look at stuff for 5 hours… In a building with no windows, phone signal, or anything interesting to look at. For a 13-16 year old kid, I had to retreat to my happy place like a prisoner of war being tortured. I would probably feel the same way today if Ikea hadn’t added smart home stuff to their inventory because THAT is what drew me in. Then I noticed the death star looking lamp shade, the electric rising and lowering desk computer table, venus fly traps & cacti.

Some snack at the Ikea combini in Harajuku

Now I find myself getting excited about one-peace stainless steel knife sets, low to the ground television stands, extra storage options for bathroom essentials and an extended list of of other perfectly boring, mundane and otherwise “grownup” things.

“How’s the Küllen coming along? Ikea doesn’t assemble itself, you know.” “You’re telling me. I don’t mind the Küllen. It’s an improvement on the Hürdal.” “Please, anything’s an improvement over the Hürdal. I’d have taken a Hemnes or a Trysil over a Hürdal. “No, I didn’t get excited until I saw the Küllen.”

Blind AI & Wade Wilson, Deadpool
Ikea in Harajuku, Japan

Ikea has had a bit of a love hate relationship in Japan since it arrived here in 1974. Unfortunately, Japan just wasn’t ready for the “do it yourself” flatpack furniture. Not to mention, Ikea did not do its due diligence in regards to how Japanese people live with furniture. Because Japan had very limited resources to make furniture in the past, Japanese people have grown up appreciating particularly high quality furniture that lasts for generations. Ikea’s cheap throw away furniture that you have to put together yourself just couldn’t compete in that kind of sector. As a result, in 1986 Ikea threw in the towel and left. However, after 20 years (and a lot of learning) Ikea is back for round two.

“These Swedish furniture designers sure have some far-out ideas. I mean, a green table! I wouldn’t have thought of that in my wildest dreams!”

Marge Simpson, The Simpsons.
Freshly baked Swedish pastries at the Ikea combini in Harajuku

We attended the debut of Ikea’s newest Ikea store in Harajuku. Not only is it the first Ikea store to open in Japan that is in a central location, it’s also the world’s first Ikea combini (convenience store). In order to manage the horde of people eager to witness this world’s first, we had to take a number. Every so often, the security guard would flip his sign around to display a new number and everyone with that number would be allowed in. Just in case you are shopping and don’t see that it is your turn, you would also receive a text/email to let you know.

“No, Bob! We have to go forward. It’s like IKEA. We can’t turn back” “Watch out for Swedish meatballs”

Linda & Gene, Bobs burgers.
Ikea Harajuku, Japan

It’s literally across the road from Harajuku station and you cant miss it. It’s much smaller than the vast warehouse that usually springs to mind when you think of Ikea, but it’s still a hefty building. This Ikea has two floors. Entering from the ground floor and immediately to your right you will see the Swedish combini. It’s not a huge store, only a few fridges for drinks and a few frozen items. A couple of shelves for things like cookies, crisps, and pots of ramen made by Ikea. Like, a lot of ramen. A truly ridiculous amount of ramen. There were boxes and boxes of ramen stacked high and the shelves were full of it. There must have been a shipping error along the way and someone wrote 500 boxes instead of 500 cups of ramen. That or they thought Japanese people would literally start killing if they didn’t get their ramen fix. Or maybe they just hadn’t put it away yet… I don’t know. There’s also a really nice coffee shop and bakery, the cinnabuns looked amazing! The rest of the first floor is dedicated to beds, and storage solutions with a customer service section at the back. Floor two is, in my opinion, the star attraction.

Vegan plant based ramen is available at the Ikea combini in Japan

“You know, this place looks great!” “Thanks man, it’s all Ikea. Did the whole place for 47 dollars.”

John Bennet & Ted, Ted
Order food via touch screens at the Ikea combini in Harajuku. There are plant based, vegan options available.

On the second floor there are cooking utensils, kitchen stuff, bathroom items and a few other things like ornaments, plants and bags. But what self respecting Ikea store wouldn’t have a place to buy a hot dog and drown it in ketchup and mustard once you have finished your Ikea excursion. This Ikea have taken that place to the next level. They have a very futuristic looking ordering station where you use the touch screen to order your food, pay for it, take the receipt and wait until your number is called. Not to worry though, because while you wait feel free to watch the four 72″ TVs displaying the various cooking stages of Switzerland’s answer to flat bread, Tunnbröd.

All in all, a great shopping experience. It seems that with a store like this, Ikea is really appealing to customers that just want small items for storage, bedding, a quick bite to eat, and a cup or 10 of Ikea ramen. There wasn’t really any focus on giant shelving or whole kitchens like the warehouses do. I have a feeling that this kind of Ikea will be popping up in many more locations around Japan.

“I don’t know how to tell you this, but there is a Chinese family in our bathroom.”

Tom & Summer, 100 Days Of Summer.

Uniquely Japan


Japan karaoke

Japan loves karaoke! Too be honest, I think it’s because they do it correctly. In the UK, karaoke is when you stand in front of an entire bar and sing to everyone in the room. So unless you’re an extrovert with something to prove, or, sound exactly like Michael Buble, you’re probably going to be a little apprehensive.

In Japan you are given a private sound proof room with your select group of friends (or on your own) where you can order drinks & food and sing to your heart’s content. It’s more like private dining in a restaurant than a very public spectacle in a bar. Two years ago you would have never caught me dead at karaoke, now you can’t tear me away.



There is a bit of a love hate thing going on in Japan at the moment surrounding Pachinko, especially recently. According to a study 1 in 4 are regulars at Pachinko parlors. It accounts for nearly a third of Japan’s entertainment and leisure market and makes more money per year than New Zealand’s total annual GDP.

“According to the Japan Productivity Center’s White Paper on Leisure, the number of pachinko players was 9.5 million in 2018.”

Gambling in Japan is illegal, but utilising certain loopholes Pachinko parlors can get away with it. Pachinko works like this: you go to the kiosk at the back of the parlor, exchange money for little balls, use the balls in the pinball style machines, which, (hopefully) will pay out more balls. You then take those balls outside and (usually) around the back of the parlor to a dodgy alley and exchange the balls for money. And the cycle continues. It would appear however, that the industry is rapidly decreasing due to a lack of new players, and a disappearing older generation.


The appreciation for natural beauty


Of course appreciating natural beauty is not unique to Japan, however, Japanese people do have an unquestionable connection to the natural beauty of Japan. There have been countless books, movies, and music written about the subject, but I have also witnessed it myself.

beauty sakura

I was walking to the shops for my weekly avocado squeezing sesh and coming the opposite way were a group of teenage boys doing what teenage boys do best, look like they are about to murder someone. They all had black hoodies on covering their school uniform. Some were on bikes, some were smoking, all were a public nuisance. However, as soon as they came across a particularly vibrant array of flowers blossoming out of a bush at the side of the road, they totally broke character. “Amazing!” They all said and jumped off their bikes and started taking pictures. It’s a running joke between me and Marianna Vlogs that Japanese people just can’t help but take pictures of beautiful scenery.



tradition Japanese traditions

I don’t know about you but as an Englishman, I can’t picture myself putting on a powdered wig, whitening my skin, rouging up my cheeks, and bouncing down fleet street with a cane in one hand and a busty “wagtail” in the other. However dressing in a Kimono, enjoying a tea ceremony on tatami mats, and making mochi by hand using 1000 year old tools is totally normal here.

I was on a day trip to hike to the top of a mountain where a very old Inari shrine is located (Inari is a kami that grants prosperity). I was feeling positive about the hike as I was making good time, and out of nowhere a Japanese businessman in full business attire shot passed me in a semi-sprint. It was totally odd because everyone was dressed for climbing a mountain in winter except this guy. By the time I got to the top, the businessman was rushing back down. “Must be going to a job interview” Marianna Vlogs says. It’s crazy (and impressive) to me that Japanese people still hold those traditions.

Onsen and Sento

onsen nak

Onsens and sento are all over Japan and they come in all shapes and sizes. They range from private small ones to huge public ones. From open space, scenic mountainscapes to built up indoor inner-city’s there are thousands of them.

Japan’s intensive volcanic activity has a huge positive, it creates the perfect hot spring water. A Japanese onsen is a natural hot spring that is used for bathing. Many traditional Japanese accommodations such as ryokans use this hot spring water in either private or public bathing facilities. Aside from pure relaxation, there are many benefits to using an onsen. Onsen water is revered for the medicinal and therapeutic properties and is believed to benefit everything from blood circulation to relief from skin conditions. 


Although similar to the onsen in some aspects, a sento is a public, communal bathhouse. The difference between a sento and an onsen is that unlike the onsen, a sento does not use the hot spring water for its bathing facilities. Instead, the water comes from a man made source and therefore lacks some of the therapeutic benefits of the hot spring water. Both the sento and the onsen however, are highly popular and found all over Japan.

I have never been to an onsen because I have a tattoo. Most onsen owners / most Japanese people in general, have a problem with tattoos. It doesn’t really bother me however, because the idea of sitting in a hot public bath doesn’t really appeal to me anyway. I mean I could just have a bath at home without naked people I don’t know walking around. Yes, I get that there are all sorts of salts and minerals in the onsen water but I’m not really bothered.


When I first arrived I thought I’d have to check in to a super 5 star hotel with electronic sliding curtains and smart mirrors that display the news before I saw my first smart toilet, but no! The airport, the train station, the restaurant, and my cheap share house all had one! Four smart toilets on my first day in Japan! Maybe I’m wrong, maybe England is the only place on planet earth without this smart technology built in to its toilet seats but Japan’s “smart toilets” are pretty much the standard here. You could go into almost any public restroom and you will be greeted by one of two situations. A squat toilet, or a smart toilet. I have googled the price of them in the UK and the cost of them is ridiculous! Here they are so cheap in comparison!

Apparently it’s down to the wiring. In the UK there is some sort of law that requires bathrooms to not have standard electrical plugs in them (maybe an electrician can comment and help me on this one). Instead you have to have stupid shaving plugs that no one has used in the last 30 years. So basically, having a smart toilet in the UK is illegal. If I ever have to live in the UK, I’m 100% breaking the law and having a standard socket put into my bathroom to get a smart toilet put in.

100s of flavours of KitKat

In the UK we have one flavor, regular. Sure we have KitKat Chunky, but that’s just a bigger version of KitKat. In Japan there are literally hundreds of flavors! They bring a new limited edition one out every month. I have actually just finished a bag of lemon shortcake KitKat (delicious, obviously) but I just can’t understand why we don’t get the same treatment! I’d love a lemon sugar, or a salted caramel, or a rum and raisin version of KitKat.

Come on Nestlé, have we not been good to you!? Isn’t our obesity level a testament to how much we spend on chocolate? There are no fat Japanese people! How much could they possibly be spending on chocolate!?


Japan is the most trusting place on earth. There have been so many occasions that I have witnessed a degree of trust that my English brain just can’t comprehend. There is a motorbike repair shop next to where I live that just leaves all their bike parts outside after they close. Seats, engine parts, wheels, exhausts, things that even I know have value to the right people. There are vegetable stalls in various parts of Japan (including Tokyo) where farmers leave their vegetables on an unmanned stall and come back at the end of the day to pick up their earnings.

In the UK, if it isn’t bolted to the floor it will get stolen. It’s why we don’t have drinks, food, or cigarette vending machines littering our streets. Even bolted to the floor ATM’s get stolen from time to time. In Liverpool a few years ago they implemented a sort of community push bike rental thing. Basically you put your card details into an app, it generates some sort of code, you unlock the bike for a price and then you put the bike back when you have finished. Can you guess what happened to most of the bikes?

I had bought myself a ridiculously expensive umbrella last year. It was massive, it was specifically a storm umbrella. It was incapable of turning inside out during windy conditions and it was made of this expensive feeling waterproof material. On my way to work one day I left it in the communal umbrella holder outside of my local 7/11 and totally forgot about it. The doors of the train closed on me and I thought, CRAP! I left my umbrella! But it was too late. I worked all day and at one point, confided in a colleague about how gutted I was that my ridiculous umbrella is lost forever and he said, “don’t worry, this is Japan, it will still be there when you get back.” It totally was! It was after 12 o’clock (midnight) by the time I got back to the 7/11 and it was the only umbrella left in the stand.

That would never happen in the UK! In the UK that umbrella would have been gone in two minutes. In fact, we don’t have umbrella stands outside our shops.

Recent news in Japan | 2020 |Mitsu Desu!

Japan news 2020. Japan has undergone some major changes in the last few weeks due to the Coronavirus outbreak. From Japanese eels and Manboo residents, to cut down tulips. Here are a few things in Japan today that show that times are changing.

Eviction of long term residents of Manboo

Manboo is an internet café / net room. It has many locations all over Japan including in Shinjuku and Shibuya. It allows people to have their own net room/cubicle to read Manga, browse the internet, play computer games, listen to music, and relax. I stayed in one when I first arrived in Japan and although my stay wasn’t exactly comfortable, I can definitely see the appeal.

Because the price of renting a room is so cheap, and the food from the vending machine costing next to nothing (with most drinks being free), many opt to rent full time and stay in Manboo as a sort of a permanent resident. However, the outbreak of Coronavirus means that Manboo, as well as several other internet cafes have had to close their doors as they are not officially a hotel. This means that the long term residents of these establishments were forced onto the streets.

Shy Eels

This week, Tokyo’s Sumida Aquarium has sent out a cry for help. It seems that with no guests coming in to keep the animals company, they are starting to get used to a life without humans. It is really starting to affect the 300 spotted garden eels. Because of the lack of human interaction, the eels are starting to burrow into the sand and refuse to come out, even when the staff come to say hello.

This makes it extremely difficult for staff to monitor the health of the eels. So in order to combat this, Sumida Aquarium have organised a “face show festival” asking everyone to call in and FaceTime with the eels to get them used to social interaction again. You can FaceTime the Japanese eels right now by FaceTiming one of these five emails. I mean why not. You could probably do with some social interaction as well.

  • helpchin001@gmail.com
  • helpchin002@gmail.com
  • helpchin003@gmail.com
  • helpchin004@gmail.com
  • helpchin005@gmail.com


Pachinko brings in 2.87 trillion yen per year. That’s roughly £21,006,142,870.00 and is (although being ran by the more nefarious organisations) extremely important to the Japanese economy. However, despite this, the Pachinko industry is in freefall. It continues to lose players and revenue year on year and it’s far less popular than it used to be. The reason for this is a lack of interest from the younger generations and a fast shrinking older generation. The Japanese youth think that pachinko parlours are a “criminal hotspot”. A very damming article in “Japan Today” explains that pachinko players are not contributors, and of course Japan being a harmonious society, they collectively look down on pachinko. However, Pachinko’s reputation descent has hit hyper speed this month.

When Shinzo Abe announced that Japan was declaring a state of emergency, pachinko parlours made it very clear that they will not be closing or altering opening times in any way. When Prime Minister Abe announced that he will be calling for stricter measures on weekends to help with social distancing, prefectural governors had to consult Abe on pachinko parlours refusing to close. This resulted in Governor Koike stepping into the ring and giving them one final chance do the right thing. They declined. So Governor Koike (as well as other prefectural governors) threatened to do the one thing that can hurt a business in Japan, and that is to name and shame them. Unfortunately, this did not have the desired effect and instead gave them free advertising. There have been reports that many parlors across the country are still open, but at this point nobody is surprised. The Japanese public have called to complain and issue death threats over the phone and by mail. The reputation of pachinko (like Joe Exotics financial situation) will probably never recover from this.

Flower Destruction

Japan is a country of natural beauty lovers and it’s easy to see why. From the top of Mount Fuji to the bottom Iya Valley, Japan is undeniably beautiful. Unfortunately, the recent state of emergency and social distancing guidelines have made it difficult to view this seasons flower displays. The Japanese authorities have gone to great lengths to show that they are not messing around when it comes to respecting the state of emergency.

One example of this is the cutting down of 100,000 tulips in Sakura, East of Tokyo. Unfortunately, tourists during Golden Week refused to stay home and instead chose to gather in the gardens of Sakura, forcing authorities to raze the 7,000 square meter garden to the ground. Disappointed tourists have likened the once beautiful scenery to mud pits.

Japanese authorities have promised that the tulip gardens will be bigger and more beautiful next year.

Golden week

Golden Week is a series of national holidays that take place within one week at the end of April and the start of May.

Constitution Day (a day to celebrate the ratification of the Japanese constitution in 1947)

Showa Day (honoring Emperor Showa, who ruled over Japan during World war 2)

Green Day (a day for people to honor the environment)

Children’s Day (a celebration to wish young boys strength, and success in life)

It’s a time for celebration, travel, and if you are an international traveler, an extremely expensive stress filled nightmare. However, because of coronavirus, “Golden Week” has become Gaman Week”. Gaman is a term taken from Zen Buddhism, meaning “enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity.” Basically, what has been a week of celebration and travel for decades, is now a week of social distancing and isolation, and people aren’t taking it well. There have been constant warnings against travel and distrust amongst commuters and neighbours is at an all time high. Seeing a commuter with an overnight bag, or a neighbour loading a suitcase in to a car would suggest they are traveling to another prefecture. This is something that Japanese news is condemning with an iron fist and a disapproving glare.

Japans reliance on old technology

This month, Japan’s reliance on old technology is under a 300 jigawatt spotlight. Japan is one of the most technologically advanced countries on the planet. Only in Japan can you be served a coffee by a robot, be checked in to a hotel room by a hologram, and get ice cream and hot drinks from the same vending machine. Unfortunately, it’s probably the only country left on planet Earth that sends hyper sensitive, super important business invoices by fax, and requires a 19th century “Hanko” stamp as a signature on official documents.

The internet officially came to life in October 1969. Companies and governments jumped at it when it became publicly available in 1991. It has been standard in businesses and governments for arguably the last twenty years (give or take three years). We now live in a world of on demand. A world where anything I want to watch or listen to (in virtual reality) is a few seconds away. Any piece of information I want is at my fingertips using a device that has four million times more memory than the first space shuttle’s guidance system. Yet Japan, is still using a method of sending information that dates back to 1947.

The handling of the coronavirus hasn’t been any different. The reporting of corona has to be hand written, hanko stamped, and faxed to public health centers. This is causing a massive backlash by the public after a doctor specialising in respiratory medicine tweeted “Come on, let’s stop this already. Reporting cases in handwriting. Even with corona, we’re handwriting and faxing.” The doctor likened it to the “Showa period”. Showa refers to 1926-1989.

The consequences of using old tech has revealed itself in full force. Breaking news today is that 111 people were left out of the official announcements of daily corona victims. Not only that, there were duplicate reports of 35 people. With nineteen fields on form to fill out for each patient, and a specific method of sending information, it’s not surprising that mistakes happened.

If I sound salty… It’s because I am. I have been forced to use one of these archaic fax beasts while being here. I’ve not had PayPal, I can’t pay for things contactlessly, move money between banks or change yen into pounds using nothing more than an app. But hey! At least my toilet can sing to me.

As of mid May, authorities have allowed the reporting of corona cases via online. Let’s hope this changes the way companies in Japan do business in the future for all of our sakes.


It’s not all doom and gloom. As an English person, one of the first things I noticed about Japan is that Japan doesn’t really have satire or take the piss out of its betters. In England, a Scottish mother can’t tell off her kids without it shooting to international fame, and a member of parliament can’t give an interview without a panel of comedians ripping them to shreds at the end of the week.

However, during her daily speech about social distancing and volunteered self isolation, Tokyo’s Governor Yuriko Koike coined a phrase to explain the new rules. “Mitsu” meaning three, referring to the three “Cs” which are the three conditions of social distancing. “Closed spaces” Stay away from enclosed spaces, “circulation” stay out of places with poor circulation, “close contact” keep a distance from people. Unfortunately the warnings were not headed by a group of overzealous paparazzi who ran straight up to her after she had given her lecture.

Her response was to reprimand them by shouting “Mitsu desu!” Mitsu desu!” This sparked the international meme “mitsu desu”. Now, people who want some space can simply shout; mitsu desu! It has inspired countless “Mitsu Desu EDM Remixes” on Youtube. There has even been a computer game created in which Governor Koike is hounded by people and to get them away you have to strategically shout “mitsu desu.”

The Definitive Guide To Earthquake Preparation | Japan 2020

The Definitive Guide

earthquake street

Japan is on high alert at the moment. On “Earthquakes in Japan” I talked about “the big one.” It’s the earthquake that all Japanese people remember. It was on March 11th 2011 and it had a magnitude of 9.1 and caused upwards of 289.5 billion pounds worth of damage. With floods, mudslides and damage to the Fukushima nuclear power plant, it’s easy to understand why Japan is still dealing with the aftermath 9 years later, in 2020.


Seismologists have been warning that Japan is overdue for another big one and apparently the signs that it could be right around the corner are here. A government panel said on Tuesday, that an M9 quake and a subsequent 30 meter high tsunami could hit Hokkaido (Northern Japan). They said it is difficult to calculate if and when it will occur, but pointed to the fact that massive tsunamis have happened in the region every 300 to 400 years with the latest happening in the 17th century.

Needless to say I’m a little uneasy about it. I have had my fair share of earthquakes while living here and the little ones aren’t exactly enjoyable experiences. The thought of an M9 with a side of 30 meter tsunami has me uncomfortable in my own skin.


It’s funny, when I first arrived in Japan my attitude towards natural disasters was “bring it on!” I was mindlessly looking forward to experiencing my first “real” earthquake. I had experienced one in the UK. It sort of made my house shake a bit and caused literally pounds of damages. One or two garden gnomes and a decorative pink flamingo lost their lives to the great wobble of the UK, but Japan has real ones. Having gotten a taste of about a dozen little quakes I have since become a bit of an expert on what to do if a big one hits.

It’s big news in Japan at the moment and we are getting a lot of warnings to be prepared for worst case scenario. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to put together a full guide on what to do just incase, and help more people get prepared.

Before the quake

bottled water

1 Make sure you have plenty of water, rice and pasta. I’m sure that the recent world wide crash course in survivalism has taught us all is the value of water and pasta. We should take this time of relative calm to stock up in advance and not to panic and stockpile ensuring that there is plenty of supplies to go around. Plus we won’t need to shank a MF for a scrap of toilet paper.


2. Make sure you check for hazards in the home. If you have a particularly large, heavy book case that isn’t fastened to the wall now might be a good time to secure it. Similarly, it might be a good idea to secure that prized set of dining glassware sitting precariously on display on the top self. Make sure you move anything that can fall well away from your bed.


3. Identify safe places in your home. Under a heavy table, against an inside wall, away from windows, large mirrors, and hanging picture frames. A lot of deaths in the 2011 earthquake/tsunami were blunt force trauma cases so make sure you have a safe place to be just in case.

first aid

4. Have a First aid kit and disaster supplies. A lot of the places I stay in have an emergency supply kit. They usually contain:

  • Manually chargeable torch
  • Rubbing alcohol wipes
  • Sewing kit
  • Lighter
  • Aluminium shock blanket
  • Bandages and gauze
  • Manual can opener
  • Fully charged external battery with necessary cables to charge devices
  • Hand cranked radio
  • Whistle


In addition to first aid and essentials, it’s also a good idea to have a go-bag handy containing:

  • Change of warm clothes including waterproof mac and three pairs of socks
  • Bottled water and a few snack bars
  • Toothbrush, dry stick deodorant, wet wipes
  • Cash
  • A form of identification
  • Notepad/pens
  • Air filtration mask (preferably N95)
  • Medication and painkillers
  • A toilet roll

Your go bag might differ depending on where you are in the world. Items essential for your survival might be different. For example, if you are away from civilization then a REEHUT portable camping stove for heating food and water for coffee could come in handy.

Personally, I keep my emergency kit in my go-bag which is located inside my hallway coat closet. It’s on the way to the front door.


5. Make sure you have an emergency plan. Have a rendezvous point for family members or flat mates should you get separated. Contact an out of location family member or friend to organise shelter with them in advance should the worst happen.


6. Educate yourself on your location. Make sure you know where your emergency services are located. Knowing where your local hospital, police station, fire service and emergency evacuation shelter can be a literal life saver. Don’t rely on Google to tell you, you might not have access to your phone if the internet goes down. I’d also recommend downloading your maps offline and having a physical map handy

Do not!


DO NOT STAND IN DOOR WAYS! There is a massive misconception that doorways are structurally stronger than the rest of the house. If you live in a wooden shack this might be true otherwise get under the table with one hand on the leg of the table and the other free ready to move with the table should you need to.

DO NOT RUN OUT OF YOUR HOUSE! Weather you live in a house in the country or flat in the city, there could be falling debris. Shards of glass, bricks, roofing tiles, neon signs (the last one almost got us during a monsoon last year), if it is above you, it can fall on you. If you have to leave your house the best option is to wait until the coast is clear and calmly exit making sure to check your surroundings.

DO NOT LISTEN TO ANY EMAILS OR WEBSITES CLAIMING THE “TRIANGLE OF LIFE” IS HOW TO SURVIVE AN EARTHQUAKE. There is a particularly dangerous chain mail/whatsapp mail/ FaceBook message that is going around giving incorrect information about what to do during an earthquake.

DO NOT USE ELEVATORS. I mean what else is there to say, don’t freaken use them!

What to do after an earthquake hits 

1 Run your bath immediately. After a sizable earthquake it is common practice for water company’s to shut off supply’s to limit water loss and contamination. This water can be rationed and using buckets can be utilised for washing, poring down the toilet for Flushing, bathing, and drinking if you run out of bottled water.

2. Be prepared for aftershocks. An aftershock is a general term for earthquakes that happen after a main shock, and is part of the faultlines “readjustment process.” They can happen for months after a main shock however, they do diminish over time.

3. Check your home for structural damage. chipped paint and small cracks on the walls that appear over time aren’t nessiceraly a problem. However, After an earthquake they could be a cause for concern. Check to see if doors and windows can no longer open and close properly. Check above doorways for cracks. Check to see if there is any cracks in tile work above a concrete floor. If this is true for any of these cases your foundations may have been compromised.

4 If you have to leave your home be careful. When opening cupboards or moving from room to room. Things might have been displaced or broken. Grab your go-bag and First aid kit and leave the building keeping an eye on your surroundings.

5. Check on others. After a large earthquake it might be hard to take other peoples situation into consideration. Shock is common after earthquakes, that’s why shock blankets are in most emergency earthquake kits. It’s important to check on others within your household including animals and when safe, check on your neighbours.

6. Check for gas. Until you have checked for gas, do not light any matches or turn on any lights. If you smell gas open windows and doors and vacate the property until the necessary authorities have told you it is safe to re-enter.

7. Watch/listen to the news. Local news could give you vital information on the circumstances and might order residents to evacuate. Sinkholes, mudslides and more incoming earthquakes may be reported.

8. When driving. Carefully slow to a stop and Turn off the engine, Remain in the car until the earthquake has stopped, listen to the news on the radio for further information.

9. Use the disaster Prevention information Website for info on roads, bus services, trains, Flight and shipping info.

Here are a few things I would recommend purchasing if you plan on living in a country that can’t stay still.

When it comes to a first aid and small essentials kits, it’s important to keep it as small and light as possible to make it easy to carry. You definitely don’t want your survival kit getting in the way. I recommend the Lizipai earthquake survival kit. It’s small, cheap, and has everything you would need plus a few more things that could definitely come in handy in any survival situation.


As far as a go-bag is concerned, your personal situation will dictate the kind of bag you need. You should think of it as a bag that you could grab right now and leave without taking anything else. Take a second right now to think of everything you need to survive outside in your local environment, make a list and purchase the appropriately sized backpack (no your iMac and Star Trek box set doesn’t count). Make sure everyone in your household has their own.


I recommend downloading Survival Manual. It is a free offline mobile phone app that can help you in all manner of scenarios. Seriously, everything you can think of. Whenever I get a new phone I download it, and it stays on my phone for the life of my device. Then, I download it again on my next phone hoping I’ll never have to use it. Everyone should download this because You never know.

If you live in Japan I would also highly recommend downloading Yurekuru Call.  Literally meaning “the coming quake” it sends you alerts directly from the Japanese Meteorological Agency’s earthquake early warning system (mouth full) and allows you to choose what level or magnitude you wish to be alerted to. The system is also a lot faster and reliable than the governments cell service warning system (which quite frankly, scares the absolute crap out of me. More than the earthquake!)


If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to be prepared because anything can happen. Even if you don’t live in Japan or even if you don’t live in a country that suffers from natural disasters. Right now might be a good idea to get your backup plan ready. You never know when a global pandemic, earthquake, sinkhole, fat guy with a bad haircut, flood, murder hornets, or a tornado, can go and mess everything up.

Here is a list of numbers for you to call if you need help during an emergency in Japan.

Emergency Contacts


118-coast guard

119-Fire, ambulance, emergency rescue

0570 000 911-Japan Help Line

Change Your Life With Apps During The Lockdown

With news that the lockdown will be extended for an undefined amount of time, you might be finding yourself chomping at the bit for things to get back to normal. It’s totally understandable that the usual routine of getting up, watching TV, cooking dinner, and then going to bed is starting to grate on you. You might be looking for something to fill the empty void that is now your day to day life with something a bit more fulfilling.

This might NOT be you. You might be just as busy with work as you were before. Maybe, you are a front-liner, desperately trying to keep the country on track. Some of us, however, have been granted a once in a lifetime pause, in which you can do all the things you wished you could do if only you weren’t so busy. A theoretical hyperbolic time-chamber, where more or less everyone is in the same boat. Without the standard responsibilities of time or the distraction of outside interference. Why not use this time to better yourself with apps!

Learn To Trade.

Learn to trade

I started trading on practice accounts a few years ago and I found it to be a great way to learn how markets respond to issues around the world. I would be watching the news and hear that a company or country had an issue and I use that info to trade with it. I have never traded with real money, although after practicing with fake money I am confident that if I did, I could turn a profit. I made some fake money off of Brexit, Gold, and currently, I am making fake money off of Oil. It’s a really fun game and a really good way to learn how markets work.

stocks graph

You might end up “Wowing” all of your friends with your in-depth knowledge about France’s Consumer Confidence Indicator, and why its important. All while you lower the top of your S-Type SVR, giving the finger to the plebs scurrying around after you trying to pick up the 20s that are bursting out of your Hermès Birkin…Who knows.

I personally use Trading 212 but there are many others!

Rich bitch

Learn to play an instrument.

learn guitar

Since the lockdown, YouTube channels have exploded with adverts for guitar and piano learning apps and programs. All promising to make you an aficionado within a few weeks. Now, I cant even begin to back up these claims as I have never used them but by the looks of it, they could help you. At the very least, teach you a few basics. (Guitar not included) Fender Play can even teach you the Ukulele


Get in shape!

Lockdown workout male

Yes! Getting in shape during a lockdown with no gym, impossible right? I’m probably going to get a lot of hate from the fitness community but its actually super, super, easy to lose weight and get in shape even without gym equipment. There are hundreds of fitness apps out there and you have probably used one or two already.

Lockdown workout

To start with, I use “My Fitness Pal”. It’s amazing for tracking your intake of calories. You literally add your height and weight, how much you want to weigh by what date and it breaks it down for you. All you have to do is scan or add the foods/quantities you eat and it tells you how many calories you have left for the day. It links to your smart watch/pedometer and gives you a live view of your calorie burn. Couple this with your favorite 30-day bum, chest, and abs workout application like, “Six Pack In 30 Days” or “Plank Workout at Home” and I promise you, if you follow the routine, you will leave lockdown a much healthier, fitter and more attractive person than when you entered. Prove me wrong.

I also want to mention Samsung Health. If you have a Samsung device use this app in conjunction with My Fitness Pal. If I ever feel that I’m putting on a few extra pounds or if I’m starting to slim out too much and need to put on a bit of muscle, these two apps are what I use to turn it around as fast as possible.

outside traning

Learn a language 


Take it from me, it’s a lot easier than you think. I started out with Duolingo, Tinycards, and memrise and at first. The concept of learning a whole new language via an app was not something I could comprehend, but after I got past the first few levels on each app I realized that it was a lot easier than I thought! I arrived in Japan fully able to translate Katakana and Hiragana, and was able to say a few need to know phrases. It gave me a great head start. Kanji was a bit of a different story though, we don’t talk about Kanji…


If you have no interest in learning a current language then why not learn an ancient one. Duolingo also teaches Latin!

Learn to code


I don’t know about you, but I always wanted to learn more about computers and what goes into an app or a program. Maybe even get a job using computers to fix problems with my newly acquired skills. Maybe I could even create a game and become a bazillionaire and loose it all because I forgot to file taxes, and I’m in prison for life now. Baby steps, but you’ll get there. I recommend SoloLearn: Learn to code for free. It makes it really easy to follow along and challenge yourself and others with what you have learned.


Get More Confident Giving Speeches


Does your job require presentations? Would you want a job that requires public speaking? Would you like to appear more confident when talking to a group of people? Closing statement? Best man speach? Argument? A pitch to your parents about why a playstation is actually an educational tool, and that they need to buy you one now! Hell, maybe you just want to give that acceptance speech that you recite to yourself in the mirror every night a bit of a punch. Then Orai is for you!

Crowd Speaking

Orai-AI Communication Coach is a personal speech coach in your pocket. It gives you instant feedback on all of the speaches you practice, Helps you learn through fun and interactive lessons and will help you become a more effective public speaker. Seriously, give this one a go and your speeches will really land that punch you intend them too.


When this lockdown is over, who do you want to be? Think about this. The friends and colleagues that you haven’t/won’t see for potentially upwards of two months are finally going to meet up with you after this all blows over. It’s going to be painfully obvious who spent their time learning, progressing, and growing as responsible human beings, and the ones that spent there entire time binging Netflix, eating Snickers, and staying awake and drinking way longer than they should have been.

I’m not talking total overhall of your life. Just adapt a few apps into your un-busy schedule. Take working out for example, 30 push-ups, 30 sit-ups, 30 squats and a 60-second plank will take fifteen minutes maximum. In a 14-16 hour day its not a big ask.

Diet isn’t guess work anymore. You dont need a thousand-dollar coach to stand over you, and tell you not to eat that loaf of bread.

You dont need to sit in a class or spend thousands to learn a skill anymore. Tens of coders have spent hundreds of hours working on thousands of lines of code to deliver you an easy to use app that can potentaly change your life. A fast track way to learn any skill you want and all you have to do is download it. Dont be afraid to turn to technology for help, because at the end of the day.

There’s an app for that.

Netflix & Quarantine| Stay The F**k Indoors

Day 472600-ish. The walls are closing in. I have checked the fridge for the 800th time today, don’t know why, I’m not hungry. I seemed to have broken my account on Youtube as it now only recommends metal smelting videos and Animal Crossing memes. Even though I live in Japan and don’t need to self-isolate, I thought I’d do the responsible thing and do it anyway. Although, I’m starting to crack and wonder what’s the worst that can happen if I go out and have fun…

Luckily, the paid-for service Netflix, and 123movies.com (if you enjoy breaking the law) are here to scare the crap out of us and make us think twice about going outside! Here are my must-watch, stay the F**k indoors movies!




Let’s start with the epic foresight movie Contagion. The origin of the virus, the corruption and cover-ups that help it spread, the lack of protective equipment and, the lies and misinformation spread by people seeking to capitalize on the suffering of others. I mean seriously, either the director is a psychic or someones hiding a time machine.

A killer virus is spread around the world and we see how virologists, countries, and the public deal with the outbreak. It stars Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Lawrence Fishburne, Jude Law, Bryan Cranston, and Gwyneth Paltrow… who dies in the first ten minutes. I mean what’s not to like?


The Mist


There are films out there that I like to call “fuck you, films”. As much as you like the story, the actors, or the concept, these films will always make you feel as if the movie (that you have just invested two hours in) gave you the middle finger right at the end. The Mist is one of these films.

David Drayton, our main character takes his son into town to get supplies when a mysterious mist rolls in, trapping our heroes in the store. It becomes very clear that there are some kind of creatures in the mist, but, that’s nothing compared to the crazies that they are stuck in the store with.


Bird Box


Just in case you lived under a rock throughout 2018, a mysterious force starts wiping out humanity in very quick succession and it becomes apparent that if you see “it” you will die by killing yourself horrifically. It spares no one, except the criminally insane. This means that while fighting to not see a killer entity, Sandra Bullock needs to keep one eye open for psychopaths.

Its gripping, suspenseful, and will have you screaming at your TV “DONT TRUST THAT GUY!” “NO DONT LET HIM IN!” “Oh for god sake!”




You know the story by now. Rumblings of a new virus circulates and nobody listens. A lockdown and a mandated quarantine (which nobody listens to, again) is set by the government. A house party happens, and all hell breaks loose. Only this virus involves worms… And Machine Gun Kelly! Have fun with that.


A Quiet Place 


Could you imagine having to remain silent your entire life? Everyone that you live with, all of your loved ones forced to remain quiet? Unable to talk, unable to make any noise at all. Sounds like heaven, I know! But apparently, this is a horror film. Might have something to do with the 8ft, bullet withstanding monsters that kill anything that makes the slightest noise. Emily Blunt was amazing in this film.


The Silence 


Same thing as A Quiet Place, but with bat monsters, and Stanley Tucci. STANLEY TUCCI! What other reasons do you need to watch this film.

Actor Stanley Tucci attends the Disney's "Beauty And The Beast" - UK Launch Event on 23/02/2017 at Spencer House, . Persons pictured: Stanley Tucci. /Photoshot



10 Cloverfield Lane


Pulled from a car and forced to remain in a deranged man’s house. Mary Elizabeth Winstead has to put up with a crazed doomsday prepper telling her that the outside is uninhabbitable after an appocolyptic event has wiped everything out. Is he deranged? Is he telling the truth? Is this film related to Cloverfield? You’ll have to watch to find out!


The Purge


America is at a crossroads. There’s too many people and not enough money. The dregs of society are pulling down the economy and the poor are taking money from the government (undeservedly). The super-rich are not making as much money as they should be and something needs to be done. There needs to be a final solution that would end this scourge of mediocracy.  Now, in the UK you would vote conservative, but in James Demonico’s America you get one night a year to “Purge” and let the poor take care of themselves. There are four films and a TV series. Just watch every one! You will not regret it!


These are just a few of my reasons to stay indoors. From the paranormal to the very normal (as recent events would suggest). So make sure your curtains are drawn, the popcorn is buttered and your doors and windows are locked… No seriously, I mean it, go and check your doors and windows are locked, you dont know what’s out there…

Hanami! Yoyogi Park vs Meguro River

If you were to google “best time to visit Japan” Google will tell you it is between March and May. The temperature is nice, very little rainfall, and oh yea the blooming of the cherry blossoms. If there is one thing that the Japanese take very seriously, it’s Hanami. They even have a forecast of when the flowers will blossom and of course, being Japan, it is extremely accurate.


Hanami is a flower viewing festival and it is sort of an official/unofficial spring celebration. Usually, you can do one of two things. You can get to a park bright and early and throw your picnic blanket down in the best spot you can find. Like trying to beat the Germans to the pool in Lanzarote, and get shitfaced. Or you can go to a street festival… And get shitfaced.

John Michael Milton

Now there is a massive debate about this, and that debate has raged for literally decades. Where to Hanami. Again, if you google it you will be inundated with wild numbers of places that you need to go to. “22 best places to Hanami”  “top 50 places to Hanami”  “26 Tokyo Sakura Spots: Cherry Blossom MEGA GUIDE!!!!!!” Seriously Google it. It’s as if every major Japanese blogging site desperately needs to have a Hanami guide with a ridiculous name and more and more spots to view flowers than competitors. Apparently, it all boils down to two places.

Yoyogi Park. Or the Meguro River.

So I went to both!

Meguro River

The Meguro River is a river that flows through Tokyo. it is just under five miles long and runs through Setagaya, Meguro, and Shinagawa wards and it flows into the Tokyo Bay near the Tennozi Isle Station.

Straight away the place was packed! I mean its a street festival a half a mile long, on two very narrow streets, with a river running down the middle of it, during Sakura blossom season. If there was a time for it to be packed, now would be it! The streets are full of shops and vendors on each side of the river selling street food. Japanese food, Korean food, beer, champagne, candyfloss, and of course the views!

It is my honest opinion that if you ever plan to visit Japan for a holiday check the forecast for cherry blossoms and book in advance. Make sure you visit the Meguro river! Like the title suggests it is ONE of the best places in Tokyo to visit and view the cherry blossoms.

Yoyogi Park

Yoyogi is a completely different animal. It’s more of a party in the park B.Y.O.B, bring lots of friends, listen to music and watch the cherry blossoms kind of deal. First a little history.

Hanami Yoyogi Park

In 1909 it was a training ground for Japanese troops. Then it was the location of the first successful powered flight in Japan. Then it housed the American military during the allied occupation of Japan. Then it became the main area for the Olympic village in 1967. Today Yoyogi park is a place for people to chill. It’s a place for people to walk their dogs and have a nice leisurely stroll in the afternoon.


Sundays are when the park really comes alive. Joggers, dog walkers, cosplayers, martial art schools, you name it. Everyone is out in force. It’s definitely a place to visit if you’re a tourist looking to observe what a Japanese Sunday looks like.

If there is one thing that Yoyogi park is known for it’s Hanami. Grab your drink of choice, or twelve, get there early to chuck your blanket down, wack on some tunes and observe the cherry blossoms. Honestly, there isn’t much more to it than that.

I can definitely see what’s so appealing. If reading a book under a tree with a flask of coffee (or booze) and enjoying the gentle breeze and fresh air, or having an outdoor laugh with mates and knocking back a couple of cold ones is your idea of a good time then Yoyogi park is for you.


For me however, it’s all about the lights, the sounds, the smells, and the action of Meguro river. There are only three images of Japan that are universally recognized as Japan. I mean if you were to show these images to anyone on planet earth, even if they had no internet they could tell you not only have they seen that image before but that it is Japan. Those images are.

five-story pagoda and Mount Fuji in Arakurayama Sengen Park in Fujiyoshida

The Sagano Bamboo Forest in Kyoto

The other one is the Meguro River during cherry blossom season. Honestly, if you are in Tokyo for the Hanami season there is no better place to be.



Being a Vegetarian in Japan

Ain Soph Ripple  アインソフリップル
Fully Loaded Burger from Ain-Soph 

Contrary to the title I am not a vegetarian. However, I am a bit of a health nut and while I was living in the UK I would always opt for the sweet potato pitta at Nandos or the Veggie Burger in Frankie and Benny’s. In fact, the only time I ate meat was if it was put in front of me and not wanting to seem rude by saying “I don’t want this” I would just eat it.

My typical day would be oats with honey in the morning, couscous and beetroot humous salad for lunch with a Nature Valley protein bar, a few bits of fruit here and there and a dinner consisting of some kind of Quorn dish with a Gold Standard Protein shake made with unsweetened almond milk before bed. In fact, if I didn’t eat eggs I would eat vegan.

However, moving to Japan threw my diet out the window, from the 40th floor, on to spikes, made of lava.

The thing is, Japan doesn’t really do vegetarian. In fact, I have come across one too many people that look at me like I’ve lost my goddam mind when I say things like “no meat” “vegetarian” “don’t put Bonito flakes on it!” It’s not that they don’t understand it, vegetarian in Japanese is “Bejitarian” and vegan in Japanese is “bee-gan”. No seriously. Even though there are words for it in Japanese doesn’t mean that they understand it. Every time I say vegetarian I still have to run through the list with them.

Egg? ok.

Milk? ok.

Dashi? (fish stock) not ok.

Chicken? not ok.

Eh? but… Eggs from a chicken are ok?

Its like in the majority of cases they can’t tell the difference between eating an animal and eating what comes from an animal. If you tell them outright you are a Vegan they tend to understand that you want absolutely nothing to do with an animal. However, that checklist will still probably come out. And restaurants are just the tip of the iceberg. Getting food from a Seven Eleven or a Family Mart is a minefield of meat, even the pre-made vegetarian salad has some kind of animal derivative in it for absolutely no reason. Just plain lettuce on its own in a pack has fish flakes in it. Almost all cakes have gelatine or animal Rennet in them. And if you’re a Vegan!? Good luck! Even the bread has milk in it here.

Now, I have succumbed to the fact that I can fight this every single time I eat or just go with the flow. Not wanting to be that typical foreigner with a list of dietary needs that end up slowing a kitchen down because they need to remake everything, I either eat a little meat or simply go to vegan restaurants.

But! Fear not! Vegan restaurants are popping up all the time. It would seem that more and more people are realizing the niche that is veganism in a meat-eating country. Don’t get me wrong they are few and far between but the ever-increasing rate is a good sign that Japan is heading in the right direction. I will link just a few places that I have eaten in and can personally vouch for their deliciousness for vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters alike.

It goes without saying, I am a very respectful foreigner and I would never walk into an establishment and throw demands around and kick off when I don’t get my way. I have read up on the culture and how Japan does things. I know that they are a homogenous society with a collective mindset and I am happy to assimilate. However, the vast majority of goers of the Rugby world cup and the 2020 Olympics will not care one bit.

Now, I’m sure if you are reading this and you are not from Japan, you are a very respectful, easy going person that would be more than happy to adjust your lifestyle for the two to three weeks that you stay here. You might even be reading my blog to get a bit of insight into what to do and what not to do. And if you have done a bit of research about the typical foreigner faux pas, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I fear for Japan. I have lived in other parts of the world prior to moving here and I can honestly say that Japan is not ready for the rest of the world. Smoking in public is illegal here. Well, foreigners won’t care about that. Eating and walking aren’t exactly good manners. Well, foreigners won’t care about that. I once saw a group of old ladies scowl at a man that coughed one too many times on a train and caused a disturbance. Well, get ready for carriages full of people on their phones screaming about god knows what. The one thing that Japan is going to need is to hurry up and get the right dietary requirements catered for. I’m not just talking about meat, fish, and milk. I’m talking about allergies and religious needs as well.

If you are Vegan/Vegetarian I highly recommend trying these places out.

T’s TanTan– my favorite place to eat! the hot and sour ramen is the best in my opinion.
Vegan Ramen
Ain Soph. Ripple -or any of the Ain Soph resturants to be honest but the best is Ripple. Typical American style food. Chilly Cheese Fries, Burgers, Burritos, Salads but all one hundred percent vegan.
Nataraj Restaurant– for us Brits it’s important to know where the closest Indian restaurant is, its a safety blanket. If you’re not from the UK you wouldn’t understand. Nataraj is the place to go, trust me on this.
Coco ichibanya– now bear with me on this one. You have to find a vegetarian one because not all establishments are, you also have to tell them you are a vegetarian to be given the secret menu and you have to be ok with certain veggies deep fried in the same oil as meat but, it is the best curry in the world!
Noodle StandIt isn’t a vegan place but they do have a vegan option on the menu. It’s the Vegan Coconut Miso Ramen. A white Miso soup cooked with coconut oil and Ramen. And it is delicious! Reminds me a lot of Yasai Itame from Wagamamas in the UK.

Okonomiyaki zen– The one place I found that know what a vegetarian is. Okonomiyaki is a type of pancake made with veg and meat. Just tell them you’re a vegetarian or vegan and they will bend over backwards to accommodate and it’s delicious!

Kanro Shichifukujin– A traditional Japanese vegan macrobiotic sweets and bento restaurant. It’s run by the sweetest Japanese lady in the world and there is a cat. What’s not to love.

Please check out the Happy Cow App and the Veggie Map for more restaurants that are vegetarian and vegan-friendly.

About me


My name is John Michael Milton
and found myself having a bit of a crisis.
I have worked, (although very interesting and fulfilling jobs) full time since I was 18.

My jobs have all been quite static, single location positions, and for years I have felt the walls steadily closing in around me.

Desperate for a change I scoured job and career change websites to find what it was I was itching for and then it hit me, what if I just move to another country? I can do that! I am a grown-up! It would also help me tick off that other thing I have always wanted to do and that is learning a new language. But where to go?

France or Spain? Maybe a bit too close to home though. Wouldn’t want those pesky parents to just show up at any time now, would I? And this isn’t a holiday, I’m taking this seriously. I am going to work and grow as a person, learn a new language and take on new challenges, experiences, and develop a whole new skill set. I want something completely different to what I am accustomed to.

Italy maybe? My boss a few years ago lived and worked in Italy and I will never, as long as I live, forget the conversation we had about it one dreary morning in Leeds. Opening up the shop I asked.

“so what was your favourite thing about Italy?”

And he said, without taking a second breath.

“My morning cigarette, accompanied by the best espresso that I have ever tasted, sitting on my veranda overlooking the landscape, feeling the cool breeze on my face and watching the sunrise, THAT, was the greatest experience of my life.”

He then looked up at the rain, took a sip of his Greggs latte, scowled in disgust, and then (looking at his pathetic undercooked Greggs bacon and sausage sandwich) sighed regrettably and said: “let’s get inside”.

He could speak fluent Italian after a year. Actually, you could say he was my first bit of inspiration, because this was the first instance that I started to think there are much bigger and better things out there, and I could do them.

But again Italy is still a bit close for my liking, plus, I know someone that has proved it can be done. I need something more challenging, something not so easily accomplished.
I had thought maybe Germany-somewhere to the east like Berlin, but, from what I found out the vast majority of people there speak English so not challenging enough!

Maybe a Middle Eastern country? (Quick look at the news), maybe NOT a Middle Eastern country.

Russia? Isn’t it cold there? I think I could go further anyway.

Finally, It came to Japan. Now I have always wanted to visit Asia and Japan was very high, if not the top spot on my list.

To me, Japan was just one of those places that you wish you could visit because it is so out there. The majority of people struggle to speak English. I thought I would have to learn the language to avoid starving! Also, judging from what I have seen online and on TV, the place is a total death trap! Tsunamis every year, monsoons every other month, earthquakes every other week, 111 active volcanoes, and 3 of which are apparently very long overdue to blow.  There are also places that are still uninhabitable by humans like parts of Fukushima due to radiation. Not to mention Kim Jong-Un fires a missile at it every time he has a paddy! And I’m thinking to my self, this is perfect!

A quick (not so quick) look online to find out what I need to do to get there and my plan starts to take shape.

So less than one year later with everything I need packed and ready to go (not including the cat) I applied for my visa, handed in my notice, canceled all my direct debits, and grabbed the cheapest flight out of the UK.

So why create a website? Well, I have been told a fair few times during my career that I should have a personal website and I always thought it would be a good professional addition to my business cards (when I finally get around to making some). It can be a place potential employers could do a bit of research on me, find out what it is I am really about, and what it is I have been up to. I know several people whose jobs rely on clicks, subscribers, followers, and re-tweets, and they all swear that the future of recruitment and employment will be through social media. If I want a career in marketing (which I do) I really need to market myself and focus on my social media, and the best way to self-promote would be to have a website.

With nothing really to talk about other than uploading a CV and writing a self-glorified statement about how amazing I am, I was a bit lost. I thought I would really struggle with content to put on my website. I mean sure, I could write about my life in Leeds but come on, who wants to hear about the time I accidentally ordered extra hot instead of medium at Nando’s, or the time I replaced all the black and white photos of my brother with black and white photos of Nicolas Cage and Jeff Goldblum in mum’s house.

It’s only now that I am in a foreign land, experiencing new and very different things that I find myself with an abundance of stories and things to talk about but no one to talk about them with. “I know!” I’ll do that thing everyone else tells me to do and write a blog and create a website! Two birds with one stone!

The goal of my blog is to help, inform, and tell a few stories along the way.

By all means, feel free to subscribe to my blog!  You can also check out my Instagram where I will be uploading pics of where I am and what I’m up to.

If you have any questions or suggestions for me, then please feel free to get in touch!


Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton