• 2021.07.13

    Wanderlust: On Holiday For Life

    The first time I took an airplane, I was 3 years old. My Mother took me to visit a family friend in Denmark. On returning to nursery school, after a wonderful week away in Copenhagen, I told all my little friends that every plane we saw flying in the sky above was going there too. Other than my best friend Natalie, no one else had ever left the country before. And although Natalie had been to Columbia as many times as the years she‘d been alive… she believed me too, ha ha. From then on, every year I got on a plane to somewhere. Austria, Germany, France, Jamaica, Kenya, Egypt, […]

  • 2021.06.21

    Are you drinking enough water?

    As if staying sane, COVID-safe, maintaining one’s health physically, mentally, and spiritually, eating well and exercising everyday was not enough… All of the above means aaaaabsolutely nothing if we don’t stay hyyyydrated. Our overall energy, capacity to function at an optimal level and ability to concentrate on tasks are all affected by how hydrated we are. Dehydration has been found to contribute towards depression and anxiety, with anxiety levels being far higher in individuals who did not drink enough water. Signs of dehydration in elderly people manifests as symptoms of Dementia and exacerbate the symptoms of patients diagnosed with other neurocognitive disorders. Among an array of grim internal organ dysfunctions, […]

  • 2021.06.06

    Dystopia

    Since I was a child, I’ve never enjoyed watching TV. I much often prefer to read books. However, my taste in books have shifted considerably from my childhood days. I always enjoyed reading adventure novels but in the last 10 years have gained a preference towards Dystopian novels. Dystopia, the word which is opposite to Eutopia, simply means a mostly negative world/ society. Thanks to many of these books being adapted into film, they have become a lot more popular. Most of the books I enjoy make a comment about our society and makes me more conscious about the injustices in our world. The book that started my fascination with […]

  • 2021.05.30

    Convenience Stores in Canada?

    Convenience stores are a huge part of daily life in Japan. You cant walk 5 minutes in the city without passing one! People visit them to get a meal, grab a drink, or even pay their bills. But did you know that convenience stores have a very, very different image in Canada? Japanese convenience stores are clean and efficient, with a lot of delicious and high quality food and products. But in Canada, convenience stores are seen as some of the dirtiest and overpriced stores in existence. Many products, such as a snacks or drinks, are sold for double or triple the price of a grocery store! Furthermore, most Canadians […]

  • 2021.05.23

    Apartment hunting in Japan

    I love looking at new apartments. In Japan, it is a lot more reasonably priced to live alone. Most apartments in England are usually for couples or two or 3 bedrooms for multiple people, Making living along extremely difficult. As well as this, most English people expect to pay 40-50% of their salary on Rent compared to the 30% in Japan, Despite of this, initial fees of moving in to an apartment is a lot cheaper in the U.K For one this, we don’t have Key money (礼金). As a westerner, the idea of key money is CRAZY. Handing over that money was so painful for me! And then you […]

  • 2021.05.10

    Golden Days – Stay at home studio

    Was it just me… or was Golden Week 2021 the shortest Golden week ever? I called it “The Golden Days” and those days were spent at home. Usually, I would have planned something elaborate and crammed in as many outdoor activities and catch-up-coffee dates as possible. Alas, with COVID-19 still being a very real and ever looming threat, I kept myself indoors. They say “The devil makes works of idols hands”, so with all that extra time and nowhere to go, I decided to finish some home improvement DIY projects I’d neglected or didn’t have the energy for before. As many of you know, I am a musician. I started […]

  • 2021.04.19

    Japan and USA: Go to the hospital

    I’ve been terrified of hospitals starting from a young age. Since we never went to the hospital unless it was absolutely necessary due to the high costs, it became a place that I dreaded even thinking about visiting. We don’t have clinics like in Japan, even small health check ups or ten minute visits can run up a bill of hundreds of dollars without insurance. Even with insurance, it’s often unclear of what is covered or not covered by your insurance company and misunderstanding can often leave people to foot the entire bill. Japan’s national health insurance was a blessing and huge stress relief, not worrying about problems that might […]

  • 2021.04.12

    Games in Japan

    Playing games or being a gamer is a very different experience than in America. Mobile games and single player games are more popular in Japan. In America, console and pc multiplayer games are more popular and a very common way to make new friends or meet new people. Playing games with friends is a very easy way to hang out while staying at home and saving money. I started playing online PC games when I was 14 years old and met friends from Canada that I still play games with today. Now I play games with my girlfriend because we can`t go out and drink or travel. We enjoy playing […]

  • 2021.04.04

    Over ripe bananas!

    I love fruit, especially in Japan as the fruit here is definitely more delicious than in England (albeit more expensive). However, bananas are incredibly cheap so I make sure I buy them in bulk so that I don’t have to go to the shop often to buy more. The problem with this is that I often forget to eat them! By the time I remember I have bananas in my cupboard they are brown (Yuck). There is however a brightside to this… BANANA BREAD! Banana bread is similar to a banana flavoured cake but with the same heavy dense texture as a bread. The best parts of banana bread is […]

  • 2021.03.29

    Japanese Anime I love Part 1

    I am a self proclaimed Otaku. English people would call me a weeb, which is a derogatory slang word to mean a person who is obsessed with Japanese culture, more specifically Anime. So like with my previous list of my top favourite video games, here is my top favourite Anime! Mirai Nikki (Future Diary) Though with live-action movies I am not a fan of violent or Gory, Anime seems to be an exception. Mirai Nikki is a somewhat confusing plot which makes me love it more. The basic premise is 12 people who write in a dairy on a day to day basis suddenly have the ability to have their […]

  • 2021.03.22

    Spring in Vancouver

    With the weather warming up in Osaka it’s beginning to feel like spring is around the corner. Spring is my favourite time in Japan for a number of reasons. Among the top reasons are the cherry blossoms, the amazing weather being not too cold or too hot, and of course my favourite reason the start of the BASEBALL SEASON! Spring is also a nostalgic season for me since I first came to Japan in the spring of 2017. It’s hard to believe for me that this spring I will be in Japan for four years. My hometown Vancouver, in beautiful British Columbia Canada, is also an incredible place in spring. The weather is almost perfect […]

  • 2021.03.14

    Do German people drink beer every day?

    Very often people in Japan ask me if German people drink beer all the day every day. That’s one of the common stereotypes, but like many other stereotypes it’s not true. There are two popular customs in Germany: 1. No beer before 4 o’clock! 2. Is the so called “Feierabendbier” (it means “after work beer”). So, usually people won’t start drinking before the evening. And even though beer is probably the most popular alcoholic drink, many places are famous for some local specialty. For example I lived in the city Trier, which is famous for white wine and apple wine. For the apple wine they even use a special cup, […]

  • 2021.03.08

    Ashwagandha

    Howdy-doody, Chalin here. As I wrote in my previous health related post, in the face of COVID-19, I`ve been looking for natural alternatives and holistic ways to boost my immune system to optimize my health, physically, mentally and spiritually during these most uncertain times. I`ve made some interesting additions to my mostly vegan diet and Ashwagandha has been the one I`ve felt has benefited me the most. Also known as Winter Cherry and Indian Ginseng, this marvelous medicinal root has been proven to have countless benefits for the body and the brain. This Ayurvedic/ancient Indian medicine promotes balance in the body. As an adaptogen, it helps with stress, lowering cortisol […]

  • 2021.03.01

    How to become a couch potato: Netflix edition

    Hello, everyone! In these cold Winter days, who actually wants to leave the warmth of the kotatsu? Not me, that`s for sure. So I bring you the best dramas you can find on Netflix and that I have been binge watching recently. Bridgerton Based on a series of novels, “Bridgerton” is set in 1813, during the Regency period in London. The story revolves around the Bridgerton family, in particular Daphne Bridgerton. The young lady, once officially introduced to society, will have to find a suitable husband by the end of the ball season, whilst avoiding any scandal attached to her name. But there comes the handsome Duke of Hastings, whose reputation is […]

  • 2021.02.22

    Gigantic Yakisoba

    Hello again, it is your favourite foodie. As you may or may not know I am into strange, unusual food that are very hard to find in Japan. However, I recently found a somewhat popular food that I thought to challenge myself with (based on my favourite Japanese YouTuber Hajime Shacho). It’s a gigantic sized Yakisoba that 1 person shouldn’t eat by themselves (unless you are Hajime Shacho). The Yakisoba was surprisingly not easy to find even though it was supposedly sold in many convenience stores and supermarkets. In the end, I managed to find a bunch of them in a Mega Don Quiote store for about ¥1000. My aim […]

  • 2021.02.15

    Hey, y’all

    Hey, y’all! I’m Manny, a teacher here at OEC who is from North Carolina. Have you ever been to North Carolina? You probably haven’t; it’s not a state that popular with foreign tourists. It also has a tricky name; despite being called “North” Carolina it’s in the American south. There are, however, two Carolinas: North and South. In the American south, “Hey, y’all” is a common greeting. Y’all means “you all.” It’s like saying “Hey, guys,” which almost every YouTuber says when starting a video (in my opinion). Today, I’d like to tell you about my state, North Carolina. The first thing that comes to mind is the Wright Brothers. […]

  • 2021.02.15

    Strange English

    Being a native speaker, I rarely ever questioned the English language. It wasn’t until I came to Japan and began teaching that I realised that English is STRANGE. I want to talk about some of the examples where English makes absolutely no sense. Let’s start off simple. Prepositions (On/ In/ At) This was where my origin al problem came about when teaching English. Prepositions are a pretty basic starting point when learning, so it would often be a focus of some of my classes. However when it comes to: Ten in the morning Five in the afternoon Eleven at night I’m on the bus I’m on the train I’m on […]

  • 2021.02.08

    Healthy Japanese Food

    With the pandemic dominating most our decisions these days, Its still so unknown what causes one to actually get sick. This time last year I began finding Natural and homeopathic remedies to my health concerns, including strengthening of my immune system. Japan is famous for its life expectancy rates and so I dug deeper into why that might be the case. Japanese diet is inherently macrobiotic. Seasonal vegetables, seeds, nuts. Fruits and Sea weeds. Growing up, my Grandfather was a homeopath. His garden was full of countless herbs, organic vegetables and his cupboards were full of natural essential oil extracts. He always had a natural remedy for any ailment and […]

  • 2021.02.01

    New Japanese Driver in Formula 1

    Formula 1 fans across Japan are rejoicing as they will get their first Japanese driver in F1 since 2014. Yuki Tsunoda will drive for Red Bull’s 2nd team AlphaTauri which was renamed in 2020. Tsunoda will be the first driver to drive in F1 who was born in the 21st century (2000) as well as being the youngest driver at only 20 years old. This is very exciting news for fans all across Japan who will get to root for a homegrown driver on a competitive team in AlphaTauri. In 2020 during the COVID-19 State of Emergency in Japan I became a massive F1 fan. Not being able to watch […]

  • 2021.01.25

    Baking in Japan

    Baking sweets in Japan can be annoying. Ingredients are often expensive and the ovens are tiny, but I try my best to make delicious things with only a toaster oven! A classic in England is the traditional Scone. Japanese scones tend to be a little dry, but the English variety is soft and buttery, and not so difficult nor expensive to make, so I thought I would give you my recipe! Ingredients 350g of regular flour 5.5 tsp of Baking Powder ¼ tsp salt 85g Butter 3 tbsp caster sugar (グラニュー糖) 175g milk 1tsp Vanilla extract 100g Raisins or sultanas, or any small dried fruits really. Or even no fruit […]

  • 2021.01.22

    Must try Western food (You can find in Japan)

    I love Japanese food. However, from time to time there are small food items that I miss from the U.K that are not as easily accessible in Japan. Because of this, I often scour the international stores often in search of some comfort foods/ drinks. So here are 4 of the things I miss most from back home! Terry’s chocolate orange People often ask me what I miss most about England. Is it my Family? No. Friends? No. It is Terry’s chocolate orange. So these are designed to look like an orange, and the chocolate itself has orange oil in it. The blue box is milk chocolate, whereas the red […]

  • 2021.01.18

    Video Games

    Hello again! After last week’s skin care routine post, I thought I would do another favourite list. So this week I want to look at my top 5 video games of all time! As many of you know, I am a HUGE otaku, and video games help me to relieve stress and even inspire me in many ways like my fashion for example. I’m not going to lie to you, this is going to be a list of RPGs as that’s pretty much all I play. So here are my top 5 favourite games of all time (In no order) Kingdom Hearts II (Playstation) An RPG which is an ambitious […]

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    2021.01.15

    Cycling in Osaka

    Back in the 90’s, when I was a kid, I used to like cycling around my neighbourhood on my bike in Manchester. As I got older, the bikes got bigger and the rides got longer. Now, living in Osaka, my love of endurance rides is at an all-time high and I am in the right place for a person who loves cycling! For many tourists. Osaka serves as a kind of hub to travel to various places in Kansai and surrounding areas. This is also the case for cycling. Day trips to Kyoto, Nara, Hyogo, Nara and Wakayama are all possible by bicycle (of course, I’m talking about road bikes […]

  • 2021.01.14

    Berliner

    In Germany we have special tradition for New Year. Usually people have a big party on December 31. and everybody gets drunk and do firework. It’s very nice but sometimes feels a little bit like war and all the pets are very scared. But there’s a special food, that everybody loves. It’s called “Berliner” and looks like a doughnut. Usually it’s filled with plum or strawberry jam and it’s very delicious. But there’s a prank people love to do. One of the “Berliner” is filled with very spicy mustard and nobody knows, which one it is. So while everybody is having fun and enjoying the food, one person will have […]

  • 2021.01.11

    Skin care!

    As many of you probably already know, I am obsessed with cosmetics and skin care! When I was a child I had terrible acne. Thankfully, after trying a variety of different skincare routines and taking better care of it, my skin has improved a lot, but even now it is very red and sometimes incredibly oily or dry. That being said, I would like to talk to you about some of the products and brands I love that are available in Japan! And so, here is my skincare routine! So the first thing I do every morning is Wash my face, and a product I recently started using and I […]

  • 2021.01.05

    Motivation

    Happy new year everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful new year despite the craziness of 2020. This time last year, I began a journey to exercise and become healthier. For 10 months I worked hard and started to feel better about my body image, and then my birthday month came around (November) and I thought to myself “It’s my birthday! I should relax and eat lots of cake”. This is exactly what I did, and then December came around, and I thought to myself “It’s Christmas! I should relax and eat lots of cake”. So now it’s been 2 months without exercising and being careful about what I […]

  • 2020.10.13

    Obon

    Obon is over and we’re all getting back into the swing of things. I used the break to spend some time indulging in one of my favorite hobbies: board games! Board and card games have always been a big part of my life, even when I was young. My family would try to have a weekly game night where we would compete to win. As a family of 4 we had a lot of options for different things to play, but a very common game in the USA is Monopoly. In case you don’t know, Monopoly is a game where players roll dice to travel around a board buying properties […]

  • 2020.01.14

    Popular TV shows

    Many students I’ve talked to really enjoy watching English language movies and tv shows. This is a great way to learn about different parts of foreign cultures and some of the history of countries like the USA and the UK. As 2019 comes to an end, many websites have made lists of their “bests of the decade” so I’ve made a short list of tv shows that many of the staff have seen and enjoyed from the past 10 years. Game of Thrones A fantasy story that was adapted from the A Song of Ice and Fire books. This show was popular even for people who didn’t like stories about […]

  • 2019.12.26

    Sunday Funday

    The best day of the week, Sunday. No work, no plans, just me and my bike. I’m not sure how many people head out to Kadoma/Neyagawa area but I highly recommend you check it out. I usually start my trek from Owada station(Not the nicest area but it is home) If you head east from there you’ll hit a nice road that follows the Keihan line all the way to Neyagawa-shi station. It is filled with beautiful flowers all along it during the spring and summer. Once you hit the station there’s a huge grocery store that carries imported and rare snacks. Of course these snacks would be perfect to […]

  • 2019.12.26

    A Grenadian Christmas Celebration

    Hi all. First time poster here! I am happy to share with you some of my family’s culture. Although I am from New York (not the city!) I grew up in a different culture than many who lived in the same area as me. My family is from the Caribbean islands. My father is from Grenada while on my mom’s side, they are from Barbados. Due to my family’s background, I grew up learning about West Indian culture and of course American culture. The US is a big place with a lot of different races, ethnicity and culture. Today I will share with you the difference in how me and […]

  • 2019.11.14

    Japanese Professional Wrestling

    If there’s one thing the Japanese people are known for, it’s their all or nothing attitude. Every Japanese person I’ve met strives to be the best at what they do. This mentality bleeds into the world of sports too. So, what is my favourite Japanese sport? Baseball? Football? Nope… It’s wrestling! (プロレス) There are many reasons why I love wrestling, but here are just some of the reasons why. Japanese pro wrestling feels like an entirely different world from what you imagine pro wrestling in America or Europe to be like. Let’s look at some of those differences… The Crowd All too often on televised American wrestling you’ll hear a […]

  • 2019.10.31

    OEC Halloween party 2019!!

    Last Saturday Halloween party was a blast!!! We spent great time all together playing games and the costumes were truly amazing! Take a look yourself! We had great time, hope you guys enjoyed as well!!

  • 2019.10.31

    Menbaka Fire Ramen

    Last weekend, I went to a ramen restaurant in Kyoto called Menbaka Fire Ramen (nearest station is Nijojo-mae Station) . I am a fan of eating foods that are hard and unusual to find, especially ramen. Last weekend I ate Fire Ramen (yes, a ramen with fire on it). It’s a good restaurant.I guess the only downside was the waiting time which was about 30 minutes. So I took my waiting ticket and went to the convenience store to buy some snacks to eat. This helped me kill time. 30 minutes felt like 10 minutes. Then I finally went into the restaurant! There were so many rules to follow before eating […]

  • 2019.10.30

    The University Experience in Japan

    A few months back, I nervously waited the announcement of who got accepted in the college of International Relations at Ritsumeikan, and that was not a pleasant experience. Up to that point I had been hitting many different roadblocks trying to get accepted into the university, such as a matter of my school track record (I not attended any formal school for at least 8 years up to that point), to even having to prove that I spoke English. Although it was challenging, it all came to fruition when at 10 am to results were released and I saw my application number on the accepted list. I was so ecstatic […]

  • 2019.10.24

    Arcade (Game Centre) Culture

    In 1978, Tomohiro Nishikado (西角 友宏) (a video game designer from Osaka) developed the most famous video game of all time; Space Invaders. He worked for Taito, a video game company which came to fruition in 1953 manufacturing pinball games. Over the years, Taito moved further into the arcade market to become a huge player in the coin operated video game industry. Fast forward over 40 years later from Space Invaders, and Japan’s downtown areas are now clustered with arcades. Upon leaving a main train station, you’re never more than a stone’s throw away from an arcade or ゲームセンター (Game Centre). These incredible structures are normally broken up into categories […]

  • 2019.10.23

    Halloween

    With Halloween right around the corner, let’s look at some Japanese urban legends which students have told me about at O.E.C… Many western horror films have taken heavy influence from Japanese urban legends (都市伝説) (Toshi Densetsu). Is there a reason for this? Yes, because they’re so terrifying. The classic western horror story of chanting “Bloody Mary” into a mirror, or your average banshee story, pales in comparison to some of these. So, strap yourself in, lock all the doors, and put the big light on, it’s about to get scary… Aka Manto (Red Cape)   You’re out and about, then suddenly you’re desperate for the toilet. In your haste, you […]

  • 2019.10.21

    My Katakana Problem

    Before I came to Japan, I never realised how many English words are used in Japan in day to day life. In most cases they are easy to understand for English speakers. For example, テーブル is “table”, チェンジ is “change”, and ラッキー is “lucky”; no problem right? (Or so you think…) In fact, for English-speakers, speaking foreigners katakana is not always easy and convenient. For example, コンセント has a very different meaning in English (“consent”=同意する), and パン is not English at all! So, if you try to use a katakana word that is familiar to you, please check it is real English because otherwise we might not understand you. Additionally, […]

  • 2019.10.17

    Guy Fawkes’ Night

    When thinking of fireworks, the first image that Japanese people have is of summer. Each year all over Japan, there are many fireworks displays being shown, and of course, wearing yukata is essential. And yet, in countries other than Japan, fireworks are not a summer custom, but are instead mostly done on New Year’s Eve. So, in most of the world, we wear thick coats while we watch fireworks. However, Britain is quite unique. Like the rest of Europe, we show fireworks on New Year’s Eve, but in addition we have our own unique fireworks day that is only celebrated in Britain. This day, called Guy Fawkes’ Night, on the […]

  • 2019.10.15

    Haggis Alert!

    I hope you are all prepared for the typhoon approaching, and that you’ve filled your fridge with food and water, because I have! If you come from a country where the closest we get to natural disasters is having freezing winters and heavy rain, Japan sure has a lot of crazy weather. Well, we do sometimes get snowbound in Sweden (= stuck in our houses because of the snow), which is pretty crazy I guess! However, what I wasn’t expecting was how lightly people treated these natural disasters. People go to work, school and if possible go along with their schedule and plans, unlike snowbound people, ha ha. Having said […]

  • 2019.10.15

    Taking Care Of Your Hair

    Hello all students! This is your teacher Hannah! Do you remember me? I’m from Australia! Did you know that in Australia we call ‘breakfast’, ‘brekkie’? I betcha didn’t! Today I’d like to make a little blog post about something very dear to me, and that is taking good careful care of your gorgeous hair! When I sit in my classrooms and wait for my students to answer (which, depending on their level, can sometimes take quite some time), I find myself observing my students’ magnificent scalps and glorious locks.This always leads me to reach the very same conclusion: I think that people here in Osaka wash their hair way too […]

  • 2019.10.15

    Dotonbori Rugby

    So, last week (or was it already two weeks ago ???) I found myself at the Dotonbori canal after my shift and by complete chance stumbled on a group of foreigners (I’m pretty sure they were European) that had started some kind of Rugby formation in support of their favorite Rugby team, the night of the Japan-Ireland match.It’s unclear to me whether this particular set of people were supporting Japan or Ireland, but in any case they were sure having a good old time with it. I’m pretty sure I also saw a camera crew show up at a certain point, maybe it could’ve been the local news channel? I […]