Posted by: thewhitesintokyo | December 11, 2009

Long time, no blog

Hey friends.

As you may or may not have noticed, this blog has faded a bit lately.  Now that Rachael’s food blog has taken off (and is probably changing our life for the long-term) and I am about to begin my Master’s classes in Education Leadership and Policy Studies (online through the University of California Northridge), I definitely can’t seem to find the time to update this as often.

Plus, I realized something when talking to my dad the other day.  The first days, months, and even year that you’re in a new culture, you notice a lot of surface-level differences.  “They dress funny.”  “It’s so weird when they ______ ”

These days, I notice those things, but they don’t catch my attention enough to write about them here.  Whenever we have visitors, Rachael and I both realize how much we have actually gotten used to in our strange new life in Tokyo.  What seems bizarre to others is now just part of our everyday routine.  Would you blog about your drive to work or how people walk down your street?  Probably not.

Apparently, even the way I look (to Tokyoites) has changed.  Recently, two of our good friends, Adam and Allison Hart came to Tokyo to visit for nearly a week (from Dubai).  Whether on the train or in the street, people treated Adam differently than they do me.  They would ask him questions and be extra nice to him.  One woman even stopped to ask if he and Allison needed help finding something when they looked lost.

I think I’ve just lost that, well, “I have no idea what I’m doing” look.  People still look at me strangely (cue jokes), but they can see signs that I usually know what I’m doing and where I’m going, just like them. So, maybe I’m not as noticeable as before.

That doesn’t mean that things here aren’t still fascinating though.  For example, I’m reading a phenomenal book called “Embracing Defeat.”  It’s a Pulitzer winner about post-WWII Japan.  It’s amazing to see the roots of so much of this society’s quarks and how they resulted directly from US policies that we put in place following the war.  From understanding their pacifistic foreign policy to straining to comprehend why men comfortably loiter in 7-11s reading animated porn next to one another (and how this is somehow acceptable), some of these deep, cultural issues are becoming more clear to me.  If this culture is like an iceberg, our first year of blogging exposed the 10% of the iceberg sticking out of the water.  The other 90% of what makes up this amazing place called Japan has mostly been untouched in this blog.  Mostly, that’s because, like this entry, it takes a lot of time and effort to understand and reason through those big issues.

So, we will certainly keep this up when interesting things pop up from time to time.  But gone are the weeks of three or four new posts with photos and videos.  If there’s anything you’d like to read about, let me know and I’d be glad to write about it.

(P.S. Rachael is in the States right now visiting family and we’ll spend this (our first) Christmas abroad, in Japan.  Can’t wait for her to get back.  Maybe we can write about our holidays in Japan.  And our Thanksgiving video will be coming soon after she returns.  I would have posted it sooner, but Rachael borrowed the hard drive that I saved it to!)



  1. One of my favorite posts yet. Insightful. You were thinking, reasoning things out, and I could almost hear you.
    Beautifully written!
    Love you,
    Aunt J

  2. Well said, Brad. I’m glad that you have been able to think about these things without me there. I can tell that you’ve been thinking about a lot of things that you really wanted to write about and I’m glad that you finally have. I love you!

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