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Michael Gakuran

Michael Gakuran is fluent in Japanese and resides in Tokyo. When not out exploring haikyo, he’s writing up thrilling tales of adventure on his website ‘Gakuranman’ and teaching advanced Japanese on the website ‘Gakuu’.



A Trip to Niigata’s Phallic Shoki Festival

Every year between February and March, groups of local citizens head deep into the forests of Niigata for a festival that involves copious amounts of straw and a large phallus.

By 7 min read 4


Urban Exploration in Japan: What is Haikyo?

Have you ever wanted to explore a ghost town? Perhaps crawl through forgotten wartime tunnels? Piece together puzzling secrets of the past? Welcome to the secret world of haikyo.

By 6 min read 8


Toriaezu: The Undecided Decision

Here are 4 general uses of the word とりあえず that you are likely to encounter.

By 3 min read 7


The Sound of Japanese Summer

One of the most recognizable sounds of summer in Japan is the screeching of the cicada. Where do these critters comes from and what are screeching about?

By 3 min read 6


What’s That Neighborhood Music? The 5pm Chime

Ever wonder what that 5:00pm song is that is played in many Japanese cities?

By 3 min read 27


But Wait, I’m Speaking Japanese!

Why do some Japanese people insist on speaking English when I am trying to speak Japanese?

By 5 min read 51


5 Remarkably Cute Creations Only From Japan

Japan is crazy about kawaii. In the art of making things look cute Japan is a pioneer, if not perhaps the world leader.

By 2 min read 9


What Would You Do? The ¥1000 That Is Causing A Stir

A short note left in a bicycle basket has caused quiet a stir online. What is it about this little note that is causing so much discussion.

By 5 min read 41


5 Signs You Haven’t Been In Japan Very Long

Do you bow on the phone yet? After living in Japan for a while one can't help but to start picking up a few cultural quirks.

By 3 min read 23


What You Need To Know About Exchanging Business Cards in Japan

One of the perennial topics in Japanese business etiquette is the exchange of business cards. Getting this right is a key step in expanding your business connections in Japan.

By 6 min read 5


Three Simple Words for Building Trust in a Japanese Office

Working as a foreigner in a Japanese company can be a daunting experience. Understanding these three simple words will help you build the trust you need to thrive in a Japanese office.

By 5 min read 12


The Pitfalls of Addressing Foreigners in the Workplace

Honorifics are an interesting part of Japanese culture, and they can be more than a little confusing! For foreigners in Japan, using honorifics correctly can be difficult, and perhaps more troubling than correct usage is understanding the meanings when they are used in reference to yourself.

By 7 min read 15