Mt. Fuji-san on a clear autumn day under the Japanese maple tree

Hey! Yōkoso! Ken D. Taylor aka Kenbo here!

This site is an exploration and discovery of what I (Kenbo) have found what Japan is like in the twenty-plus years I’ve lived in this amazing country. I can honestly say, every day feels like my “first day” in Japan. Yes, you can take that any way you want and it will be true no matter how you take it.

Feels like my first day
Hmm, my first day
Kidding, but sometimes it feels like so.

As I start putting my thoughts, impressions, and advice on this digital canvas called a website, please note, the information comes from both research and what I’ve experienced. I’ll try to share helpful, insightful information to help you as a potential traveler to Japan, or some one who already lives in this country.

Hopefully, when the world gets vaccinated, and fingers crossed, no one tries to eat another bat in the future, I’ll be able to “Up-n-Out!”, like Willy Wonka, and hop on a train to travel aichi-kochi (here-n-there) checking out beautiful places, taking on fun and interesting experiences while enjoying great food this country loves to serve up along the way.

Sounds good?! Oh, yeah! (◑‿◐)

Achi kochi kun - Here and there

あちこち • achi kochi • here-n-there

I’d like you to meet my little helper friend here at What is Japan Like. His name is “AchiKochiKun” which means “Here and there”. The “Kun” is most often found as an honorific in anime. It is used to address young males. When you see AchiKochiKun you can bet he’s pointing out something interesting…. and that something is coming up now.

One of the coolest things I saw when riding a train in Japan was watching the train conductor. My first time was in Nagano City. I was on my way to Fujitsu to teach an English class (another story, another time) wobbling along inside the Nagano Dentetsu.

At first, I found it a bit strange to see the conductor frequently raise his white gloved hand and point down the tracks.

And sometimes when pointing, he would say, “あち こう!” • achi kou! • that way!

Now all the while riding along with the clack-clack and wobbly-wack down the train track, I started to realize that this was really a clever way of keeping oneself alert while driving the train.

At that moment it gave me an idea that I still use to this day.

So I kinda adopted a similar approach. Whenever I start out on a trip by train, I raise my hand (no white glove) in the direction I’m going to go and say, “[Destination!] 行こう!”• ikou! • Let’s go!

So if I’m on the train about to head off to Tokyo, I raise my hand, and say, “Tokyo! Ikou!”

Now it’s your turn. Don’t be shy! Raise your hand and point to your high-teck device and say,
“What Is Japan Like! Ikou!”

Enjoy your ride! \(*<>*)/

It has been and continues to be an adventure of a lifetime living here.

• Got to see the men’s downhill race during the Winter Olympics in Nagano.

• Worked at as a seasonal worker at a ski lodge where I not only got to be friends with the dishwasher but taught high school kids how to ski. Here’s the best part, I was assigned to teach the advanced students which numbered less than 10 rather than the normal 20 students to an instructor. We had a blast.

• Tried out for 6-months, running a restaurant serving pizza, tacos, and burritos with the option to buy it. I didn’t buy it, but loved the experience.

• Took the overnight train from Tokyo to Hokkaido to go skiing at Furano.

• Met and made friends from many places… my favorite.

• Got to experience some overnight stays at three different times in three separate hospitals. Excellent health care and all three hospitals had the most amazing food for meals. Better than some hotels. Seriously. 🙂

I’ve got a lot of pictures that were taken before the iPod and iPhone were invented. I will definitely, from time to time, try and find them, scan them, and add them to this continuing saga. For now here’s a couple of photos from different times and different places.

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