These 7 words keep Japan working hard and staying humble.

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Photograph by Akuppa Wigham, distributed under a CC-BY 2.0 license.

“Yes she’s interesting, but how can I say she’s charismatic, or intriguing?” I ask my Japanese teacher, trying to be more specific.

“There’s just one word,” my teacher answers, “Omoushiroi means all those adjectives.

I couldn’t fathom how one word in Japanese could mean interesting and a hundred other generally related adjectives — until I started living in Tokyo a few months later and discovered:

There is magic in Japanese words.

We can be ridiculously precise in English. So it’s annoying when someone describes a movie as “interesting” or a restaurant as “good.” …


#5: Gives you material for other content creation

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Screenshot from one of my live streams. Photo by author.

I stream for five hours every weeknight. Usually old-school videogames on Twitch — a live stream site used mostly for videogames but also for music, art, conversation and more.

I used to judge video and computer games as useless. Then #Quarantine2020 gave me time to think maybe I’d love gaming. I figured I would stream for the old-head gamers who know and love some of the classics I play. They can watch a first-time playthrough, and I can learn faster with tips.

Over the last two months, I’ve learned how to stream from scratch — equipment, software, design, audio. Still…


What not to do when you become a new manager

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Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

“Adam is still on medical leave so you’ll be reporting to me,” said my teammate Vickie a week before I returned to work after taking some time off for family reasons.

My manager Adam, while not the best mentor on projects, always showed kindness and cared about people. We could have heart-to-hearts and I could be honest about my feelings. He also stayed out of my way and respected the fact that I’ve worked here for over eight years and knew how to do my job. He understood that the best way to support me involved leaving me alone.

Vickie…


Buddha’s third hindrance explains why you’re so tired and helps you find your motivation right now.

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Photo by Danny Postma on Unsplash

No commute, no socializing, no dance class nor hiking.

I’ve had plenty of time on my hands the last two months, so I have no excuse for not getting my work done or spending time on my passions. But even when I went to sleep excited for the next day with something fun to wake up to, I was still lethargic and tired. Lazily going through my day. No activity, barely going outside, cooking a lot more, but not able to do anything that required mental energy or creativity.

Everyone seems to be feeling the same way. With the lockdown…


13 tips to come out of quarantine with a new skill.

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Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

No, I can’t cook. The kitchen terrifies me.

I prepare things, like pouring cereal and milk in a bowl. Or cutting up veggies for a salad. But applying heat just ends in a disaster of burnt and destroyed food that tastes like garbage.

My mom never cooked and so I never learned. And that’s fine with me because I’m not a domesticated housewife. I work and can buy food.

That was my story for the first 32 years of life. Eating Burger King and frozen dinners as a kid. Bringing Tupperware to friends’ houses in high school to ask their…


Face masks and fear — salons in Japan are in purgatory

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View of the salon from my chair. Everyone keeping their distance. (Photo by author)

“I couldn’t feed my family, and my stylists couldn’t feed their families,” testified a Dallas, Texas salon owner on Tuesday, before receiving a week in jail for violating coronavirus restrictions when she opened her salon.

Here in Japan, the government did not shut down salons.

After people protested salons are essential to daily life, salon owners find themselves in a tough predicament. How can you close when you aren’t covered by the shutdown requests to receive government funds? But how can you survive when the stay-at-home order shrinks your clientele in half? A massive contradiction.

Even restaurants received reduced-hours requests to close by 8 p.m. and will receive some compensation…


The hidden reason behind your illnesses, depression, and poor digestion

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Photo by Tamas Pap on Unsplash

I love learning the latest on health research, and recently discovered Dr. Zach Bush who introduced me to glyphosate.

“Glyphosate is, in my mind, certainly the most damaging chemical we have on the planet right now. There is so much talk about mercury in our fillings, and vaccines, and all these other things that get a lot of press, but after five years of running a basic science laboratory evaluating this chemical, there is zero question in my mind, that it is the single biggest problem we have threatening human health today.” Zach Bush, M.D.

Glyphosate? I’d never heard of…


Conservatives believe a pure culture is better, and so does Japan

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Photo by Sofia Monteiro on Unsplash

So America plans to restrict immigration. For Trump voters, it seems obvious to protect our job market, citizen’s health, and our country’s future from foreigners taking advantage of America’s openness. For non-Trump supporters, it seems like discrimination, an attack on freedom, and anti-American.

Growing up in metro-Detroit, a place that’s diversity thrives from the 50 million immigrants living in America, I thought the world welcomed each other. I thought restricting immigration was unique to America’s current desire to keep poor and brown people out.

But then I moved to Japan in early 2016 and realized my criticism about keeping out…


What people need now more than ever is cash

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

At 1:30 a.m. last night, my friend calls me pleading:

“Oh my god you’re awake, praise Jesus, can you please send me some money? I’m trying to get a place to stay. I don’t wanna sleep on the street tonight.”

“I told you girl, I’m living off savings and don’t have money like that anymore,” I explain, since I quit my job to build a freelance career.

“I know I owe you like a thousand dollars,” she says, “but please this is like 911 emergency type sh*t.”

“Okay, I can send you $40,” I agree as a myriad of thoughts…


Embrace your partner’s interests — even if you don’t share them.

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Photo by Afif Kusuma on Unsplash

I had to face the ugly truth — I was being judgmental about video games and hurting my partner’s self-esteem.

“You dismiss and belittle things that I love, saying gaming is stupid and a waste of time. Not only do I enjoy games but they’ve made me who I am. It’s like you accept just a fraction of me,” said my partner J during the biggest fight of our marriage.

I was causing a rift — something I never wanted to do. So to save our relationship, I began to analyze where my hatred of video games came from, and…

Ariel Kern

Japanese culture from Tokyo. Spiritual growth from experimenting. Future musings from tech startup. Learning people’s stories around the world.

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