December 26, 2007

Off to Shinjuku in Tokyo, Japan

The Gaijin Guide travels to Shinjuku and Kabuki Cho.
Come take a look at Japan and its urban metropolis.

Shinjuku (新宿区) is home to the world's busiest railway station (seeing over 2 million passengers a day), some of Tokyo's tallest buildings, and the Metropolitan Government Office, which has two observation floors that offer stunning views of the metropolis and are free to the public. Other notable sights and stops in this ward are the gigantic department and discount electronic stores including Yodobashi Camera. Also located right around Shinjuku Station is KabukiCho.

Kabukicho (歌舞伎町) is a red-light district, which houses many hostess bars, host bars, and love hotels. It is also a major shopping, restaurant, and nightclub area as well. The district's name comes plans to build a kabuki theater on is present spot in the late-1940s. Though the theater was never built, the name stuck.

December 16, 2007

To the Top of Kyoto Station

Here is the next video in the Gaijin Guide series. I climb to the top of Kyoto Station and give a little commentary along the way. More videos to come now that we have reached Christmas break and maybe even a new podcast. Enjoy and shoot me an email at gaijinguide[at]gmail[dot]com if you have any requests or comments.


December 7, 2007

In the not too distant future

With the Christmas break comes free time, and I will finally be able to post some of the videos and pictures of my time in Japan やった!If you are interested in some of my previous work check out my youtube channel and my flickr account.

Also just an FYI, I applied for JET this year. Lets keep our collective fingers crossed and hope that I will be back in Japan in under a year.

November 7, 2007


I return from the dead to recommend some hilarious/artsy/true-life bloggers, who are documenting their quirky lives in the land of the rising sun. Give them a listen or view.
Here is the link to the short ten minute podcast.

July 25, 2007

Community Input お願いします

So I have been updating this blog for about 7 months off and on, and now I think it is time to ask you guys and girls what you would like to see. You listeners have been growing, well at least that is what feedburner is telling me, but the interaction that I have been hoping for hasn't reached its full potential.

This might be due to the rather irregular and varied content. So to cut a boring post short, would you like more videos showing parts of Japan, vlogs in Japanese, posts in Japanese, more pictures of Japan, more stories, and/or resources for studying Japanese. Oh yeah more podcasts? Remember those? I put out three of them in the beginning and recorded about 2 more but never edited them. (ah the memories)

I think I would like to narrow the focus of the blog so give me some input by leaving a comment our email me at


July 19, 2007

Short Travel Essay

As the train slingshot around Lake of Geneva, the mountains slowly swept down the shoreline to kiss the water. A side of Geneva I had not seen in my first month was revealed to me. Like the under side of a ball that has been in the yard for the past month, it was earthy and wet. The rustic and crumbling fishing villages were a continuation of this natural feel as they nestled into the hillside, but were soon gone as the train turned South towards the center of Northern Italy, Milan. With the fresh picture of Geneve fading from my mind, the vistas of Northern Italy opened a new window to a land only previously glimpsed in film. This was the sun drenched land of wine and olives that I knew only in my mind`s eye. Italy had taken me to her bosom, and was feeding me the treasures it had been longing to bestow on the lone traveler who had only a foggy image of a land so great painted by the memories of parents who had been there long ago.
The train roped its way through and inside of the green mountains that opened their valleys to my travel. The lake of Stresa came to great us with a breath of cool air and left me with a sense of longing and a wish to return. Connecting the dots of cities on a map was hard work and I rested in Milan to replenish my spirits and prepare my thoughts, before I turned my eyes towards the destination, which I had been to all along. I was meandering towards the city that floats in the water, the city which never traded boats for cars and where the feet are happy to take you wherever you wish to go.
As I arrive, with each step time seems to shed the trappings of the modern world, reminding me that we can and sometimes still do live a life that is in rhythm with the tides and the changing of the seasons. Where nature is your clock and you are but pieces of sand on a beach by the water.

July 18, 2007

Moving in Geneva

Here is a little change from all the Japanese stuff on the site, it is an email that I wrote about 1 1/2 months ago when I was changing residence:

So today was quite a trip. It started off good as I checked out of the hotel, but left my suitcases as I had to work. {The reason I wasn't able to drop them at Mandat International earlier in the week was because the Italian girl working in the office at the time said, "she didn't want the responsibility".} So at least I didn't have to take these behemoths to work that would have been a disaster.

Speaking of disasters, This afternoon I went to the hotel to get the small whales aka suitcases. I get outside and apparently the bus stop in front of the hotel doesn't run to the tram I need, so I decide to walk to the closest tram stop. Now was that smart? not very. What normally takes 10 minutes with my little work briefcase took....Well I'm not sure but lets say I had to stop multiple times to rest and switch hands and by multiple I mean take the number your thinking of and multiple it by 3.

So I get to the tram and one comes fairly soon. Awesome? Not really. Yes that great time of day called "rush hour". So the train is packed there is a lady with a stroller in part of the zone with no seats and as I drag my whales towards the other half a short smally built man saunters in front of me into the "if you have luggage stand here zone". I was seeing red. To put a cherry on top at the next stop another mother with a stroller comes on.

Great now I'm blocking the stairs and keeping a mother and baby hanging half-way out of the tram while the door bell buzzes, and the short smally built man who I want to kill leans against a railing looking out the window.

I make it to my stop and try to locate the spot where the free shuttle from Mandat International will pick me up. Scratch that, as I wait where I think it will come I whizzes past me. Oh nice this is going to be fun.

I find the "V" bus that will take me fairly close to where Mandat is. Maybe "V" will mean victory? Nope this bus runs hourly.

I get on the bus after waiting in the heat. Some people actually help thank God for Italian tourists.

I get off at the right stop. Sweet. I find out that Mandat is 1.5 miles away. Not Sweet. Some of it is up hill. More un-sweet.

I start going and finally turn on to the path that leads to Mandat. {if you don't know, Mandat is an old French style Manor House that is in the country and has been turned into a "welcome center" for various NGO diplomats mainly from 3rd world countries or indigenous peoples. In other words it is subsidized and has cool people. It also has a 1.2 km driveway through the woods. Not so much fun when you have a 28kg suitcase and a 16kg hangup bag and a backpack with books and a computer in it. Halfway through the bugs were biting and skin was actually coming off my hands. Some people drove by in cars but none stopped. They did offer me a nice smile though :).

I make it to the house. Thank God now I just have to check-in. I want to shout with joy, but why is the reception room dark? "What is this" I say the hours say from 7-9. It is 7:20

So now I am in the computer room typing you this.

I hope your day was grand. Mine sure was, I mean still is very interesting.

July 9, 2007

Bass Climb

He may look like a punk rocker, but he is all ロックンロール (rock 'n roll). I grabbed this shot will in Osaka-jo koen (大坂城公園 ) during hanami (花見). This group of classic rock 'n rollers would grab the set and go at it for about 40 minutes and than take a beer break while their friends filled in their spots. They played great covers of American Rock 'n Roll in both English and Japanese. These die hards kept the myth going that when something comes to Japan it becomes timeless and unchanging. All I can say is Rock on you Gods of rock m( _ _ )m Rock On!

In less awesome news, I updated my Flickr! account with new photos. They are definately worth a look.

July 8, 2007

Homeless Living Conditions in Japan

Filmed in Kamagasaki, Osaka (the most concentrated area of homeless in Japan)
Edited by me. Stick with it to see some interesting aspects of Japan's homeless.

June 28, 2007

You can now track me on Technorati

Technorati Profile
Hey, look for me and other great Japanese blogs on Technorati. If you find any good ones make sure you send them to me :)

June 25, 2007

On the move

Soon you guys will be seeing some new and old things on the website. If your a little confused, let me explain. The gaijin guide has currently moved locations to Geneva, Switzerland. This turns out to be a great opportunity to expand the scope of Gaijin Guide to include various locations in Western Europe. I am still going through a ton of content in the form of videos and pictures of Japan so stay tuned for that, but also expect so gorgeous video and Pictures from around Europe :)

June 5, 2007

Hanshin Tigers

I head out to watch a Hanshin Tigers game at Koshien Stadium in Osaka. Copious amounts of fun ensue.


June 3, 2007

Moneys' faults




This is a proverb from China.

The things you can buy with money & the things you cannot buy with money.

One can buy a house, but cannot buy a home
One can buy a watch, but cannot buy time
One can buy a bed, but cannot buy sleep
One can buy a book, but cannot buy wisdom
One can buy a skilled doctor, but cannot buy health
One can buy social status, but cannot buy respect
One can buy blood, but cannot buy life
One can buy sex, but cannot buy love"

I got this from RemiFebruary check out her blog here
and her youtube videos here

May 14, 2007

New Opening

Here is a new opening that I have put together for my upcoming videos. There are a lot more coming, I swear. I'm just trying to get some work out of the way and do some traveling at the moment. Nevertheless, don't worry there is some really good content yet to come.

May 7, 2007


In this video we cover my recent trip to a J-League Soccer game and my stop at a local restaurant to sample some okonomiyaki. Come along and experience it with me.

(For a more detailed okonomiyaki recipe check out this link)

April 28, 2007


I've been doing a lot of work with the homeless in Japan lately. It started off as research for a presentation, but I've really taken to the homeless here and have been working on turning images and video of the homeless into art to raise awareness here in Japan and worldwide. Here is a video of the pictures that I have taken so far (with some text). Let me know what you think.

April 7, 2007

Exquisite Shots

Maiko IMG_2954
I don't know if you guys have been checking out my Flickr photostream, but here are two teaser pictures to get you guys to head on over to the site. I got some absolutely amazing shots during my recent time in Okinawa and in Kyoto. The Sakura in Kyoto were simply amazing and I was fortunate enough to catch four maiko (geisha in training) on film and video. Make sure to check out my Sakura video too if you haven't seen it yet.

April 5, 2007

Sakura in Kyoto

Here is the video from my recent trip to Kyoto to see the sakura. Hanami (flower viewing) was great this year and Maruyama koen and Kiyomizu-dera were beautiful. Click on the image above and Enjoy.

March 17, 2007

Day 1

breakfast at the airport after 2 hours on the train.二時間ぐらい電車で来た後で朝ご飯を食べた。

OMG a salary man touched me

Ok, that may not be true, but I am finally recovering from all the work I have had to do over the last month. Don't worry, I have still been traveling. I've already knocked Hiroshima, Kobe, and Osaka off my list in that time and I will be going to OKINAWA for 8 days and 7 nights starting tomorrow (my time). I can hardly contain my happiness.
But what does this mean for you guys? Another week without any information? No way! I finally got my act together and will be posting to the blog through my B-E-A-utiful new keitai (cell phone). I set it up through Flickr so you will be getting photos too. Well probably only photos with some bits of info because it takes so long to type out a sentence. I'm toying with the idea of a "photo blog" for the next week where you can follow me step-by-step throughout the day. Seeing everything I eat, the places I go to, and me consuming vast amounts of awamori (the local fire water) that Okinawa-jin are famous for. We will see how it goes.
In the week that I am back, expect a couple podcasts (I already have bits recorded) and instructional videos as well as some fun touristy ones too.
In Hiroshima, I was lucky enough to hear an atomic bomb survivor speak. This is a rare opportunity because there are only 29 survivors that are still engaged in public speaking, and in 10 years there will be no 1st generation survivors of the atomic bomb attacks. Also for someone who is not a head of state or extremely well connected, and a gaijin no less, it is next to impossible to have this opportunity. P.S. I recorded the whole talk and will be putting it up on youtube in the near future.
It looks like my life is only speeding up here in Japan, but don't worry I'll have some more content soon.
Happy St. Patrick's day (opens a Kirin 500ml beer and pretends it is Guiness).

February 14, 2007

Episode 03


Here is episode 03 of the Gaijin Guide, coming to you with a big box of chocolates because its Valentine's Day. Listen to learn all about Nara Park, the Fertility Festival I attended, and Valentine's Day in Japan. Make sure to check out the accompanying video to see the highlights of the Fertility Festival with your own eyes. You will not regret it, especially if your watch the end of the video, its hilarious. You can get the episode here

February 11, 2007

Episode 03 Companion Video

While I'm getting episode 03 together, I thought I would release the companion video that goes along with it. This video consists of clips from my recent trip to a Fertility Festival at Asuka Temple in Nara. It includes a traditional dance preformed by a kimono clad beauty, a humorous reenactment of conception, and spanking, yes spanking. In America this would be sexual harassment, in Japan its just a good old time. Sit back and watch this traditional yet hilarious 4 minute video here.

January 31, 2007

Gaijin Guide Episode 02

After a short delay, I'm back with my first full length episode. We explore Fushimi Inari, of Memoirs of a Geisha fame, and review Kansai Gaidai University and its foreign exchange program. Also we add a new section called "why Japan why!?!" where I explore the oddities that make up Japanese daily life. You can get the episode here.

Large Tori
To see more photos click on the one above or here
email me at:

January 28, 2007

Lesson 01: What to do at a Shinto Shrine (Video)

Here is the first Lesson put out by the Gaijin Guide. It entails what you should do at a shinto shrine. Click on the image or have a look here.

January 24, 2007

The Glories of Japan

One of the great things about Japan is that all the news, blog, and mail services recognize you are in Japan and appear in Japanese, Oh wait. That blows. I've been weeding through my favorite pages trying to find the "in english" button sometimes finding it some times not. You are all warned. Luckily I can read hiragana and katakana and some kanji...otherwise. I'm putting this up to let you know that at the momemt I'm have some internet problems, aka I don't have it in my room yet. I want to do a new podcast but until I get some steady access I am going to hold off. But at least I am having some interesting experiences and getting some good pictures. I'll definately have a lot to talk about in the next cast. I with that I will focus it on the University process for foreign exchange students. So if your heading to Japan or thinking about studying in the great Nippon check out the coming podcast.

January 19, 2007

Episode 1

The bubble wrap is off, after much anxiety and angst the first episode is available for download. In this episode I out line the purpose and mission of the podcast, talk about the Kansai region of Japan, which will serve as my base of operations and unveil the reviews section of the show. I even threw in some podsafe music for good measure.
Put on your headphones, connect those ipods, and sit back.
You can grab the episode here.

My Odeo Channel (odeo/2e36c018cb6ecc9c)

For feed back, contact me at:

January 18, 2007

Gaijin Guide Logo

Hey listeners, here is the new logo for the Gaijin Guide. Hopefully after you listen to a couple episodes it won't represent you when it comes to Japan.