5 unique traits of Starbucks Japan:

1. Appropriately, short is the most common size. This size does actually exist in other countries too, it’s just a very well-kept secret. It also feels like drinking a latte from a bottle-cap if you’re used to the larger sizes. 2. If the queue is more than five people long, chances are you’ll be handed…

Virgin Sailor Moon: The Tokyo aesthetic ideal?

There’s a person sitting in front of me in a caf√©. The person is wearing a ribbed cream turtleneck jumper, a black and white dog tooth coat and leather ankle boots. They have a dainty engraved silver ring on their little finger and highlighted hair in a pixie cut. Out of the large tote carried…

5 Japanese ways to say no

It’s generally thought that Japanese people hide their emotions and desires behind an immoveble screen of politeness. Actually, it’s just that gaijin don’t understand their code; they’re communicating what they want perfectly clearly, and I’ve found adopting their communication techniques ¬†abroad hugely helpful (particularly number 5), apart from when damn foreigners don’t understand what they…

I am haafu

When teenage girls and cutely dressed women find out where I’m from, they open their eyes till they’re circular and cover the mouths with the tips of their fingers lik people acting “shock” in a pantomime and go, “Haafu? Woow!” But it’s hard to gauge whether your race is scandalous, dull, delightful or horrific, or indeed how you’re meant to react at all.