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An Insider’s Look at Japan: Gochisousama deshita!

An Insider’s Look at Japan: Gochisousama deshita!

As an American, I’m used to schools of all grade levels offering an in-school meal. These options are not always healthy, but they’re provided. American students generally eat in a cafeteria, dividing themselves into peer groups that reflect their social circles.

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An Insider’s Look at Japan: The Squat Toilet

An Insider’s Look at Japan: The Squat Toilet

I remember the first time I went into the women’s bathroom and saw two of my new coworkers lined up, waiting for a toilet…even though two stalls were empty. There was nothing wrong with the toilets. My co-workers were simply reluctant to use what they called (in nervous, giggly voices) the “squatty potty.”

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An Insider’s Look at Japan: Driving in Japan

An Insider’s Look at Japan: Driving in Japan

As an American, my biggest living-abroad concern was learning to drive in Japan. While Americans drive on the right side of the road, Japanese drive on the left. As my company reminded everyone in a one-hour PowerPoint presentation, forgetting this fact is a great way to get into an accident.

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An Insider’s Look at Japan: Onsen

An Insider’s Look at Japan: Onsen

If there's one thing that I knew I had to do while in Japan, it was visit a real onsen, or hot spring. Luckily for me, there were actually quite a few in the region of Akita where I was staying, and the particular one that I visited was apparently one of the best. For a first impression, I'll definitely say that it'll be very hard to beat, and it was one of the most relaxing and revitalizing experiences I had in Japan.

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An Insider’s Look at Japan: Sakura Matsuri

An Insider’s Look at Japan: Sakura Matsuri

In Japanese, “sakura” means cherry blossom. Each year, thousands of sakura trees become awash in white and pink as their little flowers bloom. The trees are planted everywhere: often in parks, but along roads, near shrines, and even along the entire perimeter of a military base in Ibaraki, as well. The resulting explosion of flowers creates an atmosphere of wonder and enchantment across Japan.

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