Just My Japan and Nothing More

By Alisa - Last updated: 水曜日, 4月 4, 2012 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment


I used to run a tiny site called Real Japan back when I was in high school in Texas. It was supposed to be a site about what I thought was the real Japan. It actually wasn’t completely “real” but it was the best I could do back then being a Japanese-American kid growing up mostly in the US. But I was still quite happy that the website got featured in a few magazines and newspapers like Wired Magazine. More importantly, I was able to get a lot of people hyped about Japan. I actually know that a few fans ended up traveling or living in Japan partly because of that site.

Fast forward, I am currently a 30 years old Alisa Sanada who has lived and worked in both the Kanto and Kansai area for more than 8 years, have traveled across 6 continents and over 60 countries, and now back and working in Tokyo as a web localization consultant and co-organizer for a Japanese food tourism program. My view of Japan, both from the inside and out, has drastically changed since those years I was in high school. It’s no longer just a language or culture I know very well. It is part of my life. I actually live in it day in and day out.

When it comes to describing how it is to live in Japan or to explain anything Japanese for that matter, it’s now much more complicated. I cannot analyze and explain Japanese culture in black and white like an Asian Studies professor. I’ve seen so many things and met so many people that I see too much diversity now. Plus it’s hard for me to simplify Japan’s image to whatever is promoted by the Japanese government at any moment whether it is pop culture or traditional culture because most of the time I just don’t know anything about those latest trends or subcultures. I just know what I know. Basically what I experience in my own life in Japan, like the time when my Japanese mother-in-law asked me how people take baths in the States or about the sharing movement that is becoming popular in Japan.

So yoroshiku from now on and enjoy the journey through my “real Japan!”

Alisa Sanada, (@asanada) web localization consultant for Karakururin and co-organizer for Nagomi Kitchen, is a former Texan currently residing in Kawasaki. She went from craving fresh jalapenos while working 7 years in the web industry in Tokyo and Osaka to craving fresh tofu while traveling across the globe for a year in 2011 as a full time nomad. Alisa hopes to bring together her passions, the web, travel, and food through her work.

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