About Me

I'm Phil! American living in Japan. Teacher. Ex-independent professional wrestler. Student of Japanese. Traveler. Article writer for Mythic Scribes. Also written four manga, novels, and various short stories and poems. For my fantasy-related blog, check out http://www.philipoverbyfantasy.blogspot.jp/.


Drill Bits: random thoughts, bloggy stuff
Japan Hammer: topics about Japan
Story Time: stories I felt like posting

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Japan Hammer: Top 5 Reasons I Like Living in Japan

Haven't done a blog about living in Japan recently, so I'd figure I'd highlight some reasons I like living here. After the Tohoku Earthquake in 2011, I think a lot of people were put off living here or even visiting for fear of radiation or other assorted things. I'm not going to lie and say I wasn't afraid of the same things, but I stuck it out and stayed here and I seem fine so far. I feel for the people in Fukushima that are near the reactors as I used to live in Fukushima myself and saw how many wonderful people live in that area.

So as a tribute to Japan, I'm going to list the Top 5 reasons I like living here.

1. Cuteness:

If you like cute stuff, then Japan is the place for you. There are tons of cute things to find and I'm not really sure why this kind of thing is so prevalent here. There are tons of these little dogs wearing sweaters and jackets and hats. It's rather bizarre. I saw one day at a nearby mall there was this dog wearing a yellow hat and he kept trying to get it off his head, but his owner kept putting it back on. I felt kind of bad for the dog, but he did look cute. However, I wanted to free him from his cute prison and let him be a nasty, shit-eating dog like he's meant to be.

I like cute stuff, I guess. I like kittens and puppies and babies burping and all that happy jazz. But Japan kind of goes so overboard with it, it sort of has desensitized me to it. Even if I see a tiny dog wearing a tiny hat and sailor outfit, I'm unfazed.

So for my future, I'm glad Japan has made me numb to cuteness. It makes it easier for me to ignore the avalanche of cuteness that buries me on a consistent basis.

2. Politeness

Even when people are assholes here, they're relatively polite. Typically, people don't fight as much as they do in America and when they do fight it's relatively stupid. Just shouting and talking like yakuza to each other. I've never seen anyone get punched here, but maybe I just don't go out that much.

"Sumimasen" and "gomenasai" are relatively common terms, basically meaning "excuse me" and "sorry." I must use both of these words at least twenty times a day for various reasons. And "arigato gozaimasu." I'm always thanking someone for something. Buy something at the store? Arigato gozaimasu. Open a door? Arigato gozaimasu. Take a shit? Arigato gozaimasu.

Suffice it to say, people are nice for the most part. Not sure if they like me or not, but in general people are pretty nice to me. Sometimes weirdly nice like the night some random guys just bought me and my friend drinks without even speaking that much English (and our Japanese is bastardized).

And I'm going to go out on a limb here and say about 1 in 10 people I meet in America are stupid assholes/hillbillies/racists/shitheads/douchebags or some variant of said troglodytes or cretins.

3. I Don't Have to Fucking Drive

I used "fucking" there for a reason. I hate driving. I fucking hate it. If I could kill the verb "driving" I would. If I could destroy all the cars in the world, I would. I hate them.

Here, I walk. Walk. Walk. Take a bus. Take a train.

And you know what? I really hated that when I first moved here. But now I love it. Namely, because, you got it, I don't have to fucking drive. Transportation is a breeze here, especially if you live near a big city like I do. So good for me. Bad for you driving your evil devil machines.

4. Lots of Stuff I Love is Here

Puroresu, which I've fell in love with more since moving here, is right at my door step. I can watch awesome wrestling shows whenever I feel like on the cheap. Going to wrestling shows in America is quite a crap shoot. Sometimes the shows are good. Sometimes they suck donkey balls. Puroresu shows are almost always awesome. Even the crappy matches are brilliant.

My wife is here too. But not to say she couldn't follow me anywhere I go. It's nice to live in her home country though as it's easier for both of us now at the moment. I worry if we moved to America she'd be targeted by racists or experience some kind of horrible shit that would forever make me hate all human beings on Earth. So for now I like living here with her, where we have a nice, insulated life free of any overwhelming issues.

5. Like, Mind-Expansion, Man

Dude...I've totally like blown my mind here, bro. Since moving here I've become about 1,000 percent more productive in my daily life. Not to say I still don't waste shit-tons of hours playing video games and surfing the internet for dubstep songs, wrestling news, and pictures of cracked- out celebrities.

I have Twitter and I don't even really know anyone on there. I just read what other people are doing. I waste too much time on shit like that even now. However, I'm still way more productive than I was before.

I write a shit lot more. I still don't really submit things much, because I've been working on manga mostly. I've written three manga and two novels since moving here. Several short stories too. I tend to have a fear of submitting stuff because sometimes it just feels like I'm sending a baby chimp into a black hole of yawning nothingness. It makes me sad. But I still write and plot submitting stuff, so that's better than just talking about it like I did before.

I've written articles and blogs too. Entered contests. Become one of the moderators on a board. Planned to learn how to fight with swords.

Yes, fight with swords. How fucking ridiculous does that sound? "I'm going to learn to fight with swords."

It's ridiculously awesome I mean. I want to invite you to my house to battle me with a broad sword so I can pin your shirt sleeve to the wall and say "My name is Philip Overby. You killed my father. Prepare to die." Then I'll laugh and twist my invisible mustache. Then I'll disappear into a cloud of black ash.

So yeah, I think I did lots of cool creative stuff back home, but I'm leaps and bounds above what I was before. I'm getting some shit done. And learning Japanese on top of that!

So that's my list. You should come to Japan. Because it's awesome. No matter what people say.


  1. Let me start by saying I loved Japan before you ever moved there. My grandmother has been there "more times than I can count". She traveled there for work several times. After she left that job she visited friends she had made there. Japan is all I've heard about since I was a kid. That said, with the photos I've seen from your facebook, her scrapbook, and the things she's brought home, I believe it's one of the most beautiful and interesting places in the world. We have every intention of coming to Japan in 2013 (provided everything goes to plan), to see you, your beautiful wife, and your home. Even if it means you put a hole in John's shirt with your sword. As long as it's not mine...

  2. Yep! Real Excited about April. Hope we get to meet the Misses. Jen really wants to go to the area you live in, so we might make it easy for you and just have you meet us somewhere nearby if your available.

  3. I agree with all five of your reasons, I'd add :
    the girls. every now again in the morning, on the way to work I see some outstandingly attractive looking girl, and I smile and think how lucky I am to work here.