By thomas | September 1, 2007
So here I am: a foreigner in Japan. What do I do now?
When I first came to Japan in 2002, I was overwhelmed with curiosity. Every little thing I saw here would raise a W-question. What does that sign say? Why are all the cars so small? Why do they have a $5 coin? What exactly is this that I’m eating? Where’s the nearest cool temple? Who is that little stone guy with the red clothes? (It’s Jizo!).
After I settled in and the wonderment quieted a bit, my W-questions became more practical in nature. Will this detergent turn all my clothes white? When is trash day? Where can I get shoes that fit me? Where can I buy cheese? Some H-questions also began to make an appearance. How do I get stains out of tatami? How do I send money back home? How do I go about getting a replacement filter for my air conditioner? How do I use the squat toilet? How am I ever going to learn all these kanji?
As a foreigner in Japan, the answers to these kinds of questions aren’t always obvious. Some answers can be found by asking other foreigners, or asking natives, but I had to learn a lot of them by trial and error. Lots and lots of error. I often wished that there was some site online that offered tips to make living in Japan easier for me. In the end, I decided to stop wishing and make that site myself.
I’ve never had a serious blog before, so I spent much of the summer researching how to do it. I learned all about feeds, consistent posting, building traffic, SEO, marketing and monetization. Finally, I felt that I was ready. I had the idea and the fundamental knowledge. Now I just needed a number and location.
I was originally going to call the blog “Tatami Room”. What a nice traditional image of life in Japan, I thought. Sadly, the domain name was taken. It wasn’t that descriptive anyway. “Hacks” seems to be a buzzword these days for lifesaving tips on how to save money and how to get things done. Sounds great! Japanhacks.com was taken, so I grabbed the next best thing.
The final step was to find a home. I looked into some web hosting packages and finally decided on BlueHost. They were very cheap, well-recommended and loaded with features (python and PostgreSQL, yay). Thankfully the blog was very easy to setup. I spent about a week tweaking the layout and writing the first posts, and here we are!
I started NihonHacks.com in order to share some of the life-saving tips I’ve picked up while living here. Whether you are a student, visitor, worker or lifer in Japan, NihonHacks will help you to save time and money. Welcome to Nihon Hacks! Feel free to subscribe to the full RSS feed so you don’t miss a tip!
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