Apple Country

Stories of rural life as an ALT in a northern Japanese fishing town.


Japanese Guys

Introducing my first comic drawn on my graphics tablet!  It’s taken a while to get finished, due to having to restart it a couple of times because A) my cartoon style sucked and B) I recently upgraded to the full version of the software I was trialing and learned that there is such a thing as LAYERS which made drawing this kinda thing a billion times easier.

To distinguish English dialogue from Japanese, I wrote what would’ve been said in Japanese in the slightly thicker ink pen style.

making friends in japanese

The older folk make enthusiastic conversation partners, but the intensity of topics tends to escalate rather quickly…


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Sweet Shop

11700712_10153547561835955_6307677742804394234_oAs non-Japanese people are a rare sight where I live, my presence has so far been met with mixed reactions.  Some stare, some follow, some smile, some shout “hello”, and some just strike up a conversation in Japanese with me, which I like because they don’t just assume that I can’t speak any Japanese.  This was one of those times: the shop keeper looked totally confused until I said “konnichiwa”, then suddenly she started talking to me in Japanese and was really super friendly.

It bothers me a little bit that sometimes when I interact with a Japanese person, they panic or think they have to speak English because I wouldn’t understand Japanese.  I’m pretty sure in other countries, we wouldn’t just assume right away that the other person didn’t speak the native language if they’d already started talking in it.  I get that some Japanese people want to use the English they’ve learned, but it’s kind of annoying when I’m speaking Japanese and they always reply in English.   I don’t really like being a free English lesson.  If I didn’t speak the language, then I would ask them if they spoke English. Then again some of my friends in Japan who have Asian ethnicity but don’t speak Japanese have had trouble where a Japanese person will assume they speak Japanese, because they look Asian.  When they explain that they can’t, some Japanese people have a hard time trying to understand this.

The majority of the time though, I get to have fun conversations in Japanese with random people in my town.  Because it’s so small, no one really speaks English here at all!




Rice is the primary staple food in Japan, and most people eat a portion with every meal. I couldn’t face it for breakfast as well, so I asked for bread instead when I was in hospital. I always wondered if people actually got sick of eating it that much every day!

I started badly drawing comics a while ago in a random notebook I have, so now I’m finally getting round to uploading them!  This is the first one I did of a conversation I had with the other ladies in my hospital ward when I broke my arm.