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by Vanessa Villalobos
Japanese London Living

Love Japan? What’s Your Japan Story?


When I was 15 years old, my father went on a business trip to Japan.

My father was a Yorkshireman, and not at all given to gushing enthusiasm, except perhaps for a chip butty. Given his usual world-weary demeanour and workaholic tendencies, I was gobsmacked when he came back from his Japan trip all lit up like Akihabara electronic district on a Saturday night.

He had cool Japanese souvenirs too: some weird ‘coffee’ gum, a hand-carved wooden Hokkaido bear, and a lovely crane-printed summer yutaka (cotton gown) for me. It was very exciting.

He said: “Vanessa, if you ever get the chance to go to Japan – GO!”

I was like ‘yeah, ok dad…’ *rolls eyes*

Like many people who fall for Japan’s charms, my dad couldn’t even put his finger on what it was exactly that he loved about the place. 

He liked the way the staff in McDonalds bowed when handing over his cheeseburger. He loved the gardens at Kyoto’s temples. He appreciated the craftsmanship of the Hokkaido bear. He wasn’t crazy about the food (not a seafood fan).

So I didn’t understand quite what it was that he found so wonderful about the place, and neither did he.

But I never forgot that spark that Japan had somehow managed to kindle in my cynical father. 

In this episode I explore:

  • More about MY Japan Story & believing 6 impossible things before breakfast
  • Questions to ask yourself to excavate YOUR Japan Story
  • How I kept up my love affair with Japan (back in London)
  • 5 Japanese Things to Enjoy Everyday (even in lockdown - my top tips)

Hope you find this episode helpful! 

I have defined 6 simple steps to OMOSHIROI learning, which I can’t wait to share with you in this series of podcasts!

Start uncovering your UNIQUE visions, goals and tactics to learn the Japanese that YOU WANT!

To grab a copy of the playbook that accompanies this series, click here:

The OMOSHIROI Method Fill-in-the-Blanks Playbook

Visit JapaneseLondon.com to get more info about learning Japanese, and enjoying a Japan-full life in London.

Vanessa connects learners with 1-1 native speaking Japanese tutors for private lessons and runs the Japanese London Conversation Club.

She also blogs about Japanese living in London, and can be found on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!


Episode 3

Season 1

by Vanessa Villalobos