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Our Multi-Cultural Life

In our over 18-years married, Ruth and I have lived 4 of them in America, 7 of them in Brazil and the rest of them here in Japan. This has created a family culture that is multi-cultural to say the least. With aspects of American, Brazilian and Japanese culture thrown together, the enjoyable variety of cultures also comes with challenges that are unique to those living in a foreign country.

But one of the keys to make it work is embracing the differences and celebrating the good parts each culture has to offer. Sure, you can always find things that annoy and perturb you, but by focusing on the good things, you can make the adaptation to any new culture much more fun.

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Lives

McDonald’s In Japan

McDonald’s can be found in over 100 countries across the world, and in each country they make adaptations (some small, others large) in order to fit in well with that culture. It’s no different in Japan, and it’s actually quite amazing that they’ve done so well in Japan, considering when they started they broke a number of social norms that initially kept people away. (Such as not offering seating. Japanese people consider it rude to walk and eat, so by not offering seating, the Japanese people weren’t sure how and where they were supposed to eat it)

But they were able to make changes fast enough to catch on, and once they did, the rest is, well, history. So what happens when McDonalds meets Japan? Well, for one, some really interesting item menus, some of which can only be found in Japan. In this episode of Life in Japan, we try some of the most unique things on the menu at McDonalds in Japan and determine our favorites.

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Favorite Switch Games

I’ve been a Nintendo fan since I was a kid, but our family didn’t actually have our Nintendo until I was well into my teens. My brother and I asked for a Nintendo 64 one Christmas, and we got a Mario game and a Star Wars game to go with it. Since then, we’ve always enjoyed playing together. Then when Ruth and I got married, we enjoyed playing through the Zelda game Windwaker when we had free time together.

So it’s natural that, now that our kids have grown a bit, we would get a Nintendo Switch and enjoy gaming together. We’ve played a number of games, but there are some favorites we come back to time and time again.

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Winter Food

Certain foods work best when it’s cold outside, and in Japan this is certainly true. One of Japan’s famous winter foods is Shabu Shabu. Shabu Shabu is what happens when you cross fondue and Japan. It’s a fun and delicious way to eat Japanese meats and veggies broiled in a variety of sauces and oils. Recently we took the kids to try it for the first time.

While we really enjoyed the whole experience, we’ve since learned that typically Shabu Shabu is done by swishing the meat around in the bowl for about 10 seconds before dipping it in a sauce and eating it. While what we did in this video is certainly acceptable, it is more of a hot pot style than a true Shabu Shabu style. Either way, it was a great experience and something you should certainly try if you ever get a chance.

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Lives

Snow in Tokyo!

I know snow is common in many parts of the world — in fact, snow is common for many parts of Japan. But snow in Tokyo is a rare treat. Especially rare is snow that collects and amounts to anything. Well for our family, we had the great treat of enjoying a nice snowfall here at the beginning of 2022. It wasn’t just the kids who got excited — Ruth and I also got out to play in the snow with the kids, and I even went for a nice long walk around town to see what I could see. The result is this fun video to kick off the new year.

Apparently it’s not just us who likes a good Tokyo snowfall, because what surprised me was the response we got from this video. It was enough to tip the scales and make this video one of our more popular premieres in recent history. Who knew? Well we do now!