The Foreign Rational

The world seen through the eyes of a life-long nomad

Hi there, thanks for stopping by! I hope you’re doing alright, keeping yourself healthy and sane in our crazy turbulent world.

If you have a moment, would you fancy a quick chat?

Don’t worry, I won’t take up much of your time. Or rather, I’ll take up exactly as much as you’d like. After all, there’s nothing more valuable than time, and I assure you that I value both yours and mine.

Let me tell you a bit about this place—this little corner of the internet where I’ve decided to store my thoughts and observations.

I’d like this blog to be our bond. Beyond the confines of the material world, it links us in our common imagination. This place is as real as we are, while also as fantastic as our minds allow.  

Please don’t think of my blog as some decrepit library. I’m not an erudite scholar seeking to bestow my knowledge upon posterity by flinging dusty encyclopedias. Rather, think of it as a Japanese garden, where small pieces of neatly kept greenery blend together to form an intricate and peaceful landscape.

There isn’t a singular theme to this garden. It is neither the largest nor the most beautiful you’ll come across. It wasn’t arranged by a famous artist, nor does it boast incredible exotic flora.  

This garden is meant to be a reflection of my mind. The inside projecting out.

Here, the colors and textures change with the seasons, of which there are as many as I have moods and interests. While the trees may not be tall, nor their roots deep, I promise I have cared for every branch, nurtured every leaf.

Feel free to wander, or dwell, or linger. Click on whatever piques your curiosity. I write about society, culture, politics, language, philosophy, and my life as a foreigner living in Japan. I do my best to make my pieces as pleasing in form as they are engaging in substance.

If you like what you see, let me know. Like or comment. Follow me on social media. Subscribe. As my esteemed guest, I value your patronage.

If you care to know more, stick around. I’ll give you a brief history of how this garden came to be.

An opportunity born from crisis

In July of last year, I launched a business blog called Kintopia. The goal was to improve my company’s brand image by associating great content with the name of our product; Kintone. About half a year in, the numbers are looking good. We’ve released several hit pieces and booked amazing interviewees. We even have our own manga!

There’s only one problem. Me.

I didn’t know if I was any good at blogging. On top of that, my company is short on native English speakers, which means I have nobody around to give me the feedback I need.

Since every problem is an opportunity, I decided to take my fate into my own hands and find a mentor. In March, I enrolled in an online class with the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Continuing Education. The topic was blogging and writing for online audiences. My company did more than give me their blessing—they were generous enough to foot the bill.

One of our first assignments was to create a blog: Craft an online space that I would be motivated and inspired to maintain over time. To do so, I had to think of what I wanted to say to the world.

I didn’t realize it would be so hard.

Picturing my own path

There were two things I wanted to avoid at all cost: clickbait and posturing. Anything I wouldn’t want to read, I don’t want to write. Anything I feel unqualified to write about, people should read somewhere else.

The issue with that thinking is that I’m not left with much. I’m a dilettante; I love learning all sorts of new things, which doesn’t leave me much time to become an expert on anything. Which doesn’t mean I have nothing to say—I do. Just not on any one thing.

Which isn’t how the internet works.

Most successful blogs go in one of two directions: Either they’re the repository of professional opinions on some specific issue, or they’re driven by the amazingness of someone amazing. As of now, neither of those applies to this space. And while I can’t predict the future, I see no road to getting there.

So screw it. There’s no point in pouring my free time into something I don’t truly want to pursue. My approach is unlikely to land me much fame, sponsorships or ad revenue—I accept that. That’s not why I’m doing this.

This blog exists because I love to write.

I love finding the exact word, the precise turn of phrase to express what I think or feel. I love rhythm; how a well-worded paragraph resonates in my head. I love when my readers chuckle at a clever witticism, or nod along to a compelling point.

Everything you’ll discover here is the manifestation of my passion. All of it expressed in my unique way.

Through the gates and into the garden

Once I knew the direction in which to go, the name and first pieces of content came easily.

This blog is foreign because so am I, having left my country of birth at age two and living abroad to this day. It is rational because I believe in knowledge, and the ability to learn is the greatest gift of the human mind.

My writing dabbles in issues of politics and society because I have degrees in political science and human rights law. It explores language because I process the world through three distinct linguistic filters. It focuses on Japan because that’s where I live, and the United States because they dictate most major trends in Anglo-Saxon culture.

Hopefully my work will leave you entertained. Perhaps even enlightened. Or maybe inspired.

Whatever it does, don’t keep it to yourself. That’s what I did for the first thirty years of my life, and trust me when I say I regret it. Let me know your thoughts. Leave a comment and I will read it.  Create your own space and I will gladly stop by.

Welcome to my garden. Have a lovely stay.

Categories: Life

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