Q&A Sessions Vol. 2 – A Foreigner’s Perspective on Japan


John and I have known each other for more than 2 years. We first met each other at a bar we often frequent called Cafe Byron Bay, in Asakusa, Tokyo. I guess you could say it was love (platonic maybe) at first beer. He is also a freelance writer and continues to contribute articles to FAQ Japan. In addition, he helps us manage our SNS pages for FAQ. You may be interested in one of his more recent articles about the darker side of Shibuya.

He approached me with the idea of filming his interview, so here it is in all of its untouched (mostly) purity.

Some of the scenes that didn’t make the final video cut are also included in the transcript below:

How did you learn Japanese?

At first, I started teaching myself in Sydney, Australia. But, it didn’t go well and I didn’t have the motivation. So, then I eventually signed up for Japanese School and that’s where I met some really great people. Then, for the next 2 and a half years I studied pretty hard, and that really programmed grammar, I guess, into my mind. It wasn’t until I came to Japan that I was forced to use it every day. It is then that you start to recall all these things you learned back in school, and it all kind of began to make sense. Because you’re using it all day every day, that really improved my speaking and listening side of Japanese.

What is your favourite time of the year in Japan?

Everyone loves this, I absolutely love Sakura season! When I first experienced it last year it was quite, crazy and just the whole atmosphere of it, it’s just so beautiful! You have to come and see it for yourself. That is definitely number 1 and its the busiest time in Japan.

Surprisingly, Number 2 is Halloween. Halloween in Japan is like nothing else or no other country, it’s so crazy! On the actual date (October 31st), they shut down Shibuya and the famous ‘Scramble Crossing’ so that no cars can come through. And there are literally millions and millions of people walking everywhere, people dressed up and everyone is having a great time! It’s a priceless experience and I definitely recommend it. If I was to move back to Australia, I would no doubt come back for a holiday during Halloween.


  1. Well done John and Matt. We are coming soon in April. Maybe we can try the Gocart? Hoping to take a trip to Nagasaki. Nana will be in the suitcase! Sushi is Phil’s favourite food and curry dishes too. Chow.


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