Category Archives: cross-cultural

Geisha on a Bridge

As part of my ongoing quest for self-improvement during this lockdown, I’ve been trying to continuously upgrade my skills. So a few days ago, I started studying Photopea, sort of a poor-mans version of Photoshop.

Last year I photographed a cool bridge at a beautiful plum garden park here in Atami. Ever since taking this photo, I envisioned in my mind’s eye a geisha standing on it. So as part of my quest to learn Photopea, I attempted to merge a photo of a geisha with the bridge. (I also created the shadow effect, not perfect, but my first try!)

Below are just two of several versions of the edited image. One is a colored picture of the geisha with a black-and-white bridge backdrop. The other is a completely sepia version. Which one do you like best?


BaienBrdgGshaBW copy

© Tim Sullivan 2020

You USED to be Handsome, Tim!


I’ve mentioned before that whatever you can say about Japanese culture, you can also say the opposite. Sometimes opposites even come in pairs. A case in point: how Japanese can be both direct and indirect at the same time. Directly indirect? Indirectly direct? Not sure which description fits best, but here’s the story…

Yesterday morning at breakfast, Japanese mom randomly said to my wife (in front of me), “Tim was really handsome when he married you.”

Being the pain-in-the-ass American that I am, I couldn’t help but put mom on the spot: “So you’re saying that I WAS handsome, past tense? That I’m not handsome anymore?”

Mom looked me in the eye, cocked her head, and said…nothing, lololol!

And with that, my wife and I burst out laughing.

In mom’s defense, it is absolutely true that I am not handsome. Where she’s wrong is that I never was. (She used to think that all gaijin were handsome until my aging face changed her mind. ;))

Learning Animation Video Production While Suspended in Animation…

Been trying to use my time productively during our self-imposed lockdown. So last week I purchased an animation video production software package to acquire a new skill. My first project was to make a short commercial for the new book my friend and I wrote,「すぐに使える診療英語: Simple English for Japanese Medical Professionals.」 Let me know what you think!

© Tim Sullivan 2020

The Dangerous Japanese Beer-Pouring Ritual

The 5th installment of my video blog.

An Inspiring Japanese Concept to Get You Through Tough Times

The 4th installment of Japanese Insight’s video blog series on the art of Kikubari. Enjoy.

© Tim Sullivan 2020

Thank You Naked, Drunken, Tourist Guy


Drunken, Naked, Tourist Guy

I was walking along Atami’s bayfront today with my wife and sister-in-law, minding my own business, when I heard my wife  say, “Is that guy naked?”

My sister-in-law replied, “Yes, I believe he is naked.”

Not believing my ears, I turned around only to see wife and sister-in-law glancing up at the resort hotel across the street. I looked up and, sure enough, a guy was standing on the top-floor balcony, naked as a jaybird!

When he saw us looking at him, he started waving his arms and yelling something indecipherable, I assume a friendly drunken greeting.

Not wanting to be rude I waved back!

And we all laughed and laughed.

So thank you naked, drunken, tourist guy for making our day. Just glad you were on the top floor where my nearsighted boomer eyes couldn’t make out the gory details.

My apologies for the picture, but I was convinced no one would believe this story, so I was compelled to provide proof. No worries, the obscene part of the picture was covered up so as not to offend my delicate readers.

© Tim Sullivan 2020

Of Mice & Japanese Men

The Hilarious Way an American Woman Won the Respect of a Japanese Manager.

3rd Installment of my video blog…

© Tim Sullivan 2020