Smalltalk Without Speaking Much Japanese

How to Smalltalk with Japanese people if you don’t speak much japanese

So you live in Japan and want to meet Japanese people but don’t speak much japanese? Here is what you can do:

The International Party

An international party is a great place to meet locals who want to talk to you. Try Élan, IFP or Gaitomo.

Ask people about their age, school, occupation. Let them guess your age. Try to ask about their hobbies or what they like.
If you ask for a hobby by using the word “shumi” some might say sleeping and eating. Hobbies seem to be seen as something private or only activities where they are really good at (sports, instruments). If you ask about likes then you might find out more.
Talk about yourself and your country. Show photos from your phone.

Try to exchange line or facebook.

The one on one meetup

Contact them by social media and set up a meeting. Japanese people are reluctant to say no directly. They might be busy or uninterested to meet you, if they say “it’s difficult” or don’t agree to on a date. Don’t get angry.

Meet up in a public space, for instance the Hachiko Statue in Shibuya. Then go out for lunch.
During the lunch first ask more questions. If you’re out of topics, show photos from your phone. Family pictures, photos of your hometown and your hobbies work well. With this technique you can communicate a lot without saying much.

If the lunch goes well, Karaoke or bowling might be a fun activity which don’t require many words.

Searching programming documentation quick and even offline

As a programmer you know the issue: how was the function called for getting splitting strings into arrays? Some people might use IDEs which autocomplete, but this doesn’t always give you all the answers.

Ohne Titel.jpeg

I love this site:
This solves the problem completely, but it lives in the browser and might be lost in your tabs.
Just turn it into an app using Fluid on OSX or Chrome on Windows

I really love autocomplete and soundex search functions. I hope this helps you to code faster.



Deichkind Impressions

I went to see Deichkind on the 20st April 2015. It was a Monday evening so it was kind of tough!

There where 3000 people inside Maag Hall in Zurich. So it was packed. I was standing at the back of the hall, but since I’m tall, I still saw most of the show.

Yes, they went crowdsurfing with boats!



The End Of The Special Time We Were Allowed

(7.11.2014, Cinema Houdini Zürich, Ginmaku Festival) 

Beautiful documentary movie about a singer. Tragic: The singer kills himself during filming.
The director has difficulties dealing with the loss of his friend. He creates a subplot to fill up the rest of the movie. It’s really nicely done. The singer was very talented, it’s a shame! His name was Masuda Sota (増田壮太)

 5 of 5 points.

Watch the trailer on YouTube

Bellinzona Trip 28.03.15

Bellinzona Trip 28.03.15

I went to Bellinzona with my friend Stefan. We originally went to see the Japan Matsuri Event. However, we ended up spending more time exploring the city, and going to Locarno to eat a Pizza.


Here are some shots of the way there from northern Switzerland to the south. We passed through the alps.       




Bellinzona is home to the “Castel Grande”. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It gives this small city a medieval touch. Much of the town wall is still intact.

The interesting thing about Bellinzona is, that there are not one but three castles. I posted a picture of these at the end of this post.


We went up the steep castle tower. The view is  worth it!
Here’s us trying to look cool after the climb:

We got to watch skilled Taiko players at the Japan Matsuri. They even played awaodori music!


Click here to download my recording