A friend of mine once told me that when he was in Japan, everyone was saying to him “So, when are you leaving?”

You may all be wondering where I got the name of my blog, Japanda. Well its from my friend. He said to me that if you’re from the West, you are viewed in at least a little way as somethng like a bear. Hence the name JaPANDA.

You are a curiosity, a pet. Obviously, Japan did a lot to immunize itself from the West from many centuries, granting only trading rights to the Dutch who had to live on a small island connected to the mainland and who werent allowed to trade on Japan’s mainland itself.
My question is – how do the Japanese regard their land. Something that shouldnt be trodden upon or occupied by gaijin? Does it have a special significance?

This question is increasingly important as Japan’s population ages and Japan is looking for youthful energetic and able workers to support its economy,sometimes from overseas. Further, as other nations struggle with issues of multiculturalism and terrorism, Japan seems to be one of the few countries in the world that has a relatively homogenous population.

Your thoughts?


On Wednesday police arrested 4 persons suspected of being involved in the 2004 armed robbery in Minami-Kawachi in Tochigi Prefecture.

The heist of a transport company, suspected as being an inside job, was the largest in Japanese history, netting the robbers JPY 542,500,000.00.

In contrast the North Hollywood Robbery that took place in 1997 netted the 2 armed robbers involved USD 300,000.00, although both later died as a result of a “automatic rifles and all” shootout outside the bank, tactics which the criminals concerned seem to have adopted from the 1995 Michael Mann film “HEAT”.

Given that gun ownership in Japan is not as prevalent as some parts of the West, what is the profile of the average bank robber in Japan?

Has bank robbery as a trend increased? What is the most violent robbery ever committed in Japan? Are guns used? How are victims in the bank treated? How are they threatened?

As innocuous as it sounds, perhaps examining the way in which bank robbers do their business may give this gaijin insight into Japanese culture.

The Japanda project is an experiment on how one gaijin from the West views Japan, and how Japan views itself.

What if one gaijin who has never ever been to Japan started to understand what Japan and its people are to the world today, and to themselves?

That is the essence of the Japanda project.

Whether you are from Japan, of Japan, in Japan, or have been to Japan, feel free to leave me comments about one of the great wonders of our times, the nation known as “Japan”.