We both received the exact same fortune? True story!

In the latest comic, FCS493, Mai and Karl pick the same O-mikuji fortune while at the shrine and are amazed.  This comic is completely based on truth!  My wife and I went to a shrine on New Year's Eve back during our first year of dating, just like in the comic.  We enjoyed it and I was excited to be out doing something so different than my usual way to spend New Year's Eve...watching TV at home. 

I had never heard of O-mikuji before and so I thought it would be fun to see what my fortune would be.  We payed and then they held out a wooden box, with a hole in it and after shaking it, a stick comes out with a number of our fortune to take from the large collection.  It's difficult to remember if it was considered a very good fortune or somewhat good but I do remember how my wife was shocked that our's were the same.  She kept looking at them and comparing to make sure. 

I didn't think this was such a big deal until she showed me that there are many different parts and a lot of information on one little fortune.  It's impossible to get exactly the same one as someone with you.  They have the general fortune that can be a great blessing, small blessing, and go all the way down to a future curse.  Ours must have been good because if it's bad, you usually fold it up and tie it to a tree in the shrine.  We kept ours!  There are predictions about finding love, job, health and success in great detail.  Even a poem!  EVERYTHING ON OURS WAS THE SAME!  She had never seen this happen before in her life.  When I finally understood how amazing this was, I was in shock too!

My wife and I have been together for over twelve years now and still as happy as can be.  That fortune was truly a sign.  I guess our future is really tied together!   

Who needs Christmas when you can have New Year's Eve?

At least, that's how it felt during the holidays in Japan.  Christmas is a fun date night and a cute day to give your kids a gift from Santa.  No religion necessary!  New Year's Eve and the three days after are the most important days for family celebration in Japan.  I have grown into appreciating New Year's as an important holiday but I still get upset that Japan can adopt the commercial side of Christmas just for fun when very few people are actual Christians and could care less about the birth of Jesus. 

During the next month or so, I'll finally be running Fried Chicken and Sushi comic strips based on Christmas and New Year's!  I've avoided it for four years and now is the time for the holidays to arrive in the world of Karl, J, Tanuki and Mai!  Enjoy and I would love to read your comments about experiencing the holidays in Japan in the comments section under the comic.  If you want to give me a nice gift, you can become a patron HERE ON MY PATREON PAGE!  Happy holidays and thanks for being a fan!

Fried Chicken and Sushi 418 Mai favorite Karaoke

I remember how surprised I was with Japanese Karaoke rooms when I first went to one.  It seemed so cool to get a private room where you could sing as awful as you like and no one would hear.  Finding a private place to spend time together during a date can be difficult in Japan.  Do you have any ideas?  PLEASE LIKE MY FACEBOOK FAN PAGE BY CLICKING HERE!

Fried Chicken and Sushi 293 J tells Karl he's moving to Japan

There's no law against it.  I felt that way when I didn't see any other black men walking around in Japan.  It's not that crazy to think they would limit the number of foreigners in a certain city.  Remember, Japan isolated itself from the rest of the world for over two hundred years.  It's going to be great to have these two black guys in Osaka.  Let's hope it's a smooth journey for J.

Fan Art- Jamie Lynn Lano

Check out this amazing fan art by Jamie Lynn Lano!  Aren't Karl and Tanuki cute?!  She even made Karl look a little awkward.  Just like he is! ;)  You can read her awesome blog about living and working in Japan called LIVING TALL IN JAPAN.  One of my favorite series of posts she writes is about her experience working as an art assistant on the manga Prince of Tennis.  Very interesting reading about how things work in a real manga studio in Japan from the eyes of a foreigner.  Check out the list of those posts here or just click on her fan art above! 

Fried Chicken and Sushi 205 You might meet a nice girl!

For the new readers out there, let me give a shout out to my FACEBOOK Fan Page!  Please LIKE it and enjoy it!  If you love TWITTER like I do, please follow me and start up a conversation!  You can also reply and start conversations on this site in the FORUMS.  Is that enough pluggin' for you? 

I hope I don't seem as lonely as Karl with all this social networking love I'm begging for!  It is nice to hear from my fans and interact though.  Even though Karl is isolated enough to talk to a tanuki statue, at least he has some friends that are looking out for him!  Thanks for reading!

COOL JAPAN! The Language

That's what I hear from a lot of people.  "Whoa, living in Japan would be so cool!"  I hope that this comic strip shows that it is cool living in Japan but also challenging and crazy in many ways.  Yes, some of my characters are a bit over the top but you have to remember that most of this stuff is based on actual events and people.  I'm making a lot of jokes about how difficult it is to learn the Japanese language but, to me, that's one of the COOL things.  After years of studying Spanish in America and not really retaining any of it, studying Japanese while living in Japan was amazing!  It was so cool to study a new word or phrase and then hear it the same day over and over again.  Maybe I'm just a geek but I actually love the sound of Japanese being spoken.  Listening to the many ways people express themselves with it is fascinating to me.  I think the fact that it is so difficult, with many levels of proper speech and a complex writing system makes it all the more exciting to study. 

Unfortunately, that excitement does not get me over my fear of saying something incorrectly and looking foolish.  Fear of failure, or embarrassment, makes it difficult for me to confidently go out and speak Japanese.  I want to speak with ease and not have to pause and think about the next word.  Of course, people in Japan do not expect for me to speak fluently but because I look so different I want to prove to them that I can hang!  This fascination with the language but fear of speaking it is probably something I will have to deal with for many years now.  It's tough to imagine a time when I will be able to confidently hold a complex conversation in Japanese and not sound like a cave man.  If I continue studying, maybe one day it just might happen. 

Do you guys feel me on this?  Please share any stories or feelings you have about learning a new language in the comments section.  We might just cheer each other up!