About Dara

This blog tells the story of my time in Japan, what I did, what I saw, what I thought and what I learned. It is a way of sharing my experiences with friends and family, and anyone who might take an interest.

For those who don’t know me, I am a mechanical engineer from Dublin, Ireland, 41 years old and married to Yuko. We moved (together with our two dogs) to Japan from Ireland in March 2012. Although I had visited Japan many times before, this was my first time to live and work here.

In this blog, I will not be attempting big topics, like politics or religion or history or the Japanese character or the national economy. I will leave those things to the experts. Instead I will be writing about the smaller details of life, things that catch my attention, and my own little struggles and triumphs with the language and the culture. My hope is that over time, these will gradually build up into a picture of life in Japan, from the point of view of one Irishman living here.

[Update: After living in Japan for just over a year, we returned to Ireland in May 2013.]

Please feel free to read, to follow the blog if you like it, and above all to comment, to let me know if you enjoyed something I wrote, or to offer a different perspective.


12 thoughts on “About Dara

    1. Hi Dave,

      Thank you very much for featuring my blog on your list. I look forward to checking out the other blogs! It’s been a lot of fun for me to share my experiences of living in Japan with the people back home (and all over the world).

  1. Dara,
    Very good. My father’s parents came to Canada from Ireland in 1896, and in fine tradition I drink grand beer at O’Hares Pub in Richmond, B.C. My mother-in-law traveled to Japan during the summer of 1939. When she passed away in 1992, I spent some time collecting her treasures she had gathered during that summer. I have no website but I have uploaded in a simple, linear format, as much of her trip as I have had time. Konguo Mountain is one of the publications I have scanned. There is more but such will have to wait. I am a retired educator living in Richmond, B.C. My family has strong ties to some great folks in Steveston; my oldest son is a sensei at the Steveston Judo Club. Here is my webpage: http://tmmvhall.shawwebspace.ca/

    I hope you can access it.

    Later, Dara
    Tom Hall

    1. Hi Tom,

      Thank you very much for reading and taking the time to comment. I am amazed and impressed that your mother-in-law travelled to Japan in 1939. She must have been an unusually courageous woman with a great interest in seeing the world. How tragic it must have been for her when Canada and Japan went to war so soon afterwards. I can indeed access your website and I am greatly looking forward to reading it, especially about places that I know such as Mt. Kongou. Thank you so much for taking the trouble to upload your mother-in-law’s treasures and sharing them with the world.

      By coincidence I will have lunch on Monday with a man from near where you live, who is now living and working in Japan; another colleague from the same area has recently returned to Canada to work for BC Hydro.

      Best regards,


  2. Great blog Dara, rich and full of great content and observations! Where do you get the time? 😉 I hope you are going to enjoy the St. Pat’s celebrations. I will be on a plane this time next week! Best wishes, Ben.

    1. Thank you very much for the positive comment. It’s not always easy to find the time; it typically takes an hour or two to prepare a blog post. But I find it quite rewarding. I bet you’re excited about coming back to live in Japan!

  3. i found your blog incidentally when I was trying to find a song named Osaka bay blue. I just totally forgot this song’s name; the only word I can remember was Osaka. I found my song, and more importantly, I found this blog. It is so personal and intriguing to me. It is worth to spend more time on reading all your threads like reading a novel. Please keep your good work.

    1. Thanks so much! It really makes me happy to hear about how you stumbled across my blog and that you are enjoying it.

      Sadly I am no longer living in Japan and so I don’t have so many things to write about now. But I will go back to visit Japan in April and I will definitely post about that!

  4. Hi Dara.
    I am someone who is currently staying in Japan for a year. Quite like you were, except that I come from India and I am in single status. It is fascinating how you made Japan your own and lived in the country like one of its own (i.e. unlike so many other posts I read). The time and thoughts that go into your posts make them worth reading. The pics associated make the post easier to relate to. I just discovered your blog and here I have already read so many posts. And I am sure I will keep coming back later.
    I too like this country and I have been trying to pick up a slice of Japan but I have not succeeded to the extent you did. I am sure I will miss Japan much when I go back in some months, and the “new reality” will push back the Japan memories soon like it did for you. But I truly wish I make the most of my stay here in the balance few months and take away a slice of this country with me. Thanks me making me fall in Japan once again.

    May I request you to find time to make more posts on ‘mono’ / ‘koto’ from your stay in Japan that you can now recall / think of, but did not then find time to blog about?




    Go-ji goro no otoko
    (that is a nickname I have earned, for turning up at 5’o clock at the desks of some japanese friends at office for some Japanese language related queries)

    1. Dear Ang, thank you so much for your comment. As you can imagine, making a life in Japan was relatively easy for me because Yuko is Japanese. Effectively, I was able to live like a Japanese person, and in fact I rarely met another foreigner during all the time I was living there! Without her help, this would not have been possible. I understand that you may feel that you have not been 100% successful in immersing yourself in the culture, but I have nothing but admiration for you in taking on this task – it takes courage and a sense of adventure.

      Certainly you should make the most of your remaining time. One of the benefits of being there for a limited time is the awareness that you should try to grab every opportunity and experience that come along, because you may not be around next time the opportunity arises.

      I will try to find time to write some more articles about Japan. Your appreciative comments really mean a lot to me.


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