Discover Our Must-Reads of 2021 

Discover Our Must-Reads of 2021 

As our last article of the year, we wanted to compile a special list for you. 

Here’s the thing: These aren’t our most-accessed articles (although that makes for some interesting reading, too!🧐). 

Rather, these are articles we’ve chosen because they do 1 of 3 things—or in some cases all 3 things at once:

  1. They highlight an under-represented subject or topic 🔦 

  2. They provide much-needed expert dissection on a trend or theme 🗣

  3. They are nerdy-fun while also being actually helpful 👓

Onwards. Here are the articles we shortlisted out of the 137 features we published in 2021. 


31 Books to Grow Your Understanding of Japan, Recommended by the BIJ Community

31 Books to Grow Your Understanding of Japan, Recommended by the BIJ Community

I love looking at people’s bookshelves (@bcredibility, anyone?). If you enjoy this same furtive pastime, then this will be right up your alley. We asked the Business in Japan community for their recommendations on books that helped deepen their understanding of Japan. The result is this roundup of fiction, reference, culture, and history books that Japan’s foreign professionals have on their shelves. 


11 Useful Manga for Anyone Preparing to Work in Japan

11 Useful Manga for Anyone Preparing to Work in Japan

If you were looking for the nerdy-fun-but-also-helpful article, it’s this one. It goes without saying that manga is great fun to read, but the real gains are the shorthand you acquire for deciphering Japanese business communication and business relationships. 


Lancers’ Report: The State of Freelancing in Japan in 2021

Lancers’ Report: The State of Freelancing in Japan in 2021

Japan’s freelance population grew by 5 million in just 1 year alone! This is worth paying attention to because these are individuals you’ll likely interact with within your Japanese network soon—if you haven’t already. Lots of detail, including who is a freelancer, the 4 types of freelancers in Japan, how much they earn, earning averages for category types, etc.


How to Freelance in Japan as a Foreigner: A Paperwork Checklist

How to Freelance in Japan as a Foreigner: A Paperwork Checklist

As a complement to the previous article, this one gets down to the practical elements of the paperwork necessary to freelance in Japan. This is the article I wish I’d read when I first started out as an independent contractor in Japan. Think of it as a roadmap for getting all the legalities right.


Kokoro Media’s Editor Talks About Her Process, How She Chooses What to Publish, And More

Kokoro Media’s Editor Talks About Her Process, How She Chooses What to Publish, And More

One of the work highlights of my year was talking to a fellow editor and hearing her process, struggles, and challenges. Amélie Geeraert’s approach to the craft made me want to keep progressing as a writer and editor. If you work in publishing in Japan—in any role, really—this article will give you a pep-up as you start content planning for 2022. 


User Cases: Who Can, Who Can’t Use a Virtual Office Address in Japan?

User Cases: Who Can, Who Can’t Use a Virtual Office Address in Japan?

This was a fun rabbit hole to fall into. There are certain cases where you can’t use a virtual office address, which basically came down to 4 regulatory concepts, one of which included showing your license certificate in a visible location so clients who walk into your office will immediately know you’re legit (for instance, detective agencies!). Some of these regulations will need some re-thinking once the metaverse hits big, but that’s just my guess. 🤷 The good news is that generally speaking, the majority can use a virtual office address without problems.


Women in Podcasting in Japan & the Shows to Know in 2021

Women in Podcasting in Japan & the Shows to Know in 2021 

I started this feature thinking I was going to cover English-language podcast shows from Japan. Jayne Nakata had a counter-proposal: “Why don’t you cover women podcasters in Japan instead?” So I got lucky because Jayne then went on to introduce me to her fabulous network. These are women leaders in their fields, doing incredible things–and hosting shows, too. 


Bonus: what our readers loved 💖

And here's a list of articles that our readers told us they loved!

  1. Half-Width vs. Full-Width: A Tale of Two Characters

  2. Learning How to Drive in Japan, from Zero to Driving Hero

  3. Japan Post Forwarding: How to Forward Mail Online [Pictorial Guide]

  4. How to Switch to a Japanese Driver's License 

  5. English-Speaking Therapists in Tokyo in 2021 

  6. A Short List of Trusted Bilingual Accounting Firms in Tokyo

  7. How to Get a Permanent Resident Visa for Japan

  8. Your Guide to the Best Work-Friendly Cafes with Power and Free Wi-Fi in Tokyo

  9. Your Guide to Company Incorporation in Japan

  10. Leaving Japan: Your Moving-Out Checklist


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