“This is Japan” is a weekly blog post where I talk about my life in Japan.

It’s a place where I can share some of the strange, funny, or interesting stories from my week. Sometimes it is a bit personal or random, but I hope you will enjoy learning what it is like to live in Japan.

It’s been a bit of a weird week in Japan.

On Monday, North Korea launched a missile over the northern part of Japan. I’m a little embarrassed to say that I had no idea it happened. I spent the entire day at home working on my blog, blissfully unaware as to what was going on in the world.

My husband told me about it when he came home from work in the evening. He said in the morning the trains were all delayed. The announcement read, “missile launched.” Gosh, how do you go to work after reading something like that?! Needless to say, I was shocked and afraid. My next stop was Google to see what the heck was going on.

North Korea launched a missile over northern Japan, which then landed in the sea just over 1000km away. It was an unannounced military missile, fired at a low angle, and not a “satellite” like previous launches. People living in northern Japan were woken up at 6 AM by an alert on their phones saying that a missile was launched and to take cover somewhere strong. That is quite possibly one of the most terrifying ways to wake up.

I’ve been woken up by an earthquake alert on my phone, which is scary enough. But reading “missile launch” would make your blood run cold.

When I was living in South Korea, I was always a bit scared when Kim Jong Il and then Kim Jong Un threatened to do something drastic, but I remember South Koreans hardly batting an eye. I’m curious as to what the feeling among South Koreans is like now.

I’m am by far no political expert, but personally I do not see things ending in any other way than nuclear war, whether it be sooner or less sooner. A bit of a grim outlook, don’t you think? I wonder what will happen here if Japan gets caught in the middle of a nuclear war between two loose cannons. Remember, Japan is the only country to have ever experienced a nuclear bomb, and because of this a huge part of their Constitution and collective mindset is to not let it happen again.

I have no idea what the best solution is to the current and increasingly dangerous situation. I think it is far more complicated and sensitive than any of us can really understand. There are too many factors and unpredictabilities and secrets for us to say what anyone should do. But living in Japan suddenly became a little scary. I keep nonchalantly telling my husband, “World War Three is going to start soon,” “nuclear war is coming.”

But, I don’t want to end on that note!

So I have another mini (big? medium?) blog update. My blog was previously about travel in general and Japan. I have decided to only focus on travel in Japan. If you check my homepage, you will see that you cannot find my other country posts and that I cleaned up my navigation because it was messy with too many categories and tags. I haven’t deleted anything though, so if you dig, you’ll be able to find them 😉 Please stick around to see how my blog will change (hopefully for the better).

With that, may the world not end in “fire and fury,” and I hope everyone has a pleasant September.

If you want to read something happier, please read about my trip to Fuji Rock Festival.


Jennifer has lived in Japan for a total of seven years. She has travelled, taught English, studied Japanese, completed a Master's Degree, and travelled some more. She currently calls Nagoya her home, where she lives with her Japanese husband.


  1. Nice to get an account on what is happening re NK from someone in Japan. The issue is not just a madman in Pyongyang (nothing new there) but also having one in the White House.

  2. I, too, remember living in SK and them never batting an eye, while family back home in North America would be worrying a lot!
    I also don’t know what the solution is and I’m sorry that living in Japan has turned a bit scary for you 🙁 What are your husband’s thoughts about it all?
    I hope things stay calm over there!

    Looking forward to seeing the new direction you are taking your blog 🙂

    • It’s hard to say what could possible happen. There’s no easy way out. I don’t think my husband has as grim an outlook as I do, but we both seem to think that it’s going to get worse before it gets better. If it is even possible to get better.

      Thanks, I hope I can do something nice with my blog 🙂

  3. This must have been absolutely terrifying. It makes you wonder what it’s going to take for action to be taken. I would absolutely hate for there to be another war, especially a nuclear one, but that missile could easily have failed mid flight and landed accidentally in Japan. I hope things clear up over there peaceably!

    • It’s hard to imagine that things can deescalate, but it’s easy to imagine things getting far worse. Maybe the missile was even supposed to land on Japan, but it accidentally landed in the ocean.

      • Yes unfortunately I think you’re right. What I don’t understand is why there was no attempt by Japan to intercept the missile. That seems to suggest that they knew it was going to pass over. A very strange situation.

        • That would probably have been taken as an act of aggression/attack/interference by North Korea and give North Korea an “excuse” to do something even more drastic to “defend themselves.” Which is maybe even what they were going for….

  4. Thank you for following Indifferent Ignorance!

    I’d be very nervous if I were in Japan and Asia at the moment; I think the best way to deal with it is to carry on as you would normally (I’ve found it’s helped after the terror attacks in the UK to just do everything as normal).

  5. The NK leader is a mad man, more dangerous than his father was. Hearing about this the other day put fear in me Jennifer.

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