thoughts on japan from a former japanese language student

Tales from Tabata aims to cover the extraordinary and the underreported about Japan from the perspective of an American-educated, Hong Kong-born quadrilingual millennial.

Think pieces about contemporary Japanese life, linked lists, and amateur translations of Japanese-language articles form the backbone of this site.

Kenneth Lee

Kenneth Lee is the author of Tales from Tabata. An alumnus of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, he was an exchange student at Waseda University, posed for photos in front of cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., and wrote a number of things for the Georgetown Voice. He is based in Hong Kong.

As a Waseda student, he lived in Tabata, Tokyo.


Tabata (田端) is a suburb in Kita-ku, Tokyo. It is one of the stops on the Yamanote Line, a major commuter line in Tokyo. Tabata Station’s claim to fame is that the Keihin-Tohoku Line’s rapid train service stops at Tabata.

In February 2016, Tabata was voted the 4th lamest Yamanote Line station (山手線で最もダサいと思う駅ランキング) by the variety program Monday Late Show (月曜から夜ふかし).


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Thanks to Kaitlin Chan, Katria Inoue, and Jade Mallabone who assisted with the set-up of Tales from Tabata in August 2018.

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