People You Meet: Joe Palermo

Sep 9, 2020Blog, Inspiration

People You Meet: Joe Palermo

Who would have ever thought before the Internet, one could come across a kindred spirit, via a social media platform, and discover so very much in common, based upon our experiences in Japan, now decades ago.

I saw a post to a group about Japan by Joe Palermo, and it resonated deeply with me.

He posted about an experience in Japan back in the early 80’s, while in the employment of the Japanese Ministry of Education.

In fact, Joe wrote a book about his experience in Japan starting from the early 80s and it was incredible to read of the profound similarities of so many of the experiences we both had back in the 80s in Japan.

No Pianos, Pets or Foreigners! My Life in Japan in the 80’s, by Joe Palermo.NoPianosPetsOrForeignersCover

Remember, Japan was not considered to be a tourist destination at all back then, and the only foreigners who came here were either on business temporarily, or here to work on yearly contracts.

Back then the go-to destination in Asia was the Kingdom of Thailand, formerly know as Siam, which is also known as “The Land of a Thousand Smiles.

Being a caucasian foreigner in Japan, especially in the rural areas in the 80s, was still quite rare, thus the people like Joe and I coming to Japan in the Showa era can be considered somewhat pioneer like.

Joe came to Japan in Showa 57 (1982), and I came 5 years later in Showa 62 (1987).

I refer to people like us as “Showa Boys”, and Joe can be considered my “senpai”.

Although Joe found himself returning to his home country for work after a few years, he made sure to take an important part of Japan back with him, and her name is Taeko.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading No Pianos, Pets or Foreigners!, bringing back so many fond and meaningful memories of life back in the 80s.

If one would like a glimpse into Japan in the 80s, and picking up some important cultural points along the way, I highly recommend checking out No Pianos, Pets or Foreigners!

Some of the fascinating topics you will read about in No Pianos, Pets or Foreigners!

What’s a Gunma?

How to Become Japanese (Or Not)

Risking My Life and Being a Star

The Great Cultural Divide

Experiences on the Wrong Side of the Law

Meeting my Manga Hero

Encounters with Suicide Chapter

The Magic of Company Trips Chapter

Thanks Joe for this engaging and entertaining book!







You can check out Joe Palermo at Facebook here:
You can get your copy of No Pianos, Pets or Foreigners! here.