Archive for the 'Japanese' Category

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A Great Word in Japanese

January 17th, 2011

Sometimes on TV programs, they ask Japanese folks what their favorite Japanese words are. The answers are inevitably psuedo-profound, relating to love or perseverance or the like. And, sometimes on TV programs, they ask foreigners what their favorite Japanese words are. The answers are inevitably silly. I don’t know if it’s my absolute favorite word, […]

A Possible Reason for High Japanese Literacy Rates

June 1st, 2009

Japan has a remarkably high literacy rate, which sometimes seems confounding, due to the complexity of the written language.  Sure, it’s not as hard as Chinese, but it’s pretty high up there on the difficulty ladder.  This is usually explained by the rigorousness of the educational system, which I’m sure is very important, but I […]

Japan is Crazy for Barack Obama

February 21st, 2008

…Not because of his politics, demeanor, looks, or anything else, mind you, but his name. Obama is a Japanese name. Not a common one, by any means, but recognizably name-like. Like “Windthorpe” or “Hasseldorf” or something: perhaps you’ve never met someone named either of those, but if you heard them, you’d immediately know they were […]

Carbon-Dating Expats

January 20th, 2008

Talking with various foreign friends, I’ve realized that you can determine a sort of threshold value for when they moved to Japan: pre or post late 90’s. When I came to Japan (1996), beepers were all the rage in the US.  Cell-phones were rare if not virtually unknown.  Car phones, sure, but not cell-phones.  In […]

Japanese Abbreviations FTW

November 10th, 2007

(For you older folks, “FTW” stands for “for the win”, or, in other words “are awesome”) English internet dialect has tons of abbreviations. IANAL, LOL, IMHO, RTFM. But they all pale before the greatest abbreviation on the net: (ry It took me a long, long time to figure out what (ry meant, because it’s used […]

The Value of Reruns

October 28th, 2007

I always basically considered reruns a sort of unnecessary evil, but now I’m starting to think they’re a necessary evil. Japan, basically, doesn’t have reruns. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that everything disappears into a big memory hole. There are reruns of old prime-time shows during day-time television slots. But the American system of […]

Googlin’ in Japuhneese is hawrd.

September 2nd, 2007

So, here I am, permanent resident of Japan, living here for 11 years, doing professional translation work, and there’s one thing that I suck at, and will continue to suck at, until eternity: Googling. I’m good with Google in English.  Give me a topic, and in a few minutes I’ll trawl down the perfect search […]

The Times They Are A Changin’

August 4th, 2007

Things are changing in Japan, vis foreigners. Two things in the last two days which brought this to mind: This morning, on one of the TV talkshow/variety shows (think The Today Show or the like if you don’t know Japanese TV), they had a segment where they asked a bunch of foreigners what Japanese food […]

Japanese and the Weak Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

July 11th, 2007

I’m not a reductionist. I’m not big on sentences that start with “the reason that…”, especially if the end of the sentence is something universal like “…Japanese people do blah”. However, I don’t think things pop up in a vacuum, either, so while I might disagree that a certain thing is the reason doesn’t mean […]

A Japanese Misconception About Marriage

May 9th, 2007

I’ve had a few coworkers with an odd misconception about international marriage.  I tell them that I’m married, and they say “So, you’ve become a nationalized Japanese?”  When I tell them “no”, they say “Oh, then your wife became an American citizen”.  When I tell them “no, my wife is still Japanese, and I’m still […]

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