Archive for the 'observations' Category

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The Inscrutable Asian Smile

April 7th, 2013

So back in the day a lot was written about the “inscrutable Asian smile”, and how in some Asian countries, people would smile when they felt uncomfortable, and how utterly strange and foreign that was. So, anyway, I’m watching American Idol the other day, and two very white very southern country singers do a duet. […]

I’m Living in the Future

September 17th, 2012

I went to a club in Tokyo, and a guy on the dance floor was using his iPad. Amusing, for me, but perhaps a little annoying for the DJ. …but if my 10 year old self saw this, his eyes would be bugging out of his head. “You were in Tokyo, at a club, and […]

“Afraid of the Dark” – Not Really a Thing in Japan?

May 25th, 2011

When I was a kid, growing up in Texas, my room, like the room of every kid in America, had a light switch, which was used to turn on or off the incandescent light bulbs in my room. Switch on: room brightly lit. Switch off: room pitch black (except for whatever moonlight might filter through […]

Religious Popular Music

January 4th, 2011

In the English speaking world, “quality” has become antonymous (is that the right word for the opposite of “synonymous”?) with “religious music”. Sure, there are a few Christian bands who make decent music (MxPx, for example), but they are few and far between. It wasn’t always that way, of course. From the 10th century, with […]

Who Do PR Folks Think They’re Fooling?

August 24th, 2010

Despite the inflammatory post title, I’m not really talking about all PR folks, or all PR activities.  But there is a subsection of PR that I just can’t imagine the people writing the PR copy actually believing anyone in the world will believe. The example that prompts me to write this is a translation I […]

“Just Yesterday”

March 20th, 2010

People say that as you grow older, your sense of time changes, so that weeks, months, and years pass by in the space of a day. Maybe aging is part of it, but I don’t think that’s the whole story. When you have kids, the counting of years becomes easier, because of the concrete milestones […]

The “Ism” of the Future

October 7th, 2009

Every once in a while on the internet, there is a discussion of some famous genius or otherwise admirable figure from long, long ago.  And, quite often, the person, despite their abilities, has some regressive beliefs about race, sex, or the like. Someone will then inevitably attack the person for those beliefs.  And, inevitably, someone […]

Guns and Acclimation

September 17th, 2009

I was raised in a country where handgun ownership is legal (America) and have lived 14 years in a country where it is illegal (Japan). When I first came to Japan, people constantly asked me if I owned a gun in the states, and were amazed when I said “no” (which leads me to wonder […]

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 […]

The Way People Do Things Isn’t Always The Way They Really Do Them

May 5th, 2009

The way people do things isn’t always the way people think they do things, but it’s always tough to point that out when they can do it but you can’t. There are two examples that pop to mind: The first was when my wife taught me to snowboard.  One of the first things you have […]

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