Archive for the 'observations' Category

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Y2K Gets No Respect

April 1st, 2009

Somebody today made another crack about how wrong everyone was about Y2K, and it’s driving me crazy.  On the rare occassion when Y2K comes up, it’s always the same: “Look how wrong they were about Y2K”.  While I, personally, wasn’t involved at all in Y2K preparation work, I was surrounded by people working to avoid […]

Intonationally Left Behind

March 25th, 2009

So, living away from English for a long time, one naturally starts to worry about losing touch with the language as-it-is-spake, especially when one’s contact with one’s home culture comes primarily through reading things on the internet, as opposed to talking to fellow countrymen or watching topical television. One regular shock is hearing peoples’ names.  […]

Culturally Modified Female Voice

March 5th, 2009

Most people with a passing familiarity with Japan, and anyone who has actually lived in Japan, is intimately familiar with the Culturally Modified Female Voice, by which I mean the extra-high voices that some (not all) Japanese women use. There are actually two types of annoying voices, with very different roots.  The first is the […]

Prepared Comedy Doesn’t Work On Me Anymore

December 31st, 2008

Do you remember, as a kid, laughing so hard you had to pee?  Do you remember laughing so hard you couldn’t breath? I remember both happening fairly often.  Not every day, or even every week, but still rather a lot during, say, my first 15 years of life.  The second 15, not so much. I […]


December 28th, 2008

I feel sorry for little kids between ages 1 and 3.  All they have to play with is dirt. “Oh-ho”, you surely say, “that isn’t the case!  Toy stores are full of toys!”.  But if you actually check at the toy store, you will find that there is a surprising gap.  There are plenty of […]


December 27th, 2008

Voice actors are respected in Japan, and within a certain segment of the market, are even revered.  Which is odd, because: they suck. The vast majority of them work within the anime industry, which means, to be honest, the bar is pretty low.  Sure, Japan’s anime industry is enormous, and sure, comic books are read […]

Another Cultural Difference

September 5th, 2008

Yeah, yeah, that’s all us expats write about.  Sorry. I was listening to SModcast (a podcast by director Kevin Smith and producer Scott Mosier), and I had a big chunk of reverse culture-shock (that is, being shocked by your own culture because you’ve been away from it for so long that you forget parts of […]

Powers of 10 and WH40K

August 30th, 2008

I’ve got a cold, so my mind isn’t working all that well.  So this post may not be very organized. Are you, dear reader, familiar with the short film “Powers of 10”?  It’s an old education short, about 9 minutes long (you’d think they would have added a minute of padding in there), which zooms […]

Japanese Privacy

August 13th, 2008

Japanese have an odd sense of privacy. Basically, from what I can tell, it’s that any unauthorized reproduction of any information that concerns a person is, in itself, an invasion of privacy.  That seems reasonable, at first glance.  But I’m talking ANY reproduction of information concerning someone.  Google recently released Street View (which shows actual […]

The Way Chinese People Dress

August 2nd, 2008

There comes, for any issue, a point in people’s lives at which their view of something stops changing, despite reality continuing to change.  For each issue, that’s a different time, but it always seems to happen: folks who keep saying “Czechoslovakia”, or “the U.S.S.R” in non-historical contexts. One of my stuck points, I’ve realised, is […]

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