Archive for the 'culture' Category

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Santa’s Workshop

December 10th, 2011

Ok, so presumably when I was a kid I believed in Santa Claus. I say “presumably” because I don’t actually remember believing in him, or not believing in him, and I don’t remember “discovering” that there was no Santa. My parents have told me that I basically “just wasn’t that interested” in Santa himself. But […]

“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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Tokyo Climate versus Houston Climate

November 8th, 2007

Actually, this post is about Japanese climate, not just Tokyo, but I like parallelism in my post titles. Japan is a hot, humid country pretty much overall.  And Houston is a hot, muggy climate.  They probably post equal temperatures (in fact, Houston probably has higher temperatures), but, man, is Japan hotter. It all comes down […]

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