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Bill Newman comments

Posted in: Octagon-shaped 8-inch Windows tablet See in context

LOL!! Onkyo just needs an English lesson: they have a standard rectangular tablet, not an odd octagonal bad idea! I wonder if there's a good-paying job waiting for someone who brings this to their attention.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: 116 cases of babies falling from baby slings reported See in context

"with children six or younger."

Really. Somebody's carrying a 6 (5, 4) year old kid in a baby sling? (sigh) Not very bright.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Q&A on operation to remove Fukushima fuel rods See in context

"runaway reactors were brought under control two years ago."

This is a baldfaced lie. The reactors are not under control and never have been. They won't be as long at these question is unanswered: Where are the cores? What are the condition of the cores?

If the industry/government know the answer to these questions, they're being kept top secret. Why?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: A Japanese perspective on traveling in the U.S. See in context

Restrooms: in high-rise business areas of Osaka, too, it can be hard to find a restroom. You have to have a pretty good idea of where to look, which would be a problem for a tourist.

Tipping: I've made similar comments about paying US service staff an honest wage so tipping becomes unnecessary. Yet, students of mine in Japan who worked as waiters in good restaurants worked their asses off for the equivalent of about $7.00 an hour and got no tips. I wonder how this compares to the average take-home of their US counterparts with tips. I've long had several levels of mixed feeling about tipping.

Chatty cashiers: Mostly cultural. In the US cashiers are expected to be friendly; in Japan they are expected to be efficient. That said, chatty cashiers are not all that uncommon in Japan.

Cotton swabs: Returning to live in the USA after 25 years in Japan, the issue of unsatisfactory cotton swabs eventually crept up, way down the list after my #1 loss of the Japanese bath. However, the main issue is with the packaging. In my area, it seems you can only buy them in large packs that must be ripped apart and can't be resealed or even closed. They simply flop around loose in the remaining plastic tray gathering dust and whatever. I'm not sure what the concept is, but it's the absolutely worst, most inappropriate packaging I've ever seen. Contrast this to the packaging in Japan which is solid, with a simple and hygienic, twisting dispensing lid. I agree that the quality of Japanese swabs is infinitely better as well. Regarding the black color, although it's not really so very common in Japan, it does have a particular purpose based in physiology. Most ethnicities in the USA have "wet" (oily, sticky yellow stinking) ear wax (mea culpa). Japanese have dry, powdery ear wax, that can be more easily seen against a black surface for the purpose of determining if the cleaning job is being done properly. Finally, there is a cultural component to ear cleaning as well. From childhood, Americans are taught to "put nothing smaller than your elbow in your ear" (that is, nothing), so grow up cautious or outright fearful of ear cleaning. Shortly after returning to the US my 68-year-old, former Marine brother-in-law saw me cleaning my ears and gave me that old caution, tisk-tisking me and saying he'd never put anything in his ears. In Japan, cleaning ears is basic hygiene. It's the belly-button they're terrified of.

Crabby Cabbies: My Japanese wife thinks Kyoto cab drivers are the rudest she's ever seen and she has lived in NYC.

Room lighting: Cultural. Japanese tend to feel brightly lit rooms are cheery and dark rooms are, well, dark. In the USA it's generally felt that low lighting creates an atmosphere of warmth and intimacy.

Vending machines: It's often been noted, including an entire article on this topic in this very publication, that Japan is the world mecca of vending machines.

Finally, isn't it a bit ludicrous to base an entire side-by-side comparison of these two societies on such random points contrived from a single person's experience? Poor concept. Poor execution. Very poor writing.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Samurai house - A walk around an ancient Kyoto home that is up for sale See in context

Um… NOT "outhouses"! If you must, it's outbuildings. I'm sure you'll understand why.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: 20 words of English origin that Japanese people often mistake for real thing See in context

These words are normal English in the USA: coin laundry; take out.

@marcelito - When referring to a g-string, she is not saying "T-baggu" but "T-bakku" which is derived from "t-back" referring to the vertical and horizontal strings at the back of a g-string making the shape of the capital letter, "T". "T-back" is standard slang in North America for exceptionally skimpy thong underwear. (just google it) In Japan, it is common for some young women to wear a t-back exposed above the waistline at the back. I saw this even in workplace situations, such as at Matsushita.

@Tahoochi - a "panku" is derived from the English "puncture" which I believe is the acceptable expression in the UK, whereas "flat tire" is used in the USA.****

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Sea Shepherd sues Japanese whalers in Netherlands for piracy See in context

In court, Japanese whaling authorities should stick to their research defense, however absurd. If they stray into the defense of culture approach they will be more exposed than ever for the environmental predators they clearly are. 

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Posted in: 5-button wireless mouse See in context

The blue lasar is relatively new technology and this is the first application I've seen to mouse technology. The big new application has been with the BluRay disc providing dramatically more data storage over the previous champ, DVD. Using this shorter wavelength to burn more data into a plastic disc is one thing, but selling this as an improved tracking feature is another. I'll wait a bit and read several user experiences before giving it a try myself. Love 5 buttons, but wasn't impressed with my last Bluetooth mouse. It dropped the connection far too often and used so much power constantly trying to maintain that connection it went through batteries about twice a month. Bleh!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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