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Posted in: What are some of the weirdest examples of English used in ads or on T-shirts, bags, etc, that you have seen in Japan? See in context

@mctavish

"Wurzel Cosmetics" - a big sign a top a building in Harajuku. Don't know if it has the same meaning elsewhere but in the UK a wurzel or worzel is a country bumpkin/scarecrow type of character.

In German, "Wurzel" means "root", as in the part of a plant below ground. Together with "cosmetics", it's a slightly funny combination in German. It could be a German last name as well, though.

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Posted in: Transsexual Thai air hostesses: gimmick or equality? See in context

If they can do the job well, why would they not be allowed to do so? I'd rather airlines weeded out the non-performers regardless of gender to make the inflight experience better.

Absolutely!

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Posted in: Cyndi Lauper calls on world not to forget Japan See in context

Well, yeah. It makes perfect sense seeing as she was talking to:

...the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo.

If you're talking to the FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS, then you're talking to "the world".

That's exactly what I mean. If you're talking to foreign correspondents, you know that you're talking to "the world". You don't have to emphasize it in that "Oh-I'm-such-a-good-and-caring-person" way.

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Posted in: Cyndi Lauper calls on world not to forget Japan See in context

I'm sorry but I've seen part of the appearance on NHK world and I think it's just PR lingo to remind the world of Ms Lauper once again. "I just want to say to the world, please don't forget about Japan, it's very traumatic" oh my...

"I just want to say to the world" - if you want (and have) to say something, why don't you just say it and be done with it? And it has to be "the world" - no less. "it's very traumatic" - what, exactly, is that phrase supposed to mean?

"And I'm thinking 'Oh my God'" - now we know exactly what she was thinking at that moment, viz. "Oh my God". That's, I'm sorry to say that, nothing but american overexitedness at it's worst.

"They could have radiation issues..." - oh, how sad. It reminds me of the 80s when they called a psychotic mass murderer a "person with difficult to meet needs" just in order to be politically correct and not to hurt this person's feelings... Well, as of sunday, there are 15,854 persons with life terminating issues related to the tsunami issue.

"...but I don't think you can catch radiation by shaking somebody's hands and giving them a hug" - just like Lady Diana of England hugging AIDS victims in a hospital back in the day?

Oh, please! Give me a break!

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Posted in: Multiculturalism is a reality in the U.S.; it is accepted neither in theory nor in practice in Japan. See in context

Perhaps some would, but at some point it will be such a distant memory that none will, and so it will no longer be true.

Excuse me if I'm being rude but I think you're confusing "be forgotten" (or "be completely suppressed") with "no longer be true".

We have helped them level up their culture to be considered as Japanese.

So they came begging, "Oh, please help us level up our culture which so so deficient"? I don't think so.

But you're right in one respect, unfortunately so: History is always written by the victors, as Winston Churchill said.

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Posted in: Multiculturalism is a reality in the U.S.; it is accepted neither in theory nor in practice in Japan. See in context

Japan only has one culture: Japanese. Where there were other cultures, like Ryukyu, we have helped them integrate into Japanese culture and leave the other behind.

I'm not an expert on Japanese culture but I think the Ryukyuans might beg to differ as they won't consider themselves having been "helped" to integrate into Japanese culture.

Multiculturalism seems to work better if the host culture is strong enough and confident enough to promote itself first. Moving to a new country means that you should at least show passing interest in that country's culture and traditions. The US seems to be good at this- most people know what being "American" entails. Otherwise, there is the risk of diluting everything into a thin soup of cultural relativism.

I second this absolutely. I'd rather sharpen the argument: Multiculturalism works only

if the host culture is strong enough and confident enough to promote itself first

because otherwise why should anyone feel compelled to appreciate and respect the host culture?

Moving to a new country means that you should at least show passing interest in that country's culture and traditions.

That's exactly the point: Why else move to a new country in the first place and with the intention of staying there? (OK, there is always the possibility of someone move to a country seeking asylum. But even then...)

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Posted in: Multiculturalism is a reality in the U.S.; it is accepted neither in theory nor in practice in Japan. See in context

I would point out that European nations such as France, Spain, Germany, the UK, etc. all have histories as long as Japan's. Yet their populations are diverse and multicultural. Now, one might argue that they haven't been as successful at accepting immigrants as the U.S. and Canada.

I would like to add that most European nations - and by that I mean nations like France, the UK and, to a lesser extent, Spain, have not always been "immigrant" nations. Until WW II, they have, on the contrary, mostly been "emigrant" nations or, to be more precise, have kind of "exported" parts of their population to their colonies. As a result of the process of de-colonization in the 60s of the last century, there has started a wave of "immigration" from these (former) colonies to the motherland(s) which is very plainly observable in France and the UK.

One thing with this kind of immigration is that most of the immigrants have been in touch with the culture of the country they're immigrating to before. Immigrants from African countries come to mind for France as well as the UK; immigrants from Pakistan and India for the UK and so on.

Germany, however, where I'm living, is a quite different case altogether. Germany hasn't had a significant colonial empire for any significant time; its colonies have been taken over by France and Britain (and Japan) after WW I. Immigration into Germany is mostly a secondary effect of labor shortage after WW II which the government tried to counter by recruiting foreign labor, first from Spain, Italy, Greece and so on, then from Turkey. At first, these workers were supposed to work a few years in Germany then go back to their countries. However, it didn't turn out that way. Most of them stayed, even brought their families to Germany - and their cultures. This immigration wasn't in any way controlled or steered with the effect that at some point the German society (and the government) was downright forced to accept the fact that it had become a multicultural society. This fact doesn't sit well with parts of the "native" population to this day.

Moreover, adopting German culture (or nationality, for that matter) doesn't happen out of the immigrants' wish to be part of the country, the cultural setting etc. like it is the case in the U.S. or Canada but mostly as a matter of convenience: Acquiring citizenship makes it easier to pass Customs and Immigration, to set up a business and so on. Besides that, Germany is supposed to leave them to their cultural beliefs, traditions, and structures.

But having a long history is no excuse to keep the doors shut.

I agree with that. But it doesn't constitute an obligation to keep them wide open, either.

What l was meaning by my post was more aimed at where through multiculturalism some of the nations identity is supressed in the interests of appeasing the newer arrivals.

That's what's going on in Germany as well. It's one of the causes of the recent flare-up of Neo-Nazism - albeit absolutely no excuse for that!

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Posted in: NHK to broadcast documentary series for 9 days to mark 1st anniversary of March 11 disaster See in context

I'd really love to watch the NHK special series but unfortunately, I've no means to record it. Above all, in Hamburg, Germany where I'm living we're 8 hrs behind which means 9 p.m. JST is 1 p.m. CET and that's when I'm right at work. Will there be a DVD edition or something like that?

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