ssslithe comments

Posted in: SMAP to release charity album See in context

200 yen is probably the cut the five members get paid between them - how nice of them to forfeit their wages for charity.

Johnny's = yuck.

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Posted in: Optometrists: Nintendo 3DS could identify vision disorders See in context

Um, the headline doesn't match the story - shouldn't that be "Optometrists: Nintendo 3DS could help detect vision issues"? The exact opposite meaning.

Anyway, my 3DS hurt my eyes a bit for the first few days but then I got used to it - no problems at all. I get headaches with regular 3D from the glasses.

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Posted in: In Japan, the customer is not king See in context

I totally agree with this article. I've had some really bizarre arguments with shop staff and (even worse) taxi drivers. To whit:

Almost any restaurant that offers a lunch set includes tea or coffee with the meal. I'm allergic to caffeine, so I tell them I don't need a drink - I'm fine with just water. The response I get at 99.9% of these places is that I HAVE to take either tea or coffee, even if I'm not going to drink it. This is obviously an insane waste on their part, but I've totally given up on it. If they want to waste a cup of coffee, that's their problem.

A chain cafe near where I was working had a really tasty-looking soup, but it was only available as part of a particular set that (yep) included tea or coffee. It's a small bowl of soup, so not really worth paying 800 yen considering I wasn't interested in the tea/coffee. Could they sell it a la carte? Absolutely impossible.

Most taxis you clamber into ask you where you're going and then ask you how to get there. How the hell should I know? I figured I was going to get there in a taxi. I don't expect them to know every street (though the taxi drivers do in London, where I'm from), but they could at least use the sat-nav. In the end you get a fare that can be anything up to double what you'd expected, and sometimes the driver even blames you for not knowing the route. Infuriating.

Arranging a wedding - that was a nightmare. We saw about 30 venues, and I didn't expect the staff to speak English, but whenever I asked them to stop using keigo and keep their Japanese a bit simpler: refused. They were worried about getting in trouble for not being polite enough to the customer. As if ignoring a reasonable request like that is polite!

And so on. I agree that service with a smile is more than we're capable of in the UK, and I'm happy to encounter friendly staff at all times of day and night. I don;t expect special treatment for being a foreigner, and I speak pretty good Japanese and mind my manners. But if you have some reason to deviate from the set pattern, you're screwed.

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Posted in: Man punched in face by fellow train commuter over phone manners See in context

While of course it's not on to punch people over something so trivial (if the guy was raping someone on a train, fair enough), I must say I despise people speaking loudly on the phone on public transport.

A couple of months ago in London I had to endure a verrrry long, slow, hot bus journey where a girl nearby was yapping away on the phone to all her friends and relatives, one after another, broadcasting her whole life story to the entire bus. After 30 or 40 minutes of this we arrived at my stop, and as I got off the bus I said, "Good luck with the new job and your mum's new boyfriend, and have a nice dinner with Nancy tonight, yeah? Say hello from me." Not aggressively, but in an overly familiar tone. Hopefully it made her feel uncomfortable enough to keep her voice down in future.

So yeah, while I sometimes dislike Japan's surplus rules and find people's manners on trains here leave a lot to be desired, I'm behind the the no-phones rule all the way.

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Posted in: Preparations begin for Sapporo Snow Festival See in context

"The SDF pledged to drive safely and complete the process with no accidents."

Why did they need to pledge that, exactly? Some terrible snow-based terrorist ambush last year?

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