June 13, 2013 at 9:36 pm (Anime (Japanese animation/ cartoons), Japanese English)
It could be because the idea also came from an English speaking country, if this story from a recent edition of the BBC Radio programme Boston Calling is be be believed:
“Some early Japanese fans went to Star Trek conventions, saw them dressing up in the US and brought that back to Japan”
Cos-play is short for “costume play” and in Japanese means any kind of dressing up, unlike its English language use only for anime-related dressing up since it was borrowed (back?) from Japanese.
June 7, 2013 at 6:29 am (Gaijin/ gaikokujin/ foreigners in Japan, Japanese language)
These are the Japanese words which from my experience are most common in conversations between two English speakers who have been in Japan for a fair while:
Some are quite easy to explain. For example, “apaato” and “manshon” aren’t strictly translatable into Japanese, and rice ball is a horribly clumsy expression for “onigiri”. “Konbini” is probably a combination of being easier to say than “convenience store” and the stores seeming somehow different to and/ or more common than those back home. Why “keitai”, though? It does seem to be the same with use of the word “handy” for English-speaking people in Germany, so maybe it’s something to do with the switchover happening while many of the expats who set the trend already being in the country.
May 31, 2013 at 5:39 am (Japanese business and economics, Japanese language)
Still needs a lot of work, though, so questions and corrections here please:
Japanese company names explained
May 31, 2013 at 5:06 am (Japanese health care)
hence the horrible (and not always pointed out – optional) barium drinks:
“Japan has one of the highest rates of stomach cancer in the world, due to the Japanese diet: low in fat but high in salt and nitrates from traditionally preserved fish and vegetables.
Westerners have much lower rates of stomach cancer and so almost no medical back home would include a stomach screening by X-ray…
Meanwhile, the situation is reversed for colon cancers. These are much more common in the West due to the meat- and fat-rich diet favored there. When past a certain age, anyone eating a Western diet should have some form of colon cancer screening.
This is offered by the UK’s National Health Service to those who are over 60 years of age, while U.S. gastroenterologists recommend that patients aged over 50 have regular colonoscopies. Even an elaborate medical check in Japan may neglect this area.”
From British Chamber of Commerce Japan Acumen newsletter, and also stolen by JapanToday here:
What to expect when you’re undergoing a medical check up in Japan?
This topic also came up a few posts ago here, if you want to scan down the page for more.
May 23, 2013 at 9:24 pm (Japanese children, Japanese families)
Seeing as how pachinko also gives prizes (if ones which are almost always exchanged back into cash), why does anyone allow kids to play “metal game”, which is basically the same thing? Then again, last Xmas there was an actual Anpanman pachinko machine for sale in toy shops, so maybe some people see that kind of gambling as okay.
May 20, 2013 at 11:24 am (Japan and Korea)
As soon as the Japanese were properly in charge again after WWII, they made all Korean descendants in Japan choose either North Korean or South Korean nationality, with a perhaps surprising number opting for the former.
Most people seem to assume that it’s because their families came from the North, but in fact people didn’t have to provide any justification for their choices and the most common place for people to have come from was Jeju Island in the very South of South Korea. Instead, it was most often an ideological choice. Kim Il Sung was someone who had actually stood up to the Japanese during the colonial period (unlike the collaborator ruling class in the South), the left wing politics appealed to the usually poor and downtrodden “zainichi” Japanese, and actually North Korea could at least hold its own in terms of economics etc when compared to South Korea at that time.
May 19, 2013 at 8:29 am (Western food in Japan)
On top of the wilted lettuce that’s being annoying me for years, I recently had muffins and quiche that fall apart in your hand, and donuts that reach almost Macdonald’s apple pie levels of heat danger – all of which I found later are better without going in the oven.
It could well be part of the idea that more effort always means better service – in this case even when it leads to worse food, but often even when it means everything taking twice as long as it needs to…
May 13, 2013 at 9:41 pm (Japanese fashion)
You might just as well ask why the British are so resistant to them, but a student of mine says that even elsewhere in Asia they have been struck by how much less common umbrellas are than in Japan.
The many possible factors include:
- The long history of umbrellas in Japan
- Japanese trusting weather forecasts more than many nationalities (seen by how few people have umbrellas when there is totally unexpected rain)
- When the number of umbrellas reaches a certain level, you need an umbrella to defend yourself against the other umbrellas
- Haircuts that would be completely messed up by a hat or the rain
- No social pressure against clear plastic umbrellas and cycling with umbrellas
- Rain is often accompanied by high humidity, and coats and waterproof trousers make you sweat, especially if you’re on a bicycle
- The Japanese are generally good at doing what their mothers told them to do, also seen with vests
April 18, 2013 at 1:06 am (Japanese etiquette and manners, Japanese transport)
I don’t think this is the main reason, but one of my students had the interesting explanation that they don’t like drawing attention to themselves, something ironically made worse by the effusive thanks (often again when they get off the train too) that you get when you do so. Something that does match with this is that people who give up seats often stand up far away from their original seat after doing so.
April 16, 2013 at 9:49 pm (Japanese health care)
Kumiko Makihara has just written a typically interesting piece on Japanese regular health checks in IHT, starting with the reason for the name, which is because it is supposed to be like a shipping going into dock to be checked. Other JapanExplained type questions asked include why they are so popular and why nothing is done about the unnecessary worry and additional testing that check ups which 90% of the population fail cause.: