Why do some Japanese pronounce the Canadian city “Toront”?

It’s overcompensation. They spend so much time trying not so say “getto” for get etc. that trying to drop the final o becomes automatic. It happens with lots of other words in English that do have a final “o” sound, for example “estafad” seen on the menu of a pub just yesterday.

Why is Isuzu spelt いすゞ and not いすず?

That last little sqiggle in the name is not normal hiragana, unlike the rest of the name. And it’s not just the truck company either, dentists and suchlike with the same (family) name always have the same last syllable. Could it be a kanji??? Totally stumped on this one, so any help gratefully received.

“The nail that sticks out gets hammered down”

This overwhelming favourite Japanese proverb amongst Japan watchers is a MYTH. If you have ever seen a Japanese school teacher or mother at work you can instantly see that there is no hammering going on. The nail that sticks out is indulged until it decides it would rather not stick out after all in case that indulgence disappears.

See the Japanese Myths section for more Nippon stereotype busting.

Why is the Japanese abbreviation of Los Angeles “Los” (ロス-rosu) not LA?

As Japanese kana is based on mora (like syllables) rather than single sounds, most abbreviations are like this, e.g. pasokon (パソコン from PERSOnal COMputer) rather than PC

Why do some Japanese guys spit in the urinal?

 Prostate trouble and problems getting started?? High stress levels means they can’t get comfortable in public?? Got too used to pissing sitting down on the orders of their wives??

What Japanese food really means

Japanese- Oya-ko don (親子丼)
Literal translation- Parent and child on rice


Read the rest of this entry »

Why does Japan have the world’s fastest aging population?

It’s a combination of the old people living for ever and the young people not doing their duty in the sprogs department. The first is due to getting almost everything you need for longevity- being married, keeping busy, close family ties, a healthy diet and an okay health service. The latter is a combination of the difficulties of getting married and having kids (expensive accommodation and education,difficulties in meeting people and hooking up) and an extreme version of a self-sacrificing generation spawning a self-indulgent one. Other factors include very low rates of pre-marital birth and unmarried couples, women who have babies still being expected to stop work, the difficulties of obtaining credit,and the even more risk averse younger generation not making a move without the increasingly rare permanent contract, mortgage and stack of savings.

Guess the scary Japanese stat

The number of junk mails sent to mobile phones in Japan every day: Read the rest of this entry »

Why is it so difficult to access normal websites even on the (Yahoo etc) mobile phones that are supposed to be equipped for it?

According to Saying Yes to Japan, it’s because the phone companies are trying to guide you towards sites you have to pay for

It’s the scary Japanese stat of the day Quiz!

According to my new Japanese bible “Saying Yes to Japan”, as of 2003, how many homes in Japan were “either dilapidated, unoccupied, or didn’t meet 1981 earthquake standards”?

Was it a) 25,000

b) 250,000

c) 2,500,000

Answer:  Read the rest of this entry »

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