Why does no one understand when I talk about Baskin Robbins?

This is one I’d been wondering about on and off for a while, then by chance came across the answer to.

According to Confucius Lives Next Door,the company chose to call itself “31” in Japan as that is easier to pronounce, although as in Japanese it is written as サーティワン (saati wan) they were at best half successful. Like most written English, the words Baskin Robbins, which although not the official name are plastered all over the stores, are totally ignored

Why do Japanese teachers not have the discipline problems of teachers in Britain or America?

At the worst high schools, some of the classes can actually look and sound more out of control, for some of the same reasons that most of them don’t:
-Lower standards set for general levels of noise, everyone finishing at the same time, listening to every word the teacher says etc means less reasons for teachers and students to clash
– Clear (some would say repetitive) classroom routines
– Alternating quite free and easy periods and very controlled ones
– Stronger peer pressure- usually to behave, but in the worst classes the opposite
– Going at the speed of the slowest students
– Putting one to one time sorting out problems with students ahead of retaining the attention of the rest of the class
– Fewer social problems such as broken families, chronic unemployment etc. outside class

– Consistent teaching methods and discipline methods from class to class and school to school

– Being allowed to totally let off steam when they are free, including almost complete freedom to fight!

– Patience from the teachers, mainly due to an understanding that discipline comes from socialization rather than from classroom techniques

Why is kissing in public still taboo?

As two people’s reactions in an article in the Japan Times two weeks ago suggest, more than a general thing of not showing your feelings it is that it stirs up jealousy- by far the deadliest emotion in Japan!

Why does the average middle aged salaryman put up with plastic suits?

Meaning feeling like nylon rather than actually made of plastic- although if it doesn’t say 革 (kawa- leather) on shoes they probably actually are. Some theories:

– Their wives have control of the budget and won’t let them buy anything more expensive
– The clothes retailers know all the money is in youth and women, leaving 洋服の青山 the monopoly position to sell any old crap they like
– Not the most adventurous of market segments, they are scared off by anything that looks young, unfamiliar or foreign
– Most Japanese don’t have the fear of the manmade and artificial that has taken hold in the West, here meaning artificial fabrics but also including things like food additives
– It’s just because all the suits come from China
– They have to be careful not to dress better than their boss

Why do some gruff guys say “oss”?

 My wife is convinced it’s an incredibly short and macho version of OhayogozaimaS (the polite way of saying “good morning”) but suddenly I’m not convinced, because the aikido fighters in Angry White Pyjamas (which I’m reading) say it when it definitely isn’t a greeting

Why do some Japanese parcel delivery men actually open your door?

 This one is similar to my greatest irritation in Japan, knocking on clearly locked toilet doors, in that there is a traditional justification for it’s mainly just the pushiest, rudest or oldest who do it now. In this case, the traditional element is that even now in small villages the (often large) genkan entrance hall is considered a public area rather than a private one.
Another possible influence on its modern use is the number of old people who have almost daily mail order products arriving but have trouble getting to the door in a hurry

Why are black belts black?

According to Robert Twigger in Angry White Pyjamas, because you washing them would dissipate the ki (mystic energy), so by the time you reached that level belts were already naturally black

Why “Yawara-chan”?

Being the nickname for the judoka Ryoko Tani (谷亮子 Tani Ryouko). According to Wikipedia (where else?), it comes from the name of a popular series of manga about judo.

The next question then is, why is she soooooooooooooo popular? That includes the ultimate compliment for any celebrity, starring more than once in the manga Urayasu Tekkin Kazoku (“English” title Super Radical Gag Family)

Why does nothing eat all the cicadas up?

They look pretty big and fat and juicy to me, and pretty slow moving and loud and therefore easy to catch, so why don’t the birds tuck into them?

The site below suggests that all kinds of things will eat cicadas, but I’ve seen lots of even dead ones lying around uneaten in Japan and birds and cicadas in the same tree without one even attempting to eat the other:


Different species? Poison? Just no suitable animals in the area I’m in?? Such an overwhelming number of the fat gits that the birds and squirrels get sick of eating them? Too big for delicate insect eating mouths?

Doesn’t answer my question, but the best article on cicadas I’ve found so far is:


Why is “Heights” the part of the name of so many buildings that are neither high rise nor on a hill?

The author of Angry White Pyjamas asks this question in the book.

Like the (originally German) word Heim, for some reason it came to be g general word for something halfway between an apaato (アパート, from a shortening of “apartment”, a wooden, usually two storey set of rabbit hutches) and manshon (マンション, from mansion, a usually high rise concrete block of flats, sometimes translated as “condo”), for example a two storey apartment building with thin concrete walls. The Mori company is guilty of something similar with the more recent of their “…Hills” developments, which have lost all connection to slopes. In the same way, I’m guessing one company started abusing the word “Heights” and it caught on.

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