• June 8, 2021
    • April 12, 2022

    Camp Therapy

    Camp memory Soon after graduating from college, I joined the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. Even though it’s an air force, new recruits are trained in a field exercise. I still clearly remember how it was. The strong smell of grass and trees that clung to me when ambushing in a thick forest, excitement when making a fire (mainly because of hunger pains), the sound of rain on the tent, beautiful sunrise in morning mist (after not sleeping a wink all night, though), etc. I imagine they are probably what many people expect for a camp that becomes more and more popular in Japan. Me? No way. I was already camped out but am interested in why people do camping, going so far as spending a lot of money for camping gear. Why camp? We human beings have been keeping on making new inventions for convenience, in order to make our […]

    • November 27, 2020
    • April 20, 2022

    Have You Ever Heard of the Sound of Silence?

    Japanglish In 2000, the then Japanese Prime Minister wanted to make greetings in English at the first summit meeting with President Clinton. He tried to cram the following exchange of basic phrases: “How are you, Mr. President?” “I’m fine, thank you, and you?” “Me, too.” Finally and unfortunately, the time had come. The PM made a big mistake right at the beginning and said with a big smile “Who are you, Mr. President?” When the whole world went pale, President Clinton tactfully replied “I’m Hillary’s husband.” The PM, exactly as he had learned it, proudly said “Me, too.” I’m not self-depreciating the poor English skills of Japanese people, but just want to get your attention to today’s subject: wordplay. Geniuses, Simon and Garfunkel I will never forget the strong impression I got when I heard the song, or the title of the song, to be more precise: The sound of […]

    • September 21, 2020
    • April 16, 2022

    We Are into the Woods in Japan

    As you can see it in the above left image, Japan is a country of backward parking. Even speeding drivers follow the rule. Do you know why that is? Some people outside Japan may think there’s no difference. It may look like putting off trouble later or not, but actually it’s not. In the first place, if it’s just a matter of personal preference, the ratio should be nearly fifty-fifty. The fact is very simple. It’s easier to park backward in a small country like Japan. I don’t explain here the details why backward parking is easier in a small area, but it is clear from the fact that forklift trucks required to turn in a small radius are rear-wheel steering. I may have been misleading you in the above paragraph. Japan’s land area is not that small. It’s ranked as #61 among more than 190 countries in the world. […]