last updated April 26, 2005


Posted by stupot at 06:41 PM Tuesday 26 Apr

the lightbulb scenario

a common site in japan has to be the 'how many men does it take to......?'. there really are some unfortunate jobs as a result. this picture clearly demonstrates the waste of man-power. four local authority workers trying to solve a major issue. what do you think? a bomb alert? anti-social neighbours? of course not - this time it is rogue rubbish tipping. and the perpetrator will be found!

seriously though - I guess this shows what the crime levels are like here. controvening recycling laws is really a social no-no here. a bit like drink driving now in the UK. most japanese drink drive though.

I heard about a colleague who had 4 workers attend a broken tap/faucet ceremony. they had to go away and get a washer. serious.

car parks usually have a lingering of attendants sweeping their light sabers at you to direct the way.

efficient but expensive. surely.

Posted by stupot at 06:39 PM Tuesday 26 Apr


Posted by stupot at 04:04 PM Tuesday 26 Apr

unrefined but practical

Japanese trains are by and large clean, efficient, reasonably priced and accessable. the tragedy on the 25th of April was a real shocker for everyone here. but highly unusual.

there really isnt any superfluous decoration on trains in japan like there is in the UK. all those tightly packed seats you need to squeeze past in order to get thru the carriage. all those seats that are re-designed every 2 years with nice fabrics. ergonomic looking push buttons to open the doors. but the trains never work.
in Japan simplicity (not in the beautiful sense, but the functional) is all there is. big wipe down areas. no places to cram fast food wrappers into. seats lining the windows (but with blinds). and shed loads of advertising and handles for sleeping commuters to attach to for stability during a dose.

Posted by stupot at 04:02 PM Tuesday 26 Apr


Posted by stupot at 03:44 PM Tuesday 26 Apr


kanji is the hardest, but possibly most rewarding of japans three 'writing systems' - katakana and hiragana being the more modern and simplified 'syllable-alphabets'. kanji characters are the representation of ideas or words - originally drawings originating from China - and many still are beautiful visuals of nature or ideas.

take the example of the kanji shown for tree, wood and forest (ki, hayashi and mori respectively). these may be the most obvious examples of kanji for a foreigner to understand. simply repeating the form represents a larger amount of trees - thus; a wood or a forest. these are also common surnames, just as in the UK. stroke order is something a little unnatural though for a writer of english - stroke order is shown in red in the diagrams.

Posted by stupot at 03:44 PM Tuesday 26 Apr


Posted by stupot at 03:31 PM Tuesday 26 Apr


recently I tried to get a license in japan - basically to exchange my UK license for its japanese equivalent. Yuka also had her, allbeit, newer UK drivers license translated and ready for a long day of beaurocracy.......

we went to the local driving authority building for the south west of Osaka (Komyoike) and were advised to arrive at 1pm. as it was near to a commercial hub including a big european supermarket, we reckoned we could use any long waits to go shopping for some treats. anyway - to cut a long story short because we have UK licenses (the jappanese goverment recognises them) we didn't even need to sit a test! I guess the new test in Britain must be tough - when I took it I had to read a number plate, take a whizz round the block and then guess 3 questions. back in time for tea.

so anyway - the in betweens were very japanese - in order to pay for the license we had to go to a seperate window to exchange real money for driving authority stamps to be adhered to the form, then wait a while. Yuka also had to go to another level to make copies of all her used passport pages since she had obtained her license and then the teller had to add up all the dates. as yuka travelled regularly and her passport was not EU - she had stamps a-plenty - all with there half arsed relaxed european style (often without an exit stamp). as a result the very friendly staff was exceptionally confused at this tardiness and decided that yuka could have her license - but needs learner plates! ha!

the driving authority is an interesting place to spend a few hours though - you can watch tests being carried outside the window (in a mock highway situation) - I even spotted a taxi driver with 3 officials in full uniform, hats and clip boards in the back seat - what a riot. we had a lot of fun.

anyway - a fly eye test (where I got to try my poor japanese) and a mug shot later and bobs-your-uncle. we're road worthy!!

Posted by stupot at 03:27 PM Tuesday 26 Apr