Strange English I can’t Understand

Living in Japan, you’re basically trapped in a tiny spaceship, peering down through clouds and picking up intermittent snippets of news floating skyward from earth. I first heard “Poker Face” in a smoky Shinjuku karaoke bar, when some girl belted out Mum mum mum mah. Some complicated lyrics, those. And I learned the results of the U.S. election in a similar joint in Oita prefecture. Okay, so I do a lot of karaoke. Beer helps. Anyway, what I mean is that it’s not easy keeping touch with Western culture, and even harder understanding why singers are now called Gaga and Presidents Trump.  It’s like the world’s gone crazy, and English with it. For example: Continue reading “Strange English I can’t Understand”

The 4 Big Japanese Beach Essentials

Japanese Beaches

Summer is a wonderful season in Japan. It’s finally warm enough to peel off down parkas and ski gloves, it’s nice to relax in the park drinking beer, and the girls all wear short skirts. Actually, they wear those in winter too. What a country, seriously. Probably sucks to be a girl here though, having to walk by the park all winter long being ogled by some white guy in a parka drinking beer with ski gloves. If anybody asked, I figured I’d just say I was a member of the ski patrol, although sadly no one ever did. Continue reading “The 4 Big Japanese Beach Essentials”

The Great Japanese Name Switcheroo

At first, you might think the Japanese place great importance on addressing others properly.  After all, it’s a nation where even elephants get called Zou-san.  That’s Mr. Elephant to you.

The reality is that this naming convention works flawlessly until someone who looks “foreign” enters the scene, at which point thousands of years of custom go straight out the window. Continue reading “The Great Japanese Name Switcheroo”