For the list of bad foreigner manners, I suspect that a lot is confirmation bias, that one bad-mannered foreigner tarnishes the reputation of all. Furthermore, many of these ill-manners can be levelled at the Japanese too; middle-aged women (especially from the Osaka area) are rather noisy in trains, Japanese abroad are quite camera-happy in no photos and no flash areas, around my local station is no smoking, but I’ll see at least one person a day puffing away, and so on.
Foreigners taking photos in “No Photo” areas reminds me of this curious case (scroll down a little).
@nifty recently released a survey looking into coffee.
I most often drink convenience store coffee; it’s cheap and fresh and quite, quite drinkable, and with convenience stores near to the office, I quite often take a cup with me to work.
I’m quite surprised, however, in Q4 to see that Starbucks over-roasted drip coffee gets chosen as the favourite drink from there. I find it often quite undrinkable, but having said that, I was as Starbucks this morning (at last year’s Medicine Nobel winner’s hospital, Kitasato) and I have to admit that today’s blend was quite drinkable.
Here’s an old-school coffee shop that still survives despite Starbucks and friends:
I’ve got my family plot bought (here’s a web site with a newspaper article on it, along with rather incongruous adverts), or at least it will be mine after 72 easy monthly installments, and perhaps this summer I may be able to take time to go and visit my future home Read the rest of this entry »
My pet niggle is when convenience store staff put a fork in with my salad instead of the usual chopstick without asking me what I actually want.
I posed this question to a Japan expat forum on reddit and got a bunch of rather interesting replies from longer-term foreign residents of Japan. The most voted-for answer was having people jump in to help if you show even the slightest hesitation around railway ticket machines, which I must say I’ve only experienced once. Next is getting people ask you “Can you eat Japanese food?” and otherwise helping out with the “correct” way to fully enjoy the meal; I do get that too and it is very irritating! What have my readers experienced?
Here’s an example of number 6 – some people are saying that there is social pressure to refold the toilet paper back into a triangle after use!
Internetcom recently reported on a survey by MMD into feature phones, bog-standard non-smart phones.
My two-year mobile phone contract is up for renewal this month, and after a short visit to my local Docomo shop, I found that I will be paying about 7,000 yen, the cheapest data plan they offer, for up to three gigabytes of data, free wifi and a few free minutes, not that I actually phone anyone much. On the other hand, I can get a cheap SIM, including getting my current number moved over, with the same 3 gigs of data and fee wifi, for about 1,500 yen per month. A hard choice… Read the rest of this entry »
Here’s a short yet interesting (I especially have high hopes for Deep Learning) survey from Gartner Japan into machine intelligence.
I’m pretty sure many of my readers will have heard about Deep Learning, computing’s new Silver Bullet that will slay (if you believe the hype) all machine intelligence issues. I’ve worked a little on it myself, and I’ve attended a presentation or two on the subject, where people like the Berkeley Vision and Learning Center are doing quite wonderful stuff with drudge work like photo classification and scene understanding, but moving it up to the next level, especially for real-time work like vision systems for vehicles may take both more research and more computer horsepower.
Furthermore, there has recently been hype about half of all jobs being replaced by robots or AI by 2033, but I am sceptical because (a) I’ll be retired by then, so what do I care, and (b) I’ve heard all this before, with major breakthroughs always 10 or 20 years in the future. Furthermore, if they are going to replace half the jobs, I’m going to make sure that I’m in the other half!
Don’t say I don’t bring you surveys about these weird corners of public opinion in Japan, as today I offer you the officially-titled checking sweat smells, but as the accompanying video makes clear, it’s all about sniffing your own pits.
I don’t need to secretly sniff – I only worry when I can smell it without exerting any effort into pong detection. Anyway, it’s a natural function, and my cat loves that the temperatures have now risen and he can get his nose stuck into my armpits. Read the rest of this entry »
I moved just about a year and half ago, and looking at that list about the only one I’ve had is rather strange next door neighbours. My wife’s convinced that the guy living in the house opposite is a cross-dresser (his washing is hung out right opposite our bedroom window), although I reckon it is just much more likely that his girlfriend has moved in with him.
Here’s a removals truck speeding down a highway somewhere: