Hi there! How have you been?

Have you watched the movie, Her? It’s a Hollywood movie to describe a futuristic relationship. In the movie we date computers.

Well, I think we will have it soon…….. Today I want to introduce our high technology.

A friend of mine from America shared this video clip with me, and this associated me with the movie, Her.

In Japan we have a serious problem for young people who are not interested in having relationships. They love internet game, anime, manga, computer game and so on. They might have internet virtual relationships through game, but they are not interested in real relationships. Don’t you think it’s weird?

I have no idea why people like virtual relationships. Are they afraid of being dumped or getting hurt? Yes, I think so. I think these people are chicken out.

I think we can’t get perfect relationships when we start relationships. Friendships or relationships need time to grow. However, these people love anime, manga, internet game tend to seek perfect relationships from the beginning. That’s because they are used to seeing fantasy through anime, manga or whatever. In their fantasy all characters have perfect boyfriends or girlfriends.  I am afraid that this virtual home robot increases the number of young people who are not interested in real relationships more.

This is a one way relationship and they never receive anything from their virtual girlfriends/boyfriends. I guess when people get used to this, they will lose emotions, social skills, patience for  having a long turn relationship with real people, making babies and so on. I can’t imagine any positive things about this.

What do you think about this? Do you think this is good?

My Phobia

Hi there! Long time no see!!! How have you been? I’ve been doing well, and I returned to Japan from Canada a couple of weeks ago.

Do you have phobias? Today I want to share my phobia with you. Before studying conversational English and studying abroad in the States, I hadn’t realized that I’m scared of some small talk. Seriously, I’m scared of small talk.

When I go to the States, people love speaking to STRANGERS. You receive a lot of small talk everywhere. Since we Japanese people are not good at small talk like American people do, I have no idea how I response it. It always makes me very nervous. You might not understand what I’m talking about. All right. I’m picking up some examples for you.

You are in a Wal-Mart and waiting for your turn in a line. When you get your turn, a casher speaks to you, “Hello? What’s up? Today is really pretty, isn’t it?”. I have no clue how I should response because in Japan we don’t receive such small talk at cashers. When we go to a restaurant, a waitress/waiter are more pushy. They love talking to us. Even though we order our meals, they sometimes come to our table and ask “Everything is OK? Don’t you want anything else? Did you watch a game last night? Bula bula bula………”. I know they show kindness and niceness to us customers to get more tips, but we don’t have tips in Japan. We don’t need such the service at the restaurants.

I still remember that when I was a kid, we had a first MacDonald in our small town. I was scared of ordering there because we had received small talk from an employee like that “Anything else? ” with a big smile. It was so weired for me. Since I was not used to it, I couldn’t refuse to order something else. I tended to spend more money.

As thinking about my experience at the MacDonald, I think American fast restaurants brought small talk to Japan with their fast foods. Now, I can handle it in Japanese, but I’m not good at it in my second language. I sometimes can’t response well when I soddenly receive unexpected questions from strangers at shops, restaurants, airplanes or wherever.

I hope after improving my speaking skills, I can response without feeling any stress.

Do We Asian People Like Poop Jokes????

Hi there!
I’ve been in the States again to improve my painting skills. I’ve been staying at my friend from Michigan’s house for three weeks.

Yesterday something interesting happened. A friend of mine from Thailand posted some interesting photos on his Facebook, and he is a mutual friend between my American friend, Gay and me. He has been traveling around Taiwan and visited an unique restaurant “Modern Toilet Restaurant”.

The restaurant is quite popular in Taiwan, and if we want to get into the restaurant, we need the reservation. The place is really unique because all seats are toilet seats and tables are made from square glass covered bathtub. Not only that, they have been serving foods on a toilet shaped dishes, and the menu naming sounds really disgusting like bloody poop diarrhea or whatever. However, I don’t want people to misunderstand the restaurant. The foods are quite normal.

When my American friend, Gay looked at some photos that our Thai friend has posted, she was grossed out. She made a fuss and started searching what “Modern Toilet Restaurant” is. She called her friends, son and grandsons. She also shared some links on her Facebook.

I didn’t understand why she was making such a fuss. Then, I realized that it’s a part of Asian culture. The restaurant’s idea came from our popular comic “Dr. Slump”, so, I’m kind of familiar with the kind of joke even though I’ve never been there before. I explained her that it’s Asian culture, but when I opened Facebook, our Thai friend received a lot of negative comments on his post. I think the restaurant is cool, and if we had it in Japan, I would want to go there, but Gay and most Western people just can’t accept the kind of joke.

I think it’s one of the most difficult things for us to understand jokes, and I learned I shouldn’t say jokes relate to poop things to my Western friends. They don’t have the sense of humor that we do. I think even we grow-ups say some jokes relates to poop to our friends, and we laugh out at them. To be honest with you, I like these kind of jokes.

If you are interested in what the Modern Toilet Restaurant is, please google it. You can see a bunch of funny pictures. Before going to the pages, I want to warn you that you might be grossed out.

That’s Why I Think Japanese Langauge Is Negative

I’d like to write about my latest blog’s sequel entry. As I mentioned that I think Japanese language is negative on my last entry, there is another reason.

A couple of days ago, I was chatting with my Jewish friend over Skype. He and I are really good friends. At that time my British friend was staying at our house. Although he didn’t join our conversations, while sitting next to me and working with his PC, he was listening to our conversations. We were speaking in English at the time.

My Jewish friend told me that he finished reviewing 2000 Kanji (Kanji is one of our characters in Japanese language). When I heard his story, I thought it was great! However, instead of saying congratulations, and it was great I said that there were more than 2000 kanji. It isn’t enough for you to read something in Japanese. Your Kanji level is the same as Japanese middle school kids. You have to study more Kanji, and your next goal was 3000. I knew that he already has memorized 2000 Kanji. He reviewed all of them. So, I would like to encouraged him.

When my British friend listened to that, he told me, “Yumi!!! It’s really rude to David! I know it’s a Japanese way, and not a Western way. However, you should say, “Congratulations!” first to him.” Until I heard it from Martyn (My British friend’s name is Martyn), I never ever thought my comment sounded rude to David. I was shocked. Of course, David is my good friend, and he knows Japanese culture very well. So, he didn’t say that I offended him at all. Although I just wanted to encouraged him, my encouraging comment sounded negative to both my British friend and Jewish friend.

Thinking about this, I think Japanese language is negative. I think all languages relate to their own culture tightly. So, if you have been learning other languages, I really want you to learn the culture at the same time.

I Think Japanese Language is Negative

I think Japanese language is negative compared to English. I would like to tell the reason today. I have around 550 international friends on Facebook. I’ve been enjoying communicating with them in English. I also have around 20 Japanese friends there. I have linked my blogs in English to Facebook. So, every time I update my blogs, my Facebook friends can know that I update my blog entry.

One day I posted a blog entry. One of my Japanese friends left a comment on Facebook in Japanese. She said, “Wow, I don’t know that you know English very well. It’s awesome.” When I read her comment in Japanese, I couldn’t write like that I always write to my international friends. If I received the same comment from my international friend, I wrote, “Thank you so much for the comment! I’m happy now!” or something like that. The comment sounds rather more positive for me. However, I wrote, “おそれいります。(I’m sorry. I can’t translate the Japanese phrase into English.) My English isn’t perfect. I always have made many mistakes in it. I have to improve it further.” After I wrote like that, I realized that my comment in Japanese sounded very negative.

おそれいります (osoreirimasu) is sometimes used in a negative way. However, it is a very polite, respectable and useful phrase for adults. When we want to show our humble feelings, but we also want to show our thank feelings together, we sometimes use the phrase. For example, when somebody pulls some tea into our cups, instead of saying “Thank you”, we sometimes use “おそれいります”. When somebody gives praise phrases to us, we definitely say “おそれいります”. Most of us don’t say “Thank you so much” at first. We use it to teachers, elderly people and strangers and in many business scenes. We don’t use it between our friends. For some reasons, I think that’s why Japanese language is slightly negative.

One of Japanese Manners: Bows

I would like to write about a Japanese style bow today. In general, instead of hugging or shaking hands, we bow. It is our greeting way because Japanese summers are humid; it is called we wanted to avoid shaking wet hands.

When I chatted with my Texan friend over Skype a couple of weeks ago, he showed me some very funny video clips. So, I would like to share them first.



Actually, he asked some very interesting questions to me. That’s why I thought I wanted to write about this blog entry.

He asked me about a bow degree. Before I heard his question and watched the video clips, I never thought about it. We have several bow degrees. However, I have never heard, ” a shit bow ” in Japan. I think all bows are bows. I searched about bows. According to the Japanese Wikipedia, a 15 degree bow is called, 会釈 ( esyaku ): we used the bow when we walk pass someone , a 30 degree bow is used for a business scene; it is called 敬礼 ( keirei ), a 45 degree bow is the most polite bow; when we show our respect, appreciate or apologise, we do it. It is called 最敬礼 ( saikeirei ) in Japanese. Before we bow with the 45 degree bow, if we carry our bags, we put them somewhere and bow. It is our manner. We also have a 90 degree bow. It is used for some very important people. When the American president Obama came to Japan, he bowed our Emperor and Empress with the bow. When we looked at the scene, we were very admired by his attitude.

Actually, the video clips reminded me of my bitter experiences. When I was a middle school student, I have some bitter experiences that relates to bows. I had belonged to a tennis club at that time.( I had been playing tennis from middle school to university for 10 years at school.) When I was in a first grade of middle school, some senior students who also belonged to the same club were very bully. They ordered us we had to show our respect them with 90 degree bows. They were so-called freaks. Since if we didn’t accept it, we already knew what happened to us, we followed it. So, every time we walked pass them on the hallways at school, we had to do it many times until they passed through us. We sometimes felt dizzy; some of us felt down. Once one of our parents who was a president of our PTA committee complained about it to our teacher. After the teacher scolded the senior students, the situation became worst. They started to be mean more. We were called in a room that we had been using for our club one by one, they made us stand in front of them, they ordered to bow many times until they were satisfied with it. While seeing, they were laughing out. They were crazy. I thought I really wanted to become smarter than them; got good grades and wanted to go to the higher leveled high school where they never ever could go.

After they graduated from our school, I became a captain. I quite such a very silly custom that there had been in our club for a long time.

I appreciate my bitter experiences at my middle school days. I learned a lot in the club. I especially learned the guts through my experiences.

How To Communiate With People Is Not Common All Over The world

I read a very interesting article a week ago in English. According to the article, when Western people talk, they look at people’s mouth moving. On the other hand, when Eastern people talk, they see people’s eyes. After I read it, it made me think about emoticons.

I think the big difference of emoticons between Western and Japanese is a feature of mouth’s shapes and a feature of eyes’ shapes. There is a feature of mouth’s shapes in Western emoticons, and there is a feature of eyes’ shapes in Japanese emoticons. I will show some examples.

When Western people express their happy feelings, their emoticon is 🙂  :). The dots : describes eyes, and the right angle bracket ) is a mouth. When Western people express their sadness, their emoticon is 😦  :(. The dots : are eyes, and the left angle bracket ( describes a mouth. I guess you already realize that what part is different. Yes, in Western emoticons their eyes are always same dots, and they describe their emotions with various mouth shapes like :O :P :P :X  :D  :D.

Meanwhile, in Japanese emoticons case, ^_^ the emoticon is happy, and ;_; the emoticon is sad. Ours are eyes shape changing, and the mouth’s shape is same.

I think emoticons are a really good proof of these differences. We have a proverb, “目は口ほどに物を言う ( me wa kuchihodoni mono wo
iu )”. It means even if we do not say, when we look at people’s eyes, we can guess what they want to say. I think Japanese people tend to communicate with their eyes’ contact, on the other hand, Western people tend to communicate with their mouth moving. I think this blog entry will help you when you communicate with your friends from oversea face to face. I would like to see my Western friends mouth moving and try to communicate with them when I talk to them in America.