Japanese News and Culture Blog Roundup: 11/26/09-12/02/09

2009 December 3
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Japan Probe

12/02/09: Hot water bottles can cause burns

A report came out recently warning consumers that hot water bottles can cause burns after prolonged contact, even if they don’t seem particularly warm. Hot water bottles are often still used in Japan to heat beds before going to sleep since central heat is rare there. I personally prefered using an electric blanket to combat the chill, but the bottles are certainly cheaper and more eco-friendly.

12/01/09: American police officers travel to Japan

Some police officers from Redlands, CA traveled to Hino, Japan to check out law enforcement in their sister city. They were amazed by the cleanliness of the suburb 20 miles west of Tokyo. A female officer also remarked that she was so tall that her feet “hung off the end of a hotel bed,” which seems pretty unusual since all beds I ever saw in Japan were quite long. She also perceived a lot of sexism in the Japanese police department towards female officers. The comments section for this story is long and detailed, with many readers taking exception to the the officer’s statements, and bringing up plenty of counterexamples. Whether the officer’s observations about Hino are true or simply ignorant, it is always interesting to see how someone interprets a situation in a culture that is completely unfamiliar.

JetWit.com

11/26/09: Long lost WWII soldier’s flag leads Hiroshima JET to family in Niigata-ken

A story from last summer about an American English teacher on the JET Programme returning a war flag to the family of a former Japanese WWII soldier in Nagaoka. I never knew about personal Japanese war flags, so this was an interesting and and heartwarming piece of history.

Japanese Pod 101

12/02/09: Learn Japanese Kanji – Everyday Kanji (Special Occassion Money Envelopes)

11/26/09: Learn Japanese Kanji – Everyday Kanji (Gas Station)

Not one, but two useful kanji lessons this week! Though many gas stations in Japan are still full-service, it never hurts to learn the proper kanji in case you need to fill up by yourself. And money envelopes are everywhere, so I’m glad I finally know what they say on the front! Though I actually sent the wedding envelopes as birthday cards to friends in the states while I lived in Japan. I knew they were wedding cards, but they were so beautiful that I just had to send them to people. My Japanese co-workers thought it was very bizarre, but nobody who received one seemed to mind my breach in etiquette.

F*cked Gaijin

11/28/09: 16 of the Best [Songs]

11/30/09: Kinejun’s All-Time Greatest Japanese Films

A selection of the some of the best Japanese songs and films EVER, at least according to these people. I haven’t heard or seen many of these, but now they’re on my list!

12/01/09: Banned words: Thou shalt not say “gaijin,” “haafu” or “Yankee”

In the spirit of George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words, here is a selection of some of the words you can’t say on Japanese television. The full list in Japanese can be found here, though this article focuses on those that refer to any and all foreigners of Japan.

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