Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Japan has four seasons!

What does that mean exactly? Can someone give me that answer? I've only heard this once from a Japanese person and it was, in my mind, totally unrelated to the topic of conversation at the time. From what I understand, this is something that is said quite frequently. This week, in the Japan Times Online, they were doing a street survey of people's opinions on raising kids in Japan. I'm about 80% sure they added this one guy in as a joke. Here is his quote:
Hisashi Fujisawa
Clerk, 51
Japan is an excellent place to raise children. It's a safe country, we have four seasons, and our mathematics is better than any other country in the world. Compared to France, for example, Japan can calculate very well.
Here's the link, second from last: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20060516vf.html

"We have four seasons" Really? As opposed to what? 12? Do some countries have seasons during which time fire and brimstone fall from the sky, or the sun's rays automatically kill anyone who walks outside? Is this why Japan is so special for having just the 4 "standard" seasons? Or does most of the world only have 1 or 2 seasons? I don't know, I haven't visited enough of it to verify this for myself... but it is an interesting question. Compare this to Canada, which only has 2 seasons (Winter and Construction), maybe that's why people here are so proud of this unique Japanese feature? Now personally, I would be quite happy if Japan would have limited itself to 3 seasons... Beautiful leaves and clear weather in Fall, Skiing in the Winter and Cherry Blossoms in Spring... the summer tends to be humid, muggy and hazy... sprinkled with the odd Typhoon.

That was today's first rant... here's the second. Japan's Parliament yesterday passed a law requiring every foreigner entering Japan to be fingerprinted and photographed, much as the US has recently done. They say this has been done in the interests of protecting the nation against "terrorism", since we all know just how high on the target list Japan is on Al Quaeda's list right? The only act of terrorism in Japan in recent memory was a domestic act... this is basically just another way to control these "scary" foreigners who come to Japan. I am disappointed in the direction human rights and discrimination laws have been going in this country, and it seems the current government will only continue to push things in the wrong direction. From now on, every foreigner who enters Japan, regardless of Visa status (working, study, married to a Japanese citizen, permanent resident) will be fingerprinted and photographed. Bah.

And another thing, it seems that I was correct in my assumption that Japan does have different ring sizes from Canada and the US... the UK has their own system as well by the way. The 6.5 ring that I bought in Canada is a 12.5 here in Japan, and having it sized down that much may damage the setting and put unneeded stress on the ring. Sooooo, I'll be sending it back home and they will have one made to size, free of cost... gotta love Jubilee Jewelers! Compared to the horror story I heard from John when he bought his at People's, the experience at Jubilee at Carlingwood Mall has been Fantastic and I highly recommend them.

Oh yeah, and this week is Scott's final week in Japan. After teaching here for a year and a half, our wandering Aussie will be heading back home for a bit. His farewell party is Saturday night, and he is leaving Japan on the 25th.

And on a Canadian note... on the eve of s House of Commons vote on the future of the Canadian mission in Afghanistan, Canada has suffered its first female combat loss since the World Wars. 26 year old Captain Nichola Goddard became our 17th casualty since we deployed to Afghanistan in support of the US mission to oust the Taliban from power. Canadian forces were acting in support of the Afghan National Police and National army in a firefight against Taliban fighters when Captain Goddard was killed. I hope this death does not cause those bleeding heart liberals in the Commons to turn tail and run. They seem perfectly happy to see Canadian Forces Engineers rebuilding roads, bridges and power plants in war-torn countries, but seem to cringe when they are reminded that these people have to sometimes be protected in order to do their job and that yes, some people may die in the process.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous S'Mee said...

Try this......

While most people know that Canada has a North (seems to be what makes us famous), and some people even know we have an East (GO Maritimes!) and a West (Shout-out to B.C.!!), it surprises many to the point of argument that Canada does indeed have…….a South!! Add to that concept that when crossing from the US to Canada, one does not drive into a vertical snow wall in the Summer, Spring and Fall, (whoa now, that’s 3 seasons right there already!) and you may get locked up for lunacy, or claiming false Canadian citizenship. I’d say more on this one, but it’s your Blog, not mine, and I think I left enough space between the lines for everyone.

Photo/fingerprinting foreigners in Japan. This is an easy one. Don’t worry about it, we all look the same anyhow. ;-)

Military
2 points:
Women in combat: The Russians did it, the Israelis did it, and it worked out just fine for them. How? They set a very high bar with regards to standards and accepted anyone who could meet or exceed those standards. (no, not with any general reference to Russia in WWII, but certainly afterwards). If a PERSON can do the job, who cares what sex, race, size, etc. they are. Set your standards high, and make sure everyone is treated equally who tries to meet them. Then take the best of the ones who do, and you can’t go wrong.

Canadian Military: STOP TRAINING AND EQUIPPING FOR SET-PIECE CONVENTIONAL WARFARE!! We likely won’t ever see it again, anymore than we line up in rank 40 yards from the enemy and volley fire into them. Peacekeeping and peace making will require troops who can engage in short fierce actions, then return to patrole and humanitarian duties. Train and equip for that NOW when the military is in a growth and refit period, and then allow the troops to do their CHOSEN jobs. We have no draft, and do not offer the military as an alternative to punishment in our justice system. Our troops are there because they have chosen to be soldiers. We should honor them and be proud of them, and recognize the mettle of those Canadians who join the service knowing that their service will be to Canada in the assistance of other Nations. The RCMP was created to, and will continue to watch over the home front.

……unless of course it snows again in Toronto.

Proud and Free,

S’Mee

8:09 PM  
Blogger Dak said...

The "Japan has 4 seasons" thing is not uncommon. Actually, I find it amusing. My girlfriend (who is currently living in japan, but will soon move here) seemed to understand that all countries experience 4 seasons. But I've read that many Japanese people are amazed that other countries have 4 seasons, too. I still don't understand why they are surprised by this, but no matter the reason, I still find it amusing.

11:14 AM  

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