Archive for the ‘Japan’ Category

Blogging from the train.

leave a comment »

I gotta say that I’ve finally gotten over the missing Japan-specific features for the iPhone. You also can’t think of this thing as a phone. It’s really a pocket computer that has cellular access.


Written by Brandon

September 10, 2008 at 3:46 pm

Posted in Daily Posts, Japan

Discrimination in the workplace

leave a comment »

I don’t wanna sound like a ranting foreigner in Japan, but I’m noticing how different I’m being treated, at least in Ogaki.

When I was teaching in Nagoya, I was treated pretty much like a regular teacher by the other teachers. They gave me a good desk, my own supplies for class, a locker, my own special spot in the shoe rack, and always gave me the reports they gave the other teachers.

In Ogaki however, they treat me like a complete stranger. My desk is different from everyone else’s. I get less drawers, and there’s no lock. It’s like I don’t have my own space there. They don’t have a place for me to put my shoes that’s labeled for me. I don’t have a locker either. They told me they don’t have any available lockers. Since I’m there most of the time, and they want me to play sports with the kids, you’d think they’d make it as easy for me as possible?

I know it sounds like bitching, but I’ve taught at schools that treated me as an equal. Hell, they even had welcome and farewell parties for me. They invited me to all the teacher parties. The teachers now don’t even talk to me before lessons. They don’t joke around with me during class. They just point at me and expect me to read their minds. My schools in Ogaki, it’s as if they just see me as a transient being who doesn’t really belong there.

Written by Brandon

May 7, 2008 at 6:58 pm

Posted in Japan

Tagged with , , ,

Why Facebook will never catch on in Japan.

leave a comment »

Facebook has a project to translate Facebook into a bunch of different languages.  It’s a volunteer effort, because what’s the point in paying people to translate the social network into a language that nobody is going to use?


The problem with Facebook in Japan is that Japanese people are not geared to share the way other people are.  If you’ve ever used Mixi, you’ll see how private Japanese people.  Most user pictures are of celebrities or their cats.  They tend to hide most of their personal information, and post irregularly.


The beauty of Facebook is how open most people seem to be on it.  You can get someone’s IM name, email address, home address, phone number, website, see what people they used to sleep with, and a myriad of other “good to know” information.  You don’t see this stuff on Mixi or GREE.  You also have to get invited to use Mixi.  You can’t just show up and create an account.  Granted, it isn’t hard to find someone with an invite to give, but most Japanese social networks are privacy freaks and won’t allow you in unless somebody will vouch for you.  Maiko Haaaan!!!, a film last year, about a guy who wants to see maiko in tea houses, can’t get in because he doesn’t know somebody who already goes there.  It’s the same principal.  Japanese people always wants you to be introduced by somebody.  Nintendo’s frustrating friend codes and the system of arranged marriages further illustrate my point.  Japanese people are not keen on taking things they feel are private and sharing them with their social network friends, let alone make them available to the public.


But what do I know?  They sell dog porn at the video store here.  And those girls blog and link to their movies.

Written by Brandon

April 25, 2008 at 8:21 pm

Morning at school.

leave a comment »

     It’s 7:30AM. Classes don’t start for over an hour. But kids are outside in the cold, playing tennis. Even in the early morning, Japanese junior high school students are being socialized. They’re promoting “the group” and an “early to rise” mentality. Kids will continue practicing until right up to the bell calls them in for their morning meeting.

     Japanese schools are filled with meetings. Whether it be for any number of committees, ranging from student council, to the school beautification board, or meetings for all teachers, just certain grades, trips to the Boards of Education, Japanese students and teachers are constantly conferring with each other. Many of these meetings seem extraneous, and many of them turn into bitch sessions or gossip gatherings, where little is accomplished, if anything. If America has a style of succinct news bulletins that get passed out to only those who need to know, the Japanese take it upon themselves to over inform everyone on staff. The handouts students and teachers receive on an almost daily basis are extraordinary in there frivolity. Many handouts begin with mention of the weather changing, the leaves changing colors, or warnings to beware of illness. It’s almost like a conversation. They begin slowly, with what appears to be idle chit-chat before moving along to the meat and potatoes of the handout. And even the most serious of pamphlets, (even the AIDS statistics one) are adorned with cutesy characters. You can tell it’s flu season from the smiling hypodermic syringe dancing on the side of the page.

Written by Brandon

April 21, 2008 at 6:33 pm

Posted in Japan

Why do Japanese people lock classroom doors when they don’t lock their home doors?

leave a comment »

I find myself waiting outside locked classrooms a lot, because Japanese people hardly lock their homes, but can’t leave a classroom to go to the gym without locking the door.

Written by Brandon

February 26, 2008 at 8:35 pm

Posted in Brandon, Japan


leave a comment »







Written by Brandon

February 20, 2008 at 10:51 pm

Posted in Brandon, Japan, 日本語

Lucky Beans (fukumame) 福豆

leave a comment »

Seeing as today was Setsubun, Sayaka chucked beans at me and called me a devil.


Written by Brandon

February 3, 2008 at 10:55 pm

Posted in Japan, 日本語