Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's the year of the Tiger coming, get ready for it

As we are now finally closing in on the last gasping hours of the glorious year of the cow 2009 and will soon enter the glorious year of the tiger 2010, I think it's about time to do my traditional ranking and summary of the year. In terms of the blog, I guess 2009 was the year that it all of a sudden started taking off a bit and even though it's still a very small and insignificant page on the Internet, the number of daily visitors more than doubled from less than ~50 visitors per day to about ~100 per day by the end of the year. Hopefully it can get a further push in 2010 as well.

All in all,2009 certainly was a pretty eventful years for yours truly on many fronts, but here comes some highlights of the year and the traditional awards:

Biggest Event of 2009 is definitely the wedding with Ms. Sunshine that took place during the year, something that is laid out much more in detail in my "getting married in Japan series" which I probably should finish up soon...

Most Intense Family Gathering in Japan in 2009 was the influx of family that either came to stay at the Salaryman-Sunshine lair in conjunction with the wedding and the family and friends that for some reason had happened to book hotels in the middle of one of the less than family friendly areas in Ikebukuro... A lot of fun, but also a lot to take care of and preventing me from walking around naked in the apartment for several weeks...

Music That Came Out Of Nowhere And Knocked Me Out 2009 was the Swedish group Kite but besides from that 2009 was a pretty poor year musically as far as I'm concerned, with the old men in the Mobile Homes showing the strongest and most unexpected comeback...

Biggest Purchase 2009 was the house that the Salaryman-Sunshine family bought in 2009 and rest assured that you will hear more about it in my next upcoming hit series "buying a house in Japan" here on the blog when I get around to it.

Best toy of 2009 was without doubt the great God-Jesus , I can agree that practically the toy wasn't launched this year, but due to the lack of competition it still wins the award of best toy 2009!

Wishing all my readers a very Happy New Year and hope to see you around here again in the glorious year of the Tiger 2010!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Looking deeply into condoms in Japan

As we are now reaching those slightly stale and awkward days between Christmas and New Year's when you don't really know what to do with all that celebratory atmosphere you built up to for Christmas and hope to maintain the momentum until the New Year's eve, I can't really be bothered to maintain my regular sharp analysis of Japan current affairs and politics.

So, instead I thought I should let you all readers know of the wonders of the Japanese condom market and one particular player with significant share; Okamoto Condoms and their animal condom series (what? I don't have any real source for it but I googled it and someone somewhere on the Internet said it so it's good enough for me!). I'm not going to get into the whole Japanese condom sizes vs. those regularly sold in the western markets, but I think it's pretty uncontroversial to say that the standard Japanese sizes are a bit smaller than the specs of those targeted for the western markets.

But, as in any market, there are niches to fill for those who do not fit into the standard norm and Okamoto does not shy away from this. For those with larger appendixes requiring larger condoms, they have the "Super Big Boy" condom (see the picture below). Note how the key visual to illustrate this is a horse...

I've seen the above brand around for quite a long time, but earlier today by chance I happened to see their newest addition to the family...The "Mega Big Boy"! For those for whom not even the Super Big Boy is enough and if the name isn't enough they have chose to use an image of an elephant as the key visual...

But if you have been blessed with a slightly smaller and perhaps more convenient size of penis where even the standard sizes prove to be a bit too large, what do you do then? Fear not, Okamoto has thought of you too and launched the "Smart Boy" just for you and the key visual is an... ... ... eagle...?

I can see the connection between Horse - Large penis and Elephant - Really Large PENIS but I fail to see the connection between an eagle and a smaller penis and I'm still trying to figure out what's smart about having a small penis?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I'm not sure this really makes sense...?

Now in the downtime between Christmas and New Year's I thought I could bring up a funny sign that I came across in a supermarket a few days ago. The sign is the one you see in the picture and was put up in the bathroom of a supermarket I for some odd reason was frequenting.

The sign says "For crime prevention purposes, the staff will also use these toilets and we ask for your cooperation". Now, I'm not sure if it's only me, but I fail to see how it would help against crime that their cashiers take a dump in the toilet with the regular customers? Maybe they do it with an open door or something?

I kinda felt a bit disappointed that I didn't see any of the staff in the bathroom, but on the other hand no crimes occurred either during this time so maybe there just wasn't any need?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Well, Merry Christmas to you all!

Since I come from Sweden where we celebrate Christmas as the main event on the 24th and not on the 25th; Christmas Day is more a dull slow day and especially boring since I have memories of having to go to church on that day (the only time of the year we actually went because of Grandma).

But, just to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, happy new year wishes will come later!

No stupid "Season's Greetings", "Holiday Wishes" or stupid thing, we're talking raw hardcore uncensored Christmas here with Santa, nativity scenes and all that stuff. Stuff yourselves full with that Christmas cake!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

How to get two bottles of champagne on the honeymoon - A step by step guide

Now with Christmas drawing close and this being clearly seen in a radical drop in visitors down to almost half of what is usual on a regular weekday, I thought I could relax a bit and let my hair out. Everyone outside of Japan is probably celebrating Christmas now anyway and the only one who can muster up leaving a comment is the faithful Penguine, but his usual wit doesn't cut as sharp as it used to.

With that said, I thought I could return back to a side-track of my "Getting Married in Japan" series and a little trick from the honeymoon I could share with you.

How to get two bottles of champagne on your honeymoon:

  • Book a tour through a Japanese travel agency to a place often frequented by Japanese tourists (e.g. Hawaii )

  • Have one or more names that are vaguely Japanese but leaves some room for ambiguity

  • Make sure that the hotel gives a complimentary bottle of champagne for honeymooners

  • Get one bottle with a congratulatory message in Japanese – drink bottle

  • Next day, get another bottle with a congratulatory message, in English this time – drink bottle

  • When bottles has been drunk, be sure to tell every hotel staff you meet that could be working with the catering that you are a Japanese-English bilingual couple and enjoy the expression when you hit someone who gets a little white in the face and laughs nervously

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Keisei Panda revealed...

Ok, first, take a look at this picture and think about what it is you see going on.

The picture was an actual part of an advertisement for the new Keisei Skyliner train that will connect the Ueno station to the Narita airport within 30 minutes and some form of guided tours were offered in conjunction with this. But I'm not sure if it's only my mind that did not see this as a pleasant sightseeing tour. This is what I thought the picture showed:

I also particularly like the disclaimer at the bottom stating that the actual tour will differ from the picture, but hey, you can never be too ensured against complaints!

In case the text is hard to read in the picture is hard to read; to me it looks like the Panda and his latest ho are caught by the Panda police after a gruesome rape-murder in the train and while they are kept at gun-point the Panda forensics are taking the pictures of the scene... This is what you thought too, right?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

"Can we finish this up?"

Recent days has been a flurry of activity in head office, especially when concerning Japan. Most of us in the Japan team has been taken completely by surprise in this sudden interest in Japan and what we are doing here. The whole organization has been quite surprised until I figured out the real reason...

Basically all of Europe is going on the Christmas vacation from the end of the week... Us poor sods in Japan are still working and will keep working next week as well, so we thought that some relatively "urgent" things would wait for a few days, but this was not to be...Unfortunately there's not much point or punchline to this point more than to consider that not all countries or regions are working on the same clock...

Here in Japan, next week is just a regular week for us to slave away before the very very important new year's holiday!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"That's right!"

On occassions I have to work with some of my corporate colleagues from the Hong Kong office, generally they're pretty nice people and nothing I have any big problems with, but some of the have a habit of behaving very "professional". With this I mean throwing a lot of jargon around and generally acting like a real businessman (the female colleagues never really made me annoyed because of that).

Last week I had two visitors from the Hong Kong office that had some business to do with the Japanese business so I took them under my wings during their stay. Both were Hong Kong born Chinese and the male colleage was a pretty nice guy but extremely businessmanish throwing lots of meaningless business jargon around when he had the chance (something which is bound to annoy me to some degree).

But he had this funny habit of very confidently stating "that's right!" and then firing off a confident smile. However, I think he had a habit of overdoing this, let me give you a few examples:

Salaryman: So you believe that competitor B might try to get into the Asian market?
Businessman: That's right!
Salaryman: I'm not sure in doing this will yield the return we're looking for so I think we should wait with this.
Businessman: That's right!

In the above examples I believe the statements were not completely out of place, but he also had a habit of placing this at times when perhaps other words and/or phrases would have been more suitable:

Salaryman: If you don't like raw sea urchin, maybe you shouldn't eat that.
Businessman: (looking at said sea urchin skeptically) That's right!
Salaryman: I think we're probably too tired now to go through this presentation so we'll wrap this up for today.
Businessman: (looking completely exhausted before regaining compusure briefly) That's right!

I thought this was pretty entertaining so I might start using this myself!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Go powder your nose

One thing that has struck me, as an office worker in Japan now for many years, is the tendency among my female colleagues to almost always go to the bathroom before they leave the office. That is, they pack their stuff in their little bags, they say "see you tomorrow" and then move out of the physical office, but unlike me who usually want to get out of the building as soon as possible, they make a pit-stop in the bathroom.

The big question that I have here is whether this is something Japan specific or something that can be considered a world-wide issue among females? If I feel the need to go relieve myself before going home for the day, I usually go to the bathroom before I pack my stuff up and leave the office. Ok, I can understand that some females might have stuff in the little bag they might feel the need to utilize in the bathroom, but they could just bring the bag back and forth, especially now in winter when it must be cumbersome with the jackets? I don't know the number of times I run into female colleagues that I thought left the office a long time ago by the elevators, since they obviously made a prolonged pit-stop at the ladies room... But is this a cultural issue or a gender issue?

On a similar toilet related note, I remember how I a few years back was traveling with a female Japanese peon, visiting customers and doing general work stuff, during the course of the day she went to the bathroom several times, but I never really had the need. Towards the end of the day and her last visit for the working day she looked at me in awe and said "wow, you never need to go to the bathroom, do you?". I never really understood what was so impressive about that, if anything it's probably unhealthy...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

All hail King Jim!

In the office environment, there are a number of machines and tools that exist to make our job more efficient. Obviously the sophisticated ones such as computers, printers, scanners etc. but also the smaller one such as the paper cutter, shredder and binding machine, and not to forget the tiny things such as staplers, clips and other standard office fare. But I have a favorite machine; the "King Jim Tepra Label Maker"! This amazing device, which you can see in the picture is a pretty sophisticated piece of machinery with a full keyboard, can handle both full Chinese characters, and roman letters in addition to the Japanese alphabets. In all honesty, I have yet to mastered one third of all the options available on this device, but it is pretty advanced.

What it does? Well, it print labels. I type in "Don’t touch" and press print and a label saying "Don’t touch" comes out. The label size can also be changed in case you want to print out smaller or bigger labels for those special occasions, as well as a rich selection of colors.

I don't use it as often as I want, but when I do actually have a need to make a label, it's pure labeling joy! I remember the primitive device mom had at home when we were kids with only an alphabet dial and a printing trigger and I feel so grateful that humanity has advanced so far in so short time! If only they weren't so expensive I would buy one for the home too...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Commuter Terrorists - Matrix Style?

Just saw this commercial for a "Pachinko" game and found it quite amusing and also quite realistic portrait on how some people react when a seat opens up in the train during the morning rush...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Can I have a "Gundam" please?

With Christmas fast approaching, it's now time to get the Christmas presents in order. All the stuff for the family back home has been taken care of, but the other day me and Mrs. Sunshine were out shopping for presents for her niece and nephew. Christmas presents doesn't really carry the same level of importance here in Japan as in the Western world (Japanese kids get money at new year's instead) but it's still normal that something is given.

As we were looking around in the Toy's R'us store, looking for stuff to get her 12 year old nephew and Mrs. Sunshine pulling towards the lego, with me convincing her that big mean looking giant robot models with huge swords and guns are more suitable for a 12 year old Japanese kid. We ended up in front of a huge selection of models from the popular Gundam anime and giving a call to her brother to hear what we would think is suitable. To my satisfaction in my estimation on what toys a 12 year old kinda wants, he tells us that the nephew are collecting the models in the series we were standing in front of. Having no idea on what's what of the over 100 different type of models, we asked him if he had any recommendation on which one to buy; "Get one of the Gundam robot suits, he likes those". For a few seconds me and Mrs. Sunshine are completely silent, staring at the huge selection of models in front of us, all saying "Gundam" at some place having no idea which one of these "Gundam" figures actually were "Gundam"...

A few minutes later and one Internet search for a certain model, he could give us a detailed name so we could pick a model that apparently should be a "Gundam". When it comes to the dorky Japanese stuff, I'm lost... I feel much more at home with Superman, Spider-man and all those guys than the Japanese robots...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Commuter Terrorists – The Hanger

I sometimes realize how bad I am at actually following up on previous promised posts, but since "the commuter terrorist" series I started back in September deserves to be followed up, here comes the promised description of "The Hanger" and the difficulties that this entity can cause on his fellow travelers. Since I myself have not yet figured out how to properly deal with these people I would appreciate any advice on the subject that I can try out the next opportunity (which will come far far too soon, I'm sure).

Imagine how you enter a particularly crowded train, all seats are taken and there are people lined up in front of the seats, but you see an opening in squeezing yourself in in the middle of the lane. Ending up in the area by the door is commuting torture in a crowded train, not only will you end up with foreign limbs all over the place, the reek of sweat, too strong perfume and warm uncomfortable humidity, no, you will also have to move and rearrange yourself each time the train stops at a station letting people on and off. So, entering the middle of the train is usually a pretty wise strategy even if it means that you will have to use some force and try to manage one or two "Blockers" on the way.

"The Hanger" starts his (I’ve never encountered a female hanger) act as you are standing right behind him (and he’s standing in front of the seat), things are usually pretty tight, but there is usually some room to twist the body a little so you don’t have to stand in constant full-body-to-body contact. It is not an extremely comfortable position, but it's better than standing by the doors and you have a good position to move up when someone in the corridor get off the train. Then the Hanger makes your life unpleasant, as you are standing there in peace zoning out, trying to just endure until things get better or you get off, and all of a sudden you notice how someone's hair is getting in your eyes and mouth. That is the Hanger. The Hanger doesn’t really care that it's crowded and you're standing right behind him, he decides to make his life more comfortable by holding on to the "hand ring handle" (hey, you tell me what they’re really called!) This position might make him feel very relaxed in the crowded train, but that his hair keeps getting in the face of the person behind him doesn't bother him.

I always thought that was a bit odd since I would be uncomfortable knowing that my hair is going all over another persons face. Usually this person is also rocking a little back and forth as well so it comes in waves hair in face – away – hair in face – away. I find this extremely uncomfortable and have difficulties dealing with this, things I have tried is moving and squirming about a bit everytime, but that usually causes more problems to the surrounding people than the Hanger who doesn’t care. An option I have seriously considered is giving in to the train rage and give the Hanger a mild headbutt to alert him to the error of his ways, but that could turn unpleasant...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My boom!

One of the amusing things with the Japanese language is how small phrases become popular, ok, fashion words and phrases exist in any language I believe, but the funny thing in Japan is how they often take some words in English and string them together in new innovative ways which might or might not end up making any sense.

But hey, most of the time it's more amusing than anything and nothing to get excited about. One recent such popular phrase is "my boom" (マイブーム・mai buum) and that phrase is used to express some recent trend, food or basically anything that you have gotten into lately. It could be anything from Tom of Finland Art, C64 retro gaming, reading up on the life of Dennis Nielsen or any other perfectly normal interest.

My recent "My boom" is this 貝入りラー油 which is basically Chinese Chili oil, but not only the oil, it also includes plenty of chopped garlic, red peppers and stuff mixed together with the chili oil. If you like spicy stuff and garlic, this stuff is amazing. There are hardly anything that it doesn't go with and Mrs. Sunshine-Salaryman, who cannot really handle too spicy food, has now given up when I mention "you know what would go really great with this?" and just sighs as I got get my chili oil stuff. Put it on some plain rice and it'll make it sparkle. Check it out here, you can even get my favorite stuff outside of Asia, let it boom all over the place!

(The picture was taken just a few days before God-Jesus was arrested on the genocide charges and I have put my best lawyers at work getting him out and back home)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A war of cultures – Let them eat cake

As we have entered into December and we are now getting closer to Christmas and getting a little into the Christmas atmosphere; Japanese style, more based on tacky over the top illuminations than traditional Christmas markets or anything authentically Christmassy, in the eyes of Eurotrash such as me. But still, it's starting to feel like Christmas and all the presents to the family back home has now been sent (including the santa rapist/wrestler/robber mask; “don't ever wear that stupid mask again it scares the hell out of me” as Mrs. Sunshine-Salaryman told me when I was wearing it just for comfort as I was walking around the home minding my own business).

As we were walking in a subway station and taking the escalator to the surface the other day, we notice the advertisements on the walls showing the greatest and latest “Christmas cakes” that you needed to reserve at the local fancy department store to be guaranteed one in time for Christmas. It should be mentioned that what goes as “Christmas cakes” locally here in Japan usually is nothing more than regular cakes that would work just as well for a birthday. Perhaps, and only perhaps a small edible santa might be included somewhere on the cake. As we pass them Mrs. Sunshine blurts out “oh, these Christmas cakes look so nice, I home mom gets one just like that for our Christmas dinner” and for a brief moment I am ready to go to cultural war again since those cakes have nothing to do with Christmas in my Swedish eyes...

But then, in a rare moment of clarity, I realize that in terms of actual tastiness, the Christmas cakes here taste a lot better than most of the stuff that goes as “traditional Christmas food” in Sweden and I lay down my arms and reply “you know, this is really a Japanese custom and nothing that is Christmas related to me, but sure, let's have lots of cake”. Peace reigns supreme.

Let them eat cake!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cabaret Club Hostess Vs. Ginza Snack Mama?

In my little company there are two women who are known to be pretty feminine in the way they dress and the way they behave. One of them tries to use her feminity more aggressively towards the men, doing the pouting lips and trying to look cute when she needs some help or favor from somebody.

The other woman does not do it like that and always tries to behave professionally and not make any difference in behaviour whether the talking partner is a man or a woman. Although I have at times worked more or less close with both of these women I haven't really thought of it so much, but basically just seen that they have chosen different approaches.

But recently I heard from a member of the sales team that some of the apparently had putten some thought into this and played the game "what if..." and the case here was "what if woman A and woman B worked in the "mizushoubai" ("watertrade" i.e. nightlife) woman A would be working in a low grade Cabaret Club in Nishi-Kawaguchi, and woman B would be a Mama-san in a high class "snack bar" establishment".
This gets a bit difficult to explain for those not so informed in how these clubs work, but let's just say that Nishi-Kawaguchi is a more seedy area with girls with too much makeup laughing too loud while a Ginza snack bar is a pretty high class establishment that cater to politicians, doctors and people like that and that the Mama-san of such a place is very elegant.

I hadn't heard of this comparison before, but I could perfectly picture this scenario...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I suspected as much...

Found this little piece of information in the form of a picture earlier and I must say that I should have known as much...

When I listed the 3 worst image characters of Japan earlier, I suspected that there was more maliciousness to these characters than I could uncover...

Friday, December 4, 2009

How about this; instead of doing it at home, maybe you should just try and stop?

Since a while ago, probably at least a year, the Tokyo Metropolitan subway has been running a poster campaign to try and improve the manners of the users of the subway. Nothing particularly wrong with the general idea since some of my fellow travellers can be more than a little annoying on occasion.

The images and the concept itself is really dorky and I know that it has been made fun of plenty among foreign bloggers here in Tokyo and that many Japanese people find it ridicilous. And it's hard to disagree, the posters are ridicilous and beg to be made fun of. But on the other hand, as a professional in the marketing communications business, I must say that I believe that they most likely have been very successful in achieving what they are meant to do; they do make people think of their behaviour and make people aware that certain activities are not appreciated by fellow travellers. In any case, you can take a look here and make up your own mind.

But I have the feeling that they are now starting to run out of inspiration, but are reluctant to kill the campaign just yet and want to milk the attention these posters get, just a little bit more. The latest one you can see here above; it portraits something that looks like a salaryman completely drunk, lost one shoe and lying on the dirty floor of the subway platform with empty cans surrounding him and even if the picture does not contain it, I'm sure there's plenty of vomit everywhere as well. And then the text says "Please do it at home".

My immediate reaction is that this is not a behaviour that is especially good for anyone in the long run and that perhaps this guy should try to cut down a little and not do this in the subway stations, at his own home or any other location? Shoes are not cheap either.

I can see how this concept can be taken to even further heights adding some on the theme of "don't do this at all, anywhere, ever" instead and some concept that could be used are of course smoking meth when you are a famous celebrity and got everything to lose, not calling the ambulance when that nude hooker you were partying with has OD:ed, gassing the subway with sarin gas, rape-murder English teachers and then run from the police, vote for the LDP or whatever you can imagine. Eidan - the ball is on your side now, run with it!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

You think this might be in bad taste...?

If you're living in Japan, and probably even if you're not living in Japan, but have an interest in Japanese current affairs, I think it would be hard to have missed the huge media event that the Japanese guy who murdered an British English teacher and recently got caught generated.

He managed to stay on the run for a little over two years and also had extensive plastic surgery done to change his appearance. Following his arrest the media attention has still been pretty intense with news reporting on his refusal to eat or give any statements to the police regarding the murder. The whole plastic surgery deal added a layer of surrealism to the case which made it reach even regular newspapers back in Sweden. Today, in the morning, just as I had gotten out of the bed with Mrs. Sunshine-Salaryman and turned the TV on to the morning news, they reported that the police had now formally charged him with the murder and also rape of the poor victim.

As we were struggling to wake up and I was pouring myself a cup of coffee and I watched the news, not having heard anything about a rape before, I casually commented to Mrs. Sunshine-Salaryman as I was sipping my coffee "yeah, that makes sense that he raped her, good for him since he was gonna kill her anyway. If you absolutely have to kill someone it makes perfect sense that you squeeze in the crime of a rape while you're at it since it's lower on the punishment scale, I hope he stole the money in the wallet too". To my surprise this little sleepy morning comment from me on current events proved to be pretty controversial in the household until I managed to convince Mrs. Sunshine that this brought him one step closer to the gallows....

Later on in the day I discussed my logic with a friend and without missing a beat he nodded and added "for sure, if I was going to end up killing someone, I'd probably keep that person locked up in my basement for a few months and torture him or her, if you're gonna do that kinda thing you can at least make it last, make the most of it, you know?".

Disclaimer: The above is a post made in black humour regarding a highly publicized media event in Japan. In no way does Mr. Salaryman actually support violent and/or sexual assaults on any person and believes that such criminals should be punished to the full extent of the law.

The views expressed here by Mr. Salaryman does not represent the views of Mr. Salaryman as a real person.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Can I... eh... have one of those?

Yesterday our company was part of organizing an event with an invited speaker with rich experience in the Japanese healthcare market for an audience of mostly European executives in the business and quite a few Swedish people, all on a study trip to Japan where this event was one of the stops.

As I was sitting in the back in the meeting room close to the coffee machine, half listening to the lecturer drone on (ok, I might be a bit unfair, he wasn't that bad but it was early in the morning) and one in the audience got up and placed himself by the coffee machine, got a cup and then reached in his pocket and picked up a box of snus, the famous brown gold of nicotine I have been talking about earlier and I recently quit. Seeing this, I quickly whispered to get his attention "...hey..." not getting any response "hey", still no attention, so I turn to the whisper scream "hey!" and finally gets his attention and a few heads in turning in front of. He looks a bit startled but I point at the box and whisper "hey... yeah... you don't think I, uh, could have one of those, do you?". Knowing a fellow snuser, he smiles and gives me one.

An hour and a half later the lecture and discussion is over and people are standing around mingling, exchanging cards and doing some small talk, I again approach the guy and the following exchange takes place in Swedish:

Salaryman: Hey, you don't think I could have one more or so of those goodies?
Snuser: Sure, of course!
Salaryman: (Licking my lips and rocking back and forth as he reaches in his pocket)
Snuser: (pulls out a cardholder, showing he's some CEO of something) Here's my card
Salaryman: (Takes the card quickly and impatiently hands him my card) Yeah, fine, here's mine...
Snuser: This was a great event you made here!
Salaryman: (impatiently) yeahyeahyeahrightrightright
Snuser: I wish there was more things like this arranged
Salaryman: suresuresure, yeah, uh, about that snus?
Snuser: (slightly off guard) Oh, yes, of course (reaching into his pocket and actually pulling out the box)
Snuser: By the way, how long have you worked in Japan
Salaryman: (pulling back my claw I had started reaching out with) 8years!
Snuser: (opens the box) Why don't you take a few!
Salaryman: (takes a couple) Thanks, ok, catch you later (runs off to talk to one of the people I actually needed to talk to)

I still maintain that I quit pretty cleanly, but those brown pouches of nicotine can really lighten up a boring dull sleepy morning!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I'm average at it?

Seen today on a CV submitted to me today, language and language abilities listed:

German - Native speaker
English - Very Good
French - Very Good
Italian - Average

This "Average" made me very confused.

If I, for instance, look into my Swahili speaking abilities I think that on comparison basis with the average person in the world, my non existent Swahili skills would place me slightly below average. But if compared against the average Democratic Republic of Kongolit, I think that I would end up far, far below average. Something to ponder indeed.
Perhaps I have "average" skills in many many more languages than I thought?
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