Sunday, February 28, 2010

Back in Japan - The wrath of mother Nature

As I again find myself back on Japanese soil, safely away from freezing cold, falling blocks of ice and icicles and dangerously icy and slipper roads, I thought I could relax for a bit and enjoy the reasonable coldness (seems like I missed the short burst of spring that Japan timed in just as I was away...) a disaster is getting ready to hit Japan...

All over the news now is continuous reports on the possible tsunami waves that will hit the Japanese islands within a few hours (it's 15:15 as I write this) originating from the recent quake outside Chile. People are being evacuated from their homes in some areas of Japan awaiting this potentially devastating act of nature and I found myself having problems tearing myself away from the news to write this report for your benefit.

Although it's mostly waiting at the moment, some tsunami waves have already hit some areas of Japan and the waves have been reported to be as high as 10cm in most cases, but one huge wave was reported to measure 30cm in height as it struck Japan... I cower here in fear and am just thankful that I don't live close to the ocean since a 10cm wave could risk getting my toes wet and then I would have to dry them... The heavy snow and ice in Sweden pale in comparison...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

How many of you are there exactly?!

Comparatively, Stockholm is not a large city, but with a bit over a million in population it's the biggest city in Sweden with a fairly large city center. But again, since my perspectives are quite skewed when it comes to Sweden and things Swedish (as discussed in this post), to me it feels like a huge city...

The other day, as I found myself in the console- and computer games shop Game in one of their centrally located shops as I picked up a copy of Aliens vs. Predator for the PS3 since it looks like the Japan release might be far away and I felt a bit desperate to not have a repetition of the horrible language issue that I ran into earlier with a game bought in Japan (the game is ok so far, but it's not great and not sure that I could recommend it to people who are not nostalgic about the earlier AvP series, but I have a soft spot for those).

I chatted a bit with the guy manning the store there about some games and didn't really think that much of it as I left to continue trolling the streets of Stockholm through the snow and ice, for other valuables difficult to obtain in Japan, to bring home to Japan. In hindsight, I guess I was lucky to not be hit and killed by a falling icile.
The following day, as I was staying with Big Bro with family in the outskirts of Stockholm, I was also doing a little shopping when I had a little time to spare in the local shopping center, about 30min away from central Stockholm with the subway. As I was considering to pick up one other game I went to the Game shop they had there. After picking up a few used cheap games (Killzone for the PSP and Prototype for the PS3 in case anyone is keeping track) and going to the register I realize that the guy manning the register looks suspiciously similar to the the guy I shopped at the day before in the other store in central Stockholm.

As I asked him a bit surprised if he had been working at the other shop the other day and he confirmed and that he also had remembered that I came in there. Some obvious jokes on evil twins and cheapness in hiring staff was of course exchanged, but it made me realize how small Stockholm really is in comparison...

(and yes Martin, I was gonna use this picture since earlier and your comment had nothing to do with it!)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Getting married in Japan Part 12: Balancing the Cultures

So now finally I will put an end to this series of sensational posts about getting married in Japan with a thoughtful and insightful summary. As you might have figured out if you've read the posts up until now everything ended happily and well but with a fair share of challenges leading up to it. If anyone finds themselves in a similar situation or just out of general curiousity have a question just leave a comment here or send me a mail.

One of the things that we early on decided when we made the decision to have the wedding in Japan, was to not have a "typical" Japanese wedding and to make sure that Swedish culture and customs ere also properly represented. With this I don't mean a strongly traditional Swedish wedding reception/dinner (hey, I hardly know what that means), but a modern relaxed one, mirroring the modern Japanese wedding form we had chosen.

We wanted to have the wedding reception reflect both of us and also to have the foreign guests visiting Japan not feel too lost and give the Japanese guests a reason to let their hair down and be perhaps a little more relaxed than custom otherwise would regulate. Yeah, so that was the plan and in theory it was a great concept... But this approach was severely tested against reality.

Basically what happened was that each evaluation was performed according to something like the decision tree here:
I think you understand what the results of this mostly ended up as... For basically each item there existed a Japanese custom and when weighed against the Swedish/Western custom the Japanese turned out stricter and was therefore given priority... Despite our intent of having our two cultures reflected in the reception I very soon started to feel the scales weighing in very very heavy on the Japanese side and for a time there I was almost giving up.

But in the end, I think the balance turned out very good, we did have the toastmaster Japanese style, but having a foreign friend leading it in English made it more informal, we did have the obligatory gifts but we snuck in some Swedish stuff in there that made it stand out among other things. But having the balance right turned out to be one of the most difficult things during the planning.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Culture shock in the reverse...

This was one of those posts that I had to go back and check my earlier posts to make sure I wasn't repeating myself too much and realized that I had touched on the subject about a year ago (post here) but now after ~10 years of life in Japan I find myself getting more of a culture shock when I get back to the old country...

Apart from the physical shock I talked about in the earlier post I also find that I no longer automatically understands how everything works and have to sometimes ask friends. 10 years seem to be enough to make even Sweden change a bit and returning home around once a year doesn't seem to be enough to make sure that I keep up with the changes.

Among the things I find myself shocked with is in particular the slowness, inefficiency and generally lack of politeness when shopping. Also, since I moved from Sweden to Japan after graduating university I find myself excessively cheap back in the old country; this is not due to a lack of money or such but simply because I never really had access to any real amounts when I used to live back there. That means that I am permanently stuck with the notion that 100 Swedish Kronor (~$14) is quite a large amount of money, but the same amount in yen I do not consider a particularly large sum at all since I have lived in Japan on both smaller and larger budgets.

Not a particularly funny post I guess but it's more one of those things when I start to realize how I am now beginning to "fall between the chairs" in terms of cultural and national identification after spending so long time in Japan. It's not really a bad thing as such, but the feeling of "going home" has now really shifted compared to just a few years ago.
Meeting up with my old friends from way back is now starting to feel less like a meeting within the Justice League of America and more of the special annual cross-over between the Justice League from Earth-1 and the Justice Society of America from Earth-2...

Yes mother, of course mother

Despite the extremely hostile climate, I managed to squeeze in a visit to the old mother together with big bro who still lives in the old country.

As I was looking for something I happened to come across an actual "things to have my sons do for me while I have the chance and they're here" list. It went something like this:

Big Bro
  • Shovel the driveway for me
  • Fix my computer problems for me
  • Carry heavy stuff around the house for me
  • See if he thinks I should buy a new digital camera
I'm not sure how to interpret this, but hey, I did take a look at the camera and advised buying a new one so I did my part!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wait, no, this is going in the opposite direction of where I want to go...

Around this time, it is not unusual that I take the always lovely Mrs. Sunshine-Salaryman under the arm and travel somewhere warm where we escape from the cold, spending time by the pool or beach with a cold beer, haggling for trinkets or having the natives perform for our amusement (hey, in Hawaii that was expensive though!), but now I found myself in a different situation.

Instead of somewhere warm and laid-back as a tourist, I find myself in work back in the old country facing one of the coldest winters since the dawn of man, reminding me again why I once made a holy wov to never return back to Sweden during winter, and with me I do not have Mrs. Sunshine-Salaryman but instead a somewhat English limited colleague for side-kick. Also I found myself with no other choice than to take a crap in Der Flachspüler at the airport in Vienna on my way there.

Obviously Sweden is completely shocked by the fact that it's winter again and that it's cold and snowy and promtly all means of transportation breaks down and refuses to function. -15 degrees celcius is not favorable to my flimsy salaryman suit. It's ok, I don't need to go anywhere warm, just take me back to the comparative heat in Japan!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Nein! Nein! Nicht der Flachspüler!!!

In one of my greater moments previously, I made an in-depth look at the differences on toilets between Japan and some of the major types of toilets used in Europe (post here).

In the comments section of that, my dear Penguin brought up the German "Flachspüler" toilet, a toilet so completely insanely designed that it's hard to believe it unless you actually have to do your thing in one. As my travels as a Salaryman takes me around the world, I ended up utilizing a bathroom in the airport of Vienna yesterday (or today or what it is, it all kinda blurs together...) and found myself face to face with this monstrosity...

The basic premise of this toilet is that there is basically only a small hole filled with water at the front of the toilet meaning that there is significant splash damage when peeing in it from a standing position; however, the simple remedy to this problem is sitting down. The problem with crapping in one of these is significantly more worriesome... Due to the lack of a larger area filled with water, what comes out of you will end up on the "ledge" of the toilet producing significant stink since the product will not be immersed in water. I took the liberty of illustrating this more clearly for you here;

I do pity the poor Germans and Austrians who have to utilize this misfit of toilets and I really wonder how the sales reps selling this toilet design go about to have their customer chose this instead of a toilet model that actually is user-friendly and makes sense...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Booze, Anpanman and Engrish

As I am soon going back to the old country to do some TCB (Taking Care of Business) and will run into plenty of old friends who have all had offspring in the latest years.

The way to prepare is simple:

Buy plenty of stupid Japanese toys - All with the great Japanese superhero Anpanman

Buy plenty of clothes with stupid Engrish on them for the kids - "Super Bowel Recess, Smile like a shot fox" etc.

Buy plenty of Japanese whiskey and Japanese shouchuu for parents of said kids - Bring way over the 2 liter limit you are allowed to bring

Prepare to rejoice and bask in the thanks you will receive!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I'm not joking, this is a real problem you know!

Recently I have run into a very Japan-specific dilemma... When it comes to mobile phones and mobile e-mails, the Japanese just love the image characters that are called "emoji" (basically advanced animated version of smileys). Since SMS never really are used much in Japan and e-mails are favored instead since the cost is basically the same and less limitations on length and so with the e-mail.

Most Japanese (ok, not all) make pretty extensive use of these emoji when mailing from the phones and I'm not better me either, I find them pretty useful and entertaining for the most time and I have a habit of using them in inappropriate context for my own amusement.

But my problem here is; I do sometimes mail from my mobile phone with my father-in-law, we get along great and he's a very nice man although quite conservative in some aspects. The only emoji that he uses so far is sparingly usage of exclamation marks in red when he want to empasize something...

I almost fall back into my habit of putting in hearts, pigs, penguins and whatnot in the mails back but usually restrain myself in the last minute. What type and what frequency of emoji are acceptable to the in-laws?! This is indeed something to ponder...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Management by Humiliation!

There are a few departments that basically touch on everyone in the company, whichever position you have, the IT department which I have previously discussed is one, and the General Affairs department is another.

General affairs usually handle all administrative stuff going on and even though the stuff that they do might not be too exciting it makes the wheels turn inside the company. I get a long well with the GA dep. most of the time, but on the other hand I don't usually throw them particularly bizarre requests for office supplies, shipping services and stuff like that. Since a few months back, a very ambitious temp staff (one of those disposable employees) joined the department to support the manager. With an enthusiasm I've never previously seen of from a temp staff, he threw himself into the task and proactively started to waddle around the office (a characteristic of this guy is a waddling walk with a permanent smile plastered on his face, with short stature and a bit of overweight it also empasize the waddle) asking people what they need and then setting out to actively support people.This continued for a few months, but it seems like his proactiveness was a bit too much for the manager (possibly procuring things outside his authority as a temp staff and putting in overtime the company wasn’t ready to pay etc.) and now on an almost weekly basis e-mails has been coming out from the temp staff.

The content of the e-mails are usually of the type of "for procurement of supplies, please direct your requests directly to the manager and not me" or "since I no longer have access to the key to the X cabinet, please ask the manager when you need access to the contents in there". After a few weeks of this he basically no longer has any authority above taking copies and that permanent smile has now started to fade.

This is basically the corporate version of the Nazis forcing you to execute your own family to break you down and humiliate you completely before killing you. Management by humiliation, maybe this is the management method of the future?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Getting married in Japan Part 11: The name game

Ok, I know that I promised that I would soon tie up this series and move to the next exciting series called "Buying a house in Japan", but as I looked at my earlier post, I just realized that I should also mention some of the excitement that came in the bureaucracy that we went through at the City Office when registering our wedding.

The whole process went basically fine when we were at the City Office, all the paperwork seemed to be in order and we had decided that Mrs. Sunshine-Salaryman would take my Swedish family name (not the Japanese) as her name. During the time of form filling this went perfectly fine and we met with no objections from the poor clerk working the weekend shift.

When Mrs. Sunshine-Salaryman a few days later went to the City Office to pick up the documentation on the legal registration of the wedding she noticed that they had added both my Japanese and Swedish family name to her, without properly telling her. Obviously she complained and tried to convince them that legally in Sweden it's two separate names and that the primary name was my Swedish family name so it should be perfectly fine that she only got that. This stirred up some considerable confusion in the office and they decided that they needed to call the Swedish Embassy and have them confirm that what Mrs. Sunshine-Salaryman was saying was true.

Quickly thereafter she called me and told me of the situation, and me in turn, worried that they might reach some incompetent temp staff at the embassy who would give them the wrong information, quickly called them up and asked the person in charge to make sure she was the one taking the call and that she would give them the correct information...

In the end, the embassy managed to convince the City Office that our way was completely acceptable they grudgingly agreed to remove the Japanese family name from her records, but it was quite annoying... But in the end, I'm sure that our name problems pale in comparison with what other people has endured; Japan is very poorly equipped to deal with names that don't clearly fit in the Japanese system...

Friday, February 12, 2010

What's in a name?

In Japan names are usually fairly simple; people have one first name and one family name and that's it. Of course, there are degrees of complications in this as well with names that is written with such obscure characters that most Japanese can't read them and difficulties of that degree.

However, my problem is that I have too many names... I have a Swedish first name and family name, and add to that also a Japanese first name and family name and then an extra middle name thrown in there just for good measure. That people can have quite a few names is nothing particularly unusual at least in Sweden, so things go fairly smooth there. But adding to the confusion is that I quickly learned that calling and ordering a pizza in Sweden is much smoother if I use my Swedish name but on the other hand using my Japanese name in Japan when calling for a pizza also usually creates less confusion. Since I work in Japan, I basically use my Japanese family name but this also creates some confusion when I meet people from head office who would have an easier time relating to my Swedish family name.

But the above is just minor practical things that are easily set straight, the real difficulties I run into is that when filling in official forms where "full name" is required, the space is not adapted to the 30+ letters that I need to actually write my full name. This can really create some serious confusion and creative solutions among Japanese officials. Then some forms require the name to be in the Japanese "Katakana" alphabet and not in roman letters, while some forms require the name to be written as "in the passport" which for me of course means roman letters...

Basically everytime I fill in some official forms related to credit cards, banks etc. where consistency is required I run into problems and get forms returned to me with instructions to write my name in a certain way since some clerk had made some creative solution in his/hers files that I am not completely aware of... Usually forms are sent back and forth a few times until someone gets creative and things can get solved...

In work, just for fun to the people I am on friendly basis with, I use my Japanese first name "Takao" when signing e-mails and likewise sometimes people uses that name to me as a joke. One particular time I remember how someone had written "Takao will take care of that" meaning, of course, as we both understood, that I would do it, but a person who wasn't aware of my Japanese name was also cc:ed and replied back to everyone "that's fine but who the hell is Takao?!".

Sometimes I envy the Malaysian exchange student I briefly studied with in Japan who only had one name... Very little room for confusion there!

Hey! Click the picture and read it, it's pretty funny, you have my word!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The power of "Power Harassment"!

One of my neighboring peons in the sales department who I'm having a friendly relationship since earlier who's having a really hard time with her manager came to me for advice on how to deal with the situation. For quite some time she's been suffering from "Power harrassment" as it's commonly called here in Japan.

She asks me for advice on how to deal with the situation and asks for my help to try and intervene, something I might possibly be able to do to some extent. So I gave some advice and promised to do what I could, but the start of the exchange went something like this;

Exhausted Peon: (said with desperation) He keeps having me making these pointless charts and doesn't explain properly what it is he wants and then he takes a look at them late in the evening and makes me do them all over again but they're not used for anything, I'm just so tired now, it's been going on for weeks...

Salaryman: (slightly shocked) That's really bad, I always knew he was an idiot, but not mean like this...

Exhausted Peon: (briefly lights up) Yeah! He's an evil mean idiot!!

(Wikipedia defines power harrassment as:
"Many workers are forced by their superiors to perform tasks outside of their job description and working hours. It is common for workers to be fired or suffer severe repercussions if they do not satisfy their superior's orders, despite there being no justifiable basis for such orders.")

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How to be a Leader with tight deadlines

I get an e-mail forwarded to me, asking me to make a decision on how to deal with issue X as soon as possible since "we do not have much time and need to decide our direction now".

As I scan the e-mail exchange that has been going on before the forward I can see the following exchange:

Peon A mailing Peon B discussing issue X and urging him at the end to "we need to decide soon", Peon B replying back to Peon A, agreeing that there is an issue and emphasize in the end how "we have to act quickly".

Then I see a gap for a little more than a week until the mail was forwarded to me by Peon A with Peon B on cc, apparently they had talked with each other and decided that I should deal with the problem even though it's not really my area. I reply back to them both "I leave it up to you how to deal with it, but remember that time is tight so we cannot delay".
And yeah, it wasn't really urgent...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Getting married in Japan Part 10: The REAL wedding

Please let me start this post with a stunning revelation; all my previous posts about the wedding and the preparations has been blatant lies!

Ok, I admit I just wrote that to shock a bit; we actually did have a wedding ceremony, reception and so as I've laid out in my posts, so it's not a lie in that sense. But the real formal legal wedding actually took place a few months before the ceremony... You see, in Japan there is a complete separation between the legal wedding and any ceremony; the wedding is registered in the city office and if you have any image of this carrying with it some form of ceremony or flair, think again. In Japan, it is a pure bureaucratic form filling exercise.

Me and Ms. Sunshine went on a Saturday to the Itabashi city office to register our wedding. On weekends the "office" consists of a small reception behind a heavy metal door in a gray corridor. Looking very much like a small janitor office than anything else. The person manning the desk also doesn't seem particularly excited about being there working on a weekend and is even less excited when people show up and he actually has to do any work. Ok, to be fair, the guy was nice enough but the utter lack of enthusiasm for his work kinda oozed out of him.

So, we filled in a few forms, the gray dude pointed to where and what we should fill in, looked over the papers and finally at the end he said, very unenthusiastically "congratulations" and reluctantly agreed to take a picture of us in the gray corridor holding up the document.

The formal wedding reception was held with only me and Mrs. Sunshine-Salaryman in attendance sharing a small bottle of champagne and some cheese standing outside the office in the subway entrance since it was raining a bit outside. No speeches were held and no relatives sang for us at that day... The picture is an actual picture of the corridor where we legally tied the knot.

We did have a small debate later on which date to celebrate as our real wedding anniversary but we both pretty quickly agreed that compared to the wedding ceremony and reception with family and friends, the form filling exercise in the gray corridor paled in comparison... I know some people make quite an effort to have both the legal wedding registration and the ceremony at the same date but we didn't really want to have to stress with that running around the place.
With this, this exciting series is now drawing to an end, the next post will be some closing thoughts on how everything went, but if anyone has any questions or stuff they want me to mention feel free to leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer that.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I'm in!

Recently I participated in the wedding party of an old friend who had snagged a French husband, now this is nothing particularly exciting in itself, but this carries with it benefits that I didn't expect at the start...

The guy turned out to be a researcher at the "Large Hadron Collider" project with the official purpose of "It will revolutionise our understanding, from the minuscule world deep within atoms to the vastness of the Universe". Of course, I believe it is common knowledge that the REAL purpose of the project is to bring about the end of the universe by creating one or several black holes. But now I have a contact on the inside and at least have a fringe connection to the conspiracy. I expect them to give me a call a few minutes before the end of the universe so I can hide in the basement and I might even give you all a quick heads up here on the blog so you also can go and hide!

On the positive side; one of the first countries to go would be France!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hey, if they're gonna endorse me, I have to endorse them!

I recently discovered that the website and virtual magazine at had included my blog in their "Top Ten Blogs on Japan" motivating it with:

"The Adventures of a Foreign Salaryman in Tokyo
There's a real "Stressed Eric" vibe about this regularly updated life-tale of a genuine gaijin salaryman in Tokyo. That and the frequently bizarre imagery make for compelling viewing."

Ok, I don't know anything about the site really, just found out through finding the link and quite a few people coming in from that. But since they seem to show considerable judgement and good sense they might be worth checking out, I mean, they seem to be very reasonable people.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Are we sleepy yet?

The other day I was out visiting a customer together with one of our sales reps. The hospital in question had purchased one of our products and the company had been asked to train two of the nurses to operate the software management tool that came with it. I was participating more to observe what the customers reactions and see what the potential feedback is. Despite my jovial nature the young rep I travel with seemed a bit pressured and nervous with my presence, somehow believing that I was there to judge his performance and report to his boss if he did anything wrong (hey, generally I get along great with the reps, but first time to have me along for this guy).

As we sat down across the two nurses (actually both male if anyone is keeping notes) and the rep gave them the hand-outs and started to explain the software and operation to them.

After about five minutes into it both the nurses had closed their eyes and seemed to drift away, for a while they momentarily woke up when the rep asked them to turn the page; they turned the page and then again drifted away.

Ten minutes into the presentation they were harder to reach and no longer turned the page when instructed to, at one point one of them dropped the hand-out, momentarily woke up looking confused, but the rep handed him the hand-out, flipped to the correct page and the nurse again closed his eyes and went away. The rep soldiered on, didn't budge and kept talking and explaining to his semi-sleeping audience, I admit that he wasn't doing it particularly passionate, but the topic was quite sleep-inducing.

Fifteen minutes in, one of them had started to softly snore, I hinted to the rep that maybe it would be best to move to the practical exercises a bit earlier. The rep, also realizing the futility to keep talking, semi-slammed the documents on the table and in a both loud and mild voice (I was impressed) said "Let’s try this practically now, shall we?". Both nurses stirred to life and walked over to the computer at the nurse station like everything was perfectly normal.

...Japan must have the highest sleep deprived population per capita in the world...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Makes you think about stuff, huh?

Ok, let me show you a bit of a glimpse behind the scenes of this blog. Like most people who use a blog I have a statistical analysis tool that helps me see how many visitors, where they come from etc. One of my favorite features is how it shows me which route people have slipped into my blog. Sometimes it shows me how some new nice person has started to link me, and it also shows the keywords that has led people to the blog through an Internet search... In case you're curious, I use statcounter, there might be much better and more sophisticated out there, but this is the one I'm used to.

Here you can see the actual search results of the last few days that led people to the blog (click to see it larger), as you can see it's pretty spread out, but I have a new favorite, the one in the bottom that I have highlighted in red...
"Cross dressing alley whores"
Kinda makes me think, what kind of clientel does this blog really attract? Am I doing something seriously wrong or am I doing it just right?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Reconciling the impossible...

I have mentioned Captain Awkward several times here, but he is simply, without doubt one of my favorite characters in the company. He's getting close to sixty and the official retirement age here in Japan now and is a nice guy but a quite typical Japanese mild-comb-over salaryman close to the end of the career (of course having stayed all the time in one company). I have known him for quite a few years now and would like to think that we have a pretty good relationship, we are very different in terms of background, age and so but respect each other. But we very rarely small talk or socialize outside of work related stuff.

The other day he came around my seat and stopped behind me, standing still for a few seconds. I felt the awkwardness radiate around my area and turned around. He stood there for a while, slurping his tea (yes, he's one of those people who slurp any hot drink) and then very mildly asks "Salaryman, have you seen Avatar?". I am completely thrown off balance by the sudden question and answer back "No, have you?". For a moment he smiles to himself and seem to space out a bit before he answers "Yes, several times". In my mind the image of the movie "Avatar" and the comb-over "ossan" (old geezer in Japanese, but I mean it slightly affectionately) fervently tries to reconcile and I can only squeeze out "I don’t really see you as the type who would enjoy that type of movie...?". Again he smiles and says "the 3D was really amazing, I also really liked Terminator, the 2nd one was really cool with the special effects". Then he walks away, slurping his tea...

I am left alone feeling both slightly honored that he shared this with me, but also slightly awkward at the abrupt end of the conversation and still trying to reconcile the movies with my colleague...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hey! WALK the dog!

Over the recent posts, Ive been mentioning a few pretty abhorring products made in Japan (cockroach porn anyone?) but there is one horrible product that I have been seeing with increasing frequency that I find annoying, offensive and counter-productive, quite frankly, the worst of what Japan has to offer; the "Dog-Carriage"...

The dog-carriage is, as the name implies, a carriage for dogs, similar in form and function to the baby carriage. But where the baby carriage is made to transport infants and small children who are way too small and young to be fully mobile on their own, the dog carriage is designed to transport fully grown dogs of the smaller sizes. However, not only are these dogs completely mobile on their own, they also benefit from the exercise that running and walking around gives them and does not particularly want to be rolled around in a carriage when they can walk on their own little legs.

It has happened that I have met one of these dog carriages on smaller streets and mistaking it for a baby carriage; I get in a benevolent state of mind and try to make it convenient for the carriage to pass... Then I notice that there's no baby inside, usually there are a few happy dogs there who are basically climbing the sides, eager to get out and walk but being pushed around instead for some odd reason.

It’s a completely unnecessary product without any practical need whatsoever and if anything, it is counter-productive against the little pests... I have not seen this in any other country than Japan but feel a bit confused; is this type of products ever used outside Japan?!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Who do you think you are, what gives you the right to judge me like that?!

As you can see in the picture, even the garbage cans here in Japan are getting uppity and judgemental to you, as seen in a local department store...

Maybe that garbage can shouldn't be judging other people so blatantly like that and instead take a long hard look at it's own life and what it has achieved?!

Some garbage cans just seem to think that they're so much better than everyone else...
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