Children’s Clothing (Warning – Offensive)

                                                       I don't know who owns this. If it's you, kudos.


Personally, I find the Japanese version of English, commonly known as Engrish,  to be either horrifying or hilarious, often both.  Mostly it’s just “l” and “r” switches (Japanese people generally can’t hear the difference) or totally made up words and phrases. “Make happy fun time! Let’s bowling!!” Sometimes, it’s something really offensive. And  now and then, it’s printed on clothing worn by children.


Today in work I hit the Engrish jackpot not once, but twice. 


A six-year-old boy wearing a t-shirt that had “BASTARD” printed in 4-inch letters five times. Once on the front, twice on the back and one on each arm. 


An eight-year-old girl wearing a sweater with “SO HOT LIGHT NOW” taking up the entire front panel. 


Sometimes work is awesome.

For more laughs at babelfish’s expense, check out


Ways In Which Japan Has Changed Me


1. When people say that they’ve been to a part of Japan I’ve heard of, I ask if they ate the local delicacy. If I haven’t heard of it, I ask what the local delicacy is. If I’ve actually been there, we reminisce about how delicious the local delicacy was. 


2. I no longer think it’s all that weird that kids here go to school from 8 til 4. Or even that they have to go to compulsory club activities after school most days. I do still find the going into school to play baseball from 7.30am to 5pm on a national holiday weird. There are no classes! No teachers (except the coaches) are there! It’s a national holiday!


3. When talking to superiors (my boss, her husband or people who I want to do something for me) I adopt a weirdly soft, high-pitched voice. I’ve developed hands that flap about in a girly way. When the squealing starts, I know it’s time to leave.


4. I no longer believe in boy-girl platonic friendships. With the kids, all male-female communication breaks down at approximately age 11. It doesn’t resume. At least not while they’re still in school. My friend 2 towns over has a male friend who lives way up in Hokkaido. They sometimes visit each other. I just cannot believe that there isn’t something going on, despite the fact that there has been no evidence whatsoever that there is, in fact, something going on. 


5. I now consider rice with sprinkles on it to be a whole meal. My preferred sprinkle variety is seaweed and sour plum.


6. I love to talk about the weather. I even have a song about it. It goes “How’s the weather? It’s co-old! How’s the weather? It’s co-old! It’s co-old, it’s co-old today!” If you want to purchase the CD version just send an email to

Stupid WordPress

It has come to my attention that there are no gaps between paragraphs in all the posts I transferred from blogger.

No matter what I do, no matter how much editing I try, it just won’t stay fixed. If anyone has any idea what to do – please help!

Original Obama Material

Some Einstein has remixed the audiobook version of “Dreams From My Father” by our friend Barack with techno beats. 


Slightly offensive, totally delightful.



People are actually reading this blog! I can’t believe it! 


WordPress have an integrated stats function so I can see that NINE people viewed my blog today. Who are you? I’m so curious! Please comment!



Buying a Car and the Other Side of Immigration




I think I may have found a car. After spending hours on’s auto site, struggling with google translate’s brattiness, a thought floated into my head – try gaijinpot. Gaijinpot is a website for foreigners in Japan. It has a load of advice on how to do things, plus classifieds and message boards. The message boards can be handy sometimes but they’re populated by people who have been here for years and years, on the message boards since the internet started and often, not that friendly to newbies. 


But anyway. I had a look and I found a Toyota Spacio. In my prefecture. For $1400. I called the guy, a Brazilian with good English, and (miracle of miracles) he lives in a suburb on the other side of local Big City. About 30 minutes away on the expressway. Perfect.


Obviously it took me over an hour to find this guy’s house. By the time I arrived I was 20 minutes late (horror!) I took a look at the car, checked for major signs that it hadn’t been crashed and went for a test drive. The thing has satnav. Which is also a TV! It’s freaking perfect. I drove around for around half an hour, pushing it up to the speed limit. 


When I got back to his house he invited me in while he looked for the rest of the documents. I was a little hesitant until his Japanese wife came out with their four year old son. I went in and waited while he looked for the registration forms. Their apartment was tiny. Probably half the size of mine, and a family lives in it. It turns out that he lost his job working in the car factories here and they have to go back to Brazil. Their son was adorable – hyperactive and sweet at the same time, chewing on a piece of buttered bread. The parents looked exhausted. The tiny apartment was neat and clean. He found the forms, and asked me if there was anything else I would like to buy. The aircon unit? The fridge? The oven? Their printer? I felt so spoiled. I almost wanted to buy the stuff just to give them the money. I do kind of need an oven. But on the other hand I don’t want them to have no fridge or oven! 


Anyway, I agreed to buy the car. I’m meeting him at the registration office on either Monday or Wednesday to do all the documents. 


Possibly the saddest part is that the guy bought the car, paid to register it and then never drove it because he didn’t have time to get a Japanese license because he was working all the time. The mileage is within a few kilometres of what it was at the time of registration eight months ago. I know that’s not really the saddest part. It’s the fact that they have to leave the country they’ve made a home in and go to a country with presumably worse prospects. It’s the Japanese wife having to leave her home and go to a brand new country. It’s the crappy crappy economy. 


And then there’s me. My only skill is that I speak English. It can’t even be considered a skill – I was born into it. Yet I’ve been welcomed here with open arms and paid more to work part-time than this guy gets paid working shift in a car factory. The world is so unfair.

Sanity/The Wire



Tonight I finally finished watching The Wire. I had been stringing it out over the last six months, hoping to make five seasons last as long as humanly possible. I guess six months is the limit. 


The Wire is quite simply the greatest show I’ve even watched. It’s awesome. I was a Sopranos evangelist for years and people always told me to get onto The Wire.  I dragged my heels, thinking I’d be disappointed, and anyway I was so busy with Dexter and Heroes and the last season of Sopranos that I didn’t start watching it til August. 


I wasn’t disappointed. From the second or third episode I was totally hooked. There are a couple of dud story lines (the port guys anyone?) but overall it’s just stunning. Omar is possibly the best character ever created. I felt a real sense of loss when the last episode ended. 


Now I have to find the two prequels! And a new show to become obsessed with… 


Any ideas?