31 May, 2006

What day is today? 5/31

May 31
General Post Office establishment anniversary
General Administrative Agency of the Cabinet est. anniversary

30 May, 2006

What day is today? 5/30

May 30 NO TRASH Day
GOMIZERO-no-hi, Environment Beautification Day
Another word play "GO(5)-MI(3)-ZERO(0)"

29 May, 2006

What day is today? 5/29

May 29 Mercery Day
From the word play "GO(5)-FU(2)-KU(9)"

26 May, 2006

Lady's Fashion Magazine vol.2

Since today's not my birthday anymore I'll continue with lady's fashion in Japan.

SO, JJ. Like CanCam had a special gift (or a booklet) attached, JJ had one too. The title of the attached booklet was "THE BOOK! Get to know everything about celebs overseas!" hmmm... well the title says everything I guess. Come to think of it, yesterday I saw some young worker sticking her face into the same book on the train on my way back from work.

The reason this booklet featured on overseas celebs is probably because celebs like Holiwood people are really popular in Japan not only because they're big people but also because they're fashionable people. This book had Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Beyonce and others. They're all rich people right? Even though the readers of the magazine are not exactly rich like them, their styles are something girls admire a lot these days.

As for the main magazine itself, the concept for this month's issue says "simpretty." It's a combined word of simple and pretty and I assume that's the concept. Be pretty with simple stuff, huh? Specifically, you dress yourself with simple and basic items and add a hint of pretty stuff like accessory or something.

The other section, just like CanCam, was on "mote" and this one said "the faces guys want to have as girlfriends". Well...

So okay, maybe I'll pick up on the crazy craze "mote" that guys and girls are all crazy about. Until that time, I'm just going to take some rest from this blog, a couple of weeks I think, introducing to you some Japanese "days". Japan Mode will be updated regularly.

25 May, 2006

The Day I was Born

Today was, or is, my birthday. Last night my good friends threw me a birthday party and kindly celebrated the day I was born.

Friendship is a lifelong treasure, isn't it? I really really appreciated their kindness.

My mom gave me an e-mail today. It said, "My tiny little boy is now.... Time really flies" and I was deeply moved by this line. To my parents, I believe all these years must have been an instant. They must have a lot of memories in their minds from when I was little, when I was cute.

Years and years back when I was a tiny kid, I was of course immature in many ways and when I try to remember the ways of thinking and feelings back then, I can't really do it cuz the memory and emotions can't find a good balance. But my parents then were great big adults as they are now, so I guess they can find their balance between memories and emotions.

There's a saying in Japan, "There are no parents when you want to be dutiful to them." It means that only after you've become a parent you get to know the feelings and hardships of having and raising children which make you realize the appreciation for your own parents. By that time, though, your parents are not in this world (well you know, people didn't live long when the saying was made), so it means that you'd better be appreciative and dutiful to your parents from when you're young.

I'm here because my parents gave birth to me, and I can appreciate this very special birthday only because my parents gave birth to me.

I believe that I had been loved by my parents all the time and I believe I'm still being loved very much.
For this reason I would like to remember this appreciation forever and had I become a parent one day, pass on this love to my own children.

I was going to write about fashion stuff, but I was getting really emotional, so this is it for today.

24 May, 2006

Lady's Fashion Magazine

My ego theory for the past few days are over for now so I'll go easy today :-)

Yesterday was the release day for dozens of monthly lady's fashion magazine. Since my dear Japan Mode handles Japanese fashion, regular checks in fashion magazines are a MUST.

The two I had a look in today are CanCam and JJ, and they both are absolute magazines for teens to twenties fashionable ladies.

CanCam boasts a 625,000 monthly circulation and is geared towards 18 to 23-years-old ladies. It is said to be the most popular, most sold fashion magazine in Japan while the actual readership is from 15yrs old to 33. The publisher says that the magazine focuses especially around college students and fresh working ladies (like in their 2nd or 3rd year of office) who are ambitious and curious, and most importantly keen on the latest fashion.

JJ on the other hand has a smaller circulation which is 435,000/ month and focuses on a wider audience from 18 to 32-years-old. It is second to CanCam in the fashion magazine market in terms of popularity. The target audience is also female college students and working ladies in their twenties just like CanCam, but besides featuring the latest trends in gears, it takes a look on particular brands from a "conservative" point of view and also provides the newest information on overseas travel and shopping. Publishing articles on beauty like cosmetics and hair make-up is another characteristic of JJ.

Although I say they're (and not to forget that they claim to be) different from each other, the lines are rather similar and both are supported by a wide range of women, so I'd say browsing through these magazines is the quickest way to understand the cutting-edge lady's fashion.

At the moment, three fashion models from CanCam --- Yu Yamada, Yuri Ebihara and Moe Oshikiri --- reign over the fashion world as charismatic figures. Among all, Ebihara boasts great popularity across Japan and is called by the nickname of "Ebi-chan" from a range of people. The newest edition of CanCam even had an attached little booklet featuring Ebi-chan and her style exclusively.
Going back to the trends, both magazines had special features on yukata, a summer kimono which is more commonly worn than usual kimono, plus swimwear and resort fashion, since summer is just around the corner.

Basically all styles and items emphasize the recent trend of "mote". The term derived from the two first syllables of the proper Japanese verb "motehayasareru" (passive) which literally means "to be valued/ lionized" thus meaning "to be popular among opposite sex". It's not too much to say that this "mote" is the most important keyword in Japanese youth today. So "mote" in fashion is how much popular you are among opposite sex, and the special features of CanCam this month unexceptionally put "The REAL dates guys like" as the topic title.

Hmm, CanCam unexpectedly took a lot of space today. I guess I'll leave JJ and the details of "mote" for later.

23 May, 2006

Japanese Society and the "oyakusoku" vol.4

Last time was about mixi and I ended with the question, "what can oyakusoku bring to Japanese but pain?"

If I tell you only about the mixi-kind of oyakusoku, then it sounds so cruel that Japanese have to live with this for a lifetime, but that's not exactly how it is in reality. Japanese in fact do like this oyakusoku, a lot.

For example, there is this TV show called "Waratte iitomo". It's almost a historical talk show (lol, jk) being around for more than 20 years (this part is true), and the show invites different guests everyday. Like one day this actor A comes to studio, and then at the end of the guest talk A is asked to introduce a friend by phone. And then the audience gets to know who's going to be the guest for the following day. Well the oyakusoku comes at the moment A tries to call his friend (=the next guest) with the audience's huge booing of "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh...*sigh*" (note: read this with the "e" as in "pen", not as in "be").
What it means is that introducing the next guest automatically means the end of talk show for guest A, and because A won't be in the rest of the show the booing is supposed to mean sadness of letting A go. This has rooted like a ritual, so even if you don't know the guest or the talk wasn't that interesting, you have to say it if you're part of the audience. oyakusoku is a manner.

If I make it a bit exaggerated yet simple, Japanese use a variety of oyakusoku to make communication easier. By knowing the oyakusoku there'll emerge a sense of commonness and unity, which leads to the excitement of being the same with everybody (I know being the same with everybody isn't that welcome in other parts of the world).

If I were one of those audience, even though I'm rather on the cynical side of oyakusoku here, I'd probably shout out the oyakusoku "Eeeeeh!" with glee and with a wierd half-grin. Why not? Looks like fun.

But what if I had to be there everyday and keep on doing the oyakusoku booing everyday? Then it's going to be a pain like in the mixi case.

Oyakusoku enforces you to do something. And of course, that act can become troublesome.

But it's the common sense for all the Japanese people, and by acting on it we reaffirm the common sense just like animals sniffing at each other.
From a non-Japanese's point of view who more likely does not recognize that common sense (it's natural if you grow up in a different environment, right?), the oyakusoku act appears to be something only Japanese can get excited with and thus equal the idea "Japan is a closed society."

If you truly want to melt into Japanese society, try to get on the flow. But I'd tell you, even if you know oyakusoku maybe the shortest shortcut to understanding Japanese, I assume it won't be easy and will take a lot of patience.

22 May, 2006

Spending Weekends

Well I'm not really finished with the Japanese "oyakusoku" thing but I don't feel like writing about it now so I'll just write a plain diary.

Although I rigidly stick to daily updates on Japan Mode, I still take the weekend off. This past weekend we had fairly nice weather. Saturday we had a gorgeous weather for most of the day... the highs were up to something like 28C and it was so sunny and nice, but in the late afternoon the sky suddenly turned greenish yellowish grey and then we had pouring rain, but then it stopped and I could see a beautiful rainbow. We say autumn weather is vagary, but I'd say May weather can be as vagary.

My colleagues came over to my house Friday night and naturally we were up all night, so I slept through all these weather changes without being annoyed at all. I slept really tight and comfortably...I believe it's one of the universal happinesses, right, to sleep without worries?

Yesterday an old friend of mine called me up and so we were in Shinjuku for a while. When I go out with that particular friend, the routine is always the same. First we go into one of the huge electronics store and talk about our dream computers and appliances. Then we move on to this hobby shop and look at the games and toys, then to this apparel department store called Marui Men --- all we do here is to jeer at how expensive they are ---, stop by at a bookstore, and go for dinner. Most likely this pattern, and yesterday was no exception :-)

The following weekend I'd probably head to Shibuya or Shimokitazawa alone walking among second-hand clothing (hey they're extremely popular here) with only the images of "wicked expensive" clothes I saw in Marui Men.

19 May, 2006

Japanese Society and the "oyakusoku" vol.3

It's the tacit mixi rule that only the members know. In other words, there is an "oyakusoku" here like anywhere else. And this oyakusoku is HEAVY.

*The tacit rules in mixi aka mixi's oyakusoku*

1) You have to browse through all your registered friends' diaries and regularly leave comments:
Make sure you read through your friends' diaries everyday. After you finish reading, don't forget to
leave comments. Your footprints remain as proof you have visited. Don't sadden your friends by
not reading their diaries or not leaving comments even if you read them.

2) If you see a comment on your diary, you must make a response:
When somebody kindly left a comment, don't forget to write back. Your last login time is marked
so if you don't write back even if you've logged in, your friends will get worried or feel lonely.

3) You have to be friends with your friend's friend:
Your friend's friends are your friends. No matter how rude they are to you, never treat them with rude
attitude thinking you just can't get along with them. If you misbehave, you will bring shame on your
friend. Be friendly with everyone.

4) Never ignore any diaries even if the content is boring.
If your friend writes one day that she "wants to die", calm her with kind words. If another friend writes
his original poem, give him great compliments like "Wow!" and "That was really moving." Diaries filled
with answers to questions somebody else has asked, or those with dozens of "My Favorite --- " might
not interest you at all but try to give some comment with all your brain. Importantly enough, say
congrats to the 'web traffic diary' which is announced everytime the access marks hundred.

I'm not surprised if many of you are like, WHAT THE HELL!????? and I'm like that.

Sadly or not, this is Japanese. In an environment where your true self is known to others, you have to wear a nice-person mask even if you have to sacrifice yourself doing so. Of course, not all Japanese are like that but I wouldn't be surprised if this is the majority.

Well, a little exaggerated, but as you continue mixi, this oyakusoku silently starts to kill you like poison. Cozy relations can turn into heavy burdens if they become obligatory. The company mixi did not set these rules so the company is not responsible for the problem, but because the responsiblity is not of a single entity there is no concrete solution. Additionally when real human relationships come into this the troublesomeness doubles up.

This is one case of not being able to enjoy the true purpose of mixi which is casual communication and making new friends, because of the power of oyakusoku restriction.

Well then, what does oyakusoku bring to Japanese that is not torture?

I'll think about it and write about it some time again. If you have any comments regarding my blog or this topic just throw them to me.

BTW the newest chapter of ChamaTama is up. Come see it at Japan Mode.

18 May, 2006

Japanese Society and the "oyakusoku" vol.2

So for the first volume (and this isn't exactly sounding like a blog anymore) I unfolded my opinion that Japanese separate the use of tatemae and honne, and expose the honne in the online world. This time I'll write about the recent Japanese boom, mixi, a social networking system.

I believe SNS was born in the States so a lot of you know more about it than me, and I guess many of you might be members of some kind of SNS like orkut.com or friendster.com.

The way SNS is different from other forums and chats is that it encourages members to show their "real profile" in order to create a trustable online business network. In Japan, the system spread not so much as a place to seek and develop business opportunities as much as a communication place to interact with your friends in the "real" society and friends of friends.

Most of the members expose their real profile - names and faces - while the rule does not state real profile as a must. If you join the ring, you'll find many people using their face photos instead of drawn avatar.

I think the reason behind this is quite simple. Either because mixi is a closed society where you can't join unless someone gives you an invitation and so you can safely show your real face, or, because it's such a small community where only your already-friends can see your page makes no sense to hide your face.

Herewith, mixi made a huge success as an extensive communication place with your friends.

Nonetheless, the popularity is showing a gradual decrease recently, with traffic going down and being unable to persuade an increasing number of quitters.

One can easily see it as a stable phase after a peak, but the reality sounds graver.

So what's really going on?

Analysts from outside make perfunctory supposition that the rising popularity of YouTube might be one reason or that the change in the mixi format affected its popularity, but the insiders' view is totally different. What they say is this:


Not just a few are, but many are. Next time let me explain what about Japan's first community entertainment social network is so exhausting.

17 May, 2006

Maybe a Break

I was thinking of writing the rest of yesterday, but I've had a load of work to finish up today including "Manga in Japan Today" and some other website work, so I think I'll take a little break here.

I was telling you how much the weather sucks these days, and I'm really sad to say that the weather will continue to be as bad or even worse towards the end of this week. The weather forecast says the first typhoon this season is approaching us.

Typhoons usually come across Japan the most in September, and so it doesn't happen often that it comes in May. They do emerge in the southern oceans but rarely come as north as Japan cuz they just die out before they reach us, but they say that this one is quite strong gainig more strength picking up clouds from the seasonal rain front.

The weather is so bad these days that I can't go out for photographs to use for Japan Mode. It's just too unfortunate that a typhoon is coming cuz this weekend we have Sanja-Matsuri, this huge traditional summer festival in Tokyo. Well, don't want a break there...

16 May, 2006

Japanese Society and the "oyakusoku"

oyakusoku - how many of you know this word? It's not a mere yakusoku, it's an oyakusoku.
It means "a tacit understanding", and what it presicely means is the patterns of cause and effect.
For example, let's say there's a banana peel left right there in a comedy show. The actor in this show, with barely any exception, will "accidentally" step on this peel and slip. Or say, a grade-conscious mother in a TV drama most likely wears a sharp, pointy pair of glasses. I don't know about the banana peel situation or the education mama situation, but I'm pretty sure there are many many kinds of these "oyakusoku" around the world, and there must be a fit phrase in each language to describe this kind of situation.
There are so many oyakusoku and in some cases, people intentionally betray this oyakusoku to impress the audience.

Anyway, why I got into writing about this is because I have heard so many times here and there that "Japan is a very closed country." and I'd like to take some time to reconsider this preconception.

To tell you my conclusion first, yeah I'd have to agree that Japan is closed somewhat.

But I don't think it necessarily means that Japanese is bad in nature, and I even think that this closedness is what makes Japan Japan.

In Japanese culture and language there are these two concepts "honne" and "tatemae". The former is the true feeling / thought and the latter, public face. "Well I actually think A, but I don't want to break the harmony here so I think I'll just say B." In another word, if the consequences are going to be smoother for all, let's just give in to the social oyakusoku.
In a way I guess this can be explained as a Japanese survival skill to live in a small country where you have to live just a few inches away from your nextdoor neighbor and you don't want to cause any disputes.

This way of thinking is now causing some controversies in the online world these days among Japanese net users. To react in a way not to break the harmony, we describe this as "to read the air (=atmosphere).

Say, you're new to this popular blog or a forum and forget the fact you're a newbie and try to join communication rings of regulars by throwing in flabbergasting comments as if you've been here all the time. Most definitely someone would shout at you to read the air, and the surprised newbie will either stop saying anything or snap at the warner and start an endless quarrel. No one really starts reading the air.

This is most likely to be a phenomenon unique to the faceless and nameless world of Internet.

I realize these days as I write this blog, that non-Japanese people tend to have more real faces on the Internet as compared to Japanese. Not as many Japanese display their real names or have their face pictures on their profiles. What I came to think of is that maybe b/c Japanese people are more brought up to distinguish honne and tatemae in the offline society, the online world is the only place where they (or we) can blurt out our real feelings without risking to be tracked down who said this or that.

Having said so, I don't have my face out neither here nor Japan Mode. It's only because I don't think there's the necessety to do so. But some other people even put mosaics on their personal travel pictures they put up on their private blogs.

Of course, a whole lot of them are conscious about privacy and net crimes, but why then, do more non-Japanese expose their profiles than Japanese? Hmm.

Maybe some of you know about this: there's a new kind of mega net business in Japan called "mixi" and this is an online social network that boasts a huuuge number of members. This gives another kind of description to what I wrote above.

Gotten way too long... I'll try writing about the relationship b/w mixi and oyakusoku next time.

15 May, 2006

On Mother's Day

Yesterday, the second Sunday of May was Mother's Day in Japan like any other place in the world. I heard that the tradition originates in the States and so I understand very well that it's not something unique to Japan like most of the stuff I usually write here.

When I went into a small neighborhood goodies store, I found a little kid carefully looking at the dolls collection as to examine which one looked the best. The ultra-serious look on the kid's face was adoring. The kid must've been looking for the perfect gift for the happy lucky mama.

Come to think of it, ever since I left home years ago I don't think I've ever actually seen my own mom on mother's day. There were some years when I sent her gifts, but most of the times I think all I did was to either call her or give her an e-mail updating her with my current events and giving her a message of appreciation.

In my case, my younger brother decided to stay home with my parents so I'm not too worried about them now, but sometimes I worry their health conditions and all that cuz both of them own businesses.
But I can tell that they always care about me so much more than I worry about them, and it makes me feel like the care of the children to their parents is incomparable to the love of the parents to their children.

In the end, before I could decide what to send my mom as a gift, my mom sent me a box of vegitable juice (in case you didn't know, veggie juice is quite common in Japan) despite it's mother's day. For a moment I wondered why, but then I soon realized that the other day I talked to her over the phone that I haven't really cooked myself anything and have been eating out most of the time cuz I'm so busy.
I must say I felt ashamed, but at the same time appreciated her from the bottom of my heart. No one can beat my mom!

Not that I want to do something in return, but my mom's birthday is coming up next month so if you have any good ideas give me a holler :-)

12 May, 2006

Prelude to the Fifth Season

It's been cloudy and rainy for days now in Tokyo. Makes me really gloomy. I see a streak of sunshine for a moment when I'm stuck in office, and when I excitedly set one step outside for lunch (see May 9) it start's raining. Boohoo.

Japan is in many cases referred to as a country of four seasons, but I believe that's not an elaborate enough description. Aside from the fact that Japan is not the only country in the world that has four seasons, I actually think that she has a fifth season which is the damn rainy season.
Right before the worldwide famous humid summer begins in about late July, there is this most miserable one month of non-stop rain to come every year with no exceptions.
This makes it sound like wet-season or monsoon which tropical countries experience, but the difference is that the rainy season here doesn't bring strong rain. It rains softly all day with only occassional strong rain. To make put it short, it never clears.

This is most definitely the worst time of year when I can get gloomy and cranky about a lot of stuff - it's wet it's humid it's dark and it brings a lot of mold here and there.

The Met Office hasn't announced that we've actually entered the rainy season (btw it's tsuyu in Japanese) so I guess it's not the season yet - we usually go through it during June and July - and besides I don't feel like it is anyway, but because the sun has been gone most of the time and because the temperature is so low, I can barely believe it was spring until a couple of weeks ago.

So shall I call this the prelude to tsuyu then?

Well this morning it was cloudy but at this moment (15:37) I can see a bit of hazy blue sky and sense a hint of warm sun. I have a huge window in front of my desk (yes I sit facing the window with my back on all the other fellow workers) and I like to gaze outside of the window... only if I had better things to see than icy concrete buildings.

Ohhh, I just checked the weather forecast on the Internet and to my GREAT disappointment it's going to rain tomorrow and the day after and pretty much everyday next week. This is truly depressing. Break in the clouds is just a random break and it soon gets covered I see.

Geez, I suppose all I can do this weekend is to stay home or get soaked. What's a good way of enjoying rain???

11 May, 2006

Breakfast at School

Some elementary and secondary schools in Japan apparantly started this new "service" to provide their students breakfast in school. The education board discovered that a good portion of the students come to school without having breakfast before they leave their houses, and are facing difficulties such as lack of concentration and mal-nutrition.

Although they say "breakfast" it's not a full meal and what they serve are milk, cheese and perhaps some crackers (I'm not sure about the cracker part :P) but this is for sure the very first attempt of the kind in Japan.

Sounds like a good service at a glance, but think it the other way, it means that their families are kind of lacking ability to properly feed their kids, right? I understand that teenagers are hard to handle especially for parents cuz a lot of teenagers don't want to be told this and that by their parents around that age. Well I think it's a good attempt, but isn't this like putting the cart before the horse?

The school says that by raising the issue in a more tangible form and trying to improve the concentration etc problems of the students, they want the students' families to realize the problem and work together to make things better, but is it only me who think that some parents might depend on the school more?

Who raises the kids? Parents or schools?
Even if they provide breakfast at school, it's not as good as providing them love I think (not to say that schools don't have love for their students, and not to say that the parents don't always love their kids).

Don't take this wrong! I just want to say how much I realize it's love that raises children.

Huh me? I'd love it if my office provided me with breakfast :)

10 May, 2006


Big news! Little news? We have opened a webshop on Japan Mode today!
I think a lot of you know about it, it's an on-demand online shop (drop shipping) style and I hear it's really popular in the States. You can get your original graphics and designs on T-shirts and mugs and bumper stickers and things like that. Isn't it awesome?

So what we're going to start with is first of all, kanji (yeah right, sooo typical :P) stuff, and then we have our webmanga ChamaTama's goodies.

It really feels like you own a real shop (well it is real) and it's really fun doing this. You design and you upload the image and then you get to see what it's like to have your own designs made into a product... it's damn exciting! But I dunno if it's only my computer problem or if it's because the site receives so many access or what, it's really heavy. It took quite a bit of time and patience to open my dear shop.

It's ok though, doesn't feel that bad after seeing my stuff lined up on my shop site :-)

Well the number of products and designs are rather poor at the moment, but I really want to get serious with this and create fresh & good stuff!! Come have a look!

09 May, 2006

New Food

I'm into school cafeteria these days. Can't wait to go out for lunch everyday.
Of course I'm not a student anymore, but still :-)

There's a cram school close to my office and its cafeteria is open to the public as well to the cram students, so if you go there you can see a variety of people like businessmen and students from other nearby schools.

You can't really expect to get great food at such place but it's ridiculously cheap. A whole lunch set costs only 390 yen and that's incomparable man, I mean, if you go out to other eatouts and have the same volume of food it just can't be any cheaper.
Moreover, the daily menu changes everyday (duh, it's "daily") so I don't have to take time making my choice everyday going like "hmm, what shall I have today". This helps A LOT you know, cuz choosing can only be fun when you don't have to do it everyday.
Plus, most of the population eating there are students of some kind so the whole place is rather young and energetic. Quite fun. You don't get to eat at such place so often once you're in a company... well at least here in Japan, so I'm liking this cafeteria pretty good.

I once heard that the Google office in the States have top chefs standing by to serve you the best food they can cook and of course dessert, too, for FREE. Can you believe that? Can't tell you how jealous I am! Would there be a day when the company I work for becomes like that? Hmmm.

Nothing better to think of I guess. Today was just another chilly May day.

08 May, 2006

Back to Reality

My sweet vacation starting last Wednesday had sadly ended yesterday...
I know many many many of you understand this hollow and tired feeling that a vacation, no matter how long it may be, is short after it's all over :(

So this petit vacation of mine was 5 days long and I spent most of it sitting inside my cozy house. Well my friend was going to drive a few hundred miles all the way to Tokyo but I guess he had a schedule conflict and had to cancel the trip, so for me who was so prepared to go out with my friend and kept my schedule blank, the vacation was nothing but long planless days.
Not too bad, though, I'm usually pretty busy so I enjoyed having nothing to do and just hanging around. But having said so I have to admit that I kind of regret doodling around having accomplished nothing fruitful. It always happens right? Universal phenomena, lol.

Anyway, after this GW ends there are a number of people getting caught in this May Disease every year and this year is by all means not an exception. FYI May Disease is not an official name and the medical term is adjustment disorder.

The main syndrome is more or less a light depression and the main reasons for that are as follow:
- can't adjust to the new life cycle like how you spend your time, living away from your family for the first time, etc.
- problems with new environment and new human relationships
- sense of release, loosening of tension from accomplishing big goals like enrollment to schools and companies
- sense of loss due to accomplishment of such goals
- sense of loss and confusion in terms of the gap between expectation and reality
- sonota (that means etc.)

Like I just said, the new school (fiscal) year starts in April here in Japan. A bunch of people join in new environments, and by now about a month passes and then you have this holiday week and you kind of feel relaxed - or to put it the other way around, less tense, and you start to feel at loss, confused, don't know what to do so on so forth and you know, you just kind of break in half.
I mean, this isn't something that happens to everyone, but still.

I started this job last year so I don't actually have this May Disease thing going on right now, but even then I felt so reluctant to set my foot out of my lovely house and I'm sure you all know what I mean :P

Well, a new season has begun, I should say! A whole lot of work to put into my web site.
Stay tuned to Japan Mode ;-)

02 May, 2006

Second Chapter of WebMANGA Released

The Second Chapter of Japan Mode's 100% original WebMANGA ChamaTama is up and out now!

In this chapter the girls encounter the cutting edge Shibuya fashion and get fascinated as compared to the kimono and ninja costume of the last chapter, so there should be a change somewhat. Now the manga has slowly started to move towards the direction of "nifty fashion-ninjas kicking ass in modern Japan". Hope it's good enough.

From the next chapter there will be more action and battles inside the city of Tokyo, and of course fashion stays to be the core element all the time so keep checkin'!!

Anyhoo, yesterday the weather was just CRAZY. Highs went up to 28C or higher, but today it's only 18C and it's cold. You know, if this was a couple of weeks ago and if the previous day hadn't been this counter-Indian summer kind of day, I would've thought, "wow 18C, awesome, I'm gonna go out in my T-shirt" but today, it's freezing cold.

What the hell generates this insane temperature gap!?Yesterday I was even like, "geez it's hot even in a T-shirt" but today I can't go out without a good jacket.

And what's worse is that the AC is on inside the office building, I mean like the entire building, on such a chilly day. What are the building managers thinking!? Okay, this is a software company and we have a BUNCH of computers in this small room but we do not need fridge air! Tomorrow's GW (yes finally, holiday for the last workers) but I feel like I have a cold somewhere inside me. C'mon, I'm not a high school kid!
(When I was in high school there was this horrible event on the previous day of GW, which made all students walk for 75kilometers: that's about 47miles: in one day. The school's scheme is this: after this dreadful event you get muscle-ache all over your body and can't go partying around over the holidays, thus prevents delinquency.)

So anyway, from tomorrow till Sunday Japan Mode as well as this blog will have no updates. Of course, Golden Week. See y'all next week!

Chapter2 !!

01 May, 2006

GW begins!

So as I wrote last time the Golden Week (GW) has begun here in Japan. Unfortunate enough, today and tomorrow are regular weekdays meaning regular business days so I have to come to office, but a load of businessmen who got these two days off on LWP seem to be rushingly flying out from the country with their family and friends. According to the announcement of Narita International Airport (aka Tokyo Int'l Airport) the number of people travelling abroad over the GW (counting from April 28 to May 7) totals 363,600 which is a record-high.

So far it sounds like the most popular destinations are in Asia, but in other places too, you might have higher chances of hearing Japanese around you than usual.

What most non-Japanese speaking Japanese people (I wanted to say, non-foreign language speaking Japanese) are wanting to ask people around them is probably most times "could you take a picture of us?" or something like that.
I guess tons of people from any country would travel around with a camera in their hands, but for some reason Japanese are especially known for their liking for cameras and "commemorative" photographs here and there. Along with the popularization of digi-cams these days, I think that the tendency is becoming more and more remarkable cuz you don't really have limits to the number of pictures you can take and you don't have to carry around film rolls.

If you're travelling with your family and/or friends, you'd probably want to have a group pic with all of you in it, right? But if you don't speak the language, things might not go smoothly as when you're in your homeland. If you happen to encounter a Japanese-looking person with a camera in his/her hand and has this "excuse me, could you?" kind of expression, kindly take a pic of them.
And of course, if you're in Japan and want to have somebody to take a picture of you and your friends, people here would be happy to help :-)

Huh? You'd ask for it anyways even if you don't know the language?
Well, take it this way. Japanese are shy LOL.