Monthly Archives: September 2012

Hefei Heist, or July Gets What’s Coming to Her

I’m back in Osaka, after two weeks in London, Berlin, Shanghai, and Hefei. I should probably start with the lovely countryside inn I stayed at outside of Berlin, on the way to Brandenburg–golden fields of ripe grain dotted with white … Continue reading

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Two of My Friends Are Fighting

This weekend, violent protests broke out against Japan and Japanese businesses in dozens of cities in China. People are furious that Japan’s central government bought the Senkaku (Japan’s name)/Daiyu (China’s name) Islands. China’s State newspapers are fanning the flames and … Continue reading

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The Big Kusu Tree of Kayashima

“That tree’s not there because Japanese people love nature or eco or want green or anything,” said my colleague, who has been working in Boston for years. We stood on the Kayashima station platform on the Keihan line, the green … Continue reading

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Kumazemi Crisis

At the height of summer, I thought I couldn’t stand one more day of incessant, ear-splitting cicada screaming. “Miiiin min min miiii,” as they spell it here (pronounced “mean”). I noticed when I came back this week that the sound … Continue reading

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Singing the Osaka Dialect Blues

Last night I dreamed I was sitting across a huge conference table from one of my company’s high-level executives. He was in the place of honor in the middle, of course, and I was one chair off from the middle … Continue reading

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Let’s Twist and Shout Instead

Nothing gives you more insight into your own culture than seeing someone from a very different culture adopt it wholesale and express it as-is in his own language. Recently, a famous Japanese professor from MIT came to speak at my … Continue reading

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The Neba Neba Boom

The cafeteria at work served okra again today. I’m Southern, so you’d think I’d be a big fan, but the sliminess makes me gag. (Though a large dose of cajun sauce might change my attitude.) “You should eat neba neba … Continue reading

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