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September 30, 2003

Email manners

Rudolf-sensei's post on a Japanese person whose email message started with an unexpected apology made me smile. It sure is funny to apologize for sending email even if it's late at night. Unlike phone calls that can directly rob you of your time regardless of what you're doing, emails are a moderate means. You can, basically, send an email without worrying about disturbing the person. That should be one of the advantages of emails over phone calls.

Still, I kind of understand why the Japanese person started with an apology. The person (...by the way, is the person he or she? This is where I often feel annoyed when writing in English.) just wanted to be polite, I guess. And in that sense, it's nothing strange for the person's (Aagh! No, I'm determined not to use his/her or something like that this time. ;)) part. It's a rather usual practice for a Japanese to start an email message with some polite words when writing to someone you don't know very well. And those words are, in many cases, simply used like greetings, rather than taken as they are literally. Even if you know you don't need to when writing in some other language, sometimes you can't resist doing so, because you're in such a culture. I don't know whether the person (hehehe...) was aware of that or not. It's a possibility that the sender thought the receiver might open the email soon.

When calling someone late at night, a Japanese would say, 「夜分遅くすいません」(yabun osoku suimasen: I'm terribly sorry to call you at this late hour.). Well, to tell the truth, I almost did it in an email message the other day as well. Ha ha ha!

September 27, 2003


It was really a big one. At 4:50 a.m., my wife and I jumped out of bed noticing a roar. Yes, the loud sound came first. The next moment, she was holding the cupboard, and me a bookshelf, thinking dimly "Hey, is this a joke?" It felt like the horizontal shaking would last forever.

Fortunately, there was no serious damage around here. And even though there were more than 400 Hokkaido people injured mostly because of falling objects, damage has been relatively moderate, given the size of the frightening magnitude 8.0 temblor. It could have been worse.

My students all looked sleepy because of the too early violent alarm clock.

September 24, 2003


Although I live in a region that attracts a lot of tourists from around the country with its scenic beauties, I don't usually care a lot about that. Yesterday, we went for a drive to enjoy the great scenery as tourists. It was kind of refreshing. Here are some of the pictures I took with the phone cam. As always, please turn a blind eye to the quality of them.

Mt. rausu

Mt. Rausu in the Shiretoko National Park. Magnificent, but I don't wanna climb it.

Rugosa rose

Hamanasu (rugosa rose). One of the few flowers whose names I can tell.


Nothing. Nothing means everything. That's the heart of the Zen teaching. ...No, no, I'm joking.

The scerery was that of autumn's. We walked around a lot. Oh, the knee was all right.

September 19, 2003

Those Hands

You know I can't resist blogging about this kind of topic. It might be a good idea to live in Japan, where you'll have less chances of shaking hands with others. ;)

September 18, 2003

Simply Lazy, Could Be

I cleaned my computer yesterday. I mean, removed unnecessary files and applications, checked and defragmented the hard drives, cleaned up the registry, and compacted it. I don't know how good this kind of cleaning is for my computer, but it gives me some satisfaction, anyway, even though I actually hadn't done it for around a year. When I was a computer novice, I used to do these chores regularly.


When I was much younger, I would often wash my cars. Once a week, by myself. Now, I find myself leaving my car as it is for months. And when I will wash it, I have gas station guys do it.

Come on...

Around this time last year, I blogged almost daily. I enjoyed looking at the calendar on the left-hand column filled with bold-faced days. This month so far, I've posted 6 times and missed 12 days. 6 wins and 12 losses. Better than the winning percentage of the Baystars.


But those things don't mean I have lost my affection for my PC, car, and blog. Really.

September 17, 2003


It sure is strange, but, intrstngly, I was able to read them pretty eslaiy. What about you, Janapese fellows?

September 13, 2003


Babylon is a nice tool for language learners. Just click on a word -it doesn't matter whether you do it on web pages or on your editors-, and its difinitions will appear in a pop-up window. Well, I typed "difinitions" just now, feeling something's wrong since there were so many i's. So I clicked on it and Babylon said, "No matches....Perhaps you meant: definitions." You know, Babylon can be used as a word-by-word spell checker, too. There are a vast number of dictionaries and glossaries available for various languages. That's the point. You can check the meaning of, say, Japanese words or phrases as well as those in other languages. You can either download them to your PC or use them online.

With this software, even Greek wouldn't be all Greek to you.

September 11, 2003


Was that just a joke? Hey, here in Japan, California is neither Cal-a-fornia nor Cal-ee-for-nee-a, but Ka-ri-fo-ru-ni-a. Ha! Yeah, all right, it has nothing to do with the issue. I know, I know.

Incidentally, Mr. Schwarzenegger is known well as "Shuwa-chan" in Japan.

September 10, 2003


I banged my left knee on a chair during a class. As the chair stayed firmly against the wall, the hit was hard enough for me to feel as if the knee got broken. Fortunately, it's nothing serious (for now). I often bang my left knee on something for no reason. It's well trained? No. It's kind of scary to think about the future of the poor left one.

September 9, 2003

Kuro, not Kudos...

At a fourth grade class yesterday, I asked the class in Japanese, 「'crow' 書ける人~!」('crow' kakeru hito: Anyone who can write the word 'crow'?), when I discovered it can sound like 「苦労かける人~! 」(kuro kakeru hito). I was amused myself, because that means "a person who gives someone trouble or anxiety."

Ah, well, sorry for another oyaji gyagu. *cough*