HOW MUCH FOR THE DOGGIE IN THE WINDOW?

If you live in Japan, you know that the Japanese are dog crazy. With a plummeting birth rate, the dogs are clearly filling a gap.

This little fellow is in the pet store down the street. Take a guess at the price.

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You are probably wrong.

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That translates to roughly $20K CDN. Premium, for sure. If you are going to have a dog that expensive, you better buy a dog stroller.

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You better buy a carrier too.

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Of course, if you are having a tea party, everyone needs to be dressed up – bow in the hair and all.

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Japanese love their dogs. Check out this site from some amazing Japan dog photos.

JAPANESE-ENGLISH SIGNS

I am often perplexed by the way that English is used in Japan. A couple cases in point.

Why is the title of the car wash in English and the content in Japanese?

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Why is this Crunky bar advertised in English? (Yes .. Crunky bar)

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Why does is this sign in Japanese have only a few English words? (Most people will not understand that this means that the entire city is smoke free – it is illegal to smoke in public (awesome)).

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This is just funny (At the entrance to the big Buddha)

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This just makes me wonder, what were they thinking? (although this is not Japan – this is in Singapore)

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And last but not least, I point the finger squarely at the Canadian consulate in Japan. Really? English and French hand-washing instructions .. but nothing in Japanese. Figures.

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A FEW JAPAN OBSERVATIONS

From around town.

“The quality sleep”. Japan has a different definition of what constitutes a quality mattress than North America.

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I was grabbing a bottle of Sake at a local shop and this wine advertisement (among others) caught my eye for the unique use of English in the marketing – specifically the “desire for being drunk” phrase. Quite the sales pitch.

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I am glad this guy caught up with my taxi. Look closely … (from my iPhone). He is in the rain, holding an umbrella, in a suit, riding a bike, with no helmet while talking on the phone. I don’t understand why no one wears a helmet …

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Another interesting use of English in the ANA line at Narita. I laughed at the sign giving us an update on when we will board.

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Living in Japan is a little like a Monty Python movie. There are some obvious things that make you laugh, but the best laughs require that you pay close attention or you will miss them.

TOKYO POLICE TRAP

In Canada (or the US or anywhere else in the world) a police speed trap involves a police person with a radar gun hidden to the side, someone to wave the victim down and a few chase cars just in case.

Not in Tokyo. This is what it looks like; one with a wand and the other standing to the side with white gloves. Yes, white gloves.

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On a personal note, this is how I got a $70 ticket for turning the wrong way on a stop sign. Seriously .. taken down by a police office on foot! Funny thing is that after being pulled over by the officer on foot, 9 additional officers showed up quickly to assist with the whole communication thing.

I am not too distraught over the ticket as the 1st time I got pulled over I played the language barrier card and after saying “No, sumimasen (apologies), no ticket, warning please, arigato (thank-you)” about 40 times over 10 minutes, multiple mystery conversations on the walkie-talkie,  I got let off by 2 very confused police officers.

Every day is an adventure.

CUSTOMS LINES AND FAMILIES WITH PLASTIC BAGS

They are to be avoided at all costs.

When I say plastic bags, I mean the $1 store plastic bags with zippers or perhaps a plastic bag in the form of a duffle bag. In a customs line at the airport it never ends well.

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This has now happened to me 3 times, watching the spectacle unravel in front of you.

I will admit, I smiled as the I watched the Chinese customs official pull out 3 bottles of liquor (carefully wrapped in tube socks), three bottles of assorted drinks, scissors and a brand new Zippo lighter still in the packaging. However, the ensuing loud voiced, arms waving argument between the man and his family with the 3 customs guards just went on and on. I politely tapped a customs official on the shoulder and indicated that it would be great to be passed through using my hands and a smile as I do not speak Mandarin.

I would have rather watched it from a line over.

WHY THE LINE-UP IN SHIBUYA?

There is always a line around a stairwell near Shibuya in Tokyo. Why? Popcorn of course.

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It was a Saturday and the “feels like” temperature is 42. Perfect temperature to line up for an hour to get some hot popcorn right? The parasol helps.

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It is right around the corner from this incredibly quirky street, Takeshita Street.

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Costume shops, punk rock clothing and a hundred things in between including great outfits for your dog.

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Not sure marvel would appreciate the cross-dressing Spiderman.

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Crepes on the corner, ice cream and chocolate or tuna and lettuce? Would you like that in a cone?

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Absolutely must get to this place before we head back to NA. Stock up on Halloween costumes.

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(NOTE: EXPLETIVE AHEAD – FEEL FREE TO STOP READING).

I have thought about blogging about this before, and will instead make a simple reference. In Japan there are almost no t-shirts with the Japanese language on them, only English (which is an oddity). Furthermore, the Japanese use English words in odd ways and it is very clear that they do not understand the cultural implications of some words.

In an overly formal and polite society which does not have swear words in the language (In Japan, you swear through voice inflection – there literally are no swear words), it makes their prominent display of the f-word quite surprising. My son once pulled me aside to show me a 80 year old woman with the word prominently displayed on her shirt. I recently walked behind a young man who had it written all over his shorts.

It isn’t quite “everywhere”, but surprisingly common. Walking down this street, I counted it on 7 items of clothing including this young, well dressed girl’s hat as she strolled through a shop (I cropped the picture).

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I really do think someone needs to sit them down and explain the word. Stranger in a strange land.