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Posts posted by badmigraine

  1. Yeah, Osaka/Kobe is the locus of opportunity. My company may actually relocate to Kyoto next year, which would encourage me to keep suckling at the teat for awhile longer.


    I'm wondering if there are some J law firms around Kurashiki that wouldn't mind having an American lawyer come in once or twice a week to help with any English language work they may have. There are some people down there doing this already that I know about. If I got 2-3 of these places lined up, I might make a rummy go of it.



  2. Take away the shameless picking-up of women, the obscene guzzling of booze even before lunchtime, the freedom to flip the bird to boss and work when that powder dump hits, and as a final blow take 1/2 of a right medial meniscus out of the mix, and look at what you're left with. It's not worth it. Not worth it at all!


    Now, where's that damn link to the DaKine and Salomon websites. I need to find out what I'm buying this year!



  3. It really is amazing, the world of jobs. Compulsory drug testing at work? Necessary for some I suppose.


    But take, for example, my sister's graphic design job at one of the top ad boutiques used by the US automakers...at her workplace, it's almost like they have a Compulsory Drug Use policy.


    There is always a pitcher of margaritas making the rounds, and rare is the day indeed when a voice doesn't rise above the cubicle walls saying something like "Hey thanks for that great herb, Dawg!"


    There are jobs, and there are jobs.


    What are YOU working at right now?



  4.  Quote:
    My lowdown comes from my recent research, purchase and installation of a washlet in my apartment.
    Mogs, you never told me this! I am heading over to Kams immediately to express the fruit of my bowels at your place, then enjoy the relaxing cleanup courtesy of your new washlet!

    I hope the water warmer is functioning properly.

  5. You should listen to Mogs...he knows his dumps and all the gear!


    Might also be worth Googling around a bit on the Net. I did this in Michigan about a year ago for just the reasons you describe, and found several options for washlets sold in the US at various prices, including a Korean one, one by National, and some Toto products that had been imported. All included English instruction manuals.


    Another place to look is at the shop all the Japanese people shop at when they live in Oz. There was a shop like this in my town due to the high number of auto industry Japanese expats, and they had the washlets for the US market. Mind you, the US voltage is 110 and 60 Hertz, so it's not much different from Japan and few if any modifications would have been required.


    Happy excreting!



  6. The other way to look at it is, Americans have an obsession with orthodontia and cosmetic dentistry.


    Just as they have forgotten what real normal beef tastes like, so also have they forgotten what a real normal human mouth looks like.


    Isn't there an episode of the Simpsons where the dentist finally gets the little one to open her mouth by showing her a few pages from "The Book of British Teeth"?

  7. You can always find a sweet deal with any of these providers, it just depends on what kind of machine and usage you will need.


    As for FOMA, yeah, it ain't working so great right now. But I was able to use mine in Europe and it works in America too. That was nice. One number, any country. Haven't got the bill yet of course.


    Mobile phone rates and service in the US are a circus of bait-and-switch, hidden charges and huge bills. It's tough to complain about the Japan mobile phone experience after spending 2 years in the US and seeing how it could be. We're lucky over here.


    I notice we hardly use our phones at all when in Okayama, they seem to be a big city crutch more than anything else.

  8. The whole thing was a setup of the type that online chatroomers used to call a "troll".


    The first question that comes to mind is, what kind of person would have the desire and time to actually follow through with a written response to such letters?


    If I were still in college and leading the grand old student lifestyle, I and my roommates would have sat around drinking beers and each writing 5-10 different absurd or seemingly real responses, all under fake names.


    I must admit I have already drafted several in my head, but being a slave-driven expat worker with many pressing obligations, I don't have time to commit them to writing.

  9. As Mogski has proved, all those hangovers and wasted yen at the Gas Panic and Motown could have been saved, with a far better "done deal" percentage, by simply renting a cute little dog and walking up and down the beach in Kamakura in summertime.


    I personally witnessed his mini Dachs pull 5-10 of the most eye-poppingly luscious bikini babes. These were gals whom we never would have met at Gas in our bachelor days.


    One girl in particular comes to mind. Perfect creamily tanned bazoongas packed into a tight shiny pink bikini, and cork high-heel clogs and long, curvy legs sweeping up into a fine owld rump, the breathtaking contours of which were hardly left to the imagination behind the thin stip of flimsy shiny fabric stretched over 1/3 of them...


    If I hadn't been holding a beer under my chin, the saliva would have dripped all over the table. A walking fantasy. And she jiggled over to meet the dog, squatting down Yankee-style right in front of us.


    Yes, boys, the Gas Panic is a waste of time, healthy cells and money. Dog rental is where the real action can be found.



  10. It's a cruel world, Captain.


    Mogski, who works in my building, is thinking of adopting a 50 yen-per-day budget.


    He looked at North Korea and saw them eating tree bark. He looked at all the papers and napkins around the office and thought they could be boiled into a tasty soup. There is always shoptlifting, and the endless restaurant garbage cans to go through. The one behind TGI Fridays isn't bad on Thursday nights.


    He wears his black body armor to ward off hungry crows and blend in, perhaps the locals think he is some sort of giant New Zealand bird come round for the trash can pickings.


    Tokyo jobs are a cruel story, a story that is not fully known abroad. Many think we have it as easy as the Halliburton contractors and mercenary truck drivers in the now-free and democratic Iraq. Many think our jobs are some kind of exotic historical fiction, like Tom Cruise's job in The Last Samurai. It's just not the case, eh.



  11. Even with native-level J, here in Tokyo in a law job I'd still be working impossible hours. Same as NYC, same as L.A., all the same. The grind. It was OK when I was single, but getting home after 10 pm, it's impossible to have a family life, exercise, read books, study kanji or stay in touch with family. In fact, it's impossible to even be in a good mood. The situation is ugly all around.


    Time to move on! I'll either be working as a 9-to-5 lawyer somehow, or have a change in career. This one is going nowhere.


    We're actually looking in Okayama, where my wife's family is. Kyoto or Osaka are secondary options, close enough to family. I could finally have a beer with Ocean on his duck ranch.


    There is a better motivation than Job Search for studying J...and that is, not to have my own kids laugh at my strange nihongo once they finally learn to talk.



  12. Yeah, US companies operating in Tokyo, that is where I would probably focus my job search. Unfortunately the days of the non-bilingual US lawyer in Tokyo are ending. Many employers already prefer a native J/excellent E bilingual lawyer with little or no experience over a seasoned lawyer with native E and business-level J.


    The reason is, half of what they do requires J law and J contract stuff, and why would they want an in-house guy who couldn't even read or negotiate legal documents in the local language?


    The other alternative is to go back to a US law firm's Tokyo office. But the hours there are just as bad, weekends too. A terrible lifestyle. I quit it already to go in-house.


    In fact, the more I look at job boards and headhunters, the more it seems the available jobs are impossible requests that I am exhausted just reading about. Either these employers have unrealistic expectations, or I am a bigger loser than I thought.


    There is no place in Tokyo for a 9-to-5 lawyer with dubious J skills.



  13. With a beautiful new baby and my wife at home, I can no longer accept the 14-hour workdays I've been putting in at my Japanese company. OK, the hours are to be expected as I chose to become a lawyer and that is what the market expects. But out of curiosity I had a look at some job sites to see about a career change and found that even for what I would have thought were fairly skilled jobs, the wages are very low...so low that it would be almost a volunteer job or even require personal financial contributions from savings (or living with parents rent- and board-free) just to keep doing the job...here's a summary of a few examples:


    --trilingual (native Japanese, excellent English and French) management staffer, bright and hard-working, sought for Tokyo office of international consumer goods company...monthly salary is 150,000 to 200,000, depending on experience.


    --bilingual (native Japanese, excellent English) attorney with US or Japanese license, aggressive and detail-oriented with at least 3 years of big-firm experience, sought for patent/trademark department of large cosmetics company...monthly salary is 300,000.


    --bilingual (J/E) international sales and marketing manager sought as country representative for Japan. Extensive travel and contact with distributors throughout Japan...salary is 240,000.


    Sheesh...these salaries are the salaries of school-leaver management trainee jobs at Wal-Mart HQ, or the salary of a beginner, 9-to-5 phone answering/typist secretary at a smalltown company in the US... I don't get it. I just don't get it.


    Are there really people with these qualifications willing to work for such peanuts?


    How can you live in Tokyo on this salary? You would save nothing, own nothing. You would exist as a kind of minor drone, pouring the long and rich hours of your life into servicing the interests of some non-sentient entity for nothing more than enough food and rent money to get up the next day, the next month, the next year, and do it all over again...to what end?


    If this were a third-world country, OK, maybe, but this is a rich industrialized nation. The educational level and cost of living are not like in Thailand or the Philippines.


    I don't see how the job market can rely on workers with such low expectations. Where do they all come from? Is there really nothing more than this for locals?


    What do the people get who have no trilingual, bilingual or professional license skills? 1000 yen/hr.?


    But then again, after seeing what my fellow company workers are willing to put up with in terms of 3-hour roundtrip commutes, regular 8:45 to 9 pm workdays, meaningless weekend seminars and all done at the tiny salary of a small-town midwestern shoe salesman at a crumbling old department store, I guess I should re-think my assumption.


    Maybe the best way to look at is: In spite of all the seemingly expensive costs of setting up and doing business in Japan, this may be the best place to get cheap labor that is extremely obedient, polite, submissive and willing to follow orders no matter what.


    Sure this model won't work for some types of businesses, but for things like paperwork processing, waiters or back-office functions, it might do the trick amazingly well at fairly cheap HR costs.



  14. Kind of tangential to this thread, but what about those people who appear in photos from bars or dance clubs, mouths wide open to show their tongue piercing? How idiotic. "LOOK AT ME--I GOT TONGUE PIERCING!"


    A corollary is the set that wears tank-tops even in cold weather, just to show they got a bicep tatoo. "LOOK AT ME--I GOT INK DONE!"


    Great. How extremely bold and daring to be different!!


    It makes me cringe to try to imagine all the things these people are anxiously hoping we'll imagine about what kind of people they are because they did something really amazing by getting a tongue pierced or a tribal tat on their arm.


    I'm tempted to wear a tank top in November and stick out my tongue in every photo, without a piercing or tank top. Now THAT would be different.



  15. In school we used to giggle when, on looking at old semi-nude paintings, the art teacher explained that "generous" figures were considered beautiful in olden days...and the social studies teacher would confirm this by mentioning societies where fat was sexy.


    My conclusion on spending a year or two in Michigan is that these days have come back for many US communities.


    A short trip to any mall turns up scores of high school age girls with bare midriffs, but jellylike flab hanging over the belt. Even the relatively less jellied ones have the soft lobes puffing over the jeans. It occurred to me that these are the ones whose hogsbelly acquaintances probably secretly despise them because they are so "thin"...


    Yes, a revolution in standards. I can't tell you how nice it was to arrive back at Narita and see all the unfat people.


    Very nice.



  16. And contrast the NyQuil issue with the fact that psychedelic mushrooms were legally available and sold in several varieties in front of big stations like Shibs, for years, until banned just before Japan hosted the last soccer World Cup.


    Fear of hooligans hepped up on psilocybin, plus the over-reported story of one or two people who took too many mushrooms and were found drooling or gibbering in a konbini after hours created a witch hunt mentality and the good old things were banned...just a couple of years ago folks.



  17. Sorry, but this is all just the same as tiny bags of salt, tiny packages of spaghetti, tiny packs of chocolate, tiny broccoli, tiny glasses, tiny tables and tiny apartments.


    It's all been proportionately downsized, get it?


    I wonder how the average local would feel if all the sinks in the country topped out around mid-thigh, all mirrors were placed below eye level, and all sofas hit around mid-calf?


    Erm...probably about like I feel now. And then there's the thrill of having to pay double price for half-sized stuff.


    Yes, this is one of those things about living here.


    I wonder if there is a country where everything is too big for foreigners?



  18. The fillings are usually quite well done here as they take their sweet time and mold it properly. The bonding techniques here are supposedly better than "back home", although a quick glance at the local teeth show some are not taking advantage of this.


    The dentists get a certain payment from the National Health Insurance every time you visit, as well as a cash payment from you, I hear, so that's why they like you to keep coming back again and again.


    A final note on fillings falling out, as explained to me by my father over 3 decades ago:


    Did you ever consider that maybe it was your body that fell off the filling, rather than vice versa?



  19. I wonder how they get the "flavor" right. Watching Japanese subtitles of English-language movies, you'll see "Damn, you bet yo sweet ass, mo-f***aa!" translated as "Hai".


    How can you put that kind of slang or response that suggests a character type into a language where no such character has ever existed?


    There must be a thousand variants of this translation problem.


    Naturally, this works the other way: stuff translated into English from other languages is probably stripped of much of what gave it color and pleasurable idiom in its own language.


    Every language has its own peculiarities than can be turned to creative use. In English, we have a vocabulary larger than most Romance or Germanic languages, because historical factors resulted in the incorporation of both into modern English, and gave us two words for many things--the Anglo-Saxon word, which often has a lower, earthier connotation, and the Romance-origin word, which thanks to the Norman Conquests and similar social factors that cast the invading French as upperclass sages and put the native people in the role of servants, butchers and oafs, often has a higher, more "intellectual" connotation. Here's some examples.



    pig pork

    sweat perspiration

    smell odor

    Bush Chirac


    I wonder if there is a similar doubling of vocabulary in literary Japanese. Even just learning to count in basic courses one learns about the "native" Japanese word and the Chinese variants, and there is the constellation of on-yomi and kun-yomi.


    Hats off to translators, this sounds like a really hard job to do right.



  20. A dove is a pigeon with vitiligo, like Michael Jackson.


    They were bred pure white for use as camoflauged food fryers in secret Appenine and Vosges snow missions during WWII...hence the name: the white pigeon was evolved or "evo'd" from the urban air rat variety and the word evo'd was reversed as "dove" by cockney troops to better match their rhyming slang ("lovey dovey").


    The modern-day progeny of these airbone rations survives and can be seen at some European resorts as a pair of pink eyes staring beadily up at the chairlift as customers go past on a Saturday afternoon.


    After the war ended, the white-feathered rations were released, giving us the association with Peace and the common Hollywood-reinforced image of a swarm of doves heading skyward to signal the end of the conflict.



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