“What are you in for?”

Someone pointed out that one of the basic conversation starting points here between students at Yamasa is kind of similar to a starting conversation in jail:

“Why are you here?”/”What are you in for?”
“What did you do before?”/”What were you on the outside?”
“How long are you staying here?”/”How long is your sentence?”
“What are you going to do when you get out?”

And then the day that people leave is significant. Except, people don’t want to leave here.


Old Foghorn, 見本
Not for sale

Living in a country as different as Japan, there are things that I took for granted as being easily able to get, that pretty much aren’t available here, or are a specialty import item. This beer is a good example, it is part of the beer display at DOMY, but they don’t sell any. I have 2 or 3 cases in my cellar in Colorado, but really can’t get it here. (Unless mom and dad packed a suitcase full of my beer, that is…)

Beef isn’t quite as bad, but it is definitely much more expensive here. Lots of things are able to be purchased, but if I kept to a similar diet as I had before, it would be significantly more expensive to keep my body fueled.

Measurment Systems

I dislike Fahrenheit, and am gladly using Celsius to refer to temperatures. Well, metric everything is simpler. Just how many teaspoons are there in a barrel, anyways? (23808 in a US Beer barrel, according to Google)

I was just looking at a full date written American style (M-D-Y), and realized that I haven’t had to use that style in a while. I hated that even before coming here, so that is definitely a good thing.

Dates should be written YYYY-MM-DD, and the Japanese style is really close: YYYY年MM月DD日, which is maybe even better since each part is tagged with what it exactly means. ISO 8601 deals with this, and I like that specific standard.

Although, I do like the New Earth Calendar, with 13 months that always start on Monday. And then can we have time be a fractional part of the day?

5 7 5

Winter Day
We had an interview with a group of Japanese people today, using keigo. Even some of the Japanese people were complaining about how hard keigo is hard to use.

The first guy we interviewed was a 65 year old retired Japanese teacher. He was studying at Yamasa learning how to teach Japanese as a second language, planning on going to India to teach. He said that he wrote a poem every day, for the last 10 years, and was making a book of them.

I herd the word he used, but then spaced it, and spend the next 30 minutes trying to think of the word he used. I knew it was exactly the same word in Japanese and in English, so I ended up having the following conversation with a Canadian classmate:

“What is the word for the poems that are 5, 7, 5 syllables long?”

“… Haiku?”

“Yeah, exactly.”

Although I am learning stuff, it is kind of depressing when I forget English words like that.

The next class was the “Lifestyle words” class, and there several of the things I couldn’t even recall if there was an English phrase for the word they were teaching us, for example “purse snatch”.