Odd Stuff in and from Japan

Odd stuff and miscellaneous thingamyjigs encountered in Japan or related to things Japanese.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010   2:59 PM

Taking the Calpis

The other day I stepped off a plane from Bangkok, which is listed in my mental guidebook as "hot and sticky, take lots of deodorant", and was instantly turned by even higher temperatures - there is evidently a freak heatwave going on here, possibly a side-effect of too many indiscriminately slaughtered dolphins - into a towering column of fetid sweat. Not helped by the fact that Japan has gotten all eco-friendly recently (except where aquatic mammals are concerned) and has lost the fine art of turning the air-conditioning all the way down to "Siberian".

Naturally I soon needed to replenish lost bodily fluids which had just been forcibily egressed into that frightening zone between skin and clothing, but as I was going directly to the office I didn't want to appear too relaxed and chilled-out from a few well-deserved days away lest it cause civil unrest. So what better way to take on board liquid without causing a positive change of mental state than with "Calpis Soda - Refresh Zero"?

Calpis - Refresh Zero

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Saturday, September 5, 2009   1:58 PM

Spot the Deliberate Mistake...

...on the cover of this map of Japan's former capital city.

Map of Kyoto  

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Sunday, July 5, 2009   1:49 PM

Blogroll re-wound

Clicking randomly in a rare moment of boredom today I happened to notice that the blogroll was going a bit stale. The Osaka Life blog appears to have vanished into the ether, which is a pity as it was one of the few blogs by a Japanese person in English (and pretty good it was too). But to keep Japan's third largest city in the picture here's Once Upon a Time in Osaka, of particular interest to anyone learning Japanese.

Meanwhile Tokyo Cowgirl has also vanished, albeit probably temporarily (and probably involving the destruction of another innocent computer). However she now seems to be permanently in New York with no particular connection to Japan other than her ex-boyfriend still resident in Tokyo (if he is still ex, I can't keep up). If and when the blog comes back it's still excellent reading and an interesting perspective on the upper echelons of New York society, but I will have to nudge it into the "Other blogs" list.

To fill in the vacated space I've finally got round to adding Chris' English School, the blog of one of the most prolific post commenters in the English-speaking J-blogosphere, and a new one to me, Michael Flux's random ramblings and photos of Japan (found via A Misspent Life; though I can't tell whether he's actually in Japan at the moment).

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009   2:51 AM

Yanking the supply chain

Apologies for the posting drought: The Penguin has been suffering frequent bouts of fun interrupted by sudden attacks of work. Or maybe it was the other way round. There was also a three-day weekend spent in horizontal mucus generation mode pretending not to be Mexican. The Penguin's memory is a bit hazy. Updates to follow.

Meanwhile, as The Penguin's loyal readership is clamouring for some sort of update, presumably any sort of update, here a verbatim extract (with names changed for Business Secrecy Reasons) from a recent work-related mail:

F will be acting as the go between for S. F do A also but the fulfilment and invoicing is done thru H. S will be invoiced by F, but fulfilled by H. So it will be H who will uploading S's orders.

Got that? (A, F and S are companies you have probably heard of). Took The Penguin a few minutes to visualise it himself,. Unfortunately this is not untypical for this line business (widget processing if you must know). The Penguin is trying to draw up a diagram of the whole convoluted supply chain but has run out of wall space.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009   3:40 PM

Final hesitation

So long, Sir Clement, and thanks for all the laughs.


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Saturday, December 13, 2008  12:51 PM

Travel Tips: Places to Avoid in Taiwan

Not that I have been to Taiwan yet, but when I get round to it one place I'll definitely be avoiding is Yuanlin (員林), home of the world's first Hello Kitty themed medical establishment. Personally I would rather attempt to disembowel myself with a blunt, toothpaste-encrusted toothbrush than submit to this kind of torture thinly disguised as medical care.

Patients are welcomed by a statue of Hello Kitty dressed in a doctor's uniform, before travelling in a Hello Kitty elevator to a pink examination room with Hello Kitty posters on the wall.

Masochists can view a video news report here (warning: contains scenes likely to cause distress) and check out the obligatory Hello Kitty Hell coverage here.

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Monday, December 8, 2008  10:52 PM

Interesting Cacti of Tokyo (1)

Very tall cactus in Tokyo The first, and possibly last, of an occasional series in which I document Tokyo's fascinating desert flora.

First off: this two-storey leviathan of a water-storing spine plant seen not far from Ikebukuro.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008  12:03 AM

The C-word

I made a bit of a faux-pas at work yesterday.

You see, I put the C-word on a public-facing part of the company website.

Of course I blamed the marketing people - that is what we in IT traditionally do - but they did put me up to it. Being a well-travelled, worldly type I didn't think much of it at the time, but this morning I woke up to an urgent message from the US branch telling me to make it as if the C-word had never been there in the first place, preferably by yesterday.

You see, apparently in the States the C-word is a bit of a no-no. People might get upset by it. So as not to offend the sensitivities of North American readers, I shall discretely place the C-word below the fold. (If you are upset by offensive language, you might want to stop reading now and read this much nicer article about ponies and butterflies which doesn't contain the C-word at all).

OK, here it is:

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