This is not a blog post about the Japanese language, nor the complexities of Kanji. It is a blog post about the importance of giving context, in life and in business.
While shopping, I was asked at the cash register:
“Yotsuba no muen de yoroshii desuka”
As I wasn’t certain I heard correctly, asked to repeat the question and while it was repeated, I connected the dots and realized I was asked about the butter I am purchasing.
When writing it in Kanji, it may become clearer to some people, but it is still not clear out of context.
”四葉の無塩でよろしいですか” – Did you select the unsalted butter manufactured by Yotsuba?
「四葉」 is the name of the butter manufacturer. Literally meaning “four leaves” .
「無塩」meaning unsalted, but from listening, one cannot know which 「むえん」 it is. As it can be 「無煙」smokeless … does not make sense .
「無縁」- unrelated … also does not make a lot of sense.
Now, if I was given the context: “About the butter…”, it would have been clearer. Saved us a lot of time and also this blog post.
As I wrote in the beginning, this is not a post about the Japanese language.
I often encounter similar miscommunication and the need to repeat explanations in business meetings. While the person talking knows the context, it is not necessarily conveyed in words. Leaves a lot to mis-interpretations and misunderstandings.
Giving context and leading the listener is an art. Believing that the listener has your knowledge and understanding is common.
The Bodyguard is quite good, but!
I feel it represents a trend on streaming TV to capture attention, but the end fizzles.
Conspiracies, government agencies involved in politics with a bit of a hurried and strange conclusion. Will not spoil it for you, but it really left me unsatisfied. Is it that the writers did not have the courage to “go all the way”, or was the conspiracies were just meant to grab our attention.
I have seen it happen in several TV shows and it made me wonder why. And it also really annoys me. What can I do to avoid such mistakes? Reviews are good, Spoiler cannot be read. Will just need to trust my instincts and take another risks (of wasting my time).
And a request from writers: If you start with a conspiracy, go all the way. Make it bigger and scarier than reality!
I love Japanese Breakfast (band) and follow Michelle on Instagram.
When she announced that one of her videos won prizes, I immediately wanted to watch it and remember it.
But when I started to search for it on google, I felt very conscious of the search words and almost stopped.
“Posing in Bondage – Japanese Breakfast”
Almost stopped in “posing in bondage Japanese”
I just searched for the partial sentence, which google returned the right results (of Japanese breakfast), but I wonder if it is the same for all people and regions.
Short summary: Highly recommended. Really enjoyed the story telling and the atmosphere of the movie.
“We could not become adults” (Japanese: ボクたちはみんな大人になれなかった) is based on a series of stories/episodes published online and now available as a book.
I do not know Ozawa Kenji and many cultural references did not trigger nostalgic emotions, but the story telling, the atmosphere of Tokyo, locations and the Covid-19 days (or rather nights) are strong.
The writer in his late 40s, single, drinking a lot and keeps on saying he does not want to be “normal/regular” and as you can guess it takes a while for the story to peel off the layers and our understanding where it came from.
Story of a “big love” which followed by non committed encounters, almost getting married and avoiding it not to be “regular”.
Movie starts with two drunks talking in the empty streets of Shinjuku during the Covid days. It is not clear the relationship between the two, but what captured me is the location. In front of Segafredo, a place I used to visit often when my office was in Shinjuku and the contrast of the empty street to the busy streets I remembered.
Then we go back in time to different memories, women in his life, work and flashbacks to his real love, the girl he wanted to live with, who parted with him on January 1st 2000 saying “I will give you back the CD next time we meet” which never happened.
Great actors, great story telling and a wonderful movie.
Visited there once (or twice?) on a real tour and enjoyed it very much.
Tours are not open and even when Covid-19 new cases is extremely low, Suntory decided to keep it closed.
But have a look at this amazing virtual tour
Finally, all applications I use for work are working on M1.
Latest one is Google Drive, which took a while to get an update.
I can still see some application marked as “Intel” in the Activity Monitor, meaning they are running on emulation, but these are rather few and do not require high performance.
Most surprising is Evernote, which I expected to be more aggressive in their M1 support. But maybe also Evernote think that they prefer to deliver features rather than support the M1.
Not very surprising is the THR Remote, my Yamaha Amplifier remote application controller.
Previously reported that SSD T5 is not working on M1 MacBooks and just today Samsung released version 1.6.8 which seems to resolve the issue.
Already installed; had to change system security setting to allow the system extension, 2 restarts and the T5 is working. Hurrah!
Highly recommend Freakonomics podcast on sensitive questions . As a podcast, it is not that great as it mostly repeats, explains (in a great way) a research done by one team and also available on HBR.
But I feel it is important because it tells us that:
- We overestimate the offence taken by the person asked
- Are missing out by not asking sensitive, extremely personal questions
One of the researchers, Einav Hart, is an Israeli, and when asked about the differences between the Israeli and American cultures, she could not point to significant differences.
My experience in Japan was definitely different, but I now have doubts about my takes and my behavior.
In Israel, i had many experiences in which a waitress at the Cafe started chatting with me, which usually resulted in personal questions. Where do you live, what do you do and sometimes more than that.
In my experiences in Japan, I was unsure what I can and cannot ask, i had cases I received frowned faces or questions being ignored when I asked questions which were “a bit” personal… so I stopped. Meeting and chatting with people I do not know has resulted in me waiting for them to take the lead. If they ask personal questions, I will respond and open up. And if not, nothing will happen.
Maybe it is a good way not to hurt, but it is definitely missing out on interactions and communications. How may friends or life lessons did I miss out because I did not ask more, interact more, engage more ?
I now just have to wait for Covid-19 to go away before testing it. Definitely now is not a good time to talk with strangers.
Finished reading “The Culture Map” by Erin Mayer.
I was familiar with some of the concepts and information in the book, but I felt it arranged it nicely and put it in perspective with good example.
As an Israeli living in Japan, you can guess how challenging and interesting it was to experience the cultural and communication differences. I managed to adjust and learn what is allowed, accepted by Japanese and how to “Read the Air”.
An excerpt that I deeply agreed with was about trying to adapt or rather adopt a behavior. When someone from a different culture is trying to imitate and blend in, which usually does not work.
For me, that was not an option. I realized very quickly that I cannot imitate the Japanese work behavior and communication. My culture was so different that any attempt to be Japanese will not pass. Cannot do it full heartedly and will always be perceived as strange.
I do speak softer, I do use say things like “it is difficult”, instead of saying “no way”.
Had a chance to ask colleagues and customers about my communication style, and most of the feedback I got was positive, that the customers appreciate the way I discuss and talk and do not expect me to be “Japanese” .
On the other hand, I have seen people trying to blend with Israelis, joke like Israelis, discuss like Israelis and in all cases, it felt strange. The Israeli group could not accept the foreigner as “one of the guys”.
After (almost) 12 years in Japan, I do not feel like I am doing an effort or adjusting. I have my original culture (which I sometimes struggle with), I have the Japanese culture and I usually fit in both
Just received my M1 Macbook Pro, and surprise surprise, the Samsung SSD T5 driver is not working.
I have to say that I am not that surprised, considering my past experience with Big Sur, but I am definitely disappointed.
Fortunately, I still have my old Macbook so I can access my files, but obviously another major issue and disappointment with Samsung software release