My nephew

This is a story of my brother’s son who is three years old.
One day, his family and I went shopping together. My brother was looking for a hydroscope for his son, but the shop did not stock suitable hydroscopes for children.
During the car ride home, my nephew said to his father.
“Papa, will you buy me a hydroscope? Will you buy me a hydroscope?”
He repeated that endlessly.
Then my brother said, “I hear you. If you repeat once more, I won’t buy one for you.”
The child answered, “OK, since I won’t say that any more, then buy me a hydroscope. Since I won’t say that any more, then buy me a hydroscope, please!”
He started repeating that endlessly.
We just had to grin.

Thank you.

Koir, klint and dogsbody70, thank you!


Why Japan prefers a monocultural society : Part 2

This is my response to Kakusa’s comments.

Kakusan: Of course in the case of the Potato Famine, there were many other historical factors that induced the dependence upon potatoes, but when one has the choice it is certainly preferable not to rely upon a single variety of crops.

Yuri: In Ogasawara Islands which is located in the south of Tokyo, there were about 350 endemic insects, but alien species are exterminating most of them. In particular, a green anole (lizard) has had a profound impact on the native insects and plants. This is only one example and alien species have been doing a lot of damage to endemic insects, plants, fish and animals throughout Japan.

Kakusan: In genetics, too, we see that if we have two specimens that are weak due to high homozygosity, but they are highly heterozygous with respect to one another, so to speak, their offspring will be much stronger, larger and healthier.

Yuri: I do not see why you need to be large. I do not fight hand-in-hand combat or hunt animals. I’m sure that I have enough muscle strength, and Japan has the world’s highest longevity rate. I think this means Japanese people are healthy.

Kakusan: However, if one society comprises many cultures rather than just one, then it is much more likely that the society as a whole will be able to find within itself those cultural resources with which to equip itself against the new difficulty. In this way, we can learn from those who are different from us how best to cope with unfamiliar situations.

Yuri: We can learn from other countries because we can study abroad when necessary. I do not see why you need to live together in one society.

Kakusan: In turn this eventually leads to a more peaceful society.

Yuri: Do you know that Japan is very safe and girls can walk outside alone in the middle of the night wearing skirts and high heels? I do not think the UK and the US are more peaceful.

Kakusan: People will always find reasons to hate one another. Whether they be religion, culture or skin colour,

Yuri: The Japanese do not hate people because of religion or skin colour. I do not see why you hate people for such reasons. Japan persecuted Christianity in the 17th century, but that was just to prevent being colonized by Western countries.

Kakusan: I understand what you are saying about "reading between the lines" and hearing what is left unsaid. However, when we have to learn how to do this with a new group of people with different mores, we leave our "comfort zone" and both exercise a new area of our brain and learn something about ourselves which could not have otherwise been revealed.

Yuri: In Japan, when you are starting out in a new workplace, after introducing yourself, you communicate that you know hardly anything and ask to be shown the ropes. This is the Japanese way to say things. We do not expect our co-workers to tell us everything, but we act like this because we find the attitude of self-confidence when you first meet people despicable. On the other hand, Western people always show their self-confidence, and if you were to act like the Japanese, your co-workers would hate or look down on you, right? I believe this way of behaving comes from the Japanese spirit. Do we need to change our culture and spirit? I do not want to.
When we go abroad, we conform to your way, but in Japan, we want to be ourselves.

Kakusan: Obviously there is the long-term history of the "Bamboo Curtain",

Yuri: My response about this topic seems to become long.
I will write next time.

Kakusan: So, to take a very broad, overall message from history, one could get the impression that Japanese interactions with the "outside" have had a tremendously unfortunate negative tendency.

Yuri: Yes. In addition, our culture and spirit is different from yours; so when you behave ordinary, sometimes we can’t help feeling you are overbearing because we do not have the culture of debate. I think Japanese people sometimes feel we have been argued down by foreign people.

Kakusan: In this sense, it seems to me, and correct me if I'm wrong, that Japan has benefited from an exclusive kind of "multiculturalism of ideas" in a way that few other nations can claim to have done.

Yuri: Yes, you are right. So, I do not see why we have to live with foreign people when we can get a lot of information about foreign countries easily.
I don’t dislike foreign people, I love foreign countries, but still I personally prefer to live in a monocultural society rather than a multicultural one.

Thank you!

Kakusan, thank you for the revision.

Jdn-san from Poland's Questions

These questions are from jdn-san concerning my previous post about Binbohgami-The God of Poverty.

How do I invite Fukunokami(the god of fortune)?
How to ward off Binbohgami(the god of poverty)?

The answer is : Don’t be lazy. The Binbohgami loves lazy people.
Keep your room warm, especially on New Year’s Eve. Binbohgami hates a warm room. On the other hand, Fukunokami loves it.
Keep your room clean through a whole year.
Then, be good and kind to everyone around you.

There is a story that the Binbohgami appeared at the house of a poor man. He showed the Binbohgami gracious hospitality. Then, the Binbohgami turned to the Fukunokami.
This story means that you should welcome everyone even if the person seems to wish you harm.

Can you do that?

Jdn-san, thanks for the questions.
Columbine, thanks for the revision!


How to Say Good Night in Japanese.

“Oyasuminasai(お休みなさい)” is usually translated as Good Night.

If I translate Good Night word for word into Japanese, it’s “ii yoru”. Good is ii, and Night is yoru.

If I translate “oyasuminasai” into English literally, it means “Get rest, please”. It is in imperative form.

Perhaps you would think this expression is said only to a person who is going to bed. However, you can say that both when you are going to bed and when another person is going to bed.

This might sound strange to you because we can say it when the listener isn’t going to bed. When you are going to bed, how you can say “Get rest” to other people who are not going to bed?

I’m sorry, I have no idea!

Thanks, Koir, as always!



Bon(or Obon) is one of the Japanese Buddhist customs to honor the spirits of ancestors. It takes places around August 15th in many areas all aver Japan.

During the Bon period, many people receive company holidays and visit their ancestors’ grave. We believe that the spirits of ancestors return to this world during this period.

We also believe that the bad spirits come to this world from Hell when Bon starts. It is said that the maw of hell is opening, and they stay around water and drag people into their world. So many Japanese people avoid playing around a river, a lake, or a beach around Bon.

Still, many people die in water during the Bon period. Do you believe this?

Thank you!

P.S. If you have any questions about my post or Japanese customs, don’ hesitate to ask!

Columbine, thanks!