Tag Archives: U.S.A

Little League World Champions…again

31 Aug

The 2015 Little League World Series just ended. As it is every August, it was played in Pennsylvania, USA.
Many times the champion game has been played between USA vs Japan…and it was this year too.

I’ve written a post about the 2010 World Series that Japan won against America. (Click here to read it.)

Japan won the 2015 World Series, too.  The final score was Japan (18) – USA (11).

Japan are the 2015 Little League World Series Champions.

Congratulations to all of the teams from every country! They all played well!

The Japanese team celebrating their victory.

Did you watch the game on TV?  Even better…were you there at the stadium in America to see it?

Only-in-America

10 Dec

I’ve lived in Japan for most of my life now, and I have only been back to visit America a few times. In fact, my most recent visit there was over ten years ago ( Click here to read about the reverse-culture-shock I experienced on that trip.)

I was thinking about some things that seem normal to most Americans…but are actually unique to America and kinda odd to people who don’t live there.

1. Flags everywhere / “Pledge of Allegiance”
Every country flies their national colors. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But the American flag is flown everywhere, everyday in the U.S. Even car dealerships and in school classrooms.
Speaking of school classrooms, American children stand with their hand on their heart, facing the flag in the classroom, and recite and pledge of allegiance to the U.S. flag.
A bit like North Korea.

pledge

2. “Sales tax” –
By this I mean, the price shown on the products in stores in America is the pre-sales tax price.
To be honest though, it was the same way in Japan when I first arrived here. At that time, sales tax here was 3% and the after-tax price wasn’t listed on the price-tags. (Just before I came to Japan, there was no sales tax here at all!)
But in 1997, the law was changed that all stores in Japan must show the after-tax price on their products (the sales tax went up to 5% that year too. (Currently, it’s 8%)).

3. “Toilet stalls” –
When people from other countries visit America, the public restrooms are quite a culture shock! The doors are too small! It’s disturbing when you’re using a public toilet but don’t feel like you have privacy.

public-bathroom

4. “Tipping” –
There is no tipping in Japan. When I visited America, I was never sure who to tip or how much! I had to check my guidebook. Waitresses, taxi drivers, hotel staff, bartenders, et al. It felt like, no matter how mediocre the service, I had to tip everyone! And after tips were factored in, the cost for many things in America were actually higher than in Japan.

5. “Guns” –
Besides the police and military, there are virtually no gun owners in Japan.
All of the gun-related violence in America that is reported in the news is sad and shocking.

6. “Alcohol rules” –
In America, beer can’t be enjoyed outdoors in public. And there are hours (and even certain days) that stores don’t sell alcohol.
Why?

There are beer vending machines in Japan.

I’m not putting America down.
I’m just pointing out some peculiarities about the culture of the country of my birth. Every country has them…and sometimes it takes stepping outside the country and experiencing a different culture to see them.

What are some unique cultural peculiarities about America, Japan or any other country that you’ve noticed?

Most popular Mothers Day gifts

10 May

Tomorrow (2014 May 11th) is 母の日 (Mothers Day ).

Did you buy your mother a gift?
At least say 「お母さん、ありがとう!」 (“Thank you, Mother!“)

What are the most popular gifts that people buy for their mothers on this day in Japan and in America?

As I’m sure you can imagine, the types of gifts that Japanese people buy for Mothers Day are quite different from what is commonly bought in America!

Here is a list of this year’s top ten Mothers Day gifts in America and then a list of this year’s top ten Mothers Day gifts in Japan:

 

Top Ten Mothers Day gifts in America

#10 – Flowers
#9 – Candles
#8 – Gift card (gift certificate)
#7 – Gift basket
basket
#6 – Home spa treatment
#5 – Home decor items
#4 – Chocolate or other sweets
choco
#3 – House plants
#2 – Perfume
#1 – Spa treatment

Top Ten Mothers Day gifts in Japan

#10 – 「バスグッズ」 (Bath items)
#9 – 「花」 (Flowers)
#8 – 「ネックレス」 (Necklace)
#7 – 「傘」 (Umbrella)
kasa
#6 – 「名入れグッズ」 (Personalized items)

sake

(This wine bottle says “Mother, thanks for everything” and her name.)

#5 – 「家電」 (Home appliance)
#4 – 「財布」 (Wallet)
#3 – 「バッグ」 (Handbag / purse)
#2 – 「キッチングッズ」 (Kitchenware)
#1 - 「マッサージ器」 (Massaging item (massage chair, etc))
chair

What are popular Mothers Day gifts in your country?

Thanksgiving

29 Nov

Yesterday was the Thanksgiving Day holiday in America.

I like Thanksgiving. And I like my daughters to know about their U.S. heritage.

So, lucky for me, my wife is an excellent cook!

She makes a wonderful, American-style Thanksgiving dinner for us every year!

In honor of the holiday, everyone should watch one of the greatest comedy movies ever … 「 大災難P.T.A. 」(“Planes, Trains and Automobiles”) !

image

It’s a man’s crazy adventure to get home to his family for Thanksgiving.

Have you ever watched this movie before?

Why Japan?

17 Dec

I’m an American and I like America. I’d visit there more often if it wasn’t so expensive (especially for five people) to take such a long trip…but I have been living in Japan since 1990. Most of my life now.
So the few occasions that I have been able to visit America, it has felt more like a foreign country to me. It’s fun to visit and experience the culture…but it feels nice to return home—to Tokyo.

Every once in a while someone will ask me why I decided to live in Japan permanently.

Well…it’s not easy to explain why you love your city. Especially to someone whose never seen it.

I live in Tokyo rather than anywhere else in the world because

☆ it’s very convenient;
– With few exceptions, anything you want to buy, to eat, to drink or to do can be found in Tokyo.
– The public transportation system has bus stops, train stations and subway stations everywhere and the buses, subways and trains run often and on time. Precisely on time.

☆ the service is top-notch;
– No matter where you go–a high-end department store, a “mom and pop” store, a five-star restaurant, a fast-food joint–the place will surely be clean, the staff will be courteous, and whatever you buy will be of the highest quality.

☆ everything’s on time;
T.V. shows in Japan are scheduled to start at precise times such 5:57PM rather than at general times such as 6PM. And they start exactly on time.
– The bus, subway and trains have time tables…and they’re also exactly on time. Everyday, I catch the 7:11AM train to work…it’s scheduled at 7:11 and that’s when it arrives at my station. Not 7:10 or 7:12…but at 7:11 everyday.

☆ people are polite and think of others;
– Not only with words such as ‘excuse me’, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, but people here are considerate others with actions:
no one talks on their cell-phone while they’re indoors; everyone cleans up after themselves at movie theaters, ball games, parks, etc.
– If you misplace your property, it’s quite likely to be returned to you.

☆ there’s so much to do;
– museums, zoo, amusement parks, festivals, and other events – even after over twenty-two years here, I still enjoy going out.

☆ the city is beautiful;

skyline

But the recent shootings in America at a movie theater, a shopping mall, a hospital and most shocking – an elementary school have reminded me of the main reason that I decided to raise my children in Japan rather than in America:

safety;
All of those shootings in America were tragic and make me wonder why so many Americans think it’s important or necessary for anyone to own a gun.
I recently read online that Florida (the U.S. state that I grew up in) recently issued the state’s one-millionth gun license. It’s unbelievable!
Also unbelievable was when I read that many states in America have decided to legalize marijuana.

In Japan, drugs are very illegal and gun licenses are extremely rare and difficult to get.
Basically, only the police, the military* (* “self-defense force”) and hunters can legally own a gun. For a hunter to get a gun license, he must attend shooting and safety classes, pass an exam, pass a mental-health evaluation, and pass a criminal history background check. The police also must inspect the gun locker that the applicant intends to keep the weapon.
Also, the gun license is only valid for three years…the whole process must be repeated every three years.
Needless to say, almost no one even bothers to apply for a gun license in Japan.

samurai

The crime rate in Japan in very low…especially violent crime. But when a murder or robbery does occur, a knife is the usual weapon of choice for violent criminals here—therefore the casualty rate is low.

Also, Japanese police aren’t so quick to draw their weapons as they are in America.  It’s a news story if a police unholsters his gun!

I can’t understand why guns are so popular in America.
They’re not very useful for home security. Most burglars break into a home when either the home-owner is out or asleep. An alarm and/or a guard dog would be much more useful in those situations.
A dog is loyal to it’s owner too…unlike a firearm. If an unarmed burglar finds a hidden gun in the house he’s broken into, suddenly he’s an armed burglar.
And how many accidental deaths result from mishandling of guns by children or drunk or careless owners? Many, it seems.

Americans say that it’s their “right to bear arms”. But, if no one else had one, would you really need a tool that’s sole purpose is to end life?

Japan compared to America…statistically

23 Jul

From the NationMaster website, I found a long list of interesting statistics comparing Japan and America (any countries can be compared on that website…but since I was born in America and have been living in Japan for more than half of my life, I decided to compare those two countries.)

According to that website:

– America has three times as much crime as Japan,
– America has the world’s highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Japan has the third (was the second highest until China surpassed Japan recently),
– American school classrooms have an average of 18 students per class, and Japan has an average of 35.
30% of Americans are considered obese but only 3.2% of Japanese are.
– Japan has a 99% literacy rate, America’s is 86%
– America drinks 10 times as many soft drinks as Japan…but Japan drinks 71% more alcohol than America.

Ichiro played for America in game against Japan in Tokyo

26 Mar

The American Major League Baseball (MLB) teams Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics (A’s) are here in Tokyo, Japan now to play a total of six pre-season games at the Tokyo Dome.

They’re scheduled to play two games against each other on 2012 March 28th and 29th.

But before those games, the two American teams will play games against the Japanese baseball teams the Tokyo Giants and the (Osaka) Hanshin Tigers.

Today the Seattle Mariners played the Hanshin Tigers and lost.

Ichiro (Suzuki) and the Seattle Mariners lost to the Hanshin Tigers in the Tokyo Dome today.

And then, after that game, the Oakland A’s played the Tokyo Giants and won.

This was third-generation Japanese, Ken Suzuki's (of the Oakland A's) first trip to Japan.
The A's beat the Tokyo Giants in today's game.

Tomorrow, the two Japanese teams and the two American teams will change opponents (it will be Oakland A’s vs Hanshin Tigers and then the Seattle Mariners vs Tokyo Giants).

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(Images in this post are from SeattlePi.com, VancouverSun.com, and 読売新聞.co.jp).

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