Monday, February 22, 2010

“Take a sad song, and make it better.”

We have a short meeting at school every morning, where the teachers make announcements and requests and the principal closes with some factoid. Awards the school might have won, how fast the flu season was approaching, or more recently, whether we could expect a snowstorm in the afternoon. Today he said,

“Today’s date is twenty-two, two, twenty-two.” Moment of silence. “Well, that’s unrelated.”

“Emily,” I hear you say, “How on earth are they calculating the date where you are?”

Though Japan often uses the Western year – 2010 – they are just as likely in official documents and announcements to use the era system. This is based on the emperor’s period of rule. This era, "Heisei,” began the day Akihito became emperor, and when he dies (in ten thousand years) it will become his posthumous title. That was twenty-two years ago, so February 22nd becomes "Heisei twenty-two, month two, day twenty-two.”


Japanese cellphones are highly decorated – some people might have so many things dangling from it that their arm hurts if they keep it raised. Here is an interesting video displaying various styles:

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