Thursday, March 4, 2010

“And the wild regrets, and the bloody sweats, none know so well as I.”

My mother asked the other day what the Japanese opinion of Toyoda’s tearful apology was, but I had no idea. I haven’t heard any of the teachers talking about it. But then I saw this article which sheds an interesting light on it, calling it “one of the typical rituals of a Japanese executive under attack” and saying Japan is “a society that has always had a soft spot for such displays of emotion.”

In an expat forum, I saw the suggestion that American audiences are likely to associate such displays of remorse with politicians and celebrities who have committed serious transgressions but are still trying to wring pity – adulterers and drug-users and the like – and thus we are more likely to be skeptical.


Here’s some nostalgic and rather melancholy pictures of Japan then and now.


Japanese toilets are bizarre enough, but the equivalent of MythBusters, ‘Spring of Trivia’ had to ask, “What would happen if you replaced the washlet spray with a fire hose?” The answer being, pretty much what you would expect. As they used a fire truck from Nara, the city’s mascot Sento-kun is also present.


Colleges are making an effort to teach their charges basic life skills and manners. Judging by some of my students, I am not surprised that they’ve found it necessary. 

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