Japanese ball goes on wild Rube Goldberg adventure

A video short that’s all about how even balls have to deal with the realities of the 21st century, including the likes of kidnapping, for some reason.

Actually it’s all an excuse to fire up a nice Rube Goldberg contraption and send the ball on a wild adventure :-)

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And third place in the most disturbing Simpsons intro category goes to….

This futuristic take from Don Hertzfeldt:

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Japanese and religion – a very different look at belief?

Some say that to truly understand Asia, you must be able to hold two conflicting ideas in your head at once.

This also seems to apply to religion – perhaps especially so in Japan.

I could be very mistaken, but I think that Japan is one of the few countries in the entire world where two major religions have existed side-by-side for a very long time, without it leading to wars.

Yes, there are issues with that argument if we go back to the ‘Christian century’ and Tokogawa’s persecution of Christians, but if we look at Shinto and Buddhism, by far the biggest religions in the country today, it still remains true to the best of my knowledge.

I think the main reason for this could be two-fold…and that that sentence might be a pun or play on words….

One is that neither religion is as dismissive of others as it has traditionally been the case with Western monotheistic religions. Hell, for a long time Shinto wasn’t really one religion as such – and the same can be said for the various branches of Buddhism present in Japan.

The other is how Japanese people have melded the two together. Like many things in Japan, religion is to a large degree a case of mix-and-match. Birth and death is mostly Buddhist, while marriages to a large degree belong to Shinto. New Year’s (a very important celebration in Japan) is split between the two, while Obon (probably he holiest holiday in the country) is Shinto.

Maybe it also has a lot to do with how the Japanese themselves view religion. A recent study asked Japanese people whether they considered themselves religious. Over half said no. However, further examination revealed that over 85% of people took part in Buddhist and Shinto ceremonies at least several times a year.

It’s been my experience that the ritual and taking part – to a degree because everybody else is doing it (here in a good way) – is as important to Japanese people as the religious aspects themselves.

And I think it’s a massive positive in relation to Japanese people being open to religious differences, and that there can be more than one true answer to a given existential question.

The monotheistic religions seem to be opposite in this regards, and more like this:

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Pictures from Japan: The Love Hotels

This gallery contains 12 photos.

Japan is home to the famous love hotels, which can be found dotted around various areas of Tokyo, as well as other major cities – and probably also in towns and villages across the country. In a country where it … Continue reading

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Japanese kids – the world’s smallest janitors?

In Japan, schools have a lot less need for janitors than western schools do. A large part of the reason is that Japanese kids from a very young age are tasked with keeping their classrooms clean, as well as partaking in daily duties like serving lunch and cleaning the dishes afterwards.

The thought is to install a sense of responsibility in them at a young age, I guess – whatever the cause, I think it’s just a nice thing to teach kids, as seen here in a short video:

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Say hello to the Japanese version of Jackass

There really are very few things funnier than watching someone get hurt. I know, it makes me a bad person, but I don’t think I’m the only one who finds others’ physical pain amusing. Otherwise a show like Jackass wouldn’t really have gone anywhere…

It’s the same in Japan, and one of the country’s most popular comic shows, Gaki Tsukai, is the prime example.

They’ve been around to donkey’s years, and there’s loads of good stuff to choose from, but this one remains my favourite:

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With ‘all due respect’ you need a translation guide

Being part British means being both part of and outside of the modus operandi of Brits when it comes to telling you that you’re an idiot.

Sure, some will tell you to your face, using that term, but more often than not, the Brits are more sophisticated than that. Or sneaky. Which ever you prefer.

Like the Japanese, Brits have a way of speaking ‘around’ the matter. It just wouldn’t be cricket to address an issue head on…especially not since there are all of these delightful ways of telling people what you think of them while at the same time sounding utterly polite.

Take the expression ‘with all due respect’ for example. Notice that the amount of respect due is not specified. Usually, it’s about zero….and so ‘with all due respect’ is often a gentlemanly way of saying ‘your statement is utter excrement and I will completely disregard it from now on’.

No wonder we need a translation guide. And luckily we have the internet where…well, you can find everything, including a translation guide between what the English say and what they actually mean. Enjoy :-)


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