Haiku reflections on Japan

See ye later Memrise


There once was a site called Memrise

which when I started was like the sunrise

but it then went to town

on being a clown

so I thought I’d go elsewhere to memorize

Yeah I thought I’d start with a Limerick this time to express my opinion of Memrise which I haven’t visited in over 2 months or so.   I just don’t enjoy it anymore, mostly because the founders have really gone to town on dragging it down with their clowning around with the format.   There were some nice fellow learners on it at times.  I might return out of curiosity (to see how much I ‘have to’ water because it keeps bringing up words you know you have long memorised for watering) but elsewhere my adventure continues.

Thanks all the same – it was mostly nice while it lasted.

Haiku reflections on Japan, Snapshots of Japan

Women’s Day and colourful language

Happy Women’s day 

to women, vulnerable

and tough ones, worldwide


Life is still a challenge for many women out there in various countries and in various ways – whether it be crazy laws barring them from very basic rights (education for example), having female genital mutilation forced on them as children (but not just as children), being forced as children to marry older (sometimes much older) men, discrimination based on their gender preference, domestic abuse, discrimination in the workplace (glass ceilings, even getting into work in the first place or back into work) or sexual harassment – セクハラ – in both the workplace and the street when they’re just going around minding their own business.

Regarding the last example above, I’ve had verbal comments of a certain nature thrown at me by total strangers (but not just strangers sadly).   This is tough but do you respond to strangers or not? Responding is only giving them the attention they want, not responding encourages them to go on and on and but in any case you’re not responsible for what they think of you (at first I struggled with that phrase ‘it’s none of your business what others think of you’ but it does make sense).

You’d love to ask them what their mother/sister/aunt/daughter would think of what they just said and what they would say if their own mother/sister/aunt/daughter had such a comment made to them.  They’d probably come up with some half-witted response because they’re half-wits.  No actually.  Total dimwits.  They’d then go on and say it to some other woman no doubt.   Or shocker they might not say it to anyone ever again but you wouldn’t know that at the time and you may feel that you gave them a little bit too much attention even while trying to make a valid point to them.  Keep walking or walk away if you’re able to.  Being verbally abused like this is the verbal version of what I imagine chikans are about.  They are trying to defile you in some way.  Thank god most countries have not had to introduce separate train carriages for women, as in Japan to give one example (I think either India or Mexico or both were planning to bring them in too) and I hope it never becomes necessary either.   It would be sad if it became second nature for city councils worldwide to build these carriages.   Dare I say it also drags good men (of which there are plenty) down with the bad?

However, if you’re in Japan (or anywhere else but this is a Japan blog obviously) and you are groped either in a train carriage or anywhere else, a couple of sentences in Japanese, which might help if you have the strength in you at that paralysing moment to speak at all are: ‘私から手をはなせ!’ is ‘Let go of me’ (lit: get your hands away from me or off me – it can be shortened to ‘はなせ!’) or another I’ve heard which I’m unsure of but would use if I had to is you could grab the person’s hand (I know, you wouldn’t even want to touch the person but bear with me), hold it up high and say 誰の手ですか?’whose hand is this?’  I don’t really know any effective swear words in Japanese sorry.

I was in an East European city a while ago (first time – great city!) and as I had no idea of the language and like to learn a bit of the lingo in advance I made a point of learning ‘let go of me!’ at least.  I had no hassle there in the end – verbal or physical and I have to say I didn’t expect to even though I perceive the men from the country in question to be quite macho – and I would have used a lot stronger language than that to be honest (and in English so there was no mistaking my dislike of any unwelcome attention!), but I didn’t have to use any in the end.   They wouldn’t deserve my effort to try to remember it on the spot in their own language anyway and well most people know what F*** **f means anyway!   Pardon the language but it is our choice what language we use and some people (women and men alike) don’t like to hear women using such strong language which is sexism as well*.  Saying you’re not interested or trying to think of other diplomatic rejections is polite but not enough unfortunately for some men. Bad language also creates adrenaline, I read recently, which is of course handy in threatening situations.

* That said there is one word that makes me baulk and it is the c word that ends in t.   I’ve had it used against me (by a family member) and thought about uttering it to others (and I’ve actually used it against inanimate objects).  But I hate it and try not to use it. I’ve revised this paragraph but it’s the same thing as before only shorter.

Anyway girls (and some boys) remember it’s not about you it’s very much their issue (that includes girls slagging off other girls by the way) just in case you don’t hear/read it enough.

Haiku reflections on Japan, International or other matters

Take it easy Abe PM

Abe giving me

the creeps with his bowing down

To the white house creep


So, Shinzo Abe is creating jobs now for Americans.  How good of him.  He seems to be really bending over backwards to show how solicitous he is.  Shouldn’t he focus on creating jobs for Japanese, especially Japanese women who he should be bringing into the work place with steadier jobs or back into the work place after pregnancy or other reasons for having to temporarily leave?  I find it worrying how he bows down to this creep.    I know he needs outside help what with North Korea’s most recent action but it need not be America (how about NATO which Trump dislikes) and it makes me cringe. Meanwhile, Trump’s bromance with Putin is said to be cooling down. Maybe Abe wants to replace him. Anyway, he almost puts me off wanting to go to Japan for another thing.

Another person I don’t have much respect for is our own PM who is under fire here at home over internal affairs but also under fire over the annual St. Patrick’s day trip to the White House where a bowl of shamrock is always presented to the POTUS.  I hate this tradition anyway as it reeks of what is called shamroigery (shamroig is Irish for shamrock as you can guess, so shamroigery is overstating nonsensical supposedly Irish symbols  – if would be paddywhackery if Ireland were being obliged to do it by the US and they didn’t want to though maybe that is also the case as they can’t seem to get out of doing it year after year!!).  This is the case especially as the Irish government leader takes part in it.  I don’t care who the POTUS is.  Mr Orangina or his predecessors (with Irish links or not).  He says he is going over to take care of the status of illegal Irish immigrants and says he intends to call out the man on his foreign policies – which I don’t think he will have the nerve to do – but this would be a great excuse to stop the stupid, cringe-worthy shamrock tradition once and for all.   It might seem trivial to complain about this but even though this is an act of friendship to the people of America not just the president, and America still welcomes the friendship of other countries especially now I’m sure, Trump should not be treated the same as previous presidents and it is still nonsense to give something which has no real meaning (and which I’m guessing most Americans don’t give a stuff about). I mean, why doesn’t he just wear a leprechaun’s top hat while he’s at it?  Well, they could ‘accidentally’ drop the bowl of shamrock on his head if they must bring it over at all. Another thing which makes me cringe about my turf though I am generally not unhappy to be the nationality I am.

OK, he has already called the guy racist and dangerous during the elections which is not obsequious like Abe’s announcements (who has also said that America’s internal policy is America’s business – no coincidence there – but it’s foreign policy all this wall business and keeping out people from those 7 countries no matter how temporarily) but he did that from the safety of this side of the Atlantic and then tried to back pedal on that almost immediately after Trump was elected.  He makes me sick to my stomach as does Abe.  It seems to me that Abe has strong right-wing tendencies so I can see why he gets on so well with Trump but our guy shares Trump’s arrogance (though thankfully not misogyny or racism from what I can see).  He might soon be out the door anyway for his actions over this side of the water.  With any luck Trump’s reign will not last as long.