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  1. zaty

    “By now, gomi bags were color-coded to match their content, labelled with the name of the city, and you had to write your name on the bags (not that anyone did though). Things were getting extreme.”

    WOW. 0_o extreme indeed.

    are they that keen in recycling and the green movement and stuff?

    it’s a bit surprising, and a bit tedious i guess, but it’s to such a bad idea though.. (minus the name part)

  2. zaty

    in malaysia secondary (and some primary) school students tend to go to tuition classes during non-school hours on weekdays+weekends, so i can quite understad the concept of ‘cram school’. though we don’t exactly implement cramming like crazy during the sessions. =P

    however, concerning the teaching in english issue, it fascinates me to find a person who is so dedicated in teaching. i have some teachers who just do it for the money/no job they are qualified for and they do it without passion. it doesn’t give a good impression on the subjects they teach, which is vital because i tend to be picky abotu stduying ^_^;; .

    anyhow, i’m glad that you’re passionate in your job.

    btw, i’m a stranger on the web that has stumbled upon your blog from blogsearchengine.com because i was bored.

    oh, and i’m currently doing my foundation, and after this i might be taking TESL. i think your blog is pretty helpful in understanding the workings of a student’s mind. ^_^ hope to see updates often! see ya around. =)

  3. zaty

    “Whenever you think mobile phones are getting a bit boring, or you want to see the possibilities, or what’s going to happen in the next few years, there’s only one place to look: Japan.”


  4. nick

    Thanks for the comments Zaty.

    “i have some teachers who just do it for the money/no job they are qualified for and they do it without passion.”

    I think a large number of ESL teachers are simply here for the experience of living in Asia. Teaching is just what they do to earn their keep and pay for their travels. Of course, during the interview process they’ll claim to be passionate about teaching, some may have even gotten qualified, but only to help them get that job abroad. I just feel sorry for the students.

  5. TrevorUK

    You’re not alone !

    When I first learnt of the kousuikakuritsu figures not so long ago, I researched what they were supposed to be exactly (I am still a meagre student of the Japanese language and it’s culture) so it was all new to me.

    Low and behold I found it nigh impossible to figure out how exactly the figure is created let alone how a poor gaijin like me is supposed to know what to make of it.

    If you want my advice, toss a coin then at least you can blame the coin!

  6. nick

    Filthy I was, but that’s all going to change! I’ve been packing recently for the move to our new house, and under a pile of old books I found…

    “Household Management for Men – Domestic God or Sofa Slob? Discover the art and science of household management and notice how much healthier and sexier you will feel! A small step for men, a giant leap for womankind!”

    I guess I better start reading…

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  8. Mike

    you should buy a new toilet my friend!!! or you could try using a chemical called t.s.p.
    when i bought my place it really helped remove all the dirt and grease that had accumulated over the years… i dont know if it will work on that toilet but its worth a shot.. i dont know if you can buy it in japan though… maybe i can bring some when i go to japan this year…
    i would also try going to another home centre and perhaps trying another chemical… maybe a decalcifier… im probably not spelling that right… anyway keep trying nick!!!

  9. nick

    t.s.p, eh? I’ll look that up and try to figure out what it’s called in Japan. Maybe I can order it over the net. I’ll try everything before wasting money on a new ‘bowl’… ha! I may as well flush my money down the toilet!

  10. Mike

    Loved the line, she makes a fortune by telling fortunes!!!! haha….

    anyway who else regularly reads this blog besides me? identify yourself!!!

    i read it cause its fun and because Nick is a good friend of mine…. how about you?

  11. nick

    The problem there Mike is that you have to register to comment, and most people are just passing through, and registering is just too much hassle. I often feel that way myself, so I totally understand the lack of comments.

    However, if I remove the registration requirement, I “predict” this blog, or at least my email box, will be spammed to death!

    So no pressure you LongCountdown readers. I know you’re there because my site stats tell me so (as opposed to my crystal ball). I’m just happy if you keep coming back and enjoy what you read.

    • nick

      Since my last comment, I’ve now enabled commenting without the need to login or register, and I’ve installed Spam Karma to delete the spam!

  12. Mike

    Wow, Nick as your #1 reader I think it looks great. It really looks like you can really get the business uh business done there! Its cool that you have a whole room to yourself and it looks very spacious! Now all you need is a copy of the uh Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones, uuuhhhh New York City.. uhhh you gotta be smart uhh , gotta use your brain uh… yeah!!!!

  13. nick

    It’s crazy to think I actually used to live in an apartment that size! In Tokyo, you’d probably pay around 80,000 yen a month in rent for that alone. I can’t believe my mortgage repayments are so cheap, yet I have so much space to live in… it certainly helps living in the countryside though.

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  15. Mike

    Nice pictures Nick!!! I cant wait to see your place in March and eat sausages with you and Keith!
    I think the cities in Japan are really overrated and I think its cool that you live out in the country side! I mean when you live in Japan its not like you are ever far from the city.
    There looks to be a lot of trees there and thats nice! mmmm I wish I was there!
    Wow Nick.. who’d have thunk it? As a young lad growing up in jolly ole England that you would one day have a smokin hot wife and home in the Japaneese country side! You’ve come a loooooooooooooooooooooooong way BABY!!!
    (by the way, visit my site!!!) I know im not supposed to do that but you know, you gotta have some fun! haha!!


  16. nick

    To follow up, they sent me the weight of the books which was 4.8kg, so I went to the U.K. post office site and used their calculator to work out the price of surface mail to Japan. Surprisingly, it was more expensive that the shipping costs Scholastic charged.

    So, in the end, I swallowed my pride and completed the order. Seven years of math curriculum and worksheets! Yep, this is all research material for my planned revamp of my Math Worksheet Wizard site.

  17. Mike

    Yeah shipping can be quite expensive when ordering online! I ordered some cosmetics for Kikumi and im sure they are like 3 small jars of make-up and its costing like $15 to send… and thats the slow rate… the actual cost of the cosmetics is $30 and so basically almost half the cost of the cosmetics is being added to the total cost of $45… kind of ridiculous and thats the price you pay for shopping on the net… great deals but they get you with the shipping…

  18. Mike

    Dont worry too much about Vista not being the biggest thing to ever hit Japan! There has been a bit of press here in North America but nothing too huge… in fact even Bill Gates has not made much of a fuss about it! I guess its cause everyone knows that if you are gonna have vista you might as well buy a new computer since it demands so much power… and yeah i guess xp does the job pretty good and then everyone is worried about vulnerabilities being exposed shortly after it comes out…blah blah blah….

    Anyway I cant wait to see your new system and I cant wait to get mine… hopefully soon after I return from Japan!

  19. Matt Dioguardi

    I don’t know if boycotting Family Mart is the answer. However, if you shop at Family Mart you are indirectly supporting their decision to sell the magazine. In the grand scheme of things, maybe that’s not such a big deal. I only note this because you state:

    “I’m not going to boycott Family Mart, as they are simply stocking something that some of their customers obviously want to buy.”

    The reasoning would better be phrased as, if I shop at Family Mart, I indirectly support the sale of that magazine, so I won’t shop there. Just to be clearer, so long as Family Mart exists it will be able to sell the magazine. Therefore by supporting Family Mart, you support it’s ability to sell the magazine. You’ve no obligation to do that. It’s not your responsiblity to ensure others have an outlet where they can buy this magazine.

    As far as sales, as best I can tell, for the publisher it’s their number one sales item at Amazon Japan. Could this just be foreigners snatching up copies … it’s possible, but I would guess in the current climate in Japan a tabloid magazine about foreign crime with lots of lurid stories would be quite popular. So if it’s selling fairly well, it shouldn’t be a surprise.

    By the way, you have nice blog.

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  22. nick

    “I indirectly support the sale of that magazine (by shopping at Family Mart)”.

    That’s one way of looking at it, but then you could argue that I indirectly support the selling of pornographic magazines and tobacco because they sell them, too. Actually, you may as well say I support deforestation, global warming and the depletion of earth’s natural resources because I use paper, drive a car and heat my house, but of course that’s just silly.

    I won’t buy the magazine for obvious reasons, but to not buy anything from convenience stores, or Amazon, seems to be going too far.

    I’m happy to see in an update that letters of complaint have convinced Family Mart to remove the publication from their shelves. This form of protest is initially the best way to go and in this case has been effective.

  23. nick

    I’m not sure Family Mart are treating this very seriously. Although they said they’d remove the magazine within seven days, I just found it at my local Family Mart and talked to the staff about its impending removal. They didn’t know anything about it.

    It’ll be interesting to see if it’s still there this time next week. I’ll keep you posted.

  24. Matt Dioguardi

    Nick, I’ll let this be my last comment, so your welcome to the last word.

    You state:
    “I indirectly support the selling of pornographic magazines and tobacco because they sell them, too. Actually, you may as well say I support deforestation, global warming and the depletion of earth’s natural resources because I use paper, drive a car and heat my house …”

    I think all of this is basically true in a kind of trivial sense, but we each individually have to pick and choose the fights that are most relevant and important to us.

    My point is not so much that one should feel guilty about going to Family Mart. Contrarily, my point is that one should not feel guilty about taking part in a boycott.

    I’ll add your blog to my links. :-)

  25. nick

    “my point is that one should not feel guilty about taking part in a boycott.”

    Absolutely. Stand up for what you believe in. I’ll complain personally to my local Family Mart next week if the magazine is still there.

    Thanks for the link, I’ve added you to my list of Japan blogs, too.

  26. Mike

    Yes, I have seen it many a time in Japan! One of my friend’s told me he saw a girl walking around in Japan with a shirt that read “Blow Job Queen”

    I dont know why they like it so much but I guess Western equivalent are white people walking around with Kanji tattoos that say the dumbest things.. One of my friend’s friends has the kanji word for “witch” tattooed on his shoulder… I dont think he knew the true meaning until it was already tattooed on him..

  27. wheelchair lifts

    You might want to take a look at this unique wheelchair lift system http://www.wheelchairaccess.co.uk The System is imbedded into a staircase turning it into a retracting set of stairs that reveal a platform lift for wheelchair access. These stairs can be clad in the same existing material or whatever material the customer requires, from carpet to marble. Internal/External access, perfect even for listed buildings.

  28. nick

    Well thank you ‘wheelchair lifts’ for your advert, I mean, comment. I will be sure to recommend your marble stairs and platform lift to all the disabled Japanese I know. Oh, and of course, I’ll be sure to point out that your system is perfect for even listed buildings, which is clearly a great concern among all the Japan-residing, English-speaking, disabled readers of this blog.

  29. Mike

    mmmm I know the child is supposed to choose which nationality they want when they become 20 years of age but to be honest would Japan really know if the child kept their British citizenship? I don’t think that they would and I think there are quite a number of people in Canada who are Japanese by birth but have Canadian citizenship and have just kept it a secret… woooo seeeeecccrrrrrreeeeeeeetttssss!!!!!!

  30. La Flor

    not that i have children, but i strongly believe you should make sure that Peanut has 2 nationalities up until he’s 20. oh, and i *really* hope that your name will be registered somewhere on his/her documents. you never know what can happen.

    p.s. Japan doting husbands

  31. nick

    Thanks La Flor, that certainly seems like the sensible thing to do. “Japan doting husbands” is a good read. It’s funny when it says he “recently started calling his wife by her name instead of grunting at her” !!! Classic.

  32. Mum

    Dad and I have been reading your blogs. They are very entertaining.
    With regards to Peanut’s nationality, I think she should be dual.
    Lots of love
    Mum and Dad

  33. Nick

    Wow, mum and dad! I didn’t know you read my blog! This is a pleasant surprise! Dual nationality definitely seems to be the way to go, at least for 20 years.

  34. nick

    (One week later) Just a quick update to say my local Family Mart have taken it off the shelves. Let’s hope it stays off.

  35. Mike

    Hey looks like you got LC straightened out.. nice computer, it looks sexy!!! Im sure you will get all these kinks worked out soon enough and i guess its bound to happen when windows releases new software only once every 5 years..


  36. Mike

    Hey hey! The comment board is up again!!!

    Its kind of funny that you would miss video games of all things since Japan is the home of Nintendo, and Playstation!!!

    I hear you though on the shoes, baths, and the beds! Although I do like the baths since they are so deep, but unfortunately very short!

    I miss Japan!

  37. nick

    “Hey hey! The comment board is up again!!!”

    Sometimes it shows, sometimes not. Sometimes you can’t even see the post. Talk about random behaviour.

    Most games here are either RPGs, baseball, or Dance Dance Revolution type games. It’s why the Xbox has failed so miserably… just no games the Japanese are interested in.

  38. Mike

    Hey Nick,

    You crack me up! Dancing with another man…. and I love the picture you included! Good for you! Its cool that you are still going and I agree that its important to have something else to do other than be on the computer all day! I should learn to dance!

  39. Keith

    I just could not help myself making a comment here!! Nick you a man amongst men and I’m so happy to see some gaiety in your dance steps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You never needed Mami to make youself a man and it brings tears to my eyes. So be it that they are tears of laughter but it is something that you should be proud of and I’m sure one day you will be roving around the dance floor with the fleet footedness of the great Fred Astaire!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  40. Simon Rizzello

    Hey Nick!

    Did you hear about the take back comeback then?

    Minus Robbie Williams – who is in rehab for dinking too much coffee? T*at.