Double glazing

Japan: So, what’s double glazing?

Me: Seriously? You don’t know double glazing?

Japan: Nope.

Me: Well, it’s a window that’s glazed twice with a space between them. Two windows at once. Cool in summer, warm in winter.

Japan: Sounds cozy.

Me: It is. It’s a form of insulation.

Japan: Ah, that again. Well, traditionally, my houses were made out of wood so-

Me: Forget it.


May 26, 2012. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.


Me: Have you ever heard of insulation?

Japan: Insuwhat?

Me: Insulation.

Japan: That stuff they give to diabetics?

Me: No. That stuff that keeps your house warm in winter and cool in summer.

Japan: You mean a wall?

Me: No. The stuff that insulates the wall and the room behind it. Normally some kind of heavy duty foam between the external and internal walls.

Japan: What are you talking about? Why would you do that?

Me: Because it keeps things warmer or cooler depending on the temperature outside.

Japan: Ah, right. Well, traditionally my houses were made out of wood which would do something similar in the summer and then in winter i’d just use the kotatsu thing that you neither understand nor appreciate. I never needed this insulting stuff.

Me: Insulation.

Japan: Right.

Me: Are your houses made out of wood now?

Japan: No, not really. They’re mainly made out of concrete and stone and bricks and stuff.

Me: So, why don’t you use insulation?

Japan: Erm…

Me: Is it because it makes the buildings more earthquake prone?

Japan: Well…

Me: Is insulation massively expensive?

Japan: Er…

Me: Does hot, humid summer air rot the insulation?

Japan: Yeah…no….

Me: So why?

Japan: I’m really not sure.

Me: And your walls seem a little on the thin side. As if the people designing your apartment buildings spent all the money on the foundations and had to throw together the rest of it with tissue paper and left over plywood. I can hear my next door neighbour’s alarm clock.

Japan: Could be convenient if you both get up at the same time.

Me: And his bowel movements.

Japan: Hmm…

Me: A friend of mine gets woken up to the rhythmic tones of the fella next door jerking off every morning.

Japan: …

Me: I mean, what’s going on? What’s with the lack of insulation and less-is-more approach to internal walls?

Japan: Well, as i said, traditionally my houses were made out if wood and-

Me: Traditionally? Traditionally you didn’t have bullet trains or smart phones or shit washing machines or 3D HD MP3 DVD TVs or manga or sky scrapers. So why no insulation and decent walls? Why?

Japan: You feel quite strongly about this, don’t you? Does it really make that much difference?

Me: Definitely. Just like double glazing.

Japan: What’s that?

Me: Fucking hell.

May 23, 2012. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.


Me: What’s nomihodai?

Japan: Nomihodai takes place in bars and restaurants. It means “all you can drink”.

Me: All you can drink?

Japan: Yep. It usually comes with a time limit and everybody pays the same flat rate which isn’t too expensive actually.

Me: All you can drink?

Japan: Yes.

Me: Like a buffet?

Japan: Yeah, right, kind of.

Me: But for…drinks?

Japan: Right.

Me: And these are common.

Japan: Of course. Everybody enjoys a good nomihodai.

Me: What can you drink?

Japan: Well, alcohol. Beers, wines, spirits, soju, anything that’s on the menu really. Don’t they have this in England?

Me: Hell no. People would die.

Japan: Why would people die?

Me: Because it’s all you can drink. Does nobody die?

Japan: No, nobody dies. Quite a few people have difficulty standing up. A lot of people fall asleep on the last train and end up at the other side of the city. Some business men will just snooze in McDonalds or on a dry patch of pavement. A fair few others carry on drinking at a karaoke room.

Me: And fight.

Japan: Excuse me?

Me: Well, if nobody dies there must be lots of people fighting. It’s all you can drink.

Japan: There are no fights. I don’t see the connection between drinking as much as you can in a short time scale and fighting with complete strangers.

Me: Really? In England we’re told all the time that binge drinking is the reason for all our social problems.

Japan: It’s not really an issue for me.

Me: But don’t people dress up in fancy dress costume and vomit in bus shelters and harass taxi drivers and invade accident and emergency departments of hospitals and inflict random damage on the general infrastructure of provincial cities?

Japan: Er, no.

Me: Really? Why not? People are getting drunk.

Japan: Well, I don’t want to sound like an arsehole but maybe the problem isn’t the alcohol that people are pouring down their necks but the people that are doing the drinking.

Me: I never really thought of it like that. Shall we ask England about it?

Japan: Sure.

Me:  England?

England: Yeah?

Me: Hi there. Japan says that the reason your people get drunk and fight in the streets is because they’re all arseholes.

Japan: No, wait a sec-

England: You what? Japan, are you trying to say i’m not friendly?

Japan: No, i didn’t say that. What i meant was-

England: Don’t get smart with me, dickhead.

Japan: Hang on, i’m-

England: Are you looking at my girlfriend?

Japan: Huh? Girlfriend? I didn’t know you had one. I thought you were still America’s bitch.

England: Cheeky fucker. Come here you and let me slap you.

Me: Alright alright, calm down. Come on, listen. Why don’t we just sit down and have a nice cold beer?

England: Yeah, ok, that’d be nice.

Japan: Yeah, why not? Nomihodai?

May 14, 2012. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.


Me: Hi Japan. Can we do a quiz about bicycles?

Japan: Sure. Go for it quiz master.

Me: Great. On a scale of one to ten, how much do you like bicycles?

Japan: Fifteen.

Me: Correct. How many bicycles do you have? Twelve thousand, twelve million or one hundred and twelve million?

Japan: Yes.

Me: Correct. What piece of cycling advice does the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department issue?

Japan: For people to cycle on the road and not on the pavement.

Me: Correct. And what piece of cycling advice does the Tokyo Metropolitan Government issue?

Japan: For people to cycle on the pavement and not on the road.

Me: Correct. What the fuck is going on?

Japan: I don’t know.

Me: Correct. Is it legal or illegal to ride a bicycle while holding an umbrella?

Japan: Illegal.

Me: Correct. Is it legal or illegal to ride a bicycle while using a mobile phone?

Japan: Illegal.

Me: Correct. Is it legal or illegal to ride a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol?

Japan: Illegal.

Me: Correct. Are people ever cautioned for these infringements?

Japan: No, not really.

Me: Correct. Why not?

Japan: Because i’ve got tens of millions of people using bicycles all day, every day, all the time, everywhere. It’s almost unpoliceable.

Me: Correct. Can i park my bicycle anywhere?

Japan: No. Only in designated parking zones or bicycle parks.

Me: Correct. And what happens if i park my bicycle outside a designated parking zone or bicycle park?

Japan: Your bicycle will get a little ticket put on it by the authorities asking you politely to move it somewhere else and if you don’t it may eventually get taken away on a truck with all the other naughty bicycles.

Me: Correct. And how often does that happen?

Japan: I don’t know. It seems completely random.

Me: Correct. Why?

Japan: Because i’ve got tens of millions of people using bicycles all day, every day, all the time. People park them anywhere they like. I don’t blame them. It’s unfathomable.

Me: Correct. Who steals bicycles?

Japan: Nobody. They’re not stolen. They’re just relocated.

Me: Correct. And where are they relocated to?

Japan: Normally outside a drunk businessman’s apartment late at night because he can’t be arsed walking home. Or to China.

Me: Correct. And what can be done about the small yet significant amount of relocation of bicycles?

Japan: Nothing.

Me: Correct. Why not?

Japan: Well, i’ve already told you haven’t i? It’s because i’ve got tens of millions of people using bicycles all the time, every day, everywhere. It’s wonderfully mind boggling.

Me: Correct. And that’s the end of the quiz. Well done. You’ve won a unicycle.

Japan: A what? Why?

Me: They seem to be increasingly popular amongst your young children. I see kids all the time falling off them in the parks. It’s quiet amusing.

Japan: Isn’t that illegal?

Me: No.

Japan: Hmm. I’ll have to look into that.

May 6, 2012. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.