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Thanks for your comments on this topic, and thanks for all the interesting links to other videos. Actually, there is one thing that really puzzles me about smoking in Japan.

Since I have been in Japan, the anti-smoking movement has grown much stronger. For example, when I was working in Sapporo, teachers used to smoke in front of students in the staffroom, but that would never happen now. Also, restaurants never used to have non-smoking sections, but now there are lots of completely smoke-free places.

Of course, I am very much in favour of these developments, but I can’t understand who is driving them. Japan is controlled by old men, and old men are one of the biggest groups of smokers. I wonder where the pressure to push for more anti-smoking measures is coming from?

Anyway, here is some feedback on your comments.

Can we call it commercial?
Can we call it a commercial?

So it was predictable to me.
So it was predictable.

I wonder if you remember one of the commercials of JT(Japan Tobacco Inc.) which was aired a while ago.
Nice sentence.

It’s none of my business whether smokers smoke, but it really makes me angry when they smoke where they shouldn’t.
Another nice sentence!

It reminded me of the very shocking news from Indonesia.
It reminded me of a very shocking video from Indonesia.

no adults around him aren’t stopping him!
the adults around him aren’t stopping him!

An annual survey in 2012 by JT said smoking rate had fallen to 21.1 percent, hitting a record low for the 17th straight year.
I really hope that’s true, but I still see smokers everywhere I look.

so why they have to be made as people from other countries please?
so why should we care what people from other countries think?

We had been busy when our house was being built
We were really busy when our house was being built (A-Z: past perfect tense)

seeing children asking adults cigarette is shocking.
seeing children asking adults for a cigarette is shocking.

It is interesting to compare how different countries try to educate people or let people know of the dangers of smoking.
Nice sentence.

I don’t think always refusing changes is a good thing, either, but do TV shows and commercials really need to change just because TV producers or advertisers want to try their abilities(skills)? Do the general public really want it?
If you don’t experiment, you will never have any failures, but you will never have any real successes, either. I don’t think the general public in Japan want anything different because they don’t know that TV can be so much better than this. TV in the UK has a lot of absolute rubbish, but there is really great stuff there as well. I gave up watching Japanese TV shows because they all seem exactly the same: the same “talent,” the same format, and the same content. As you say, however, that is probably because I don’t really understand Japanese culture.

I tried to reply to you, but suddenly comment field was disappeared!
… but the comment field suddenly disappeared!

Since I wasn’t in Japan for 5 years,
Since I haven’t been in Japan for 5 years, (A-Z: present perfect tense)

They made me think that it might be a good idea to have people from other countries to make some commercials for us.
Nice sentence, but you don’t need “to” after “countries.”

You haven’t closed your last entry yet.
Thanks. I’ve just done it now.

I know what you mean very well.
“I know exactly what you mean” would be more natural. This is not wrong, though.

I think it’s very unfair that smokers and non-smokers pay exactly the same premium for the governmental health insurance.
That’s very true, but it would be hard to enforce rules like that. What about people who are overweight or people who take part in dangerous sports? Should they pay more too?

That’s all for today. Have a great weekend.

24 Comments

  1. YU on Friday October 4th, 2013 at 04:28 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you always for your feedback and thank you for your comment.

    > because they don’t know that TV can be so much better than this.

    I don’t really understand what is wrong with Japanese TV. I don’t say that they are very excellent, but I don’t really think it’s that bad as you always mention, either. I almost never heard people around me complaining so much about Japanese TV. Younger people sometimes complain, but I think that’s because they are able to handle many other entertaiment devices like PCs, online games, SNS, unlike older generations.

    > As you say, however, that is probably because I don’t really understand Japanese culture.

    I think so.
    I felt exactly the same when I lived in Germany, I found German TV shows and commercials very boring, so I gave up watching them. I felt all TV stars were the same, all TV shows were the same, all TV dramas always used the same actors to make boring stories. I guess I would feel the same wherever I live except Japan. I tried to understand German culture and accept what German people like, but I couldn’t. Probably because it was not what I liked or it was very different from what I was accustomed to in my home.

    > What about people who are overweight or people who take part in dangerous sports? Should they pay more too?

    I’m not sure about people who take part in dangerous sports, but I’ve heard that when some company has more メタボ employees than the fixed percentage, then they have to pay a higher premium to the government now.



  2. aashmoleanmuse on Friday October 4th, 2013 at 04:47 PM

    Hi David,

    Thanks for the feedback.

    The right usage of articles in English is still challenging to me. Talking of articles, I just want to know why British people say, “She was released from hospital”, omitting “the” in front of “hospital”?

    It was predictable.

    Why “to me” is unnecessary?

    TIA.

    Ash



  3. ashmoleanmuse on Friday October 4th, 2013 at 04:51 PM

    Hi David,

    Thanks for the feedback. The right usage of articles in English is still challenging to me. Talking of articles, I just want to know why British people say, “She was released from hospital.”, omitting “the” in front of “hospital”?

    It was predictable to me

    Why “to me” is unnecessary?

    TIA.

    Ash



  4. Fumie on Saturday October 5th, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    Hi David,

    Thank you always for your feedback.

    YU said all I wanted to say about Japanese TV and Japanese TV commercials. I don’t watch much Japanese TV, but I don’t think everything are rubbish. Some are good.

    >~the anti-smoking movement has grown much stronger.
    I don’t know either who pushed the anti-smoking movement but in last 10(20?) years, Japan became much friendly place for people who don’t like smoking like me.

    Have a lovely weekend, everyone!
    I hope it won’t rain on Sunday because my son’s school has a sport meet on Sunday.



  5. Anne on Saturday October 5th, 2013 at 05:26 AM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your feedback.

    >If you don’t experiment, you will never have any failures, but you will never have any real successes, either. —I understand what you mean, however, ad companies are required to meet the the sponsor’s demand and it’s difficult to strike the balance between creative and self-satisfaction.

    Have a lovely weekend, everyone!
    Hope it won’t rain.



  6. David on Saturday October 5th, 2013 at 08:54 AM

    Hi Ash,

    “To me” is redundant. If you are saying “It was predictable,” then obviously you are talking about yourself. If you did use a preposition, I think “for” would be more suitable, but that would still sound strange for the same reason.

    Hi YU and Anne,

    When I was in the gym last night, I tried to pay attention to what was on the TV. The programme was about a group of housewives taking part in an ironing competition judged, of course, by some celebrity. There was (also of course!) a panel of “talents” screaming, slapping each other on the head, and trying to look seriously interested in the ironing. Everything everyone said, no matter how trivial, was plastered in large pink or white subtitles across the screen. (Why does everything in Japan have to have these huge “manga-style” subtitles?) I found it completely bizarre. It’s basically very low-cost programming that requires almost no planning or creative input.

    As you quite correctly pointed out, however, Japanese TV is made in Japan by Japanese companies for Japanese people, so if you all like it, it doesn’t matter what I or any other foreigners think. I’m sure there are lots of things I love on UK TV that you would find bizarre as well.

    Japanese TV used to bother me more because it was the only TV I had access to. Now that we have the Internet, I can watch all the British shows on my computer and on my iPad, so I suppose I should just shut up and stop complaining about Japanese TV!

    (YU, as a matter of interest, what does your husband think of Japanese TV?)



  7. ashmoleanmuse on Saturday October 5th, 2013 at 09:21 AM

    Hi David,

    “To me” is redundant. If you are saying “It was predictable,” then obviously you are talking about yourself. If you did use a preposition, I think “for” would be more suitable, but that would still sound strange for the same reason.

    I got it, thanks!

    I wrote “The right usage of articles in English is still challenging to me.”. Is it OK?

    I’m sure there are lots of things I love on UK TV that you would find bizarre as well.

    I don’t really understand British culture, so I was one of those Japanese who was offended by the way QI treated Tsutomu Yamaguchi with black humour.

    Ash



  8. David on Saturday October 5th, 2013 at 09:25 AM

    Hi Ash,

    You don’t need “to me” with “challenging” either. Again, “for” would be the appropriate preposition, but it’s not necessary.



  9. Biwa on Saturday October 5th, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for the feedback.

    I know exactly what you mean by ‘manga-style subtitles.’ I didn’t understand why they did this, but I noticed that it’s very good when you watch TV after lights-out time in the hospital! You can catch everything they say even if you turn down the volume to zero.
    Anyway, most of the programs were awfully uninteresting, and I spent most of the time changing the channel.

    By the way, I’m a bit angry this morning because my husband seems to have forgotten that it’s my birthday today! 🙁



  10. ashmoleanmuse on Saturday October 5th, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    Hi David,

    You’re always helpful. Thanks.

    Hi Biwa,

    Happy, happy, happy birthday!

    Ash



  11. YU on Saturday October 5th, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Hi David,

    I don’t think you need to stop complaining about Japanese TV at all, but it’s better not watching it as you already do if you don’t like it so much.
    As I mentioned, I admit that Japanese TV has a lot of absolute rubbish, but I like Japanese TV taking all those things together just like you like TV in the UK.

    > The programme was about a group of housewives taking part in an ironing competition judged, of course, by some celebrity.

    I watched it with my son, too.

    > Everything everyone said, no matter how trivial, was plastered in large pink or white subtitles across the screen. (Why does everything in Japan have to have these huge “manga-style” subtitles?)

    I don’t know, but I think it started about a decade ago or before. I guess it hasn’t been banned because it is accepted by most Japanese people including me, you might find it completely bizzare, though. I heard that it was worked out to make TV shows more interesting just like some American comedy shows add artificial laughter sounds to make them sound funnier.
    FYI, my son has learned to read a lot of Kanji through the manga-style subtitles. That was a nice surprise to me.

    > It’s basically very low-cost programming that requires almost no planning or creative input.

    You’re probably right, but that is what Japanese people like, so it can’t be helped.
    I like both serious TV shows and nonsense ones like you watched last night. For me, TV shows aren’t something only to get some useful information or knowledge, but they’re also to laugh out to release my stress, so they don’t always need to be great or creative. I guess many TV lovers in Japan think the same way as me, but some might think the way like you. I think those people just don’t watch TV in Japan as well.

    >(YU, as a matter of interest, what does your husband think of Japanese TV?)

    I think I have told you this here before, but my husband loves Japanese TV even more than I do. He especially likes rubbish ones what you call! 🙂 He knows many Japanese TV talents, maybe better than me.
    I don’t say that he understands Japanese culture better than you, but what I can say about him is that he accepts Japanese culture, Japanese people, Japanese customs much more easily than you do, both good ones and bad ones. I’m not saying he is superior to you, of course. As I told you, he is very easy going, he doesn’t think things too seriously. It might sound he is バカ, though… Well, I have to admit that sometimes I’m shocked by his stupidity!



  12. amo on Saturday October 5th, 2013 at 05:47 PM

    Hi David,

    Thanks for yor feedback.

    Hi Biwa,

    Happy birthday



  13. amo on Saturday October 5th, 2013 at 05:52 PM

    It’s me again.
    Some part of my comment is missing:(

    Anyway, I will try again. Hope it will work.

    Hi Biwa,
    Happy birthday;)
    Maybe your husband had some plan for you that’s why he pretended to forget about your birthday:)

    Have a nice weekend, everyone!

    amo



  14. Fumie on Saturday October 5th, 2013 at 10:57 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    ♪Happy birthday! Many happy returns of the day.♪



  15. YU on Sunday October 6th, 2013 at 09:01 AM

    Hi Biwa,

    Wishing you a belated happy birthday!

    YU



  16. Anne on Sunday October 6th, 2013 at 09:02 AM

    Hi Biwa,

    A Happy Belated Birthday♪♪
    Hope you had a great time with your family.

    Hi David,
    I didn’t watch the show you had mentioned, but I can understand why ‘manga-style’ subtitles are used. It’s catchy and easy to figure out as Biwa said.

    To be honest, I don’t watch Japanese dramas or shows that much, and watch dramas from the US or the UK just simply because I like them. I don’t have time to watch Japanese ones, and I have to admit some of the Japanese shows are stupid. Having said that, the same thing can be said to the ones of the UK or the US,too. Whether or not you like it is a matter of taste even though there are some things that you don’t understand because of the cultural differences; sense of humor or content or the way to express things could be different. By the way, I sometimes watch ‘rubbish’ shows whether it is from Japan or the Uk:) I like them. As for ads, I wonder if Japanese ads are lagging behind British ones or American ones. Is Japanese ads too straightforward?

    Anyway, this is my opinion:)



  17. ashmoleanmuse on Sunday October 6th, 2013 at 09:18 AM

    Hi Yu,

    I don’t say that he understands Japanese culture better than you, but what I can say about him is that he accepts Japanese culture, Japanese people, Japanese customs much more easily than you do, both good ones and bad ones.

    That’s probably because he loves you so much.:)

    Hi David,

    I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but IMHO if you fall in love with a Japanese woman and lives together with her, you will grumble about Japanese culture, Japanese people, Japanese customs less than you do now.

    Ash



  18. Biwa on Sunday October 6th, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for your birthday messages! 🙂
    Well, I know you’re not interested in other couples’ relationships(lol!), but anyway, my husband didn’t remember my birthday until I received a birthday phone call from my friend in the evening! I don’t expect any special surprises, but I just wanted him to be the first to say ‘Happy birthday’ as always. And he’s gone to Indonesia for another business trip this morning. It was one of the nicest birthdays I’ve ever had in my life!



  19. ashmoleanmuse on Sunday October 6th, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    Hi Anne,

    Is Japanese ads too straightforward?

    Simple and easy to understand ads are boring and I usually zap them, but a wonderfully fascinating commercial like below, I watch hundreds of times.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3NkxsB1jRY

    Ash



  20. YU on Sunday October 6th, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    Hi Biwa,

    Maybe his mind was occupied with his next business trip!
    Anyway, it was good for you to spend your birthday at home, not in the hospital at least!
    How do you feel, by the way?

    Hi David, Anne, and everyone,

    It’s always very good to know how people from other countries find about Japan on this blog. However, what I always feel is that if we changed everything as they point out, Japan would be no more Japan. I don’t mean that Japan doesn’t need to change at all, there are certainly a lot of things that our country should learn from other countries, but there are also many things that I don’t really feel the need to change. Japanese TV is one of them. I doubt if foreigners like me lived in the UK and complained about their TV, they would change for us…

    >there are some things that you don’t understand because of the cultural differences; sense of humor or content or the way to express things could be different

    I couldn’t agree with you more.
    When I visted my husband family and stayed there for three weeks, I felt that Indonesia is a very nice country, but I could never imagine to live there for life. There were a lot of things that I couldn’t accept, but it’s not their fault, but it is their culture. I’m nervous, my husband is easy going and he had already got used to Japanese life at that time, so I think it was the right decision for us to live in Japan.



  21. Anne on Sunday October 6th, 2013 at 05:11 PM

    Hi ash,
    Wow! It sounds like one scene in the movie. Thanks!

    Hi YU,
    >but there are also many things that I don’t really feel the need to change. Japanese TV is one of them.—Yes, exactly!



  22. ashmoleanmuse on Sunday October 6th, 2013 at 09:34 PM

    What an embarrassing error!

    “and lives together with her” should have read ” and live together with her”.

    Hi Anne,

    You like British TV shows? Have you ever seen “Midsommer Murders”. I love its intriguing story, tongue in cheek humour and the beautiful scenes in the British countryside.



  23. Anne on Monday October 7th, 2013 at 07:29 AM

    Hi ash,
    No, I haven’t seen that drama. I checked it on the web, and it looks great:) When I have a chance, I’d like to see it!



  24. YU on Monday October 7th, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    Hi everyone,

    I went to a certain famous kaiten sushi restaurant chain near my house with my family yesterday. You can order what you want to eat by touching on the panel screen menu there.
    I realized that there were three other language choices besides Japanese, so I pressed the English button for fun.
    Interestingly, “トロ” was translated as “toro of tuna”(!). Do foreigners understand what “toro of tuna” means? I looked up it in dictionaries at home.
    Here is the translation in my dictionary ;
    “トロ” = fatty tuna

    I know there are many Japanese words that you can use just the way they are in Japanese language like futon, tatami, sake, tofu, etc…, but I wonder if “toro” is a global word.

    Incidentally, they also translate(?) “極上一貫” as “gokujyo ikkan”. I felt like butting in the joke, “そのまんまやないかいっ!!”.

    However, I found a video on YouTube in which a foreigner highly praises the English guidance of this restaurant chain.
    If you’re interested, please have a look.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rcyy_nR91EQ



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