The Nuances of Japanese

The Japanese language is one that is sometimes notoriously vague. Sometimes the context of a conversation or text helps to pull away the veil, but then….

Last Friday, being Friday, decided to go causal and wore a long-sleeved Tee I bought for son unit way back in the day, during a day trip to West Point, the U.S. military academy. The shirt has emblazoned upon it, a message about the West Point’s lacrosse program. Bought it for son unit as he was still interested in the sport at the time.

Son unit has moved on and the Tee is will wearable so, I wore it and t prompted this conversation between myself and one of the Japanese reviewers.

We met in one of the corridors, she sees my Tee and exclaims


(Did you go there?!)


(Yeah, I went)

After 2 seconds or so, the light bulb comes on, I realize her question was not the casual had I gone there, but had I actually attended West Point, which I haven’t and never dreamed of attending.

Realizing with the gossip that goes on at the worksite, how quickly this could mushroom into a large misunderstanding, I quickly added I had traveled there as a tourist, and had never attended West Point as a student.

The Tee also leads to questions why people buy and wear clothing that has not real connection to their own lives, like the scattering of those wearing Harvard clothing , who may have never set foot in the place, save as a tourist.

PS: Recounted this story to wife unit, who opined that the woman knew very well I had not attended West Point, but asked the question out some need to confirm the security of her understanding of me.

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Word Games


I have a daily game played with those at this branch of the Evil Empire.  You see, I refuse to speak Starbucks-speak. So, when I order, I am asked in Starbucks-speak, what sized drink I wish to have and I reply I just want a medium-sized drink.

Yeaah! Its also a Friday and I need not work until 7:30pm today.

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Tomorrow will mark the first full year of continuous uninterrupted employment since an ungraceful exit from the workforce in 2007.

Have made a pile of $$$ in the past year  and I do not wince when writing checks for monthly bills.

Still, as said before, this is not a salaried position; the ride will end at some point, and we’ll all be let go and that I keep constantly mind.

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Sigh….Such a Short Vacation

I had a good time being away;  nothing like sitting on a beach chair with the waves lapping at your feet and watch the world go slowly by.  My cousin  though gave me a hard time about not going into water.  Didn’t care, the water was not warm enough to suit me.  Coming back  makes one see a bit how values or what is viewed as important change with venue

Being at a semi- private beach, it was very family and low-key  the geriatric crowd mostly so not much to look and get aroused at.

Cousin  though was a bit deflated.  In years of old, she’d bring her 2 sons, her stepchildren and our respective cousins and their children would be there for a week of semi- controlled mayhem.  Now, her sons are grown,. married, one has  children of his own, Stepdaughter too, as well as the children of the cousins;’ married, with children or have gone their own way, so attendance now is a bit spotty.  Perhaps due in part to the women who have married into the family having a different agenda that being at the beach.

Cousin  also lamented how Ocean city, MD has become too ‘honky tonk’ for here taste. Opined that perhaps Ocean City has always been that way, and its she who has changed.

Saw when I came back, a note from Volvo who had been looking for a government affairs manager… the old “while your credentials were impressive…”  Have thought that me being out of the business for the time that I have, is a handicap, but like skiing,  I haven’t been on a pair in years, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know how to.

So now for a short, and next week, skimpy payday, I sit in an outpost of the Evil empire, sipping cold brewed coffee for the first time.  Not bad and it does taste different; less of a bitter edge. But that could also be due to the type of beans and how they’ve been roasted.


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Switching Gears…. for an Ever So Brief Time

The view as I sipped my coffee this morning. (Have a better vidclip, but WordPress won’t let me upload it).



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The 給料泥棒

There is a middle-aged woman, who I have been warned about sitting 3 or four workstations from me, an attorney, and one who has a grossly inflated sense of importance and self-worth, and who seems to have a compulsive need to chatter instead of working.

This unprofessional, self-centered, inconsiderate behavior, disturbs me on several levels.  first it interferes with my own work.  As much as I take pride in my Japanese skills and my knowledge of corporate Japan, I need to concentrate, lest I miss something.  The chatter makes that hard.

Second it bothers me on a professional level, which we all are supposed to be, her and others like her too as they belong to a profession.  But I lay the blame partly on the project managers.  They are not demanding a professional atmosphere.  I not saying we need to come in with neckties, etc., but scruffy jeans t shirts, etc., also do not give a sense that this is professional work we are supposed to be engaged in

Last, on a sublimal  level it is  bothersome as she as an attorney is earning more than I per hour and that for this sort of work,  attorneys get the first crack at openings and then I and other laypersons are hired only if attorneys cannot be found to fully staff the project.

Her chatter carried on for most of the morning until another attorney went over to this person’s workstation and told her to shut it.

Luckily today,  a Saturday, while the Japanese-speaking reviewers are being called into work, she isn’t.

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Goddamned Metro!

Something I usually mutter during my daily commute as there is always something, on a daily basis, going wrong with the system; elevators out( sorry those with mobility issues), escalators stopped for no apparent reason, delays…

Yesterday may not have topped them all, but it came close.  There was a derailment early in the morning which effective shut down one of the major lines.

In the morning, meaning to take the rain in, I was alerted to this on the radio and walked in, no biggie as I do it most of the time, but had no spare set of clothes, so came to the worksite smelly and sweaty.

On the way home,  the internet information said trains where moving, but slowly.  Go to Metro Center Station, ask to confirm, go through the turnstiles, onto the platform and wait, and wait, and wait, but no trains.  Meanwhile the platform starts to fill up dangerously (too many people) and I think that had I walked back I would have been halfway to my car by now.

Consider other options, like using another line to at least get be back into Virginia, but these are not really that workable.

Get tired of waiting, get on another line to another station to at least get me closer to Virginia and out of the system, then walk, fast.

Actually, when I started through Georgetown, the walk got interesting. There was bustle, people of all sorts out and about.  At the corner of Wisconsin & M, there was a Russian dude as it turned out, playing a plastic trombone  he did a rendition of ‘Hail to the Redskins’ to the amusement of a bus driver, then hit on 2 20 something girls, saying  they looked so Russian.

As I passed the Ukrainian Embassy, the door, normally closed was opened and peeked in (its housed in a very historic building) and outside were 2 OMG-are-you-both-real, stunning women in their evening dress, waiting for someone to take them somewhere.

Interesting too to see the shops, normally closed when I walk by in the morning open.  The restaurants were enticing, but with me alone…

Now this morning, sat in the damned train for about an hour as things were still not right…could have walked in quicker- again.

Now why does this have to happen so regularly?  In any Japanese city with a mas transit system, this would not happen, period. And if it did, it’d be national news and people would be held accountable.

Washington DC is probably the only capital city on the developed world that has a third world mass transit system.

Goddamned Metro.

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