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Typhoonic tedium

I can't complain, really; I had a sick day yesterday, after all, but it still surprises me that some people apparently managed to avoid going into work today because of the typhoon.

Here's how typhoons work in Japan: They hit the Pacific coast somewhere around Kyushu (one of the southern islands of the main archipelago), they cause a couple of landslides, a couple of dozen families are evacuated from their homes, some poor bugger is killed while trying to clear leaves and branches from his roof gutters (happened again this year), and there's lots of flooding.

This all happens down south, of course, and then the typhoon moves up the coast towards Tokyo, where it rains a lot and maybe gets a bit windy for a day or two, and... that's it. Just that. No landslides - there's nowhere left for any land to slide to in Tokyo, it's so flat and densely packed. And no-one ever dies while clearing storm damage from their gutters, because we have large, intricate spider-like robots that crawl all over our high-rise futuretech buildings, clearing them for us.

If it gets reported to death in Tokyo, it's most likely because the Japanese love making a fuss about impending natural disasters (beats soccer as a national sport - less hooliganism) and Tokyo is home to the highest concentration in the country of people who make those animated graphics for news bulletins, showing navy-blue, crystal-clear rivers (why are they never brown and raging?) neatly bursting their banks and octogenarians falling smoothly off roofs.

Back to the above-referenced post, though - the laughing thing. I thought I'd share with you my (albeit limited) accumulated wisdom on Japanese laughing methodologies. If a Japanese person laughs, it means he or she is one (*at least* one) of the following:

  • amused
  • unamused
  • nervous
  • petrified
  • unsure
  • flattered
  • embarrassed
  • mortified
  • comprehending
  • baffled
  • listening
  • awake
Hope that clears things up a bit.

(Just kidding about the robotic spiders, by the way. But I hope I had you going, even if only briefly.)

Posted by chris at August 22, 2001 09:12 PM | Permalink

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