How Much Did You Know About the United States?

320px-Flag_of_the_United_States.svgI did another quiz, this time about the United States. Well, here are the answers.

1. What’s the capital of the United States?

It’s Washington, D.C.

2. What are the three largest cities in the US by metropolitan area population?

According to the 2012 estimate, they are: New York City (23,462,099), Los Angeles (18,238,998), and Chicago (9,899,902).

3. What’s the population of the US?

The 2015 estimate is 321,163,157 people.

4. How many states are there?

There are 50, but I’m not going to list them all!

5. What is the largest state by area?

That would be Alaska with an area of 1,477,950 square kilometres.

6. Which state has the smallest population?

According to the 2013 estimate, that would be Wyoming with 582,658 people.

7. If you go directly south from Detroit, where do you end up?

I should’ve been a bit more clear with this question. I meant immediately south, like as soon as you leave Detroit, where are you? I will accept any of the following answers:

  • Canada
  • Windsor, Ontario
  • Ontario
  • Detroit River

So, how did you do? You’ll learn more when I begin Geography Quick Facts, including each state individually. Thanks for participating in the quiz!

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Life in Japan on Video?

To get my YouTube channel out of its rather quiet state, I thought I needed something to give it a weekly video series. And then it hit me, Life in Japan!

I will be taking your questions and my answers (including my previous answers) and recording videos. I won’t be reading out what I said, but I’ll give the same answers and expand on it, maybe telling a story or two. If it’s at all possible, I may record parts of the videos in locations that are appropriate. So, if you haven’t done so, I recommend going over to my channel and subscribing to it. You can also watch some of the videos that are already there.

So, who’s interested?

Do You Know Anything About the United States?

320px-Flag_of_the_United_States.svgWith the successful response about Canada, I thought I’d ask about the United States. It seemed not many people were very knowledgeable about Canada, unless they lived there. Of course, most of my readers are Americans, so why not see what they know about their own country? And what do other people know about the USA? So, without looking up the information, I’d like you to answer the following questions. No cheating, please!

  1. What’s the capital of the United States?
  2. What are the three largest cities in the US by metropolitan area population?
  3. What’s the population of the US?
  4. How many states are there?
  5. What is the largest state by area?
  6. Which state has the smallest population?
  7. If you go directly south from Detroit, where do you end up?

I will be marking your answers, just like I’ll be marking the Canada answers. If you don’t do well, then you can learn a lot about the United States with Geography Quick Facts, coming soon!

Life in Japan: Fitting In or Giving Up?

Japan has a far different culture than what I grew up with in Canada. There are so many things that are interesting, yet not always easy to understand or deal with. This week’s question comes from barnraised:

Do you ever find yourself just “tired”? Of trying to fit in, to please?

Occasionally. It’s not often, though. There are times that I get frustrated with procedures, but who doesn’t? That happened in Canada (government procedures, long wait times). But remarkably, I found it rather easy to fit in in many ways. My personality type is a good match for Japan, as I am an introvert who tends to enjoy being quiet. On the train, apart from being a foreigner, I look like everyone else with my nose in a book or looking at my phone. I have no trouble shopping, no trouble with work, and I even have no trouble getting my annual health checkup (I know the procedure). I can’t say I’ve become tired of much of anything, except for a few small things.

One is the politeness level in shops. I find the constant “Irasshaimase (welcome)” kind of tiring. But what I was used in Canada was that everyone said thank you, including the customer. In Japan, customers treat the employees without any kind of respect. No thank yous at all. The staff are incredibly polite, but the customers are not. They’re just totally indifferent.

On the trains, I get tired of how some people can be so impatient that they’ll push people out of the way or stand in the middle of an open train door while many others are trying to get out. And then there are the people who hog the priority seats and don’t give them up to pregnant or elderly passengers. This is not Japanese culture, this is commute-induced laziness and rudeness.

Although this is nothing about fitting in, I find it somewhat baffling how so many people in Japan seem to think only Japan has four seasons. And the “We Japanese” phrase that many people use give the Japanese culture a kind of Borg hive mind mentality that I just can’t get myself into. I’m an individual, and I don’t think or even want to say “We Canadians.”  And I actually find that most Japanese are very individual. It’s part of their education that they’re told to just go with what the majority say and don’t think for yourselves.  Creativity and innovation are suffering in Japan because of this.

But there’s one thing I have to say about living in Japan. No matter how long I live here, or even if I became a citizen, I would never actually fit in. Japanese culture won’t allow me to. Everyone will always say I’m just a visitor, and I’ll never understand what it’s like to be Japanese, or that I’ll never understand anything about Japan or Japanese culture. I could become the greatest expert of Japan, know the language and culture better than anyone else, live it exactly how the Japanese do, and yet, I will still be called an outsider who doesn’t understand anything. Also, my daughter, a Japanese citizen, will never be fully accepted by Japan as Japanese. She’ll always be considered a foreigner, even though she is Japanese! Miss Universe Japan Ariana Miyamoto has the same difficulties.

I hope that answers your question. It wasn’t easy to think of how I was tired of anything in Japan, but there were some things I just would not be able to do to fit in.

Have a question about life in Japan? Go here and ask in the comments.

How Much Did You Know About Canada?

320px-Flag_of_Canada.svgI asked some questions about Canada earlier today, and now it’s time to give the answers.  How did you do?

1. What’s the capital of Canada?

This is a pretty simple one. It’s Ottawa. It seems Montreal was a common answer, but the correct answer is Ottawa.

2. What are the three largest cities in Canada by metropolitan area population?

The common answers were Toronto and Montreal, but I also saw Quebec, Ontario (which is a province, not a city), Vancouver, and Calgary. Well, here are the answers, as of the 2011 census:

First is Toronto with 5,583,064. Second is Montreal with 3,824,221. Third is Vancouver with 2,313,328.

3. What’s the population of Canada?

We got some widely varying answers from as low as 5 million to as high as 80 million. Well, the official estimated population as of 2015 is 35,749,600. Were you close?

4. How many provinces are there?

There are 10 provinces and 3 territories. The provinces from west to east are: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. The territories are: Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

5. What’s the most widely spoken language in Canada?

It looks like most people got this one. English, of course. 56.9% of Canadians speak English as a first language, while 21.3% speak French as a first language.  16.1% speak both languages (bilingual).

How did you do? I hope you learned a bit about Canada. In the future, I’ll be covering all of the countries in the world, including Canada, with the Geography Quick Facts series. You’ll be able to learn about countries in a quick and easy way. Thanks for answering the questions.

Do You Know Anything About Canada?

320px-Flag_of_Canada.svgWhat do you know about Canada? I’m sure you know the flag has a maple leaf. But what else do you know? I’m going to give you a simple geography quiz. Please answer the questions in the comments without looking up the answer. This will be quick, I promise. But I’d also like you to say where you’re from. Let’s see how well the Canadians and the non-Canadians do.  Ready?

  1. What’s the capital of Canada?
  2. What are the three largest cities in Canada by metropolitan area population?
  3. What’s the population of Canada?
  4. How many provinces are there?
  5. What’s the most widely spoken language in Canada?

I will be marking your answers. If you didn’t do well, then my upcoming series Geography Quick Facts will definitely help!

What to Do With a Dormant Blog

Many of you may know that I run several blogs. This one is the most active, while my Japan blog has only occasional updates at the moment (I will get back to work on it, though).  But there’s one I haven’t updated in quite some time that I’d like to give new life to.

That blog is 365 Rotations. Originally, it was an experiment to take a photo in the same locations every day (or every week) for a year to keep track of the seasonal changes, and eventually make videos to show this. I haven’t actually done that. I’ve taken all the photos, I just haven’t organised them yet. Another thing I’d been doing is keeping track of the daily weather. And that’s where my idea comes in.

You see, I’ve been keeping track of the weather on my phone since my last post. I’ll eventually post them all, and do monthly stats, comparing them from year to year.  I’ll have three years of weather stats by the time we move to Canada, where I’ll start taking weather stats as well.  But my idea is to also do a photo of the day. I’d focus on the day’s weather, like clouds, sunset, storm, lightning, snow, and so on. I’d like to get it started in July, but first, I need to clear up the memory on my phone. Too many photos and videos! So, look forward to more updates coming on that blog soon!