Tag Archives: misconceptions

What You Think Is Japanese Isn’t Japanese

I subscribe to a YouTube channel called Texan in Tokyo, and they made a video called 3 Popular “Japanese Things” that don’t exist in Japan! Watch it first, and then I’ll add some of my comments about these three things.

Finished? Okay, let’s look at these things.

First of all is the sweet green tea. I’ve heard that’s become common in North America, but since I’ve been in Japan for nearly eleven years, I really have no idea about it. However, that stuff just does not exist here. I can confirm it. I’ve told people about it, and they thought it was strange. And why would you want it sweetened anyway? Real green tea is great!

Second is the hibachi grill restaurants. As it said in the video, they exist in Okinawa, but the rest of Japan doesn’t have them. There’s something called teppanyaki, but it’s not the same. You don’t see the performance done by chefs at your table like in hibachi grill restaurants in North America. Actually, one of my favourite restaurants is Japanese Village, which is a teppan grill restaurant, as they call it, but it is not. My wife found the whole experience strange when she went there. None of the food was Japanese. And there’s no such thing as shabu shabu soup. Shabu shabu is a kind of Japanese cuisine, but it’s not a soup.

And the third one was the North American version of sushi. I agree, roll sushi (maki) is more popular in North America, but is not so common in Japan. You can find it in supermarkets and sushi restaurants, but they are not the most popular. Nigiri sushi (fish on top of a rice ball) is real sushi. Thankfully, Tokyo Express in Edmonton serves plenty of nigiri sushi.

A lot of this is what makes me want to search out authentic Japanese food in Edmonton. Places that are authentic will likely see business from me more often.

What are some stereotypes you have about Japan? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll let you know what the reality is.

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Mars Will Be Larger than the Full Moon!

Have you heard? It’s that time of year again. Mars will appear larger than the full moon in the night sky! That’s right! Mark your calendar for August 27th! And this is my reaction:

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Excuse me as I wipe the tears from my eyes. Hahahahahahahahaha.

Seriously, how do people fall for this every single year? There are a lot of gullible people in the world. Even though this event has never happened, they still think it will because of something they read on the internet.

First of all, Mars will never be close enough to the Earth to appear larger than the Moon in the sky. Never. Got it? Never. Not going to happen. Ever. Okay?

This all started in August 2003 when Mars made its closest approach to Earth in more than 50,000 years. However, it was a whopping 55,758,000 km away. So people started suggesting it’ll appear large in the sky, so large that it’ll be larger than the full moon. It was actually a misinterpretation of the news, saying that Mars will appear as large as the full moon when viewed through a telescope, not with the naked eye.

But every year people believe this will happen. Let’s look. Here’s Universe Today explaining it. And Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy explaining it. How about Snopes? Or how about NASA themselves? They’re all from different years, but they’re all valid today.

So, people, Mars will never appear as large as the Moon in the sky. Okay? I hope that’s clear.

Introverted Does Not Mean Shy

A lot of people have this misconception that introversion means shy. They often say that introverted people need to come out of their shell and socialise with others at parties. Well, take a look at this video. It’s called Body Language for Introverts. You’ll notice that I have the top comment at the moment (if you go to the YouTube page for the video). I love how one person goes on a rant about how North Americans are all extroverts, and that’s what makes North America so great and powerful.  Too bad for him many major business leaders and actors are introverts.

The video gets off to a really bad start. It equates introversion to people who have social anxieties, always having trouble figuring out what to say, or a lack of confidence.  Wrong!

I was once a shy person. Being shy means the above three things. I am not shy now. I’m still introverted, though. What introversion means is that you gain energy by doing more solitary activities, while being in a social situation drains us of energy. We need more solitary time to recharge our batteries, basically.

Let’s look at these three points Vanessa Van Edwards brings up. First, we have social anxieties. Not really, no. That’s what a shy person has. I have no problem being at a social gathering with many people around me. I just prefer to talk to people I know. I’m not nervous at all.  If I’m sitting at the side being quiet, people immediately assume there’s a problem and ask me what’s wrong. Nothing’s wrong, I’m just observing. Think of it as information gathering. I’m also studying people’s behaviour, which is extremely useful when speaking to them. I use this information to adapt how I speak with them. Extroverts tend to speak to everyone the same way. Introverts learn to adapt to different people’s behaviour, and I feel we become better communicators in deep conversation.

Second, she says introverts have trouble figuring out what to say.  Well, that hesitation that introverts have at the beginning of a conversation is usually something called “thinking.” We’d rather start off saying something that’s not inane or unimportant. We’d rather not do small talk, you see.  It’s just talking about the same thing over and over again with different people. We’ve done that conversation, so let’s move on to an actual conversation, please. When we’re in a conversation that is actually about something of substance, we don’t shut up.  Really! Take this example. When doing small talk, people will often bring up the weather.  Last night, a typhoon passed by.  In regular small talk, they might say, “Be careful tonight. There’s a typhoon coming.” “Oh, it’ll be so windy and rainy. You be careful, too.” It’s not really communicating any information that’s useful. There’s nothing being said other than acknowledging that they know the same information.  But, put me into the equation, and I say, “Yes, it should be here around 6 pm this evening. The rain is supposed to be the heaviest around midnight, but not so bad. It actually won’t be a typhoon at that time. It’ll be a tropical depression.” That then goes into a rather detailed discussion on both sides about typhoons, hurricanes, tropical storms, etc. What would have normally been a rather meaningless exchange on something we already knew turned into an information exchange that was far more meaningful.  That is how introverts like to talk. And we do talk a lot.

The third point is that she says we’re not confident.  That is complete BS.  Shy people are not confident by definition. Introverts are quite confident, especially my personality type, INTJ. We’re known for being straightforward and often a bit too blunt in what we say. We’re honest, we say what we think, and we’re confident about it. We just say it in a way that has a lot of thought behind it, rather than blurting out something that we might regret.

So, people, don’t confuse introversion with shyness. They are not the same thing. Vanessa Van Edwards does not know what an introvert is.  Take this from a real introvert: we are not shy. Quiet, yes. Shy, not all of us.

Why are people afraid of gay marriage?

In recent years, gay marriage has become a hotly debated topic in several countries. It’s legal in a few countries, including my home country, Canada. In the USA, it’s legal in some states. However, the religious right are strongly against it. Why? Marriage is a civil matter. Sure, it can be done in churches, temples, synagogues, or mosques, but to be official, it must be registered with the government.

Those who are against gay marriage usually cite moral and religious reasons. But what if the gay couple isn’t of the same religion, or no religion at all? They shouldn’t have to be subject to someone else’s religious beliefs. Let’s look at some of the arguments.

“If gay people can marry, then people will want to marry animals.” You’ve got to be kidding me. Equating gay people to animals? This argument makes no sense to anyone with common sense. It’s ridiculous.

“It threatens straight marriage.” No, that’s unaffected. Nothing changes for straight married couples. Bad argument. Do any married couples actually think that their own marriage will change because gay people can marry? Other people’s marriages do not affect anyone else’s marriage.

“It’s immoral.” By whose standard? Morals are subjective. Everyone has different morals. And not everyone’s morals are dictated by a book.

“It’s against God.” So? There’s something called freedom of religion in many countries. It means that you have a right to choose your own religion or have none at all. It also means that you don’t have to follow other people’s religious beliefs. In other words, it’s like saying “Your religion does not apply to me.”

“It’s disgusting.” Grow up. That is all I have to say about that.

“It’s unhealthy.” How’s that? I know plenty of gay people in relationships, and they’re pretty healthy and happy. In fact, they seem to have healthier relationships than many straight couples.

“Their children will be gay.” Homosexuality isn’t learned. It’s been shown to be physiological. It happens whether they like it or not.

“The children need both a mother and father.” Tell that to well-adjusted children of single parents. They’ll have 2 parents. Gender roles are traditional, but in today’s world, there is something called equality.

What’s your stance on this issue? Do you have any good arguments for or against gay marriage?