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Browsing Posts published in October, 2008


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I’ve been using iTunes for a long time now, especially after getting an iPod a few years back. I’m overall happy with it. It’s getting pretty annoying though, since recently it seems every week there’s a new software update. This is even weirder for me considering the program has been more or less the same for the past 4 years, save for minor improvements and “features” like the Genius playlists – a sweet gimmick but something I suspect I will never use in my entire life.

And NO I don’t want to download Safari! Lay off it, Apple.



Do you remember that episode of Seinfeld where George kept trying to get everyone at his office to call him T-Bone, but he instead got stuck with Koko? Like many episode of 90’s television, “The Maid” taught us a very important lesson, one that is all too often forgotten or overlooked by adults today. This lesson is that you can’t choose your own nickname.

This is one of the many thousands of small things that slightly irritate me in my daily life. It doesn’t really come up too much in work situations, but in social circles it’s much more prominent (and annoying). It’s even worse when you start meeting friends of friends of friends*, etc. It’s a simple rule – you can’t choose your own nickname. We all know that I love nicknames, but there’s just something wrong with choosing your own. I think this is due in part to it being a scientific fact that over 60% of nicknames are derogatory and something don’t really want to be called, and if someone’s going to make their own nickname, it’s going to be a lot closer to Iron Man Johnson than Mac ‘n’ Cheese. If you try to give yourself a nickname that makes you sound better, everyone will automatically assume you’re some kind of arrogant retard. It just doesn’t work. I don’t care if you yourself think the nickname is cute/funny/ironic/a social commentary. You want a nickname that bad? Just give me a minute.

Of course some exceptions may exist, but it’s overall that’s a very rare occurrence. It’s indeed amazing if someone creates or suggests a nickname for themselves that is then accepted by the general population. Further study is needed.

Where was I going with this? Nowhere.

*Yes, there is a single person who triggered this post. I won’t divulge names though.

Who loves cookies!?

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I may have written about this in the past, because I know I’ve thought about it several times. If so, too bad.

In Japan, they love giving gifts. Not necessarily big gifts, but small little presents, usually some kind of food. And they love giving these presents all the time. Seriously, the reasons to give gifts to your co-workers, friends, and estranged family members who live deep in the sewers are far too many to count. These include (but are not at all limited to) birthdays, someone getting married, quitting your job, going on a trip, going on a day trip, getting sick, someone else being sick, recovering from being sick, making someone sick, and being happy that you didn’t get sick when everyone around you is dying of the plague. And as if that wasn’t ridiculous enough, they also give gifts in return for GETTING A GIFT. Just as you imagine, this is a horrible, endless cycle of getting rice crackers, small individually wrapped cookies, and other random little things filled with sweet red beans.

Before I go any further, I will say that I enjoy receiving these little gifts, as any selfish human does. But is it worth it? OK, back to the complaining about the parts of this gift-giving system that I don’t like. As much as I’d like to say “it’s the thought that counts,” in Japan most of these gifts, especially in the workplace, have no thought or feeling at all attached, save for maybe the all-important-in-Japan feeling of obligation. People go through the motions of giving gifts because, like a lot of Japanese traditions, everyone else does it, and if you don’t do it, everyone notices and thinks there’s something socially wrong with you. People don’t care about giving boxes of cookies – they just do it because they have to. They don’t select individual gifts for their co-workers, but rather they stop by the many souvenir stands at train stations and airports to buy a standardized box of cookies, which are the same throughout the country with a different box listing it as a specialty of that area.

Sure, people do give gifts to people and mean it, but the gifts that are exchanged just as a formality become tiresome, especially when you have to consciously leave room in your suitcase anytime you go somewhere because you know you are expected to buy some kind of snack for all of your co-workers. I don’t know how much money is wasted on this industry in Japan, but it has to be pretty high.

Note: I originally got the idea for this post on Thursday morning. Between then and now I received yet another gift (a rice cracker) at work, for someone having a baby. Yes, the new mother sent the office a huge box of snacks. I am unaware of any gift sent to the mother.

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