Why Are Traffic Lights Blue in Japanese?
Something that sort of stumps a lot of learners of Japanese is the fact that the traffic light indicating “go” is referred to as blue rather than green. I faintly remember my Japanese teacher in high school explaining this to the class, much to everyone’s confusion. The teacher hadn’t offered us any explanation for this difference other than the fact that language is illogical and nothing makes sense, so I just accepted it and moved on, although I’ve always sort of wondered why it was that way.
As it turns out, even most Japanese people don’t know the answer. I know this because on the weekend I happened to be in a car full of Japanese people and when we somehow ended up talking about traffic lights, no one could tell me why they are described as “blue” and not “green”.
I was always a little suspicious of these “Hello Kitty Is Not A Cat” pieces that have been popping out from seemingly every popular news outlet over the past couple of days.
This article from Kotaku explains where the whole thing started and answers the all-important question: what exactly is Hello Kitty?
So I bought a bunch of stuff from Nitori, which is basically Japanese Ikea (although Japan also has actual Ikea) last weekend and one of the things I got, a lamp, didn’t work so we went back the next day to exchange it. The said that the bulb was a dud and exchanged that, but it broke again so I got my friend to call up and negotiate with them.
They agreed to deliver a new lamp and bulb to my door that day and also sent me this letter in keigo (honorific Japanese) apologising profusely for all of the inexcusable trouble and inconvenience this ordeal has caused, and promising not to let such a thing happen again.
They even tested out the lamp for an hour beforehand just to make perfectly sure that it works. And all this for a product that must have only cost me less than 30 bucks in the first place.
I think that this Japanese customer service is spoiling me. Not sure if I can live in a country where service people don’t treat me like I’m actual royalty anymore.
There was a torrential downpour this afternoon which started while I was taking the bus home from work. I didn’t bring an umbrella so I got soaked through in the two minutes it takes to walk from the bus stop to my apartment!
It’s been kind of a rainy summer here in Kyoto, but so far not quite as hot as last year, which is nice. I haven’t felt so much like I’m living inside a greenhouse this year.
Omigosh, these cat cases for Nintendo 3DS are totally adorable.
Hello Kitty nail stickers I picked up on holiday in Malaysia.