Thursday, June 21, 2012

A scientific explanation - Frank Lee

Somewhere did I read. :) It was close to 7 years ago !! Might serve informative :) Why Can't We See God.."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Re-Live - "McDonald Episode..."

Was just re-living those cherished moments that happened 2 years ago :) "It does happen in Japan - 7.... - Re-Lived..." McDonald's Episode.....

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Re-live - 'Inside the Train FUN' factor in Japan

A trip down the memory lane.
Exactly an year back, when I was engrossed in research on "Jappus", I never knew, I would narrate such a captivating raconteur. I loved every modicum of that research :)

'Inside the train fun' factor in Japan...."

As I e-pen, I was just trying to relive those moments...
Life is beautiful. :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"Sleeping with the enemy" - Deepa's take on Inflation

Deepa's take on INFLATION - Blog on today's ET.


Nice article.
Worth a second thought.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Welcome 2011 :)

It's good to be back in India and spend about a month and welcome 2011 from here.
Wish all bloggers and blog lovers a great year ahead :)
Keep rocking with undying ebullience. :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

It does happen in Japan - 15....

‘Inside the train fun’ factor in Japan.....

Ok. Here comes more on HUMAN-READING of Japanese people (‘Jappus’) which, of late, has become my prime hobby that catches the top spot on my priority list, not intentionally but on reflex. Though the title looks a bit awkward, I somehow like the way it has been named. The awkwardness is crisp.

In Japan, trains are the primary means of transport showing exemplary punctuality unlike Indian Railways where trains, even if there being an easy possibility for reaching on time, always reach late just for one simple reason. “It’s INDIA and that is why”.

Since trains being the primary transport here in Japan, for any trip that you set-out for, you get to spend atleast about 20% of your trip-time on trains. There have been trips where train-travel –time has constituted to about 60% of the total time too. So, for HUMAN-READERS, this can be their best time. Trains in Japan are one of the few places where one gets less bored. I am talking of people-readers here. But, if any particular compartment has got a good variety in it in terms of men, girls, cute girls (An intentional ‘stress’), lovers, drunkard (very less though), silent bystanders, mentally retarded, soul mates, book-readers, cell-phone lovers (almost all), make-up kit possessors (almost all girls), make-up kit users (90% of the girls) so on and so forth, then even the non-people-readers (a new word, this one) get allured and enticed to the minute happenings that take place, which, infact, get really interesting at times.

If you are on a 4-hour journey, for instance, and have decided to take a good nap during this train journey, kindly forget having such bad notions and assumptions. Kindly sleep well the previous night, because taking a good nap in trains is less possible for the reason that, even in the quietest of compartments having almost no variety in them, you will have frequent announcements battering your ears informing you on the approaching station, no smoking rules, cell-phone rules, vote of thanks for choosing that particular train to travel, as though you chose that intentionally, so on and so forth, all of them in Japanese language too. But there is always one good way-out to escape this. I-POD on to your ears. Though, this way-out is closed for me since from the day, when I had put my I-POD earphones in washing machine for a thorough rinse.

Coming to the ‘variety’ compartment, if it’s about 7:30 am in the morning, one can find a lot of fresh young school girls, with their natural beauty tarnished to an extent that is directly proportional to the amount of money their parents can afford, for a make-up kit. While in India, parents spend their morning time packing our lunch boxes, filling water-bottles, tying shoe laces (which in anyway, is going to un-tie automatically in a few minutes), in Japan kids do all these on their own, probably and the only thing their parents do is apply a variety of make-up on to them, in short, ‘spoil’ them. So, you’ll find a lot of young girls yelling to the peak of their voices, bursting into laughter, showing all sorts of expressions that are in a current-day dictionary. Oops!! Yes. There were boys too, sitting quiet without uttering a word. Sorry, I forgot to notice them.

Though lovers cuddling each other, mentally retarded doing some odd actions can all rarely be seen, if by chance, they are present, you must make sure that none of the group sits besides you else you are tossed. You shall reach the height of uneasiness and shall be forced to change your place. But, if you are far from them, you can have a good time noticing their mischievous acts. If it is about evening and you are in a variety compartment, four major things that you can notice are book-reading, cell-phone gaming, sleeping with head-tilted downwards, hairs completely hiding their faces & making-up using make-up kits. Though the first three acts are quite normal in any country, this ‘make-up’ act in trains is really strange.

It’s all an algorithm flow here. A typical process flow would be, a girl [girl-A] gets into the train, takes a seat, settles herself down, takes a good look at the compartment to check, if there is a better girl. No one. Takes another good look around the compartment to check, if at-least some 3 to 4 boys are looking at her, admiring her so-called ‘beauty’. YES. OK. They are. She gets satisfied for the moment, takes out a good book and starts reading. The next station, another girl [girl-B] gets in, happens to be better than this girl-A, while girl-B repeats the complete process flow explained above, girl-A does an extra process, she checks if those 4 boys have turned their heads towards girl-B. If yes, she hurriedly opens-up her make-up kit, enhances her ‘beauty’ and re-checks once again. 2 boys turn back to her again. She gets 50% satisfied. At this point girl-C enters and this ‘silent beauty fight’ continues and the intensity is directly proportional to the number of the girls present inside the train at any given time. It would all be real-fun to notice these minute things. But this is no exaggerated version. It all happens and HUMAN-READERS shall be having the best of their times, silently.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It does happen in Japan - 14....

DARSHANS so far made.... - 4

25, 26, 27. Takayama, Hakuba & Tateyama - 2010/4/29 ~ 2010/5/01:
A snowy, icy trip towards the north of Japan. One of the least explored places by Indians so far. Loved the low-temperature trekking, the village, the rope-way, the McD pitstop when we needed one desperately, the cycling & lot more.... One of the great trips so far, which had a different flavour all together...

28. Kakegawa Bird Sanctuary - 2010/6/13:
Great sanctuary as far as boredom-fighting is concerned. The bird-varieties were just huge. Loved the peace, the colour and more...

29, 30, 31, 32. Tokyo, Yokohama, Kamakura & Enoshima - 2010/8/08 ~ 2010/8/11: Undoubtedly the best trip. A well-planned, well-executed fun trip. Adventure, Indian food, Skyscrappers, heritage places, night-outs, beaches & beach fun made this trip simply the best.

33. Izu Peninsula - 2010/9/18:
The best camping site, I have ever seen. Loved the locations, the blue waters, the trekking and the group fun.

35. Samba Dance @ Hamamatsu - 2010/9/19:
The title justifies the magnitude of FUN. Awesome SAMBA performance. My first time. Awesome atmosphere.

[Pics coming soon..]

Saturday, August 28, 2010

It does happen in Japan - 13....

The rampancy of ‘Woman/Girl driving’ in Japan....

If you are still with the notion that ‘girl/woman driving’ in Japan should be as freakish as it is in other developing countries and as you would have watched in a countless number of funny videos, then your thought is ill-conceived. ‘Woman/Girl driving’ in Japan is as flawless and cool as ‘man driving’. Infact, in a broader view, there is no bifurcation in driving as man-driving and woman-driving. If he/she is 18 or more, and you would like to ask them a driving-favour, you don’t actually need to ask this usual first question, “Do you drive?” before requesting a favour. It is by default that he/she drives for sure. Such is the condition here.

Even, given the fact that ‘woman/girl-driving’ (I mean the proper one, not the funny one) in places like India is on a drastic rise over the years, why isn’t it rampant as it is in Japan? There could be a number of reasons to it. The girls are never to be blamed. But l, somehow feel, that some 2 reasons out of that lot, would definitely deserve a mention and shall serve as the top 2 reasons for the above conundrum. They are traffic conditions and car penetration factor.

Being a small country with a sparse population (a lot of them come under car-population though) compared to India, Japan definitely has an upper hand as far as traffic conditions are concerned. Even the so-called busy roads of Japan (say Shinjuku, in Tokyo) don’t look so busy compared to the 6 pm roads of Powai (Bombay) or 7 pm roads of Adyar or Mount Road (Chennai) ; Traffic signals omnipresent (even for a 3 meter pedestrian crossing, where pedestrians hardly cross ; Traffic signal lights always anew & intense, never seem to fade at all); traffic rules adherence highly religious; no rash driving ; no cycles, dogs, donkeys crossing roads intentionally or unintentionally; no rain-water stagnation !! (Gurgaon, I “love” you for this!!) ; drunken driving almost zero ; less or almost zero horn sounds; lot of vehicles with Automatic transmission. Now, from this, is it not lucid enough to decode that this is dead-pitch where even Holland can score 400 in 35 overs? Yes, this is the prime reason. Everything is spoon-fed. Things are highly comfortable for driving in Japan. The stage is well-set. Come on! There is a good friend of mine back in India. She can race through the busy, bumpy roads of Gurgaon in her M800, with utmost ease. Never blame Indian girls/women. They are highly capable. Kindly, provide them the right platform. I can bet on one thing for sure. Minimum 80% of the expert girl car maneuverers in Japan, when asked to drive in Indian conditions, would refuse to do for they are highly precautionary and are sure to get bewildered to see the Indian roads. Leave alone the girls/women, even Japanese male citizens would be having tough times driving in India.

The next main factor is the car penetration factor or the car-penetration ratio. It is 395 cars per 1000 people compared to 7/1000 in India. Isn’t this a massive difference? This girl-driving rampancy has more to do with opportunity than capability. Females in Japan have the opportunity. They have cars, decent roads and at times ATs (Automatic Transmission) too. Now, all that is left is to drive. Capability doesn’t have a greater say. Indian girls/women, despite being capable and flexible, lack only 2 things. Cars & good roads. They aren’t asking for good roads either. All they are asking for, is a CAR.

It is, kind of, strange here in Japan. People own more cars than laptops. People here take a long-time in deciding whether to get a laptop. They go on long, relaxed drives to clear this aura of ’laptop buying confusion’. Oh! Come on! Do not joke. If you can afford a 800,000 Yen vehicle in no time. Why, on earth, are you taking hell lots of your time for this laptop decision. Strange! The affordability of a car is high too, in Japan. The usual question in India, used to be “Do you have a car in your house?” which in Japan becomes “How many cars are there in your house?” for which the reply boldly comes “4. One with me (Suzuki), one with my wife (Honda), two with my sons (Nissan and Mazda).” That’s unity, for you. What a family!! Huh !! While in India, we shall be busy deciding what to wear for tonight’s family dinner at a restaurant, families in Japan shall be having family feuds in choosing on which vehicle to go, for the night’s family dinner and ultimately deciding to go on their respective ones!! Huh! So, given this high car penetration ratio and an easy affordability of cars, ‘girl/woman-driving’ comes as a no surprise.

But, still talking, only about Japan, tout ensemble, a huge lot of women/girls above 18, are capable of giving you a good smooth relaxed cruise along Japan roads without bumps, brakes & frequent screeching haults. There is no need, whatsoever, for you to be nervous on safety of woman/girl-driving in Japan. Just get into the front-seat and get the conversation going, smooth and fine…..

Saturday, July 31, 2010

It does happen in Japan - 12....

Top 10+2 frequently used Japanese Words, you can't escape from...

It is like, if you are in Japan and even you don’t know even a bit of Japanese and would never like to give even a damn about it, you cannot escape from these words getting into your ears quite frequently on any given day. There could be a lot of words, but, I somehow feel, these are the worthy ones that get into the top 10+2.

1. 'Hai' – Yes. For every word you utter to a Jappu, they say “HAI” to it, even if they don’t agree to your statement. Kind of Strange though!! Since, I have gotten used to using a lot of “HAI” in my daily life, of late, I sometimes, in a reflex, use HAI, while talking to my mom & dad during my phone conversation. They would stand puzzled.

2. 'Kedo' – But. This is a sure No.2. Even, if BUT isn’t required in that particular statement, they use 'Kedo', just like that, just because that is how it has been used over generations.

3. 'Arigatō Gozaimashita' – Thank you. This might catch the No.3 spot. Very frequently used and on quite obvious occasions.

4. Wakaranai – [I] don’t understand. The Jappus are frank. They hate to lie, I presume. If they are not sure of something, they frankly confess that they don’t know rather than trying to beat around the bush. ‘Wakaranai’ is used for this.

5. Wakarimashita – [I] understood. Yes. This follows ‘Wakaranai’ in terms of frequency and can possibly catch the 5th spot. Wakarmishita’s frequency is high among Jappus. But more than that, this word is frequently used by the Indians here and they use it even if they do not understand and merely to satisfy the Jappu explaining him. Typically ‘Indian’ish.

6. Sō nan da? – Is it so? This phrase is frequent among female Jappus and obviously the expression they attach to it, all looks same among all female Jappus.

7. Onegai shimasu – [I] ask you a favour. They use this, even if they aren’t asking you any favour, ideally. But, yes this, surely, deserves a place in the Top 10.

8. ii? – Is it Ok? Is it fine? Is it good? This word is just a 2 letter word. But, it’s usage frequency is quite on the high.

9. Daijōbu – [I] am fine. No problem. Uzumaki Naruto, Haruno Sakura and infact, the whole of Konoha use it frequently, though. This word is one of the frequently used words among real Jappus too.

10. Sō iu koto? – Is it so? Usage is same as Sō nan da? (No. 6). But, this phrase is frequent among male Jappus and is definitely less frequent than Sō nan da. So, this, kind of, proves that Jappu girls are more talkative than Jappu males.

Other than these, 2 more phrases that I would like to add to the top 10, may be as 10.1 and 10.2, are:
Chotto matte – Wait for a while. A frequently used phrase. May be a close competition to Sō iu koto.
Honto ni ? – Really? This is again one of the frequently used phrases for expressing surprise or shock. I really don’t if the expressions they attach to this word are real or fake. It’s like, even for simple actions, they express a huge surprise. For example, I tell a Jappu, “I came to office in cycle today.” This isn’t anything so great news to get hugely surprised. But, still they immediately say “Honto ni? ii ne (good)”, as though I told them that I married a Jappu girl yesterday.

Kindly, try memorizing these words/phrases and you are half ready for Japan.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It does happen in Japan - 11....

The Japanese Language - I am loving it.

First of all, kindly remember these key words specifically pertaining to this post alone.
Japanese – The Japanese language ; Jappus – The Japanese people.

Ok. Now, for those of you, who have the perception that Japanese is so hard a rock to take a bite, kindly chuck out that assumption off your head. Unquestionably, to me, no exception either, it looked a hard-rock at the start. But, it shall continue to look the same, unless you get into it and start realizing its so-called ‘amicability’.

Yes. Let me be frank enough. From the bottom of my heart, let me assure you, this language can be learnt in no time, at least the basics, if not the whole of it. Be it, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi or even English for that matter, you would find various accents to a single language even within the same language speaking region. Frankly , these languages, except English though, cannot be taught to foreigners so easily by making books on basics of the language. (For your information, as far as Jappus are concerned, even English cannot be taught to them easily ;)) And, in case, if these languages are taught to foreigners, they are going to stand muddled since book concepts never match the one which we speak. For example, if you consider a Jappu being taught tamil. “Eppadi irukkirai?” (How are you?). He goes, lands in Chennai , ends up meeting an auto driver who questions him “Enna mama, eppadi keera, nalla keeriya?” (Hey man, how are you? Are you fine? The Chennai way ;)), this Jappu is not going to understand even a bit of it. But Japanese, on earth, is never ever like that. Entire Japan speak the same dialect, use the same accent and more surprisingly, speak the same accent described in Japanese books. Oh. Come on. Can any language get simpler than this? But . . . . . . . No, it’s not that simple. Why? The writing part actually sucks a little. Let me come to it in a while.

Japanese, basically, has got 3 types of characters. They are Hiragana (Basic Japanese Characters), Katakana (Characters used to describe foreign words) & Kanji (Chinese characters which are rampantly used here. These characters actually suck.) When asked a Jappu as to why Kanji is used a lot in Japan compared to Hiragana, they say, Kanji characters are easy to read as they, kind of, take the shape of the action being described by the word. He may be right and I could realize it too, when I happened to learn a few kanji characters. But, in general, to a foreigner’s eye, these characters suck. Hiragana & Katakana characters are frankly, pretty simple to learn, read & write.

Ok. As far as listening, understanding & conversing are concerned, Japanese could be easy. But, when it comes to reading & writing, it’s quite a task, especially at the start. Initially, every Japanese character looked like a geometrical figure to me, though, now it is all crystal clear. Yes. But one thing is, even now some Kanji characters looks like geometric figures to me.

As I already made a mention, Jappus’ accent of speaking Japanese is same throughout Japan. It is not only the accent that is same, but also the expression that they express while uttering a word. If you are about 3 to 4 months old in Japan, you should be in a position to decipher the top 20 frequently used words by any Jappu & the expression that they attach to it. It would all look funny to see, every Jappu speaking Japanese the same way, but that is how it is.

There are complaints, which even the Jappus would have eavesdropped, arguing that Jappus do not know proper english. To an extent, that could be true, but Jappus were the species who proved that language is not a barrier for technological advancement.
The funny part is, Jappus, when asked to learn English, do exactly the opposite. They make us learn Japanese. Because, they are into the perception that, ultimately, for a proper conversation to occur, all you need is a common language. So, let him learn my language, why should I learn his?

After all this, one thing I can assure you is, Japanese is an easy & interesting language. I am already loving it.