Archive for März 2013

Fine

März 14, 2013

Seit mehr als einem halben Jahr lebe ich jetzt „in limbo“. Eine ziemliche Sch***situation, aber nicht immer ist Auslandserfahrung von Vorteil. Vielleicht werde ich in einiger Zeit mal einen Eintrag schreiben, wie es weiterging/geht.

Vielleicht auch nicht.

Alle restlichen Drafts habe ich gepostet. Vielleicht werde ich dieses Blog in einer anderen Art fortsetzen.

Vielleicht auch nicht.

Wenn ich in Zukunft einen verdächtigen IP-Eintrag sehe, kann es auch sein, dass ich das gesamte Blog offline nehme.

Vielleicht auch nicht.

Bis dahin ist auf jeden Fall erst einmal Schluss.

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Fazit

März 14, 2013

Ich nehme mit:

  1. Eine großartige Frau
  2. So gerade eben, und mit viel Biegen und Brechen, aber trotzdem: Einen Ph—fucking—D.
  3. Mehr Kenntnisse im Drehrumdiebolzenengineering, als ich je im meinem Elite-Uni-Diplomstudium bekommen habe
  4. JLPT N3 – aber N1 kommt, ist nur eine Frage der Zeit!
  5. Echte Freunde: Der französische Schweizer mit seiner Laissez-faire-Einstellung, der „mein Land geht unter, aber Scheiss drauf“ unerschütterliche Grieche, der „ich studiere das jetzt fertig, komme was wolle, aber lass uns erstmal yakiniku“-Japaner, der „Runde Super-Mario?“- Native-Englisch-Speaker Brunaier chinesischer Abstammung, $Prof und $Supervisor, die ich manchmal echt jetzt gern mit der Faust geschlagen hätte, aber denen ich so viel zu verdanken hab, die „München ist irgendwie total cool“-Chinesin, die Family der hzB, und und und…
  6. Ein tolles Land mit wunderschöner Landschaft, traumhaften Stränden und Gebirgen
  7. Onsen
  8. Izakaya
  9. Präfektur M
  10. Präfektur I
  11. Ebisu – Der dritte Mann
  12. Fahrradtour
  13. Family-Resutoran und Dorinku-Bar
  14. Gaman, Ganbaru und Shikata ga nai – Deutschland braucht mehr, Japan weniger
  15. Pünktliche Züge
  16. Essen. Das so viel viel viel besser ist, als alles, was man in Deutschland bekommt. Außer Natto.
  17. Selbstvertrauen

Jobs in Japan – Finding Your Niche

März 13, 2013

Please note the disclaimer.

Now, looking at the previous entries you can probably already guess why getting a position as seishain is quite unlikely for most foreigners. Besides cultural issues, there are formal hurdles to overcome. For example facing assessment centers, the Korean guy had problems to excel at group discussions in Japanese. „Doesn’t play so well with others…“ or something like that was their conclusion. Then there are the math and science questions; and if you have trouble answering them in your mother tongue, try to imagine how it is to read them in Japanese. Again there are exceptions from the rule. To give one example, I know from second hand experience that Google’s recruiting process is not so much different from other countries and will be conducted completely in English, if you prefer. Well at least if you apply for a technical position. But then again, Google is far from being a „typical“ Japanese company.

So what options are there, except something like cleaning up Fukushima?

Academics: That’s where I at least gained some experience. Compared to Germany, my impression is that much more effort and value is put upon research by the government. There’s a lot of money available. How this money is distributed and who’s gonna get it – well that’s another, very complicated story. But at least it’s there. Getting a monbusho- or JSPS-scholarship or getting a post-doc position is certainly possible, I’d say. The most important thing here is to have good connections to a Japanese host, or in general be well-connected within your particular research community. I personally know several scientists who successfully conducted research in Japan for a number of years. And conditions were certainly at least as good as, or in most cases even better, than in Germany.

But: FORGET ABOUT TENURE. I think that’s an important point, especially for long-term planning. At least I do not know a single scientist who made it to tenure. And I am not talking about English teachers, who will almost always be bullied at their universities after some years and forced to quit. I’m talking about the natural sciences and engineering here.

Now you can call out racism here, but actually it’s not that simple. Tenure at universities in Japan is a highly political game; actually very similar to Germany. Quite the opposite to the very transparent process of, say Oxford [1], or several top-notch US-universities [2]. Without the cultural background and good connections within the administration, obviously foreigners will have a difficult time in that regard. And even with the cultural background… one guy who absolutely dominated his field like almost no one else, is married to a Japanese women, has Japanese kids… well actually they are not really Japanese, aren’t they? They are only half! [3] … and all in all spent way more than ten years doing research in Japan, once said to me: At some point, career-wise, it was simply a dead-end. He is now tenured at a very renowned university in the US. His unit is very productive and leading in his area.

Actually, the question when you are (considered to be/treated like a) Japanese is something that puzzles me up until today. And while this might be getting slightly off-track here, it is certainly an issue that vastly affects your career chances. So, are you Japanese by blood? By that definition zainichi, buraku, Okinawan’s and probably Ainu wouldn’t be truly Japanese – their bloodlines are certainly different. But no Japanese person would ever consider someone from Okinawa not Japanese [11]. And even people from Okinawa, who do not agree with a lot of things that are decided in the mainland, would probably consider themselves almost always Japanese. Is it the language, then? Well, I knew a Japanese scientist who was born and raised in Japan, but apparently one of his parents was from India, so he had quite dark skin and curly hair. His native language was Japanese, and while he spoke English fluently, he did so with a thick Japanese accent. Other Japanese who did not know him would always mistake him for a foreigner at first. The truth is, in Japan you are Japanese if you look, act and speak (fluently, without any accent) Japanese. So if my friend, the Korean, does not reveal himself, he is Japanese. His Japanese is fluent enough to be indistinguishable from natives, and his looks are too. In this sense the Korean guy is more Japanese than the Japanese guy.

Oh, if the nettouyo is ever going to read this article, they’ll love it just for that statement, that’s for sure.

Shortly after coming to Japan, I was going to a post-office located near an elementary school once; children saw me, pointed fingers and started shouting „Gaijin! Gaijin!“. Granted, this was deep inaka, and the children certainly not meant it in a harmful way, but … I was just thinking, say I continue to live in Japan and have a child who has western features. Grows up in Japan, speaks Japanese better than German, walks near an elementary school, and … [6].

Back to topic. Jobs outside academia? Well, I’d say they always can be classified into one of the following categories:

  1. Having the function of representing something foreign. Say a company imports American machinery or is the local branch of an American company. Then customers certainly want to see that their products are „genuinely“ American. They want to see an American once in a while. That could be your job. Or a big company decides to become more „international“ (whatever that means). You’d be their „proof of international-ness“ (whatever that means).
  2. Being considered to be an „expert“ or having a talent that is considered to be impossible for a Japanese person to have. This covers ESL teachers, translators, etc., but is not necessarily tied to language skills. If you are a female with low morals, how about becoming Gaijin-tarento? On a more serious note, could be something in engineering. In fact, I’ve met several computer science majors who landed jobs in Japan. If you are an expert in $X-framework, your skills in the real-world language Japanese are less important than in the programming-language $X. In fact, it’s probably easier to land a well-paid job with a good skill set in engineering/sciences than with one in languages.
  3. Being an Expat. International companies however usually dispatch staff from overseas that has a longer experience with that particular company, and rarely hire directly in Japan. And if they do, they usually expect job experience. So, not really something if you’ve just graduated.

And then there are always the exceptions. Marutei Tsurunen, who was an ESL teacher before becoming a member of the upper house.

Oh, the irony…

Well, never say never. But the best chance of succeeding is probably when looking for something in category 2. However I have not met a single person, where I’d say: That guy really made a career here within the Japanese system, where you compete with other Japanese. Successful foreigner always found their niche. [7]

As for me personally, I thought a lot about all these things. Why bother with payment based mostly on seniority, with low initial wages, with the high cost of living, with the perspective of living in Tokyo (the only Japanese city I truly hate), and most importantly the long term prospects of (not) making a career in a Japanese company?

Well, it’s simple: Because Japan is awesome! It truly is. There are so many things that make life in Japan desirable, in a lot of ways life is incredible convenient, ordered, and enjoyable.

Is it worth it? Everyone has to decide for his own. For me, I came to the conclusion: It’s not worth it. Can’t really say anything right now, but even with choosing fun and interest over maximizing monetary return, I’ll probably make one and a half to twice of what I’d make in Japan. And that is without the cheaper cost of living [8]. Simply, the long term prospect of making a career and being able to provide for a family, even in troublesome times, made my decision. After all, Germany doesn’t suck [9].

[1] at least I’ve heard from one guy who was employed there that citation count and quality of research has a very high correspondence to getting tenure there.

[2] see [1]

[3] in case you are unsure about when a Japanese is a real Japanese, you can find a very precise diagram on what level of ancestry, i.e. blood, is required to be truly Japanese. [4] [5]

[4] I’m really sorry. I completely mixed something up here.

[5] Also really sorry about sneaking Godwin in here. ‚Happens sometimes. After all, I’m too near to the source.

[6] Not saying that there aren’t any issues in Germany. But someone with different skin color than white is definitely no sensation anymore. Several kids in my high-school class had different skin color, and at least for me, that was just a normal thing. Nothing you’d think much about. And that was roughly 15 years ago. I really can’t imagine school kids shouting „Foreigner! Foreigner!“ nowadays. Individual kids shouting racial slurs? Possible, though they’d probably get their fair share of „feedback“ from kids with a different standpoint.

[7] Difficult to compare to Germany. You’ll certainly face difficulties if you have black skin color or if your second name is like Ülcük but… all in all I’d say, German mainstream nowadays accepts that if you are willing to assimilate, you don’t need to be blond-haired and blue-eyed to be considered German. Where is Japan’s Philip Rösler? [10]

[8] When everything is finally set and fixed, I’ll probably write up a „what happened afterwards“.

[9] or does it?

[10] That’s a bad example I hear you say, because he is German and not Auslander – so what is my point? Well that’s exactly my point.

[11] actually, after writing up this article, I learned that this might not always be true.

Parallel to Society

März 12, 2013

Please note the disclaimer.

Japan, as a society, is organized much more hierarchical than I am used from (West-)Germany. In every area of life there are superiors and subordinates, there are teachers and students, and there are senpai’s and kouhai’s. This goes so far in that you’d use different words in Japanese for your older and younger sister, for example.

A very essential concept of social life is belonging to groups. The distinction is between uchi (being in the group), soto (a known, but outside person) and tanin (strangers). Another big difference to the west is the concept of a group itself. At least in West-Germany I’d connote with the word group a … more like an … accumulation of persons with the same interest. Which more or less meet on the same level. Contrast that to Japan, where there tends to be a very strict hierarchy even within the group, which very much acts like a mechanism to control access to the group. That is, to join one, both the group leader and the whole group itself have to agree in joint consensus. Again this is visible in all parts of society, from company divisions, sports clubs down to simply, a group of friends.

Of course, all these concepts exist in Germany as well, but certainly not to such an extent. And even then, considering western countries, I’d rate Germany amongst those where hierarchy plays a rather big role. Thus, being a (visibly white) foreigner, quite likely without native fluency in Japanese, you’ll be classified as soto or tanin. And for someone fresh-off-the-boat that might actually be a suitable classification. However even after living in Japan for more than five, ten, or fifteen years it’s quite likely that you’ll live socially rather isolated. Because you are still soto. Or tanin.

Japan is not a nation of immigrants. I am not sure where I heard the next metaphor first, but the concept of cultural exchange in Japan can be expressed kind of like this: Foreigner comes to Japan, sits on one side of the table. I, Japanese, on the other side. And then we’ll throw to each other small bits of culture. I, Japanese, explain to the foreigner about my unique, unique culture (did I point out that it’s really really unique and unmatched anywhere in the world? It might be even a bit superior to yours…). And you’ll tell me how great Japan is and how much you like it and I’ll be so surprised that you can even eat raw fish and use chopsticks – despite the fact that you are a foreigner, and thus have to fight and overcome your inherent disabilities – and then we are finished, and afterwards, PLEASE GO HOME! [1][8]

After all – and this really is not unique to Japan – nobody likes guests that invite themselves to stay indefinitely.

This concept of cultural exchange and the inability to even consider the possibility of immigration is deeply engraved in the Japanese society. So deep that Japan ships thousands of foreign ALTs (Assistant English Teachers) each year to Japan only to send them back after three years – when they finally begin to settle. Without even taking into account that one could use the same money to properly train Japanese teachers of English and send _them_ overseas instead.

I always experienced how tanin I am when visiting the family of the SWMBO. It’s actually not the family itself who, for once is incredibly nice, welcoming and open-minded [2], and moreover simply got to know me better over time. I am experiencing this however whenever I meet not-so-close friends (why is there no word in English to distinguish between Bekannte and Freunde?) or distant relatives. For example, one of the SWMBO’s friends gave birth recently, and we wanted to visit her. Or rather the SWMBO wanted to. I already got a bad feeling when reaching their home and advised the SWMBO on the inherent danger of an involuntary Gaijin-Smash and the associated embarrassment [3]. Such advisories went to deaf ears, and the SWMBO scolded me for being such a pussy.

We enter the enemy ship their home. Whole family’s there, including the mother-in-law. Who wants to put a chair in the tatami room the whole time during that embarrassing visit, so that I throne over ‚em little people. Apparently I am not able to sit in seiza … at all, since I am a foreigner. Living there for only four years… surely one cannot expect! And it’s nothing I can hold against her. She just tried to be really nice. Same thing with the compliments. Stressed several times how good of a catch I am for the SWMBO, as she only recently heard on TV how smart Indians are when it comes to computers [4].

Being soto or tanin isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There is a nice video from a J-vlogger and Jap-vet, Hikosaemon about this called „It ain’t easy being Japanese!„. After all, in such a hierarchical society, it’s not easy for Japanese to gain access to their desired groups, either. That requires a lot of bending and eating dirt, and quite often is far from being a pleasure. Moreover, gaining access to some groups is virtually impossible. Japanese prime ministers and politicians for example tend to recruit themselves from political dynasties that lead back to the Meiji-period to an extent that is simply unthinkable in Germany. Concepts like fairness and equality of opportunities do exist, but they are far different from their western counterparts.

Now, living parallel to this world means not having the same chances, but it also means you are not subject to the same rules and obligations. And since persons who are soto or tanin are usually treated in a courteous and polite way – like a well-regarded guest – that can be quite pleasant. This is what most tourists or newcomers experience, and they usually fail to understand the bitterness often found among „vets“. You can even exploit your status as a foreigner in certain situations. For example when dealing with any kind of government agency, I found it best not to be recognized as too knowledgeable; better come off as a little bit too stupid than too smart. The former will give the person in charge the chance to _once and for all_ _really_ explain it to that naive and simple-minded foreigner. Which in overall, even though it might seem slightly counterintuitive, will usually result in a much faster and more efficient process [5].

Asian foreigners by the way are not subject of this whole scheme, at least not if they have a will to assimilate. Because, they can assimilate optically and thus become virtually indistinguishable. A good friend, Korean and trilingual, is not treated first and foremost as a foreigner, but rather measured with Japanese standards. And that can be a problem as well: While people congratulate me as soon as I say „Konichiwa“ – since apparently my Japanese is awesome; I mastered to say „Hello“ – in his case, people consider him a little bit like a socially rather awkward and linguistically slightly clumsy Japanese (people usually consider him Japanese, and when he reveals to be Korean they think he is zainichi), and scold him for that. Discrimination has a completely different meaning for him – and I am completely skipping here all the extra issues of Japanese-Korean relations.

And is that discrimination? Is there discrimination in Japan? Well yes and no. Certainly not in the sense of Germany or other parts in the western world where, if you have the wrong skin color and are at the wrong place at the wrong time, will have problems to get home in one piece. The whole thing in Japan is more subtle and usually only starts to become apparent when you consider immigrating for real and living the rest of your life there. In contrast, foreigners who just arrived in Japan often won’t notice a lot of things at first. Because you will never come in touch with all that stuff if you come to Japan as an expat or as an exchange student. Housing will be taken care for you, and you won’t even realize that a large amount of apartment owners won’t rent to foreigners [6]. Blocked career paths‘ are not an issue if your position has a specified shelf-life and going back to your home country after some time is fixed in the first place. Or if you work in an area, say as an English-teacher or as a translator, where you simply don’t compete with other Japanese workers in your professional life, since it is an area where Japanese cannot (or are perceived as not being able to) provide the same service.

And to provide some kind of evidence, I am surely not the only one who looks at it that way [7].

But it’s incredible annoying to live like that in the long term – parallel to society.

[1] I have to say, that this kind of attitude is probably found in Germany as well. Nevertheless this article is not about comparing things.

[2] (The SWMBO however simply refuses to acknowledge this fact, and continues to reassure me that „we are like any other family in Japan“)

[3] The whole „losing one’s face thing“ – seriously, I still haven’t worked out its true meaning in Japan, but at least I can say: It’s completely different than being portrayed in western media. For example to my surprise, you’ll apparently never lose face if you scold an inferior in the harshest way possible.

[4] biggest. WTF. evar. And in case you’re wondering: I am as pale as a nerd can be.

[5] btw, that _so_ holds for Germany as well.

[6] on the other hand, probably still easier to get a flat as a foreigner in Germany than as a German in Germany, considering some cities like Munich

[7] and while we are at it: even though not directly related, give this a try as well.

[8] There is one phenomenon that I find quite interesting. When talking in English about things Japanese, most native Japanese speakers will resort to the first person plural. „In Japan, we don’t tip.“ „We use chopsticks.“ „We go to the Shrine on New Year’s Eve.“ Apparently I’m not invited. I am not part of that group you’re referencing. You guys, the Japanese, go. I don’t. Should I? Should I not? May I not? But then again, could just be one of the typical quirks when learning English, and I am interpreting way too much into that.

Jobs and a typical career path in Japan

März 11, 2013

Please note the disclaimer.

Companies in Japan seek new graduates each year in a rather formal process, called shushoku katsudou. Hiring always starts in April – that’s when the university is over, so graduates are able to seamlessly proceed into their new role as full members of society and become shakaijin [1]. Students essentially spend their last university year with job hunting. If successful, life as a seishain awaits them. On the one hand, that means that your ass belongs to the company now, on the other hand that usually means job security until retirement [2]. Besides, switching careers or just going to another company would be quite difficult in Japan anyway.

The education at Japanese universities is subpar, at best [3]. Most Japanese students only go for a bachelor degree, and quite often, that is just… I mean I have seen on what kind of level (what’s a „pointer“?) students were when they came to us to pursue their master’s degree. That’s why big companies usually have their own internal training programs, and you cannot expect to have any kind of responsible work assigned in the first few years – let alone seek that kind of responsibility by yourself. When it comes to your degree, if at all, the brand name of the university counts; what you actually studied or accomplished is not so much of importance. This means that in an extreme case it could be that for example someone with degree in computer science would be set in accounting, if internal demand requires it. In any event, there will usually be some form job-rotation and relocations every few years.

Because of all of that, naturally companies want ‚em young and bendable. New employees on the other hand start at the bottommost position in the company hierarchy, and are expected to bend over and be happy with it. The Japs [4][5] have a word for that, and it’s called gamansuru, which roughly translates to being both ass-raped and cheerful about it at the same time. Grads with a bachelor degree are thus most favored, master’s a little less, and PhD’s… nobody really like PhD’s. Varies from dislike to open hatred, but liking – no. In any event, few Japanese students pursue an advanced degree, unless they plan a career in academics or to go to one of the few research centers of big companies. More on that later on.

Let’s talk money

Since you are starting at the very bottom, your salary is accordingly. Typical – and I really can only speak of my own area of expertise, rocket science (who cares vere zey come down?) that is, but there, it’s about 220000 Yen per month for grads with bachelor degree, and about 250000 to 260000 Yen for those with master’s or a PhD [6]. In fact, larger companies quite openly state this salary on their homepages, or on the job ads that get distributed to the universities. As said, these salaries are kind of non-negotiable, and your previous achievements are of minor importance, it’s more important that you „fit in“. In addition to the base salary there are often bonuses, and subsidies for rent or commuting. This additional salary however is very dependent on which company you join. The large ones, say Hitachi or Toshiba, do pay such bonuses; smaller companies however tend to promise a lot and then there a lots and lots and lots of reasons on why the bonuses at this particular year in this particular situation due to that particular reason unfortunately can’t be paid out. You have to gaman. You have to see the bigger picture here, the long-term goal [7]. Of course, under certain circumstances that can happen at larger companies too *cough* Sharp *cough*.

Your salary will rise with seniority and peaks around the age between 45 and 55. Between 55 and 60 you’ll usually be fired with a generous settlement, the taishokukin. That’s not just generosity of the company, that’s also meant to bridge until you are eligible to receive the national pension (from 65 years onward). Sometimes you are also re-hired at much worse conditions, or hired at a sub-contractor or at an external supplier.

Becoming seishain at a Japanese company is not impossible but very unlikely

Now, that’s a lot of text, but in summary: Becoming seishain at a Japanese company is not impossible but very unlikely if you are a (white) foreigner. I’ll elaborate more on the foreigner-thing in a next posting, but besides all these cultural issues, most western foreigners and students fall into one of these two categories:

  • those that studied something like engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, or one of the natural sciences and found somehow their way to Japan and
  • those who have a degree in oriental or Japanese studies.

In the first case you’ll likely be not fluent in Japanese. Or not fluent enough. I mean going through the hiring process is no different than at a, say American or German company. Acing at an assessment center, passing the group discussion (in Japanese), and solving the logic quizzes… – even if you are fluent enough to survive your everyday life, that simply won’t cut it.

And In the second case you’ll know nothing valuable whatsoever. I mean you’ll probably be able to speak Japanese. But then again, there are approximately 120 million Japanese citizens who are also able to do so. Sure, your Japanese might be even better, your sonkeigo and kenjougo might be better than a lot of young Japanese‘ and you might be able to read the Tales of Genji in the unedited original; something most Japanese won’t be able to. I congratulate you for that. But honestly, no one gives a frack. Yeah, maybe you’ll be able to read the logic quizzes, but likely lack the skill to understand the actual math.

To conclude however I have to state one thing: There are always exceptions. Personally, I do not know a single foreigner who became seishain, but I am quite sure that there is one out there. And I have my highest respect for him or her. You made it! You truly assimilated into a Japanese lifestyle. That’s something not many other foreigners are capable or willing to do – and I will talk in a later posting on whether that’s actually desirable. My whole point is: For the rest of us, the other 99 percent, we simply have to resort to other means.

There are other ways to land a job in Japan. You’ll have to resort to your special Gaijin powers.

Yup, the Japs are still way into the whole rangaku thing.

[1] If you are a student, heck even if you are a grad student on a scholarship, you are essentially just a parasite of the generous society, but obviously not contributing anything worthwhile. After all, you don’t have a job, right?

[2] Times in Japan are changing too, but at least you can be assured to be the last to let go. Unless you really mess up or the company is in severe trouble, you can expect that all the contract workers will be fired won’t have their contracts extended first. Well ok, maybe you’ll be bullied out, but technically, you are employed for lifetime.

[3] This is a broad generalization, no doubt. There is excellent research output from some universities, there is excellence in engineering and the natural sciences. But even if that is the case, it does not necessarily mean that your average undergraduate student will benefit from it. Student attitude towards university life is also a big issue here – the university is probably the only time where young people can really relax and enjoy their life without too much boundaries after the stressful university entrance exams and before going into a life as 60 hours/week company trooper.

[4] In case you feel offended: Boowhooo. Here is a tissue.

[5] Also, feel free to go with Fritz, Jerry, Kraut, and the like in the comments. I don’t give frack. You should’ve realized by now that this is none of those clean pc doubleplusgood Newspeak blogs.

[6] Yes, a frickin eikaiwa teacher makes about the same or even more. Ok, probably won’t get any bonuses. Nothing against English teachers, they are some very respectable folks out there, but … come on!

[7] Like the boss‘ next Porsche.

Disclaimer

März 10, 2013

This is a disclaimer intended for the next following entries

This is a German blog intended for a German audience, and thus I originally wrote all the following entries in German. But then I remembered how I, especially when I was forced to decide on leaving or staying (or trying to stay) in Japan, yawned for true experience reports of foreigners that stayed in Japan for a longer period of time. Thus English it is, to broaden the potential audience. And moreover, everyone from kaigai speaks English anyway, right? [1]

Another disclaimer: After writing all this up, I noticed how negative it might sound. It’s not meant to be. It’s just a sum-up of my own personal experiences and impressions. I love Japan. And I hate Japan. My relation to Japan is like with a tragic love; you broke up but with her, since apparently there is no way you can really handle all her frickin‘ issues in everyday life. And yet you continue to be friends, deep down still having feelings, unrequited feelings of true love that is, and in one moment you curse her for all her craziness, only to flip over in the next moment, and, in admiration of her elegance and sheer beauty, descend in self regrets over ever splitting up with her in the first place.

Yup. That pretty much sums it up.

[1] You probably didn’t know, but there are actually only three (kinds of) countries in the world: The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Also known as Japan, China and Korea, and the kaigai.

Warum Akiba geiler ist als Deine Mom

März 9, 2013

Die meisten Menschen denken bei Akihabara an einen Platz mit häßlichen Menschen, die komische Dinge tun. Also ich habe jetzt mal gerade wahllos Akihabara in Youtube eingegeben, und dann findet man solche schlimmen Sachen. Aaah, und so süüüüüß. Puppen, Figuren, Maids, und der gesamte Schwachsinn.

Andere wiederum gehen nach Akihabara, sehen Yodobashi und BicCamera[1], und sagen: Ja toll, nichts besonderes, da hätte ich ja auch in mein BicCamera oder Yodobashi in einem anderen Stadtteil gehen können. Und sagen dann so Sachen wie „Akihabara ist auch nicht mehr das, was es mal war.“ und „statt Akihabara kann man auch einfach in den nächsten Elektronikmarkt gehen, die haben das gleiche.“

Nichts wäre mehr von der Wahrheit entfernt. Auch wenn der Stadtteil sicher Trends und Veränderungen (zum Negativen, immerhin gehen ja so Personen wie die oben im Video dorthin) unterliegt, ist Akihabara total geil, denn (und das raffen jetzt nur GOMler): Stell Dir vor es gäbe 100 Pals und Rosviettas, und Pal/Rosvietta #1 würden nur Schalter machen, Pal/Rosvietta #2 nur Widerstände, Pal/Rosvietta #3 nur  Transistoren … wir verstehen uns.

Daher, wenn man weiß, wo man hin muss … diese Atmosphäre ist sicher schwer zu vermitteln – und wenn man keine Interesse an dem ganzen Kram hat, vielleicht auch gar nicht. Aber für alle anderen sei hier gesagt, ihr glaubt nicht, WIE MEGACOOL DAS ALLES IST!!!11!!11elf. Ich meine, ich hasse Tokyo (nicht nur, aber auch wegen uneingenordeter Karten), aber diesen Teil Tokyos liebe ich.

Also worauf ich hinaus will: Neulich bin ich über folgende Videoplaylist[2][3] gestoßen. Und da waren durchaus einige Läden, die ich auch nicht kannte. Ich finde, es vermittelt einfach sehr sehr gut die „echte“ Atmosphäre in Akiba. Also, wer Interesse am Drehrumdiebolzenengineering & Co hat:

PS: Laut WordPress ist das mein 100tes Posting (ich habe nicht mitgezählt). Und alle so „yeah“ „おめでとうございます“

[1] Quasi so eine Art japanische MediaMarkts/Saturns mit netteren, aber ebenso inkompetenten Verkäufern

[2] Zur Klarstellung: Das Video ist nicht von mir erstellt, und ich kenne die Autoren auch nicht.

[3] GOMlern – ihr wisst schon, wer ihr seid – lege ich insbesondere Video #16, „Rocket Radio“ ans Herz.

Latex vs. Word 2010 and why you should not use Latex for smaller documents

März 8, 2013

My name is umij, and I am a typophile.

I don’t know when it started. Probably during my university days, when I wrote lots of documents using Latex. In fact, I rewrote the whole thesis-document class of my faculty – the old one had several bugs, was originally created in the mid-90s and used pslatex, and just looked ugly.

There are several pages in the net advocating the use of Latex quite loudly. Of course there is no doubt that Latex is _the_ tool for larger documents, like a thesis or book. However I got so used to Latex, that after leaving university I was thinking of using Latex also for smaller documents; letters, CVs, and the like. And after toying around a little bit, I have to say that Word’s bad reputation isn’t justified at all. My recommendation is: Definitely stick with Word (2010) if your document is small (i.e. less than say, 25 pages).

Bad Typography

Word is notorious for having bad typography, but in actual fact, Word 2010[1] improved typography quite a bit by adding support for several advanced OpenType features, namely:

So to compare Tex and Word, I’ve prepared a small document. I took the first two paragraphs from the fifth adventure of Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes”. To not get distracted by different fonts, I’ve used the extended OpenType versions of URW Palladio (Tex-Gyre-Pagella) for both Word and Latex. For the latter I simply included the package tgpagella.

A quick comparison

Here is the result for Latex, and here for Word – use Adobe Reader to ensure you’ll see the real thing. In particular Firefox‘ new built-in PDF reader seems to have some problems with font-hinting. A quick comparison:

  • Word 2010 still doesn’t have true small caps, even though they are included in the OpenType font. I have no real clue why Word sticks to fake small caps, but I suspect backward compatibility issues.
  • Ligatures are available in both documents. See „offered“ in Line 6. Not all are properly set (see the „ffl“ in „baffled“ in Line 8), but this is simply a design choice (or a bug) of Tex-Gyre-Pagella, affecting both Tex and Word alike.
  • I can spot no obvious problems with kerning in the Word version except
  • drop-caps of course. Word does support drop-caps, but no advanced things like vertically adjusting the spacing between the lines and the letter in question. As done here with Tex for the letter “W”.
  • Full justification: Of course no other program comes close to Tex’s full justification algorithm. Still ‘though, Word looks pretty decent, in my opinion. I did however switch the justification algorithm to the one of WordPerfect (File – > Options – > Advanced – > Layout Options – > Do full justification like WordPerfect 6.x for Windows)

All in all, while the typography of Latex is clearly superior, Word isn’t that bad anymore. In fact, the document looks quite decent, I think [2].

Latex makes difficult things easy, and easy things very difficult

Now, here are some reasons on why I think Latex is not optimal for smaller documents. These are issues I encounter again and again:

  • “You only specify what to do, and Latex does the layout for you”. That’s something I read quite often, and it is a blatant lie. In fact, the opposite is true (see below).
  • You’ll spend a lot of time setting up your document. Time that is better spent on the actual content. Of course, if you are going to write your thesis or a book, a little bit time spent on setting up the document is easily justified. However spending eighty percent of your time setting up your CV, and twenty percent on the actual content is the wrong way to go.
  • “Quickly” changing the layout of your document is very difficult, and usually as time-consuming as setting it up in the first place.
  • Latex makes difficult things easy, and easy things very difficult

To give an example, here is a quick rep on how I’ve prepared the pdf’s. First, I didn’t want to go for Computer Modern. If you like Computer Modern, then you have bad taste, but that’s ok. There is however a more fundamental issue with CM: It is very “light”. The letters, i.e. all strokes are very thin. CM was designed to be printed on a laser-printer, and the result usually looks quite ok (except for the fact that CM is ugly). Nowadays however, most documents are not only printed out, but also read on a screen, and the thin letters make it very uncomfortable to read. Latin Modern helps (and should be used instead of CM anyway), but only to a certain extent.

I opted for URW Palladio L (i.e. Palatino) instead. To my surprise however, going with mathpazo, which is the default package to switch to Palatino in TeX, doesn’t give you ligatures. Which is one OpenType feature that I want to explicitly illustrate here. I am not sure whether Palatino has no ligatures by design, or that’s simply a bug, even though I do not see any reason on why they should be missing. But then again, I am not Hermann Zapf. Thus I switched to the extended version, namely tex-gyre-pagella (tgpagella). That gives you ligatures, but whereas matzpazo has a simple switch [osf] for old-style numbers, there is no such thing for tgpagella. I opted to mark each number with \oldstylenums in the document, but that again created two problems:

  1. The numbers aren’t switched for the whole document. So the page number in the footer still used standard numbers, which looked quite inconsistent. Thus I used fancyhdr to set a custom footer, where I changed the page number  with \oldstylenums, too.
  2. The old style numbers look very odd. If you zoom into the pdf a little, you’ll see that they are too thin. My suspicion is that these are actually numbers from Computer Modern, and not from Palatino. I am not sure though…

Word has several advantages, too

My point? One issue easily leads to another, and getting things to look the way you want them to, isn’t that easy in Latex either. And don’t even get me started on placing figures, tables over multiple pages, and many more things. Sure, Latex has beautiful typography, but how often do you use small caps and drop caps in your business letters? Setting up the document in Word took way less time. And Word has several other advantages, too:

  • It’s easy to select your own font. If  the font is free and there is a Latex-package, then it’s easy to switch in Latex too, but all those that ever tried to buy a decent version of Garamond and add it to their Tex-installation will probably agree that it’s basically a pita, if there is no package.
  • Unicode. Ever tried to prep a Japanese document with platex on a non-Japanese locale? Ever tried to include both Japanese and German umlauts in one document? And yes, I know there is xelatex, but that’s still far from being standard.
  • A decent spell checker and a useful grammar checker. Granted, I can’t really say anything about English, as I am not a native speaker, but at least for German with all its compound words, ispell, aspell and the like simply suck. There is another issue too: If you are editing a Latex document in say, Texmaker, a lot of Latex-specific code is underlined in red. That trains you to ignore the red underlining. And even if you use something more sophisticated, like vim, all the latex commands still distract you from the actual content. At least personally I can say that I make way more spelling and grammar mistakes when using Tex. And while (sadly) bad typography is forgivable nowadays in your cover letter, bad spelling is not.

To sum things up: Opposite to larger documents, for smaller ones: don’t go for Tex. It’s not worth the hassle.

[1] I did not include LibreOffice here, since LibreOffice does not support advanced OpenType features at the time of writing. With Graphite, LibreOffice implements a technology that is capable of all of that. However the only two Graphite-fonts available right now are Linux Libertine and Biolinum. Which, unless you are really into those two fonts, pretty much renders Graphite useless. At least for now.

[2] Yes, there are some issues with tgpagella, i.e. some additions that are not so optimal (some might consider the old-style numbers to be suboptimal, at best), but I won’t delve into that here

Die Reise nach Val Verde, Teil 4 (letzter Teil)

März 7, 2013

Nun Val Verde Airport war Hellhole, aber doch nicht so Hellhole, wie ich gedacht hatte [1]. Ich schaffte es zügig zum Domestic Terminal zu gelangen, zum Terminal der Fluglinie zu gehen, die in der gesamten EU aufgrund von Sicherheitsbedenken keinen Flughafen anfliegen darf und schaffte es irgendwie mit Händen und Füßen zu erklären, dass ich jetzt bitte meinen Boardingpass für mein Ticket haben möchte.

Zu diesem Zeitpunkt etwa seit 60 Stunden ohne Schlaf. Und ohne Dusche, auch. Etwas Zeit alles zu mustern. Und so nach ca. 2 Stunden kam ER. ER sah halt ungefähr von 100 Metern Entfernung aus, WIE EIN DEUTSCHER TOURIST HALT SO AUSSIEHT. Ich meine er hätte sich eigentlich nur noch ein Schild an die Stirn pappen müssen mit „Tach, ich bin Deutscher, bitte rauben sie mich aus.“

Und da muss ich ja sagen, nicht alle, aber viele Deutsche im Ausland ERKENNT MAN AUF 100 METER GEGEN DEN WIND.

  1. Deutsche im Ausland sind eigentlich fast immer beschissen und geschmacklos gekleidet
  2. Deutsche im Ausland benehmen sich fast immer auffällig und deutsch
  3. Deutsche im Ausland fallen immer, auch optisch, so aus der Reihe wie ein Neger auf einer Tagung vom Ku-Klux-Klan.

Oder vielleicht… die die einem auffallen, gell? Die anderen halt nicht. Ich bilde mir ein, die erste Lektion des „How not to be seen“ erlernt zu haben. Ich hatte halt auch vorher zugesehen mich unauffällig zu kleiden; besser mal ein paar Tage nicht rasieren, etc.; kurzum, ich sah halt ein bisschen abgefuckt aus. Halt so abgefuckt, dass man vielleicht nicht unbedingt wirkt, als „wolle man Rose kaufe“. Aber halt auch nicht total abgefuckt, wie mit `nem verschissenen Wanderrucksack wie ein Backpacker. Sicher, ich bin da nicht Experte. Es gab da zum Beispiel diesen Russen, also da hätte ich mich selbst als hauptberuflicher Schurke nicht drangetraut (und ja, wir reden hier von der „Weltelite“ des Drehrumdiebolzenengineering. Typen gibt’s da…).

So getze schreibe ich die ganze Zeit hier, aber die Beiträge heißen ja auch, die Reise _nach_ Val Verde, nicht _in_ Val Verde. _In_ Val Verde habe ich nämlich im Wesentlichen vier Dinge gesehen.

  1. Gitter

  2. Noch mehr Gitter

  3. Wachhunde

  4. Und noch mehr Wachhunde

Hotel bewacht mit Mauer drumherum, im Bus zum Kongresszentrum in der Mitte der Stadt, im Bus vom Kongresszentrum zur Mensa, von der Mensa im Bus zum Kongresszentrum, vom Kongresszentrum zum Hotel. Nachts bloß nicht aus dem Hotel. Vorsicht überall. Am zweiten Tag kamen die irgendwie mit so einem 1960er Jahre Schrottbus an. Werden wir von jetzt an benutzen, weil so ein moderner Bus von MAN… zu auffällig.

An einem Abend, der italienische Postdoc geht runter zur Lobby eine rauchen, der Securityguy zieht `ne Kippe ab (der Securityguy zog immer `ne Kippe ab), und der Italiener kommt ins Gespräch. Valverdische Frauen seinen ja durchaus hübsch. Worauf der Securityguy so: „Ja stimmt, willste vielleicht eine?“ Und der Italiener so hm, labert der jetzt nur, oder? Und so zum Test: Ja auf jeden, kannst Du vielleicht? – und der Securityguy zückt sein Handy, um dem Italiener `n paar Nutten aufs Zimmer zu bestellen, doch da greift der Italiener doch ein und schlägt das Angebot aus.

Ansonsten… man wird ja zum Japaner im Ausland … bot das Essen und die Küche nicht genug kulinarische Ausgefeiltheit und lokale Spezialitäten. Ziemlich langweilig, hatte einfach mehr erwartet. Weitere Erfahrungen meinerseits mit der Küche Val Verdes kann man hier nachlesen. Ansonsten kurz hier ein paar Stichpunkte, Austausch mit Kollegen des Fachs und so.

  • Italienischer Postdoc, mittlerweile in Frankreich tätig: „There is no hope for Italy. The only hope for Italy is to bomb it down to ashes and rebuild everything from scratch. „
  • Er war auch bekennender Kiffer und meinte, dass würde ihm zu mehr mathematischer Kreativität verhelfen. Hörte ich zum ersten Mail; mein Eindruck (also von außen, ich bin da wie Bill Clinton frei von jeglicher Schandtat) war immer, dass sich das mit ernsthaftem Arbeiten und Mathematik nicht verträgt.
  • Interessanterweise war sein Paper in einer ähnlichen Richtung wie meins, und seins war kreativ, und meins halt mit der Brechstange.
  • Domestic Conferences in Japan waren oft totlangweilig, weil sich die Japaner auch nach dem offiziellen Teil beim Bier _nur_ über Arbeit unterhalten haben. Gerade bei dieser Konferenz – und vielleicht auch aufgrund des Klientels, welches sich ja immerhin nach Val Verde traute – unterhielt man sich, wie es sich gehörte, nach der Arbeit über die vier S. Auf der anderen Seite ist mir auf den japanischen Tagungen auch klar geworden, dass die wirklich für ihre Arbeit leben – Berufung statt Beruf – und ich halt nicht.
  • Chicks heiß, aber nur so bis ca. 35. Danach unglaublich verbraucht und fett.
  • Unter allen Konferenzteilnehmern herrschte einhellig die Meinung, das Fahren eines New Beetle sei unmännlich
  • Wenn man threaded code schreibt und in ein Softwareprodukt einbaut, sollte man Zufallsevents mit einbauen. So kann ein Kunde fehlerhaftes Verhalten nicht reproduzieren, und man ist fein raus aus der Sache, und muss den Sch*** nicht debuggen. Der Aufwand, Fehler bei threaded code zu suchen, macht jedes Projekt unrentabel.
  • Ok, obiges war als Scherz gemeint.
  • So hoffe ich.
  • Denn der Typ war von einem namhaften, großen Unternehmen, dessen Produkt nach meinen Stats ca. 75% von Euch momentan nutzen.

Tjo. Ansonsten noch kurz zur Rückreise. Raus ging es erstaunlich problemlos, ich hatte Schlimmeres befürchtet – Drogenscreenings, Koffer aufstechen, Röntgen etc. Einreise in die USA problemlos, diesmal aber ein Redneck, der seine Südamerika-Klientel offenbar kannte, ich passte nicht ganz ins Schema. Was ich denn gemacht hätte, in Val Verde? Drehrumdiebolzenengineering. „So `ya buildin`a terminator for the dictator, eh?“ „Nein, Sir, nicht Sir, rein wissenschaftlich Sir.“ Und wurde dann doch reingelassen.

Wieder eine Nacht auf der Parkbank, und dann.

Einchecken per Automat ging natürlich wieder nicht. Auf der Rückreise war ich diesmal nicht allein, auch entfernt bekannter $Japaner musste zurück, und unsere Connections waren zu mindestens teilweise überlappend. Er war aber irgendwie schon in Val Verde durchgecheckt worden, mir wurde gesagt, dies sei nicht möglich. Haha.

Und der Flieger kam. Und die Schalter machten um 6:15 auf, und um 7:15 ging mein Flieger, und Stau bei Security. Und Schlange bei Check-In Schalter.

6:30…

6:45… Ich drängle mich höflich am Schalter vor, und winke noch kurz $Japaner zu, dass er nicht auf mich warten soll, und womöglich seine Connection verpassen möge. Der Check-In Agent mustert mich. Ich erkläre kurz die Situation. Der Agent sagt erst mal nichts. Schaut sich mein Flight-Schedule an. Fängt an zu reden.

In der tuntigst-schwulen Art ever to be encounterd.

Aber nett.

Agent: Ohmygod. Who _did_ that to you?

Master-Chief ist verdattert ob der Anschwulerei. Aber ich bin nicht homophob, im Gegensatz zu Herrn S. Vielleicht springt ja `was für mich raus.

Master-Chief: „You should see the whole thing. With the domestic connections in Val Verde and Japan.“

Agent: The internet did that hm? You poor thing… Let me see… maybe I can reroute you via $absolut geile Connection, so dass statt $Airport1 –> Taxi –> $Airport2 einfach $Airport2.

(sieht, wie ich $Japaner ein Zeichen gebe, er möge in der Security fortschreiten)

Also dazu muss man sagen, es handelte sich hier um einen japanischen Mann. Ja, so einen.

Wir verstehen uns. Dem Check-in Agent fehlten diese Kenntnisse. Der dachte was anderes.

Agent: Oh is that your … colleague? Are you travelling … together?

Master-Chief: Well kind of, yeah, but…

Agent: Ooooh, I see. Well I could give you a seat on a flight to $Airport2. How would that be?

Master-Chief denkt, es sei besser, ein bisschen mitzuspielen, zu versuchen, zu flirten, oder zu mindestens nett zu wirken. Sofern das vom Zustand überhaupt möglich war.

Master: That would be AWESOME.

Agent: Ohohoh hahaha hihihi. Yes that would be awesome, right [2]. But your colleague would probably hate me for that.

Master-Chief denkt: Aha, da geht die Reise hin. $Japaners Schicksal geht mir im Moment aber am Arsch vorbei. Und außerdem hat der eh schon eingecheckt, und sein Gepäck ist sicherlich schon im Flugzeug. Und ich _will_ den anderen Flug.

Master: „Yeah, but I’d love you. “

Agent muss herzhaft lachen.

Bingo, das war der Trigger. Kostenlose Umbuchung, Flug 1h später, kein lästiges Hetzen durch die Stadt – YEAH BABY. Mein Tag gerettet. Moral von der Geschichte? Nicht-homophobe haben manchmal mehr vom Leben. Herr S.!

Okok, beim Lesen: Der Dialog war vielleicht witziger in echt. Lest ihn einfach noch mal laut vor, mit so’ner richtig tuntigen Stimme. Also für den Agent, nicht für den Master-Chief. Für den Master-Chief wählt eine sonore, männliche Stimme, noch zehnmal cooler als wenn Clint Eastwood in Firefox „Ednja Rakjeta“ sagt.

Tja, Flug nach Tokyo ohne große Events. Höchstens, dass ich in Tokyo fast im Terminal den Anschlussflug verpasst hätte, weil ich nach über 60 Stunden ohne Schlaf einfach eingenickt bin. Fazit: Ich bin auf jeden Fall total froh, mal in Val Verde gewesen zu sein.

Und nie wieder hin zu müssen.

[1] Also ich rede von dem Flughafen, von dem Coolio mit bewaffnetem Wachschutz abgeholt wurde.

[2] Seriously, is „awesome“ way too colloquial in such a situation? My spoken English is too much derived from conversations with non-native speakers, Hollywood movies, and the internet, I guess.

Die Reise nach Val Verde Teil 3

März 6, 2013

Und schon war ich wieder in der Luft. Und wir hoben ab, zack in der Luft, und Captain sagt hallo, willkommen zu unserem Flug nach San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Und ich so WTF?

Ich will aber nicht nach San Juan, Puerto Rico, ich will nach Val Verde. Wobei eigentlich… will ich da gar nicht hin. Und San Juan ist doch bestimmt auch schön.

Aber leider, so erfuhr ich, nur ein kurzer Zwischenstopp. Quasi nochmal letztes Mut holen vor dem Aufbruch ins Feindesland; auch was American angeht, glaube es gab einen Crewwechsel. Ich selbst konnte mit der Handvoll Freaks, die auch nach Val Verde wollten und nicht in San Juan Urlaub, direkt am Gate warten und musste nicht nochmal durch die Security. Auch gab`s Free-Wifi. Abgefahren. Fast jeder versch**** First-World Flughafen will einen irgendwie mit Gebühren von ca. $10 abziehen, nur halt in San Juan, auf Puerto Rico, da kriegt man `ne 1a Wifi-Connection für umme.

Sachen gibt’s.

Da saß ich nun also, seit über 40 Stunden auf den Beinen, übernächtigt, viel zu warm angezogen (nämlich für den kalten amerikanische Norden und nicht San Juan), und konnte kurz innehalten und ein wenig die Umgebung mustern. Viele amerikanische Touristen. Nachvollziehbar. Weiterhin sprangen mir aber zwei Dinge sofort ins Auge. Zur ersten Sache muss man sagen, dass ich im tiefen Westdeutschland aufgewachsen bin. Grundschullehrer der manchmal leicht cholerische aber auch nicht unsympathische Herr L. (RIP), der uns viel singen ließ. Und da das Wort „Political Correctness“ damals noch keinen Einzug in den deutschen Sprachgebrauch gefeiert hatte – geschweige denn in meinem Nest im Herzen Westdeutschlands – sagte man noch so Wörter wie Neger ganz ohne schlimme Gedanken, und sang das Lied vom kleinen Chico. Und weil Ihr es seid, hier die vollen Lyrics.

In San Juan auf Puerto Rico
sitzt auf der Straße der kleine Chico
auf seinem Kasten con fuerte pico
und singt nur immer das gleiche Lied
O buenos Dias Senor ich putze gern ihre Schuh‘
egal ob schwarz oder braun in jeder Farbe
Oh buenos dias Senor das geht bei mir wie im nu
Tipp top sind sie anzuschaun und blank dazu.

Er putzt die Schuhe mitsamt den Sohlen,
drum wird er jedem auch gern empfohlen,
schlägt für ein Trinkgeld dir Kapriolen
und singt nur immer das eine Lied:

Kommst du aus Sydney vielleicht aus Boston,
bringst du den Staub mit vom fernen Osten,
es wird dich sicher dasselbe kosten [1]
und er singt immer das eine Lied.

Und hier ein Video mit der Musik. Alle vor 1990 Geborenen die nicht aus der Zone kommen, werden sich wahrscheinlich nostalgisch erinnern.

Naja, und dann saß ich da, in San Juan auf Puerto Rico, und gegenüber war zwar nicht der kleine Chico – der Mann sah schon etwas älter aus – und hatte auch keinen kleinen Kasten, sondern quasi so eine „Schuhputzstation“ mit Sessel, aber er putzte halt da jemandem die Schuhe.

Sachen gibt’s.

Wollte da erst hin, und ihn für eine Handvoll Dollar dazu bringen, dass Lied zu pfeifen, war dann aber doch zu sehr Pussy, um das zu bringen…

Genau, die andere Sache, die mir sofort in die Augen fiel?

Nun, die war ca. 170, schlank aber durchtrainiert, hatte blonde, schulterlange Haare, `ne Uniform, `ne Maglight, `ne fette Knarre und ein an ihrem Gürtel angebrachtes paar Handschellen, und zog sichtbar die Aufmerksamkeit ihrer männlicher Securitykollegen auf sich, die da mit ihr an meinem Terminal rumshakerten.

Dazu muss man sagen, zu diesem Zeitpunkt war ich etwa seit zwei Jahren in Japan ohne Ausgang und hatte seitdem keine westliche Frau mehr gesehen. Also keine attraktive, am Airport in den USA arbeiteten zahlreiche unglaublich dicke Damen, deren Hosen kleinen Zirkuszelten glichen[2]. Die Dame hier dagegen schien förmlich quer durchs gesamte Terminal „Ich bin gut im Bett“ zu schreien.

Und da fiel mir folgende Erkenntnis wie Schuppen von den Augen: Klar, nimmt der Gender Equality-Kram manchmal Überhand in vielen westlichen Ländern. Aber in Japan, wo Frauen im Prinzip sogar noch mehr belächelt werden und weniger Verantwortung erhalten können als Ausländer, gibt es Frauen, die einfach so selbstbewusst auftreten nicht. Ich meine ein japanischer Female-Cop darf vielleicht irgendwie Parktickets verteilen oder so. Wenn`s hochkommt. Und so `was führt dann halt zu so Auswüchsen, dass sich viele japanische Frauen Ihre Partner vor allen Dingen nach dessen Einkommen auswählen, weil sie keinen Bock mehr haben, zu arbeiten. Natürlich gibt es auch viele Andersdenkende, zum Beispiel die hzB, die mich immer mit der Zeitung schlägt, damit ich nicht handscheu werde, oder die Professorin mit dem höchsten Citation-Count unserer Fakultät, die vom Griechen mit kaltem Schauer als „osoroshii“ beschrieben wurde.

Aber die hatte ihre Karriere auch in den USA gemacht.

Will sagen: Letztendlich liegt eine gewisse Emanzipation der Frauen auch im Interesse der Männer.

Hm. Was für Sachen ich in diesem Blog schreibe… Hätte ich mir früher auch nicht ausgemalt.

Naja, länger konnte ich da auch nicht wirklich drüber nachdenken, denn Boarding begann, auf, zum biggest Shithole in Südamerika.

[1] ist natürlich völliger Quatsch, als weißer Ausländer/Tourist wirste natürlich erstmal voll abgezogen und zahlst das 10fache eines Einheimischen.

[2] bevor hier wieder USA-Klischees plattgetreten oder reinforcet werden, am Rückflug musste ich an einem recht südlich gelegenen Hub im Land der unbegrenzten Möglichkeiten halt machen, und da änderte sich das Blatt deutlich. Gleich in mehrfacher Hinsicht – in einem späteren Teil.