Via the Japan Times:
If you're the kind of person who likes to cruise the local music scene, Kansai is a good place to live. Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, and Nara are jam-packed with small, homegrown bands and artists either just doing their own thing or trying to make it big. Having musical friends who fit either or both categories, I've been to a number of concerts at various venues over the past year.
There's been a distinct fragrance permeating the air over the last couple of weeks. It's the smell of きんもくせい (kinmokusei), which is Japanese for Sweet Osmanthus, also known as Tea Olive, Sweet Olive, or Fragrant Olive (thank you, Wikipedia).
The other day I was teaching a lesson on illness and injury - how to say "I have a fever" and "My head hurts" and that sort of thing. On one of the worksheets I made, I presented three patients with their complaints, and the students had to write some advice, using the "(Person) should ..." format. One of them was Spiderman, saying that he had gotten into a fight with a thief who had punched him in the face, and now his tooth hurt (excuse the implausibility - I know Spiderman would never sustain an injury from such a lowly foe). After a few minutes, when we were checking the answers, some of the more vocal boys started giggling. I asked one of them for his answer, and he offered "Spiderman should go see MJ." It took me a second to process, and then I chuckled. "Mary Jane?" I asked. "Yes, MJ! Mary Jane-u!" the boys laughed.
Fall is finally noticeably here, marked by cooler weather and shortened days. Soon the leaves will be changing (and perhaps they have already begun in some locales). In Japan this is called 紅葉 (kōyō). I particularly like this kanji construction: 紅 (crimson) and 葉 (leaf).
Humility is regarded as an admirable quality by many cultures. If you know much about the Japanese language, no doubt you are aware at least of the existence of various patterns of speech that are used to convey different levels of politeness and formality. There are humble and honorific forms (which are a pain to learn) and all kinds of super-polite expressions and phrases. But that's not what this post is about.
One of the teachers sitting in the row in front of me is clipping his nails at his desk (and not over the trash can). I don't want to generalize, but I've seen a lot of tacky nail clipping here - at work and also on the train. The other day I was riding a morning train home and some woman was clipping her fingernails at her seat and just letting the clippings fall onto the floor. Not only gross, but annoying. That clipping sound grates!
(Photo by Gobbler)