Monday, December 31, 2007

Teenager dyslexic only in English

Independent, The (London), Jan 18, 1996

English can be tougher on the brain than other languages, according to a scientist studying the case of a boy who struggles to read English primary school storybooks while wading through physics textbooks in Japanese.

The boy, 17, named only as AS, is believed to be the first person shown to be dyslexic in one language but not another.

He has English parents but lives in Japan. At the age of six, he went to a Japanese primary school but lagged behind his Japanese counterparts in English. When he was 13, tests confirmed that he was dyslexic.

While he can perceive English sounds accurately he can only read half as well as an average person of his age. Yet he has mastered the two written forms of Japanese - kanji, which consists of symbols which carry meaning but no phonetic value, and kana, whose symbols respond to particular sounds.

Researcher Taeko Wydell, of Brunel University, west London, told New Scientist magazine the case was difficult to reconcile with theories of dyslexia and could have "profound consequences for concepts of reading". New Scientist said: "The problem, she believes, lies in . . . the English language's complex system of mapping sounds to letters, which gives rise to some eccentric spellings."

Copyright 1996 Newspaper Publishing PLC
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Protest the Fingerprinting of Foreign Residents of Japan


I wanted to draw your attention to this important petition
that I recently signed:

"Abolition of Non Japanese fingerprinting program"

I really think this is an important cause, and I'd like to encourage
you to add your signature, too. It's free and takes less than a minute of
your time.


Once again, thanks for signing the petition!
-iPetitions Campaigns Team

p.s. If you would like to start your own free petition, you can do so

Tuesday, November 6, 2007













Thursday, October 25, 2007

Nova Declares Bankruptcy, Canadian Embassy Tries to Help those Affected

The Canadian Embassy has opted to send this message to all registrants on the Japan country profile, to ensure that we can reach as many Canadians affected by this situation as possible.

If you know of any Canadians in your area of Japan who are not already registered in ROCA, please be sure to share the following information with them, and also take the opportunity to recommend registration.
As you may have already heard in the news today (October 26), NOVA English school has filed for bankruptcy. In this message, the Embassy endeavours to communicate as much information as possible to assist you in planning your next steps.

The Canadian Embassy is monitoring the situation and remains ready to receive enquiries and provide the best advice we can.

Employees with concerns should consider contacting one of the two regional Nova offices which have been tasked with responding to employee queries, the workers' union representing Nova employees, and their local labour advisory office. Contact details are:
- West Japan: Osaka Office (06) 7688-0404
- East Japan: Tokyo Office (03) 6688-4441
Nova has advised that it is in the process of putting related information for employees including questions and answers up on its website at

General Union - Nova Branch: (06) 6352-9619

The assistance that the Embassy of Canada is able to provide you is limited to that which is stipulated in the Consular Service Standards page,

The Embassy is neither legal expert nor labour law specialist; we do not possess the expertise to be able to advise you on these topics thus we have been, and continue in, encouraging individuals to seek out subject-expert advice from local providers. The following is a list of contacts for services and official Japanese advisory organisations that may be of assistance. Many are Tokyo-based but they should be able to direct you to resources in your vicinity:

If you did wish to look into the option of hiring a private lawyer, the Embassy can provide a list of lawyers, some with English speaking services.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Consultation Service for Foreigners: 03-5320-7744.
They offer advice in English on a range of issues. Their opening times are: Monday to Friday, 9:30am - 12:00 noon and 1:30pm - 5pm.

For employment and labour-specific advice, the following telephone number is for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Labour Advisory Service Centre for Foreigners: 03-5211-2346. They offer advice in English from 2:00pm to 4:00pm Monday to Friday.

Also, many City Offices across Japan have foreign residents' consultation services. You may wish to check with your local City Office to see what services they have available.

If you have any employment/work visa questions (i.e. sponsored visas, changing employment), the best people to consult would be the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau:

In the event of unemployment, we understand that some foreign employees in Japan may be eligible for unemployment benefits. We understand that it depends on what type of employment insurance the employee holds, as well as how long they have been working, and under what circumstances they ceased their employment. If you should wish to make enquiries as to whether you are eligible for unemployment benefits, you should consult with your local Hello Work Office. The following website advises of some Hello Work Offices that are able to offer foreign language assistance:

Financial Issues:

We understand that many of you have major concerns about this. The Embassy is available to assist you to contact your family or friends in Canada and facilitate private funds transfers between you and them should the need arise; however, we cannot provide financial funding for Canadians to remain overseas.

Money transfer methods include wire deposits into a personal Japanese bank account (or a Canadian bank account accessible from Japan e.g. by ATM card), credit card account, or instant transfers via Western Union ( - Please note that the Japanese agent of which is Suruga Bank with branches located in the Tokyo, Kanagawa, Shizuoka and Aichi areas. Alternatively, your family member can contact the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada in Ottawa to obtain information on how to transfer funds through the department.

If you are seeking alternative work in order to stay in Japan, you may wish to discuss your situation with your family and friends to ensure you have arrangements in place should the necessity for emergency funds arise. Also, please ensure to contact your nearest Immigration Bureau Office to obtain more information about changing jobs.

If you are planning to go home to Canada anytime between now and the holiday season, we strongly encourage you to start making travel arrangements immediately. Mid-December marks the beginning of the holiday/Christmas high season; consequently, airfares will rise significantly, and ticket availability will become scarce.

Rates quoted to the Embassy as of Friday morning, October 26, 2007 are:

Air Fare by H.I.S. (One-way ticket, in JPY)
. Weekend rates 5,000 yen will be added to rates stated below.
. After Dec 23, these airfares will go by approximately 100,000 yen or more.
. AC= Air Canada; UA= United Airlines

NRT - Toronto
Nov.01 - AC 103,000; UA 64,000 (via Chicago)
Dec.01 - AC 103,000; UA 69,000 (via Chicago)

NRT - Vancouver
Nov. 01 - AC 74,000; UA 64,000 (via Chicago)
Dec. 01 - AC 74,000; UA 69,000 (via Chicago)

KIX (Kansai Airport)- Toronto

Nov. 01 AC 118,000; UA 66,000 (via San Fran)
Dec 01 - AC 118,000; UA 66,000 (via San Fran)

KIX - Vancouver
Nov. 01 - AC 88,000; UA 66,000 (via San Fran)
Dec 01 - AC 88,000; UA 66,000 (via San Fran)

We hope that this information will be of use to you.

Consular Section
Embassy of Canada
Tokyo, Japan

Thursday, August 16, 2007




Manabu, Hiromi, Masami。

日本にもDavid Paul. Lisgo, Happy English Clubがあり、






Saturday, July 28, 2007

Land of the Rising Gas

by Kevin Burns

Few people stop to think much about it when they fart. Unless it happens on a crowded elevator,then everyone thinks about it.

You may not have pondered the fact that there are over 400 different kinds of gas in one human fart, and Japanese of course are no exception. Japanese routinely let them rip to the tune of 80 million litres of fart gas every day of the year. I haven`t even included hot air bags like Tokyo Governor Ishihara either! If all the people in the world could be synchronized via the internet to buff on cue, they would emit 4.2 billion litres of butt gas, and that would fill 3.5 Tokyo Domes. Not a pretty picture I know. Just think of the Dome`s maintenance staff!

I have often thought that my friend Doug`s expellations were particularly putrid, but no! According to research, Japanese young women expel especially smelly ones these days due to constipation. Half of the young women of Japan are afflicted. Doctors point to dieting as the culprit in this case. Dieting leads to a loss of muscle tissue in general, and loose stomach muscles in particular, which in turn leads to constipation, and farts that would make even Doug blush!

Help you gasp! I`m dating a Japanese woman, what should I do? Is there anything that can be done, Kev? Unfortunately, I am at a loss and it isn`t only dieting that make some elevators smell like Kawasaki. It is also because the Western diet has found popularity among Japanese palets. Simply put, Japanese are eating more meat.

Indeed, the fast paced lifestyle of Japan leads to increased stress, and worsens one`s intestinal condition. Perhaps because of this busy lifestyle, people don`t have as much time to exercise. Without regular exercise, we aren`t regular, and our bowels don`t move smoothly (extend and shrink well--as one Tokyo doctor, a proctologist I presume, was quoted as saying).

One shocking part of the study revealed that if you try to prevent a fart, it will actually get you in more trouble and could affect your love life! If you refuse to fluff one (as my Uncle Stan used to say), then the gas is absorbed into your blood and travels to your lungs. Then it comes out of your mouth, smelling just as terrible. Let one rip before you exchange lips with your special someone I like to say. It is a shame when couples break up over mouth farts. It wasn`t that garlic your partner ate the night before.

This problem isn`t purely a Japanese one of course, it also takes place in space. After a fatal accident involving Apollo 1, NASA was forced to re-evaluate their safety measures. The accident involved gas and some at NASA suggested that even one fart might have caused the calamity. They started their analysis at that point. Finding that farts contain methane, they proved that farts can burn. Herman, my boy scout buddy regularly proved that on camp outs, but that`s another story.

NASA analysed many farts and found that some do not include methane. It depended on what the farter had eaten. Eating carbohydrates tends to produce a methane based fart, while eating meat or space food that is meat based, produces an expellation that is methane free or low in methane. This tends to cause the fartee (or recipient of the fart) to do a severe space gag, and possibly knock one of the controls out of whack. This of course could lead to a serious accident.

The drawback to all of these findings was, that low carbohydrate space food doesn`t produce the dreaded methane fart, but does produce a fart like Doug`s. In space, no one can hear you fart! But they can sure as hell smell a fart after some gaseous Neil Armstrong has had his ration of low carb space food. It stinks up the whole lunar module man! No wonder few astronauts ever opted for a second mission and everyone wanted to go for a space walk! Japanese astronaut Mamoru Mouri, who served on the Space Shuttle remarked that when someone farts in space it doesn`t dissipate, " becum rump of gasu travelling through space shuttle. Sometime it strike fellow astronaut nose. Honto ni kusai!" (It smells just terrible,") he related. "It often happen in shuttle, but feeling is mutual," he finalized.

So there you have it, let`s be careful out there; and as my father saw on a Scottish grave stone:

"Aire we be, let wind blow free."

by Kevin Burns at great personal risk

(Researched by T. Yamaki under much duress. *Ms. Yamaki has shown no side effects, so far, from this research.)

About The Author

Kevin Burns is a writer and entrepreneur living in Japan. When not editing his guide: He can be found teaching at his English school or managing the family store: Where he constantly wonders who cut the cheese?

Tokyo Disneyland Theme Parks

by: Chris Chew

A family vacation in a Disney theme park or Disneyland is always a dream holiday for millions of people around the world. The Disney brand is such a resounding success worldwide that it is inconceivable that any child in any developed country do not know what is Disneyland.

If America or Paris is too far away to take your family for a Disney vacation, then you can settle for either of the 2 Disneyland in Asia located in Tokyo and Hong Kong. Disney theme parks, wherever they are located usually have the same theme. For example, in Disney Tokyo will find the following theme parks which can be found on other Disneyland albeit sometimes in different ways the parks are presented.

World Bazaar - Sprawling smack at the entrance of the Tokyo Disneyland is the World Bazaar. This Bazaar is a reminiscent of turn of the century American town with the feeling that you may come face to face with an Apache Red Indian or an outlaw wanted by the local county sheriff.

Here you will find restaurants, shops, restaurants, outlets selling souvenirs and stuff that are appealing to tourists.

Tomorrow land - A space age futuristic theme park. A delightful combination of science and innovative imagination. In Tomorrowland, you can enjoy rides that rockets you to outer space or if you are a science geek, get invited to the "Inventor of the year award ceremony." One of the favorite rides in Tomorrow Land is to help Buzz Light Year pulverize the Evil Emperor Zurg. Whatever that is.

Toon Town - Bring the children to Toon town, they will love you for this. Toon town is where Disney characters work and play. Toon town is designed to cater exclusively for the kids and is bursting with colors with plenty of kiddy rides.

Fantasy land - How can one be in magical Disneyland without entering the world of fairy tales and cartoons? Meet Disney's icons Mickey Mouse, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Donald Duck, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Captain Hook and a host of Disney cartoon characters this never never land.

Critter Country - This is the land of the, well, you've guessed it, Critters. The critters are small animals from the Disney movie "Song of the South". Enjoy watching the critters burrowing little homes along the banks of the Rivers of America and on the slopes of Splash Mountain.

Western land - A visit to the Wild Wild West brings you back in time to the earliest settlers of the American West. Perhaps the most important chapter of the American history. Enjoy dinning in restaurants from the wild west era.

Adventure land - This is the where you visit the African, South American and Asian rainforest. You can even take a cruise in a "crocodile infested" river. Tropical jungles in downtown Tokyo? Well, this is what Disney magic is all about isn't it?

About The Author
Chris Chew is an avid traveller. Read his blog and website for exotic travel information. and

A Reason to Travel to Japan

Pictured: Shinjuku, Tokyo courtesy of Fuji Film Staff

by: Ryu Yuki

When you think of Japan, what comes up to your mind? There might be “Sony” and “Toyota” or “Samurai” and “Geisha.” You might consider that the former ones represent the modern Japan and the latter ones represent the past. However, the real Japan is not so simple and contains both aspects together through its historical stream. It is a little bit hard for people to understand that two different characters exist in one country.

There are some clues to the real face of Japan. As you know, Japanese cars are becoming more and more popular in the US. The reasons for this are the typical quality of Japanese products. Practicability and Flavor. The reliability is that people can count on and the quality is that owners can be satisfied with for a long time. How about Japanese food. Sushi is one of favorite healthy food these days. Thirty years ago almost nobody was willing to eat raw fish in the US, however, recently there are so many sushi restaurants around urban cities like Los Angeles. People eat sushi because it is not just a efficient diet menu but also an cultural experience. They recognize color scheme of sushi dishes. Red, green, black, yellow, and white on the plate. It is a kind of artistic presentation with natural ingredients.

Any basic daily activities of people, food and craft, gradually grows to be the level of culture after many years. Japan has been organized as a nation for about 1500 years and developed the living style to the cultural value. Even though Japan obtained a lot of influence from the US after the WWII, her original essence remained and still exist everywhere in the country. TOYOTA and SONY could not happened as world famous companies without the soul and cultural background. When you really want to feel and realize what it is, it’s time for you to get on an airplane to Japan. You will start connecting the depth of the culture and spirit of the mysterious country from the very first day.

For more Japanese information, visit the author's blog site .

About The Author
Ryu Yuki, a Japanese journalist in Los Angeles, is a creator of a personal blog site, which contains Japanese issues from a native point of view.