Friday, February 24, 2012

Are ninjas popular in your country?

Have you heard of ninjya/忍者? The ninja are a group of secret agents that were active in feudal Japan between the Kamakura and Edo Periods. If you are interested in finding more information, please see the Wikipedia link below.

A while back, some photos shared on Facebook made me wonder how popular ninjas were worldwide. First, the first picture caught my eyes since the caption "Back off, man, I have ninjas" was very impressive. I wondered who had first added the caption to the picture of a white cat surrounded by four black cats. I had no way to know it, but I found that the original poster on Facebook is a Spanish speaking person. The picture was shared by many people there. I was a little surprised by the fact that a lot of people worldwide can understand the image of ninjas.
I thought that ninjas were more popular than I expected.

The next day, my friend shared an interesting picture which describes how non-Japanese people think of Japan. Please see the second picture. The picture is so funny and true that it's also shared by many people on Facebook. When I first saw the picture, I understood what it intended to convey. However, I didn't expect ninjas to be used to describe Japan. Then, I also shared this picture on Facebook to see the responses to it. I've received some interesting comments.

A friend of mine said that she has seen a Swedish guy curiously and seriously asking his Japanese teacher if he is a ninja or a bushi/武士 (The guy asked that when he studied Japanese at school in Japan). Another friend said that according to Reuters, ninjutsu/忍術 is popular among Iranian women and about 3000 to 3500 women train in ninjutsu in independently run clubs throughout Iran working under the supervision of the Ministry of Sports' Martial Arts Federation.Ninjitsu are the arts of the ninja. I can imagine what ninjutsu is, but I don't know exactly what it is. (Please click here and see the YouTube video). I'm wondering why ninjutsu has become popular there and who teaches it to the local women.

How popular do you think ninjas are in your country?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The amount of lost cash reached 35 million USD and 25 million USD were returned in Tokyo during 2011.

In Japan, at self-service cafes, people first leave their personal belongings at the table in order to reserve their seats, and then go buy something. Even when it's impossible for them to keep their personal belongings left in sight while going buy something, they don't care. They don't believe that anybody would intend to steal these personal belongings, even if they leave their cell phones on the table. Whenever I see that, I realize that Japan is still good to live. At the same time, I wonder if that careless behavior is still acceptable since I feel that large cities in Japan have become less safe.

On top of that, when we drop or forget something somewhere, we can often get it back. If, at the store, we find lost items, we'll pass them to the shop staff. If we find them at the train station, we'll take them to the station staff. When we find them in town, if they are seemingly valuable, we'll turn them in the police. If they aren't, we'll leave them untouched. Needless to say, there are people who pocket them when finding them. Also, we don't expect them to be pocketed after we take them to where lost items are supposed to be taken.

A few days ago, I was surprised to learn some statistics about lost articles in Tokyo during 2011. According to the recent announcement of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, 2,936,000 items were turned in to the department in Tokyo during 2011. This number was the highest ever and up 3.4% from 2010. Surprisingly, among those lost items, the amount of lost cash reached about 2.8billion JPY (35 million USD, 1 USD=80JPY). More surprisingly, out of this, about 2 billion JPY (25 million USD) were returned to people who had lost them. About 500 million JPY in total (6.25 million USD) were given to people who had found them because people who had lost them didn't appear. As for the remaining 300 million JPY (3.75 million USD), it became the revenue of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government as people who had found didn't want to receive them.

Other than cash
-Clothes like scarves and towels: 460,000 items
-Umbrellas: 330,000 items
-Cellphones: 130,000 items

I hope that Japan will continue to be safer.