Category Archives: Humour

Salt in Hammam, a Japanese style

Going to onsen, or hot spring spa, is a favorite pastime for Japanese. Overnighting at a posh ryokan, offering sumptuous meals and attractive views, is a luxury. Being a volcanic archipelago, however, Japan can provide hot spring anywhere, if deep … Continue reading

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Essay : Seeing is believing ?

Recently, I met up with an old friend for afternoon tea in a hotel in central Tokyo.  She arrived at our usual meeting point with a shopping bag.  She had just been to a department store nearby where she had … Continue reading

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Essay: Men and parasols

These few months in Japan with record-breaking temperatures have almost been unbearable to me as I endure my first summer here since 1981.  For me, the summer already started in late May with the air getting sticky, and by June … Continue reading

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Essay: When in Rome, do as the Romans do!

In the middle of this past September my friend from Tokyo and I visited Grindelwald, our favorite Swiss resort, popular among visitors from all over the world, to enjoy a few days’ of hiking.  We had a delightful view of Wetterhorn, … Continue reading

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Essay: National Wealth and Happiness

Recently, I came across an interesting article entitled “the real wealth of nations” (The Economist, June 30th 2012, p. 75), reviewing the voluminous study, “Inclusive Wealth Report 2012”, published a few months ago by the United Nations.  To date, economists … Continue reading

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Essay: Enigma of Language

I recently watched a documentary programme on Japanese TV which mentioned a hunter-gatherer people called the “Baka”.  At first, I thought I had misheard the name as the word means “stupid” and “idiot” in Japanese, so I checked on the … Continue reading

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Mystery: The phantom Surabaya chambermaid

About 20 years ago, when I was working at the ILO office in Jakarta, our office was implementing a large project to establish Indonesia’s national skills development system in Surabaya, the second largest city, in East Java.  At that time, … Continue reading

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