Fukuyama City, Hiroshima. Business consulting. Translation. Interpreting. Printing. DTP.

Cross-border ramblings

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JIMTOF is international?

While my company translates a broad range of fields, a lot of my own translation work involves machine tools, machining centers, and related technology. So, when the “Japan International Machine Tool Fair” is held, I try to attend. Not only is it a good way to meet up with a dozen or so clients in one day, but I also get to see the latest developments and technology. This year I flew out from China (just two nights) to Tokyo for the event. It seemed a lot to do for an exhibition, but it is only held once every two years. The usual players were there and, unfortunately, many of …

Solar water heaters

When I see solar panels on rooftops, I immediately assume that they are there to generate electricity. Most of those that I see in Europe and Japan probably are, and that likely accounts for my assumption. However, here in China, solar energy is used more to provide houses with hot water than to generate electricity. Solar water heating systems are very popular in China, where they can be purchased for as little as 1,500 RMB (US$190), much cheaper than in Western countries. It works out to be about 80% cheaper for a system of the same size. Over 30 million Chinese households now have one of these solar water heaters. …

Recycling the trash

In Japan, and several other countries, household trash needs to be separated into various categories and those categories of trash are put outside for collection on predetermined days. Common categories may be metals, plastics, glass, combustible, noncombustible, etc. The main reason for this is to increase the amount of recycling and decrease the amount of trash that ends up in landfills. Here in Qingdao though, all trash can be thrown out together on any day of the week. That makes life much simpler for the average household, who probably wouldn’t separate it anyway, and means that the trash is collected daily. But, what about recycling? How can glass bottles, metal …


Japanese has two words that are often used incorrectly or in the wrong context: “Anzen”, which means “safety” or “security”, and “Anshin”, which means “peace of mind”. Then again, perhaps this isn’t a phenomenon restricted to Japanese. Let’s take airport “security” as an example. How is your safety guaranteed by the “security checks” at airports? Over the past few years we have seen them become stricter and stricter. You need to remove your computer from your bag before the X-ray check, liquids are either limited by amount or totally prohibited, some airports require you to remove your shoes, and then there is the “metal detector” you walk through after putting …

Problems with landlord – Part 2

Following on from before . . . After leaving China on the 30th August with the landlord threatening to have a locksmith open the door and change the lock, I returned to a busy schedule in Japan. Two lawyers and the real estate agent assured me that not even this crazy landlord would be so stupid as to have somebody open the door without my permission as that would be a clear breach of several laws, and that the only way he could gain access to the room was if I were to open the door. Since there was no way I was going to do that, I felt sure …

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