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Cross-border ramblings

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Penguin logo

When we changed the company name from Hyman Translations to Hyman International, we adopted a new logo. As a consulting company focused on solving international problems, we chose a penguin as the logo because we believe that the first step in finding such solutions is to eliminate stereotypes from the equation. When asked to describe a penguin, a typical reply is “a black and white bird that lives in the Antarctic”. When asked to describe a bird, a typical answer is “a feathered animal that lays eggs and flies”. Birds fly. Penguins are black and white. Penguins live in the ice and snow of the Antarctic. Few people would disagree …

The next step

As my consulting business in China became busier and projects for both the PRC central government and local government offices increased, a number of people pointed out that some of my blog posts could be taken as somewhat anti-Chinese. As a result, I decided to take a break from posting for a while. Fast forward four years . . . I originally established a consulting company in China in order to accomplish the following. Study the Chinese language Establish and run a company in China Better understand the lifestyle and customs in China Learn about the differences between the tax laws and normal business practices in Japan and China Experience …

Beef knitting combustion?

How does a simple plate of grilled beef and hamburger get so complicated as to end up as Beef knitting combustion and hamburg steak? The grilled beef is written in Japanese as a description of how it is cooked. Literally it is “beef – (metal grill) – heated/cooked”. It was translated as: The metal grill is pronounced “ami” in Japanese and this is the same pronunciation as “knitting”. The heated/cooked part used the same kanji that is used for burning things. Whoever translated (used it in its widest of interpretations!) did so word by word and came up with the senseless garbage that you see. The bright side is that …

Nationality is irrelevant?

Having grown up in the UK, graduated from universities in both the UK and Greece, having visited more than thirty countries, spent extensive periods of time in Nepal, India and Thailand before arriving in Japan, having started and managing companies in both Japan and China, having lived in Japan and China for a total of about twenty years, having studied seven languages, and having been married to somebody with a different nationality for more than a decade, I thought I had come to the conclusion that a person’s nationality—something assigned to them when they are born, and totally beyond their control—is even less relevant than their favorite color. But, . …

Leaving Japan?

Japan is currently suffering in various ways after the earthquake and subsequent tsunami and problems at the nuclear power plants. Even with the inevitable disturbances to work that these problems cause, work—as life—must go on. And so, I left for China on Friday on a business trip that had been planned for several months. As always, I flew from Fukuoka in Japan to Qingdao in China, and I took the usual shinkansen from Fukuyama to Hakata (the main train station in Fukuoka). On boarding the train, I noticed that there were more passengers than usual and much more baggage than normal. There wasn’t any space left for me to put …

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