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Japanese scarecrows

The Tokyo Times blog has posted a set of photos showing the scarecrows that recently appeared in a field near Tokyo. The mixture of mannequin heads and discarded business attire works really well. I don’t know what the crows make of it, but I’m sure they’d give me a fright on a dark night. Follow the link for more photos.

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Six months in Kyoto

Flickr user franksvalli has uploaded a lovely set of photos taken in Japan (mostly in and around Kyoto) over the last 6 months.

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Tsugi wa … OMAE DA!

This made me laugh: It’s a photo of an electronic display inside a train that provides passengers with information such as the name of the next stop. Here it says 次は オマエダ (tsugi wa Omaeda) to indicate that the next stop will be at Omaeda station (小前田駅) in Saitama prefecture. However, since the place name is written in katakana instead of kanji, it can be read in two different ways. The intended meaning: 次は 小前田 = tsugi wa Omaeda = “Next: Omaeda” And the unintended threat: 次は お前だ = tsugi wa OMAE DA = “Next: YOU!” Omae is a rather disrespectful way of saying “you” in Japanese. (Check Wikipedia for the meaning of da, if you’re interested). Furthermore, katakana is often used as a means of emphasis, similar to the use of italics or block capitals in English. So the sign could perhaps be translated as “YOU’RE NEXT, PAL!”.

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Header image: Busy night-time traffic appears as trails of light in this long exposure shot of Akasaka-Mitsuke (赤坂見附) in Tokyo by user DarkFritz at Wikimedia Commons.

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