Floods and English, Nagoya Podcast

More Nagoya Podcast goodness for you all!


Transcript below:

[Marginally Musical Intro]

Also there’s a lot of, I don’t know if this is a result of the area I’m in right now, but Nagoya is on a flood plain, or a river delta of some kind… it’s pretty flat, is what I’m saying. And the Infrastructure around here has a lot of… well I guess it’s not “infra” if you can see it but… There’s a lot of flood channels, these very large, kind of like the Los Angeles, what is it called? The aqueduct? Or whatever they call it. The sides are 45 degree angles and they’ve got a flat bottom… Carry water! So, there’s all these channels, but they’ve got a lot of growth in them! Like trees! And Bushes! And grasses, of all kinds!

I can’t help but wonder… was this the plan from the beginning? Did they plan to have these channels, just, like, fill up with vegetation? When a flood comes, I’m assuming, they’re planning on the plants being ripped out by the flood waters and not obstructing the flow of water away from the things that they are trying to keep from getting flooded. But, who knows?

Suzuki-san, my co-worker here (I mean, as much as anyone is my co-worker, he is my only co-worker. His desk is right across from mine. Basically we’re office mates. We’ve got this double iso-container that we sit in all day waiting for something to go wrong on the machine. Usually nothing does, but… you know… sometimes… And that’s why we’re here! But anyway…) he was telling me that a while ago, maybe twenty years or so ago, there was a pretty big hurricane that came through and just WRECKED Nagoya. Made a mess of everything. Flooded. People were dying. I assume there were bodies floating in the rice paddies by his account. But anyway, he had conveyed to me that after that event the Aichi Prefecture (A Prefecture is kind of like a county basically? Maybe a little bigger than a county, but smaller than a state, that kind of size. Anyway, it’s a governmental area.) which is the one that Nagoya is in decided “Alright, this is… this is nonsense! We’re not going to do this again! So they built a huge amount of flood infrastructure to carry away the flood waters.

But then, since that disaster, everyone’s kind of calmed down and forgotten about it, and stopped maintaining all these flood channels… which, I mean, maybe THAT’S why they’re all overgrown with weeds! He said, if a hurricane comes through again, there’s going to be a disaster again, and so, he put it that, if the hurricane comes through, he will probably die at that point. I was like “Oh! Man… I… That’s… That’s pretty bad.”

Or maybe he just lives in an area that’s got very poor drainage. Who knows!

If you heard that splat sound that was the sound of a truck across the way throwing up a column of water that hit my windshield. It is in fact raining right now, and, uh, maybe which is why it was brought to mind, the fact that there are a great number of ill-maintained flood channels all over the place.

So, if I did the editing well, you will not have noticed the place where I edited out the seam where I lost a bunch of recording data (because the battery in my recorder died while I was recording, and I didn’t notice because I was practicing driving and not dying, instead of watching the “record” light.) But! Fortunately, I was able to simply stop in at a convenience store, grab myself a couple triple-A batteries, and be on my way… As well as a sandwitch… and, uh, I think this is, I’m not even sure what this is! It’s some sort of… Chocolate… Cream… Doughnut… Thing. They’re delicious! I can’t read Japanese, so I don’t know what they’re called, but I eat them, and am happy.

And that should be enough for anyone, I think.

So, anyway, I stopped in at the convenience store. And the convenience stores around here are very nice! People use them for all kinds of things! They’ve got a very wide selection of useful items. The Japanese aren’t super big on competition, so there’s usually only, like, maybe two major brands that they carry in any particular line of goods. There aren’t… I think for the batteries there was, ahh, what was this brand? Panasonic. And there was also some sort of Japanese brand, I would assume. I don’t know, it was all written in English.

It’s very interesting! Japanese companies often title their companies using Latin letters, or English words. And I’m not sure if this is because it’s stylish and modern to do so? Or if they are hoping to appeal to the global market by using these names? Or if they just think they are cool and foreign? Or if there are no words in Japanese for the thing that they are trying to make their company stand for, and so they have to use English words? I don’t know!

But a lot of times they are actually English transliterations of Japanese words. So, who knows? Who knows! Like “TOYOTA” is! You know, they’ve got these big signs on their companies… or the place I work at is “Kawasaki Heavy Industries.” And so, instead of having this symbol, or the Kanji for “Kawasaki”, they actually have the word (spelled in English!) “KAWASAKI” on the outside of their factory, in the middle of Japan! And I’m not sure if that’s… why? I don’t know.

It’s very complicated, and it’s difficult to talk to people about because… um… well, it’s an understandably touchy subject! And, I respect that. So… that’s fine.

But it IS interesting, to see all the English words, uh, without any sort of English structure to them.

I have been Paul Spooner! This is the Paul Spooner Podcast! And allow me to play you out…

[Marginally Musical Outro]

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