Face masks

| Nov 21, 2014

Face masks

by Alice Gordenker

Dear Alice, What the heck is the deal with people in Japan wearing surgical masks? Where I come from (Canada), only doctors, dentists and other health professionals wear masks, and only on the job. You never see anyone out in public wearing a face ...

Blood types

| Sep 19, 2014

Blood types

by Alice Gordenker

Dear Alice, Can you please explain why the heck Japanese are so interested in my blood type? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a normal social situation and someone asks if I’m type O or whatever. I don’t mind so ...

Organ donation

| Jul 18, 2014

Organ donation

by Alice Gordenker

Dear Alice, I’m looking at my Japanese driver’s license and wondering if the form on the back has anything to do with organ donation. Years ago, I registered in the United States to be an organ donor, which was a simple matter of checking ...

Tetrapod

| Apr 14, 2014

Tetrapod

by Alice Gordenker

Dear Alice, I have always wondered about the curious cement structures you see up and down the coast of Japan, the ones that look like the toy jacks I played with as a child, except that they’re massive in size. I assume they are ...

Kobe beef

| Dec 16, 2013

Kobe beef

by Alice Gordenker

Dear Alice, I’m making my first trip to Japan early next year, and there are two things on my “must do in Japan” list: see Eric Clapton play at the Budokan, and eat Kobe beef. (Actually, I want to be Kobe beef, spending my ...

Elevation signs

| Oct 21, 2013

Elevation signs

by Alice Gordenker

Dear Alice, Over the summer, a new sign appeared on the wall of the elementary school closest to where I live. The sign includes the English words “above sea level,” along with some kanji and numerals, so I assume its informing us of the ...