Monday, August 09, 2010

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (8/9/2010)

I've never been a fan of Christopher Hitchens, but I have to say he's a marvelous writer and he seems to be handling his cancer diagnosis with courage and grace.

What collapsing empire looks like.

Cooking with Dog (it's not what you think) is probably the best Japanese cooking channel anywhere.

This WSJ article about Japanese companies switching to English is fairly interesting in itself, but this is my favorite part:
By contrast, a group of online grammar sticklers has emerged at Rakuten that enjoys correcting [CEO] Mr. Mikitani's English. "Let's stop discussing about our policy to convert our main language to Eng. We are going to do this to become strong global company," Mr. Mikitani tweeted after his Twitter account was flooded for days with discussion of the company's language policy.

Someone replied in Japanese: "For your reference, one doesn't usually put 'about' after 'discuss.'"

Mr. Mikitani immediately wrote back: "Let's stop being picky."

He revisited the issue four days later, writing: "Well I think many native people use 'discuss about.' At least my friends at Harvard did. How good is your English??"
It's just so typical of my experience with "important" people in Japan: defensively insisting that he's right, even when he's wrong. Though, of course, that's probably pretty typical of "important" people everywhere (and plenty of "unimportant" ones too).

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