An earlier Commonplace post noted that the music of Britney Spears is one of the most effective deterrents to Somali pirates. Lest that be construed as some kind of derogatory judgment on […]
What must it be like to be recognized as the best in the entire world at something? There can only be one recipient of the most honorary degrees, owner of the biggest […]
If you are in the market for a beetle and you find yourself on a tight budget, which should you buy — the insect or the car that bears its name? Contrary […]
Readers of this site know that rabbits can be fearsome creatures that have struck terror in the hearts of the President Jimmy Carter and Napoleon Bonaparte. Most people, however, think of rabbits […]
When it comes to having a proud corporate history, no company can outdo Japan’s Kongō Gumi Co., Ltd. Established in 578 AD, it is the oldest, continually operating company in the world.
You’ve heard the conspiracy theories about Area 51, that Paul McCartney died in 1967, and that “conspiracy theories” are just a big conspiracy. Did you know that every time you looked at […]
For any golfer, getting a hole-in-one is a momentous experience. For Japanese golfers, it can also be incredibly expensive.
When you think of Nintendo, you probably think of Super Mario Brothers, Legend of Zelda, and the company’s never-ending progression of gaming consoles. With such high-tech products, it might surprise you that […]
Helen Keller (1880-1968), the legendary speaker, author, and political activist who overcame deafness and blindness, made an often-overlooked contribution to American dog lovers; she introduced the Akita breed to the United States. […]
If you are the impatient type, who can’t wait for the national anthem to end so your favorite sporting event can begin, then Japan may be the place for you. It holds […]
Slurping. Depending on your cultural background, hearing this sound at the dinner table may be interpreted as a compliment or as an annoyance on par with fingernails on a chalkboard. If you […]
What happens when two highly-competitive friends go head-to-head in the biggest competition in the world? Something has to give; will it be friendship or Olympic-sized dreams? When the world’s top athletes gathered […]
With the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States found itself preparing for the unthinkable: what would happen if Hawaii fell under Japanese occupation? One of the […]
In September 1944 nine US airmen were shot down over Chichi Jima, a small island 700 miles south of Tokyo, Japan. Of these nine men, only one evaded capture by the Japanese. […]
Readers of Commonplace will not be surprised to learn that one little mistranslation from one language to another can be embarrassing. Whether it is one misplaced letter when cheering General Douglas MacArthur, an incompetent […]