Monday, 6 December 2010

Good Customer Service ... Japanese Style

Power, gas suppliers to cut January charges due to stronger yen
Tuesday 30th November,
Japan’s 10 electric power companies and four major gas suppliers said Monday they will cut monthly charges in January from the previous month due to lower fuel costs caused by the yen’s appreciation. Tokyo Electric Power Co announced the largest cut of 44 yen for an average household among the 10 power suppliers, followed by 39 yen by Chubu Electric Power Co and 36 yen by Chugoku Electric Power Co and Okinawa Electric Power Co.
A cut of 39 yen in gas charges is planned by Osaka Gas Co, while Tokyo Gas Co, Toho Gas Co and Saibu Gas Co announced respective reductions of 37, 35 and 22 yen.
Prices of crude oil, liquefied natural gas and coal in the August to October quarter, which are the base of charges for utility services in January, fell 1.8, 2.7 and 2.2%, respectively, from those in the July to September period, the base for charges in December.
Hokkaido Electric Power Co and Tokyo Electric will lower their charges in January for the fourth consecutive month and the eight other power suppliers for the third month in row. The four gas companies will carry out cuts for four months running.


It may only be a token amount for households but it`s nice that the companies are thinking of its customers at the coldest time of year. Makes me feel like a valued customer rather than a complete mug which is how I feel when I have to buy a train ticket in the UK.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Let`s do the Otagei!

This is for those people who wrote and asked why Japanese men never dance ...

Otagei (Ota from otaku meaning nerd and gei meaining performance) has been in the news recently. Groups of otaku gather in the nerd nerve centre of Akihabara and all over Japan to enjoy dancing while supporting their favourite female bands. In this news clip, a journalist visits a 21-member otaku group who are practising their dance at a karaoke bar. They are all fans of the dreaded Morning Musume (Morning Daughters). Otaku have gained some cool points recently because manga and anime (which they collect obsessively) are becoming more popular abroad, and last week a student showed me an i-phone video she took at a wedding with the guests doing the otagei. But just in case you think the entire Japanese nation is doing this, my own students who are too cool for school (judging by the number of absences and tardies they are racking up) fell off their chairs laughing when they saw this.

Yes, Japanese society can be juvenile but because of this it is also relatively drug and crime free. So altogether now... Pan Pa Pan Hyu!

(Thanks to my seminar 3 students who put me on to this video.)