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Time & Temperature

Column no. 160 - 151

You will see columns in the past; what I noticed about/in Thailand, about differences between Thailand and Japan and so on.
I'm wondering how long I can continue writing a column... :D

190-181 180-171 170-161 160-151 150-141 140-131 130-121 120-111 110-101
100-91 90-81 80-71 70-61 60-51 50-41 40-31 30-21 20-11 10-1

no. 160 - Snake head

It looks like there are a lot of expressions using animals in Thai language, and this story is about when I visited Thailand last time.

We were with a male acquaintance at that time. He found a snake toy at a gift shop and put it on his head while smiling. I was wondering what it was and he pointed his head, smiling more.

Then, he told me that a playboy was called "Thao Hua Ngoo".
Thao is "old man", "Hua" is "head", "Ngoo" is "snake". He tried to entertain me with a joke putting a snake toy on his head. He was really funny. :D
By the way, only "Hua Ngoo" (snake head) also means "playboy".

I have no idea why "snake head" means a playboy but when you go to Thailand and put a snake toy on your head as a joke, you could make people laugh.
(Be careful it might give women a bad impression. :) )

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no. 159 - Elephant Song

Do you have animal songs in your country ?

In Japan, there is an Elephant Song like "Zoh-san, Zoh-san, O-hana-ga, Nagai-no-ne, ...".
(Zoh: an elephant, san: Mr or Mrs., O-hana: nose, Ngai: long)
From children to adults, everyone in Japan knows this song.

Thailand is the country in which people respect and take good care of elephants. And they have an elephant song called, I guess,  "Chang".
(Chang: elephant)

Chang, Chang, Chang, Chang, Chaaaaang,
Nong Kuey Hen Chang Rue Plaao
Chang Mun Tua Tooh Mai Bao
Jamuuk Yaao Yaao Riak Waa Ngaa
Mee Khiew Taai Nguang Riak Waa Ngaa
Mee Huuh Mee Taa Haang Yaao

The song says:
Elephant, elephant, elephant, elephant, elephaaaaant
Hey, you ever see elephants ?
Elephants are very big and heavy.
Elephants' long noses are called "Nguang".
Elephants' horns under the noses are called "Ngaa".
Elephants have ears, eyes and long tails.

Long long time ago, I asked my wife to tell a Thai song to improve my Thai language, and the song she told me was the song "Chang". Those days, I didn't know what the song meant but I tried and tried to copy and sing from my wife's singing.

By the way, after that, I remembered the song and sang it with kids of my wife's family. :D

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no. 158 - Summer Gift (O-chuu-gen)

It's getting very warm these days in Japan. How are you doing, guys ?
It looks like the rainy season is going away and the real summer is around the corner. In this season, you hear "O-chuu-gen"(summer gift) so often in Japan, right ?

I didn't care about this long time ago but after I got married, I send summer gifts to people who take care of me (only some, though) as other people do.

By the way, what is "O-chuu-gen" ? That is, it came from ancient Chinese tradition; There were three "Gens"; the first Gen on 15th in January, the middle one on the 15th in July and the last on the 15th in December. From the three Gens, the middle one came to Japan and it was mixed with Buddhism culture in Japan called Urabone of 15th in July, then it turned to be a custom to send a gift to other people.

Thailand is a strongly religious Buddhism country and I guessed they had a similar custom but they don't. Instead, at the beginning of the year, they send gifts (like the picture left; quite big !) to other people whom they respect or would like to say thank you to. If you improve your social status, you'll get 20 or 30 gifts.

I'm wondering if you get that number of gifts, your room would be full of them. How would you eat them all ? :D

(About New Year's Day in Thailand is here)

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no. 157 - Japanese in Thailand

If my memory is correct, it was in Bangkok. I went to a restaurant near a river for lunch with my wife and her family . The restaurant was the one that you often see near rivers in Thailand which are made of wood, floating on the water.

While we were having lunch, I saw a family (parents and a boy and two girls) near our table. From their clothes, I thought they were Japanese.

After a while, I heard they were talking in Japanese. (I was right ! :D )  I saw them again,  a boy was playing a game (Nintendo-DS) and the two girls were reading comics at that time. The kids were relaxing in the very Japanese kid's style.

By the way, people in Thailand see me as a Japanese wherever I go. I asked my wife why they easily get to know I'm a Japanese. Her answer is, I have narrow eyes, whitish skin compared to Thai people, short legs (Wow wow), and my clothes. Hmmm, is this the image of a Japanese in Thailand ? :D

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no. 156 - Internet

When I visited Nong Khai in the northeast of Thailand, I found a computer at the lobby of a hotel. I wanted to use the internet, one reason was I just got interested in the computer at the hotel and the other was to kill time while waiting for something, and asked the clerk. She told me that an ID and a password is necessary and it cost fifty Baht for an hour.

I paid for that and used it. It will help you to pass the time. :D  It looked like you can use it at any hotel which has the same company's internet service with the ID and the password. I don't know how the system works but I guess the time is counted somewhere and you can used it up to an hour. I didn't have an opportunity to use it at other hotels but this is very convenient.

I didn't check when it would be expired (half a year or one year ?) but don't you try that when you visit Thailand ? :)

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no. 155 - Soft drinks and straws

It's a very warm country, Thailand. It's a lot of fun to see around for sightseeing but it makes you thirsty ! You need to have something to drink for your good health.

Now, let's get a soft drink and drop by a shop, then, you will notice that soft drinks come with straws.

As a Japanese, I feel a little funny to have a soft drink with a straw like this. (See the picture right.)
Some drink with no straw like in Japan but it looks like they care if the edge of a bottle or a can to put your mouth is dirty or not.

Come to think of it, in western countries, people drink beers directly from bottles, but in Japan, they usually drink beers with glasses. Does this look a little funny for western people ?

By the way, when you ask a coke, you sometimes get not a caned or bottle coke but a plastic bag coke. (See the picture left.)

This makes me "Wow" for the first time. I heard that this is because they have to give the bottles back to factories.

I like the way of "plastic bags" very much without reason, however, it sometimes makes me think where or how to put it. (You have to keep it hold in your hand ...)

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no.154 - Parking lot in Thailand -

It's a fun time to go for a drive, right ?
However, if it's a very busy place, you will be in trouble to find a place to park your car. Have you ever just gone round in a parking lot to park your car when you visit a sightseeing place or a department store ?

Bangkok in Thailand is very famous for its traffic jam and you'll see it's very crowded when you try to go to a department store. It makes you go around to find a place to park your car but parking lots make me "Whaaat !?".

Usually, a parking lot has a lot of car spaces and a car is parked in a car space, right ? Now what should you do if no space is available ?
In Thailand, if no space, you will park in front of cars that are already parked in car spaces. That is, your car blocks other cars to go out. (Picture left.)

I was very surprised when I saw this for the first time but this looks a usual thing in Thailand.
(I noticed now that I already put this topic in the column no.21 long time ago.)

When your car is blocked and/but you want to go out, you have to get the car in front away. For this, when you park your car in front of other cars which are already parked in car spaces, you must not use the parking brake to be moved when other cars want to go out.

I ever read an article that when someone wanted to go out from a car space and tried to move another car in front but couldn't. The car was parked used a parking brake. He/she got really mad and beat and broke the car.

Be careful to park a car in a parking lot in Thailand. :)

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no.153 - Thai food more than Japanese food ? -

 Speaking of Thai food, you might think of Tom Yum Kung (one of the world's three famous soups), Kao Man Gai (fried rice with boiled chicken), Som Tam (spicy papaya salad) and green curry (very spicy but very delicious). They have various and a lot of delicious food in Thailand.
  On the other hand, speaking of Japanese food in Thailand, they have Thai Suki (a little different but comes from Sukiyaki in Japan), Tempura (Japanese deep-fried food), Sushi and Sashimi.

 When my wife goes back to Thailand, her family or relatives ask her to go out to have Japanese food. They are very glad to meet each other again and enjoy having dinner together. Although they enjoy Japanese food, my wife orders fish fried rice such as salmon. Everyone asks her, "Why do you always order fried rice in a Japanese restaurant ?" She insists, "Because I miss Thai food ! I miss Thai taste ! I've just come back from Japan !".

Hahaha, you are right ! For them, Japanese food is not everyday food and they enjoy it, but for my wife, Japanese food is everyday food while she is in Japan. So, she wants to store Thai food in her stomach as much as she can in order not to miss it after coming back to Japan.
(Anyway, she always misses Thai food in Japan, though. :D )

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no.152 - National flag of Thailand -

 The famous festival in Thailand, "Songkran" is over and the everyone-waiting-holiday in Japan, "Golden week" has come.

However, this is not so a consecutive holidays and it's a little difficult to go on a trip. I guess a lot of people just relax at home. (It's me. :D )

 Talking about holidays, national flags are put out in front of each house in Japan. My family was used to do that in old days but I don't think you often see this kind of scenery in a town these days. How about your family ?

 In Thailand, you'll notice the Thai national flag here and there.
 In tourists places, of course, and when you go across a bridge, a lot of flags can be seen so often like the picture above.

 In the picture right, that is a scenery of a river. The flag in red, white and blue is the national flag of Thailand. The yellowish colored flags are for Buddhism.
 Mostly, the national flag and Buddhism flag are in a row one after the other.

 I'm getting familiar with this scenery these days but this is one of Thai cultural things, I guess. :)

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no.151 - Songkran Festival and mouse -

 While I didn't know that, the famous festival in Thailand, "Songkran" is over. I guess a lot of people visited Thailand during this period. For Japanese, it's not a holiday season in Japan and a little difficult to visit Thailand, though.

 By the way, my wife has been back home in Thailand for the festival. She called me and told me that it was very warm and enjoyed the festival with her family, pouring water to each other and going out to the center of Bangkok to see how the festival was going on. It's been kind of a long time since she went back there before and it looks like she has enjoyed Bangkok very much.

 While talking to her, our conversation went to about this website. I told her I was going to put a proverb in the corner of Thai language this week, "When the cat is away, the mice will play." She told and asked me, "Oh really. So, you mean you are a mouse now ?" ... What ?
 I didn't understand what she meant for a while but she wanted to say she was a cat and I was a mouse, and if I enjoyed my life very much in Japan because my wife was away.

 Hey, what are you talking about ? I've been waiting for your coming back from Thailand. I'm sure. :D

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190-181 180-171 170-161 160-151 150-141 140-131 130-121 120-111 110-101
100-91 90-81 80-71 70-61 60-51 50-41 40-31 30-21 20-11 10-1