Tag Archives: japan

Shimatta しまった – I messed up

I was on the Shinkansen a few weeks ago coming back from Tokyo Haneda airport and in my boredom I was leafing through the free shopping magazine they have in the back of all the seats.  I was quite amused to find this picture of a man who has pee-d his pants.  It seems the advert is for some extra thick pants that will absorb any extra dribbles that you didn’t manage to shake off.  Or thinking about it more, perhaps it is aimed at older gentlemen who have lost the level of control they once enjoyed.


I particularly like the guys remark: “Ah! Shimatta”.  I guess it would be best translated as “oh dear” or “oh! crap!” rather than the more literal “I messed up”.  Basically you would say Shimatta to express that you made some kind of mistake or something regrettable happened.  It is often added to the end of  sentence after a verb in ‘te’ form like this:

Pantsu ni shiko shiteshimatta – Oh dear I did a pee in my pants.

Kagi wo nakushiteshimatta – I unfortunately lost my key.

Myself I have a  light grey suit and I have to say I encountered this problem once or twice, not so much by random dribbles but from splashbacks around the ankles.  Needless to say I avoid wearing that suit now and will never buy another light coloured suit!  Nappy-pants are not the answer.


Jyouchou 冗長 – Redundancy

We have a small army of full time cleaners at the company.

The times I see them they tend to be just cleaning bizarre things over and over again. For example, they clean the underneath of the roof over the main entrance.  Excuse me but how can dust gather on the underside of something, does not that defy gravity?  If maybe 1 or 2 molecules gather there, surely it does not warrant cleaning that EVERY DAY right?  And anyway, how many people are really going to be looking up at the ceiling as they enter a building?

I am sure these cleaners cause more damage than anything else, due to over polishing the surfaces and wearing them out.  It is totally redundant activity.

They also like to clean the toilets.   I’d say about 1/3 times I go to the toilet it is closed due to cleaning.  I then have to walk to the next one which is in another building a fair walk away.  I probably spend about 20 minutes a week walking to/from the toilet due to this.  The toilets are all marble though and its nice when you look down at the urinal and there are no wet stains there. But I’d prefer them clean it only once a day, preferably when no-one is around.  Cant they come in before/after work hours like normal cleaners?

But the annoying part is what they DON’T clean. That is, the entire of our office space!  I am in a huge 50m x 20m room, and the cleaners never enter it.  As a result, we have to clean it ourselves!  Yes, that is right, even though we have an army of cleaners and they spend the day pointlessly scrubbing immaculate surfaces, I have to come in at 7am twice a week every 6 weeks to vacuum the floors and dust the tables!!!  It’s madness.  I thought it was a security thing, they don’t trust the cleaners inside the office, but when I asked someone (casually and innocently at an enkai) I was told that is not the case at all.  That person (a senior manager) didnt know the reason why we did it.  So I think it is another one of these activities we do for team building/immasculating purposes.

So clearly I think the work they are doing is redundant, and with the way the global economy is going, it makes me wonder how long it will be before some of the cleaner army are culled into redundancy.  An announcement was made today about how we should try to cut costs by asking other departments if they have spare pencils before ordering new ones, and by recycling envelopes etc.  This kind of activity will save maybe $100 a year maximum, whereas I really wonder how much they are paying in wages for people to clean that-which-is-already-clean.

冗長 (jyouchou) means ‘unneccesary, tedious, verbose, redundant’ and should not be confused with 解雇 (kaiko) which means ‘discharged’ or ‘dismissed’