Thanks to Japan Probe, I discovered that the British comedy series The Office had a Japanese inspiration. Like The Office itself, people seem to either love it or not find it funny at all.

And speaking of Japan news, those foreigners living in Japan may be glad to know that the term “gaijin” has been officially banned and replaced with a longer (and hence more respectful), erm, replacement. Thanks to Japan Probe and The Outside World News for this tidbit.

One commenter to the above notes that he discourages his students from using the word “foreigner” because

I mean, it can sound a bit silly when people say “I want to live in London and make friends with foreigners.” I ask them if they want to make friends with Japanese people in London? and they say no, of course not….

My other reason for discouraging “foreign” is that the word does have the implication of “something that does not belong/should not be there”. Think about “foreign object”, “foreign ideas”, etc. There are many other much nicer words that can be used.

Not sure about the “nicer words”; “more specific” perhaps, and why not point out that “should not be there” is not an intrinsic characteristic of things non-Japanese? It may well be the first time Japanese students of English have been made aware of this.