They know where your BUTT is (Really!)

A Japanese telecom firm announced the creation of an app to help workers find available bathroom stalls — and to tell employers if they spend too much time in there.

KDDI said the app, which will be available to businesses in March, will tell workers in participating buildings where they can find the nearest available bathroom stall.

“People often waste time by looking around for an available toilet on various floors or by waiting until one becomes available,” KDDI spokesman Daisuke Maruo told The Japan Times. “We believe this service will help people waste less time.”

The app uses sensors installed on the stall doors to determine whether they are occupied or available for use.

The sensors also notify an administrator if a toilet stall is occupied for more than 30 minutes, a service the company says is designed to notify bosses of potential accidents in the bathrooms, but could also be used to bust employees using the bathroom to avoid work — a 2012 survey indicated 30 percent of middle-aged businessmen in Japan use bathroom stalls to take naps at work.

“Even though people sometimes complain that the number of bathrooms in a building are not enough, it is often hard for facility administrators to increase the numbers,” Maruo said. “We believe this solution will help solve the problem by streamlining how bathrooms are used.”

The company said the service will be made available in office buildings next month, but could eventually be used at locations with high bathroom traffic, such as sports stadiums, train stations, and shopping malls.



45 Sadness

He is my president, the 45th president of the United States of America.  Like many Americans I  hoped for the best and told myself I would to give him a chance.

That was January 20th

As of the February 19, I am mortified, embarrassed and sad.

Doing a reality check I asked myself, am I a sore loser, am I angry?

Disappointed yes, its one of many disappointments I’ve experienced when the best man lost.    When 43( George W) won I was dissapointed. There weren’t statements or questions in his character that led me to believe he might damage the country.

In less than 30 days, 45 has manage to damage our image. He has managed to bring the stability of the United States into question.   He has insulted our allies and caused most of us to be on constant alert. What will he do or say today?

Despite all the alternative facts, I’m not in shock.  President 45 and Candidate Trump are the same person.   I’ve never been at odds with his supporters, in fact I understand why they supported him.  While his candidacy has  awakened a racist element ,I don’t subscribe to the notion that all of his supporters are racists.  However since the election, some of my Indian, Mexican and Iranian friends have been attacked, some physically.  The citizenship of anyone with an accent is now questioned.

I find it difficult to respond, whenever one of my international friends ask why-how was he elected?  I lay of lot of the blame on my candidate, Hillary Clinton, and the other candidates,Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Bernie Sanders, Lindsey Graham, Martin O’Malley,Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Rick Perry and Jeb Bush.     Not one of these candidates stepped forward the day or the after he made that racist statement about Mexicans.   No one said this isn’t acceptable, he is wrong and doesn’t represent my  America!  Jeb Bush who’s wife is Mexican, their  children have relatives in Mexico was uncomfortably silent.   We have seen the careers of sportscasters and other notable individuals end, after making racists comments.  One wonders how successful he would have been if one or more of the candidates immediately spoke out against him.

The root of my sadness comes from the news.  Rarely a day passes without a  an international misstep by 45 or someone in his administration which is later blamed on the evil media. It also comes from Social Media.

There is an upside…..

People are awake!  There are daily demonstrations all over the country.   The Women’s march gave me hope.  I participated in the Muslim demonstration at Sacramento International.   One demonstration I wont participate in is “45 isnt my President”  With so many demonstrations I worry that they will eventually lose their impact.

To counter my sadness, I limit the time I spend of social media and watching the news. With so many people in shock, one thing is missing is humor. SNL has been a god send for me, through the writers I can exhale.

I’m gonna be okay, so will the rest of us.   Please don’t recommend therapy or snappy happy pills. I promise I wont throw myself in traffic or eat a case of Lil Debbie treats.  Its not that serious. I am an an optimist, today is today, and in time it will get better.

I wish more people would refer to him as 45.  The narcissist loves hearing his name and 45 would make him crazy, or are we too late.?


Eight weird habits you’ll pick up in Germany

Eight weird habits you'll pick up in Germany
In Germany men sit down when taking a pee. Photo: DPA
When you go back the homeland for your Christmas hols don’t be surprised if people look at you a bit funny – you’ve probably picked up one of these peculiarly German habits.

Not crossing the street until it’s green

Berlin’s famous Ampelmann. Photo: DPA

In the Anglophone world it might seem like perfectly reasonable behavior to step out into the road if you’ve scoured both horizons and not found a vehicle in sight.

But in Germany it’s considered downright reckless – and a bad example to children, who might be watching out of windows even if they’re not there beside you on the street.

Give yourself a few months and you’ll be waiting with the crowds for the little man to turn green – if you don’t, prepare to get shouted at.

Saying hello and goodbye to shop owners

A small late-night convenience store. Photo: DPA

It would seem downright rude to ignore a shopkeeper or cashier in Germany, even if you don’t end up buying anything.

Germans may not be known for their friendliness, but they never fail to greet you as you come into the convenience shop, grocery store or pharmacy and almost always sing a melodic “Tschüß” as you walk out the door.

Perhaps it’s because shops tend to be smaller and thus feel more intimate than they do in the US – just imagine greeting all of Walmart’s workers as you walked in.

Clapping when the airplane lands

It’s always an entertaining clash taking a flight from the US to Germany and witnessing the German half clapping upon landing while the rest look around utterly baffled.

                                                 Photo: DPA

Especially when there’s a bit of a bumpy ride beforehand, it’s actually quite a nice gesture to show appreciation to the folks upfront who managed to bring an enormous, flying metal bird back down to Earth safely.

Obsessively collecting bottles for Pfand

Getting Pfand for empty bottles. Photo: DPA

Germans take recycling seriously – as you can tell by each apartment complex’s courtyard dedicated to an elaborate system of specific bins.

Beginners’ German classes sometimes even spend time explaining the process, almost as a matter of German pride.

But on top of that, supermarkets make it extremely easy to turn in bottles for their Pfand deposit and immediately get the cash reward through automatic machines.

Thus you will see long queues of folks on weekends awaiting their chance to earn a few extra cents per bottle – and huge collections of bottles amassed in each German’s household, rich or poor.

Simply tossing a beer bottle in the normal garbage bin would feel almost sacrilegious when you know the next passing bottle collector could put it towards their next meal or good night’s sleep.

Sitting while peeing

For men, sitting down is a must. Photo: DPA

If you come from the barbaric Anglophone lands where the lesser sex still stand up while doing a number one, you may have to deal with weeks of passive aggressive muttering from German flatmates before they finally concede their ire at the fact you don’t bend the knee when taking a pee.

This isn’t just something that will bother female flatmates, German males are often just as insistent. In fact it’s an issue taken so serious,one landlord recently took a tenant to court over it.

Throwing in English words while speaking German

                                                Photo: DPA

German culture is so heavily influenced by American culture that sometimes it seems like every second word has been pinched from English – even for words that already exist in German.

After a while you’ll feel that it’s too weird to use the actual German word you learned so diligently in school and start using the English one instead – but with a heavy German accent to it of course.

Being totally cool with nudity (and mixed sex saunas)

Naked sunbathing in Munich. Photo: DPA

This is the one that us prudish Anglo-Saxons probably take the longest to get used to. But it is accepted – if not widespread – to be naked in certain areas at the beach or by the lakeside.

If you are a member of a gym in Germany you will also have to get used to the fact that you’ll be the only one wearing speedos in the sauna if that’s how you choose to go about it.

And there’ll be naked members of the other sex too. This is one habit that is sure to cause a storm if you take it back to the Anglo world with you.

Having lightning speed hands at the cash register

She’s never as decisive as when packing her shopping. Photo: DPA

When you head to the checkout counter at grocery stores in Germany, you have to be both physically and mentally prepared. Those cashiers don’t mess around. And no one is going to bag your food for you like stores in the States.

Nope. German grocery store checkouts are survival of the fittest, a competition between consumer and cashier to see if you can keep up with their lightning-speed hands, throwing veggies, milk and eggs across the scanner as you scramble to pack things in a bag before they read out your total.

Those who are too slow should expect frustrated sighs and passive aggressive watch-checking from both the cashier and the customers behind them.

Court Awards Burger King Employee $46,000 after being fired for taking Fish Sandwich

Surrey, BC: FEBRUARY 11, 2017 -- Usha Ram was fired from her job at Burger King on Granville Street in Vancouver, BC because of a miscommunication about taking food home after her shift. Ram sued the franchise and was awarded $46,000 in a wrongful dismissal suit.

By:Stephanie IP\Vancouver Sun

Usha Ram worked at various Burger King locations in Vancouver Canada as a cook for more than for 24 years . With no record of any formal discipline.

At the end of her shift on Dec. 27, 2013, Ram asked Yayyaba Salman, the manager on duty, in Hindi if she could take home what was later translated in court as “fish fry” without paying, as she did not have her wallet that day.

Her manager who also spoke Hindi, agreed and Ram packed a fish sandwich, an order of fries, and a pop. The manager later testified that she thought Ram was asking only to take home “fish” as in a fish sandwich, and not an order of fries as well.

The following week, Salman waited to see if Ram would pay for the extra food she had taken, which came to a total cost of $1 once staff discounts were accounted for. When Ram did not, the manager notified Janif Mohammed the co-owner of the Burger King, and Ram was pulled into a meeting and accused of stealing.


According to court documents, Burger King employees are entitled to free drinks during their shifts and half-priced food outside of shifts, unless otherwise approved by a manager. The judge noted there was some ambiguity as various testimonies shared different understandings the staff policies.



When Ram began crying and offered to pay for the food in hopes of keeping her job, she was told to leave. Ram left the premises in tears and uncertain whether she was still employed. Ram claims she suffered mental distress as a result of the incident. Ram was a full time employee earning 21,000 a year


Ram is a 55-year-old wife and mother who immigrated to Canada from Fiji in 1987. She has a Grade 8 education and a basic level of English. Throughout the trial, Ram testified in Hindi using an interpreter.

Ram is the sole breadwinner, supporting both her physically handicapped husband and a mentally disabled adult daughter.


Janif Mohammed, co-owner of the Granville Street fast food joint, represented himself in court and countered that he had a zero-tolerance policy for theft and said Ram took a sandwich, fries and soft drink, though Yayyaba Salman, the manager on duty at the time, testified she thought Ram had asked only to take a sandwich.

prv030302crash01 -- See cityside by Lora grindley -- Vancouver -- March 03 2002 -- Janif Mohammed with his daughters Zainab, age 8, and Aaliyah, age 4, visit the site of a fatal car crash that killed one woman and injured five others. Five of the six young woman were employees at the Main st Burger King. Province staff photo by Gerry Kahrmann [PNG Merlin Archive]


B.C. Supreme Court Justice Lisa Warren concluded Ram was not given an appropriate chance to respond to the allegations and clarify that it was the result of a miscommunication.

Warren also ruled Mohammed and franchise co-owner Michael Lacombe “behaved in an unreasonable, unfair and unduly insensitive manner” the day Ram was confronted with the allegations, noting  Mohammed failed to take into account the difficulty Ram would face trying to find a job elsewhere, considering her age, poor English skills, and lack of education.

Warren ordered the franchisee to pay Ram general damages of $21,000, which reflects a year’s worth of salary, and $25,000 in aggravated damages for Ram’s emotional turmoil following the dismissal.

Could Norway follow Sweden’s lead and introduce a third gender?

Could Norway follow Sweden’s lead and introduce a third gender?
The leader of Labor’s youth wing said that Norwegians should be able to identify themselves whoever they want in their passports and other official documents. Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum / SCANPIX
Norway’s Labour Party, the largest party in parliament, will consider backing the introduction of a third gender, broadcaster NRK reported.
Labour’s programme committee will debate the introduction of the third gender category so that Norwegians would no longer need to define themselves as male or female in their passports and other official documents.
Labour’s draft party programme for 2017-2021 states that the party “shall consider the introduction of a third gender category”.
Although the proposal is only under the early stages of consideration, Labour committee member Mani Hussaini suggested that Norway should follow the lead of neighbouring Sweden, which adopted the gender neutral pronoun ‘hen’ into official use in April 2015.
Hussaini, who is the leader of Labour’s youth wing AUF, said ‘hen’ could also be used in Norwegian as a gender-neutral alternative to ‘han’ (he) and ‘hun’.
“I believe that all people should be allowing to live out their identity and thus the law should adapt to reality rather than the other way around,” Hussaini said.
“I think that for example in the passport it could show that one is neither male nor female, but belongs to a third gender category, thus a ‘hen’,” he added.
The idea of a ‘hen’ is not entirely new to Norway. The social-liberal party Venstre proposed the introduction of a third gender in April 2016 but it failed to gain traction.
Likewise, Sweden’s adoption of ‘hen’ has not been without controversy. The pronoun sparked massive debate in 2012 when a publisher decided to use it in a children’s book. But others argued that ‘hen’ is not meant to replace gendered pronouns. Instead, it allows speakers to refer to a person without having to mention the gender if they don’t know it, if the person is transgender, or if the information is considered irrelevant.
Ultimately, the Swedish Academy agreed to include ‘hen’ in its official dictionary, Svenska Akademiens ordlista, in 2015.
The Local

Muslim ban: Japanese and Muslim Americans join forces

Children at the Weill public school in San Francisco pledge allegiance to the American flag in April 1942, prior to the internment of Japanese Americans [Dorothea Lange/Ceative Commons]

Japanese Americans remember discrimination they endured during WWII and say they will defend Muslim Americans.

By:Massoud Hayoun/Al Jazerra

Los Angeles, United States – For Japanese and Muslim Americans embracing a growing relationship in the movement to resist what many consider to be President Donald Trump’s discriminatory policy making, history isn’t going to repeat itself; its going to help inform the present.

The Japanese American community is commemorating a series of anniversaries this year: January 14 was the day, 75 years ago, when then President Franklin D Roosevelt, for whom Trump has reportedly expressed his admiration, issued a proclamation forcing Japanese – as well as Germans and Italians – to register with the Department of Justice. February 19 marks the 75th anniversary of the US’s detention of its Japanese community during the Second World War.

The history behind these dates is preserved with scientific precision in Little Tokyo. At the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, there is a barracks from the Heart Mountain camp in the western state of Wyoming, where many of the 120,000 people of Japanese origin interned during the war were resettled. Unvarnished wood thrown together to form a shack seems to have offered little shelter from the elements.

It was disassembled and moved across two states and 1,751 kilometres, so that people might remember what happened.

Across from the museum is Koyasan Buddhist Temple. There, many Japanese Americans left their belongings before lining up outside, wearing tickets noting their destinations, waiting to be shipped off, first to a temporary holding space and then to camps across the US, museum staff explained. Signs calling for their evacuation were posted down the block on businesses like Fugetsu-Do, a more than 100-year-old bakery that still stands.

In Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, much of what happened during the Second World War is maintained with great care, so that people might remember what happened.

There’s a political power in memory, many here say; they hope it will prevent another such incident after a member of Trump’s pre-inaugural team, Kansas state secretary Kris Kobach, told the media that the proto-administration had been mulling a registry for “immigrants from Muslim countries”.

‘They were too afraid to speak up. I am not afraid’

Trump, on Friday, signed an executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority nations – six Arab League states and Iran. The ban provoked outrage that continues to manifest at airport protests across the US, but reports of detentions persist.

For years since post-9/11, hate crimes against Americans of Muslim faith, Japanese and Muslim Americans have commemorated these events and also organised for social justice together.

And then in December 2015, following Trump’s campaign pledge of a so-called Muslim ban, members of both communities created a coalition called #VigilantLove.

The coalition continues to organise a series of demonstrations for social justice. On Thursday, they organised a vigil in anticipation of Trump’s executive order on the seven Muslim-majority nations that brought out hundreds of participants.

Tagged for evacution, Salinas California, 1942. [Rusell Lee/ Photograph Collection, Library of Congress/Creative Commons]

“When this happened to our community, we always talk about people who stood up for us. It’s our duty to do the same,” said Kristin Fukushima, 29, managing director for the Little Tokyo Community Council, whose grandparents were interned.

Fukushima referred to the very singular help of the US Quaker community, which was famously among strikingly few non-Japanese Americans who were vocal in its opposition to detention.

Remembering the past is of particular importance to some in the Japanese American community.

“I think the difference this year is: We’ve lost most of the people who remember the camps,” said Kyoko Nakamaru, 36, an activist who participates in #VigilantLove. Nakamaru’s grandmother, who had been interned at Poston War Relocation Center in the southwestern state of Arizona, recently passed away. “They are no longer here to speak for themselves.”

“During their lives they were too afraid to speak up. I am not afraid,” Nakamaru said.


At the Day of Remembrance next month, Muslim Americans will be there to help non-Muslim Japanese Americans like Nakamaru remember an infamous time in US history – the memory of which, they hope, will have teeth. There will be at least one Muslim American speaker on the roster, according to Japanese American community leaders organising the event.

With a cross-faith, interethnic team at the helm, one thing alone ties all the #VigilantLove organisers, Sahar Pirzada, 27, one of #VigilantLove’s co-chairs notes. Pirzada is an American whose parents are from Pakistan. They’re “all women,” she said. It’s almost as a retort to prevalent narratives of Asian and Muslim American women in US society. “It says that we’re here and we will lead the resistance,” she added.

Her co-chair, Traci Ishigo, 25, a non-Muslim Japanese American agreed.

“Women from a lot of communities of colour have different, but also shared experiences,” she said. “There are so many experiences to talk about it makes it hard to break it down. We need to consider all experiences and not just those that fit into cookie-cutter narratives.”

Ishigo noted, for example, that Islamophobia is often misinterpreted as being synonymous with anti-Arab or anti-Middle Eastern-ness in the US. “We need to be mindful of how people are experiencing Islamophobia. Black Muslims make up a third of Muslims in this area,” she said.

#VigilantLove started with the Muslim and Japanese American communities, Pirzada and Ishigo say, but it aims to be much broader than those two communities in scope, particularly as they and other social justice activists combat what they call unprecedented social injustice in the time of Trump.

The nexus of the two communities is resounding with people, if Twitter is any metric for success. And it may well be an appropriate metric, since the organisers are careful to note the hashtag in their organisation’s name.

The following tweet – and its image – went viral during the Women’s March on January 21 that drew protesters of all ethnic and faith backgrounds around the world.

ACLU lawyer Mitra Ebadolahi tweeted:

View image on Twitter
The sight of one in the US’s future generations expressing solidarity between Japanese and Muslim Americans recalled for many a dark time in US history and a community experiencing a lot of similar fears in the present.

Germany will soon have more refugees in work than out: report

Report: Refugees in Germany are often overqualified
Refugees from Afghanistan train in Jena to learn metalworking. Photo: DPA.
The number of employed refugees in Germany will exceed those out of work within the next two years, according to a new report.


By the end of 2018, some 410,000 refugees will have jobs in Germany, newspaper Bild reports, citing a new study from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) scheduled for publication this Thursday.

Of the 396,000 refugees not working, 192,000 will be signed up for integration courses or other labour-market programmes, while 204,000 will be registered as unemployed.

The IfW, an international economic research centre, based its findings on projections that two percent of refugees find work each month, while three percent of refugees leave Germany on a monthly basis.

Three out of four refugees in Germany are of working age, most of whom had registered to work, Bild reports.

Refugees in Germany are often overqualified

Some 71 percent of refugees in Germany are overqualified for their work, compared to an EU average of 60 percent, according to a working paper released on Wednesday by the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The figures were based on comparing the job requirements for refugees’ occupations to their actual qualifications. But when refugee workers were asked personally whether they felt they were overqualified, 54 percent in Germany said yes, compared to 57 percent EU-wide.

Refugees are also more overqualified than other groups of immigrants in Germany: 38 percent of non-EU born employees work in jobs that are below their level of qualifications, compared to 30 percent EU-wide.

And there’s an even starker contrast when looking at the native German population: 16 percent of locals in Germany are overqualified for their jobs, while the EU average is 21 percent.

The OECD used data from 2014, before Germany saw a huge uptick in asylum seekers in 2015.

While refugees in Germany might be overqualified, the report praised Germany for being on the right track of integrating refugees into the job market.

“The refugee crisis is an opportunity to significantly improve the system for integration,” said OECD job market expert Thomas Liebig.

The report also looked at refugees’ language skills, which it noted are important for integration and the job market. Across Europe, less than half had advanced knowledge of the local language, compared to two-thirds of other immigrant groups.

In Germany, only 9 percent of refugees who had lived in the country for up to ten years had an advanced level of German. But this is hard to compare to countries like Spain where most of the refugees come from Latin America and the percentage there was 98 percent who had advanced Spanish.

Still, over time refugees in Germany do seem to take on the language: about half of all refugees who had lived in Germany longer than ten years had advanced German skills.

The situation for female refugees in Germany can be more difficult: their employment rate is 45 percent on average, which is 17 percentage points below men.

But at the same time, of refugee women who came to Germany between 1999 and 2014, every fourth woman had some form of post-secondary education, such as university – this was four percentage points higher than men.

Still, about half of these women had low-level education, which was higher than the amount of men with this level.

The report also noted the importance of gaining citizenship for integration. Germany was behind the rest of the EU in this area, making it the “only major exception” among the countries accepting the most refugees.

On average across the EU, 61 percent of people who had arrived as refugees became citizens after ten years. But in Germany, this percentage was 40 percent

The Local.