“I don’t understand cats and I don’t understand women,” confessed a foreign friend, half to me and half to his mug of beer. I leaned in closer to listen.

“Yet I can live with that. But . . . this other thing . . . it’s driving me nuts. If you know the answer, please, please, tell me.”

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.