The learned Geoff Carr points out that living in Japan gives insight into illiteracy.  For the first time in 55 years, I am illiterate. It really cramps your style. Try filling up at a self service gas station. There is a certain amount of graphic flow chart on the pump but this is just to lure you in. If you get past stage one, a screen illuminates with a question and that’s it. You are finished. You are illiterate. You have to find someone to help you: here  not a problem as the Okinawans are very helpful but imagine the humiliation in your own country.

I go to the supermarket and dodge around the shelves looking for signs, graphics. I  am sure my sense of smell is becoming keener as I sniff at tins of fish like a hound.

Sniff, snuffle- spot the clue

The supermarket is a mystery. What is all this stuff? OK some of it  is  foreign and thus I do not feel so bad not recognizing it but liquid in bottles – you would  like to know if it is lamp oil, salad dressing or boil remedy.


Furniture polish?

Face cream?

I bought a router so I could have wireless in the apartment. I foolishly assumed that there would be an English version of the installation instructions. Not so. At first I thought I could work it out using the images. Not so. What is ‘IP address’ in Kanji or more likely Katakana?  Ho hum.

Spot the User Portal Login Info

So this  has left me with a  overwhelming feeling of comradeship with all of you out there who have difficulty reading, whoa! don’t even mention writing. It only takes a little displacement to render anyone illiterate.

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