Wow. Another fraudulent order

Today must be my lucky day.

Having a business on the Internet always attracts the scammers, but we rarely have trouble since our account filters out all the obvious troublemakers. However when credit card information is stolen from databases or people are careless with their card the bad guys can get enough information to make it look like it is a valid transaction.

Just now I got a large order for 2 electronic dictionaries (the most expensive ones) with cases. This is unusual in itself. But it also was to Indonesia. Two red flags popped up and slapped me on my face… We do have some good customers in Indonesia so I was considering giving it the benefit of the doubt until I saw this was his third try with three different numbers. What’s even more disconcerting is each of the orders had a match for both the zip and the CVV number. This is information only the cardholder should have.

I’m on hold with a fraud guy now contacting the respective banks. I’ve been on the phone for the past hour. I could just ignore this, cancel the payment and watch 24, but I really want these cardholders to know their card has been compromised. (sounds like a line from 24…)

So on the phone I wait…


I don’t have a complaint, really, but I thought this would go well with the new イライラ category.

I had a customer from Chile email me a few weeks ago saying the order he ordered in early December hadn’t yet arrived. I asked him to wait a few days and he was kind enough to do so. After that I shipped him his order again since it looked like it was either lost or was on its way back to me.

Oddly enough, we have never had a lost package. We have had many international packages take a loooong time to arrive and a few returned, but none lost.

Today we received that package. I had to pay return postage which is to be expected (even though I am now $27.25 poorer…), but the funny thing was the USPS’s Reason for the Return: No Reason.

Take a look at the scan.

Attack of the Nigerians… again.

In real life, I have met a few people from Nigeria. They were all very nice. But on the net, I have yet to come in contact with one who isn’t trying to cheat me out of life and limb.

Today I got a PayPal ‘payment’ for an Ebay auction. The buyer purchased the auction a few days ago and I have been waiting for payment. After sending a gentle reminder this morning, I finally got the payment plus $50 for “Royal Mail – EMX Global Overnight Services” to… Nigeria. How nice. The winner’s profile said ‘she’ was in Texas.

I would find this a little amusing if it weren’t for a major auction that I really wanted to have sold last week. The worst thing is I had a number of watchers. That usually means the auction will sell towards the end. Well, since this guy did a ‘buy now’ and all those watchers are gone…

A few months ago I had another experience with Ebay and the Nigerians. This time I sold a $40 Japanese grammar book. A few weeks later I received a money order for $1400 in the mail. (If I can find the money order, I’ll scan it and post it so others can be aware). Now this isn’t too unusual since we sometimes deal with schools with large book orders, but for the life of me, I couldn’t remember an purchase order for that much. You’d think I would remember a $1400 order! The envelope had no message; just this money order. It didn’t even have a shipping address or what it was for. It did look authentic with a seal and even a watermark, but it wasn’t just fishy, it was downright stinky.

The very next day I got an email from the winner of the $40 auction telling me he had sent me a money order for the $40 and asked for a cash refund for the balance. Let’s see… That works out to be $1360 he was hoping to get. Oh, and he also wanted it shipped to Nigeria.

I really feel bad for legitimate business people in Nigeria and other countries prone to fraud. These fraudsters are frauding the future of Nigeria more than anything else.

To see just how bad this is and to read about a few people getting revenge (not recommended) see 419 Eater.

Makoto, the Polyglot

From the time he was born, we have been wondering what would be Makoto’s first meaningful words. And… what language.

As a newborn he often made a /hao/ sound. We weren’t sure if it was perhaps the cliched (American) Indian greeting or more likely, the English word “how”. Despite the ambiguity, it was exciting. “This will be quite an inquisitive lad!”, we thought. “And intelligent at that – he skipped the ‘why’ and went straight for the ‘how’.”

Several months later, his favorite sounds sounded like “Annyong Haseyo“. We of course recognized this as Korean. He was telling us, “Hi there!”

Today, we were giving him his evening bath and he said “まいど Maido after Yumi gave him an empty shampoo bottle to play with. That got me thinking he could very well end up speaking 関西弁.

Based on all this, I am sure this will be his first complete sentence:

「ほんまにおかんとおとんが好きやねん。」 which means, “I really like my ma and pop.” (I hope that is right. Not too good at Kansaiben.)


Years ago, I missed an opportunity to see Fiddler on the Roof in Japan. It was something I’ve regretted since. I was invited but something happened and I couldn’t make it. Well, here is a second chance. That is, a few minutes of a second chance.

Watch Fiddler on the Roof in Japanese on Youtube.

Incidentally, ‘Tradition’ is 仕来り shikitari

Incidentally and doubly so at that, I have heard 西田敏行 (にしだ としゆき) played Tevye for a long time. You probably know him best as ハマちゃん from the 釣りバカ日誌 tsuri baka nisshi movies. I would love to have seen that…


Yesterday we met a friend (who shall remain nameless) at a restaurant. He was telling us of another friend’s plan to marry a lady from Thailand. Yumi and I know first hand the difficulties of international marriage. Even getting to the point of ‘marriage’ is difficult. Dealing with the INS (Or whatever it is called these days) is like having all your teeth pulled, paying the dentist and then saying, “Thank You!” with a toothless smile.

Anyway, my friend was talking about his friend and mentioned he was studying the language. He paused for a moment and said, “Do they speak Gujarati or Hindi in Thailand?” I looked at him and said, “They speak Thai in Thailand.” He said, “Oh.”

That isn’t a big deal. Many countries in that area have (English) language names that are very different from their (English) country name. But…

Not five minutes later when talking about his friend getting ready to go to Thailand to meet his bride, he said, “He’ll have to change his Dollars for Bahts…”

I stopped him cold and said, “What a second. You knew the currency name which isn’t a common currency name like dollar or even yen, but you didn’t know they spoke Thai in Thailand?!”

I asked permission to post this. Despite that, I hope he’ll forgive me.

The Last Great Ace

The Last Great AceThe other day I had the honor of meeting Mr. Charles Martin the author of this book:
The Last Great Ace

He has such a great knowledge of WWII history (including a lot of first hand knowledge!). As an American so connected with Japan today, I find it really difficult to believe we were once Enemies (with a capital ‘E’). I, for one, am glad we made up! Anyway, history has always been interesting to me, but since becoming obsessed with all things Japan, WWII in particular is fascinating.

This book is the story of Tom McGuire, America’s number 2 Ace during WWII. Apparently there isn’t much written about him and yet this book is so full of data and dialog you’d think the author was drawing from a long tradition of biographies.

I haven’t gotten very far with the book. I started full force then decided to watch a single episode of 24. Bad idea. Four hours later, I was too sleepy to hit the book again. I hit the sack instead.

(Side note: You simply can’t watch 24 on television here and there. You really, really need the DVDs to watch more than one episode at a time. Absolutely brilliant. Especially considering today’s threat of terrorism.)

Ok, sorry for that…

Actually that is about all I have to say on this book for now. I am really looking forward to reading it this weekend. I am thinking of stocking it for the store. While it isn’t related to Japan particularly, I imagine there are many students of Japanese such as myself who are also very interested in WWII history.


Here is our son carrying his stroller as a jinrikisha:


Sorry for the quality of the video. My camera does a really nice job with good lighting, but in a dark room, it is terrible…


人力車 じんりきしゃ Jinrikisha, rickshaw; a man-powered transportation device.
一休み ひとやすみ a break, rest

Interesting Sites

I found this guy's blog: plow7010's note; from Osaka, Japan

This man has been writing his diary online since 2005.  What a great way to interact with people while practicing English.  Here is his tagline:

    I'm Japanese. I've been practicing my English on this blog since June,2005.
English and Japanese puns(middle aged men's jokes) are kind of my vitamin.(^o^)

'Japanese puns' must be 親父ギャグ 🙂  I like him already.

I found this Japanese girl's Youtube Vlogs interesting.  Particularly this one. (warning, there is a surprise at the end – I hope your heart is good!)  Anyway, it's good listening practice if you want to know what high school girls sound like.  (it's a universal language)


Live Video is a video site that many regulars believe to be superior to  I am not sure if that is true, but it certainly works as well as Youtube.  Recently, there has been a flood of videos saying 'Go Live Video! Boo You Tube!'  Well, it may have some advantages (such as reliably posting comments) but not many people know about it.

Here is the search results page on  Yep 347 worth of videos of people talking about switching over and such.  

Frankly, I don't see Youtube going away any time soon.  Live Video is neat, but it IS Youtube with some patches.  That's all.  

Still, I will have fun uploading some videos there too. Clay's LiveVideo Videos

(well, right now Clay's LiveVideo Video (singular))