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The cultural appropriation of 5S

The Japanese ethic of 5S is a way of organising the workplace. In Japanese, it is seiri, seiton, seisō, seiketsu, and shitsuke.
This is usually translated into English as sort, set in order, shine, standardise, and sustain. It's basically a methodology of setting up a workplace for maximum efficiency by putting everything in order, and keeping it that way.
It's a rather sad indictment of the west that we seem to feel the need to appropriate a Japanese concept in order to organise our workplaces. Isn't it just common bloody sense that:
  • the things you need the most often should be the first things you can lay your hands on?
  • storage areas should be clearly identified and there should be some indication of what is being stored (to help others find things, and also to ensure that everything gets put back in its proper place)
  • To put things back in the right places, not just dump them onto a table to sort out later
  • And, not so much to "keep doing this" as to have it be a normal part of doing your job, to the point where not being oganised would seem like an alien concept

This turned up on the weekly review sheet at work:

What's 5S?
What's 5S?

Hehe, notice the 'close' icon to the upper left (and faint arrow buttons on the upper right)? Looks like somebody created this by getting a snapshot of the screen but wasn't clever enough to edit out the evidence. ☺
I like how they managed to find five 'S' words in French.

Sadly, there are two S words missing. Perhaps the most important ones:

  • Safety - quite a telling omission, don't you think?
  • Satisfaction - perhaps an alien concept to Japanese employees given the life of a salaryman, however I believe that a satisfied (happy) employee is going to be more careful, more vigilant, and overall more effective than somebody who just turns up because they need to be paid.


I think everybody who think's it's okay to be like "here's a cool little idea from Japan" when implementing things like 5S ought to be educated in some other aspects of Japanese society. Such as the fact that it is easier and less troublesome to greet The Queen than it is to exchange a business card (us Westerners get a lot of leeway as we're not supposed to have a clue). Or when even wearing a full and proper business outfit can be bad if it isn't the right business outfit worn in the right way at the right time...
Where you have to get up at 5am to begin your commute at 6am to be in the office at 7am (and expect your career to be over if the boss arrives before you), to work until 6pm, to do an extra two hours of unpaid overtime until 8pm, to then attend the mandatory (usually unpaid) drinking party with the boss until 11pm, to commute home for midnight, to wander bleary-eyed to your bed and fall on top of it, still dressed, knowing that the alarm will go off in a little under five hours...
All the while, understanding that you do not exist as a person. Conformity is everything, your personal achievements are irrelevant as you are merely a cog in a machine much greater than you could possibly fathom. And should you screw up, well, then you have dishonoured your entire bloodline dating right back to hominids and the only acceptable solution is to voluntarily choose to cease polluting the gene pool with your kind of incompetence...the windows on the forty-fourth floor open for a reason...

It's no surprise that the hikkikomori exists - extreme social withdrawal, they may simply stay in their room/appartment for years or even decades because they just can't cope with what society expects. And rather than being understood for their rejection of an often ridiculous situation, they are stigmatised. Because the nail that sticks out.....

No countries are perfect. Don't think I'm picking on Japan here. There are problems in the workplace in France, in Britain, and look at the troubles that American Amazon employees are encountering in simply trying to unionise themselves in order to have somebody somewhere stand up and defend them and fight for what ought to be basic employment rights written into law.
Indeed, the Taft-Hartley Act prevents "unfair labor practices" such as wildcat strikes and boycotts. On the other hand, and to show how utterly unbalanced everything is, "at-will" employees (which is most people in the US) can have their work terminated whenever the employer wants, so long as the reason for termination isn't demonstrably illegal. For historical reasons, this usually takes the form of a pink slip in with your pay (or pay sheet) which basically means "you're no longer required". So you, as an American employee, need to give 80 days notification of the want to take strike action, but you can be told on Friday that you won't be coming in on Monday, or ever again. So as harsh as the Japanese workplace may seem, other places are worse for different reasons.
However, if you're going to take "a cool idea from Japan", it might be useful to better understand the context in which these things are done......and ask yourself why it is necessary to look halfway around the planet for something that ought to have been second nature from the outset.



Because of an internal audit (this happens from time to time), I started work an hour early. Which means I finished an hour early. ☺

I went into town, and I swung by the chemist to ask if they could do the Covid vaccination. It's a shame I wasn't recording her.
Paraphrased (fairly rapid French so I didn't catch it all): yes we can do that but there's a really long waiting list because we don't have somebody who can give injections right now and the other person is off sick and we need to tie all of this together with when the vaccinations are actually delivered and that is extremely irregular and <something I didn't get at all that sounded like it involved snails?> so I suggest that you come back in about two and a half months.
If it helps, imagine that run-on sentence being delivered by Ally McBeal, and you'll be about there.
I thanked her and left, thinking to myself that two and a half months is mid-August. When they'll probably be closed for summer holidays.

So I got myself a lottery ticket (somebody won €130,000,000 last night - wasn't me) and went shopping. Then I headed home but instead decided to detour to a little town, my local chemist (by proximity). The woman there asked me if I wanted Moderna or Johnson. I said Moderna, and noticed that everybody else on the list was written down for the same thing.
"It's a bit of a wait", she said.
"I might be a priority because of the work that I do", I replied.
"We don't do that any more, you just get added to the list".
"How long is the wait?"
"Pretty long, if you give me your mobile number I'll call you around.... the 21st of June."
I had to stifle a laugh. Two and a half months just became two and a half weeks. I'm okay with that. I gave my number, and asked them to speak slowly as I'm not so good on the phone. I noticed that she didn't write that down. Ho hum, I hope it's not the old guy that sorts out the appointments because he talks like Miss Ally McBeal only with the added bonus of garbling most of his words.

"If you don't mind my asking, why did you choose Moderna?", she asked.
I began with a fairly technical explanation (she is supposed to understand stuff like this, right?) which basically boiled down to having more confidence in the mRNA style of vaccines (that's Moderna and Pfizer). Her eyes glazed over in that way that happens when people ask a really technical computer question such as "what's a swap partition" expecting a reply like "it's memory" rather than an actual description of what it is. One of the others working there noticed and came to her rescue, pointing out that my mom was a nurse. Because, yeah, that instantly qualifies me as an RN doesn't it? ☺ We know most of the people in that chemist, it's also where all the medicines know what... came from.
"My turn, why no AstraZeneca?", I asked. Both of them raised their eyebrows, like "oh god, how do we answer that".
A sweet old granny in the queue behind me did it for them. "Young man" (my hair is grey!) "it is their preference" (yes, she spoke in an unusually formal manner) "that the people that they vaccinate survive".

OUCH! I don't know if there's some sort of big misinformation campaign or if there's something really wrong with the AstraZeneca vaccine (nothing of that nature has been reported in the British media other than the rare blood clot issue; I don't know what's been going on in the French media) but that was a hard slap...from a granny!

I await a call in about two and a bit weeks. I hope they hand over a piece of paper as I don't use the app and I don't want to use the app (it's utterly useless for me - as an introvert I try to avoid people, and the place where I mix with people (work) is the place where I'm not allowed to carry my phone (we deal with food so it's a clean environment)).


Melons and potatoes

The melons are a bit of a disappointment, and there are no sunflowers. Not the fault of either. The lovely hot weather early-spring turned into misery, cold, rainy, and thunderstorms with hail. There was frost on the grass at the beginning of the week! This meant great conditions for snails and slugs. Which have enjoyed eating the new leaves sprouting out of the ground, which is kind of terminal to the plant.

I'm nursing along three melons, hoping they'll soon be big enough that something nibbling the leaves won't be their demise. I planted them early, as up in the turned patch there are fewer creepy things and I can cover them at night. There are two others, but they have been partially eaten. We'll have to see.


As for the potatoes, one thing is clear - if the plant has started to grow some amount of foliage, it does not like being covered. This is the row that was covered late, and recovered after the leaves started to poke out. There were eight or nine plants here. Now there are four, with the ones in the middle seemingly having given up.

Don't cover potatoes late
Don't cover potatoes late.

By contrast, the rows that were covered early are doing quite well, even after a second covering.

The potato patch
The potato patch.

It's a little disappointing to lose a number of plants in that way, but, this is a big experiment, so it's a valid result even if it's not a desired result.


Car battery

Well, I had the battery from the C1 on pulse charge for several days. The battery got warm (not hot) but nothing would convince it to go beyond 8.4V, so I am guessing one of the cells is dud. It's a sealed battery, so there's no messing around with the chemicals to try to fix it.
Trying to recover the car battery
Trying to recover the car battery.

I suppose I'll have to try to find a cheap battery of similar size/capacity. I'm not looking for expensive, as it's only to crank the engine once in a while. But I'll need to remember to keep it fully charged!


Simple mechanics

The rotovator's pull-crank starter handle had broken. The rubber perished, having lasted, well, about as many years as I've been around.
I ordered a replacement from Amazon, but in order to keep the price down I had it sent from China. It took a month and a half, but did eventually arrive.
Old and new pull-cords for the starter.
Old and new pull-cords for the starter.

Three bolts got the engine cover off, with the starter assembly attached. Flip it over, it's simply a sping-loaded plastic wheel held in place by two clips. I pulled it to the maximum crank position and wedged a spanner to hold it in place.
I cut the old starter cord, and pulled it free. The new cord had a knot tied in one end. The other end was threaded carefully into the notch in the wheel, and then through the eyelet. The plastic handle was put onto the cord and the other end tied up. I held the cord taut and removed the spanner. I slowly let the cord retract. A few pulls to ensure it worked, and then everything was reassembled.

The replacement pull-cord for the starter.
The replacement pull-cord for the starter.

The gizmo that disengages the starter when the engine is turning is a one-way clicker (like on a click-wrench) built into the top of the engine. This sounded a bit rough, so I turned it a lot by hand while dripping in sewing machine oil. It still sounds a bit naff but it feels smoother.


I don't know if it is evident from any of the photos or videos of Marte, but the left side of the engine cover/bonnet had rusted through. It still opened and closed, but in use the left side hung down.
This was 'fixed' by recycling a piece of that metal strip that I got for repairing the deck. Two holes were drilled, to match up with the holes on the swing bracket that the bonnet attaches to. The strip was then bent to fit, and bolted on to the bracket. Then holes were drilled through the existing slots in the metal strip into the bonnet, using a narrow bit. Next, holding the bonnet up and clear, a larger bit was used to make those holes bigger so that the bolts that I had could pass through. Finally, the two bolts to hold the bonnet in place were added. The bracket is at a slight downwards angle to allow the bonnet to open further.

Bonnet repair.
Bonnet repair.



Mowing the slow way.
Mowing the slow way.
As I said, I did work an hour earlier yesterday. Then I went all over the place. In the evening I watched Ragnarok. Most of it. Finished at half one. This morning, I mowed the grass using little mower. This is because the weather forecast said today was going to be "meh" so I didn't bother buying petrol. The forecast was wrong. So I did the Picnic Lawn by hand. Weeded around the potatoes. By then the water heater (put on in the morning) had heated up, so I had a nice bath and hair wash, then washed some clothes (which are now hanging on the line). I've been throwing tea into me, but I feel as if I can barely keep my eyes open. So please excuse any weirdness or typos in this b.log entry. I was thinking about trying some of Sweet Tooth to see if it was worth watching, but not sure if I won't just have an early night.

Oh, if you have Prime Video, watch Spontaneous.



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David Pilling, 6th June 2021, 15:57
AZ survivor here... It seems the vaccines that work the same way as AZ (like Johnson) have the same potential side effect with clotting with low platlet count. That is a reason to avoid the AZ vaccine. However there are side effects with the RNA vaccines - just not reported with such vigour. 
In the UK the AZ vaccine is for old people, not because the side effects only apply to the young, but because old people are at greater risk. 
Now they know about the side effects they can treat them much better - before they were likely to give a treatment that made the condition worse. 
UK was slow to spot the side effect, countries like Norway and Denmark did much better. 
Our friends the MSM do not report daily how many serious side effects of each type of vaccine there have been. 
Our friends in the MSM mess up reporting risk all the time. 
If you send out 50 million people to the vaccination place, quite a few will meet with serious adverse consequences getting there and back - road traffic accidents, tripping over pavements. 
I am not here as a member of the 50 Cent Army/wumao, on much social media you can read people very anti vax "I'm not having it until it is properly tested" (how does that work). The logical position if you have doubts is to say nothing and let others take the vaccine/risk. If everyone else is jabbed and you are not, you're safe. Presumably if you hate everyone else, you get the jab and encourage others not to. 
Anyway, hoping I am not about to go the way of Naomi Wolf on twitter. 
Oh yes, RNA lets them reprogram your DNA, like a computer, and your sewage has to be safely disposed of to avoid pollution. 
Slipped out... 
Damn, damn, damn 

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