Last year, one of our Japanese reporters went on an extended visit to the United States. While he had plenty of nice things to say about the country, he also had some complaints, and, as an American myself, I can’t really say that I blame the guy. Having to drive literally everywhere unless you live in one of maybe three specific cities is a major hassle and a huge drain on your budget, certain services seem staffed entirely by people who are barely even aware of your existence or what’s going on more than a few inches on either side of their smartphone, and yes, the police are a little on the brutal side and drunk on their own power a lot of the time no matter how you slice it (annnnnd… now I’m on an NSA watchlist. Hi, guys!).

But, there’s one complaint our reporter had that I just can’t relate to: how crazy America’s systems of measurement are.

I mean, I grew up with feet, inches, pounds and whatnot, so I can’t really speak to our reporter’s profound confusion. Is it really so bad? We had to find out, so we donned our troll-proof vests and dove deep into the smelly, dark recesses of 2chan to see what other Japanese Netizens thought of America’s wacky measurement systems:

Here’s what they had to say (paraphrased for your sanity):

“America is like the Galapagos of measurements. Everything’s inches, feet, pounds, fahrenheit, gigawatts… If you go to the US, you have to keep more than just English in mind.”

“Planes operated by US carriers also don’t list metric measurements anywhere.” (We assume this user means on menus, or on that little flight tracker thingy)

“Which measurement people use seems so random: ‘Oh, it’s about a yard.’ What?”

“Apparently miles were exactly 5,000 feet back in Roman times. But now the Americans had to go and make it 5,280?! What gives?” (In fairness, miles have measured many different specific distances over the years and it’s worth pointing out that a lot of countries other than the U.S. use the international mile in measurements.)

“Just when I started thinking, ‘At least the way they write dates is the same,” they had to go and put the month in front of the day!” This is referring to how dates are written month/day/year in the states but written year/month/day in Japan.

“I heard a lot of Japanese people accidentally order soda and orange juice by the gallon at American restaurants because, c’mon America, no one knows what a gallon is!

▼ What even are you?!


“Didn’t all this even cause a plane crash once because the pilots couldn’t figure out how the hell to convert a pound?!” This is half true, but it was actually the other way around: Canadian pilots confused metric measurements when the country converted from imperial units a while back; perhaps the first time in history that a switch from imperial to metric actually made things more complicated.

Okay, so there appears to be a fair bit of confusion among general Japanese Netizens about the imperial and customary units that the US insists on using, even though basically the rest of the entire world measures things a different way. I get that. Sure. It really doesn’t make all that much sense compared to the nice, neat units of the metric system.

But we’re not going to change it. Why?


*mic drop*

Source: NWK News
Gallon milk photo: Wikipedia