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California born by a Cuban mother, married to a Japanese man, and have lived in Japan since 2004, minus one year living in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I have friends and family in many places in the world. I dreamed of traveling to many distant lands, creating music and dancing to it, meeting interesting people, and discovering treasures in the most unlikely of places.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Google Image Searches in Different Languages

I recently gave this lesson to my students, but it really could benefit anyone doing image searches on the net if they have knowledge of the their own culture and another culture.
I had to relearn this myself today while looking for cake images online. English Google really doesn't have much as far as nice photos of cakes. I don't know why. But the Japanese are rather obsessive about their food, and have somewhat of a food fetish nationwide. This is easily proven by the fact that 60% of the TV shows are about what restaurant has the best food in a certain area. Anyway, they like to photograph food as well. You can find BEAUTIFUL photos online. I searched for cake in Google Japan, and lo and behold, there was a huge selection of excellent photos to choose from. Perfect lighting, put into a perfect scene. It was great. Highly recommend it. www.google.co.jp
When it gives you the option to choose Japanese letters below (katakana), choose the ones closest to the search bar.
Here is the direct link for what I found. Just copy and paste into your address bar.


If you want to compare what is available on the English Google, just go to your regular google search page, go to images, and search for cake. The results, compared, are dismal. However, the interesting thing is that depending on what you are searching for, your results can be better on the English site, for example, any Japanese Animation earch will give you better results in English. If you search for the colors of the rainbow in each, the results are very interesting and show differences in what is appreciated by each culture, or the history of the use of the color by that culture. Try green. Or blue.
If you want another interesting experiment in culture, go to the Wikipedia home page. Then in two corresponding windows, select the Japanese Page, and the English page. Search for anything.
The results will be completely different. It makes me wish I knew ten languages.

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