Daylight Savings Time (or as we say in Japan, Yikes-u!)

Conveniently, for me at least, my two most common journey end points, Japan and Prince Edward Island, are exactly twelve hours (or if you prefer, twelve time zones) apart. This is really useful to me, as I don’t have to set my computer clock and watch every time I make the trip. Sure, when I am in PEI, my computer clock says “am” when it should be “pm”, and vice versa, but that is no major problem. My watch is a simple traditional model, with hands, so it is even less of an issue. For some reason, however, the watch is exceedingly difficult to set, not utilizing the simple rotating knob of many analog models; it requires an advanced degree in physics, as well as a thorough knowledge of kanji (for reading the directions which are rendered entirely in Japanese), to make the obstinate hands move to a new location. But, as I say, thanks to the juxtaposition of Japan and PEI on the globe, no worries. Normally. But this year, I stayed in Canada a bit longer, and I will be here past daylight savings change, at which time we will be thirteen hours out from Japan, or eleven, I can never keep that straight.

Anyway, on a phone call the other evening, Saki, who is already back in Tokyo, asked me when the time change took place. As usual, I had no idea, so I had a quick look on the internet, checking out a website called www.timeanddate.com. There I learned that the switchover date was October 28th at midnight, at which time clocks should be set back to 11pm on the 27th. Somehow, that didn’t sound right to me, so I investigated a bit further. Sure enough, under the “countries affected” heading, I found that this date applies only to Syria. Interestingly, Syria’s next door neighbor, Jordan, makes the change an hour later, switching their clocks from 1am back to midnight.

So, as I don’t live in Damascus, I thought I would scroll down the list and see when Canada is due to make the switch. Along the way, I made some unusual observations. First off, while we are setting our clocks back an hour (“spring forward, fall back”), most of the countries located below the equator are setting theirs forward. That makes sense, of course, as it is just now coming into their summer. What made somewhat less sense is that they are also setting the clock forward in Egypt, which is situated distinctly north of the equator; thus, the desert country has seasons aligned with ours (Egypt occupies roughly the same latitudinal area as Florida). Go figure. Other countries jump in whenever it suits them, starting with August 7th, for Morocco, and finishing with the US and Canada on November 7th. Our neighbor to the south, Mexico, has already been enjoying the benefits of daylight savings time for a week by then, having made the change in the wee morning hours of October 31st.

For my part, I am just leaving my computer set to Japan time, which, like fellow holdouts Guatemala, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kuwait, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe (to name but a few; for a complete list, check www.timeanddate.com/time/dst2010.html ), chooses not to observe daylight savings.

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