I have been hearing that phrase over and over for the past two days. I think the guy across the street picked up a car alarm without learning how to use it and is constantly forgetting to disarm the vehicle before opening the door. And I also think he has it set to go off if the frailest of butterflies lands on it because earlier it was going off for a good 45mins. before anyone ever turned it off.
On that note, there have been several vehicles that have been speaking to me lately. Earlier, I was out on the patio washing clothes and I heard a van back into a space below my apartment. Instead of just doing the caution beeps, it was equipped with a very gentle but firm female voice telling people to move or they might get squished. Earlier in the week, a white car was skulking through the streets of my neighborhood (ghetto) equipped with a female voice telling everyone within earshot to vote for someone who was running for some office. The cop cars, fire trucks, and ambulances are also equipped with a voicebox and I heard them last week. The Japanese like making machines talk. Train ticket machines talk, vending machines too, there is even a line of beer vending machines that require you to speak to it so it can verify your age by the wavelength of your voice.
There is a book out that I want to read about how the Japanese perceive most machines to be friendly and benevolent, while most Westerners view them as frightening. Take robots for example, the Japanese love robots and if you go to the Honda plant, all tours and on site sales are conducted by them. There are robot toys and cartoons filled with mecha-sapiens (you heard that term coined here first), robots can be mean but most robots are usually portrayed as good spirited. In American media, with the exception of Johnny 5, Kitt, and the robot from Lost in Space, there are not a lot of nice robots. Most robots in the West are portrayed as violent, take the Terminator or Robocop for example.
I know this is kind of a geeky post but I do wonder what happened to make the Japanese love robots and Westerners fear them. It's just kind of a cool glimpse into the minute differences in the Japanese psyche and the Western one.