Archive for February, 2008

2月 月報

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Well, I didn’t have to do one for December or January due to Final Presentation and settling in at the new job/dorm/life.

But we were not exempt from February. So I give you:

日本語の授業が終わるときにちょっと病気で 終わったから3週目大体英語で話しました

それで、会社で仕事して始めるときに日本語がペラペラじゃないです。

6週目に会社で仕事の間に毎日日本語で話していますので、今はちょっと大丈夫です。

寮から会社までの距離は長いだ。だから毎日、電車に乗っているとき日本語が勉強をできます。もちろん、電車にいる間は勉強だけではなく、それ以外に一週に一回コミュニティセンターで授業をうけます。さらに10人の白人と一人ラティノ人は三田にすんでいます。かれらと毎日日本語だけで話しているのでだんだん上手になります。

ベジタリアンになって以来、色々な人にベジタリアニズムを説明しました。日本語の授業ではその単語を教えませんでしたからとても難しいですよね。説明するためにたくさん新語を習わければなりませんでした。今、まだいい説明をすることができませんけれども、ベジタリアンになったときより上手です。

じつは事務所にいる時にもっと日本語を勉強したいのですけれど、研究もしなければ なりません。私は仕事中、大体コンピュターの前にいますので、同僚とあまり喋る時間がありません。

漢字は一番難しい。日本語で書く時は大抵コンピュターを使いますから書く順をならうことはむずかしい。スペースバー使ったら漢字をきづくのはかんたんですけど自分で漢字を覚えながら書くのはとても難しい。そして、たくさんのちょっと同じ漢字があります;例えば: 午と牛、爪と瓜(つめにつめなし)。

あのー、長いに新語と新文法を勉強できます。とてもたくさんの単語と文を書く方法はまだならいません。

ワリー

The theme was “Progress on your Japanese ability”. Just in case that wasn’t clear from reading it.

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Quote of the day:

In the beginning, the Universe was created. This made a lot of people very angry and has since then been widely regarded as a bad move

– Douglas Adams

The Japanese attention to details

Monday, February 18th, 2008

I didn’t do much this weekend. Went dancing in Osaka, met up with Chris and Pawel beforehand and went dancing with Antonio.

Due to the lack of Raphaelle I had to get a sub. No, really it’s OK: Look closer. Contractually sound!

Saturday and Sunday were spent in quiet isolation reading, playing and . . . cleaning (well, s’got to happen sometime right?)
In other words . . . a terribly exciting weekend. Certainly worthy of blogging about. OK, so I needed a medium to get the Raph joke out.

And today it was time for another day at work. Except that . . . well, by the time i went to work I’d gone to the toilet 3 times. And on my way downstairs I decided to go again.

And pretty soon after that mt vast brain did a calculation.

  • I’d been up for 90 minutes
  • 4 toilet runs
  • My trainride is 45 minutes

I ain’t going to work today. I had no vomiting and at the time (yes . . that time has passed) I had no pains anywhere either.

But “Not wanting to poop your pants in a very tightly packed train” counts as a decent excuse not to go to work in my book.

Anyway, to refer to the title of the post: Heated Toiletseats. Heaven, just shear heaven.

Oh well, greetings from Japan

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She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it)

– Lewis Carroll

長いポスト

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

OK, so this will be mostly about the trip to Hiroshima.
But I won’t call it the hiroshima trip because we also went to Osaka.
And there was other stuff.
I won’t post that seperately because I’m lazy.

There were 2 reasons to go to Hiroshima.

  1. It’s just one of those places you need to see.
  2. 3 breasted women . . . ’nuff said

OK, so there were 3 reasons to go to Hiroshima. About a month ago I moved away (yet again) from the life I knew. Having had some practice in this over the years I made all the necesary arrangements, adopted the right mindset, and moved.

I did all the things I’ve done so many times over the years. Went to random bars, met people. Went to clubs, slept with people. Took busses, bikes and trains in random directions to see the area around my new place. Settled in to my new job. You know, all that good stuff.

It was just shy of 3 weeks ago that I noticed something different from the normal way things work with these things. Something was wrong.
I took action to verify this. Talked with friends, got advice. Meditated on it. The more I contemplated this the more convinced I was it was true.

One test remained.

So, I left for Hiroshima, got off the bus and waited. Sure enough 1.5 hours later she got off the bus.

My brain fogged over and all I could do was hold on to her.

Crap, I was still in love. I didn’t want some girl 1000 km away to be swoony over. Long distance shit like that never works. I broke up with her. I was over here. No love’esq emotion had ever survived me making up my mind it was over. I want to make my grand 50. I want some easy loving. Someone that lives close by at the very fucking least. I came to Japan to bag some hot Japanese chick, not obsess about a French one I might aswell have met back home. This was NOT FAIR.

OK, so in reality my brain was still mostly fogged over and thoughts like that didn’t arrange themselves ’till later. My mind was scarsely capable at that time to form such neat trains of thought. It was more focussed on not letting go. Comperative Geography was well out of my range. I couldn’t tell you how long I stood there. At one point the stupid joke about the german guy I had prepared came forward in my brain. And I showed Raph what I found at the station. Another Vulcanus student had made his way to Hiroshima on the same weekend. Small country, Japan.

Well . . . I wasn’t home free yet. I still needed her to take me back.
I won’t go into details. Let’s just keep it at the fact that Fonzy should not worry about his throne. It took another day to cover the bare minimum of things that needed to be covered and I am now in a Long Distance Relationship (LDR). Yeeh me.

So euhm . . . . Hiroshima then.
The talking things over took place in most of the places I’ll show you pictures of. I am sure few people have seen Hiroshima the way I have. The relief of the last month of oppressed emotions, the relief of getting her back, the pink stained glasses of the newly in love.

Aaaaaaanyway, the first stop was the World Peace Memorial Cathedral. Which, many people will agree with me, has to be the uglyest cathedral there is. From the outside at least. We looked around a bit and started talking with a lady there who promptly offered us a private tour . . . . OK. So we saw some of the pictures following the ones linked above. Really nice. The view, the stories, the lady trying to speak french.

Next up was the peace boulevard . . . .yeah . . . it’s a road with trees. Moving on

Next was the park. In the park several different things stood. The museum, which is apperantly well worth it, but we kept missing opening times. There are a fair few memorials there, including the one for a 12 year old girl who folded paper cranes to combat the effects of lukemia. This glorious memorial was set in flames in 2002 by a disgruntled student to protest about the meagre job oppertunities for university graduates . . . Not quite in the same ballpark with regards to meaning. Over the decades, a fair few people have added to the original 1000 cranes. The A-dome building was also there of course. And a long walk north of there the Castle was rebuilt. Also something with which we had opening-time trouble. The lighting of the a-bomb dome was supposed to be quite spectacular. And it sort of was. Just one empty lamp focusing on the state of it, but I’m afraid the picture doesn’t do it justice.

The next day we went to Maya-jima. Hmmm . . . did I mention there were 3 reasons to go to Hiroshima? There’s 4. Miya-Jima is one of the 日本三景 or top 3 sights in Japan. We weren’t entirely sure we had gone to the right place but luckily there were clues. Are you quite sure this is a tourist attraction?
To amplify the tourist status, we arrived on a day with a festival. It was busy. And the local wildlife was making good use of that. The funny thing is Japanese being Japanese even on holiday. But, we came mostly for 2 things.
#1
#2

The trip up the mountain was grand. The walk was invigorating, the snow not really present as it was a decent temperature. And the local wildlife took care of the amusement program. It was a hardy walk, but nothing major. And it made for far nicer views than what my camera was able to capture.
We took the cablecar for the way back . . .bugger doing that again.
Upon return we saw the Torii in a new light. Well, in a new light and new shoes.

The next day, we left for Osaka. Raph still had to make it back for the start of the workweek at 8:30 on tuesday, and from Hiroshima that wasn’t possible. So we took the oppertunity to bum around Osaka some.
We went to the top of some building based on the Arc de Triomphe . . . Loosely based on the Arc de Triomphe. . . . well, it was an arch. And from the top we could see far and wide.
After that we went to one of the lively districts of Osaka, where we were lucky enough to see a “band” in action. Though we had to pass a certain lady before that. Seriously, that’s the 4th one I’ve seen. Have we started mass producing this thing or what?
The band may not have been interresting, but the crowd certainly was.

Ah . . . after an eternity to spend a long weekend together again. It was far too short.

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I will never put myself in such a dead end, hopeless, frustrating and painfull situation as a Long Distance Relationship

– Wally, 2001

The World according to Wally (Part II)

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

According to the opinions voiced during Part I, the concensus was reached (under people posting their true intent and not just clowning around) that if people would just be aware of what was happening and what the consequences of their actions were: Things would change.

While I have hope for humankind . . . it comes with footnotes.

People are too egocentric, even if the basic facts and figures of what is happening right now were common knowledge the average human would choose to ignore that in light of a more immediate concern: Dinner. And if not dinner, mortgage payments. Replacement of the car. If you are Massai: enlarging the herde so one can have more wives. I, before the world. The “Weath of Nations”, arguably the most influential book with regards to Capitalist economies states that with regards to his work any man acts only out of self interest. To put a meager (and not the best, that’s your job) quote in here: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our necessities but of their advantages.” Now, I do not know if this was ever the case with humans, and I’m pretty sure it does’t apply everywhere. But whether it was or has become true it can be recognized everywhere now.

So, this is what we have to change. Hell, even Smith himself already argued against an economy based purely on “For the greaterglory of I”

OK, let’s run with the idea. Better education is never a bad thing. And it may lead to new leaders, which, concidering humans have this idiotic hero worship thing going on, may be the best hope for us. It will also convert an X number of people. People in a position to change, may change. And, like stated in part I People who have changed will influence other people.

But: How does one get a better understanding of what is going on in the world. How does one teach children the extent of their impact on the world around us. It is not simply a matter of stating that we have to change. We have to know how to change. And knowing how to change depends largely on the influences upon us.

What is the inpact of:

* Schooling
* Home situation
* Religion
* Culture

The very definition of what constitutes a better world differs in each person and even if the same facts and figures that make some people cry out in frustration are available to everyone, people will come to different conclusions and some/most will fail to see what the fuss is about.

Now, to get back to the bit you’ll be posting on: “If more people would be aware of their actions, things will change”. Now, how would these aspects of thought forming listed above require one to go about achieving such enlightenment among ones fellow citizens.

In Part I, the snowball effect was stated. Things need to change gradually (not that we won’t find something to do about all the cows if we “reached enlightenment” en mass tomorrow)
This is where my footnotes come into play.
We are playing a game with a time limit.
A strict time limit. There are currently 800 million people hungry in the world. As in: below UN set standards for the bare minimum of living. There is currently much cultureal/political/religious diversity in the world. People who percieve that they are being oppressed (wether true or not) often strike out. People who have no food, but see rich company excecutives drive through will throw stones. And many of the cultureal/political/religious diversity come with guns. Some of them BIG guns.

While it has been stated that “as long as I’m still around afterwards I don’t much care about how things get done” this view comes with the drawback that if certain key parts get taken during whatever will reduce our numbers, we won’t be living in a mostly human free paradise, but a nice nuclear winter.

I’d much prefer to walk a less violent path. And I’m sure a great many other people do to.
So, not only do we have to get people to become aware of the world around us. But we have to do it fast.

Our hope lies in 2 things. Ourselves, and our children.

We can teach ourselves to be better humans than we are now. With study, self consciousness and objective reasoning we can look at our postition in the world, our impact upon it and change it if we choose. But the vision we will get depends on where we come from. The 4 impacts listed above (and there’s more of them) have shaped how we look at the world. How we perceive our rights and wrongs. They have even shaped the vision we will come to when pondering our future.

The view we will arrive at wil not be purely that of one of these influences. Or, even that could be.

And once we reach the vision of what we need. And once we have acted upon what we need to do. Those same influences will still be around when we try to impart our wisdom(or lack thereof) on our children.

How does one handle these influences. And how does one navigate these murky waters to a more enlightened outlook on life. And once we have reached this state. How do we prevent these same influences of spoiling our best hope for the future. How does one wield them, use them, and forge from them: a better tomorrow.
And most importantly: How do we do it before we blow ourselves up.

Same rules apply as last time, though I’m adding “no Ad hominem

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All political, socio-economic, philosofy bullshiitake aside
This is what I did today. I had my first actual shooting in 弓道. This is the result of my first arrow

Bulls eye

I would hereby like to announce my retirement from the world of Japanese archery

Seriously, I’m never going to equal this. Why try

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Quote of the day:

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one

– MIke Godwin