Archive for January, 2009

Go home and multiply

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

TOKYO, Japan (CNN) — Even before one reaches the front door of Canon’s headquarters in Tokyo, one can sense the virtual stampede of employees pouring out of the building exactly at 5:30 p.m.

Japan's birth rate of 1.34 is below the level needed to maintain the country's population.

Japan’s birth rate of 1.34 is far below the level needed to maintain the country’s population.

In a country where 12-hour workdays are common, the electronics giant has taken to letting its employees leave early twice a week for a rather unusual reason: to encourage them to have more babies.

Japan is in the midst of an unprecedented recession, so corporations are being asked to work toward fixing another major problem: the country’s low birthrate.

At 1.34, the birthrate is well below the 2.0 needed to maintain Japan’s population, according to the country’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

Keidanren, Japan’s largest business group, with 1,300 major international corporations as members, has issued a plea to its members to let workers go home early to spend time with their families and help Japan with its pressing social problem.

One reason for the low birth rate is the 12-hour workday. But there are several other factors compounding the problem — among them, the high cost of living, and social rigidity toward women and parenting.

In addition, Japan’s population is aging at a faster pace than any other country in the world.

Analysts say the world’s second-largest economy faces its greatest threat from its own social problems, rather than outside forces. And the country desperately needs to make some fixes to its current social and work structures, sociologists say.

The 5:30 p.m. lights-out program is one simple step toward helping address the population problem. It also has an added benefit: Amid the global economic downturn the company can slash overtime across the board twice a week.

“It’s great that we can go home early and not feel ashamed,” said employee Miwa Iwasaki.

It’s been a long time

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

I wasn’t in the country throughout most of the cold weather but I caught one day on ice-skates.
Here’s to it coming again this or next year.

Find additional pictures here.

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Quote of the day:

History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.

— Mark Twain

The dream of the Fisherman’s wife

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

There are a great many things interresting about Japan.
There are a great many things exotic about Japan.

In this blog I have pointed toward some strange things, some fun things, and some non-sensical things.

It is like this. We have our habits. These are exotic to foreigners. Then there are our special interrests. These are franly kind of scary to foreigners.

Some things from Japan have made their way to Europe easy enough. We all know Sushi

But that is everyday Japanese Culture. The Japanese have their own fetishes.

OK, we’re educated gaijin. Naked women and sushi we can handle. No biggy.

But you get where I’m going with this. The Japanese have their little cultural quirks and then there’s always someone that just has to push it a bit further.
There are many parts of the culture that just take a bit of getting used to and then you just don’t think about it any more. I shudder to think of all the oppertunities I have missed for a great story just because you know . . . it’s Japan. They do that.

Then there’s the part of the Culture that takes a bit more getting used to. The working from 08:00 – 23:30 was a big one to me. But so was Tentacle porn

I dunno. small girl, big eyes, big breast and . . .  tentacled demons. Knowing my over-active imagination it stands for something I hadn’t thought of this myself before the internet introduced me to it.
Sick, SICK Japanese. You know, we have our quirks and you have yours but a subculture based on the raping of Cherubian virgins by tentacled demons. I dunno.

Then . . . .  you find out it isn’t sick.
It is art
And culture

I give you “The dream of the Fisherman’s Wife”

A woodcut made around 1820 by Katsushika Hokusai.

See? Art

Fuck it. If we can call Turks Fruit literature and the French produced the Marquis de Sade, which is on many countries’ Blacklist yet is still taught to French Schoolgirls. Then the Japanese can have their Tentacle Porn.

Next week: Soaplands.

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Quote of the day:

“An author is a fool who, not content with boring those he lives with, insists on boring future generations.”

– Charles de Montesquieu

Stage 2 – Completed

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

Beam 1 Completed

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Beam 2 Complete

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Beam 3 Completed

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Beam 4 Completed

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zuma_stage_complete

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Quote of the day:

Mathematical puns are the first sine of madness.

ano