May 29, 2011
Last Friday,I gave a presentation about “natural disasters” in the UK and Japan.
In the UK, natural disasters like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, heat waves and tornadoes hardly ever happen. Floods happen about once a year.
By contrast, natural disasters often happen in Japan. In particular, earthquakes, floods and typhoons happen almost every year.
According to the Global Peace Index Rankings in 2010, Japan is in 3rd place and the UK is in 31st place. The Rankings include internal situations like violence and crime and external situations like wars and military operations.
Where would you rather live, the UK or Japan?
What kind of country do you want to live in?
May 6, 2011
This is the one of the most famous annual events in Kyoto. It presents traditional dance and drama by the Geisha and Maiko of Ponto-cho, Kyoto, a district along a narrow street parallel with the Kamo River. This event flourished in Kyoto after the center of Japan moved to Tokyo (Edo).
The other day, I went to this event for the first time. Before the show, you can enjoy ‘Ocha seki’ that Ocha is made by Maiko and you can drink it with a Manzyu. After having a Manzyu, you can take the dish home. The show used classic Japanese but the story was easy to understand. At the end of the show, Geisha and Maiko threw a Tenugui with their signature. I couldn’t get it, but I really enjoyed this event.
Tenugui and the dish
Have you been to Kamogawa Odori?
April 24, 2011
Two thought-provoking vids.
April 22, 2011
These days anorexia among young women is a big issue in Japan. On the other hand, obesity is a big issue in the USA.
In 1981 the number of anorexic women in Japan was 12.6% , and in 2009 it was 22.3%! Most were 20-29 years old. In Japan, they generally want to be like a model or TV actress. I think they feel great pressure to be thin.
In 1980 the rate of larger women in the USA was 17%, and in 2009, it was 39%! In the USA, they aren’t ashamed of fatness.
I think it’s related to the way of thinking and the way of life.
How do you feel about this issue?
April 22, 2011
Surrogacy is an arrangement in which a woman carries and delivers a child for another couple or person.
Aki Mukai is a Japanese talent who got a baby by using the surrogacy service. She used the service not because she didn’t want to suffer under the pain of childbirth, but uterus cancer was found after she was pregnant. Then she had to abandon her hope to have her own baby.
But she really wanted to have a baby with her husband, so she decided to use the surrogacy service.
She went to the US where host surrogacy is legally recognized. A woman in Nevada, the USA, gave birth for Aki Mukai and she finally got her baby.
After she came back to Japan, a problem came up against her, because surrogacy is strictly limited in Japanese law. The local government didn’t accept the baby as her own baby.
After this case happened, aki Mukai sued government.
What is your opinion about surrogacy?
April 21, 2011
In the tendency to marry late given as a social problem, the marriage activity is getting popular. An arranged marriage is a main way to meet someone with a view to marriage, but people usually do the marriage activity through web sites and companies now. There are several reasons that people in the marriage activity are increasing these days.
First, women advance into the society and work harder, so the opportunity to meet someone is decreasing. They look for the opportunity to meet someone. Second, some people cannot approach to a person of the opposite sex well. The internet becomes widely used among commons. Therefore, people who lack the social skill are increasing. Third, the standard against a marriage partner is getting higher. People came to think merit and demerit to marry. Therefore, people cannot marry if their merit is not found out from the others. Because of these reasons, people in the marriage activity are increasing.
However, the cost of the marriage activity is very high. Services which provide just matching or holding a party are cheap, but if you want to support your activity until you get married, it costs more than 200,000 yen.
What do you think about the marriage activity?
Do you think you will use the marriage activity service if you do the marriage activity?
April 20, 2011
Japanese Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama decided to change the location of the American army base in Okinawa to the north side of the island where less people live in, although when he ran in the election, he insisted to try to eject the base from Okinawa or Japan.
Many people in Okinawa were angry at him because they had complained about the troubles of the base, and they believed that he would keep his word.
In his opinion, it was important to connect with American army to protect Japanese people and it was difficult to find alternative places.
Some local leaders said that delaying solving the problem was the worst choice, so they could appreciate his decision.
However Nago’s new mayor, Susumu Inamine, after he talked to Yukio Hatoyama, called him “a betrayer”, and said that we don’t need the base.
What are good points and bad points to place U.S. base? And what do you think about Yukio Hatoyama’s decision?
April 17, 2011
English is going to be a new compulsory class for 5th and 6th grade. There are a few worries and one is teachers. Some teachers aren’t ready for this curriculum because they aren’t English specialists, and also they didn’t take the training course. The other one is how they teach. Starting English early and doing appropriate activity at the age could prevent kids from being English-allergic. However just studying perfect grammar could cause English-phobia, so instead they need a positive attitude such as passion to learn new things. Teachers should help stimulate student’s interest. Therefore, we should focus on the way of thinking and approach to communication. This first step will create the base of elementary English education system in Japan.
April 17, 2011
Hi. We are going to discuss Emperor Akihito from this week, but it’s
sometimes hard to figure out how elderly Japanese feel about the royal family in Japan. Perhaps this will help.
Kenzo Okuzaki was a Japanese army veteran who served in New Guinea in WWⅡ, struggling through hunger and malaria. Of 1000 troops in his unit, only 30 survived.
Okuzaki made a documentary film named ”The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches on.” It follows his attempt to reveal the truth behind the deaths of two of his war comrades, alleged to have been executed on his boss’ｓ orders.
In the film, he visits his former boss’ house with the bereaved families of the executed friends. It’s one of the most impressive scenes.
Okuzaki’s words show tremendous hatred against former Emperor Hirohito, as he says, “Hirohito was a shameless and irresponsible person!” or “How dare you say dead souls can be consoled only by going to Yasukuni shrine!!”
What Okuzaki really thinks about Emperors can be seen by his unprecedented antics before. Okuzaki once shot Emperor Hirohito with pachinko balls at a public event in 1969. In addition to that, he threw 4000 pieces of montage pornography from the top of department stores in Shinjuku, Shibuya and Giza. He was of course arrested.
Okuzaki died on June 16, 2005 in Kobe. I think he was one of the biggest Japanese extremists ever and a great example of an anarchist who hated the royal family. If you have time, check this out. I hope it will help you understand how some elderly feel about the Japanese royal family.
The trailer of “The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches on” (Japanese title: ”Yukiyukite shingun” )
You can find a full version at Nikoniko Videos Online. Search for “ゆきゆき