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travel

    • June 4, 2021
    • April 20, 2022

    Don’t Empty Morgan 4/4 Out with the Bathwater

    Free-will decisions and market principles Are you always confident of your free-will decisions? MISTRA (Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart, 1990) has proved our ways of thinking and behaving are NOT genetically affected. The surrounding environment affects us much more. To be honest, I even doubt the existence of free will, though. Let me ask one more question. Do you believe market principles are always correct? We ordinary people don’t always make rational decisions based on detailed and correct knowledge, just as the principles expect. Free-will decisions and market principles are two main grounds that neo-liberalism is based on. I don’t like neo-liberalism. It’s not because of such weak grounds but because it steals my favorite things, such as Morgan 4/4. The unique heritage of Morgan The legendary car debuted in 1936 and continued to be produced without changing the basic design for more than 80 years. Can you believe […]

    • June 1, 2021
    • April 20, 2022

    Do You Know the Art of Ninja?

    Languages create cultures I have a 12 year younger sister. When she was very small, I asked “What is your brother like?” She lisped “You like to eat tofu.” I know she was not wrong. Indeed, I like tofu even now, but her answer was far from what I expected at that time. Feeling disappointed, I thought by myself who I was, and realized it was very difficult to define myself. For the same reason, most people can’t see their own countries and cultures, but multi-lingual speakers are better at it. It’s because language creates culture, and vice versa. Today, let me share cultural differences and Japanese uniqueness found especially by a Japanese-English speaker. Uniqueness in hearing ability When working as a translator, onomatopée was always headache. Japanese language is said to have the largest number of onomatopée in the world. Making matters worse, there’s onomatopée to express even silence, […]

    • May 17, 2021
    • April 8, 2022

    Because We Are Emotional Creatures

    Alchemy What do you think is the difference between success and failure of business? What do you say if asked to analyze a case of a restaurant doing great in the place where many other restaurants closed down successively in the past? I would imagine some improvements in pricing, targeting, etc., and check the hard data of the area, such as the number and type of household population, traffic volume by time of day, etc. Surprisingly, Rory Sutherland disagrees, in his book: Alchemy, with such a judgment made through logical thinking and observations. In the example described in the book, he proclaims it is nice tables and chairs in front of the restaurant that lead the restaurant to success. Small psychological factors decide the outcome Such nice tables and chairs (like our products) are too good to leave outside, and put back every time after closing. Consequently, they well work […]

    • May 14, 2021
    • April 8, 2022

    Why Mirrors Reverse Left and Right

    Mystery of a mirror image This question is too difficult to solve in this article. It still remains a mystery unsolved for more than 2000 years. Maybe, some secrets like this should stay secret to keep the world fun. Anyway, if I remember correctly, It’s a scene in the film “Dead Poets Society.” The students of the boarding school tried to eat with their non-dominant hands. They said “It’s for being out of the box.” I, at an easily influenced age, soon imitated it. Using chop sticks with a left hand (I’m right-handed) was difficult, but there was another thing that I found much more difficult. It’s brushing teeth. Brushing teeth with a non-dominant hand It was surprising because brushing teeth seemed to be easier than eating and writing. Making matters worse is a mirror. Why don’t you give it a try? I’m sure you’ll be also confused in the […]

    • May 6, 2021
    • April 8, 2022

    The Shoulders of Giants

    Things going down to posterity Hokkaido, this northernmost island of Japan, is getting deserted. In rural areas (Hokkaido itself can be said a rural area in Japan, though), you can see abandoned and collapsing houses everywhere. Houses with a roof and walls deformed by the weight of snow, like ones in Tim Burton’s movies. Rusty bicycles, snow shovels, etc. are partly seen in the grass around such house. They are returning to the earth. Generally, such sceneries may just look sad, but (as writing before) I personally like to see them. They remind me of the fact that we are also a part of nature. At the same time, I’ve been interested in the difference between such things returning to the earth and the other things passed down to the next generation. Small fry I once attributed the differences to the features or characteristics of things, but the following words […]

    • April 30, 2021
    • April 8, 2022

    The Characteristics of Hokkaido People

    It’s shown in the national high school baseball championship The most popular sport in Japan is still baseball. A good example is the national high school baseball championship. Every summer, high school teams join it after going through the elimination tournaments held in 47 prefectures. Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, is covered with snow for almost half a year. Maybe because of the bad practice environment, our prefectural representative teams were always weak and lost in the first round in most cases. When I was a kid, I never believed I would live to see the championship flag in Hokkaido. One summer day in 2004, I was just transferred back to Hokkaido. When I was buying daily necessities for a new home at some shopping mall, the background music suddenly stopped, and the news broke in. It said a Hokkaido high school team won the championship. I will never […]

    • April 23, 2021
    • April 20, 2022

    Scary because It’s Too Real

    Zombies VS Aliens As believing I’m not the only one, I feel scared of zombie movies but not of Aliens, Predators, etc. Indeed, all those movies are same in terms that many people are eaten or just killed, though. I had always wondered why that was, and one day, understood the reason when reading an online article about a robot development. The article said Osaka university research team had developed humanoid robots that look exactly like a human being. The robots are well designed and look like us at first glance, but when I saw them move, it soon turned out that they were not human beings. At that time, I felt the same fear as the one I have for zombies. It’s natural human reactions I learned later that it was a psychological phenomenon called “Uncanny Valley.” The more objects resemble human beings, the more people feel an affinity […]

    • April 8, 2021
    • April 1, 2022

    Free from the Desire To Be Free

    Free from desire for possesions? A house surrounded by a white picket fence, a SUV, two kids, a dog, and a stable job. Many people believed they were essential components of a dream life. Now, the times have changed, and the era of possession may be over. “Kids-Millennials saw their parents’ lives crumble as a result of the financial meltdown, and watched as their parents lost their life savings to the banks and Madoff’s Ponzi scheme,” said Blake Morgan, a customer-experience analyst. If she is right, Millennials don’t break free from desire for possessions but seem to resign themselves to minimalism out of fear of loss. Our ego desires everthing I believe I’m a sort of minimalist, not interested in owning things so much. These days there are quite a few people who think the same way as me. Such minimalists, including me, may proudly say “I’m glad I don’t […]

    • April 5, 2021
    • June 8, 2022

    Why Japanese Sakura Is Beautiful

    The faded beauty of the Hachijo Royal Hotel Rusted steel frames, faded curtains fluttering out of broken windows, tableware scattered on the floor. Ruined factories, hotels, restaurants, etc. in deserted towns are just shown, sometimes even without any narration or subtitles. Such YouTube videos are popular in Japan. In fact, I often enjoy them. “Horror is a genre in which disgust is central as an emotion,” Malcom Turvey, a British professor of film studies, said. “A lot of monsters are designed to be explicitly or implicitly disgusting.” In that sense, our interest in ruins is completely different. Japanese people see the beauty in things decaying away. I believe that is the origin of Japanese aesthetics. Japanese way to enjoy Sakura Sakura, cherry blossom is one of the Japanese national flowers (another one is chrysanthemum, for your information). We are a kind of addicted to it. As most of you may […]

    • March 22, 2021
    • April 13, 2022

    Japanese Summer Festivals for Local Community Ties

    What we lost by the COVID Last year (2020), the COVID prevented the Tokyo Olympic Games from being held. There was one more thing it took away from us: summer festivals. The number of Japanese summer festivals is said to be more than 300 thousands. They are held everywhere in Japan every year in late August. It’s a magical time especially for kids. Cheap candies given after a festival dance, food stands, fireworks, etc. Kids enjoy together with friends, missing the last days of their summer holidays. The COVID robbed us of such a seasonal tradition and even a sense of the seasons. Before going on writing about Japanese summer festivals, I think I should explain a little about Japanese religious views because summer festivals are originally religious events. They are originally religious events In Japan, we believe the spirits of ancestors are back during summer, and summer festivals are […]