Archive for category culture and communication

Thank our benevolent rulers for “kompeito” and other wonders of civilisation!

Konpeito or kompeito, tiny colorful star-like rock candies, were once dream sweets for most Japanese people. The word konpeito comes from the Portuguese word confeito. They were first introduced to Japan by Portuguese adventurers in the 16th century.

via Through the Sapphire Sky: Luster of Konpeito-jewel-like rock candy from the 16th century.

So begins another post on Japanese culture and history by Through the Sapphire Sky. Hers is only the 2nd blog I read that actually has footnotes! She knows her stuff, and has great photos and illustrations and background info and cross-references.

And, as usual, I have several questions.

  1. “In 1543 storm-blown Portuguese merchants reached Tanegashima island in Southern Japan. It was our first encounter with Westerners. A short time later other Portuguese and Spanish merchants and missionaries followed.” Ignoring the cute “we”, why weren’t these visitors summarily executed or dunked in boiling water? Read the rest of this entry »

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Japan, the earthquake and the media | openDemocracy

Asahi Shimbun journalist justifies his (and Japan’s) paper’s coverage of the 3-11 disasters.

When traces of radioactive caesium were detected at Tokyo’s water-treatment plants, all the expert opinion told us that it was still at levels that would not pose any danger to the public.

Now, if we had wanted to sell as many copies of our newspaper as possible, all we needed to do was publish a headline: “Tokyo’s water found to be radioactive!” You can guess what would happen if we did that – total panic. Instead, we chose to report the story, but with a less sensational headline.

Were we right to do so?

One of the difficulties we faced as a newspaper was answering the accusation that we were hiding vital information. The internet was filled with rumours, gossip, misinformation and unfortunately at times downright lies. People would read this and then ask why we, Asahi Shimbun, were not publishing it. That easily translated into the charge that we were working on behalf of the authorities and holding back the truth.

I suppose this demonstrates how important it is to encourage all consumers of news to discern carefully their information sources.

via Japan, the earthquake and the media | openDemocracy.


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Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Jane Eyre Movie Trailer Official HD – YouTube

Update: Though she would never have put it so indelicately, in this quote (from a letter, August 16, 1849 ), Charlotte Brönte kicks ass, with spirit and decision!

I do not respect an inconsistent critic. He says, ‘if Jane Eyre be the production of a woman, she must be a woman unsexed.’ In that case the book is an unredeemed error and should be unreservedly condemned. Jane Eyre is a woman’s autobiography, by a woman it is professedly written. If it is written as no woman would write, condemn it with spirit and decision

(thanks to Dear Literary Ladies)

Just read this for the first time recently. It was so good, I immediately borrowed more novels by Charlotte Bronte, and enjoyed those too.  I hope the movie doesn’t make it “just a love story”. It really helps to understand the social background of the times to appreciate the dramatic events. Charlotte Bronte felt very strongly the limitations on a woman of those times: you had to be rich or beautiful (preferably both) to have any hope of getting married, and if you didn’t marry you were limited to being a governess or a nursemaid or similar servant, with the lifelong bitterness of knowing you were not and never would fulfil your potential, and would have only a tiny chance of meeting someone who appreciated your mental abilities and character.

Being an 18th-century novel, it has its share of melodrama – the rather (to our 21st-century senses) strained coincidences, and the odd incident of second-sight – but I didn’t find they distracted from the story. Bronte was criticized for other things in the novel, too: her description of the dress of the upper-class ladies, for instanced, or their conversation, were laughed at as being unrealistic, and revealing of how little  Ms Bronte knew about the world she was trying to depict (which was a “nice” way of saying she was out of her class, in more ways than one).

I’m looking forward to seeing the movie. Here’s the trailer below, and there’s more info on the excellent IMDB website.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8J6Cjn06kA’]


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Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Great marketing video: how to sell a “grandmother white” Corolla Toyota

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALKTM7OzdMQ’]

(Mouse-tip to Gary North for the link.)


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Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

How (not) to make a video

A video I won’t be imitating any time soon, unless I ever want to put people off.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIUroPjgupA’]

  1. Altho the speaker is facing the camera, he has his eyes closed or looking off-screen much of the time. I don’t get the feeling he is really interested in talking to me. It looks like a self-indulgent rant.
  2. What’s with the weird animation? Is this a real person? A cartoon figure? Why am I wasting time asking myself these questions?
  3. Why should I or anyone care what Andrew thinks? He doesn’t provide a convincing answer within the first 10 seconds.
  4. He doesn’t provide any compelling reason within the first 15 seconds  why I should continue to listen to the remaining 7 minutes and 40 seconds. I didn’t.
  5. Is he the beast of “Beast TV”?
  6. He looks miserable. Maybe I’m weird, but I prefer to watch people who are either nice to look at, or who look like they’re enjoying themselves and believe in what they are talking about, or preferably all three. See below for some examples.
  7. Did I miss anything?

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONS33ukkTtE’]

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hd1u3SykC_c’]

 


I recommend the following digital products: WP GDPR Fix, a WordPress plugin that quickly and easily helps you make your WP blog GDPR compliant. Brett Kelly's "Evernote Essentials", Dan Gold's $5 guides to Getting Everything Done with Evernote and Springpad, and DocumentSnap Solutions' Paperless Document Organization Guides. Be sure to try DocumentSnap's free email course on going paperless first before buying his products. Sign up for it on his homepage.
Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Lady Gaga, Coldplay and Other Western Artists are Minor in Japan | Marketing Japan

A Japanese professor of English was lamenting to me that Japanese young people these days are not interested in going abroad to study English. (He thinks this presages the end of Japanese civilization.)

Today, I read a post that I think goes some way to explaining this phenomenon.  For better or worse, I think  the days of “admiration” for the West “akogare” (longing and admiration) are over.  Mike Rogers’ main point is “You might think that major Japanese artists all suck and I might well agree. But I will add that they suck no more or less than most big western (especially Top 40) artists! But no one can sneeze at Japanese bands that can sell out an entire week at the Tokyo Dome. And the list of bands that do is long.”

For many years, Japan and Japanese rock stars have had an inferiority complex towards western artists as they deservedly should have. But nowadays, things have changed in Japan. And, when they can make this kind of money playing in Japan – and never make near that amount in the west – all the while western artists come here to make big money – why bother going to play in the USA?

Sure, the big name artists still dream of becoming big in the west too, but the west doesn’t hold the allure it once did for people. And that’s not just people in Japan, but, I think for people all over the world.

Sure, some dream of Hollywood and New York, but when it comes to the big name Japanese artists (who don’t sing in English anyway) it’s no longer practical to even consider trying to break into the USA market… Most certainly isn’t profitable.

These big name Japanese artists can stay at home, in their comfy chairs, and copy the western artists that they are inspired by and make those musicians’ music their own.

The domestic audience doesn’t know the difference.

via Marketing Japan: Lady Gaga, Coldplay and Other Western Artists are Minor in Japan.


I recommend the following digital products: WP GDPR Fix, a WordPress plugin that quickly and easily helps you make your WP blog GDPR compliant. Brett Kelly's "Evernote Essentials", Dan Gold's $5 guides to Getting Everything Done with Evernote and Springpad, and DocumentSnap Solutions' Paperless Document Organization Guides. Be sure to try DocumentSnap's free email course on going paperless first before buying his products. Sign up for it on his homepage.
Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Japanese smile

I teach a cross-cultural communication class in English/Japanese to Japanese college students, and I wanted to give my students an example of  “the inscrutable Oriental”, or an example of how ways to express emotion are not always the same across cultures, and therefore not always easy to “read”. I used this example:

Why is this girl smiling? Are you sure?

I used these quotes from the Internet:

  1. The mysterious Japanese smile should be understood in the context of the social situation. When a Japanese commuter misses a bus, he smiles if there are other people on the site, but he does not if he is alone…
  2. The only problem is that Japanese smile for various reasons, including when they are embarrassed, apologetic and mentioning unfortunate events. Someone who knows Japanese well can distinguish between these “types” of smiles and

Any other suggestions or examples?

(This photo comes from a rather creepy blog-post: “The Japanese have always been very particular about behavior and mannerisms: acting appropriately is very important. They have also been very innovative in their technology. Now, the appropriateness of a smile has been digitized. A Tokyo railway company introduces a smile scan for their personnel, hoping to improve their communication skills with their customers.

“Here’s how it works: A video camera captures an image of the employee’s face. The face appears on a screen, highlighted in a small frame. By measuring the curvature of the mouth, the system’s software determines whether the employee’s smile is sufficiently enthusiastic and grades it accordingly.”)

Woah!


I recommend the following digital products: WP GDPR Fix, a WordPress plugin that quickly and easily helps you make your WP blog GDPR compliant. Brett Kelly's "Evernote Essentials", Dan Gold's $5 guides to Getting Everything Done with Evernote and Springpad, and DocumentSnap Solutions' Paperless Document Organization Guides. Be sure to try DocumentSnap's free email course on going paperless first before buying his products. Sign up for it on his homepage.
Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Over one in six Japanese want a geiger counter | 世論 What Japan Thinks

I subscribe to “Yoron What Japan Thinks”. This guy has gone to the trouble of translating into English the results of online surveys that deal with consumer and life-style trends in Japan, surveys that I wouldn’t couldn’t read in Japanese.

These statistics are interesting, but I also liked his comment on irresponsible journalism.

I suppose if I was intellectually bankrupt and just wanted to get hits for this story by getting spread to the more excitable corners of the web, I should have entitled the story something like “Four in five Japanese will DIE of STUBBORNNESS”, and indeed I wouldn’t be too surprised if it gets picked up anyway and repackaged with a similar scary line. Anyway, I believe that geiger counters are actually relatively difficult to use accurately, and for perhaps the biggest source of mostly unfounded worry, foodstuffs, they are pretty much useless, but yet I hear that people in Tokyo supermarkets do wave them over the veggie stalls. I wonder how they react to bananas and Brazil nuts?

via Over one in six Japanese want a geiger counter | 世論 What Japan Thinks.

If you haven’t yet done so, take a gander at his “about” page, which includes this gem which makes me think he’s British (the use of “git”, not the fact he’s anti-social!):

Are you really an anti-social git?

“Yes” is probably the most accurate answer, with a tacked-on “…but I’m getting better”.


I recommend the following digital products: WP GDPR Fix, a WordPress plugin that quickly and easily helps you make your WP blog GDPR compliant. Brett Kelly's "Evernote Essentials", Dan Gold's $5 guides to Getting Everything Done with Evernote and Springpad, and DocumentSnap Solutions' Paperless Document Organization Guides. Be sure to try DocumentSnap's free email course on going paperless first before buying his products. Sign up for it on his homepage.
Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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“So you point to a tree and say, ‘See that car?’

Jon Rappoport writes some pretty interesting stuff.  Today he came up with something that wraps up in a nutshell a recurring concern I have, like a sore that won’t go away,  about “education”: “Education tends to define what is there before a person can experience it on his own.” Here’s the context, but click the link below and read the whole thing. It won’t take a minute and might throw you for an interesting loop.

“If you hand a person a fig and tell him it’s a plum, there is a chance he’ll see a plum.

“If you give a person a copy of Nabokov’s Lolita and explain its ‘themes,’ there is a chance that, as he reads it, he will find those themes and consider them the most important result of his reading. “Instead of relying on his own imagination and perception, a person imagines that what he is told is what he is looking at.

“So you point to a tree and say to a friend, ‘See that car?’

“Education tends to define what is there before a person can experience it on his own.

via IMAGINATION UNTITLED « Jon Rappoport’s Blog.

Salvador Dali's "The Temptation of St. Anthony"

Rene Magritte "This is not a pipe"

Rene Magritte "This is not a pipe"


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Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Facebook: “you can check out but you can never leave…”

Mouse-tip to Marketing Japan for pointing this out. I don’t really like Facebook, can’t figure out how to use it. Plus it’s annoying to see so much stuff I don’t want to see on my page. The most interesting view, I found, is “The Wall”, but that doesn’t come up by default, and when I first login, “The Wall” isn’t even listed in the sidebar menu. WTF?

The depressing, but not altogether unexpected, news below, may or may not be true, but I will be deleting my facebook cookies just in case, and will use a different browser JUST for facebook. If it turns out to be true, I’ll just delete my account. But will that make any difference?!? Perhaps Facebook is like that famous Hotel California from which you can check out but never leave.

With each new change Facebook makes, users’ privacy becomes a little less … nonexistent, if you will. The most recent “News Feed” modifications, for example, display everything you say and do on the site to all of your “friends,” and even to the public. And now, even after logging out of Facebook, permanent “cookies” track all your movements on websites that contain Facebook buttons or widgets.“Even if you are logged out, Facebook still knows and can track every page you visit,” Cubrilovic wrote on a recent blog posting. “The only solution is to delete every Facebook cookie in your browser, or to use a separate browser for Facebook interactions” http://nikcub-static.appspot.com/logging-out-of-facebook-is-not-enough

via » Facebook tracks your every move, even after logging out Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!

This 1994, unplugged, version of Hotel California is very good, even more Mexican, and how the crowd applaud with delight at those entrancing, haunting melodic moments, especially the beginning, the chorus and those twin guitars moving in thirds in the “outro”. These guys hit musical pay-dirt with this song. Those musical movements imprint themselves on the mind effortlessly. Tho the lyrics are kinda depressing. “Hell Freezes Over” was the tour called, but what a nice bunch of serious men they all are, playing their old favourite with almost religious devotion.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHQceX8hGrI’]


I recommend the following digital products: WP GDPR Fix, a WordPress plugin that quickly and easily helps you make your WP blog GDPR compliant. Brett Kelly's "Evernote Essentials", Dan Gold's $5 guides to Getting Everything Done with Evernote and Springpad, and DocumentSnap Solutions' Paperless Document Organization Guides. Be sure to try DocumentSnap's free email course on going paperless first before buying his products. Sign up for it on his homepage.
Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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