You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2010.

Neat article in the Japan Times on aphorisms, saying, etc. Well worth a read:

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ek20100224a1.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+japantimes+%28The+Japan+Times%3A+All+Stories%29

石の上にも三年!

Count our lucky stars. The old Zatoichi movies are available to view on HULU: http://www.hulu.com/zatoichi-the-blind-swordsman

If you like old samurai flicks these are very cool. Well, technically he’s a blind masseur played by Katsu Shintaro who is more gamler-type than samurai. But plenty of swordplay is involved. Check it out (especially the early ones).

Wow. Talk about presence of mind. Note to self and all. there is some space between the rails and the train, specifically a 1.06m x 30cm space. Read all about it:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/national/news/20100216p2a00m0na010000c.html?inb=rs&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+mdn%2Fall+%28Mainichi+Daily+News+-+All+Stories%29

And he tells his story today:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/national/news/20100217p2a00m0na015000c.html?inb=rs&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+mdn%2Fall+%28Mainichi+Daily+News+-+All+Stories%29

おままごとをする – to play house

Kojima Nobuo (小島信夫) wrote the short story “American School” (アメリカンスクール) the same year as “Stars” (星). The similarities in tone and approach are readily noticeable. Although written in 1954, the story is set in 1948 in the midst of the US occupation of Japan. It centers on a visit of a group of Japanese teachers of English to a school run by the Occupation forces, hence the title.

The characters are archetypes and the lampooning of the contemporaneous social realities is representative of Kojima’s satiric approach. Personal relationships between the characters drive the story, the majority of which centers on a group march to the American school. Isa, a cowardly fellow who is scared to death of speaking English—yes he is an English teacher—wants only to be left alone. Yamada, a sycophant to authority and overweening jackass to everyone else, is above all an opportunist (there is a similar character in “Stars”). Yamada sees Isa as a non-hacker and desires to publicly humiliate him. Isa, in turn, despises Yamada. Michiko, the only woman in the group and very popular with the Occupation forces, sticks close to Isa, for a variety of reasons. The most apparent reason is that he has something she wants.

Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s a good one:

新興成金(shinkōnarikin)= “nouveau riche”

Those that can read the kanji for their meaning will get it right away, it’s fairly literal:

新: new

興: by itself means “entertain” or “revive” or “interest,” but in combination with the above graph, “developing/emergent”

成: become

金: $$$

The Sea and Poison 海と毒薬 (1958, serialized in 1957)

Endō Shūsaku – 遠藤周作

Translated by Michael Gallagher

There are two types of sins, we are often told—the sins of commission and the sins of omission. The former are the committed through immoral actions, the latter through the failure to exercise moral actions. The former is simple enough; if you murder someone you are guilty by your action. The latter is more subtle; what if you did nothing to stop the murder? Edmund Burke once said something about “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” He might have liked this book.

Read the rest of this entry »