Losing myself in Translation

For the past several weeks I have been translating the university's website into English. It's a thankless task and I slowly losing my mind over it.

One thing people who don't understand or read Japanese probably can't appreciate is how different the syntax of the two languages is. Where English is, of course, Subject-Verb-Object (SVO), Japanese is SOV, but more often than not O-V, with the subject "understood" from context (though not always). Independent clauses or descriptive phrases usually come afterwards in English ("the house across the street", "the man I work with"). In Japanese, they come first ("the street across the house"; "I with work the man"). Cause or reason is usually given first in Japanese. ("Because it is going to rain, I'll take an umbrella.") In English, the result or consequence is emphasized. ("I'll take an umbrella because it's going to rain.")

Anyways, check the following out:



Sample of Original Japanese text





English written in Japanese Word Order


The Childhood Development department the study of children learning system of learning of originating Christianity of teaching upon based a wide learning and psychology base as child development of understanding human understanding through nursery technique and or education technique the acquisition of which through children abundantly contact and support can kindergarten teachers daycare workers and elementary school teachers of cultivation (we) aim.



Rough, direct translation:


The Childhood Development department . . . we aim to train/cultivate/educate kindergarten, nursery school and elementary school teachers . . . who can come into contact with and support/assist/attend to/give abundant and loving care to children by/through the acquisition/mastery of nursery school and educational technique/skills/arts by understanding child development and understanding humans with a broad education originating in the system of learning of the study of children and based on the teachings of Christ/Christianity and psychology as its base.



Original Japanese text





Japanese rewritten in English Word Order


子ども発達学科は . . . 目指します  . . . 育成を . . . 幼稚園教諭・保育士・小学校教諭 . . .  できる . . .  豊かに接し援助することの . . . 子どもと . . . によって . . .  習得すること . . .  保育技術や教育技術を . . . によって  . . .  理解 . . .

子ども発達の . . . 人間 . . . 幅広い教養 . . . に基づく . . . 元 . . . 体系 . . . の学問 . . . 子ども学 . . . に . . .  教え. . . の . . .キリスト教 . . . と . . . 心理学 . . . とした . . . ベース.


Officer Friendly


   I'm old enough to remember a time when cops really did look like the bumbling Deputy, Barney Fife, on The Andy Griffith Show. So, how the hell did we go from that ⤴︎ to this ⤵︎ ? Where did Officer Friendly go?



Once Upon a Time in Edo

From ancient times in Japan, time was expressed by the duodecimal system introduced from China. The hour from eleven p.m. to one a.m. was the Hour of the Rat (子の刻, ne no koku). From one a.m. to three a.m. was The Hour of the Ox (丑の刻の刻, ushi no koku); three a.m. to five in the morning was The Hour of the Tiger (虎の刻, tora no koku); and so on.


Moreover, in the Edo Period a bell was rung to announce the hour, so the hour of the day was also known by the number of times the bell was rung. At midnight and noon, the bell was rung nine times. The clock was struck every koku (刻), about once every two hours or so: nine times at noon (九つ, kokonotsu), eight times around two in the afternoon (八つ, yattsu), seven times around four-thirty in the afternoon (七つ, nanatsu), and six times at sunset (暮れ六つ, kuremutsu, lit. “twilight six”). An interesting vestige of this former system, snacks and snack time are still called o-yattsu (お八つ) and o-yattsu no jikan (お八つの時間) today. Around nine in the evening, the bell was rung five times (五つ, itsutsu); at about ten-thirty at night, it was rung four times (四つ, yottsu). And at midnight, the bell was run nine times again. In this way, the bell was rung every two hours or so, first nine times, then eight, seven, six, five, four, and then nine times again.


Another vestige of this the former system is the use of the kanji for “horse” in telling time today. Twelve noon is called shōgo (正午, lit. “exactly horse”) because eleven a.m. to 1 p.m. used to be the Hour of the Horse. Anti meridiem, or a.m., today is gozen (午前, lit. “before the horse”) and post meridiem, or p.m., is gogo (午後, “after the horse”).


Another peculiarity of the former time-telling system was that although night and day was divided into twelve koku or parts, with six always referring to the sunrise and sunset. The length of the koku or “hours” varied throughout the year, such that the daytime koku were longer in the summer months and shorter in the winter months.


Because one koku was on average two hours long, each koku was divided into quarters, lasting an average of thirty minutes (Ex.: 辰の一刻, tatsu no ikkoku; 丑の三つ, ushi no mitsu) or thirds (Ex.: 寅の上刻, tora no jōkoku; 卯の下刻, u no gekoku). Night and day was also divided into 100 koku. On the spring and autumn equinoxes, day and night were both 50 koku long. On the summer solstice, daytime measured 60 koku and night 40. On the winter solstice, the opposite was true.


One last interesting factoid: each domain kept its own time with noon being the time that the sun was highest in the sky. When trains were first introduced to Japan, it was not unusual for a train to leave a city in the east at say eight in the morning and arrive at a station in another prefecture in the west, say an hour later, but it was still eight in the morning. Trains not only helped industry spread throughout the nation of Japan, but also brought about the first standards in the way time was told.


A month by any other name

Different names for the month of June:

水月 (Mina Zuki, lit. “water month”), the month during which rice fields are full of water.
水無月 (Mina Zuki, lit. “water without month”), the month during which rivers run dry because of the heat.
伏月 (Fuku Getsu) The month of sanpuku (三伏). There are three fukuShofuku (初伏) which is the third konoe (庚) after the summer solstice, Chūfuku, the fourth konoe (庚) following the solstice, and Mappuku, the first konoe (庚) after Risshū (立秋), the traditional start of Autumn which falls on about the eighth of August. These are all tied to the traditional Chinese calendar, which divided a year into 24 solar terms. 
青水無月 (Aomina Zuki, lit. “blue water without month”), the month in which trees grow thick and water becomes clean and healthy.
季月 (Ki getsu, lit. “season month”), the month the season ends.
鳴雷月 (Narukami Zuki, lit. “roll/strike thunder month), the month in which thunder increases. Also written 鳴神月 (lit. “Roaring gods month")
常夏月 (Tokonatsu Zuki, lit. “endless summer month”) Another name for kawaradenashiko (Dianthus chinensis or China pink) is tokonatsu, which blooms from spring to mid summer.
松風月 (Matsukaze Tsuki, lit. “pine wind month”), the month when a “comfortable pine wind” blows.
風待月 (Kazemachi Zuki, lit. “wind wait month”), the month one waits for a cool breeze.



Little Boys' Dreams

   Japanese boys were asked what they wanted to become when they grew up. Their dreams have changed considerably over the years.

Whereas the most popular occupations in 1962 were salaryman, baseball player, driver, and salesman (yuck), in 2016, they were soccer player, doctor, YouTuber (God help us), and, ugh, civil servant. Engineer came in 6th, researcher in seventh, and game creator tied for ninth. 


The Highs and Lows of Women's Expectations

   During the bubble years in Japan, women were said to be looking for the “Three Highs” in men (3高): Height (高身長), High income (高収入), and High education (高学歴). (It was also preferable if the man was not the first-born son due to all the incumbent responsibilities.)

  In the ‘90s, the “Three Cs” were sought after: Comfortable (annual income over ¥7m), Communicative, and Cooperative (i.e. someone who helped around the house).

  In the 2000s, the Four Lows were popular with women (3低): Low Posture (低姿勢, humble), Low Dependency (低依存), Low Risk (底リスク), and Low Maintenance (低燃費).

  Today, modern Japanese women are said to be looking for the “Three Warms” (3温): Kindness, Affection and Peace of Mind. As for the Three Highs of the bubble years, Height now ranks 7th, High Income ranks 10th, and Income is 19th.

  Your thoughts?



Oh, the joy of being an American citizen!

I am finally getting around registering my second son as a Yank, three years after his birth. (Sorry, son.) For those American expats, who are soon to become parents this can be an exasperating, time-consuming process, which entails, in addition to a stiff drink for the patience you’ll find in it, completing the following forms:

DS-2029, Consular Report of Birth Application.

DS-11, Passport application.

SS-5, Social Security application.

The original birth certificate which requires a visit to the Ministry of Justice if the child is a “half”, something I learned only after getting into an altercation with a senior employee at the local Ward Office. (This is so unlike me, but those SOBs at the Ward Office have a way of bringing out the worst in a person.) This, of course, needs to be translated into the blessed Mother Tongue: ‘Murrican.

An affidavit of the child’s name. (Now, one thing nice about the U.S., is that they allow you to choose a name different than the one on the Japanese birth certificate if you like. Your daughter can, for example, be named Hanako Yamada in Japan and Bianca X. Witherspoon in the U.S.)

The original, plus one photocopy, of the parents’ marriage certificate, which in my case will require going back to the ward office, and apologizing for the misunderstanding the other day. (Sigh.) Oh, yes, this needs to be translated into English, too.

Original plus one photocopy of proof of termination of all prior marriages. (As if going through with the divorce wasn’t painful enough, now I have to beg the Ward Office to provide proof that I am a scoundrel. They’re on to me.)

Evidence of parents’ citizenship, original plus one photocopy.

Evidence of physical presence, such as high school and/or college transcripts (which I actually do have and like to whip out from time to time to prove what a marvelous student I was. No one believes me. The impudence!), wage statements (Wages? Y’gotta be kidding. Why do you think I came to Japan in the first place, silly?), credit card bills, former passports, etc.

Both parents’ IDs. Originals and copies, but of course.

The application fee. Now we’re getting somewhere.

Mug shots of the child for the passport.

One self-addressed, “LetterPack Plus” envelope.

Two days in and I’m just scratching the surface of paperwork. Fortunately, the Tokyo Embassy’s website (see Citizen’s services) does an outstanding job in walking you through the process. They also provide templates for translating the necessary Japanese documents.

Now, back to the paperwork. Better fortify myself with another gin and tonic before I take that next step. 


My Oasis

  The day is coming to an end.

  The wind stills and the street below my balcony grows quiet.

  A week has come and gone. Time passes too quickly.

  One moment there is a phone call from a familiar voice and a visit by a woman I have come to love.

  But, the next moment, I am saying good-bye, and am alone again,

  My skin can feel it: time and love waits for no one.

  I sometimes think that the only reason we have memories is that we might recall in bad times those times when we were happier. And with those memories, we are accoutred for our journey on,

  Through the desert.

  Small drops of water on a parched tongue.

  I can get so thirsty at times.

  But all I can do is press on,

  One step at a time,

  Each step sinking in the sand as I,

  Search for the next oasis,

  That is you.


Queerly Engendered

I came across this earlier today:

"Grants of up to $2,500 each are given twice yearly by the Leeway Foundation to women and transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, or otherwise gender-nonconforming poets, fiction writers, and . . ."

Now, I'm all for gender equality, but I must say the above poses something of a dilemma.

See, writers, by profession, are liars. They just make shit up. They cannot be trusted to tell the truth.

Take Gabriel García Márquez. The shameless liar, wrote in his Memoria de mis putas tristes about a beautiful fourteen-year-old virgin falling in love with a ninety-year-old man. Yeah, right, Gabo! In your dreams, you dirty old man!

So tell me, how are you supposed to take one of these lying bastards (or bastardettes) at his (or her) word, when he (or she) says that he (or she) is "genderqueer", whatever that means.


No Show Gatsu

   In recent years, I have been doing the following activity on the first class after the winter break.

   I split the class up into teams and, while listening to traditional music featuring the koto or shamisen, I have the students write on the blackboard as many words as they can in rōmaji related to the Japanese New Year. 

   In addition to being kind of fun--not barrels of fun, mind you, but fun enough--this activity can be rather instructive.

   For starters, you'll find that many Japanese students, not being proficient in the Hepburn romanization, will write things such as fukubukuro with an "h" rather than an "f" (hukubukuro) or nengajō with a "y" (nengajyo). The reason for this is that many Japanese learn simpler forms of romanization known as kunrei-shiki or Nihon-shiki. For more on this, go here. This is a good chance to briefly re-introduce the students to the Hepburn romanization and encourage them to use it in the future.

   My second year English Communication majors came up with the following words:

   One of the interesting things about this is that while many Japanese students will offer up words like hagoita, a decorative paddle used when playing a game resembling badminton called hanetsuki or even tako-agé (kite-flying), you shouldn't expect to see any of your neighbors playing hanetsuki or flying kites on New Year's Day. (In all my years in Japan, I have never once seen young women in kimono playing this game.)

   I then tell the students to ask one another if they had done any of the things on the board.

  "Did you eat o-sechi or nana-kusa gayu?"

   "Did you decorate your homes with shimenawa and kadomatsu?"

   "Did you send any nengajō?"

   Of the 23 students who attended that day, twenty had eaten o-sechi, four had shimenawa at the entrance of their homes, six had gone to the hatsu-uri New Year's sales, eleven had drunk o-toso, and so on. 

   Erasing those items which few or none of the students had partaken of, we came up with the following significantly pared down list:

   Where New Year's in Japan was once a very colorful, tradition-laden event, all that remains of it today, or so it seems, is the food, the shopping, and banal TV programs. Less than half of the students visited one Shintō shrine (hatsumōde), let alone three, during the holiday. It's kind of sad when you think about it. 

   Now, I'm not suggesting that we need to put the Shintō back in the Shinnen (new year), like some good Christians back home demand Christ be kept in that pagan celebration of the winter solstice also known as Christmas. But, I find it odd that the Japanese are so lackadaisical when it comes to their own heritage and culture.



The Corner Liquor Store



Autumn in Gokusho, Hakata








This is from Fukuoka City's website, something I translated years ago:

"Matsushita hails from a family of carpenters who specialized in building shrines and temples. The opportunity to start a career as a lighting designer also came about through working with sacred buildings. 'The way shrines and temples take in light is very good,' says Matsushita. 'It's difficult for a woman to get involved in shrine and temple carpentry, but then it dawned on me that even a woman like me could work with light.'

"Matsushita is the general producer of the Gokusho Light Up Walk, an event held every autumn in which the historical temples in Gokusho are beautifully illuminated. Areas, which are normally off limits, are opened to the public and bathed in dreamy light. It has become a popular event at which visitors can experience Fukuoka's eternal history. 'The Gokusho area is an area no one normally ventures into at night,' says the lighting designer. 'Jôten-ji, however, is where Hakata ori (textiles), udon and soba originated. Tôchô-ji was founded by Kôbô-Daishi (also known as Kûkai), who was a Buddhist monk, scholar, poet, and artist. And, Myôraku-ji has a long connection to the merchants of Hakata. There are so many marvelous treasures sleeping there. I wish more people could realize how beautiful it is.' Matsushita hopes the festival will continue for a hundred years, growing ever livelier at the hands of ordinary people."





Thoughts and Prayers

I'm beginning to think all those thoughts and prayers have been about as useful as a trapdoor on a lifeboat.

January 2015

1/1/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Memphis, TN",,,,,
1/2/2015,Unknown,1,4,"Savannah, GA",,,,,
1/4/2015,Unknown,3,1,"Dallas, TX",,,,,
1/4/2015,William Christopher Cabbler,2,4,"Roanoke, VA",,,,,
1/6/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Miami, FL",,,,,
1/7/2015,Cortez Sims,1,3,"Chattanooga, TN",,,,,
1/8/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Boston, MA",,,,,
1/9/2015,Unknown,4,0,"San Francisco, CA",,,,,
1/10/2015,John Lee,3,1,"Moscow, ID",,,,,
1/11/2015,Unknown,0,5,"San Jose, CA",,,,,
1/11/2015,Unknown,2,5,"Hope Mills, NC",,,,,
1/11/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Lakeland, FL",,,,,
1/11/2015,Rishod Shermaine Fields,0,5,"Tuskegee, AL",,,,,
1/12/2015,Unknown,2,2,"Wichita, KS",,,,,
1/13/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Portsmouth, VA",,,,,
1/14/2015,Unknown,2,3,"Rockford, IL",,,,,
1/19/2015,Unknown,2,5,"San Antonio, TX",,,,,
1/20/2015,Timothy David Shoffner,1,3,"Clarksville, TN",,,,,
1/23/2015,Unknown,0,6,"Boston, MA",,,,,
1/24/2015,Unknown,3,5,"Omaha, NE",,,,,
1/24/2015,Jonathon Walker,4,1,"Queens, NY",,,,,
1/26/2015,Unknown,1,4,"Stockton, CA",,,,,
1/28/2015,Unknown,1,3,"DeKalb, GA",,,,,
1/29/2015,Thomas Jessee Lee,5,0,"Troup County, GA",,,,,

February 2015

2/1/2015,Michael Morris,0,6,"Syracuse, NY",,,,,
2/1/2015,Unknown,1,4,"Manhattan, NY",,,,,,2/4/2015,Unknown,4,0,"King, NC",,,,,
2/5/2015,Unknown,3,3,"Warrensville Heights, OH",,,,,
2/6/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Tulsa, OK",,,,,
2/7/2015,Cedric G. Prather,5,2,"Douglasville, GA",,,,,
2/8/2015,Unknown,0,6,"Crockett County, TN",,,,,
2/9/2015,Christopher Lee Duncan and Dora Delgado,3,1,"New Port Richey, FL",,,,,
2/15/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Long Beach, CA",,,,,
2/17/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Little Rock, AR",,,,,
2/22/2015,Anthony Giaquinta,3,2,"Habersham County, GA",,,,,
2/22/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Charleston, SC",,,,,
2/22/2015,Atase Giffa,4,1,"Killeen, TX",,,,,
2/25/2015,Unknown,3,2,"Houston, TX",,,,,
2/27/2015,Joseph Jesse Aldridge,8,1,"Tyrone, MO",,,,,
2/28/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Baltimore, MD",,,,,
2/28/2015,Ian Sherrod,4,0,"Tarboro, NC",,,,,
2/28/2015,Unknown,3,1,"Columbia, MO",,,,,

March 2015

3/1/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Tangelo Park, FL",,,,,
3/1/2015,Unknown,1,5,"Detroit, MI",,,,,
3/2/2015,Unknown,1,4,"Santa Ana, CA",,,,,
3/3/2015,Unknown,3,1,"Las Vegas, NV",,,,,
3/4/2015,Unknown,2,5,"San Bernadino, CA",,,,,
3/9/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Chicago, IL",,,,,
3/10/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Columbus, GA",,,,,
3/11/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Aurora, IL",,,,,
3/13/2015,Jimmy Lyons,2,3,"Brookhaven, MS",,,,,
3/14/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Atlanta, GA",,,,,
3/15/2015,Eric Antonio Cannady and Tommy Ray Jackson Jr.,0,4,"Lillington, NC",,,,,
3/15/2015,Christopher Lance Joyner,3,1,"Houston County, AL",,,,,
3/16/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Compton, CA",,,,,
3/17/2015,Unknown,3,4,"Stockton, CA",,,,,
3/18/2015,Unknown,1,5,"Mesa, AZ",,,,,
3/18/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Newark, NJ",,,,,
3/19/2015,Justin Fowler,2,2,"Navajo Nation, AZ",,,,,
3/20/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Columbus, MS",,,,,
3/20/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Oklahoma City, OK",,,,,
3/20/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Joliet, IL",,,,,
3/20/2015,Unknown,1,5,"Lancaster, TX",,,,,
3/21/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Ybor City, FL",,,,,
3/21/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Lehigh Acres, FL",,,,,
3/22/2015,Unknown,1,6,"Albuquerque, NM",,,,,
3/23/2015,Unknown,1,4,"Clarksville, TN",,,,,
3/24/2015,Unknown,4,0,"Indianapolis, IN",,,,,
3/26/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Amarillo, TX",,,,,
3/28/2015,David Jamichael Daniels,0,7,"Panama City Beach, FL",,,,,
3/29/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Stockton, CA",,,,,
3/30/2015,Sudheer Khamitkar,4,0,"Tulsa, OK",,,,,

April 2015

4/2/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Baltimore, MD",,,,,
4/3/2015,Vincent Tyrone Smith,0,4,"Daytona Beach, FL",,,,,
4/5/2015,Unknown,1,4,"Louisville, KY",,,,,
4/5/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Indianapolis, IN",,,,,
4/7/2015,Unknown,1,3,"North Rome, GA",,,,,
4/16/2015,Unknown,5,0,"Phoenix, AZ",,,,,
4/16/2015,Unknown,1,4,"Los Angeles, CA",,,,,
4/18/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Paterson, NJ",,,,,
4/18/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Charlotte, NC",,,,,
4/18/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Lumberton, NC",,,,,
4/18/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Williamsport, PA",,,,,
4/18/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Montgomery, AL",,,,,
4/19/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Richmond, VA",,,,,
4/21/2015,Unknown,2,3,"Killeen, TX",,,,,
4/25/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Trenton, NJ",,,,,
4/25/2015,David Alligood,1,6,"Gates, NY",,,,,
4/27/2015,Unknown,2,4,"Brooklyn, NY",,,,,
4/27/2015,Unknown,2,2,"Gila Bend, AZ",,,,,

May 2015

5/1/2015,Unknown,2,3,"Milwaukee, WI",,,,,
5/3/2015,Unknown,4,1,"Menasha, WI",,,,,
5/3/2015,Christopher Lee Accettura,0,4,"South Bend, IN",,,,,
5/3/2015,Unknown,0,6,"Houston, TX",,,,,
5/3/2015,Unknown,1,6,"Dayton, OH",,,,,
5/4/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Bronx, NY",,,,,
5/4/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Buffalo, NY",,,,,
5/7/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Cincinnati, OH",,,,,
5/10/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Jersey City, NJ",,,,,
5/10/2015,Unknown,1,4,"Cleveland, OH",,,,,
5/10/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Newark, NJ",,,,,
5/12/2015,Unknown,1,4,"Capitol Heights, MD",,,,,
5/12/2015,Christopher Carrillo,5,0,"Tucson, AZ",,,,,
5/13/2015,Unknown,4,0,"Anchorage, AK",,,,,
5/16/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Milwaukee, WI",,,,,
5/16/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Baltimore, MD",,,,,
5/16/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Rochester, NY",,,,,
5/17/2015,Unknown,9,18,"Waco, TX",,,,,
5/18/2015,Unknown,1,4,"Miami, FL",,,,,
5/18/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Kinloch, MO",,,,,
5/19/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Arlington, VA",,,,,
5/20/2015,Unknown,1,4,"Baltimore, MD",,,,,
5/23/2015,Unknown,2,2,"Fresno, CA",,,,,
5/24/2015,Unknown,0,4,"St. Louis, MO",,,,,
5/24/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Montgomery, AL",,,,,
5/24/2015,Unknown,0,7,"Flint, MI",,,,,
5/24/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Brockton, MA",,,,,
5/25/2015,Unknown,1,4,"Decatur, IL",,,,,
5/26/2015,Unknown,2,2,"New Orleans, LA",,,,,
5/28/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Omaha, NE",,,,,
5/28/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Chester, PA",,,,,
5/28/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Chicago, Il",,,,,
5/29/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Miami, FL",,,,,
5/30/2015,Unknown,0,4,"San Diego, CA",,,,,
5/30/2015,Unknown,1,3,"North Amityville, NY",,,,,
5/31/2015,Unknown,3,1,"Cleveland, OH",,,,,
5/31/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Conyers, GA",,,,,
5/31/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Springdale, MD",,,,,
5/31/2015,Unknown,0,5,"New Haven, CT",,,,,

June 2015

6/2/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Anniston, AL",,,,,
6/3/2015,Unknown,3,1,"Wyandanch, NY",,,,,
6/5/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Davenport, IA",,,,,
6/5/2015,Unknown,1,3,"New Orleans, LA",,,,,
6/6/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Chicago, IL",,,,,
6/6/2015,Unknown,1,4,"Buffalo, NY",,,,,
6/7/2015,Michael Augustine Bournes,5,0,"Deer Lodge, MT",,,,,
6/9/2015,Unknown,1,3,"St. Louis, MO",,,,,
6/10/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Cincinnati, OH",,,,,
6/10/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Los Angeles, CA",,,,,
6/11/2015,Unknown,1,8,"Bridgeport, CT",,,,,
6/11/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Houston, TX",,,,,
6/12/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Miami, FL",,,,,
6/13/2015,Patrick Solis & Donald Walters,0,4,"Oklahoma City, OK",,,,,
6/13/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Bronx, NY",,,,,
6/13/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Tulsa, OK",,,,,
6/13/2015,Unknown,4,1,"Columbus, OH",,,,,
6/13/2015,Unknown,0,4,"St. Louis, MO",,,,,
6/13/2015,Unknown,1,4,"Fayette County, GA",,,,,
6/14/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Camden, NJ",,,,,
6/14/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Milledgeville, GA",,,,,
6/15/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Brooklyn, NY",,,,,
6/16/2015,Ivan Clark,0,4,"Miami Gardens, FL",,,,,
6/17/2015,Dylan Roof,9,0,"Charleston, SC",,,,,
6/19/2015,Zackary Alvarado,0,4,"Woonsocket, RI",,,,,
6/20/2015,Unknown,0,10,"Philadelphia, PA",,,,,
6/20/2015,Unknown,1,11,"Detroit, MI",,,,,
6/21/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Lexington, KY",,,,,
6/21/2015,Russell Smith,4,0,"Roy, UT",,,,,
6/22/2015,Unknown,0,7,"Philadelphia, PA",,,,,
6/23/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Chicago, IL",,,,,
6/23/2015,Unknown,3,1,"Breaux Bridge, LA",,,,,
6/24/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Manhattan, NY",,,,,
6/25/2015,Unknown,0,4,"New Orleans, LA",,,,,
6/26/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Detroit, MI",,,,,
6/27/2015,Unknown,4,0,"Greenacres, FL",,,,,
6/27/2015,Roosevelt Holmes,1,3,"Hartford, CT",,,,,
6/27/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Taunton, MA",,,,,
6/28/2015,Unknown,0,6,"Harrington, DE",,,,,
6/28/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Detroit, MI",,,,,
6/28/2015,Unknown,0,6,"Venice, IL",,,,,
6/29/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Opa-locka, FL",,,,,

July 2015

7/1/2015,Unknown,1,4,"Newark, NJ",,,,,
7/1/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Indianapolis, IN",,,,,
7/3/2015,Unknown,2,2,"Philadelphia, PA",,,,,
7/4/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Washington, D.C.",,,,,
7/4/2015,Unknown,1,4,"Pittsfield, MA",,,,,
7/4/2015,Unknown,0,4,"San Antonio, TX",,,,,
7/4/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Syracuse, NY",,,,,
7/5/2015,Unknown,0,9,"Fort Wayne, IN",,,,,
7/5/2015,Unknown,0,8,"Shreveport, LA",,,,,
7/5/2015,Unknown,4,0,"Rock Hill, SC",,,,,
7/5/2015,Unknown,1,3,"East Orange, NJ",,,,,
7/7/2015,Unknown,3,1,"Baltimore, MD",,,,,
7/12/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Jersey City, NJ",,,,,
7/12/2015,Unknown,2,3,"River Forest, IL",,,,,
7/12/2015,Marquiles Whaley,3,1,"Baton Rouge, LA",,,,,
7/13/2015,Unknown,1,4,"Stockton, CA",,,,,
7/14/2015,Unknown,0,4,"St. Louis, MO",,,,,
7/15/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Baltimore, MD",,,,,
7/15/2015,Unknown,4,1,"Holly Hill, SC",,,,,
7/15/2015,Unknown,0,7,"Cleaveland, OH",,,,,
7/15/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Detroit, MI",,,,,
7/15/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Atlanta, GA",,,,,
7/16/2015,Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez,5,3,"Chattanooga, TN",,,,,
7/16/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Dallas, TX",,,,,
7/17/2015,Clement Dwight Cooper and Michael Antonio Long,1,5,"Columbus, OH",,,,,
7/17/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Cincinnati, OH",,,,,
7/17/2015,Anthony Lord,2,4,"Aroostook County, ME",,,,,
7/17/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Washington, DC",,,,,
7/17/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Chicago, IL",,,,,
7/18/2015,Unknown,2,2,"Baton Rouge, LA",,,,,
7/18/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Salem, OR",,,,,
7/19/2015,Unknown,0,6,"Louisville, KY",,,,,
7/19/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Suffolk, VA",,,,,
7/20/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Bronx, NY",,,,,
7/21/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Miami Gardens, FL",,,,,
7/22/2015,Unknown,4,1,"Forsyth County, GA",,,,,
7/23/2015,John Russell Houser,3,9,"Lafayette, LA",,,,,
7/25/2015,Unknown,2,4,"Erie, PA",,,,,
7/25/2015,William Timothy Faust,0,4,"Hopewell, VA",,,,,
7/26/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Indianapolis, IN",,,,,
7/26/2015,Unknown,2,3,"Kansas City, MO",,,,,
7/26/2015,Unknown,0,4,"New Orleans, LA",,,,,
7/27/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Rockford, IL",,,,,
7/28/2015,Harley Wilder,2,2,"West Frankfort, IL",,,,,
7/30/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Pittsburgh, PA",,,,,

August 2015

8/1/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Orlando, FL",,,,,
8/2/2015,Unknown,1,4,"Chicago, IL",,,,,
8/2/2015,Unknown,0,9,"Brooklyn, NY",,,,,
8/2/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Savannah, GA",,,,,
8/2/2015,Unknown,0,7,"Baltimore, MD",,,,,
8/3/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Brooklyn, NY",,,,,
8/4/2015,Unknown,1,4,"St. Louis, MO",,,,,
8/6/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Columbia, SC",,,,,
8/7/2015,Jody Herring,4,0,"Barre, VT",,,,,
8/8/2015,Unknown,2,3,"Gastonia, NC",,,,,
8/8/2015,Unknown,1,11,"Blytheville, AR",,,,,
8/8/2015,David Conley,8,0,"Houston, TX",,,,,
8/9/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Forest, MS",,,,,
8/9/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Detroit, MI",,,,,
8/10/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Long Beach, CA",,,,,
8/15/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Pittsburgh, PA",,,,,
8/15/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Orangeburg, SC",,,,,
8/15/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Los Angeles, CA",,,,,
8/16/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Miami, FL",,,,,
8/16/2015,Unknown,0,6,"Fort Worth, TX",,,,,
8/16/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Bennettsville, SC",,,,,
8/16/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Chicago, IL",,,,,
8/19/2015,Unknown,3,4,"Rochester, NY",,,,,
8/20/2015,Unknown,2,2,"Starr County, TX",,,,,
8/21/2015,Unknown,0,8,"Durham, NC",,,,,
8/21/2015,Unknown,3,1,"Roswell, NM",,,,,
8/21/2015,Unknown,2,5,"Cincinnati, OH",,,,,,8/21/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Pine Hills, FL",,,,,
8/22/2015,Unknown,1,7,"Modesto, CA",,,,,
8/25/2015,Unknown,1,3,"New Orleans, LA",,,,,
8/26/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Brooklyn Center, MN",,,,,
8/26/2015,Vester Flanagan (aka Bryce Williams),3,1,"Moneta, VA",,,,,
8/26/2015,Unknown,2,2,"West Palm Beach, FL",,,,,
8/26/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Chicago, IL",,,,,
8/27/2015,Unknown,2,2,"Salinas, CA",,,,,
8/28/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Brooklyn, NY",,,,,
8/29/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Smith County, TX",,,,,
8/29/2015,Robert Seth Denton,3,2,"Bristol, TN",,,,,
8/29/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Macon, GA",,,,,
8/30/2015,Unknown,1,4,"Memphis, TN",,,,,
8/30/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Muskegon Heights, MI",,,,,

September 2015

9/1/2015,Lyndon Beharry,4,0,"Long Branch, NJ",,,,,
9/5/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Charlotte, NC",,,,,
9/5/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Columbus, MO",,,,,
9/5/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Daytona Beach, FL",,,,,
9/5/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Las Vegas, NV",,,,,
9/7/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Denver, CO",,,,,
9/7/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Washington, DC",,,,,
9/8/2015,Brian Short,5,0,"Minneapolis, MN",,,,,
9/8/2015,Unkown,0,4,"Chicago, IL",,,,,
9/8/2015,Unknown,4,0,"Manson, WA",,,,,
9/11/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Charlotte, NC",,,,,
9/12/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Minneapolis, MN",,,,,
9/12/2015,Undisclosed,0,6,"Minneapolis, MN",,,,,
9/12/2015,Unknown,2,4,"Rochester, NY",,,,,
9/12/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Shreveport, LA",,,,,
9/13/2015,Unknown,1,5,"Ocala, FL",,,,,
9/13/2015,Unknown,2,2,"Los Chavez, NM",,,,,
9/13/2015,Rodney Chemin,4,0,"Baker, LA",,,,,
9/15/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Newark, NJ",,,,,
9/17/2015,Undisclosed,0,4,"Albion, MI",,,,,
9/17/2015,Scott Westerhuis,6,0,"Platte, SD",,,,,
9/19/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Indianapolis, IN",,,,,
9/20/2015,Unknown,1,5,"Chicago, IL",,,,,
9/20/2015,Unknown,0,6,"Tulsa, OK",,,,,
9/21/2015,Undisclosed,2,2,"Sand City, CA",,,,,
9/21/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Philadelphia, PA",,,,,
9/23/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Fort Meyers, FL",,,,,
9/23/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Norcross, GA",,,,,
9/23/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Shreveport, LA",,,,,
9/24/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Chicago, IL",,,,,
9/25/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Danville, IL",,,,,
9/26/2015,James Diaz,2,2,"Banning, CA",,,,,
9/27/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Kansas City, MO",,,,,
9/27/2015,Unknown,0,10,"Greenville, GA",,,,,
9/28/2015,Unknown,2,3,"Chicago, IL",,,,,
9/28/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Cincinnati, OH",,,,,
9/28/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Dayton, OH",,,,,
9/29/2015,Unknown,3,2,"Chicago, IL",,,,,

October 2015

10/1/2015,Chris Harper-Mercer,10,7,"Roseburg, OR",,,,,
10/2/2015,Undisclosed,1,4,"Baltimore, MD",,,,,
10/2/2015,Walter A. Tyson,3,1,"Inglis, FL",,,,,
10/6/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Baltimore, MD",,,,,
10/9/2015,Steven Jones,1,3,"Flagstaff, AZ",,,,,
10/10/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Peoria, IL",,,,,
10/10/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Charlotte, NC",,,,,
10/10/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Memphis, TN",,,,,
10/12/2015,Unknown,0,4,"DeKalb County, GA",,,,,
10/17/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Elkhart, IN",,,,,
10/17/2015,Unknown,1,4,"Fort Meyers, FL",,,,,
10/18/2015,Unknown,0,4,"New Orleans, LA",,,,,
10/19/2015,Unknown,0,7,"Calumet City, IL",,,,,
10/23/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Nashville, TN",,,,,
10/24/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Bamberg, SC",,,,,
10/25/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Washington, DC",,,,,
10/25/2015,Unknown,1,4,"Pheonix, AZ",,,,,
10/25/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Four Oaks, NC",,,,,
10/25/2015,Rashawn Little,2,2,"Pageland, SC",,,,,
10/26/2015,"Marquell Maurice Jackson, Corey James Cain, Diego Thomas",0,5,"Evansville, IN",,,,,
10/27/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Fort Worth, TX",,,,,
10/28/2015,"Elward Williams, Anthony Sylvester",1,3,"Houma, LA",,,,,
10/31/2015,Undisclosed,4,0,"Colorado Springs, CO",,,,,

November 2015

11/1/2015,Unknown,4,0,"Pendleton, SC",,,,,
11/3/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Jacksonville, FL",,,,,
11/3/2015,John Howell,2,2,"Harris County, TX",,,,,
11/4/2015,Herman Derico,4,0,"Oakland, ME",,,,,
11/6/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Tallahassee, FL",,,,,
11/6/2015,Darius Ratcliff,1,3,"Denver, CO",,,,,
11/6/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Bakersfield, CA",,,,,
11/8/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Des Moines, IA",,,,,
11/8/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Warren, MI",,,,,
11/9/2015,Unknown,2,2,"Indianapolis, IN",,,,,
11/13/2015,Gawain Rushane Wilson,4,1,"Jacksonville, FL",,,,,
11/14/2015,John Revels,3,2,"Los Angeles, CA",,,,,
11/14/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Johnstown, PA",,,,,
11/15/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Philadelphia, PA",,,,,
11/15/2015,William Hudson,6,0,"Anderson County, TX",,,,,
11/16/2015,Donnie Lee Abernathy,3,1,"Round Mountain, AL",,,,,
11/16/2015,Daniel Harris,1,5,"Youngstown, OH",,,,,
11/17/2015,Pascasio Arellano,4,0,"Murray, KY",,,,,
11/18/2015,Unknown,5,0,"Fresno, CA",,,,,
11/20/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Pittsburgh, PA",,,,,
11/21/2015,Unknown ,1,3,"Baltimore, MD",,,,,
11/22/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Newburgh, NY",,,,,
11/22/2015,Unknown,0,5,"Seattle, WA",,,,,
11/22/2015,Unknown,0,4,"Chicago, IL",,,,,
11/22/2015,Marcos Antonio Hernandez,0,4,"Brownsville, TX",,,,,
11/22/2015,Unknown,0,17,"New Orleans, LA",,,,,
11/23/2015,"Allen Lawrence Scarsella, Nathan Gustavsson, Daniel Macey, and Joseph Backman",0,5,"Minneapolis, MN",,,,,
11/23/2015,Barry Kirk,4,1,"Columbus, OH",,,,,
11/23/2015,Undisclosed,1,3,"Houston, TX",,,,,
11/24/2015,Undisclosed,0,4,"Conway, SC",,,,,
11/26/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Boston, MA",,,,,
11/27/2015,Unknown,2,2,"Sacramento, CA",,,,,
11/27/2015,Robert Lewis Dear,3,9,"Colorado Springs, CO",,,,,

December 2015

12/2/2015,Unknown,1,3,"Savannah, GA",,,,,
12/2/2015,Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik,14,17,"San Bernardino, CA",,,,,
Data provided by Shooting Tracker.

Ah, Progress!

   Above is what Mount Kawara (香春岳) of Tagawa City (田川市) used to look like before Nihon Cement (now Taiheiyō Cement) shaved layer after layer off the top trying to get at its limestone.

   When I first visited Tagawa some twenty years ago, the right half of Kawara-dake had already been stripped down to about a third its original height, leaving a sheer cliff of stark white limestone on the left. Today that has also been mined. Now that's progress!


Chapman Kindergarten

Three-thirty in the morning and I’m wide awake. I thought I had this jetlag licked. Apparently not.

So, . . .

My older son Eoghan kicked and screamed yesterday morning: he did NOT want to go to kindergarten. He was adamant and couldn’t be coaxed or forced out the front door no matter what I tried. After a while my wife gave in and told him to go back to bed and rest.


“But no books. No toys. No TV.”

Rather than try to deal with it further, I went out with his younger brother, Liam, to a park that is located just outside the school grounds.

When Liam and I arrived at the park, everything—the swings, the slides, the tire, the lawns—was covered with dew. Living as long as I have in the southwest of Japan where it is seldom foggy, I had forgotten all about dew. I had even forgotten the word “dew” and wouldn’t have remembered it if it weren’t for a young girl of about three or four who called out to her mother and told what the swings were covered with.

“You don’t want to sit down on the swing,” I told Liam. “They’re covered with dew, with water. If you sit down on it, you’ll end up with a soggy bottom.

About forty minutes later, my wife showed up with Eoghan. The boy looked genuinely happy to be there.

“What happened?” I asked.

“He had to poo.”


Eoghan, standing at the edge of the playground, was about to step in when he stopped himself and suddenly remember: “Oh, I gotta go to school!”

He then ran off towards the school’s doors, my wife chasing after him.


Now the funny thing about kindergarten here—and I don’t know if it just Chapman, or all the kindergartens in the Portland Public School system, or all of them in the States—but the daily routine is highly regimented. There are, for starters, quite a few musts: You MUST drop your child off at school between 7:55 and 8:00. If you are ten minutes late, you MUST report to the school office and bring a note to the teacher! You must pick your child up at exactly 2:15! And so on.

My son’s kindergarten back in Japan is, by comparison, in a state of virtual anarchy. Arrival and dismissal times are not clearly defined: you may drop your child off between 8:30 and 9:30. And there is no need to notify the school if you’re late. You can alternate between commuting by school bus and bringing your child on foot or by bicycle, as you please. You may even change the bus stop at which your child gets off as my son often requests. And once at school, the kids spend most of their time playing in the schoolyard and roaming about in the classroom, rather than engaged in structured lessons.

Another big difference, though, is the rituals that mark the day. The kids at my son’s Buddhist school go to school in their formal school attire. Once at school, they remove their street shoes, place them in a cubbyhole, and change into their indoor shoes. Then, they progress to their classrooms where they put their bags into another cubbyhole, hang their water bottles on the appropriate rack and change into their play clothes. For the next hour or so they are allowed to run around, play in the mud, get unbelievably filthy, catch insects, and so on. They are, for the most part, free to do as they like, though there are some controlled activities, such as practice for the school summer festival and the autumn field day.

When lunchtime comes around, they spread their furoshiki out, pray to the Buddha, and then eat. School lunch is served about two or three times a week. On the other days, the children bring their own bentō.


Later that night when Eoghan and I were lying in bed, I asked him how his day had been. Unfortunately, I didn’t get many answers. He had fun, that much was clear.

While he didn’t have many answers for me, he certainly had a lot of questions: What does this mean? What does that mean? What is this? What is that? Whenever I explained something it was like a powerful light coming on in his brain: “Ah! So that’s what that was all about!!!”


Tomorrow, er, today will be his third day at Chapman. This weekend we’ll have three days off, thanks to the Labor Day weekend, which will provide all of us a much-needed rest for all of us.

But for now, it’s back to sleep!



4 September 2015, Portland, Oregon