Journal

 

Sunday
May082016

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. 

Friday
May062016

Kurosaki Shotengai

   Two decades ago the Kurosaki's shopping arcade was hopping with shoppers. Today, it is virtually bedridden . . . with pneumonia and bedsores.

   Over a quarter of a million people live in Kitakyushu's Yahata Nishi Ward, and yet the heart of that ward feels like a cold wet stone.

Thursday
May052016

The G-Word (Survey)

Hey friends and neighbors, please have a look at this quick online survey about the "G-word".

Thanks!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5F8DN2S

 

Thursday
Mar312016

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?

Saturday
Mar052016

Jóie de Vivre in Hong Kong

  Donald Richie in one of his collections of essays wrote about how the "narrowness" of the Japanese home forced people to seek places to relax elsewhere--a favorite snack or kissaten (coffee shop). These, he wrote, were extensions of their home.

  I'm sure I have misparaphrased that, but I couldn't help thinking about what the Japanologist had written while I was wandering the streets of Hong Kong. Streets were like dry riverbeds between deep ravines, the walls of which were formed by impossibly tall, impossibly slim apartment buildings. 

  Google "small Hong Kong apartment" and you'll find photos of insane living conditions; apartments no bigger a four-mat room in a Japanese home.

  Decades ago, a girlfriend of mine went to Hong Kong to help her friend with her flower buisness. "They slept on the kitchen floor!" she told me when she returned. I couldn't quite picture people living in conditions so cramped, but now that I've been to the city, I can.

  Richie wrote of the uncomfortably cramped living conditions of modern Japanese, but in reality it isn't all that bad. My 4LD here in Fukuoka would probably house three to four middle class families in Hong Kong. Perhaps more. 

  Another thing, you can see further than fifty meters here in Fukuoka. Visitors to Japan from HK must feel liberated being able to just breathe the air while they're here.

 

 

 

 

Saturday
Mar052016

The Second Noble Truth

Taken at Hong Kong's Victoria Park

  The Origin of Dukkha is that craving for and clinging to what is pleasurable and aversion to what is not pleasurable result in becoming, rebirth, dissatisfaction, and redeath.

  In other words: Drop the goddamn selfie stick, monks! Ye oughta be ashamed of yourselves.

 

 

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