Silly Grins

Friday, April 27, 2012

Nightmares: Shine Light Wherever You Can

When first reading the headlines, I couldn’t help notice what was missing. Apparently, so did other people who left comments. Although the article is no longer available at the site, one person did cut-and-paste the following from the source:

Is there some sort of ‘polite’ etiquette in the small print where reporters have to be extra careful of sensitivities when writing about this kind of stuff? (Perhaps a trained journalist may be able to share some insight)

A few comments down within the JT article, the moderator also states: 

“No arrests were made in Japan.”

Well, only a day later, more local news appears.

The article is a little confusing. Look, I know what confusion is - I got that down.

But not only confusing…the timing is uncanny.  Vomiting forth numbers, almost a last-minute Hail Marry, maybe an attempt to save face by trying to show that work really is getting done here too.

  August 5, 2011

At least a point was made at the end.

“…and fourteen kids died”

Not to mention the horror, of course, for those who are living through hell. 

The world is starting to see what is going on. 

Yeah, more members of the global inhabitants are taking note. Some kind of Megan’s Law for this Land of Harmony would be a good start here, though nothing may ever be totally adequate. Even though no system is perfect, to simply sit in silence and do nothing helps no one. 
This kind of news tends to make a person cynical. A cynical mind may recognize a characteristic lack of cooperation that is annoyingly persistent...despite the positive appearances that are put on.

At least do what you can, where you can. 


Someday, someone's going to come up with a good name for that elephant in the room, a name that catches and sticks. There are just too many unanswered questions. Is it just catch and release for people like this? More cooperation with Interpol would be a start. And extradition too.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Relationships: Women 'n Men

 From another interview:
It would be a really good idea for a man to simply listen to a woman, hear her out before he tries to fix anything. Listen to all she has to say, keep quiet...and then say something that lets her know that he’s heard what she said. And then say:

 “Is there any of that you want help with?”

Now, it’s the woman’s job really to say:

Thursday, April 19, 2012


As this is worthy of my time…

"Distressing or Unethical"

Understood to symbolize purity, among other things:

Order and numbers:

1.    77 Children Playing
2.    76 Angels
3.    78 The Universe
4.    75 Robots


Unnecessary Violence

*(He weeps)

Sometimes, not knowing a story, how it ends, is preferable. Just to catch a glimpse can be more than enough. There is so much there, so much to savor.

Savoring aspects of our shared resources that appear to be limited can be something to think about.

An aspect


Thank you.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

432 Hz: Noooooooo!

For this post to work, clicking on each highlighted link (*) is kind of necessary. They are all set to open in another window with convenience being the main idea. At the bottom, further explanation is given. It takes less than five minutes to pretty much 'get it' all. Blogs are easy to edit. Drop a comment, ask a question, or ignore.

For some reason, *listening to this group improvise healing music doesn't work for me. It is a challenge to even try to getting past the first 30 seconds. There is just no way I can endure the first thirty or so without the shrill voices becoming kind of irritating. Sometimes the improvised attempts at peace have the opposite affect upon their potential audience. Or maybe I am evil (but I doubt it).

Monday, April 9, 2012

Interview: Fr gm nt d E ch nge

Part III

W: As far as your experience goes, could you tell us a little bit more about your relations with people at work? It is fascinating, your... you've got a degree in linguistics, you're interested in the language, you obviously have done a lot of studying and you have this, I think it is an incredible language ability... How are your relations with the people who you work with, in your office? And, because you have studied that language so much in linguistics, how do you feel that has been beneficial for your work? 

FT: I is beneficial in my work as I have said before, going to elementary schools. I am sent to elementary schools, me in particular as opposed to other ALTs because I can speak Japanese so I have seen a side of the Japanese education system, i.e. the elementary system, which maybe a lot of the ALTs haven't seen. I mean most ALTs do do occasional elementary school visits, but I'll give you an example... probably the most interesting example for me and it is connected to, perhaps, one of my misconceptions of Japan and perhaps of many westerners' misconceptions of Japan. And that was about two months ago. 

I was approached by an elementary school in ******** called ******** Elementary which I have been to a couple of times before and got on quite well with the headmaster and the vice-principal. I was asked to go to a social studies class as which the teacher would be teaching the students about the Second World War. And they wanted me there to answer any questions the students may have plus to talk a bit about why Britain because I happen to be British, why Britain declared war or how Britain and Japan came to declare war on each other, how Britain got involved in the war with Japan in the Second World War. 

Which for me was interesting because I had the misconception that the war was not taught in Japan. 

And, in fact, I have learned now that this was the case until up to a couple of years from now, ti was in the textbooks, but is was at the end of the textbooks and it was often left out by certain teachers who sort of ran out of time by the end of the term. 

But now it is definitely taught and that class consisted of the teacher talking about the Nanjing Massacre, the invasion and occupation of Korea, and the invasion and occupation of Burma, Singapore, Malaysia, and in pretty gruesome terms and no uncertain terms in telling the kids about how, you know, the Japanese troops have massacred women and children in Nanjing and all of the stuff the we learned in history class but we believe the Japanese don't learn, which was for me, extremely interesting. 

And I would not have that experience if I hadn't been able to speak Japanese. And having been able to take part actively in that class. And that was probably, for me, an example of one of the most beneficial things my Japanese has had for me since I have been here.  


That's it for this interview. I am not a journalist. I just had some questions and happened to meet another person who agreed to talk. The interview was well before recent popular controversy

I have read the late Chang's book and was kind of shocked in a way that I can't really explain when learning of her untimely death. Route 17 is the way some people take to get to work on a daily basis. It has a reputation for being an unforgiving drive. It's also the way some people go when they want to take some time out to see some of nature's beauty. 

So, when talking about change and what people go through, I have a hell-of-a-lot of respect for those who somehow manage to get through it. And there is anger. Anger toward those wasted opportunities for redemption. Often times, it's hard to tell just what's going on. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Robot Sex

Birds do it. 
Bees do it. 
Big names do it. 
Everybody does it. 
Sexual innuendo. 
Getting it nailed. 

To the point. 
Mom and Dad robot are making their baby. 
The script goes something like this:

Friday, April 6, 2012

Interview: Fragmented Exchange

Part II

W: Speaking about school violence and things like that, have you ever seen any or experienced anything of that sort or...what's your take on that? 

FT: I have seen a teacher hit a student once that that was right at the beginning of my time here and I told my supervisor about it and said to him, "Look, if that teacher hits the student again, I am going to walk out of class." And that was it, I haven't seen anything since. But I have heard stories that, you know, what it used to be like in school in Japan, even tens years ago - the violence that went on from the teachers against the students and that has come full circle now. 

I mean, I think the problem is that ten years ago that the teachers were very violent against the students. The teachers kicked around the students a lot. I mean, brutality was very common. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Interview: Fragments of an Exchange

Once upon an interview…

Part I

W: Now, you’ve mentioned this before, about your work-relations, the people you work with and obviously, your skill, your degree in linguistics… coming on this exchange program you’re obviously here to share information and things like that…  
How would you say you’ve been utilized by your employer?  

FT: I would say, yeah, that’s a good question actually. I think in terms of I work in an educational office and not a school, which gives me a different perspective on things from many ALTs who just work in schools, I see how the system is run by a bunch of people who are basically a combination of school inspectors and the bureaucrats who run the system in ****** City and one of the big problems in Japan at the moment is bullying, truancy, and violence in schools. It is a major problem if you watch the news and so my office has been dealing with ways of trying to or trying to deal with ways of curbing violence in schools and this kind of thing. ****** City in fact banned cutting knives in schools about a month after the incident, I forget where in Japan, I think it was in… Do you remember where it was? The teacher who was stabbed?

W: (Shrugs, looks at his beer)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012



There it is again. The inverse framing. The mirror image in motion. 


Couldn't help notice at the 28:20 that something was intentionally altered. Clued by the way he pursed his lips to one side... the other side. And then the globe in the background and later the plant. 


Rewound to Lucky's first appearance with maybe just a second left within the 7th minute. 

A Box

By design

An educational system

Is this it?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

7-38-55 = Men Are Tone Deaf

Men Are Tone Deaf:  
Why teaching English privately will  always be a stable thing 
(as long as the K-12 institutions insist on doing things their way)

The Thai-trained pugilist-PhD in anthropology-with-a-quick-memory-who-liked-to-talk told a story. The young Dr. Kickass told a story about how one of his peers, who was probably also qualified as a linguist, recalled objectively eavesdropping on an exchange of words between two female students.  The gist of it was that they, the women, didn’t really say anything. There was no data exchange. 
“Breaking down what they said,” he observed, “they made no sense at all. It was just noise.” *


Dunning-Kruger Effect

Monday, April 2, 2012

Digital Vigilance

There are not photos in this post.

Cherry blossoms can be beautiful, especially early in the morning when no one is around. Those moments of serenity are most calming. 

When the crowds show up, sometimes things can get a little out of hand. Fortunately, the other day, everything went well for the most part. Families, friends, groups of coworkers... the usual kind of crowd. 

For the most part. 

That other bit is what bothers me. Not the fact that someone wants to take photos of cherry blossoms or even the people. You see, it's just when you've got kids that you tend to lock on to certain people who kind of show up alone. Call it a bad vibe or even paranoia. 


I let my kids play, but I never let them out of my site. Okay, never out of my sight on purpose; there have been a couple of times I can count on two fingers when the fog of parenthood had gotten in the way. The kids know by now. Dad is an asshole. It's a fine balance.

The seasonal viewing of the cherry blossoms almost started out on a very bad note. Almost. 

You see, an older man seemed a little over-interested in taking  photos of three unattended kids that were playing close by. That not right kind of feeling was there. I thought the guy looked like he was used to kind of hanging out at parks. I never used to notice this kind of thing until it was pointed out to me. Yes, there are people who frequent play areas specifically looking for unsuspecting kids and out-to-lunch parents.

While culture in Asia is rumored to be good to children - "like in Italy" some have said - there are still times when I think rules of proximity apply. 

"Excuse me ma'am. Do you know that man who just took pictures of your kids?"

Judging by her tone and reaction, she didn't seem to see anything wrong with what had gone on.
"They thought he was their grandpa..."

"Ma'am, I don't think it's a good idea." Forget what else I said exactly, but I think she realized that she might want to keep a better eye on her litter of three.
 We talked a while as our kids began to play together. And I noticed that he was keeping his distance. A signal had been sent and I was fully prepared to let him know that he would not be taking any pictures of my kids. Even at his current distance with that zoom lens, nodding, yes... I am looking right at you and there are no cherry blossoms in our direction, yes... walk away... good, no, I am still looking at you while not blinking.

Okay. Fair enough, it was a weekend and the trees were in full bloom. And there were plenty of people out and about with cameras as would be expected. But everyone was there with friends,family, or coworkers

Hell, maybe the guy missed his grand-kids or something. However, he did seem to pick up on the message that I was intentionally broadcasting to his channel... which kept him at bay. He sort of decided to go somewhere else and actually appear to take pictures of some too-cute poodles a childless couple were taking for a sniff and pee in the latest canine vogue. 

Wifey, Grandma, and Grandpa were given a brief status report when we got back to the blue tarp for snacks. Without having to go into detail, they understood. 

The lone camera man was in the area till an hour or so before lunch-time when he wondered wandered off. Other than the yip-dogs mentioned earlier, he didn't seem to want to take pictures of anything or anyone else.  

Maybe it's just a cultural thing, these assumptions we make in how we think older folks normally act toward kids.