EppsNet Archive: Japan

Christmas Cake

 

From urbandictionary.com: A woman 26 years+ who is considered to be past her prime, undesirable, used goods and/or no good. The term originates from Japan where it is tradition to eat cake on Christmas. So a cake intended for Christmas that was not eaten or is left over is considered bad and should be thrown out. Japanese businessmen coined the term, once again emphasizing the Japanese desire for a young and virginal wife. Japanese women over the age of 26 most often have to rely on either a hastily semi-arranged marriage to a friend of the family or, more frequently, marry a foreigner as they are rarely aware of the stigma or don’t care. “If we wait until after grad school, I’ll be Christmas Cake.” “She just turned 26. She’s Christmas Cake now.” “She married her husband at 30, so you know he wasn’t bothered that she was Christmas Cake.” Read more →

5 Reasons We’re Not Helped by More Gun Laws

 

The most common statistical sleight of hand when it comes to showing charts of gun murder rates per capita by country, with the United States always in the lead, is that these charts, somewhere in the fine print, and sometimes not at all, note that they’re only charting so-called “developed” countries, meaning that the U.S. is being compared to countries like Japan and France, but that Latin American countries and African countries, among others, are left out. So — 50+ people shot to death in a Nigerian church? Doesn’t count because Nigeria is not a “developed” country. And so on. (The other thing you have to pay attention to is whether a chart is showing gun murders or gun deaths. The U.S. has a very high suicide rate compared to most other countries — more than 60 percent of our gun deaths are suicides — so rolling the suicides in… Read more →

Transitioning to Dogs

 

Japanese man spends $15,700 on dog costume to fulfill lifelong dream of transforming into an animal— news.yahoo.com Just wanted to point out that I was ahead of the curve on this one: Why Can’t Children Transition to Dogs? Read more →

Too Lazy To Be Ambitious

 

Too lazy to be ambitious, I let the world take care of itself. Ten days’ worth of rice in my bag; a bundle of twigs by the fireplace. Why chatter about delusion and enlightenment? Listening to the night rain on my roof, I sit comfortably, with both legs stretched out. — Ryokan Taigu Read more →

Begging

 

today’s begging is finished; at the crossroads i wander by the side of hachiman shrine talking with some children. last year, a foolish monk; this year, no change! — Ryokan Taigu Read more →

If Balboa Could Find the Pacific Ocean, Why Can’t You?

 

I mentioned in class today that 30 percent of Americans age 18 to 24 cannot find the Pacific Ocean on a map . . . (This was in the context of income diversity — or “income inequality,” take your pick — i.e., I can’t find the Pacific Ocean on a map but I’d like to be paid the same as a Harvard MBA.) Students absolutely could not believe this so I Googled the link to this National Geographic article. Not only was I proved correct on my Pacific Ocean assertion, 58 percent of respondents could not find Japan on a map, 65 percent couldn’t find France, 69 percent couldn’t find the United Kingdom, and 11 percent could not find the United States. The survey is a bit old now — it was taken in 2002 — but if anything, I’m sure the current situation is worse. If my kid could… Read more →

EppsNet at the Movies: The Garden of Words

 

The Garden of Words is a beautiful short film about loneliness and love and longing, inspired by verses from the Manyoshu, an anthology of ancient Japanese poems: A faint clap of thunder Clouded skies Perhaps rain will come If so, will you stay here with me? A faint clap of thunder Even if rain comes or not I will stay here Together with you. Rain is a central motif in the film. Like the force of love, it can’t be controlled or stopped. Highly recommended! Rating:     Director: Cast: IMDb rating: ( votes) Read more →

Indignities

 

I was at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo over the weekend. Had to use the men’s room and the only stall available had a broken door latch. In order to keep the door closed, I had to press on it with my foot. Unfortunately, I pressed a little too hard and the door broke through the restraint and flew open in a forward direction. Granted, the Japanese had to put up with indignities at internment camps but that was in wartime . . . Read more →

Feb. 5, 1917: Immigration Act Passed Over Wilson’s Veto

 

On this date in 1917, Congress overrode President Woodrow Wilson’s veto of the previous week and passed the Immigration Act of 1917, which, among other provisions, introduced a period of near complete exclusion of Asian immigration to the United States. Not that life was a bed of roses for Asian immigrants before 1917. Asian laborers were sought out for demanding and dangerous railroad jobs involving explosives. The phrase “Chinaman’s chance,” meaning little to no chance at all, dates from this period. Asians were not allowed American citizenship and were frequent victims of hostility and violence with no legal recourse. For example, in 1854, George W. Hall was convicted of murdering a Chinese man. On appeal to the State Supreme Court the decision was overturned because all of the evidence against him was from Chinese individuals. According to the Supreme Court ruling, the Chinese “recogniz[ed] no laws … except through necessity,… Read more →

Am I Smarter Than A Japanese Schoolchild?

 

Are we talking book smart or street smart? If a Japanese kid is computing the area of a rectangle while I’m out gettin’ my bling, who’s smarter, I ask you? Read more →

Women’s World Cup: USA 5, Japan 2

 

I turned on the TV just as the announcer was shouting “2-0, USA!” so I thought they must be showing highlights of the game against Germany. It’s only 4:06 p.m., the match probably hasn’t even started yet. Then I sent a text to my kid, “This will teach me to tune in to soccer games on time.” I sent a second text saying I thought when the announcer yelled “2-0, USA!” they must be showing Germany highlights. Then I sent a third text, “My god in the time it took me to type that they scored two more goals.” View image | gettyimages.com Read more →

Are the Viet Cong Still in Those Tunnels?

 

The tunnels of Cu Chi are an immense network of connecting underground tunnels located in the Cu Chi district of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, and are part of a much larger network of tunnels that underlie much of the country. The Cu Chi tunnels were the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam War, and were the Viet Cong’s base of operations for the Tet Offensive in 1968. — Wikipedia The tunnels are now a popular tourist attraction. My son and seven of his friends are currently on a post-graduation trip to Southeast Asia. Here’s a picture of him in the tunnels. There were Japanese soldiers hiding out on Pacific islands for decades after World War II. They never heard the war was over. Is there any chance there are still Viet Cong in those tunnels? I think I see one over his shoulder . . . Read more →

Other People’s Kids

 

My wife is telling me that the parents of one of our son’s high school friends are moving back to their home country of Japan. She doesn’t understand how parents could move so far away from their children. Their two kids, both in their 20s, are staying here in California. “Well,” I say, “other people’s kids are often a little disappointing, in my opinion,” and she starts knocking on something that I’m pretty sure is not even made of wood. Read more →

Japan, Day 8: Walking in Tokyo

 

Things you notice when walking in Tokyo . . . 1) There are lots and lots of people . . . 2) Most of them are not very tall . . . 3) Because there are a lot of people in a small amount of space (even though they are small people), Tokyo is built to take advantage of vertical space. For example, I’ve never seen a two- or three-story fast food restaurant in the U.S. but they’re common in Tokyo. Businesses that usually are two or three stories in the U.S., like department stores, in Tokyo are eight or ten stories. Flying back home tomorrow . . . sayonara! Read more →

Japan, Day 7: Ginza

 

Ginza Ginza is one of the best-known shopping districts in the world, with numerous department stores, boutiques, restaurants and coffee houses. One of our favorite stores was the 12-floor UNIQLO. They’re coming to Orange County this fall! Read more →

Japan, Day 6: Matusmoto Castle, Travel Day

 

Matsumoto Castle Matsumoto Castle (Matsumoto-jo) is one of Japan‘s premier historic castles. The building is also known as the “Crow Castle” (Karasu-jo) due to its black exterior. It was the seat of the Matsumoto domain. It is located in the city of Matsumoto, in Nagano Prefecture and is within easy reach of Tokyo by road or rail. The keep (tenshukaku), which was completed in the late sixteenth century, maintains its original wooden interiors and external stonework. It is listed as a National Treasure of Japan. The second floor of the main keep features a gun museum, Teppo Gura, with a collection of guns, armor, and other weapons. — Wikipedia Today was mostly a travel day, driving back to Tokyo from the lair of the snow monkeys. On the way back, we stopped at Matsumoto Castle, an impressive edifice built back in the late 1500s . . . Read more →

Japan, Day 5: Snow Monkeys, Yudanaka

 

Snow Monkeys Jigokudani Monkey Park (Jigokudani Yaen Koen) is in Yamanouchi, Shimotakai District, Nagano Prefecture, Japan. It is part of the Joshinetsu Kogen National Park (locally known as Shigakogen), and is located in the valley of the Yokoyu-River, in the northern part of the prefecture. The name Jigokudani, meaning “Hell’s Valley”, is due to the steam and boiling water that bubbles out of small crevices in the frozen ground, surrounded by steep cliffs and formidably cold and hostile forests. The heavy snowfalls (snow covers the ground for 4 months a year), an elevation of 850 metres, and being only accessible via a narrow two kilometre footpath through the forest, keep it uncrowded despite being relatively well-known. It is famous for its large population of wild Japanese Macaques (Macaca fuscata), more commonly referred to as Snow Monkeys, that go to the valley during the winter, foraging elsewhere in the national park… Read more →

Japan, Day 4: Tsukiji Fish Market, Asakusa, Imperial Palace, Odaiba, Christmas

 

Tsukiji Fish Market The Tsukiji Market (Tsukiji shijo), supervised by the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market (Tokyo-to Chuo Oroshiuri Shijo) of the Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Industrial and Labor Affairs, is the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world and also one of the largest wholesale food markets of any kind. The market is located in Tsukiji in central Tokyo. There are two distinct sections of the market as a whole. The “inner market” (jonai-shijo) is the licensed wholesale market, where the auctions and most of the processing of the fish take place, and where licensed wholesale dealers (approximately 900 of them) operate small stalls. The “outer market” (jogai-shijo) is a mixture of wholesale and retail shops that sell Japanese kitchen tools, restaurant supplies, groceries, and seafood, and many restaurants, especially sushi restaurants. — Wikipedia There’s a temple near the market. We met these girls, who spoke a… Read more →

Japan, Day 3: Atami, Lake Ashi, Owakudani, Mount Fuji, Shinjuku

 

Atami Our hotel in Atami was on the eastern coast. Where we live in California, you can watch the sun set over the ocean every day if you want to, but here the sun rises over the ocean, which is a little bit different. These photos are from the balcony of our room. If you look closely, you can see the United States in the background. It looks very small from this far away. Lake Ashi We started the day on a sightseeing boat at Lake Ashi: Owakudani Owakudani (lit. “Great Boiling Valley”) is a volcanic valley with active sulphur vents and hot springs in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. It is a popular tourist site for its scenic views, volcanic activity, and especially, Kuro-tamago (lit. “black egg”) — a local specialty of eggs hard-boiled in the hot springs. The boiled eggs turn black and smell slightly sulphuric; consuming the eggs… Read more →

Japan, Day 2: Kinkakuji Temple, Nishijin Textile Center, Tea Ceremony, Bullet Train, Atami

 

Kinkakuji Temple Kinkaku-ji (lit. “Temple of the Golden Pavilion”), officially named Rokuon-ji (lit. “Deer Garden Temple”), is a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. The site of Kinkaku-ji was originally a villa called Kitayama-dai, belonging to a powerful statesman, Saionji Kintsune. Kinkaku-ji’s history dates to 1397, when the villa was purchased from the Saionji family by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and transformed into the Kinkaku-ji complex. When Yoshimitsu died, the building was converted into a Zen temple by his son, according to his wishes. During the Onin war, all of the buildings in the complex aside from the pavilion were burned down. On July 2, 1950, at 2:30 am, the pavilion was burned down by a 22-year-old novice monk, Hayashi Yoken, who then attempted suicide on the Daimon-ji hill behind the building. He survived, and was subsequently taken into custody. The monk was sentenced to seven years in prison, but was… Read more →

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