A Scanner Darkly

I’m applying for a job in Japan. In the latest email, the potential boss asked me to send a headshot, standard for Japanese resumes. I wanted to say that as soon as I get home to the US I can scan it in and send it, but I wasn’t quite sure how “scanner” is spelled in Japanese. I checked the always useful ALC dictionary, and they had this example:

Scanner Darkly
【著作】 《A ~》暗闇のスキャナー◆米1977《著》フィリップ・K・ディック(Philip K. Dick)

Dick is right around the top of my favorite authors of all time list, and this just reminds me how excited I am about the movie adaptation of this book that’s about to come out. The awesome trailer is here, and Wired has an article here about the trials of the rotoscoping animation they used.

Lonely Japanese People

Asahi Shimbun’s Economic Observatory column repeats recent talking points of main opposition party Democratic Party of Japan, which boils down to “the LDP is selling you out to the Americans! Vote for us and we’ll protect you!”

Lonely Japanese People

On a personal note, as someone hailing from Japan’s “baby boom” generation, I actually experienced Japanese society becoming rich as a high rate of economic growth took place. However, this era was also the era in which large and medium sized families gave way to the nuclear family. We lost the “village society,” regional cooperation, and religion that protected us while binding individuals, but this was replaced in large corporations by the familistic lifetime employment. Presently, corporate family-ism and nuclear families are beginning to collapse as well.
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America’s India strategy

This article in the Hindustan Times sheds some more light on the US strategy to balance China from its backside.

In early 1999, George W. Bush met with eight foreign policy advisors, collectively known as the Vulcans, in his ranch at Crawford, Texas. He was preparing for his White House bid. They were there to tell him about the world.

Well into the briefing, Bush interrupted: “Wait a minute. Why aren’t we talking about India?” The Vulcans — who included Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz — looked at each other. India didn’t matter, they explained.

Bush’s response: “You’re wrong.”

It’s a friendship that should have been made a long time ago… and shows that Bush deserves personal credit for at least some part of his international strategy. Who knows—this could be one of the best foreign policy legacies to come out of the Bush administration. Assuming there isn’t a nuclear war, of course…

Also check out The Economist‘s take.

Strange things in Tokyo part 10,298: Oedo Onsen Monogatari

Recently, I joined the Most Hon. First Marquess Curzon of Kedleston for an overnight trip to Oedo Onsen Monogatari. In case you’ve never heard of this place before, it’s a big hot springs place located on Odaiba, an artificial island in Tokyo Bay known for its strange array of attractions (e.g. Kenzo Tange’s freaky-looking Fuji TV Building and a “European village” that people rent out for weddings).

Oedo Onsen Monogatari is, likewise, a strange attraction. When I think of onsen, I usually think of Arima Onsen or the various onsen in Nikko—places up in the mountains, pretty far from civilization, where you can enjoy the cool air and the hot water and the view of the valley. Or I think of Azabu Onsen, the tiny sento-type place in Minato-ku close to where I go to school. Comparing these places to Oedo Onsen Monogatari is like comparing a small American town to Main Street USA at Disney World. Continue reading Strange things in Tokyo part 10,298: Oedo Onsen Monogatari

Coup attempt and crackdown in the Philippines – some background information

The NYTimes reports:

Saying that the Philippine government had foiled a military coup attempt and still faced the threat of violent overthrow, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo declared emergency rule on Friday and banned rallies marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of Ferdinand Marcos, the former dictator.
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Ignoring the ban on rallies, former President Corazon Aquino, who remains a popular figure here, led thousands of demonstrators in a march through the financial district calling for Mrs. Arroyo’s resignation. The opposition has crystallized around allegations that Mrs. Arroyo rigged national elections in 2004, as well as charges of government corruption and human rights abuses, charges that she vigorously denies.

Mrs. Aquino urged Mrs. Arroyo to “make the supreme sacrifice by resigning.” Dozens of demonstrators were arrested.

Calls for Arroyo’s resignation are nothing new. Here is a photograph of graffitti saying “oust Gloria” that I took on December 7, 2005 on the wall of a street in a somewhat poor but not impoverished neighborhood of Manila.

Ever since the fall of Marcos in 1986 in the face of overwhelming popular protests, the threat of another such EDSA “people power” rebellion (named after a main street in Manila) looms every time the administration is in crisis. Not coincidentally, Aquino became president following the first EDSA rebellion-taking over for Marcos- and Arroyo became president by virtue of her being VP when the corrupt movie star and darling of the lower class electorate was forced out of office during EDSA 2. The big difference is that Aquino was a major organizer of the first EDSA, risking her life to protest against Marcos. And the threat was very real, as his government had killed her husband for political opposition. By contrast, Arroyo seems to be very much a typical politician.

Below I provide more detailed information, typed from a book published just last year on the political history of the Philippines, that I picked up during my recent trip there.

Excerpts from page 278-283 of State and Society in the Philippines, by Patricio N. Abinales and Donna J. Amoroso, 2005. I’ve bolded the most important bits.
Continue reading Coup attempt and crackdown in the Philippines – some background information

OK, so I had a dream with this insane concept for a movie

I have lunch with Roland Soong and his Chinese girlfriend (petite, bubbly voice, intelligent) at a Chinese restaurant in a Japanese city (Osaka?). We discuss poverty in Japan and China and I mention something about a black underclass in Japan. We discuss other really intelligent things and then go and take some kind of weird water ride that’s kind of like underwater paddleboats. The end of the ride deposits us in a huge pond where this funny white guy is splashing everyone.

Then we walk outside the building, which was white with this glass exterior. I have a thought that I really like it when people have toothy grins and the reason I don’t like people sometimes is just because their smiles are a little off, or really just not toothy enough.
Continue reading OK, so I had a dream with this insane concept for a movie