Travels to Tsushima, Part 2.1: Tripod Torii

Part 1Part 2

I was requested to explain in more details what I meant by the words “tri-trunk torii,” which I used to explain a unique type of Torii gate that I saw at Watazumi Shrine on Tsushima Island. Here are two photographs that should have been included in the previous post.

As I understand the local lore from memory and from various sources, the “tripod torii” is built around a quartz rock peering out from the ground. Local lore states that this is the grave of Isora, the shinto god of the seashore, the basis for which originated with the Azumi people, a seafaring people of ancient Japan who lived in northern Kyushu and the neighboring islands.

Travels to Tsushima, Part 2: Sights to See

Part 1

Tsushima has lots of fun places to visit. What I like particularly is that, despite traveling on a weekend in the pleasant spring season, there were literally no tourists to be found at all the sites I visited. This post will overview some of the highlights — and save the very best place for part 3.

Tsushima Guide Map

1. Russo-Japanese War Memorial
The Battle of Tsushima was the decisive naval battle where Japan decisively won the Russo-Japanese War. On the northern tip of Tsushima sits the memorial to the battle, erected a few years later when the locals were in a nationalistic mood. A hundred years later, Russia and Japan together erected a new memorial nearby, commemorating Russian-Japanese friendship. That monument also lists all of the victims of the Battle of Tsushima, and the roster is telling — there are thousands of Russian names, and just a handful of Japanese names.

Continue reading Travels to Tsushima, Part 2: Sights to See

The Meat Guy

It’s about time I finally gave a shout-out to everyone’s favorite American butcher living in Nagoya. I’m of course talking about The Meat Guy. Whether you’re looking to buy Australian steaks, mutton, real bacon, Polish sausages, American BBQ sauce, unique meats such as ostrich or crocodile, or even your very own American-style outdoor cooking grill, The Meat Guy is the place to go. He ships all over Japan, and it’s high quality meat that is welcome change to Japan’s delicious but nonetheless lacking in variety meat markets. The Curzon estate has been very happy with the bacon, sausages, steaks, chops, and spices bought at TMG.

You can meet the Meat Guy here. I’ve only heard his biography as rumor from fellow fans of his service, and from what I generally understand, his family farm in Nebraska produces Wagyu for American markets. He married a Japanese woman, moved to Japan, and set up this operation more than ten years ago. Now, thanks to the power of the Internet, he ships his goods all over Japan.

My favorite item currently on the shipping menu: Continue reading The Meat Guy

Check out Adamu pontificating on election matters

In case you didn’t catch it, you can watch me commenting on the other night’s election results with Ken and Garrett from Transpacific radio and special guest International Attorney Christopher Gunson.

The video is in three parts:

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

Skip around a little because apparently there are parts where the sound didn’t quite work. All the same you can hear us cover:

  • Our election predictions, which are almost instantly shown to be way off
  • How the lower house members are chosen
  • Breakdowns of several races
  • What the religious parties New Komeito and Happiness Realization Party are all about
  • What kind of makeup politicians use to smooth out all their wrinkles to achieve the signature “Ichiro Ozawa as slimy salamander” look (thanks to viewer Kozo, we now know they use a kind of grease-based face makeup known as ドーラン in Japanese).
  • And much more!

Once again, thanks so much to TPR for putting everything together and making it a spectacular evening (and for all the pizza too). Also thanks to Marcus for going out of his way to do the sound and video (he even brought a TV light!)

Bad Analysis/Articles on Japan’s election

There’s a lot out there, but these two took the cake:

Next first lady feels affinity with Michelle Obama
Miyuki Hatoyama, who has a certain bug-eyed similarity to her alien-looking husband, has said she feels affinity with Michelle Obama. Next weird line: “He is blessed by his ancestors and his supporters and protected by their power, so whatever happens, he should be all right,” she said.” Man, I would have loved to see that in the original Japanese, if such an article exists perhaps some intrepid googler can track it down for me. She also wants their son, a shy engineer studying in Moscow, to run for office soon, a statement not exactly in line with the DPJ’s pledge to end hereditary politics.

Japan’s Underpopulation Crisis Led to Recent Election Upset Demographer Says, an anti-abortion news site based in the US, has said that Japan’s demographic crisis led to the DPJ win. Without explaining the logic behind that assertion, we heard that legalized abortion is the cause of the upheaval — which I declare to be complete nonsense considering the frequency of “dekichatta kekkon” in Japan, although I don’t have stats to back me up.

What language to learn?

Joint posted at ComingAnarchy — weigh in with comments there.

I’m going to repost as an independent post something I first wrote as a comment four years ago regarding languages, and what languages to learn. I was reminded of this topic because of my co-author Younghusband’s post on preparing your child for the ComingAnarchy, as I wrote my first comment based on what languages I wanted my kids to study.

With regards to prioritizing language education, I consider five languages to be in the “first tier.” To rank them in general order of importance:
# English (North America, Britain, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, India, Hong Kong, most international cities: The international language, hands down.
# Spanish (Spain, Latin America, large US cities): A language used broadly in the Western Hemisphere and increasingly in the United States.
# Chinese (China, Singapore, elsewhere): Not yet used much outside China, but a language spoken by a billion people with real potential to become an international language in the 21st century.
# French (France, much of Africa, Quebec, Iran): It’s international prestige is shrinking, but it remains popular in many former French colonies, and a vital language if you are working with any business that has any connection to France, due to the preference of the French to speak their own language.
# Russian (Russia, former USSR, former satellites): The Russian language will shrink in importance as former satellites move to other, more international languages — Mongolia being one example. But for now, it remains the language of intercultural communication in places such as Kazakhstan and more useful than Turkish, which may well replace it in the coming decades.
These languages have intercontinental importance. All but Russian will stay in the top tier for the rest of our lifetime.

The second tier covers languages that have broad Second tier:
# Arabic (Middle East, North Africa): Arabic is the only language that is a language of the United Nations that is not in my first tier because it’s relatively provincial. Despite its geographic reach from Morocco to Iraq, it is not used outside that region, and is almost irrelevant in business except in the provincial Arab sense. You can get away speaking French or English in much of the Arabic world.
# Portugese (Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Numibia, Macau, East Timor, other nations in Africa): Portugese is a major language because of Brazil — otherwise it would be ranked in a nebulous 4th tier together with Dutch.
# Japanese (Japan; other metropolitan areas of Asia): Japanese is, believe it or not, widely used in cosmopolitan, connected cities in Asia, and I’ve used it to speak with people in Thailand, Singapore, Korea, and China. In my own personal experience, I have spoken more Japanese than English in the shopping malls and tourist areas of Seoul. Add to that fact that Japan is the world’s number 2 economy and the Japanese have poor English language skills.

Then we have languages in the Third Tier that are used broadly in certain cross-border regions
# Turkish (Turkey, adaptable to Central Asian languages)
# Farsi (Iran, Tajikistan, Los Angeles)
# Punjabi or Hindi (Much of South Asia)

But all of this is opinion. Does anyone else want to weigh in with additional comments?