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Steve McCartyNov. 19, 2013 - 02:59PM JST
Such symbolism is what was lacking in the Nobel Peace prize bypassing Malala Yousefzai. People can be symbols like no organization can. Maybe being born in Boston and having lived in Hiroshima, this meeting somehow seems historic to me, as it symbolically helps to patch up disjunctions in U.S.-Japan relations as well as the loose ends of our own stories.
Posted in: Kennedy meets emperor in ceremonial pomp broadcast live on TV
Steve McCartyOct. 12, 2013 - 09:27AM JST
Not a bad award, but it just seems that the Nobel Committee these days has its eyes more on politics than on Alfred Nobel's vision. They have no business either compensating for previous mistakes or preventing jealousies. An organization can represent an ideal, but only a human being can personify it. By spreading it out, they dilute its impact. The influence of the award rests in what each individual can be inspired to do, most clearly by the example of one representative individual. Malala nearly made the ultimate sacrifice for women's education and empowerment, and is not cowed to continue speaking out for it eloquently. Perhaps it's still a man's world, but the politicized designators of our inspiring exemplars need a wake-up call.
Posted in: Pakistani Taliban 'delighted' Malala missed out on Nobel
Steve McCartyOct. 07, 2013 - 11:28AM JST
The THICK wool turtle-necks and sweaters that I need when it really gets cold don't seem to be sold at all anymore, because they are scrimping on natural materials. Ones I bought years ago in Japan are all frayed and developing holes, but I need them to stay warm throughout the winter months. Short of spending tens of thousands of yen, where can this need be met?
Posted in: Uniqlo, 7-Eleven entice thrifty shoppers with little luxuries
Steve McCartyOct. 05, 2013 - 11:05AM JST
Small wonder there aren't professionals since it's a new field. For it to be a profession there need to be university majors or courses in it. That will take time, and technological trends change notoriously fast. One of my haaf sons studied Information Science or Systems Engineering and now works in Tokyo in big data. Even in North America they haven't clarified what social media really are (which I addressed in a 2008 book chapter) or how to monetize social networks, which may be just as well.
Posted in: Japan faces shortfall of digital marketing professionals
Steve McCartySep. 08, 2013 - 06:21AM JST
I hope this will help Japan get over its ambivalence about the outside world. Japan's ancient culture and language are not too delicate to withstand intercultural contacts. This should also give impetus to the Ministry of Education (MEXT) projects like the Global 30 universities, providing education in English. Come out of your shell with 2020 vision!
Posted in: TOKYO AWARDED 2020 OLYMPICS
Steve McCartyJul. 24, 2013 - 09:04AM JST
I'm biased being from Boston, but it seems like a good sign in the tug-of-war between nationalism, strongest among those in the central government, and cosmopolitanism, which is generally supported by the public. Provided she stays safe, she will set an example for Japanese youth in an age where foreign languages and intercultural understanding are needed and good for Japan.
Posted in: Princess Kako to have homestay in Massachusetts
Steve McCartyJun. 27, 2013 - 11:46AM JST
This article, while hedging its bets toward the end, helps to debunk the moral panic about declining Japanese abilities. Having two chatterbox haafu sons, normal Japanese boys, it's obvious that their communicative repertoire and expressiveness are far beyond past norms. The linguistic and cultural purists are just going to have to stew in their juices because, now increasingly, languages change.
Posted in: Kanji skills decline in digital age
Steve McCartyJun. 22, 2013 - 09:43AM JST
When I first came to Japan I brought a frisbee and there wasn't really space to throw it without disturbing the wa. In a major park I threw the frisbee at least 50 meters, over a streetcar, whose driver blasted its horn, then the frisbee stopped in midair and came back to my hand without my having moved at all.
Posted in: What is the craziest thing you have done in Japan?
Steve McCartyMar. 11, 2013 - 09:42AM JST
Enjoying Scrabble in Facebook. While I like the tactile sensation of the tiles, the board faces each player very clearly in the online version, which also has dictionary functions, etc. My Japan-born older son enjoyed trying the board version, and he in turn tried it with some neighborhood children, who also enjoyed it. Some games are so well designed, like Scrabble with all the variations limited only by vocabulary, that they stand the test of time.
Posted in: Which toy, board game or other playthings from your childhood have stood the test of time and are still popular with children today?
Steve McCartyMar. 05, 2013 - 09:40AM JST
While we were duped into being tough guys in American jungle schools, or fending off such rebels without a cause, Malala Yousafzai discovered that, mark my words, at least for young people, the greatest act of defiance in human society is (free and extensive) reading.
Posted in: Record 259 nominees for 2013 Nobel Peace Prize
Steve McCartyJan. 26, 2013 - 11:14AM JST
As a parent of haafu sons I could observe their surroundings growing up, and far from Tokyo it was close to paradise for them. They have always been accepted as Japanese because they have that common sense, plus alpha, minus KY. Whereas the principals in this article are on the outside looking in and, sadly in some ways, treated as outsiders. It is an improvement that Japanese are now asking what kind of haafu? and, in effect, admitting cultural diversity in their own ranks or country. I have heard the term 'new haafu,' which means something like boys will be girls (have a sense of humor and give them credit for being creative with language). In any event, some Japanese would really like to know what kind of haafu these guys are, because it's a novel idea to include them. Foreign-born people of Japanese ancestry are generally called Nikkeijin. The term haafu, with positive connotations and sometimes celebrity treatment, has tended to refer, not literally to mixed-race children, but to a certain experience of those raised in East-West bicultural families here. The notion of haafu thus tentatively opens the notion of Japaneseness to experimentation and expansion, possibly including an additional foreign flavor, the vanguard of nascent biculturalism and multiculturalism.
Posted in: What it means to be 'haafu' in Japan
Steve McCartyDec. 26, 2012 - 08:20AM JST
Sorry, I meant 'budgetary enemies' as in "left to their own devices, militaries everywhere are tempted to create 'budgetary enemies' in order to justify defence" budget increases (Lim, R., The Geopolitics of East Asia, p. 50) http://books.google.co.jp/books?isbn=0415360307. That is, the rival countries' military-related special interests both benefit from the hyped up threats. If huge countries are turned into pawns, what does that make us?
Posted in: Disputed islands once had strategic role
Steve McCartyDec. 26, 2012 - 07:52AM JST
Oh, and run "removing Taiwan from the first island chain" by me one more time. Territories with people, including the populations of Taiwan and Japan, treated like pawns in the latest Great Game. Our tax money chases the chimera of 'economic enemies' the militarists create, to our great shame.
Steve McCartyDec. 26, 2012 - 07:42AM JST
Armchair warriors, neocons, always trying to stir up trouble; leave it to the Naval War college to show some sense.
Steve McCartyDec. 08, 2012 - 09:56AM JST
Not that "it" - the idea of the prize, but the committee's political meddling has resulted in major fails each year since 2009. 2011 would've been good had they not included a politician up for reelection. Pulling the tiger's tail in 2010 and trying to push an inexperienced 'Commander-in-Chief' to the left only had the reverse effect of increasing political oppression. Some like Wangari Maathai really stand out, but there are so many potential candidates who are too busy working for peace to hype themselves to fame.
Posted in: Is Nobel Peace Prize losing some of its prestige?
Steve McCartyOct. 29, 2012 - 02:25PM JST
Minority Language at Home (ML@H) is logically better, since the aim is balanced input and interaction in both languages. But it may feel unnatural, for instance to Japanese parents who have complexes or misconceptions about languages. Moving abroad they may think "when in Rome," which would be a mistake. I've had the benefit of a few more years, where my sons as teenagers shunned me and English for a while to be popular or fit in, but they have grown out of that completely. Now they choose to speak to me only in English while being native speakers of Japanese. Child-raising is definitely a long-term proposition, so patience is called for, and may be rewarded when passive language is finally activated by necessity or choice. Perhaps most important is for kids to grow up loved, well-adjusted, and happy. A lively Q&A session including such concerns is recorded at the end of the following slidecast. Click in the circle to hear the recorded presentation synchronized with the slides, and just sit back for 42 minutes. Then it's possible to click ahead to the last slide and discussion that follows. Or click on the small triangles to just read the slides if you are in a hurry: http://www.slideshare.net/waoe/jalt-2012-bilingualism-4-lt-1
Posted in: 16 tips for raising a bilingual child in Japan
Steve McCartyOct. 29, 2012 - 11:35AM JST
It's not that related elements like biculturalism and the relative value of languages are being left out. Bilingualism is just a big field, and I first teach four levels of bilingualism to university students: individual (bilingual development, etc.), family (bilingual child-raising, etc.), societal (language policy, etc.), and the school level (bilingual education). For articles and more about this, check out the Bilingualism and Japanology Intersection at http://waoe.org/steve/epublist.html
Steve McCartySep. 20, 2012 - 02:52PM JST
Its bilingual site for more information is http://marketingjp.com/
Posted in: Japan's first social media-focused contest kicks off
Steve McCartyAug. 17, 2012 - 12:02PM JST
Logged in with my Twitter account and saw the info from which this article by AFP was drawn. Biz Stone reminds us that they also started Blogger. Ev gave some hint about the shape of http://www.medium.com: "Collections give people context and structure to publish their own stories, photos, and ideas. By default, the highest-rated posts show up at the top." (Not too bright either to log into JT with my FB account, ever to go "where angels fear to tread"). Now we need a reason to view or start a "collection." This is a public service announcement.
Posted in: Twitter co-founders create online publishing site
Steve McCartyAug. 17, 2012 - 08:13AM JST
Went along with Ev before on free podcasting with Odeo, but then everything was deleted when they started Twitter. Brand loyalty should be mutual. Medium.com sounds interesting, but how will it differ from blogs and, by the same token, how will quality be improved after the quantity increases yet again with the ease of self-publishing? The key may be in just how users will be able to work with others. The Web has succeeded as an academic publishing medium to the extent that academic standards and ethics have been maintained, but there continue to be problems of duplication and changing URLs that break links and confuse original sources. Incidentally, the word "media" is the plural of "medium." The news media also stand on the rigor of their editing, but they serve different masters and end up inciting conflicts or dishing out celeb gossip because people supposedly want that (how did they know?). Still the point is that self-publishing equates with neither news nor academic publishing because of the lack of expert review. We shall see if anything significant comes of Medium.com besides teaching people the singular form of the word "media."
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