Friday, September 22, 2017

The Danger of Gaps in Expectations during Social Events

Tokyo is a fine city for meeting new people.  Dozens of organizations ranging from students doing it on their free time to fully professional outfits run social events that bring together complete strangers from all walks of life to help them expand their often limited number of friends and acquaintances.  Generally, what makes these events so fun is that people go in with an open mind and very little expectations, making them extremely conducive to conversations with literally anyone.  In a Japanese society where social status and looks can be paramount, such situations, to say the least, can be quite rare to find.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

When Food Becomes the First Line of Institutional Globalization

In any university, often the cafeteria becomes a sort of the student body's microcosm.  The cheap and hearty fare of the speedy provided lunch menu is a godsend for poor students with tight class schedules.  Even for those with time to spare, cafeterias are perfect places to meet up with friends within the college, as they are usually centrally located, easily reached from offices and classrooms scattered around the school campus.  It is over the busy lunch hours when student life at its most basic social aspect becomes apparent.  Gossip, stories, and laughs fly across food halls unusually loud by Japanese standards.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Difficulty of Japanese People to Get outside Their Normal Social Circle

As mentioned in the previous post, Tokyo is full of social events that help foreigners meet Japanese people and simultaneously allow many Japanese people to learn about foreign cultures and meet foreigners. Many Japanese people take advantage of these events to get an idea of how English speakers speak and think, so that they can improve their language and international communications skills for the purpose of work and just personal interest.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

How Confrontational People Become Social Pariahs in a Non-Confrontational Culture

When the author was traveling in the Middle East, one of the characteristics that stood out most for him was just how aggressive people communicate with one another to get anything done.  When there is any sort of conflict, often there is a shouting match between the opposing parties, with little care for the noisy ruckus they are creating in the immediate surroundings.  Interestingly, the passerby usually do not even bat an eye at the conflicts that are happening right next to them, happily ignoring the anger on the streets as they go about their daily business as if it is all peaceful and quiet.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Can the Rohingya Crisis Lead to Ideological Realignment in Asian Politics?

Political realists have little concerns for morality as it is manifested in politics.  However human suffering from mass killings of wars and massacres can be, for realists, they are only perceivable as concrete actions to advance certain political interests.  Even the very idea of appealing to outsiders' sympathies toward those suffering incredible pains can be productive if propaganda featuring those episodes of suffering can help generate a sense of unity and motivate people into action (or inaction).  Realists who think this way must be watching with great interest what is unfolding among Muslims living Myanmar.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Regrettable Left-Wing Tyranny of Opinions on American College Campuses

The author is often asked why he chose to study in Japan when there are so many more reputable schools in the US.  Surely, even though he was flatly rejected by several of the country's best, if applications to slightly lesser known schools are submitted, there would have been a fairly good chance he would receive admission and scholarship to study.  In response, he would often cite the cheaper tuition and shorter time needed to complete studies in Japan, along with familiarity, convenience, and even lower living expenses in Tokyo.  But in using such mundane reasons, he declines to state one of the biggest reasons for not studying in America.