Saturday, January 28, 2017
at 12:06 AM
Chinese New Year, come to think of it, can be a very elusive holiday. Since it follows the lunar calendar that shifts back and forth relative to the Gregorian calendar in use today, the exact date for it fluctuates every year. There simply is not a clear reminder that "ah, it is Dec 25 today, so it is Christmas" or "ah, it is Jan 1 today, so it is New Year's Day." Instead, to remember Chinese New Year's, one often just go with the flow as everyone else celebrates. The local malls and streets, and at home the dinner table and the decorations certainly would not have one forget the important day.
Friday, January 20, 2017
at 12:43 PM
Many people see one's academic and professional lives are two separate,distinct phases. Schooling is something done in young age, a process of learning that culminates in certifications that signify one's ability to think critically and apply certain skill sets. Those skill sets are prerequisites to a second phase, professional work that apply and further enhance academic knowledge that can be directed and sharpened to achieve certain goals that are worthy of financial compensation. For most, one leads to the other (sometimes in reverse), and the two rarely, if ever, crosses paths.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
at 9:42 PM
As predicted in the previous post, the author's time in Japan cannot possibly pass without having to answer some questions about Africa. The questions are really as general as the title of this post suggests, and the inquiry usually comes with unusual solemnity incompatible with the rowdiness of restaurants filled with drunken salarymen. A deep breath needs to be taken before an answer is given. The inquirer is expecting some serious details, and with so much seen in Africa, it is difficult to select for which details that will most interest the inquirers within their short attention spans.
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
at 10:20 PM
Despite the continued doubt about exactly how useful English language really is in Japan, there is no denying that there is in fact an active, if small, segment of avid English learners in Japan. To call them "avid" does not imply half-heartedness. Instead, the avidity comes from the fact that there really is no urgent need for them to learn the language at all. They do not use English in their jobs, they have no need to travel abroad for either work or pleasure, and indeed, they have no need whatsoever to interact with foreign persons or cultures if so they wish.
Sunday, January 8, 2017
at 11:08 PM
The author is a big user of hostels. Being cheap locations with many people to meet and relative safety of numbers, they generally fit the author's intention to travel on the shoestring and bump into random people in random places. Interestingly enough, the author had never before stayed in hostels in Tokyo, despite having lived in the country for over seven years. The current trip gave him that particular opportunity, as he specifically sought out perhaps the cheapest place to sleep in central Tokyo, with the price tag of about 180 USD for a whole week and a half of stay.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
at 9:04 PM
Japan is a country of old people, the stats are very clear on this point. With one of the world's lowest birthrate and the highest median age, the country is set to become more and more elderly in the coming years and decades. But those numbers do not really sink in until one hits the streets and sees the country at work. Especially on menial public services jobs (such as street cleaners, trash pickup, train station maintenance staff), the average worker is definitely no less than 40, and more realistically (averaging) somewhere in the 50-60-years-old range. It is sad to see such old folks bending over to carry large bags or wipe low places.
Sunday, January 1, 2017
at 12:19 AM
Looking at international news on New Year's Day, they are filled with the revelations of big ities around the globe. The massive firework displays, the pulsing light shows emerging from skyscrapers, and the thronging crowds counting down in joy, the big city celebrations certainly deserve the coverages they get for their sheer scales, efforts, and mass participations. Here in the little frontier Tanzanian town, the same, of course, cannot be expected. But in its own, much more toned-down way, the people did go out to usher in the New Year, with drinks, food, and more reasonably scaled gatherings.