Given the frequency of how many social events for complete strangers are held in Tokyo, it is often interesting to see why many people choose not to participate in any of them. Some are rather understandable, like the fact that many people (especially among foreign students) are unwilling to shell out money for socializing when they are in financially dire straits to begin with. Others are just pathologically introverted, mentally unfit for for putting themselves in front of large groups of people for the sake of just getting to know people in fleeting ways. The anxiety of such experiences, for them, is traumatizing.
Saturday, November 4, 2017
Friday, September 8, 2017
at 1:35 PM
In Tokyo's social meetups, attendees frequently ask each other about their respective personal hobbies. Trying to come up with something that is not too cliched ("I like to travel around the world!") the author usually tell people that he enjoys going to such social events and speaking with complete strangers. In fact, he would add, he enjoys speaking to strangers so much that he'd rather devote more time meeting new people out of the blue that go through the troubles of communicating and setting up meetups with his own long-time acquaintances.
Monday, September 4, 2017
at 7:50 AM
If there is anything that characterizes life in rural Africa, it is the small social circles that many expats (more often than not, choose to) confine themselves. A small group of people have very specific conversations about work and life in a small town, dealing with issues that largely remain unchanged over the course of years. The fact that people and topics of conversation change so little in such a long time means that expats living in rural Africa develop a very specific way of speaking to a very specific group of people, tailored for long-term relationships and not so much for meeting new ones out of the blue.
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
at 2:58 PM
There is one trend that has often been proven to be true in the field of political science. That is the idea that older members of a particular society, when holding everything else constant, tends to be more conservative in ideology compared to more youthful counterparts. In fact, even when looking at any particular neighborhoods, as the population grows older, political leanings move to the right. On economic issues, older people tend to, as compared to youths, oppose in greater numbers high taxes and income redistribution, while on social issues, they oppose homosexuality, abortion, and marijuana legalization.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
at 4:35 AM
The year 2000 started well. I was an ecstatic little boy graduating from elementary school in provincial Japan. Finally, I was joining the “big boys” at the middle school across the street, donning the cool uniforms that I observed in pure envy for the past six years. Change was afoot, and I was so ready to embrace it. Instead, the change was much more radical than I had ever imagined. Instead of moving across the street, father came home one day and notified that our whole family is moving to the USA, thousands of miles away.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
at 3:08 AM
There is no doubt that that rural Africa is not a desirable destination for food-lovers. This blog has reiterated that fact repeatedly in previous blog posts. So, logically speaking, someone who loves food but have not had the chance to enjoy many different kinds of it should make every effort to enjoy that great variety after leaving rural Africa. Without going to excess, the person should be finding the most delicious spots around town, so that s/he can make up lost times of eating rice and beans everyday in rural Africa. And the person would absolutely enjoy that exercise.
Friday, June 9, 2017
at 6:57 AM
It has been some six ears since I was last at my parents' house in San Diego. And it has been more than ten since I properly lived in it as a high school student. Returning the place where I studied, slept, and waited for news of being able to finally leave for school somewhere else, I noticed, before everything else, just how little the place has changed over the last decade. The same books I read then, the same furniture that I sat on, and the same decorations that I stared at still grace the house, with all of them in exactly the same places that I would have found them a decade ago.
Monday, May 8, 2017
at 2:25 PM
This author grew up around the world. From taking his first trip outside the country when he was age five, he has rarely stayed in any place for more than a few years before moving to the next location with his family. Courtesy of such experiences, he never had the opportunity to meet many of his distant relatives, many of whom are still in China, nor had he the chance to step into his ancestral hometown. One reason among many that pushed him to attend the wedding of his cousin (who he has also not met more than once every half a decade or so) is so that he can at least say hi to these relatives he has only heard about but never met.
Thursday, September 1, 2016
at 1:03 AM
The optimist will righteously cry out "never!" but the reality is, birthday celebration for a grown adult just do not have the magic feel that a 5-year-old would feel for his or hers. The kid, looking forward to the imaginary greatness of adulthood, cannot wait for celebration of being one year closer to that goal. But during past years of rather low-key birthday celebrations, the author never failed to wonder whether that purportedly "goal" was achieved, and by extension, whether it was worth getting excited about in the first place in his earlier years.
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
at 5:45 AM
For those who do not know, the author first landed in the US at age 12, in a neighborhood called Roxbury in Boston, MA. Any Bostonian would timidly tell you that this is one of the city's roughest neighborhoods, a classic inner city African-American area with high crime rate, poverty, and plenty of dilapidation in a formerly industrial neighborhood. Despite being almost directly south of the city's downtown areas, the 'hood that is Roxbury sees little sign of gentrification that has made restored the historical glory of the downtown, only helping to accentuate its continued obviously rundown nature through contrast.
Saturday, November 7, 2015
at 7:56 PM
When mentioning Japanese films, those in the know often come up with a few titles of horror ("the Ring" being the most well-known to a Western audience), cheesy tales of lost love (the list of tear-jerkers in this category goes on and on), or gruesome social critiques that evokes thoughts through exaggerations ("the Suicide Club" is a highly suggested film in this genre). In all three, the ability to use an effective script for storytelling, often with limited budgets common for Japan's relatively small domestic market, is a key for success.
Sunday, October 4, 2015
Thursday, July 16, 2015
at 11:43 PM
As previously mentioned, traveling in Japan is an expensive affair. This is true not only for casual foreign passers-by but also for tens of thousands of Japanese business travelers who need to keep their company’s budgets in line but get to places promptly and rapidly. For them, staying far away from train stations and other nodes of public transportation simply is not a viable option. To be on-time to visit their clients and return to headquarters, they need to keep to downtown areas where they can come and go quickly.
at 12:12 AM
The author met a former coworker from Rakuten, who he has not met in some four years since he quickly departed from the company after less than a year of work. Interestingly enough, he had met her on the very day she was handing in her marriage registration. The author, not someone eager in communication, obviously had no idea of the fact that she was getting married, or that she was in a serious relationship at all. Surprising at it seems, four years is not a short time for a person to grow up. It gives a person much time to proceed with personal plans outside the career path.
Monday, July 13, 2015
at 12:25 AM
For those who are knowledgeable about modern history of Japan, Kagoshima is very much considered a pivotal place. Led by the open-minded Shimazu family, the former Satsuma domain remained in contact with the outside world, absorbing Western technologies and ideologies during the long self-isolation imposed by the Tokugawa Shogunate. As the 19th century saw the forced opening of the Shogunate to Western military coercion, the leaders of Satsuma emerged to lead the reformist movement in Japan to modernize the country, ending the Shogunate and rapidly catching up with the West with Meiji Restoration.
Sunday, July 12, 2015
Saturday, July 11, 2015
at 12:55 AM
"Omotenashi" (おもてなし) is a cultural concept that the Japanese are deeply proud of. While difficult to translate directly into other languages, it pertains to attentiveness toward small details when dealing with customers in the service industry. Often, it is most visibly displayed in the meticulous training Japanese personnel receives on what kind of languages and gestures to use under what circumstances when speaking to clients, as well as the little things Japanese restaurants and hotels use, such as tools and signage, to make customer feel comfortable and convenient while dining.
Thursday, July 9, 2015
at 11:36 PM
The older generation of Japanese often lament that the youth in the country are not aggressive or ambitious enough. They are easily satisfied by the status quo and seem to be quite narrow-minded and short-sighted on how they see the changing world around them, much unlike the older generation that has experienced so much of sudden changes in their lifetimes. The elders say want the youth to go out there to the big cities and outside Japan, so that they can become global citizens capable of changing not just their country but be a much more active force in global affairs than Japanese have ever been.
at 12:59 AM
"Hey, do you know what time is it now?" A fairly normal-looking elderly man casually asked the author as he was walking down the backstreets of Nagasaki. Given the time, the elderly did not simply walk away. Instead, he pointed the author to the nearest streetcar station (without the author's prompting), and motioned the author to walk with him as he was heading toward the same direction. The author was a little hesitant at the beginning as he was eager to head to the next major scenic spot in the scenic port town, but little did he know that he was about to speak to one of the most legendary figures from a legendary time.
Friday, July 3, 2015
at 5:00 PM
Given that this is 3 days from the author's (once again) departure from Malaysia, the author is has a very relaxing time not doing much, well, at all. Reflecting back on the another year spent here required so inputs so the author found himself watching the new Terminator movie that just came out across the theaters here in Malaysia. While there is little notable about the plot worthy of in-depth discussion here, this particular installation in the series put a much stronger emphasis on the ability of time travel to change events, and the idea that knowledge about events in different timelines can be simultaneously had by one person.