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Little “t”

Encho-sensei

I’m in Tokyo for the week catching up with the family who has been here for the past month and a half. Earlier in the year, Izumi negotiated with a local kindergarten to see if we could send Tyler (5) to their school for June and July while Japanese schools are still session. I had gone to a Japanese kindergarten when I was Tyler’s age and it did a world of good for my ability to pronounce Japanese so the logic was that it would help Tyler as well.

To a large part, it’s been successful. Tyler has fit right in and learned a little Japanese to boot. I’ll post pictures when I return and can upload them from my camera. He’s off today for a two night trip to the mountains to pick blueberries with his classmates which is a wonderful way to finish out his experience.

The school is affiliated with a Christian church in Denenchofu, about 15 minutes away by car. For the past two mornings, I’ve been walking Tyler to school after getting dropped off halfway by Izumi’s mom on her way to work. Tyler leads the way, explaining all the things he sees on the way to school. As we approached the school on Monday, he pointed down the road to his school, signposted by the, little “t” as he described it. It took a while for me to figure out what he was talking about but then I saw it. The little “t” he was talking about was the Cross, up on top of the building. I had internalized the symbol so much I didn’t see it for what it is, a little “t.”

Tyler with his Japanese school teacher
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Current Events

Paul Krugman on Japan

Poking around to look for the latest Krugman column in which he illustrates the arrogance of President Bush’s one page request for an additional $25 billion for adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, I see that he’s also brought together the best of his writings on Japan into one place.

The state of Japan is a scandal, an outrage, a reproach. It is not, at least so far, a human disaster like Indonesia or Brazil. But Japan’s economic malaise is uniquely gratuitous. Sixty years after Keynes, a great nation – a country with a stable and effective government, a massive net creditor, subject to none of the constraints that lesser economies face – is operating far below its productive capacity, simply because its consumers and investors do not spend enough. That should not happen; in allowing it to happen, and to continue year after year, Japan’s economic officials have subtracted value from their nation and the world as a whole on a truly heroic scale.

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Sushi Bar Cam

Our old neighborhood sushi shop in Tokyo now has a webcam! Gosh, this makes me miss Japan. . .

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Train Station Melodies

Update (Aug. 2012): replaced link.

A charming site that plays back a collection of Japanese Station Melodies.

In Japan, special melodies play when trains pull into or pull out of train stations. These melodies are unique, depending on the station. This website is devoted to these sounds, giving samples of them. Please look through this website for more detailed explanations.

Click the link below for a sample. Brings back memories!

Osaki Station Melody

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Current Events

Gross National Cool

Do you think Japan is Cool?

“Japan is reinventing superpower—again. Instead of collapsing beneath its widely reported political and economic misfortunes, Japan’s global cultural influence has quietly grown. From pop music to consumer electronics, architecture to fashion, and animation to cuisine, Japan looks more like a cultural superpower today than it did in the 1980s, when it was an economic one. But can Japan build on its mastery of medium to project an equally powerful national message? ”
– from Japan’s Gross National Cool