Downloading videos



Last week, I asked people to vote for the two topics that interested them most. Here are the results:

Food: 16
Suicide: 11
Hospitality: 10
Nudity: 7
Nuclear issues: 1

It may be difficult to do a formal debate on these topics at this stage but we can certainly discuss them.


We appeared on TV

Self-fulfilling prophecy

I am very worried by the easy dismissal of the possibility of eliminating nuclear weapons. I don't see this as realism but as defeatism.

I think that members of the class underestimate the potential power of the international community if and when it can become unified behind the goal of eliminating weapons. I also believe that the extent to which the U.S. as been an obstacle to positive change and, accordingly, the importance of the change in the U.S. position is being underestimated in this class.

If the global community cannot come together on issues such as the elimination of nuclear weapons and confronting global warming, we are, frankly, doomed. Are you really willing to accept this fate? Don't you think that accepting it as inevitable makes it more likely to come to be?


Notes on a podcast

I listened to the following podcast:
Can we eliminate nuclear weapons?

Speaker: Ambassador Richard Burt, Kate Hudson, Professor Mary Kaldor, HM Queen Noor

This event was recorded on 20 November 2009 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall is the time finally right to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons? Leading proponents of nuclear disarmament discuss why achieving Global Zero – a world without nuclear weapons – is both necessary and realistic.
  • We are no longer in the Cold War:
    • Now conservatives as well as liberals are supporting the elimination of nuclear weapons.
    • U.S. and Russia have agreed for the first time that the total elimination of nuclear weapons is a constructive goal. Both have about 10,000 weapons a piece (90 to 95 percent of the worlds stockpile)
    • President Hu of has called for the elimination of nuclear weapons. China is calling for the U.S. and Russia to make deep cuts. This could lead to a sort of reverse domino effect. (U.S. and Russia --> China --> India and Pakistan, etc.)
    • U.S. does not need nuclear weapons because it can depend on conventional weapons. This is different from the Cold War.
    • The possibility of failed states present a greater threat than we had in the cold war. What if Pakistan, for example, were to be taken over by the Taliban?
  • We cannot stay where we are. Either the countries that have nuclear weapons eliminate them or more countries will acquire them. Moreover, it may still be possible to move toward elimination now, but it is likely to be more and more difficult as the number of nuclear powers increase.
  • It may be possible to hide nuclear weapons that have already been make but it is probably impossible to develop a nuclear program today without detection.


Unzen is a geopark

島原半島は、日本最初の「世界ジオパーク」だそうです。The Unzen Volcanic Area is Japan's first Global Geopark. Click here for more information. 詳しい情報を見るにはここをクリックしてください。

Eruption of Fugendake (Unzen)

Here are some notes on a newspaper article:

In June of 1991, 40 dead, three missing.

The volcano had been dormant for about 200 years until 1990 (a year before the eruption that killed over 40 people).

In the eruption that occurred 200 years ago, about 15,000 people lost their lives. Accordingly, when the volcano began to show signs of renewed activity, local officials shut down the ropeway and set up a special headquarters in the police department to take precautions.

 1991年5月になると、山頂付近に溶岩ドームが出現、それとともに、噴火の模様を取材するテレビ、新聞などの報道関係者や、火山研究者が、安全と思われた島原市北上木場町に「定点」と呼ばれる観測や取材の拠点を設けた。Only newspaper reporters, researchers and others with a special interest in the volcano were allowed anywhere near it -- at points that were thought to be relatively safe.



 だが、山が正面に見える見晴らしの良い「定点」にいた報道関係者や、警戒の消防団員、警察官などは、この灼熱の黒煙にのみ込まれた。However, the force of the eruption and the pyroclastic flow it created quickly enveloped many at these points.

 大火砕流。その後、専門家の指摘で、この時の温度は、セ氏1000度、時速は100キロにも達していたという。The temperature of the flow was about 1000 degrees Celcius and it moved at a speed of about 100 kilometers per hour.

 さらに、溶岩が崩れて転がることにより、軽いはずの高温ガスに重い火山灰が混じり、重く熱い気体となって、低地を一気に進んでいったとする火山地質学者らの見方が、6月10日付の読売新聞朝刊科学面では、提示されている。The presence of lava in the flow of gases made it heavier and more dangerous than it would have been with gas alone.


 また、中世の騎士のように頑丈なヘルメット姿で世界各地の噴火火口の映像を撮り続けていた著名なフランス人火山学者、モーリス・クラフトさん夫妻も、遺体で発見された。 The famous French volcanologists Morris Craft and his wife were killed during the eruption.

 犠牲になった報道関係者16人。その多くがカメラや撮影機材を持っていた。そして、彼らは世界で初めて、火砕流というものの恐ろしさをはっきりと示す映像を、しっかり撮影していた。16 journalists died in the eruption, leaving clear images of the pyroclastic flow.

Change in meeting place

I'd like to leave from a bus stop that it closer to the dormitory. Here's a map:


The bus will arrive here a minute or two before 8AM. If your are late, you are on your own.


Schedule details

Here is the schedule I have made. This can be adjusted if necessary.


Topics and assignment

Here are some questions related to our trip to Nagasaki:
  • Can nuclear weapons be completely eliminated?
  • How can the threat of nuclear disaster be reduced?
  • Have nuclear weapons made the world safer by functioning as a deterrent?
  • Was Barack Obama at good choice for the Nobel Peace Prize?
  • At the time, was the decision to drop nuclear weapons on Japan the right one?
  • Should the 2020 Olympics be held in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
  • Does Japan have a special role to play in the world as the only country to have suffered a nuclear attack?
  • Does Japan tend to focus too much on its victimization in World War II?
  • Should nuclear power be an important part of our strategy to reduce global warming?
Assignment for 11/20: Do some research on one of these questions (or some other question related to nuclear arms, Nagasaki, or World War II) and write about what you learned on your blog. Be sure to include links to the web pages you referred to and or citations for any books or articles.


Map of Trip Plans

I suspect that I may make additions and corrections to this Google Map in the next few weeks but, in the meantime, I hope you find it to be useful.

View Nagasaki in a larger map


Trip Plans (revised)


I've found a youth hostel we can all stay at. It costs a little more that 2,000 yen per night but I've decided to cover the difference and ask you all to pay an even 2,000 yen. We will buy our own food and drinks for that evening and have a party together in a large room in the hostel. Those who decide not to drink alcohol should be able to get by with a total of about 1,000 yen for Saturday evening food and drinks and a light breakfast on Sunday morning (coffee and tea are free at the hostel). Of course, if you want to buy alcoholic drinks and more expensive things to eat you will need to pay more. We will have two rooms at the hostel, each with eight bunk beds so all of the women will be in one room and all of the men will be in another. If some of you want to go directly to Nagasaki by bus (that is, not take the ferry and see Shimabara and Unzen), you will save a little bit on transportation to Nagasaki, though you may wind up spending more durning you extra time in Nagasaki, depending on what you decide to do. It is not necessary that everyone travel to Nagasaki together, as long as we can all get together at the hostel that evening. I recommended that we see that Atom Bomb Musuem and Peace Park together on Sunday morning before we break down into smaller groups so that you can do different things you are interested in. Based on my current plans here is my estimate of the expenses, not including what you may decide to do on your own.

I've appended an explanation in Japanese that is based on an e-mail that I sent to the Japanese students. The basic information is the same but it contains some details that I have omitted from my English explanation (the name and address of the hostel, information about its location, etc.). If you are able to read the Japanese, it should give you and even clear idea about out plans.

「長崎カトリックセンターユースホステル」(長崎県長崎市上野町10-34, 電話 095-846-4246)に泊まることになりました。立地条件はすばらしく、大浦天主堂や長崎原爆資料館、平和公園などのすぐ近くです。気になる料金ですが、2,000円をちょっと超えるのですが、私が差額を負担して、皆さんは2,000円でいいです。8台の二段ベッドが入っている部屋を2つ予約しました。女性は片方に泊まり、男性はもう片方に泊まることになります。朝食付きではありませんが、パンなどを近くで買って、サービスで用意してあるお茶やコーヒーを呑めば、数百円で朝ご飯を皆で済みませることができます。晩御飯については自炊はできませんが、よそで食べ物を買って、ビールなどを呑みながら、一緒に話をしたり遊んだりできるような部屋があります。従って「コンパ」と言っても、食べ物とジュースやお茶だけの人は1,000円も必要ないでしょう。ビールなどをたくさん呑みたい人は各自で用意する、ということにしましょう。「節約型」の参加者はお酒を呑まずに、晩ご飯や朝ご飯には贅沢をしないというのであれば、晩ご飯、宿泊、朝ご飯が合計3,000円程度になります。それに、ゼミ旅行なので、少人数のグループに分かれる前に、近くの平和公園と原爆資料館を一緒に見るといいでしょう。長崎原爆資料館の団体の入場料は団体160円で、公園はもちろん無料です。雲仙では一番安い温泉(100円)に入ることを前提に考えるなら、日曜日のその他の遊びや食事を除いて、なんと、11,180円という計算になります。




Trip Plans

I haven't been able to work out all of the details yet but here are my plans for our trip.


Today's Topics

Last week, we decided to discuss the following two topics: Homosexuality in Japan and sempai / kohai relationships. Here are some questions we may want to discuss in relation to each topic:
  • Homosexuality in Japan
    • Do you have an acquaintance who you know is gay?
    • Is it risky for homosexuals in Japan to be open about their sexuality?
    • Is homophobia stronger in Japan or in other countries? (We would need concrete examples in order to try to compare the extent of homophobia.)
    • Should gay couples be able to marry?
  • Sempai / kohai
    • Are there sempai / kohai relationships in this class?
    • Does either the sempai or the kohai benefit more than the other?
    • Does sempai / kohai depend on age or length of time in a group?
    • What types of groups have stronger sempai / kohai relationships?
    • Are sempai / kohai relationships as strong now as they used to be?
    • Are sempai / kohai in Japan similar to or different from relationships in other countries?

Trip to Nagasaki

It has taken a long time, but I finally know my schedule. I will not be able to lead a trip until the weekend of November 21 and 22. Fortunately, most of you said you would be available on this weekend.

Nagasaki seems particularly relevant now that Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize and that there is talk of holding the Olympics there in 2020.


The Gym

Thanks to all of you who came to the gym on the 11th!

Some of you played badminton:

Some of you played basketball:

A few even played cards:

But I think just about everyone played volleyball:

I'm a little sore today. I hope everyone else is OK. See you Friday in class!


Volleyball, badminton, basketball, etc.

I've reserved the gymnasium for 1:00 on Sunday this 11th. 10月11日(日)の 午後1:00から体育館で遊べるように予約をしました。友達を誘ってね。

By way, in class the other day, I gave some examples of weird mistakes we foreigners have made in Japanese. I just tried to type "tomodachi o sasotte" (please invite your friends) and it came out "tomodachi o sasatte", which is not exactly grammatical but sounds like I'm trying to say "stab your friends" or something. (Correct Japanese for "stab you friends" is "tomodachi o sashite" 「友達を刺して」-- just in case you feel you might need this useful phrase.)

Party must be rescheduled

Due to conflicts that have come up, we will not be able to have the party as planned. 他の行事と重なるため、予定通りにゼミコンができなくなりました。I think will will probably hold the party in November. 11月になるのではないかと思います。We are still looking for a good place. どこでするかについても検討中。提案があれば教えてください。



We decided on the weekend of November 7th for our trip. Today we need to talk about where to go. Last week I mentioned Yamaga and Arao (home of sword smith). One suggestion I would like to add is Nagasaki. Obama has been invited. Perhaps we should go.


The date we chose for the party last week is October 17. We need to choose a place soon. Perhaps a few students can volunteer to organize it. ゼミコンの幹事になってくれる人がいれば大変助かります。とにかく10月17日を空けておいてくださしい。

Blog addresses

I don't know the blog addresses of most of the new members of the class. If you have a blog and have posted, and if I have your address, you should be able to find a link to your post on the right side of this page. If it's not there please contact me.


First class of the fall semester

Here is what I would like to do today. さて、今日は次のことをしたいと思います。
  1. Divide into small groups to get to know each other. 少人数のグループに分かれて、自己紹介などをしてもらって知り合いになってもらうこと。
  2. Take pictures. 写真を撮る。I do this so that I can learn the names of the participants and so that you can learn each other's names. お互いに名前が覚えられるように写真を撮るのです。
  3. Pick at date for a party. パーティー(コンパ)の日を選ぶこと。I suggest that we pick one of the following Saturdays: 10/17, 10/24, 10/31, 11/7 (I'm not sure about my schedule in early November -- I may have to take a week off to go to the U.S.).
  4. Pick a weekend for a class trip. ゼミ旅行の週末を決めること。(Refer to same dates)
  5. Make blogs and start writing in them. ブログを作って、書き始めること。Please click here to see what I asked people in this class to do last fall. I would like to begin in the same way this semester. 去年の秋の最初の授業でゼミ生の皆さんへの説明を見るためにはここをクリックしてください。今年も同じ課題で授業を始めたいと思います。



After we went to Soshisha on Saturday, July 11, we went to a supermarket to buy food. 11日の土曜日に、相思社に行ったあとに、晩ご飯の食材を買うためにスーパーに行きました。There, we took this purikura picutures. そこで下のプリクラの写真を撮りました。


Ms. Fumiko Hiyoshi

At the House of the Fireflies we also had the honor of meeting Ms. Fumiko Hiyoshi. 光栄なことに、ほたるの家で日吉フミコ様にもお会いしました。She told us about how she had taken care of the children with congenital Minamata disease. 退治性水俣病の子ども達を一所懸命に育てた話をしてくださいました。

The book you see on your left is about her struggle to help Minamata disease patients. 左に見える本は、副題のとおり、その戦いの記録です。Click here for more information in Japanese about this book. この本に関する詳しい説明はここをクリックすれば読むことができます。

I'd like to introduce a quote from a review (written in 2001) that has been published on the Amazon.co.jp page about this book. Amazon.co.jpの『水俣病患者とともに―日吉フミコ闘いの記録』に関するページに載っている書評から引用したいと思います。
Here's my rough translation:
Fumiko Hiyoshi was born in Kikuchi-gun of Kumamoto Prefecture in 1915. She taught at Minamata Elementary School, where she evenatually became assistant principal. Then in 1963, she was elected to the Minamata Municipal Assembly, where she served four terms. After learning of the plight of congenital Minamata disease patients, she established the Citizens Council on Minamata Disease, the first local organization devoted to assisting persons with Minamata disease. She now works at the "House of the Fireflies" growing vegetables as she assists litigants in the Kansai legal battle.
The Kansai case resulted in the landmark 2004 Supreme Court decision. この関西裁判は最高裁判所での勝利に終わり、水俣病の歴史において、たいへん重要な裁判でした。(日吉様の写真は相思社サイト上の『ごんずい84』より)

Thank you, Ms. Hiyoshi, for meeting with us. 日吉様、私たちのために時間を割いてくださり、本当にありがとうございました。


House of the Fireflies and Mr. Hideo Ikoma

On Saturday, July 11th we visited "Hotaru no Ie" (House of the Fireflies), which is a support facility for Minamata Disease patients. 7月11の土曜日に水俣病患者支援施設「ほたるの家」を訪問しました。There we met Mr. Yoichi Tani, Ms. Fumiko Hiyoshi, Mr. Hideo Ikoma and several others. そこで、谷洋一様、日吉フミコ様、生駒秀夫様などの方々にお会いしました。This picture of Mr. Ikoma that I have placed at the top of this post is from the Soshisha web site. この投稿の上の方に置いた生駒様の写真は相思社のウェブサイトにあったものです。ここをクリックしてもらえれば、相思社のウェブサイトで紹介されている生駒様のお話を読むことができます(機関誌『こんずい』80号より)。Our visit was so interesting and there was so much to talk about that I forgot to take any pictures. 話があまりにも面白く、あまりにも聞きたいことが多かったので、写真を撮ることをすっかり忘れてしまいました。

In this post, I'd like to briefly describe what Mr. Ikoma told us . ことでは、生駒様のお話をごく簡単に紹介したいと思います。

Mr. Ikoma is a very well known speaker (kataribe) on Minamata disease. 生駒様は水俣病の語り部の中でも有名です。The poster on the left is for a symposium that was held in Tokyo in the Spring of 2008. 左にあるのは2008年の春に、東京で行われたシンポジウムのチラシです。(ここをクリックすればオリジナルのpdfをダウンロードできます。)す。Mr. Ikoma is featured along with well-known people such as playwright and novelist INOUE Hisashi and music critic Peter Barakan. 生駒様は文化功労者の井上ひさし氏やピーター・バラカン氏と一緒に水俣病について話しました。It was a great honor for us to be able to meet with Mr. Ikoma on such short notice. 急なお願いであってにも関わらず、生駒様にお会いできたことは私たちにとってたいへん光栄でした。

Mr. Ikoma began by introducing himself to us. はじめに、生駒様は自己紹介をしてくれました。He discussed his birth in what is now North Korea where a Chisso factory was located, the death of his mother, and the stroke that his father suffered after returning to Minamata. チッソの工場があった現在の北朝鮮で生まれたこと、早くお母様をなくしたこと、お父様が脳梗塞で倒れたことを説明してくれました。His father's stroke stroke led their family to move to a fishing village called Modo. お父様が脳梗塞で倒れたことがきっかけとなり、茂道という漁村に引っ越すことになったそうです。Eating the many fish contaminated with mercury in Modo caused him to come down with Minamata disease when he was in junior high school. メチル水銀に汚染されていた魚を茂道でたくさん食べて、中学校時代に水俣病を発病したそうです。

Mr. Ikoma smiled as he discussed his suffering. 生駒様は笑顔で、どのように苦労したかを説明してくださいました。We were all very impressed with his positive attitude. 生駒様の明るい、前向きな姿勢に感銘を受けました。Thank you very much! ありがとうございました。



The trip to Minamata was a lot of fun, wasn't it! 水俣へのゼミ旅行は楽しかったね。

I'll write more later. For now, here's a picture. 後日、また書きますが、とりあえず、写真一枚を載せてみます。

Click on it to enlarge it. 写真をクリックすれば、拡大されます。


Numbers of Minamata disease victims and settlement amounts (English)

Hi! Here is a quick summary of the information I posted in Japanese about the numbers of victims of Minamata disease and the amounts that have received or are expected to receive. Please click here to view the Japanese message.
  1. Certified patients

  2. Kumamoto: 1,778
    Kagoshima: 490人

    When victims of mercury poisoning in Niigata prefecture are included the total of certified patients rises to about 3,000.

    Only about 13.5% of the people who have applied in Kumamoto have actually been certified. Certified patients can be said to be the tip of the iceberg.

    Amount: 16 to 18 million yen plus 67,000 to 170,000 yen each month.

  3. 1995 political settlement

  4. 10,353 people received 2.6 million yen.

  5. 2004 Supreme Court verdict

  6. 51 people received 4.5 to 8.5 million yen.

  7. New law (2009)

  8. Up to 30,000 people may receive about 2 million yen (details unclear at this writing).


The last cases of congenital Minamata disease

The following article is about how recent the last cases of congenital Minamata disease may be. The official position is that no one born after 1969 could have congenital Minamata disease but the article indicates that there is some doubt about that. Click on the image to enlarge it.






Numbers of victims and amounts of compensation

The history of Minamata disease is long and complicated. In this post, I've tried to organize some of the most important information about the numbers of victims and amounts of compensation. I'll post this in Japanese first and try to follow up later in English.

このポストでは水俣病で認定や救済等の対象をされた方々の人数とその救済等の金額を簡単にまとめようとしています。水俣病をめぐる救済等の全容ではありませんが、「見取り図」と言えるのではないかと思います。この形でまとめてみたきっかけにのは2009年7月3日付けの朝日新聞(熊本版、朝刊)の一面記事「水俣病救済法 成立へ」でした。記事には次の文がありました。
1. 公害健康被害補償法に基づく認定患者 
2. 1995年の政治決着を受け入れた被害者
3. 関西訴訟の最高裁判決で勝訴が確定した被害者
  1. 公害健康被害補償法に基づく認定患者

  2. 熊本県の対象者数:1,778人


    申請実件数 16,944 (取り下げ等の2,331件を除く)
    処分済み件数 13,203
    棄却 11,425
    認定 1,778(認定率 = 13.5%)


  3. 1995年の政治決着を受け入れた被害者

  4. 対象者数:水俣病未認定患者10,353人

  5. 関西訴訟の最高裁判決で勝訴が確定した被害者

  6. 対象者数:原告51人


  7. 今回の法案

  8. 対象者:およそ3万人(しかし、国が未だに調査していないので、被害の規模はまだあきらかになっていない)






News about Minamata Disease

The Mainichi Daily News published an article in English about the important political agreement that was made yesterday between Japan's LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) and Democratic Party regarding Minamata disease. The English article is largely a translation of a Japanese article. In this post, will quote from the two articles to made a bilingual outline of some of the key issues.


Here are the titles and addresses of the two articles from which I am quoting:
1. 分社化 (Dividing Chisso into two companies)
On Thursday, the parties also agreed to let chemical maker Chisso Corp., which caused poisoning by releasing methyl mercury-tainted water into the sea from a factory in Minamata, Kumamoto Prefecture, split into a parent company and a subsidiary. Sales of shares in the subsidiary will go toward future compensation for victims, and the parent company will later be liquidated.

Chisso, which is covering lump-sum payments under the latest compensation measures had requested permission to split up, saying that it wanted to move away from the Minamata disease issue, targeting freer corporate activities. However, sufferers groups are against the idea of the parent company disappearing in the future. The DPJ had opposed splitting up the company, but gave its consent on condition that the split would not be carried out until Chisso agreed to pay lump compensation sums.

2. 認定基準 (Criteria for certification as a Minamata disease patient)
Under the legislation, conditions covered by relief measures have been expanded to include sensory impairment of the distal parts of limbs, in which numbness becomes more pronounced near the tips of fingers and toes; a condition affecting sensation on the tongue; sensory impairment around the mouth; and tunnel vision. A fifth condition that the DPJ suggested including -- intellectual impairment caused by cerebral disorders -- was dropped.

3. 問題の規模と最高裁の判決 (Scope of the problem and the Supreme Court Decision)
Lump sums of 2.6 million yen per person were paid to over 10,000 people in a government settlement in 1995, but in a ruling in 2004 the Supreme Court applied standards that recognized ailments caused by the disease to a level beyond government standards. There are believed to be 30,000 people seeking compensation who have not yet been recognized as Minamata disease sufferers. Based on a survey in 2007, the government expected more than 80 percent of patients to receive relief measures.


Minamata disease is a disease that appeared when people ate fish and other seafood contaminated with methyl mercury. The first case was confirmed in 1956. As of March this year 2,965 people had officially been recognized as sufferers.

There was another issue regarding removal of the designation of certain areas as regions affected by Minamata disease. The removal of this designation would have made new applications for certifications impossible. Strong opposition from the Democratic Party and groups of Minamata disease suffers and their supporters led the LDP to eliminate this from the bill.



Second assignment

By the 3rd of July, post a message on your blog in which you do the following. 7月の3日までに次の内容のメッセージをブログに投稿してください。
  • Describe something you read in a book or article about Minamata disease. 水俣病に関する本や論文などで読んだことについて説明すること。
  • Include a citation. For example, if read part of a book you will need to include the author, book title, publisher, year of publication, and the number of the page on which you found the quote. 出典を明記してください。例えば、本なら著者名、題、出版社、出版年、文があったページ番号を必要があります。




I made a reservation to stay at Soshisha on Saturday, July 11.  I've misplaced my notes but I think the total for the night and a short tour was a little over 2,000 yen.





I've also reserved a bus for the following day.  It will cost about 40,000 yen at most.  So, that should be about 2,000 yen or a little less per person.  



We have talk about the university's decision regarding influenza.  新型インフルをめぐる大学の判断について話しました。One point I am interested in is the extent of the university's authority. 私の大学の権限の範囲に興味があります。For example, does the university have the authority to "order" students who are taking a year off to go abroad to return to Japan -- even when the students have arranged their studies entirely on their own?  例えば、「私費留学」をしている人たちに対して、はたして「帰国命令」を出す権限があるのだろうかと思います。

I am reminded of a rule at the junior high school near my house.  この関連で、家の近くの中学校の校則を思い出しているところです。Even with parental consent, "sleepovers" are prohibited.   親の同意があっても、友達の家に泊まることができません。

Special thanks to Ai, Komugi, and Tomomi

I would like to thank everyone who helped get ready for the party on Saturday and who helped clean up.  土曜日のパーティーの準備や後片付けを手伝ってくれた皆さんにお礼を言いたいと思います。In particular, Tomomi, Ai, and Komugi worked very hard and long to prepare all of the delicious food. 中でもKomugiさん、Aiさん、Tomomiさんが長時間、一所懸命においしい料理の準備をしてくれました。Thank you so much!  本当にありがとうございました。

Corporal punishment

Recently, there was a supreme court decision about an instance of corporal punishment that occurred in Amakusa in Kumamoto.  最近、天草で起きて体罰事件に関する最高裁の判決がありました。The court ruled that the rough treatment of the second grader (grabbing him by the front of the shirt and pushing him up against a while yelling at him) did not constitute corporal punishment.  最高裁は講師の行動が体罰に当たらないとの判断を下さしました。Perhaps corporal punishment would be an interesting topic of discussion.  体罰について議論するといいかも知れません。

Here's the address of an article in English:



Jury system

Since we had many different opinions about the jury system last week, I think this topic would be a good candidate for a debate topic.  先週、裁判員制度に関するいろいろな意見がありましたので、ディベートのテーマとしてはいいかも知れないと思っています。In particular, I was interested in different levels of trust toward judges.  私は裁判官を程度信頼しているかに関する違いに特に興味を持ちました。I also thought it was interesting that many of the foreign students had heard about Japan's high conviction rate but that most of the Japanese students had not. また、留学生の多くは日本の有罪判決の割合の高さについては知っていましたが、日本人の皆さんの方はあまりにそのことについて知らなかったことは興味深いと思いました。


Discussion Questions

Here are some questions I would like to discuss in small groups today. 次の質問を糸口に少人数のグルーブでのディスカッションをしてほしいと思います。
  1. Do you and your friends tell each other jokes (stories that end in a punch line)? 友達同士でジョック(落ちのある話)を言い合うことはありますか?
  2. Do you think juries are a good idea?  裁判員制度はいいと思いますか?
  3. Would you prefer that someone who works in a convenience store where you shop occasionally treat you formally (as a customer) or informally (more like a friend).  ときどき買い物をするような店の店員にはどちらのような対応が自分にとって気持ちがいいとおもいますか?「お客さん」として丁寧に接するような対応、それとももっと友達や知り合いのような接し方?
  4. Which of the following is most important to you when you choose a career? 就職する際、あなたにとってもっても重要なのはどれでしょうか?
    • Stability 安定 < --- > Possibility of advancement 出生の可能性
    • Reasonable working hours ほどほどの労働時間 < --- > Salary 給与
    • Interest in work 仕事に対する興味・関心 < --- > Salary 給与
  5. Generally speaking, do you approve or disapprove of the idea of "ladies first"?  一般に置いて、「レディーファースト」には賛成ですか、反対ですか?
  6. In your lifetime, have you ever experienced or witnessed discrimination or unfair treatment based on race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.? あなたのこれまでの人生において、人種、ジェンダー、性的指向等による差別またはそアンフェアだと思った対応を自分自身が受けてことがあるか、それともそうした差別を目の当たりにしたことはありますか?

Research assignment

By the 29th of May, post a message on your blog in which you do the following. 5月の29日までに次の内容のメッセージをブログに投稿してください。
  • Present a quote from a book or article about a culture, preferably one that is represented in this class. 本や記事からの文化(できればゼミのメンバーの中にその文化圏出身者がいる方が望ましい)に関する文を引用してください。For example, a short statement like "Japanese are ***" would be fine. 例えば、「日本人は***」のような短い文の引用でいいです。
  • Include a citation for the quote. For example, if you are quoting from a book you would need to include the author, book title, publisher, year of publication, and the number of the page on which you found the quote. 出典を明記してください。例えば、本なら著者名、題、出版社、出版年、文があったページ番号を必要があります。


Boke and Tsukomi

Here's an example of boke and tsukomi in an old American comedy duo (昔のアメリカの漫才における「ぼけ」と「突っ込み」の例です):

Saturday Map


Swine flu

Swine flu and the university's response was a topic of discussion last week. 先週はブタインフルエンザや大学の対応が話題になりました。Since then, some articles about Gakuendai's response have been published in English (and Dutch!). 学園大の対応に関する英語やオランダ語(!)の記事がありましたので、紹介しましす。

More topics

Here are some more topics that came up in your blogs:
  • Protecting wildlife (wolves, whales, tuna, etc.)
  • Mottainai (specific examples such as bathing in Australia)
  • Symbols as fashion
  • Humor ("A cruse ship hit an iceburg and . . . ")


Ash posted about symbols.  Ash君が象徴について投稿しました。His post reminded me of a site called Engrish.  投稿を見てEngrishというサイトのことを思い出しました。Here are some images from that site.  そのサイトからの写真をすこし紹介します。 I think they are similar to what Ash wrote about because, here too, the meaning seems to be much less important that the appearance. Ash君が指摘したこととの共通点は、意味よりもファッションや飾りとしての役割が重視されているようだということです。

Media critique

During our last class, I showed a video of a show called "Cool Japan." 前回の授業でCool Japanという番組のビデオを見せました。The show was about mottainai. 番組のテーマは「もったいない」でした。I said that the way the foreigners in the show spoke English to people on the street, who should not be expected to be fluent in English, struct me as rather odd. 番組に出ていた外国人が町の人(英語が得意とは予想されないような人)に英語で話しかけていたことが気になると言いました。Over the holiday, I started to prepare a video critique of this that makes the reasons for my concern clearer. ゴールデンウィークの間、Cool Japanにおける英語の使い方の問題点を分かりやすく説明するビデオを作り始めました。I'm not done with this so I can't show it to you yet, but when it's finished I'll show it in class and also post it to YouTube so I can put it on this blog. まだ作り終わっていないので見せることができませんが、作り終わったら授業でも見せようと思っていますし、また、YouTubeに出してからこのブログにも載せようかと考えています。

By the way, I did a video critique of another Japanese TV show called "Koko ga hen da yo, Nihonjin" (one that is no longer on the air) earlier this year. ところで、今年の春に「ここがへんだよ、日本人」を批評するビデオを作りました。I've put that on YouTube. YouTubeで公開しました。Here it is:



Don't forget that the party at my house will be on Saturday, May 16th. 5月16日(土)に我が家でパーティーをすることを忘れないでね。

More topics from your blogs

There were many interesting comments and topics for discussion in your blogs. 皆さんのブログには面白そうな話題やコメントがたくさんありました。Here are some that I thought we might talk about. いくつかをピックアップしてみたいと思います。I don't have time to explain them so I'll just list them for now. 説明を書く時間がありませんので、とりあえずリストアップするだけにします。
  • Mottainai (もったいない)
  • Staring at foreigners (外国人をじろじろと見る)
  • Tipping (チップの習慣)
  • Working hard(長時間労働)
  • Modesty (謙遜)
    • 「つまらないものですが・・・」("This is a lousy gift but . . .")
    • 「親ばか」("Stupid parents")
    • Sincerity (何でも言う、という訳ではない)
  • アニメ文化 (Anime culture)
  • 留学の予定 (Plans to study abroad)
  • 「しちゃかちゃ」(Kumamoto dialect)
  • Cuteness (かわいさ)
  • Humor (笑いの取り方)
  • "Ladies first" (「レディーファースト)
  • 騒音(noise)


Topics from your blogs

Thanks to all of you who have posted messages on your blog. 投稿してくれた皆さんに対してお礼を言いたいと思います。Some interesting topics for discussion have come up. いくつかの興味深いテーマが出てきました。Here are some examples. 例えば・・・
  • Are oseji (insincere compliments) unique to Japan? お世辞は日本独自の文化か?
  • Do Japanese people think they have to work too hard? 日本人は自分たちが働きすぎたと思っているか?
  • Foreigners are friendly. 外国人はフレンドリーだ。
  • Kissing and hugging in front of others by foreigners surprised me. 外国人が人前でキスしたり、抱き合ったりすることに驚いた。
  • Japanese commercials are different from Canadian commercials. 日本のCMはカナダのものと違う。
These are good topics for discussion. ディスカッションにいい話題だと思います。Unfortunately, too few people have posted. ただ、まだ投稿が足りません。So, I'd like to have one more class in the computer room to get things rolling. だから、もう一度だけ軌道に載せるためにパソコンの部屋で授業をしたいと思います。


First class of 2009

First of all, I must apologize for the terrible mistake I made last week. まず、先週、たいへんな勘違いをしてしまったことについてお詫びをしたいと思います。As I have already explained to many of you, in past years seminars at this university started one week later than other class. 既に何人かに説明しているように、去年までこの大学での演習は一週間遅れて始まっていました。I was not aware of the change in the schedule, though I should have been. 今年からは講義もゼミも一緒に始まるようになることを理解していませんでしたが、それは私のミスで、後で確かめたらその変更が今年の日程に書いてありました。Please accept my apologies. お許しください。

Now, here is what I would like to do today. さて、今日は次のことをしたいと思います。
  1. Divide into small groups to get to know each other. 少人数のグループに分かれて、自己紹介などをしてもらって知り合いになってもらうこと。
  2. Take pictures. 写真を撮る。I do this so that I can learn the names of the participants and so that you can learn each other's names. お互いに名前が覚えられるように写真を撮るのです。
  3. Pick at date for a party. パーティー(コンパ)の日を選ぶこと。I suggest that we pick one of the following Saturdays: 4/25, 5/9, 5/16, 5/23 or 5/30.
  4. Pick a weekend for a class trip. ゼミ旅行の週末を決めること。5/16, 5/23, 5/30, 6/6, 6/13, 6/20, 6/27, 7/4 and 7/11 are possibilities.
  5. Make blogs and start writing in them. ブログを作って、書き始めること。Please click here to see what I asked people in this class to do last semester. I would like to begin in the same way this semester. 去年の秋の最初の授業でゼミ生の皆さんへの説明を見るためにはここをクリックしてください。今年も同じ課題で授業を始めたいと思います。


Women and elections

I'd like to suggest some points that may be relevant to tomorrow's debate regarding whether or not there is a need to increase the representation of women in Japanese politics. 日本の政治における女性の参加を増やすこと(つまり、女性国会議員などの数を増やすこと)が必要かどうかに関するディベート関連の論点を紹介したいと思います。

An argument that can be made against that idea that more women representatives are needed is that through free and fair elections the people (including the women) choose their representatives, so the will of the people is thereby properly determined -- the end. 更に女性議員を増やす必要がない側の論点の1つは、公正な選挙を通じて、有権者(もちろん女性を含めて)が自分たちの代表者を選んでいるわけですので、結果とそれでいいはずです -- おわり 。One question that might be raised about this argument, however, is Has the will of the people really been expressed in the elections without distortion? しかし、このような主張について提示できる疑問として、民意は本当にゆがみなどなく選挙を通じてあらわれているのしょうか、というのが

Here are some problems that might distort the expression of the will of the people. 国民の意思のあらわれをゆがめる恐れのあることとして挙げられるのは次のとおり:
  • Old boy networks (OBのネットワーク)
  • Money in politics (政治献金などの仕組み)
  • Media bias (メディア・バイアス [ゆがみ])
If there has been distortion and the elections don't represent the true will of the people for some reason, one can argue that steps need to be taken to correct the situation. 何らかのゆがめが認められるなら、結果に問題があるかも知れないし、より良い結果が出るような改善が必要だという議論が成り立つ訳です。


Debate preparation

On Monday we will have our debates on the two topics that have been chosen. 選ばれた2つのテーマに関するディベートはいよいよ月曜日です。Several seminar participants have written about their topics in their blogs. ゼミ参加者の中には、ブログでテーマについて書いています。In response to the posts that have been written in Japanese, I have summarized some of the key points in English in the form of comments to those posts. 日本語だけで書かれている投稿については、私がコメントの形で要点を英語で書いています。There isn't much time until the debates so I would like everyone who has not written in their blogs yet to do so as soon as possible. ディベートまではあまり時間がありませんので、まだ書いていない人にはできるだけ早くブログに書いてもらいたいと思います。If you are not sure what to write in your blog, please begin by reading what I have written in my blog about the debate and what others have posted so far. 何を書いたらいいかがわからない場合は、まず私がディベートについて書いてきたことや他のゼミ生が書いていることを読んでください。 At the very least, I would like everyone to have commented on one of their classmate's blogs by Monday. 少なくとも、月曜日までに全員に他のゼミ生がブログに書いたことについてコメントをしてほしいと思います。

On the day of the debate, it will be very important that each member of your team have a variety of reasons prepared that you can give in favor of your position. ディベート当日までに、チームメンバー一人一人が自分たちの主張の根拠となる理由をいくつか言えるように準備しておくが重要です。I will give you a few minutes at the beginning of class to share ideas so that everyone will be able to participate. 授業のはじめに、チームごとに全員が参加できるように理由などについて打ち合わせをする時間を与えます。Therefore, it will be particularly important to come to class on time. 従って、時間を守って出席することは特に重要となります。



Example of affection in public

In order to debate the pros and cons of "affection in public" we need a concrete example. How about this one? 人前でのいちゃいちやについてディベートをするためには具体的な例があるといいかも知れません。これはどう?



In today's class and over the next week, I would like you to do the following. 今日の授業や次の授業までに次のことをやってほしいと思います。
  1. In small groups (少人数のグループで)
    • Begin making a list of reasons to support your position (自分のグループの立場を裏付ける理由のリストを作り始めること)
    • Begin making a list of reasons your opponents may use to support their position (相手のグループの立場を裏付ける理由のリストを作り始めること)
    • Talk about ways to respond to your opponents' arguments (相手チームの理屈にどう対応するかについて検討する)
  2. On your blogs(ブログで)
    • Write about a web page or other resource you found on your own that is relevant to your topic(テーマ関連のウェブサイトや本などで自分自身で見つけたものについてブログで書くこと)
    • Write comments on something another member of the class has posted about one of the debate topics on his or her blog(ゼミのメンバーがブログでいずれかのディベートのテーマについて投稿した内容についてコメントを書き込むこと)

Debate Rules

Both teams will prepare two opening statements (summaries of the main reasons supporting your position), one in Japanese and one in English. Each statement should be no more than two minutes long. それぞれのチームは英語と日本語とでチームの立場を裏付ける主な理由を説明するopening statementを準備します。それぞれの言語でのstatementは2分以内に終わらせなければなりません。

Debate following the opening statements must obey the following rules. Opening statement以後のディベートでは次のルールに従わなければなりません。
  1. Each statement must conclude within one minute of the conclusion of the preceding statement from the opposing side (not including time for translation). 発言は対するチームの発言の終わりから1分以内に終わらなければなりません(通訳の時間は含まれません)。
  2. Each statement must respond in some way to the preceding statement. 前の発言を無視せず、なんらかの形で言及しなければなりません。
  3. All team members must speak. すべてのメンバーは発言しなければなりません。
The opposing team will receive one point for any infraction. 以上のルールに対する違反があった場合には相手チームに1点が与えられます。At the end of the debate (15 or 20 minutes?) the team with the most points wins. ディベート修了の時間になったら(15分?20分?)点の多いチームが勝つことになります。If the number of points is equal, the team with the most even participation among members wins. 同点の場合は、もっとも参加が均等だったチームの勝ちになります。

Women in Politics

We decided to have a debate about the need (whether there is one, that is) to increase the number of women in Japan's parliament (the Diet). 1つのディベートを女性の国会議員の数を増やす必要があるかどうか、というテーマで行うことが前回の授業で決まりました。

Here are some relevant facts and sites. 関連する基礎知識やサイトなど:
  • http://www.iwdc.org/resources/timeline.htm

    1946: Women vote and stand for election to the House of Representatives for the first time in Japan. Of the 79 women running for office, 39 are elected.(女性が初めて国会議員になったのは1946年。)

    1960: Nakayama Masa is appointed Minister of Health and Welfare in Japan, becoming Japan's first female cabinet member.(初の女性大臣)

  • http://www.geocities.jp/senkyo_power/

    This is a very useful site (in Japanese). I recommend the following pages for basic data about the situation in Japan:

  • http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/dem_fem_par-democracy-female-parliamentarians

    Female parliamentarians (most recent) by country. 国別の女性国会議員の割合。

      #1 Sweden: 42.7%
      #2 Denmark: 38%
      #3 Finland: 36.5%
      #9 New Zealand: 30.8%
      #14 Australia: 26.5%
      #22 Canada: 23.6%
      #26 China: 21.8%
      #45 United Kingdom: 17.1%
      #61 United States: 13.8%
      #89 Japan: 10%
      #128 Korea, South: 5.9%

    This ranking is no longer correct. The number of women in Korea's parliament, for example, has increased dramatically recently (click here). このランキングは古くて、最近は韓国の順位が上がっています。リンクをクリックしてみてください。Korea now has 20%!

  • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kumamoto-i/message/9064

    This article says "Some members of the Kumamoto City Council objected to the language of a proposed bill for sexuality equality for participation in society, saying that it was "a denial of traditional Japanese culture." Scroll to the bottom of this page to find the response to this message. このページの下の方にある返信投稿へのリンクをクリックしてみてください。It contains links to Japanese articles as well.日本語の記事へのリンクがあります。「熊本市議会:男女共同参画条例、大幅修正し強行採決 『理念骨抜き』と反発も」

    Perhaps the result might have been different if more women were represented. 女性議員の数がより多ければ、結果は違ったのでは?

  • http://www.chunichi.co.jp/article/living/life/CK2007041502008848.html

    「女性道府県議 過去最多190人に 過半数占める神奈川・大磯町」. This is an article about a place in Japan (Oiso Town in Kanagawa) where women make up over half of the elected representatives.

  • http://www.dpj.or.jp/news/?num=14177

    「鳩山幹事長、参院女性議員らがそろい「女性キャラバン」発足会見 女性パワーで日本再生を!」This is an article on the site of Japan's democratic party about a new "women's caravan" and the need to rebuild Japan through women's power.

  • Quotas

    The following Japanese article explains that the use of quotas is being consider as a means of increasing the number of women in Japanese politics. 次の記事によると、女性議員の数を増やすために、クォータ制(割当制度?)が検討されているそうです。

    I learned from this article that quotas are being used quite widely throughout the world. クォータが広く使われているようです。See the following sites. 次のサイト参照:

    Perhaps our debate should focus on the pros and cons of establishing a quota system in Japan, as Korea, Canada, Thailand, China, the United Kingdom and Australia have done.


Public affection

In class, we decided to have one our debates about whether or not foreigners (perhaps from English speaking countries) should express affection toward a boyfriend or girlfriend in Japan in front of others, as they might at home (assuming, that is, that affection would be shown more freely in their home country than it would in Japan). 授業で、ディベートのテーマの1つを「人前での男女の愛情表現」にすることにしました。人前で愛情表現(例えばキスなど)をすることが多い国から来ている外国人が、日本でも同じように振る舞っていいか、ということで議論することになりました。

Here are some web sites that may be helpful in preparing for this debated. 準備するに当たって次のサイトが役に立つのではないかと思います。
  • http://l25.jp/index.php/m/WB/a/WB000610/tpl/laboratory01_11/bkn/20070927/id/200709270501/ccd/052/rfg/1

    日本語サイト。英語で簡単に要約します。This site provides the results of a survey about our topic (恋人と人前でいちゃつく; being physically affectionate with your lover in front of others). A majority say they can "forgive" such behavior but many say they cannot tolerate it. Other survey results are also included.

  • http://www.lovecosmetic.jp/vote/082.html

    日本語サイト。英語で簡単に要約します。Simple survey about whether or not (or underwhat circumstances) people feel that they personally can kiss in front of others.

  • http://www.koibita.com/ank/report/backnum/081023.html

    日本語サイト。英語で簡単に要約します。Another simple survey (but this one has more information, with pie charts) about how people feel about kissing (as a participant, not observer) in front of others.

  • http://item.rakuten.co.jp/book/3682814/

    日本語で書かれた本。英語で簡単に要約します。The title and theme of the book advertised here is "Where has shame gone?" The author points out that Ruth Benedict identified Japan as a shame culture. Yet, young Japanese people seem to be loosing their inhibitions about kissing in front of others.

  • http://amano.blog.so-net.ne.jp/2005-12-08

    日本語サイト。英語で簡単に要約します。This is written by AMANO Yukichi, a well-known author and commentator in Japan. He is complaining about the sight of young people embracing and kissing in front of others in Shibuya.

  • http://news.livedoor.com/article/detail/1700310/

    日本語サイト。英語で簡単に要約します。The author says there is a place in Korea where young couples are "allowed" to kiss in front of others. By the way, the author mentions that couples who engage in such behavior are (or have been) referred to as "bakappuru" ("baka" + "couple").

  • http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%90%E3%82%AB%E3%83%83%E3%83%97%E3%83%AB

    日本語サイト。英語で簡単に要約します。This is the Japanese Wikipedia entry for "bakappuru."
Before we debate, we will need to clarify our proposition. ディベートをする前に、命題をより明確にする必要があるでしょう。"Affection" is a little vague. 「愛情表現」は少し曖昧。Is kissing in front of others better? 「人前キス」の方がいいか?Should we choose a specific situation or place? 具体的な場所や状況を指定した方がいいか?