Apolitical comments

Posted in: Departing U.S. Army chief says Iraq may have to be partitioned See in context

Partitioning of Iraq is only going to make things worse. I really don't think creating 3 states instead of 1 would spread peace and love among the conflicted parties. It would only make present conflicts visible on the political map of the Middle East. Of course it would be for the benefit of Israel, which is also not pleased by the fact Iran made a nuclear deal. But Israel shouldn't really worry about it - they already have republicans in their pockets. I'm sure they'll figure something out.

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Posted in: Wedding memory See in context

I must say the colors of groom's attire resemble the colors of a white wagtail (Motacilla alba). Wagtails are known for wagging their tails... obviously.

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Posted in: Man sets himself on fire outside Japanese embassy in Seoul See in context

That's one way to know you're dealing with a person who's having suicide tendencies. They don't usually set themselves on fire though, they can do more socially acceptable hobbies like participating in life-threatening sports or any other form of reckless actions.

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Posted in: Panel praises Japan's postwar economy before Abe speaks See in context

Everyone agrees with everyone else, they all listened carefully to Abe, so I doubt anything is going to change. Just another meeting of the mutual admiration society.

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Posted in: Their claims are based on their self-centered and extremely egoistic thinking that they don't want to go to war. We can blame postwar education for such widespread selfish individualism. See in context

His tone reminds me of George Bush: "Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists."

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Posted in: Obama warns rejecting Iran deal would spell war See in context

There should also be a map of US bases around Iran.

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Posted in: Erica the android can have 'natural' conversations See in context

I'm not really convinced that I would ever be able to speak to an "android" let alone any other electronic device which recognizes speech - and not feel like a complete fool. Because I really find the idea weird and unnecessary.

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Posted in: Butterfly effect See in context

Congratulations to all participants.

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Posted in: Do you think the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were morally justifiable? See in context

The question itself does not recognize that war itself is immoral, from the most humanitarian point of view. War is an expression of pure Machiavellianism - goals must be achieved at all costs (literally) - the end justifies the means. But judging actions by their results is not good enough, neither judging the intent. We aren't essentially sure how our actions will eventually affect the world - so neither intent nor knowledge of results is good enough to justify the means.

Actions should be judged at their core value. Destruction is universally bad. There is no doubt about it. Death doesn't make the society better and stronger. It is pure manipulation that people are somewhat categorized and placed in categories that makes killing them justifiable - World War 2 was the highest peak of thinking based on social segregation. It's a real shame that many people nowadays still think that their religious beliefs make it okay to hate and kill the "non-believers", "non-something".

In Machiavellian terms, was atomic bombing justifiable? Yes, it brought the expected result - same would have happened to Germany if the situation wasn't that good for the American forces, and it would be also justifiable. But again, the act itself was morally wrong. Even saving the world doesn't justify evil actions.

And a little off-topic comment about morality: It's a universal thing, I believe, that many of the "great" people were actually essentially evil, but judging the effect their actions had on a wider society, they became examples of good leaders, and widely respected people. The fact that Henry the 8th was a very effective leader of England doesn't mean his paranoia towards his wives was justified. The fact that Catherine the Great truly deserved her title, does not justify the destruction of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The fact that people called nowadays Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu lead to the so called "unification of Japan" doesn't morally justify all the killings, treasons, social segregation and cruelty they have caused. In other words - only actions matter. Actions and their definitive interpretation.

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Posted in: Ginza monk See in context

This reminds me of how money is the only thing that keeps me from having a fulfilling life...

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Posted in: Japan shouldn't cave to foreign pressure on PM war anniversary remarks, says aide See in context

I do think Abe is to blame (at least partially) for the current tensions - he has a grandiose personality, and admitting mistakes is not something he would do without hesitation. His actions do not go unnoticed. But in the end it means little in the grand scheme of things.

I agree that what Japan needs is not just ritual apologizing - it needs 1: Knowledge of own history, free of political interpretations. 2: Reconciliation with close nations (on a religious, moral level). Because no true reconciliation happened in Asia after WW2.

I live myself in a country that was heavily damaged by both German and Russian forces in the events of WW2. Yet symbolical reconciliations did happen, Polish and German bishops exchanged symbolical letters. Russian Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian orthodox church visited Poland in 2012, saying that that both his and the Polish Roman Catholic Church are “ready to forgive past sins”.

These are small steps towards normalizing relations. All of this is important, people should be able to get out of their comfort zones of nationalism and religious prejudices to see things from a different point of view. Of course the situation is not as good as it may seem. It's all very fragile, some issues are still being unresolved. There is enormous list of things we could demand from other countries, and vice versa. Still the political atmosphere here in Europe is good enough to put those issues aside, and focus on the present time, and modern issues. Historical issues should be dealt with a long time ago, and put where they belong - in history books, as yet another chapter in the human history.

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Posted in: Olympic emblems unveiled See in context

Interesting choice of colours. Since I'm a fan of colour psychology I looked up the meaning of each individual colour and made a short interpretation of the logo. The dominant colours are: black, red, golden and silver. White background is composed into the logo, so I guess that colour should be interpreted as well. The logo is dominated by black and red. Black is "the colour of hidden, the secretive, and the unknown, creating an air of mystery. It keeps things bottled up inside, hidden from the world.". Red is the colour of Japan, obviously, but also represents "energy, passion, action, ambition and determination. It is also the colour of anger and sexual passion." Gold is "success, achievement and triumph. Prosperity, luxury, quality, prestige, sophistication. Represents material wealth and extravagance". Silver is representing "feminine energy, moon, flow of the tides - emotional, sensitive and mysterious". Finally - white represents "purity and perfection, innocence, wholeness". So, what can be said with all this information - the logo has an element of mystery and "isolationism", introversion - black and silver. Red and golden can be seen in the context of Olympics - determination to succeed and the wealth that comes from victory. But also as national symbols - The flag of Japan is dominated by red, and the Imperial Seal is yellow/golden. Interesting that the "feminine" silver is put in the insignificant spot in the bottom of the picture, to create visual balance with the golden spot. Does that mean they are polar opposites? Perhaps. Makes me think of the yin and yang theory, which does accent balance. But also makes me think of the situation of women in Japan (it's a different story though). Finally, white represents wholeness, purity, perfection. It seems to hold everything together. What does it mean in the wider context - Japan's "nature" is isolationist and mystical (Shinto and Buddhism). Takes pride in it's Imperial Household (golden spot) and is dedicated to own uniqueness. Believes that all of this is a road to perfection (white background). Gives reassurance that everything is on its place (visual balance between golden and silver spots removes the sense of randomness in the picture), just like it should be. Here goes Hofstede and the uncertainty avoidance index. Japan is extremely avoiding uncertainty through it's national institutions and religion. Buddhism and Shinto may be more liberal than Christianity when it comes to interpretation, but still they are giving a complete picture people can hold on to. No place for any uncertainty. There is a clear path of perfection in Buddhism, which cannot be more literal. I think Shinto is not as direct in this but still gives a sense of "harmony" and "perfection" in nature.

So to conclude - this is more or less how I see this logo and probably - how I see Japan myself. But - giving the nature of personal observations - they are always one-sided and I'm sure lot of people can say something totally opposite to what I wrote and prove it.

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Posted in: Mega Dream Summer Matsuri See in context

Hooray for visual cacophony...

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Posted in: Face-off See in context

Yup, another populist slogan about people and their illusory power. Maybe I should make another sign too: "Flatten the mountains, turn back the rivers, reforest deserts... because it would be so cool" So, can any of you do it? You can't do it? How come? But I see you on the TV so much, you can do anything, right??? :(

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Posted in: Strange lights appear in the skies of Japan, but thanks to fish, not aliens See in context

Yup, whenever people see something extraordinary their imagination goes wild and conspiracy theories are born one after another. Thankfully everything has a rational explanation.

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Posted in: Are pop songs dumb? Study offers evidence See in context

Modern music adapts to modern trends: single use songs about nothing, because people always want something new. Catchy tunes are a lot more important than lyrics. Especially when it comes to global hits - people often don't know English so they have no idea what the song is about.

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Posted in: Coffee chain Blue Bottle brews long lines in Tokyo See in context

Too bad I don't buy overpriced drinks.

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Posted in: Ireland says big 'Yes' to gay marriage in world first See in context

19th country to legalize gay marriage, when there are 195 countries in the world. It gives a sense of how much this whole lgbt movement is related to anglo-saxon sphere of cultural influence.

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Posted in: The big heat See in context

He should cover his head unless he wants to get a sunstroke

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Posted in: Shake See in context

It's nice to see people sharing their trust and microbes through a handshake.

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Posted in: China's Xi says Japan friendship 'worth cherishing' See in context

I agree with you iskysong - Talk is cheap. Words have to be followed by actions. Where there is competitiveness, there is little space for being empathetic and friendly. I'm pretty sure Abe will not revise his own policies just because Beijing told him to do so. Especially when comments about Japanese war crimes have such a demanding attitude. Everyone seems to stand fast by their own agendas, so there is at least some level of stability in the current situation.

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Posted in: 1,000 line up for Starbucks' opening in Tottori See in context

It's not a big deal to get as many visitors when a new object is opened for the first time. The real challenge would be to keep the high visit rate couple of months after the opening...

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Posted in: Art attack See in context

Someone likes polka dot stockings here.

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Posted in: Starbucks comes to Tottori; poster compares it to Perry arriving in Japan See in context

I'm not a fan of coffee since I read "Spiders on drugs" website:

"Caffeine, one of the most common drugs consumed (...) in soft drinks, tea and coffee, makes spiders incapable of spinning anything better than a few threads strung together at random." It's not really a productive thing, right? It doesn't mean I don't drink coffee on some occasions though. But it makes my work as random as those poor spiders'.

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Posted in: Traveling monks See in context

To be honest, Buddhism and Christianity are both broad terms and both contain a mosaic of varying world views and moral standards. So talking about entire Christianity or Buddhism is just irrelevant. Doctrines are nothing if people do not wish to act according to what they say. I'm certain that beside a small group of people who are actually dedicated to what they believe in and have no life beside their own faith, people are just conformists who go with the mainstream without having any actual reflection about their faith.

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Posted in: Long night See in context

They could have used different colors for the placard - bright yellow text (closer to green than orange) on a blue background - it has a higher impact than black and white and increases retention. Yellow attracts attention and blue is associated with focusing. In the night scenery the text could be made reflective, to "stab" everyone in the eyes. That way no one will miss it. Too bad people don't really know the importance of colors and their subconscious meaning.

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Posted in: Mother admits throwing 5-year-old son from 13th-floor apartment See in context

What about giving the baby up for adoption? There is always a better solution than just becoming a murderer by killing your own child! Come to think of it... she may be just covering up for someone else, but it's something people investing the crime should check carefully.

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Posted in: North Korean defense minister executed by anti-aircraft fire See in context

North Korea is currently a state of a one free man and that man is no one other than Kim Jong Un himself. Even with good intentions, his actions are simply a sabotage towards his own people.

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Posted in: Germanwings co-pilot tried out descent on previous flight, paper reports See in context

It's yet another argument to support the thesis that crashing of the plane was intentional and calculated decision made by the copilot.

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Posted in: Back to the Heian Period See in context

Very interesting. Can't say I know much about that period though.

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