@kanadamanada: Yes, I misquoted you. Sorry for this. In fact, I already apologized in a previous post (cf. onibaku at 03:20 PM JST - 2nd August).
@Seiharinokaze: I see your point, but I still think that what the author presents is BS. Is there any serious proof about that difference in brain processing of sounds? Even if there was, does that really present a sign of superiority? I mean, that's what the author says. The title of the book is clear and presents Japanese people as "a superior people". Moreover, he presents this as being "the elements in Japan’s traditional culture that have made them remarkably successful in virtually all of their endeavors". The reasoning seems quite clear: different brain processing => superiority => successful in all of their endeavors. That's what I'm contesting, and the opinion that you started, consciously or not, to support with your cicadas story.
So by primordial, I mean the possibility of communication between man and nature on an almost equal footing.
So you sincerely believe that Japanese people are better equipped to dialogue with Nature... and what is this assertion based on? I would gladly accept this if there was any tangible proof of it, but I've been given none so far and frankly your semi story is a bit too light and unsure to convince me (for all the reasons I stated in my previous posts). If you have any scientific proof, please present it. I really share your feeling about the need to better understand and communicate with Nature, but from my personal experience, Japanese people are sadly behaving more or less in the same pathetic way towards Nature than every other country of this planet...
Not anything about racial superiority. If you like, Japanese may be unevoluted people.
Don't make me say things I don't think. In a previous post (which was removed by the moderators), I was defending the Japanese people against such stupid attacks:
@stirfry: it's quite obvious from the intelligence you demonstrate when posting on this forum that you're not using your brain at all, so please stop making fun of "locals". Saying that Japanese people are not superior doesn't imply that they are inferior.
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@Seiharinokaze: you know what, for the sake of conciseness, I'll admit defeat about the Basho Haiku. Now could you answer all my other comments which were much more important and relevant?
It is not a matter of intellectual superiority but rather a matter of intellectual primordiality which we may be losing.
Wait a minute, if it's just a matter of "intellectual primordiality", then why the hell are you talking about it! All this discussion is about the Japanese people being intellectually superior because of using both halves of their brain. Your point is just off-topic. Moreover, what do you consider primordial? Is that not slightly culture-dependent? And do you consider that the Japanese people is the only one not losing that sense of "primordialidity"?
Ok, forget what I just said, let's close this talk in one clear question: do you consider that the Japanese is a superior people? Yes or no? If yes, prove it. If no, please don't confuse the discussion uselessly.
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Japanese probably don't complain about their summertime chorus.
To conclude about the original subject of our posts, I have to stress again that, as already said, even if you were right, this would be in no way a matter of intellectual superiority. It can be a matter of habit, of taste, and... of noise sensitivity. I mean, Japan is the country of Pachinko after all... To construct a thesis similar to yours: French people don't consider the smell of their cheese as smelly. Foreigners do. Are French a superior people?
How could he feel "silence しずかさや" if it was noise?
We're not gonna play on words. Do you consider the cry of a semi as silence?
As for the haiku by Basho, the poet didn't mean to comment on the noise of cicadas.
He surely didn't mean to do so, but he did! Of course, we could argue on the hundreds of interpretation to be given to this haiku (there would be as many as people in this forum), but the undeniable fact is that he describes that cry as "penetrating the rocks" which is not exactly what I would say of a gentle sound.
Moreover, the Japanese cicada's sound has been previously described as "noisy" in scientific journals. I don't know if it is allowed to post links in comments, so please refer to Nature 448, 977 (30 August 2007). In case you don't have access to it, google "Amorous cicadas drown out sound of silence" and you'll be able to read a vulgarization article from Times Online describing the problems arising of the "noise pollution" of cicadas and creating problems inside of the Japanese population. A sound reaching 95dB is ALWAYS considered by the human body as noisy because it is able to damage your noise sensitivity.
I don't know where you live, but I live 100 meters away from the mountains surrounding Kyoto. Here, the "insects voices" are really very loud and make it difficult to sleep. If you happen to live in cities, then I can understand that you don't hear the "noise" in the cicadas' voices.
Finally, if you're still not convinced, simply google "蝉うるさい" or something similar and you'll be able to judge from the numbers of comments from fellow Japanese people that foreigners are not the only ones finding cicadas noisy.
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I am not sure if Japanese are superior or disparate to other people in anything because of the way their brains process sound information from outside. But I remember being surprised to hear a comment by an American who said that the chirring of cicadas in this season is just noisy. I have never heard a Japanese make such a comment.
@kanadamanada: Hmm... could you develop a bit please? I mean, what you wrote doesn't mean much to me. First, comparing the opinion of a single American with the opinion of thousands of Japanese is irrelevant. Second point, Japanese people have lived generations with "noisy" semis. To compare with Europe for example, cicadas are not as numerous and noisy as here. Finally, if I may correct you, Japanese people themselves have been commenting about the semis' "noise". One of Basho's most famous haiku reads something like this (I'm not sure anymore so feel free to correct me):
閑かさや岩にしみ入蝉の声 (in the quietude, piercing/penetrating the rocks, the cry of a semi)
I mean, you can always say that I'm misinterpreting the haiku, but "penetrating the rocks" clearly means that he considered this sound as terribly "noisy".
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To come back to this article, I think it is a very good thing that the U.S. image is improving under Obama... but as said by others, it was at rock bottom under Bush, so it is something natural. "Better" is not "good". In my opinion, it shouldn't mask the fact that Obama has not totally reversed his predecessor's politics. The huge hype following the departure of Bush has pushed people to blindly acknowledge Obama's present and future actions. I guess that in 1-2 years, people will start seeing that the U.S. foreign policy hasn't changed as much as expected. I invite those who start loading their patriotic guns when reading those lines to take a closer look at the attitude of Obama towards Bagram's airbase (which is still used as a torture facility), the restoration of the controversial military commissions to prosecute terror suspects (reversing his campaign pledge), the thousands of Abu Ghraib rape and torture photos (another broken promise), and many others. Moreover, Obama still didn't get rid of some sticky "American" manners like involving himself in foreign governments' decisions (e.g. his speech about the UE membership of Turkey).
To sum up, even if there are some clear improvements and I was also happy seeing Obama win the elections, I still stick to what I said to American friends the day after his victory: "electing a better president is only the first step, the BEGINNING of the way leading to change". Now you can change... just do it by forcing your president to follow his campaign pledge!
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Stupid "study", real bullshit. Doing some statistics which would look like something scientific would require huge data collection. How many countries were surveyed? How many regions per country? What class of hotels? And I'm not even discussing the criteria (which would have to be relatively culture-independent as already mentioned)...
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@dammit: GPS doesn't transmit any signal. GPS position is calculated using temporal variations in message sent by satellites, that's why it's called receiver. So putting a GPS in a flight recorder would be useless.
@GJDailleult and teleprompter: Terrorist organization would have every reasons to claim the attack. Terrorism, as the name says, is not about killing people for the sake of it, but it's about spreading terror/fear. Killing is only the mean, not the end.
"If people wouldn't pollute so much -it would be much easier finding this plane."
Hehe, you're got a serious point here!! I totally agree.
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@sailwind: The respect is shared, you can be sure of this. I lived a long part of my childhood in contact with American troops in Saudi Arabia as my father was enrolled in the army. He fought during 20 years of the Cold War side by side with American special forces and always taught us that our two nations were friends and that mutual respect was the rule.
To come back to the main point of your post, I'm afraid that I cannot agree with you. The size of the country (whichever your unit of measure is) is unimportant in a relation of alliance (even more in case of friendship). What matters is the content of the ideas expressed by both sides. I mean, don't get me wrong, but the world/community we're trying to build is not one in which the strongest baboon is in charge, simply because he thinks that he can beat the crap out of the others, and he takes the decisions and the others have to follow. This is a primitive form of community which is, what's more, counterproductive, because the strongest baboon is not always right. Therefore, we believe that as civilized democratic countries, everybody should have the right to express his opinion with equal weight and we should discuss the matter together before taking a decision. To sum up, the weight of ideas/opinions should never be proportional to any relation of power/size... especially between people which call each other friends. The quality should prevail over the quantity. This is in my humble opinion the best way to manage a community, because it makes use of everybody's own skills and experience.
If this principle is not understood by everyone and applied, nothing can prevent new problems (like the war in Iraq) to happen.
The U.S does not seek to "dominate" our allies but as the biggest nation in the alliance it does exert its 'influence' in proportion to her position as the most powerful nation in the NATO alliance.
Please don't feel offended, but the point of view you're defending is exactly what pushed De Gaulle's France to leave NATO. What's the point in joining an alliance if the strongest nation is the one taking the decisions and the others should just follow.
I appreciate your post and your opinion but I think it is more of your personal dislike for Bush and his policies.
Thanks, I appreciate your post and opinion too. Of course I do dislike the Bush administration for what it has done, but I think our differences have their root deeper. Right now, our two people have a different view of how the "world democracy" should be organized. The difference is ideological.
Now that Obama has been elected you can like us again (even though his policies are pretty much the same but in a prettier package).
As I said before, we never stopped liking you, we just disagree with you on some important points. As FreeSpeech said, we put great hopes in President Obama and we wish things will change. But, while we will stay your friend, our position will not change until you forget about your idea of "world order".
A last little remark: please check some up-to-date facts and statistics about the economic/demographic/military/etc strength (both in terms of quantity and quality) of the United States and the European Union... you'll be surprised to discover that the United States should maybe not be "the one leading". Now check the same facts about Russia, China, India, and you might get scared about our future :)
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@Madverts: I'm happy to see posts like yours because they are sadly quite rare. I wish you were right, but from what I could see over the last year, the "tiny hate minority" is sadly not that small in JT. Moreover, some of their hate speeches were backed up by JT's mods in the past. I had many posts censored one after the other because of not complying with some people who were arguing literally that the US were meant to rule over the World, that other countries are unable to take care of themselves, and even worse than this. Therefore, I believe that many fellow Americans still don't really grasp the mentality change which would be needed to build a better world through international collaboration (and not imperialism).
@sailwind: Ok, I guess you're referring to De Gaulle's position. De Gaulle was of course concerned about the possibility of a soviet invasion. That's what French troops were preparing for, and that's what he wanted to avoid at all cost. But De Gaulle was a visionary (he had already predicted most of the Nazi strategy before WWII had even started) and was aware that once the Berlin Wall would fall, the US would be tempted of becoming an imperialistic country (isn't that what happened?), so that's why he maintained strong relations with the US, but without selling France's independence on the international scene, and that's why he pushed for the construction of a European Union. Look what has happened to the rest of Europe? Most of the countries are underlings of the US now (especially in Eastern Europe), unable to express their true opinion on the international scene. Why? Because the US has slowly taken control of them during cold war. Europe can be summed up in terms of power to Germany, France and the UK. Germany has been forced to silence through culpability and occupation. The UK has surrendered to American pressure a long time ago, and has been licking the US' ass for the last 20 years at least (I'm not only talking about Iraq, but about their global political behavior). What would be left if France had surrendered too? Nothing, Europe would be controlled by the US. So De Gaulle's position was damn good and brave at that time, and I'm really thanksful that we had such a great leader. If this hadn't happened, nobody in Europe would have opposed the war in Irak a few years ago, simply because our government would have remained silent about all this. Look at Italy, the UK, Spain. People were against war in those countries, but the governments couldn't move. Guess why...
So that's for France's position at that time. About the global strategy to defeat the USSR, there was no need to try to dominate and take political control on your allies to defeat Soviet Union. So your point is meaningless if that was your justification for the US' continuing attitude. So I'll repeat what I said, if it's a new underling that you want, we will NEVER accept it. Friend is synonym of respect, equality, trust, and mutual support.
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SOunds like the French are doing all the work. It wasn't that long ago that the USA was selling 'freedom fries' rather than French fries. When did this French/US unity begin???
So the French are allies again? Wonders will never cease.
I'll just clear up a few things for our fellow JT readers (@neverknow2: I guess your post was ironical). First, France has been active as a stabilization power on the African continent (probably even more than the US) since the end of the decolonization wars, and has had special alliances (independent of the UN) with most of the African countries (OUA) to guarantee their unity and protect their integrity in case in case of war. That's also why French military forces remain in some African countries (e.g. Tchad).
About the French/US unity, it began more than 200 years ago and has never stopped (on the French side at least...). France gave the Thirteen Colonies' territory to the US, and the US freed France during WWII. Such a friendship shouldn't be destroyed that easily. What many US citizens (especially JT readers) cannot grasp, is that "friend" or "ally" doesn't mean underling. France told the US that invading Irak without any reason would be illegal, shameful, and a terrible mistake. The answer we got was insults, despisal and arrogance. You broke the unity at that time. Now tell me today, who was right?! I think that instead of behaving the way you do ("So the French are allies again? Wonders will never cease") you should better start wondering a bit about who was right, and who broke "the unity"... I think it would be about time to do that, and to prepare some sincere excuses for what you have said and done to us at that time!! The problem is the way you behave with your allies, especially your loyal ones. Somebody who doesn't tell his friend that he's doing shit is not a reliable friend. We did, and instead of listening, thinking, and discussing the matter, you denied everything, lied and, worse, insulted us. Friendship must be a mutual value based on respect and trust, not on arrogance and domination. We will never accept the relationship you have been trying to build since WWII, but we'll stay your friends, hoping that one day you'll wake up and realize what you've been doing those last decades.
P.S.: Another example of unconscious will of domination. Look at the way this article is written (this often happens in JT). The first sentence starts with "The U.S. and its allies"... who are we talking about? The US and France... Why highlight the US like this, and refer to France (which has done most of the work as already mentioned) as "its allies" (a plural what's more...). That's another way of saying that the US is the boss, its allies (not even explicitly mentioned and put in the shadows) are underlings. Unacceptable!
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If talks with Iran don't work, then I say we take the George Bush method of doing things and blow them away. What do you got to lose?
Your point is so stupid... You still haven't learned from Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq!! Declaring war (or even worse, not doing so) and invading a country doesn't mean in any way being successful. Have you seen how many US soldiers died in vain during those last wars? Was stability and peace achieved? Do you consider it as a victory? Then you're really a fool! Moreover, there's no guarantee that the US would military win such a war. The two last wars were against poorly equipped and untrained armies. Don't go try your luck on more solid troops else you have good chances of biting the dust.
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@JapanHusker: By the way, you mention about looking beyond Iraq, but have you ever looked BEFORE Iraq? I remember that some of your allies warned you about the danger of starting a war in Iraq... and the only thing you have done was ignoring them, and even worst, insulting them. So now we could say: deal with YOUR mess!! Who's the troublemaker and the "whipping boy" right now??
I really hope that Obama will change the mentality of some American people who see no problem in stating that the United States are meant to lead the World. (In fact, thinking about it, I remember a small guy wearing a moustache speaking exactly the same way...)
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