Japan Today

Piotr Gierszewski comments

Posted in: I see See in context

Nice. Until now I could only associate northern part of Honshu with Fukushima and Masamune Date. I like to read popular articles about physics and fantasize about different theories, though I'm quite stupid and I usually guess wrong. If I will ever have a chance to visit Japan then I'll definitely visit the region.

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Posted in: Would you support legalizing marijuana use? If so, why? If not, why not? See in context

I'm absolutely against the use of marijuana in any form. I accidentally inhaled this substance once (as a passive smoker), and all I got was a shivering feeling of paranoia, suicidal thoughts and a realistic hallucination that I was choking to death. That's enough for me. I didn't feel anything that marijuana smokers tell everybody - absolutely no feeling of relax but rather a feeling that I was unable to do anything and totally hopeless.

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Posted in: Police seek motive after deadly LA airport shooting See in context

@Nostromo: American culture of killing people? You think only Americans can kill another person? That's a silly statement. Americans have more guns than representatives of some other nations and some crazy people seem to use them from time to time in a completely random and unreasonable shootings. But think about the Jihad - holy war of the form of Islam that glorifies aggression towards non-believers and is politically involved. And emotionally unstable nationalists of all kinds who would like to kill everyone they don't approve because otherwise they won't feel "safe" (in fact they will never feel safe). Culture of killing isn't just american. It's a way of life that people are taught by their significant others, sometimes by official institutions. People are taught it, and then act accordingly. And that's the real problem. Is the access to weapons also a problem? Potentially every solid object can be a cause of death - but people are taught not to use them that way. I think that in the american case the problem is that the american protestant based model of morality is fading away and people are left alone with their problems as there are no functional institutions or family to help them. But I totally agree with the fact that people are responsible for the death of others. If someone doesn't believe me than let me get to the peak of the mountain of literalism. When it comes to guns, bullets kill one people after some other people got a weapon, pointed it at the person they wanted to kill or not, had bullets loaded, consciously pulled the trigger being aware of the consequences and shot the bullet causing immediate fatal injuries or bleeding resulting in death - that is lack of symptoms of life such as body warmth, breathing, pulse, reaction to stimulus, electrical brain activity and else. From this line of thinking it's clear that the person who shot bears 100% responsibility for the death of other person, because he or she started the deadly chain of reactions. Other case is if the person feels responsible. Last but not lease. I was wondering if the attacker was playing the game "Papers, please" where there is a similar motive of a terrorists shooting at a border gateway. For an unstable person every random suggestion of a crime can be a motive for realising it. Something like a conversation overheard in a cafe (motive from Crime and Punishment).

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Posted in: Japan Expo Belgium See in context

That's what I missed during the Japan Week in Poznań sigh

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Posted in: Fukushima workers evacuated after quake See in context

@FightingViking: According to the marker made by USGS in Google Earth the magnitude was 7,5. So we have three different versions. 7,1; 7,3 and 7,5. So the average is 7,3.

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Posted in: Supreme Advisor See in context

@Liam Roberts: Paralympics in 1064? You must mean 1964.

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Posted in: Ig Nobel Prize See in context

Interesting. Other thing is that classical music makes people more disciplined, or perhaps the other way around - disciplined people are more likely to listen to classical music.

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Posted in: China: 2020 Olympic success will depend on how Japan faces its history See in context

"Dogs bark, the caravan goes on", I'd say.

It would be a great step forward if China was able to be so critical about its own actions. I know from the experiences of communist states in my area that the overwhelming propaganda forced people to hide their real beliefs and caused the whole society to develop "learned helplessness" and heavy paranoia. Sociologists who want to know what is the world-view of Chinese society have to keep in mind that they don't like to talk about their opinions, and they will talk the propaganda speech, because of the psychological pressure.

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Posted in: TOKYO AWARDED 2020 OLYMPICS See in context

Congratulations, Tokyo has won the Olympics...!

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Posted in: Power of nature See in context

@Bertie Wooster: It's not that electric cables lying underground are completely safe. I know a case when during a construction of a metal fence a pole accidentally pierced the cable underground, and after a while local people called fire-fighters because the fence was sparkling. One fire-fighter thought of a dangerous way to check if the fence was electrified - he decided to touch the gate. Unfortunately he was electrocuted and eventually died.

Also, when it comes to earthquakes I think that it is possible for the cable to break underground, and such a situation would make it harder to fix.

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Posted in: Abe pledges comprehensive, prompt steps for Fukushima See in context

The PM served people a nice populist cake, but is there really a way to deal with the leaks? I did a little research on the web and couldn't find any satisfying answer. Is it possible that nobody thought of such scenario to happen? That would be terrible.

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Posted in: Scornful Syria hails 'historic American retreat' as Obama hesitates See in context

The latest Obama's speech has a clear message: "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

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Posted in: U.S., allies preparing for strike on Syria See in context

People were brutally murdered in Syria and now more deaths are planned to teach Syria a lesson. But what for? To overthrow government so that another one will do the same? To say delicately I am highly sceptical about this.

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Posted in: The top 10 words to describe Japanese people (according to foreigners) See in context

Politeness is one thing, and being sincere is something else. Politeness which is a formality is not sincere at all. You may hate someone but still you act politely because you are in the sphere of life which requires being polite (to use the Japanese terms). It's something that a person from western society wouldn't do. Western people usually think that if someone is polite that means he is a caring, loving person and his or her intentions are nothing but good. It's not the case in Japan though, because it's more like a daily routine. I think people are a bit hypersensitive about this in Japan. If someone breaches this law of politeness even a bit, the insulted person is obliged to protect own honour by either self-defence or revenge (and in extreme cases by ending own life). According to Forbes, Russia, France and Great Britain are on the other scale of politeness and are considered the rudest nations in the world. Still they are able to maintain a stable society without a rigid etiquette. Social contacts aren't very nice but people feel less stressed and scared.

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Posted in: Constitutional watchdog hints it won't block Abe on military changes See in context

The classic sociological definition of power says that the state has the monopoly to use physical violence upon its citizens. As far as I know Japan is a sovereign state and it has the freedom to decide about its military forces, so I don't know what is the fuss about.

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Posted in: Lightning strikes moving train in Japan See in context

It would have been a horror for me if I was on this train. When I was a child I was stupid enough to change the voltage of a running computer power supply which resulted in me being showered by sparks (of course the device broke). It was quite traumatic to me, and now I am overly scared of being electrocuted. Perhaps it could be even called "electrophobia".

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Posted in: Abe may make offering to Yasukuni Shrine through representative, media report See in context

Another insoluble problem for Sino-Japanese relations. With strong negative sentiments present on both sides of the East China sea I don't think anyone has a true intention of improving the diplomatic relations.

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Posted in: Nagasaki marks 68th anniversary of atomic bombing See in context

USA considered bombing Germany with A-bombs as well, if things didn't go as planned. The atomic bomb is controversial because it doesn't just kill people, it leaves radiation. A-bomb should be banned like gas weapons which were eliminated after the Great War (WW1).

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Posted in: Smile please See in context

I'm grateful that modern technology is able to give such detailed images, since sadly I don't think I will ever be able to afford a trip to Japan.

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Posted in: A look at history See in context

The holocaust is something every humanitarian person should know. But I strongly disagree with using holocaust as a tool for modern politics. It's disrespectful for representatives of other nations which suffered badly during this biggest madness of humanity. The war was a triumph of megalomania and valuing money above human life. If you don't believe it, try reading "Medallions" by Zofia Nałkowska - a series of short stories telling the discoveries of Polish commission investigating German experiments on humans.

Description in Google books: http://books.google.pl/books/about/Medallions.html?id=YZYo-U_NcD0C&redir_esc=y

And a quote from the book: We all live right by the wall, you see, so we can hear what goes on there. Now we all know. They shoot people in the streets. Burn them in their homes. And at night, such shrieks and cries. No one can eat or sleep. We can't stand it. You think it's pleasant listening to all that?‎

Jews weren't the only victims of WW2. But they seem to get the most attention nowadays. Nations of Eastern Europe are ignored, and I hope it's because people are uneducated about the war rather than doing it intentionally.

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Posted in: New immigration laws hinder some married expats returning to UK See in context

Large part of the European Union has growing problems with immigrants. But no one thought about immigration problems when many immigrants from all over the world were hired to work for peanuts (compared to the local salary) to boost the economy. The differences between currencies and equal prices for many products in both wealthy and poor regions of the world boost this process. And now France, GB, Germany and other countries have a problem with immigrants who create ghettos and generally make trouble. Immigrants who don't have the money to return home and who are rejected by foreign culture often have to enter the low-life. Of course the local judiciary also boosts this process, because foreigners are easier to sentence than citizens of their own state (foreigners have often no means to properly defend themselves).

And this process of declining immigrants in Europe is getting stronger and stronger. People are scared by the process of "Islamization of Europe" (the birth rate for Muslims is greater than European standards). But as the article shows, even local people are backfired by the new laws. My colleague from University and earlier his friend were participating in the Erasmus student exchange programme. They did all the formalities but were rejected by the Dutch University for no reason. I did a little research in the web and found out that the Dutch governments puts pressure on Dutch universities to reject students who want to visit Denmark through the Erasmus programme. This is unbelievable. I don't understand why do the Dutch universities signs international agreements if they completely ignore them.

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Posted in: Lifelong sex? Men say yes; women not so sure See in context

The differences come from biology. Men are always ready to "spread the genes", while women need to carry the baby and their organisms are not always ready for pregnancy (therefore sex - I'm talking from biological perspective, not that I was trying to suggest that sex should always be focused on reproduction).

In other words, women have a weaker need for sex, still they need sensual pleasure too (especially during menstruation, when even the woman's facial features change slightly to make her more attractive to men). On the other hand, men have stronger sexual drive (testosterone), and sexual fetishes, while women rarely have any fetishes. Perhaps men have stronger need for "triggers" (fetishes) which tell them when to "shoot the load".

Modern media worldwide seem to have a tendency to show a certain model of relationship. This ideal of a 'pure relationship' (relationship based on mutual pleasure), as described by Giddens is relatively new. It came from the romantic ideals of XVIIIth century, showing couples breaking the rules of hierarchy to be together (like Romeo and Juliet). The old standard of marriage was mostly focused on money and social status - connection between husband and wife was a connection of two families - and their estates. It was good if a couple could get along, and enjoy their relationship. Of course in modern times the family bonds are weaker and people focus on the closest relatives. Wider family usually meets at weddings or funerals.

I think that a 'pure relationship' is not the answer whatsoever. People are not sex toys, and need something more (like sense of security). The best relationships are based on friendship. While the passion burns out at some point, friendship doesn't. Of course, obligations also stay.

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Posted in: Back in time See in context

The film is historical, nevertheless it's just a modern interpretation of historical events. It shouldn't be treated as a source of historical knowledge.

If someone is interested in this particular story presented in the movie I'd recommend you the book "Chrysanthemum and the sword: patterns of Japanese culture" by Ruth Benedict. It's the last book of famous ethnographer of her times, written for the American military during WW2. The reason for writing this book was that the western world had serious problems with understanding Japanese culture, so different from the western philosophy. Ruth Benedict didn't have a chance to actually visit Japan, still her work is pretty accurate, and considered very useful, even today. I'm sure it did have an impact on the American tactics during the Pacific war, and the story presented in the movie.

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Posted in: Chinese ask: Why doesn’t Japan hate America for dropping the A-bombs? See in context

China is a "communist" state and such a political system requires strong xenophobia so that people won't open to the outside world. It makes people feel scared about other nations so that the heroic communist state would come and "rescue" everyone. Fear is a justification for cruelty of the state. But in reality the society is exhausted with the obsessive propaganda and their own nationality is tiring. At least that's how it looked like in Eastern Europe before 1989.

How long will it take to reset the Chinese-Japanese relations? I can give a local example of Polish-Swedish relations - the last Polish-Swedish war took place in... XVIIth century, and in modern times people don't care about it any more. So it took more or less 4 centuries of neutral coexistence. The WW2 officially ended in 1945, so: 1945+400=2345. But that's quite a pessimistic vision, since it would require another 332 years before China and Japan would really get along. Too bad that the year 2345 is quite distant, and it is far beyond the lifespan of anyone living today.

But after all it's just my guessing so maybe things will get better a lot sooner.

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Posted in: Japan officials mistakenly reveal internal memos See in context

Thankfully they didn't use Twitter, because someone is now making a whole database for every public tweet ever made and it would be hard to delete the delicate information.

Second thing, I daresay that Google is a reliable company. It informed me once that someone tried to hack my account. It was quite a while ago, but in the light of current events regarding spying in Europe I don't feel surprised at all. Too bad that I don't know anything interesting }:~)

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Posted in: Gays celebrate landmark U.S. Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage See in context

@Jimizo Not really. People divorce more often nowadays, and marriage itself means next to nothing. People don't even think about having a stable relationship and even plan breaking up. Perhaps people no longer need each other to survive and want to be together just for pleasure. But I don't find many short relationships a good thing for your mental health. It's a vision of reality where people are nothing more than sex toys for each other. That's sad.

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Posted in: Australia harpoons Japan's whaling program at U.N. court See in context

Nature always finds a way, even if whales will become extinct. With the current hunting tendencies on a global scale I suppose the natural selection of animals in the wild will praise the ones which are ugliest and useless to people, the rest will simply die out. It's not just Japan. It's a global process fueled by overpopulation.

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Posted in: Gays celebrate landmark U.S. Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage See in context

Another victory which praises sexual pleasure in western culture. This has definitely gone too far. Unstable relationships based on sex, multiple partners, sexually transmitted diseases. And people call this debauchery a victory of their ideals. Ideals of what? Life without taking responsibility for anything? Homosexuality is a learned behavior. How can people be born gay even if they need to learn how to walk? This is ridiculous. Society can't just pat everyone on the head and tell everything is fine, there are some standards which should be maintained.

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Posted in: 'I love Paris' image hit by crime See in context

People should just maintain distance and don't throw money at every person who asks for it.

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Posted in: Korean campaigns for removal of Japanese flag from French stores See in context

This is ridiculous. Flags don't hurt people. My sisters bought me a shirt with the Japanese wartime flag in Spain, and I had no idea that it was a "wartime flag". I didn't even know that there is such a thing as wartime flag.

Comparing this flag to the Nazi flag is an exaggeration. The Nazi were exterminating millions of helpless people in the name of pure hate. After the failure of Warsaw uprising in 1944, Polish capital was nearly burned to the ground, which was a personal revenge of Hitler, who said "Warsaw has to be pacified, that is, razed to the ground." Every single building in the city, every living person was supposed to be destroyed. If you want to imagine yourself the scale of the terror, there is a short clip called "City of ruins" which is a simulation of a plane flight over the destroyed city). The poems of Jan Bugaj who took part in the 1944 uprising move me to tears. I don't think the Japanese were as cruel in their acts.

But more importantly, Japan never really had an open fight with European countries. Even when Poland declared war on Japan (which was quite silly), it was refused and no actions were taken. And people from Europe don't really associate the sunrise flag with WW2. It is not offensive to us.

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