TheCaledonian comments

Posted in: Cold wave grips Hokkaido See in context

While temperatures are shown in Fahrenheit in America. I am often puzzled. Unify the units.

Indeed, unify to Celsius and join the rest of the world. This is Japan, the website is JAPAN today, and Japan--in common with most countries--uses Celsius. The level of arrogance in the demand to unify shocks me.

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Posted in: Tokyo 2020 unveils names for Olympic Games & city volunteer teams See in context

The name 'City Cast' works well in katakana. I hope that visitors who have not gotten accustomed to katakana pronunciation don't take it the wrong way!

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Posted in: It is wrong to use those meaningless conferences to embellish scholarly performances, and a waste of research funds. See in context

I get these weekly and have checked a few of them out. Typically presenters' entrance fee is in the USD400 (44,000 yen) range. The JALT International Conference is, by comparison, much cheaper at 21,000 yen and the IELTS is 32,000 yen. What you get for, say, 21,000 yen is a package of over 600 presentations over 3 days.

However, most other conferences are more expensive. The upcoming European Conference on Language Learning at Birkbeck, University of London charges 50,000 yen for presenters, for example.

Academia is a game, in a sense, though. If your work can be promulgated better at conference A more than at conference B, who is to say which is better? But this is just my opinion. I'd like to hear from someone who has actually attended one of those conferences that are being framed as a form of spam.

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Posted in: High schools in 2 prefectures stop asking students to specify their gender on application forms See in context

@CH3CHO You raise an interesting point. In terms of educational achievement, it's now well-established that females perform better than males in reading and writing and in continuation to higher education. Even the earlier belief about males outperforming females in maths is being challenged.

The sex differences between females and males is sufficient to raise serious questions about how so-called 'gender' issues are addressed. This idea of removing sex (not gender) information from application forms seriously risks creating an educational environment that promotes learning in females and destroying male access to education.

In terms of systemic approaches to actual gender issues, Japan (along with the Western nations) has achieved parity to the extent where females are privileged in law, in mental health provision and in quality of life (https://bigi.genderequality.info/). Of course, systems cannot control cultural attitudes (hence third-wave feminism's aims of destroying masculinities through social control) and there are some genuine areas of concern there. But to assume that we live in anti-female world is, by the measurements of law, education and life quality, patently absurd. Removing the sex information is based on this weird assumption and is ultimately dangerous to males.

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Posted in: Crushing workload at schools is causing more Japanese teachers to suffer chronic depression See in context

I'd like to be able to upvote this comment multiple times.

Fizzbit: I can’t.

Fair enough. And I agree that channelling the energies of schoolchildren towards productive aims does seem desirable.

However, the question is if this should be a matter for governmental educational policy or for individual families. I suspect that you favour an official approach, but I'm firmly in the libertarian side.

I have in front of me Sendai City Board of Education's 2019 teacher recruitment pamphlet. Eight teachers' weekday daily schedule are given. All arrive in school before 8 am. All leave after 6:30 pm. Their sleeping hours all fall below the recommended 7-9 hours (in multiple Western sources), usually at 5 and 1/2 or 6. In summary, we have 10-11 hour work days on top of sleep deprivation.

It's too much to argue here that the bukatsu system is the sole factor in creating this toxic culture of excessive adult workload with little work-life balance, but I feel that it contributes significantly. As a Western father seeing my bi-cultural children become enculturated into the Japanese mindset, I have often wondered how people become Japanese. The bukatsu idea is instrumental.

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Posted in: Crushing workload at schools is causing more Japanese teachers to suffer chronic depression See in context

The coercive practice of Bukatsu impinging on pupils' precious free time to explore and learn outside of the soul-destroying examination mania is a blatant attempt by the state to control and discipline the student body in order to dilute individualism and promote conformity. 

I'd like to be able to upvote this comment multiple times.

In addition, the bukatsu system also erodes the family structure by reducing weekend and holiday times with family. Many, many times I've had my family's plan disrupted or abandoned because of bukatsu. My poor children want to enjoy the family trips but can't due to the pressure they face by bukatsu members for non-attendance. Our Christmas day family meal was tainted in this way because one club member complained that my youngest would attend practice on that day. This is one example of state-endorsed peer-pressure enculturating its young into highly collective patterns of thought that deny individualism.

The result is that family trips and such are highly curtailed.

The supervisors of these 'extra' curricular activities are, of course, teachers. And it's worthwhile remembering that bukatsu also limits teachers' private lives and is a factor in the cause of the number of depressive teachers.

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