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Posted in: Japan's team at World Cup troubled by Osaka earthquake, hotel alarm See in context

Isn't Yokohama the 2nd largest city in Japan? Heartbreaking to watch news with pictures of the collapsed wall that killed the 9 year old schoolgirl. She must have been really suffering under the rubble before passing away at the hospital :(

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Posted in: Line-up See in context

Not sure, but looking at the sign the staff is holding and the look of the building, this actually maybe a line for a concert goods booth, rather than for a store. Considering some concert goods are limited & in demand, maybe the reason for the queue in the rain.

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Posted in: Typhoon Etau slams into Japanese mainland See in context

There are two typhoons in the vicinity - Typhoon 18 & 17 (JMA numbering), or Typhoon Etau & Kilo. Wondering which one is which. I think Typhoon 18 is Typhoon Etau which I believe has just made landfall near Hamamatsu. Luckily, Tokyo is not in the path. To Hamamatsu & Nagoya residents, take care & be safe. Typhoon 17 which I think is Typhoon Kilo will come closest to Honshu around tomorrow Thu late afternoon, but will then hopefully make a sharp right away from us.

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Posted in: Japan launches rocket carrying asteroid probe See in context

I'm curious - what are these " fundamental questions about life and the universe" expected to be answered from this mission?

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Posted in: Robin Williams blazed animation trail with 'Aladdin' See in context

"Robin Williams was a living cartoon". What a great description! Thank you, Robin, for my favorite Disney character and for all the wonderful characters you have played. You are missed.

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Posted in: Japan’s 10 best singing voices as chosen by people in the industry See in context

Oda Kazumasa. His voice is simply great, brilliant, pleasant.

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Posted in: Scoreless draw keeps Japan and Greece alive See in context

Disappointing game. Playing against 10 men for most of the game, yet so devoid of ideas. Honda was sloppy & tired from kick-off. I understand there are good players that go about their game quietly (ala Makelele, Carrick), but I have no idea what Yamaguchi offers to the team. Japan's chances of qualifying for the knockout stages are now slim to none, since they need Drogba & co to lose or draw against the Greeks, and they have to beat Colombia by a bigger margin, which looks highly unlikely looking at Pekerman's team's ability & form. 残念。

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Posted in: AKB48 contest DVD to be sent to Yankees pitcher Tanaka See in context

Thought he was a big Momoiro Clover Z fan, not AKB48. Or maybe he's a fan of both, & the media is just highlighting the MomoClo one.

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Posted in: United, Chelsea draw 0-0 in Premier League See in context

A disappointing goalless draw, but today was a game won by the center back pairings. Ferdinand-Vidic and Terry-Cahill were solid today.

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Posted in: 180,000 evacuated as nuclear plant crisis intensifies See in context

Yes, there has just been an explosion at the third reactor at the Fukushima plant. I'm guessing the explosion is similar to the one on Saturday to the first reactor - only the outer shell/concrete wall was destroyed, not the actual containment chamber. As Edano (Chief Cabinet Secretary) mentioned yesterday, this explosion was very much possible and expected, so, I'm hoping the operators were ready for it and necessary to relieve pressure inside the containment.

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Posted in: 180,000 evacuated as nuclear plant crisis intensifies See in context

Informative article. Doesn't claim to know the whole situation but much better than most media reports that just create panic. Note the slashes and dots. link - morgsatlarge dot wordpress dot com slash 2011 slash 03 slash 13 slash why-i-am-not-worried-about-japans-nuclear-reactors

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Posted in: Busy bee See in context

great photo, K99! what are the photo settings? which lens did you use? i so wanna buy a macro lens! (^^)

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Posted in: Lego See in context

anyone know where this is held in Tokyo? i grew up with Lego, loved them!

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Posted in: Malaysia arrests 9 Christians for trying to convert Muslims See in context

"The world would be a better place if there were no missionaries...from any religion." In some way, I agree with this statement. I would add, if people did not persecute other faiths as well, then the world would be a better place.

"wow what about get marry with a muslim, do peopel have to convert?" there are good reasons for that rule, which involve the preservation of marriage & family, the same in that it is advised that married couples should be of the same faith, Muslim or Christian or Buddhist or Jew, etc.

"i don't think so. malaysia just want to call them self as a moderated. It’s just like she want to call herself as trully asia! that sound stupid. every country in asia is truly asia!" you have your own opinion of whether Malaysia is moderate enough or not, though i'm very sure the title of moderate country came first from outside of Malaysia. in one way, i disagree with this labeling as it disunites the Muslim countries. the truly asia thing is a tourism campaign/slogan, highlighting the diversity of cultures in Malaysia, nothing more, nothing less. state of emergency? gathering more than 5 people is illegal? i guess you have never been to or lived in Malaysia.

"violence is not condoned anywhere in the Quran." this comes down to interpretation & the context in which the Quran was revealed at the time. At that time & the times before that, resolution between nations/states was mostly done through wars or violent fighting. Muslims were persecuted violently at that time, and thus, to survive, Muslims had to defend themselves & their faith through violent fighting as well, same as others. As the world context now has changed with violence & wars heavily frowned upon (but sadly still happening), then Muslims and non-Muslims should not use violent means. While the context & acceptable means have changed, Muslims are still being persecuted & accused wrongly. Muslims are still required to defend themselves & their faith, as required by the Quran and by human nature. I just hope that some Muslims (non-moderate Muslims as some might say) will understand the real spirit of the Quran which yearns for ultimate peace & know that peaceful means is still possible.

"that is truly conservative-muslim to me." again, some people trying to put labels & categories - conservative, liberal, moderate, fundamental, socialist, democratic. i am not trying to say something beautiful. i am just saying what i think best to bridge the gap between Muslims & non-Muslims. this is my way of defending my faith. my way of promoting peace. my way of reducing religious intolerance. my hope was at least my posts were better than just keeping silent, which is still better than persecuting & saying harmful things to others.

if you disagree with everything i said, at least please take this point with you - do not use harmful general statements such as "Islam is dangerous" or "Malaysia is under dictatorship rule" - because (1) it is too general & stereotyping, Christians/Muslims/Jewish/Malaysians/French/Americans/Chinese/Japanese/etc each encompasses a diverse range of people, not all are the same, and (2) what good does it do? those groups of people will feel persecuted & will increasingly be closed to peaceful solutions.

Ultimately, I believe God is fair and that human choice/nature is never crystal clear. I hope & believe that all human beings will be judged fairly on what environment/circumstances he/she lived in, what knowledge/news he/she is exposed to, and whatever he/she can understand. Right or wrong is never exactly clear, neither are we sure whether a person is fully & truly accountable. Do not judge others, let God do the judging for us.

Happy living, everyone (^^)

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Posted in: Malaysia arrests 9 Christians for trying to convert Muslims See in context

OMG, after pressing "submit", now i know how long i wrote. sorry, ppl (^^);

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Posted in: Malaysia arrests 9 Christians for trying to convert Muslims See in context

Mayuki-san, you are right. Faith shouldn't be forced. It should be a conscious act. But the reality is it is "forced" (albeit to different degrees & different ways), and it can be a subconscious or unconscious act. The reality is our faith is determined to us the moment we are born, by our parents & the community. We grow up in Muslim/Christian/Hindu/Buddhist/Jewish/etc environments.

Let me clarify that I mentioned "Muslim COUNTRY", not Islam. My intention was to point out human nature, the "country" being a human creation. I could easily change my statement to "As Christians believe Christianity is the ultimate truth & the true religion, it is natural for a Christian country/person to deem any conversion out of Christianity as an act borne out of active conversion by non-Christians, or mis-information by the person, not an actual rational decision by the person." I am not saying this out of whim. There have been many Christian friends or strangers who have said that I am Muslim because I was born one in a Muslim environment. When I tell them that many Christians are that as well, they say I have been misinformed/miseducated & not made the rational decision. So, now, non-Christians are irrational.

Regardless of religion, what many forget is that human beings are imperfect & inequal. What is deemed rational to one person maybe different to another. It is for that reason we have laws, values & beliefs. If not, then whatever one person believes, whatever one can make up in his mind, is deemed right. 6.8 billion people can each believe what they want & do what they want. There would be chaos! So, if no one is perfect/right, then who is? For people who believe in God, God is perfect. From God, we determine our values, our beliefs, our rules. For a reason unknown to us, God decided not send those rules & values into each & all our heads, pre-birth. For different religions, how those rules & values were sent, & what they are are different.

So, this means not everyone can be rational because some are mis-informed & mis-educated. Some were not lucky to get the message directly (or never) in the same time & space. However, regardless of what is true or not, humans still need to govern themselves with something (or there will be chaos & the end of the human race). So, we end up with what we have or learn (or inherit from our ancestors).

Sure, humans progress & start to learn more about each other & more about the one truth. I argue we have a long way to go, because of the nation-state system, because of human nature, we have not come up with a way to have proper interfaith dialogue to determine the one truth. Religion is also mixed up with political, economical or racial interests.

My earlier statement "As Muslims believe Islam is the ultimate truth & the true religion, it is natural for a Muslim country to deem any conversion out of Islam as an act borne out of active conversion by non-Muslims, not an actual rational decision by the person" is to emphasis that it is human nature, a human weakness, a human wrong - not a Muslim wrong, not a Christian wrong, not any religion wrong. If all humans were able to be fully informed, educated equally, with equal exposure to all religions/values/political system/baseball team/song genre/icecream flavor, maybe just maybe we can make a proper rational decision. Unfortunately, that is not possible. So, we depend on society, a government, a revered leader, a religious organization, our bodies biology, gut feeling, etc, to determine our life's decisions.

.... I really wish I could type more & explain in a better or much shorter way. But I'm human & so sleepy right now! Forgive me (^^);

Mayuki-san, if you wish me to clarify more on Islam, or my thoughts on human nature, I will try my best again. Like I said, we all have a lot we don't know about each other & more to learn. I am very lucky to know a bit of basic English. I would not be able to learn from or explain to someone in another language. My limitations as a human (^^); I hope to learn more about your beliefs too (^^)

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Posted in: Malaysia arrests 9 Christians for trying to convert Muslims See in context

So I am a religious type, huh? Religious types, Christian or Muslim or Buddhist or Jew or Hindu, are suspicious and mistrustful? Hmm, maybe that's true, though I could say the same for atheists or secularists. Some people confuse religious devotion with the total ignorance of other religions or faiths or beliefs. It is the lack of knowledge or understanding of other religions/cultures/nations/groups which breeds this mistrust and suspicion. I am able to trust other Christians more now, and become a better Muslim, because I was willing to learn more about their beliefs, about the lines that divide us & the lines that unite us. I have a whole lot more to learn. It is true as well, the knowledge that we are exposed to, the things we read on the internet, the people we meet & listen to, affect what we learn & internalize. I can only pray that the knowledge I get, that we all get, is good & true, for betterment of mankind and ourselves.

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Posted in: Malaysia arrests 9 Christians for trying to convert Muslims See in context

I must qualify my previous comment by saying that my understanding of Christianity above comes mostly from being with Protestant Christians, most of them my friends as well. I am not sure whether the view or approach on preaching/converting and other Christian values/beliefs are the same for Catholics or other churches. Maybe other Christians don't go to people of other religion & try to preach or convert them.

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Posted in: Malaysia arrests 9 Christians for trying to convert Muslims See in context

I am a Muslim. I believe there is only one God, & we live to serve Him. God sent us His prophets, His messengers to make us understand the right way to live our lives & to serve him. Jesus (or Isa as we call him) was one such loyal messenger, a truly holy man. From my discussions with Christian friends and priests, I have come to understand the similarities (love of peace, family values, belief in only one God, etc) and the real differences (divinity of Jesus, responsibility on the Day of Judgement, views on religious freedom, etc).

I am also a Malaysian. The same with almost every single human being in this world, I could not choose my nationality/citizenship & must abide by the laws of my country. As with any country, the laws of my country are decided by majority vote, as in Japan, as in America, whether I like them or not.

Ok, now that I laid that up front, here are MY views and MY understanding on the issues above, not necessarily that of all Malaysians or all Muslims:

I think one must understand what religious freedom really means. Islam allows and respects religious freedom. Muslims do not preach to people of other religions unless they come to us to learn about Islam. For us to go to someone & try to convert him/her is disrespecting other religions. If someone chooses to be a Muslim or a Christian or a Jew or a Buddhist, Islam respects that choice, and will let that person be judged on the Day of Judgement. Christianity however does not allow religious freedom or respect other religions. Christians are set a mission to convert all human beings into Christians. Christians preach to people of other religions regardless of whether that person comes to them or not. That is why many Muslims consider that as a breach of religious freedom, a disrespect to Islam. As Muslims believe Islam is the ultimate truth & the true religion, it is natural for a Muslim country to deem any conversion out of Islam as an act borne out of active conversion by non-Muslims, not an actual rational decision by the person. Thus, the outlawing of conversion out of Islam would be expected of a Muslim country, just as the outlawing of conversion out of Christianity would be expected of a Christian country. It is not an issue of religious freedom. It is a logical conclusion of a country which has a state religion. America is neither a Christian country nor a Muslim country, thus it does not outlaw conversion out of Islam or out of Christianity. By comparison, Malaysia really is a so-called moderate Muslim country. As I mentioned above, many Muslims consider Christian preaching to Muslims as a breach of religious freedom, a disrespect to Islam. Some Muslim countries, due to their own culture or traditions, consider such acts as provocation and will respond violently, eventhough violence is not condoned anywhere in the Quran. The Quran does say we must protect Islam, our way of life, our religion. The difference in how to act to protect is due to cultural differences, not Islamic teachings. I consider myself lucky to be in a nation, in a culture that responds by other means than violence. Yes, I consider myself lucky to be a Malaysian.

At the end of the day, one must understand the real differences between religions, as well as the difference between the state and the religion. I have many Christian friends who understand better & respect the difference between our religions, and I have fellow Malaysian friends who are non-Muslims who do not speak ill of Islam or Malaysia, only of some of the policies of the Malaysian government i.e. the state, not the nation. We must know our boundaries.

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