Wednesday, October 14 2009 @ 03:08 AM CDT
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
Outside of the Islamic sphere, sodomy does not constitute a crime. And yet
"conservatives" in non-Muslim countries, especially the U.S., are untiringly insisting that homosexuality is a sin. This is really ridiculous; there cannot be any moral implication in people's sexual orientations.
As far as I know, the only American "conservatives" who rarely talk about the gay issue are Ron Paul and Sarah Palin. Certainly they know homosexuality is not a moral issue, let alone a political one.
It seems to me that conservatives' allegation against gays is essentially self-contradictory because the word "homo," almost by definition, indicates that gays are downright conservatives. They fear anything new and different, and feel at ease only when there is no challenge for change. To them life is unbearable if it has to be a voyage in uncharted waters.
For that reason, they always choose to stay with people of the same feather or same gender. The last thing you can expect from them is to accept, let alone initiate, new ideas or innovative ways of doing things.
In recent years, self-proclaimed "liberals," too, have started
raising their voices, as if gays are not conservatives in nature, to demand special privileges be given to them just for being gays.
In truth, however, homosexuality is not a vice, let alone a virtue, but a deadly disease that disables its sufferers to change. The only privilege these sick and sickening people really deserve is confinement in mental hospitals.
With the gay issue constantly politicized these days, I can't but feel pity for straight Americans. On the one hand liberals are depriving them of their right to openly express disgust toward disgusting things, and on the other, conservatives are forcing them to feel obliged to invent phony moral grounds every time they say they don't like tomatoes, or whatever it is they don't like.
To make the pathological issue a little more complex, the two different sexual orientations often coexist in one person. Such a case is sometimes called bi-sexuality, but a more
vulgar way to refer to it is AC-DC.
The U.S. president, for one, is an AC-DC.
On October 10 he attended
the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign where he reaffirmed his
commitment to ban the discriminatory treatment of gays in the military.
According to a wire report by Associated Press, the president received a standing ovation
from the crowd of 3,000.
This is an unmistakable sign that Obama did not really mean it when he said, as he did thousands times, that he would bring about change in America.
The best thing the American people can expect from their leader is a mere
metamorphosis. Underneath the "change" on the surface, the progression
of the American disease will further accelerate. Most probably by the
end of Obama's first term, America will have fallen terminally ill.
For my part, I am 120% hetero.
Throughout my life I have always distanced myself from homos and AC-DCs
because I have believed that the change-disabling disease is highly infectious.
When looking back on my adulthood, I realize all anew that not a single
man could cause a change in the course of my life.
As I have always maintained, young women often remain unassimilated at the bottom
of "the chain of oppression" in this helplessly male-dominated and supposedly homogeneous nation. Small wonder that men have never outshone women in Japan, although
the opposite has not always been true. That is why I could encounter a certain number of Japanese women whose charms were so irresistible that I tried hard to change myself to deserve them.
It was through these relationships that I learned you can really change only when you become involved, in your entirety, with someone who is potentially your change agent. To be more explicit about the word "entirety," you've got to be committed to your mate from brain to genitals. Without internalizing the challenge facing you this way, you can't change yourself, let alone the country where you live.
Admittedly, though, some of my male friends and kin, especially my late father, have had a certain influence on me. But in the absence of romantic attachment to them, they have never been a major driving force for change. · read more (121 words)
Sunday, October 11 2009 @ 09:49 AM CDT
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
Left: Tokyo Governor Ishihara Center: Japanese lookalike of U.S. president Right: Hiroshima Mayor Akiba
When International Olympic Committee Chairman Jacques Rogge announced October
2 that the 2016 Summer Olympics will be hosted by Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo
Governor Shintaro Ishihara almost lost words and barely managed to mumble, "I
can't figure out the power dynamics (rikigaku) within the IOC." He was telling the
truth except that it's not only the dynamics inside the IOC but also the
dynamics governing anywhere else that the empty-headed governor cannot
Japanese media could not hide their disappointment either because their
unaudited poll results had invariably indicated the entire nation was supporting Ishihara's
silly bid. Fortunately for them, though, that didn't last long because
the Japanese people have been so used to losing a competition. Moreover,
it seems as though they have acquired special skills to derive a twisted pleasure
from a defeat since 1964 when two athletes committed suicide after they had failed
to come up to popular expectations at the Tokyo Olympics.
Then came the news that Barack Hussein Obama, who had also lost in his bid to have Chicago host the Olympic Games in 2016, was awarded the year's Nobel Peace Prize. Now it was my turn to be puzzled about the power dynamics at the Nobel Peace Prize Committee. But I don't care too much about it because by now I have become accustomed to seeing the American president rewarded, in many ways, for his promises rather than accomplishments.
Ironically enough, the two Committees unwittingly paved the way for another
moron by the name of Tadatoshi Akiba to make a bid to host the 2020 Olympics.
The Hiroshima Mayor, who has had a "slobbering love affair"
with Obama since April 5, thought that by 2020, we will be living in a
nuclear-free world and Hiroshima will be the ideal venue to celebrate Obama's feat. · read more (72 words)
Four people gave me their feedback, online and offline, in relation to my previous post. That prompted me to write this piece.
Once again I had to go through a real ordeal in the last week or so in relation to my broken computer. Now it seems I might as well have run a nightmare series in this blog.
In what might have been the latest instalment of the series, I talked about the Windows nightmare. But I am afraid some of my audience took me wrong. Or to be more precise, they heard what I did not say.
As a result they seem to have thought I am a selt-righteous person. In general, however, I don't discuss things in terms of right or wrong, let alone virtuous or vicious. So I don't know where they got the idea that I'm self-righteous.
Some others thought I suffer from paranoia when I just tried to shed light on things they just take for granted, such as Microsoft's dominance over the IT industry and its consequences.
Admittedly, my English writing skills are so poor that I am prone to be misunderstood. Yet I don't know exactly why they thought I'm one of those anti-Microsoft crusaders. Actually, I'm neither anti- nor pro-MS. I don't believe in such a fairy tale that a small number of good people are fighting against the unscrupulous goliath. To me that all-too-familiar picture is by and large an imaginary thing. Since I see the real battleground somewhere else, the last thing I would think about doing is to enlist myself in the absurd cause of toppling or undermining MS's rule over the market.
At any rate, that I am very unhappy with the software products of MS and its business practices does not make me an anti-MS paranoid.
Maybe some of my audience have a good reason to challenge me only after bringing me down on the floor through the ropes of the ring.
What I actually wanted to say is that Microsoft's endeavor, or any other software or hardware company's for that matter, for improved usefulness has already reached its limit. Now it looks as though we can't expect the IT industry to deliver on its promise of ever-increasing usefulness.
Worse, as a result, its software engineers have ended up eroding usability, i.e., userfriendliness, as well, which was once there in the early days of GUI. In recent years, these guys are constantly up to moving desktop icons from this side to that side and changing their sizes, shapes and colors all the time. The same can be said of applications. Just compare MS Office 2007 to its previous version of 2003, or Internet Explorer V8 against V7. They have constantly messed up menus while the amount of the added functionality is minimal, simply because they have nothing else to get paid for.
Maybe I should have emphasized more that users of Windows are equally, or more, responsible for all this because there is no strong drive from the user side for a disruptive technology which enables revolutionary use of IT. (NOTE: I borrow the adjective "disruptive" here from a book about e-commerce co-authored by Grant Norris, et al. because the issue I'm discussing here arises from the same context as the topic taken up in the book.) Needless to say, hardware and software developers can't tell what technologies should be developed without having valid feedback from users. We have already seen a yawning gap between technologies and socio-political systems in which we live our lives. The gap cannot be any wider. It is, therefore, really unavoidable for the IT industry to come to a virtual standstill. · read more (1,146 words)
Sunday, October 04 2009 @ 10:09 AM CDT
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
These illustrations show the old mainframe-centric network (left) and the newest "cloud computing" environment (right)
Some twenty years ago when the Soviet bloc was disintegrating, one of the
fathers of the computer predicted that the dominance of the mainframe
computers was about to be over, too. He said to the effect that the conventional way of networking
"dumb" terminals around a big machine could only lead us to a world where communism prevails over democracy. Around that time, we started enthusiastically talking
about enduser computing based, for instance, on the "client-server model."
We were upbeat about the promise of huge paradigm shift being enabled especially by the GUI (graphical user interface) Microsoft had added on to its operating system named MS-DOS. We, corporate users, thought that at long last computer users would be liberated from the digital communism and regain their own selves. Three decades later, however, it's becoming more and more evident that we still face a bumpy road ahead until we see something to be called digital democracy, also known as e-democracy, on the horizon.
For one thing, Microsoft was once at the forefront of the Internet revolution with its early offers of Windows as the platform for enduser computing. But now MS looks to have made it a rule to announce a new version of Windows every second or
third year simply because it would otherwise be out of business sooner or later.
From the user's point of view, the single most important thing in migrating
from a Windows version to the next is to know whether the tradeoff between supposedly improved usefulness and inevitably diminishing usability justifies
the cost and the time to be entailed in the upgrade. As a matter of fact, this tradeoff can't be larger than zero these days because the usefulness of Windows has long reached a saturation point. The real reason behind this phenomenon is because the gap between information technologies and socio-economic systems has reached the point where it cannot be any wider.
As a result, we are going along with the software
giant only to its interests at the cost of the real userfriendliness on our side.
You may ask, "Should we feel obliged to help MS and other software vendors stay
in business?" Unfortunately, the answer is "Yes" because
we are in a position to shoulder their costs for research and development.
The real problem here lies with the fact that they are overcharging us primarily to develop a "new" way of GUI, such as moving around
some icons and changing their sizes, shapes and colors.
R&D costs for hardware are funded in a little different way. · read more (893 words)
Tuesday, September 29 2009 @ 05:26 AM CDT
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
Surface-scratching Americans blindly believe in words. It's their parents or grandparents that certified Japan as a democracy six decades ago just for convenience sake. Now they are constantly deceived by this magic word "democracy."
To those intellectually-lazy people, a democracy is, without doubt, what Japan really is, no matter how seriously it has been stuck in trouble for almost two decades. They are quite sure about that simply because everyone
but a handful of nutters like me says so. Much less can we expect them to question their basic premise that democracy
is superior to autocracy or any other polity.
However, that you want Japan to be a democracy is one thing, and whether it actually is one is quite another. So, why don't we have a closer look into the reality here to find out if that is the case?
The Japanese people love to debate. Day in, day out, throughout the year,
they discuss a variety of subjects.
But I think you will get a clear idea about what dibeto really means to them only if you bother to watch, for example, the popular monthly debate program run
by the TV Asahi for decades by now.
It usually starts at around 12:00 midnight and lasts until the daybreak.
Soichiro Tahara, a self-proclaimed seasoned journalist and Japan's Larry
King, first presents the day's subject in front of a dozen or so debaters.
The seating arrangement is always predetermined so that proponents to the
proposition are seated on one side and opponents on the other.
Throughout the 5-hour-or-so-long dibeto puroguramu, Tahara carefully manages the proceedings to make sure no one raises his
hand to say, "Hey, Mr. Moderator, I'm at a loss over where to be seated because I'm neither against nor in favor
of this proposition. It's really a nonissue in the first place." Of course Tahara would respond, "Then, get out of here," as he actually said to Benjamin Fulford several years ago, though during a commercial break or after the debate was over that morning. · read more (540 words)
I think I can see why philosopher Yoshiro Takeuchi refers to the way things are in this nation as "tenno-kyo teki seishin fudo," or a cultural climate immersed in the Emperor Cult. His way of naming the intractable mental illness, however, is not very accurate because Mr. Takeuchi utterly downplays the media's role in fostering it.
Japan's oldest newspaper publisher is The Yomiuri Shimbun whose precursor was established in 1874 to "enlighten" the subjects of the Meiji Emperor in line with his Fukoku Kyohei (wealthy nation and strong army) policy line. The Yomiuri was soon followed by these media enterprises such as Asahi, Mainichi and Sankei, and later by NHK, the only public broadcaster, which came into business in 1924 to pursue the same end. Ever since they have been an integral part, to say the least, of this Emperor Cult. It is for this reason that I think it's more precise to rename Takeuchi's Emperor Cult as a Media Cult.
In postwar Japan, which has seen the Emperor demoted from demigod to a mere symbol of national unity, the object of worship is no longer confined to the fool sitting at the palace. Now it can be anyone or anything, be it a ballplayer, an "artist" or a political figure. Mediocrity is the only criterion to decide who to enshrine.
Along the lines, they have hyped yet another craze into a sub-cult, one after the other. These sub-cults include Nagashima Cult, Ichiro Cult and Ryo-chan Cult. If you are not familiar with these Japanese names, which are always mentioned in association with hinomaru, the national flag symbolizing the rising sun, they are all mediocre athletes by world standards, except for the right fielder of the Seattle Mariners. Ichiro can boast a certain statistical significance he has achieved in the Nintendo-owned ballclub, but nobody can deny his way of playing the game is always boring and sometimes even disgusting. But beware, it constitutes a lese majesty if you put down these national heroes as second-rate sportsmen.
Takeuchi's Emperor Cult just sits at the top of these sub-cults. The former would be nothing without the latter.
Now that the entire society has turned into a huge cult, it's no wonder that innumerable groups of freaks have been mushrooming across the nation to claim their share in media saliency.
This Saturday afternoon, I was strolling around the streets of the port city of Yokohama, one of the cities which cradled Japan's twisted aspirations to become a modern nation 150 years ago. As usual, dozens of citizens were reciting sutras, apparently without having the slightest idea about the supposedly profound meaning of their own incantations.
I casually shot them with my digital camera to upload a video to my YouTube channel. I embed it below here because I thought you might be interested in viewing it.
If you are unfamiliar with Zeno's paradoxes (there are seven of them,)
you may want to look at the YouTube video embedded below:
Like all other schoolkids in Japan, I learned of Zeno's paradoxes when
I was in my mid-teens. The stupid boy, that I was, found them almost frightening. Any geometric explanation did not soothe me. It was only after I read Henri Bergson's book titled something like Time and Free Will several years later that I overcame Zeno's nightmare.
Most friends of mine were not that stupid. They weren't shocked in the
first place and quickly forgot these paradoxes. That is why they still remain superstitious about things and keep saying there are so many things that cannot be
explained rationally in this world.
Let's just face it. Let's not waste our time on unsolvable problems.
For my part, I owe Zeno a couple of things even in my adulthood. For one thing, thanks to his paradoxes, I could acquire a mental attitude to take nothing for granted.
The other thing I owe him is that I became aware it is sometimes effective to play devil's advocate when I am talking to an intellectually
Recently my blog audience raised their eyebrows when they read my post
titled Obamitis Virus Hit Its Cradle - Japan's Ground Zero. In that piece
I wrote: "[The A-bombs] should never have been dropped on the relatively
unimportant local cities such as Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Instead the Little
Boy and the Fat Man should have been detonated over the heart of the capital
to exterminate the Emperor and his family." · read more (299 words)
Monday, September 21 2009 @ 07:01 AM CDT
Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto
Philosopher Yoshiro Takeuchi and his wife
In response to my request for an interview, Mr. Takeuchi said in effect, "Let's have a preliminary talk to size
each other up before possibly discussing the specific questions you have
That is why I took a long trip yesterday to the place he lives. Some of his students
By the end of a long skull session over Emperor Hirohito, his son Akihito,
President Obama, A-bombs and democracy, I found out the following two things:
■ his students are pretty intelligent, at least potentially, but most of them, if not
all, have difficulty really internalizing these issues, and
■ the philosopher, born in 1924, took part in the war, mainly on the Chinese
His thoughts about his own experience as a soldier are ambivalent, to say the least. With his
admirable candor, he admitted to having had a part in an inexcusable crime.
And yet, he believes he did the right thing when he chose not to refuse
military service, or simply to desert from the army.
Put it bluntly, this is nothing but a self-deception. But, at the same
time, I thought it would go counter to my principle to throw stones at anyone who
has had more than enough on the cross, let alone this particular person
who has climbed up there on his own. More importantly, I might have done
the same thing if I were ten years older.
You cannot rewrite history, or "reset" it as Obama claims to
be doing. All that matters, therefore, is how to avoid the same mistakes
in the future. To this end we should work on a concrete plan to hunt down the
war criminals who are still on the loose as of today until we can nail them to
the cross. · read more (1,079 words)
Left: Michiko Kanba who was lauded as Japan's national hero by Mao Zedong Right: Makoto Oda, another hero who mixed up Japan's problems with Vietnam's
I think the words "a retired businessman" would best describe what I really am. I don't know if my career was successful or not so successful, but that does not
make any difference to my argument here.
To be more precise, however, I retired rather involuntarily at the age of 69. According to Betty Friedan, author of The Fountain of Age, Otto von Bismarck of the Second Reich was the first to have come up with the absurd idea that one should stop living actively at a certain biological age. He set the first-ever mandatory retirement age at 65. In those days, the average life expectancy at birth was a mere 37 in Germany. If you apply today's life expectancy here, this roughly translates into 140. But unfortunately, my last employer, the Japanese subsidiary of the world's No. 3 software giant SAP AG, was not good enough at simple arithmetic.
For most of my career, I was a manager overseeing finance and administration. And the forced retirement that aborted my pursuit of self-fulfillment was only part of the problem I have had as a businessperson.
Perhaps I have dealt with thousands of people in the past. Through my largely cross-cultural interchange with these people, I became aware of a distinctive feature of my fellow countrymen: they had a great difficulty internalizing their own problems, let alone someone else's. Due to this defect, even today most of my Japanese friends think I was working
on money while in business. This is not true, however. Far from it.
I have repeatedly quoted Karl Marx on this blog. To me the essence of Marxism has nothing to do with those bastards such as Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro, Hu Jintao or Hugo Chavez.
"Production is at the same time consumption, and consumption is at the same time production. [For example] a railway on which no one travels (snip) is potentially but not actually a railway. Without production, there is
no consumption, but without consumption, there is no production, either."
My way of interpreting these sentences is that money is not what business is all about. The ultimate goal for a worker, either white
collar or blue collar, is to create values, not monetary wealth. In other words, industry is nothing but a value-creating chain.
It is really amazing that Marx came up with his theory without any experience in business. On the other hand, it is quite disappointing to know my fellow countrymen of all generations, and all occupations, will never learn the real meaning of man's economic activitiy. Especially those who have never been in business in their lifetime are unable to figure out what this retired businessman is talking about when he says he still has something to settle before he goes. They think he is just killing time at the Grim Reaper's waiting room.
To me, anpo, or the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States
and Japan, is one of the most important issues that remain unsettled. Unlike with these people who are totally disabled to internalize
things, anpo is my own problem, not someone else's.
To make my situation even worse, they all share the same trait which I call
the haiku mentality. The haiku way of communication works only where people share the same set of word
associations because otherwise you can't get your message through in a
In addition, most Japanese suffer from pathological fixation to the past. To them history is more important than the future. To make my longer-than-haiku story short, this disease is yet another fallout from the haiku mentality.
Given this propensity, their attitudes toward anpo are also very unique. The moment they hear the stimulus word anpo, the Japanese are instantly overwhelmed by a flood of related, sometimes unrelated, images and the words associated with them as if in a compulsive flashback. It looks as though they are not concerned about the future of this nation, with or without anpo.
They are conditioned so you can always expect the same set of responses from everyone. These stimuli include a wide range of memorable events coupled with names involved there, such as:
■ violent protests organized by the communists who, in truth, were fighting a proxy war on behalf of the USSR or the PRC,
■ the death of Michiko Kanba, who was posthumously called a Japan's national
hero by Mao Zedong,
■ the emergence of Makoto Oda who organized Beheiren, Citizens' League for Peace in Vietnam as if his home country had been destroyed by "Agent Orange,"
■ Seiji Tsutsumi, de facto owner of Seibu Enterprise, and many other likeminded
people who matter-of-factly converted to the Japanese version of capitalism as soon as the treaty was ratified,
■ the war-renouncing Constitution which is widely considered the only valuable
thing Douglas MacArthur, alias the Second Emperor, left behind,
■ 200,000 citizens incinerated in Hiroshima and Nagasaki who, in fact, were victimized by the conspiracy of Harry S. Truman and Ruth Benedict to bring Emperor Hirohito to his knees without physically destroying the super Class-A war criminal who wasn't living in Hiroshima or Nagasaki, by chance. · read more (603 words)
Each era has its own way of thinking. In history a new way of thinking has always started with abstraction of things because almost by definition a new era cannot be a mere extension of the old one. If you just "reset" the past without conceptualizing it, as the U.S. President habitually does, you are doomed to see history repeat itself.
The beginning of the American Century
roughly coincides with the emergence of the philosophical movements generically
According to my American Heritage Dictionary the word is defined like
Philosophy. The theory, developed by Charles S. Peirce and William James, that the
meaning of a proposition or course of action lies in its observable consequences,
and that the sum of these consequences constitutes its meaning.
Simply put, usefulness is the value. This was a very straightforward
manifestation of the American way of thinking. We used to admire the American people for this directness - but not anymore. Where can we find it in Obama's fake socialism?
The first book written by John Dewey, one of the founders of pragmatism, was published in 1903 under the title of Studies in Logical Theory. It is said that Dewey authored 40 books in his lifetime, but after him, not a single American to date has thought it necessary to update, let alone overhaul his thoughts or other pragmatists'. This intellectual laziness has taken a serious toll on the cultural and political climate of the United States. As a result pragmatism has now been reduced to a mere representation of ignorance and arrogance.
I have nothing against their obsession with usefulness. Yet I don't want to agree to their way of thinking until I ask them an important question: "Usefulness is quite OK, but useful for whom and what purposes?" In the past the Americans
could readily find a convincing answer. But these days, most of them make believe they don't hear me. If I insist that my question should be answered, all they can say is: "Who knows? Who cares? We are too busy to toy with philosophy. It's totally irrelevant to real life".
The vulgar answer simply indicates that pragmatism itself has long outlived its usefulness in America.
Although it remains to be seen what kind of philosophy will supplant pragmatism,
it's high time for the Americans to demonstrate their ability in abstract thinking. If they don't wake up to the fact, say, by 2016, that only through abstraction can they come up with a new set of values most everyone can share, they will certainly see the final curtain fall on the American Century, and we non-Americans will scornfully say that these guys with defective brains really deserved their demise. · read more (414 words)