Jan 10, 2013

Spread of Guns in the World History

In the book "Guns, Germs, and Steel" Jared Diamond pointed out that three of things: "guns, germs, and steel" vitally influenced the history of the Old and New World.

One of the main reasons that Hernan Cortes could conquer the Aztec Empire and Francisco Pizarro could conquer the Inca Empire with few soldiers was obviously their possession of guns.

But Western people with guns didn't always conquer the peoples without them.

It took over two hundred years for Western colonists to predominate over all of the indigenous tribes in North America. Western people finally occupied the west coast of North America in the late nineteenth century.

What is different between Central America, South America, and North America, when it comes to the roles that guns played?

In Central America and South America the Aztec Empire and the Inca Empire conquered the peoples around them and built centralized empires, so Spanish conquistadors could conquer them by seizing their emperors with small soldiers and controlled them using the government's institutions.

On the contrary in North America native tribes were quite decentralized, so it was difficult for Western colonists, who were  smaller in numbers than the indigenous tribes, to conquer them. In the beginning of the colonization, Western colonists received support from the indigenous tribes and engaged in trade with them. As a result of the trade, the natives got guns from Western merchants. Some native tribes formed alliances with either France or Britain and fought against American colonies.

In the middle of the sixteenth century, Portuguese brought guns to Japan just in the age of provincial wars. Portuguese didn't have enough soldiers to conquer Japan, so they sold guns to the feudal lords, who could. Japanese craftspeople began to make guns by themselves and the feudal lords competed with others buying guns. From that point on, guns revolutionized the way war was waged and Japan began to move toward unification.

James Cook "discovered" the Hawaiian Islands in 1778, and the indigenous people were introduced to guns. In the early nineteenth century, King Kamehameha I unified Hawaiian Islands and founded the Hawaiian Kingdom. He used guns, which were imported from Western countries and had Western military advisers.

In Japan and the Hawaiian Islands, the introduction of guns from the West unified the countries. After that, Japan has maintained independence, but the Kingdom of Hawaii was annexed by the United States of America.

The spread of guns had a great impact on the world history in a variety of ways. I will study the patterns of the influences of the diffusion of guns in regions around the world.

Jan 8, 2013

Working Mothers Are Always Running

Yesterday, I was listening to Radio Head at full blast on my headphones when I felt someone tap me on the shoulder as I passed through office security.

I turned round to find one of my colleagues smiling at me. I turned off my headphones, and looked at her. She was already running away from me, calling out, "Hi ! Happy New Year! Catch you later."

Recently she came back from childcare leave, and now she is now a working mother.

I also have another colleague who is a working mother. She also runs whenever she leaves the office because she has to to pick up her twins from preschool. I think that they are really great.

Seeing her disappear into the distance, made me want to write a haiku.


A mother is running through a pine decoration

Jan 7, 2013

The Bronx and Yamanote, Woody and Me

Last December I saw the film "Woody Allen Documentary" in a small movie theater in Hibiya, Tokyo.

I watched the great scenes of Woody's films, and I became to want to see his films. So I saw "Annie Hall" and "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" on DVD during the recent New Year's holidays.

I think that Woody's films that were shot in Europe aren't bad, but I love his films that were shot in New York; The ones that he himself and Diane Keaton appeared in. Although all the actresses in his films have been really attractive, I believe that Diane is the most charming of all the actresses who appeared in his films.

I feel a sense of intimacy with these films, because I think that Bronx, New York is similar to Yamanote (Uptown Tokyo is called "Yamanote"), Tokyo, and Woody who was born and raised in the Bronx similar to me who was born and raised in Yamanote.

Both the Bronx and Yamanote are old enough to be unique, but they don't have a long history like Rome or Kyoto. Woody loves the Bronx as his hometown, but he knows that Bronx isn't the most glamorous town. I also love Yamanote, but I agree that Kyoto is the most sophisticated city in Japan.

Woody is argumentative and ironic in his films, but at the same time sentimental. There might be this kind of "pseudo-intelligentsia" in big cities in the world, and I am a member of this tribe.

Now he shoots films mainly in Europe, and he seems to be happy. But I'm looking forward to his new film shot in New York.

Jan 2, 2013

I Will Just Do What I Can Do

Today, I did "kakizome", which is the first calligraphy writing of the New Year.

I wrote the phrase "性静情逸守真志満"as kakizome in 2011. At that time, I'd like to keep the peace of my mind.

This year I wrote, "I will just do what I can do." After March 11, 2010, I decided that I would just do what I can do. Now I think that I should do what I can do, even if I can't keep the peace of my mind.

I won't forget this phrase.