Feb 28, 2013

Congrats Ben! Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and River Phoenix

I'm really glad to hear "ARGO" won an Academy Award for Best Picture. I enjoyed "ARGO" and I think that it is appropriate for an Academy Award.

Now I'm forty-six years old, which is enough time for me to know sweet and sour. I, myself, have experienced them, and I also have seen people experience them. Without any condition it pleases me to know that people, who know sweet and sour, get through their difficulties.

I first saw Ben Affleck in the film "Good Will Hunting." I loved Gus Van Sant's film "My Own Private Idaho," so I saw "Good Will Hunting" as his new film. I loved this film so much that I began to pay attention to Matt Damon and Ben Affleck who won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. They were young and looked getting along with each other.

And then they became Hollywood stars, but I had guessed that they might have been interested in directing a film. It might be difficult to get a chance to direct a film in Hollywood. Finally Matt Damon began to produce a film, and Ben Affleck began to direct a film. It took fifteen years to get from "Good Will Hunting" to "ARGO."

In "My Own Private Idaho", we can see young River Phoenix, who passed away in 1993. I really regret his early death, because he would be an amazing actor. Someone died so early, and another get to their goal with time.

When I saw River Phoenix in "My Own Private Idaho", I feel like seeing my old friend who died young. And when I saw Ben Affleck in the Academy Awards ceremony, I'd like to say to Ben Affleck, "Congrats, Ben!"

I hope that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon will create a film together someday.

Feb 26, 2013

Adele Is the Ultimate Feminist

Honestly, I am not interested in Adele's music at all, and I don't know much about her. I don't even know if she is a feminist, so this entry might miss the point.

Anyway, when I went to preschool, I loved the young and beautiful female teachers much better than the old and kind female teachers. At that time I didn't know about the multiple aspects of personality, and I just focused on the external aspects of human beings.

Now that I've got older and grown as a human a little, so I became to be able to see women from many aspects, and now I love the women who are not young but old, not beautiful but kind.

I saw actresses walking on the red carpet of the Academy Awards. All of them were beautiful and thin. But only Adele was not thin. That's not to say that she wasn't beautiful, but in fact she didn't look like a Hollywood star.

She looked full of confidence and her dress emphasized her physical frame. Apparently she insisted that the value of women walking on the red carpet wasn't limited to beauty and thinness. I wonder if it is feminism. If it is feminism, Adele is the ultimate feminist.

Feb 24, 2013

My Vanity Makes Me Progress

I have been keeping this weblog for three years and have written 272 entries. Actually, it is quite hard for me, as a non-native English speaker, to write that many entries in English.

Why can I keep English weblog? The answer is vanity.

I have just finished an essay written by Sakunosuke Oda, a novelist. He wrote about vanity in the essay as follows.
People can't live without vanity, because they feel so empty. Even if their vanity was just earpickful, they would survive in a crowd relying just on it. Do only little people have vanity? Do only fools have vanity? I don't think so.

I don't believe in my will. My will is so weak that I can't achieve anything by my will. How should I do? I use my vanity, because my vanity is much stronger than my will.

It is obvious that writing in English regularly improves my English, but at the same time it is difficult to keep writing in English. I thought that I couldn't keep a private diary in English for years, so I decided to use my vanity, and I started keeping my weblog in English in public.

Comments on my weblog make me happy.If the comments are favorable, I feel elated. I always watch the number of page views, which satisfies my sense of vanity. If I gave up the weblog, the readers of my weblog would know it and I would feel ashamed. They support me keeping weblog in English.

If you want to lose weight, you should declare it publicly and report on the changes in your weight. Your vanity will ensure that you lose weight.

My vanity makes me progress.

Feb 23, 2013

The Perfection of President Obama

I liked President Obama's page on facebook, and sometimes I see Michelle and Barak's photos on my timeline. All of their photos are perfect. Michelle and Barak are always charming.

In the entry "President Obama and Mitt Romney," I wrote "From the standpoint of Japanese view I think that President Obama is so underestimated from American people," and even now I think that he is a good president.

At the same time, I can imagine how people who don't like Barack Obama feel. When I see Michelle and Barak's perfect photos, I can see how somebody would feel embarrassed, because their photos are too perfect

Bush Jr. always made self-deprecating jokes, for example, even though he got C in his university, he could be a president. I have never heard Barak Obama make self-deprecating joke. I guess that people, who support Bush Jr., like his self-deprecating jokes and don't like the perfection of the Obamas.

I heard that the close adviser of Martin Luther King Jr. was always afraid of his scandal. He was the symbol of the civil rights movement, and opponents stood ready to drag him down to disturb the civil rights movement. Of course he wasn't as perfect as ordinary people, but he should pretend to be perfect as the symbol of the civil right movement.

Why didn't Bush Jr. have to pretend to be perfect? I think, because he doesn't belong to a minority group. If Bush Jr. was an idiot, people wouldn't think that all of WASP people are idiots.

When Barak Obama makes a self-deprecating joke, it will be the time that the civil right movement fulfills its goal.

Feb 17, 2013

All Right, Ben Folds Five, Are You Ready to Change Rock 'n' Roll?

My wife and I went to the live performance of Ben Folds Five at Hitomi Memorial Hall in Sangehchaya, Tokyo, Japan. We really enjoyed it.

Ben Folds Five is an alternative rock band, which has a piano player, base player, and drums player, but no guitar player. They once broke up in 2000, but then reunited in 2012. They are now on the Japan leg of their tour.

I'd like to show you Ben Folds Five before and after breakup.

I have seen Ben Folds' perform solo in Japan before, but this was my first time seeing the band, Ben Folds Five. First of all, I was relieved that the three of them looked like they were getting along well with each other. They enjoyed performing and the audience also enjoyed seeing them enjoy it. Of course their performance was great.

In the entry "Now It's a Bad Time for Music Producers,But It's a Good Time for Listeners,"  I wrote about the recent bad situation of pop music in Japan. Even though, music CD sales have been decreasing drastically for a few years now in Japan, and commercial downloads haven't made up for this yet,

But Ben Folds Five might have little to do with this situation. They are not big stars and they haven't had a big hit, either, but they can do a great performance, and several thousands of fans in Japan, including me, certainly go to their live performance, whenever they come to Japan. At any time their great live performance would help them to keep their musical activities.

I wrote that Kurt Cobain, Ben Folds, and me belong to the same generation in the entry "A Rock Star Was Dead And A Geek Is StillAlive: Kurt Cobain and Ben Folds." I can't even imagine the meaning that Kurt Cobain and I are the same age, when I hear Smells Like Teen Spirit. But I often identify myself with Ben Folds, when I listen to his songs. I understand well the reason of the breakup and reunite of Ben Folds Five.

It is really hard for anyone to keep working with the same member for long time, even if they are getting along very well. Sometimes you need a change circumstances. At one time, I, myself, began to feel irritated with my work and colleagues, and so requested a transfer to another department. I think that my colleagues and I needed to separate from each other at that time like Ben Folds Five. Now I wanted to work with them again. I think that we will now be able to work better together than before, because we've had a lot of experiences and grown up to some degree since then.

I love the early Ben Folds Five's songs, but at the same time recent songs are impressed, too. Ben Folds is trying to make new music, and he has increased the range of his music.

All right, Ben Folds Five, are you ready to change Rock 'n' Roll? I'm ready to change the world, too.

Feb 16, 2013

I Wanna Do Something about It: My Impression of the film "Beginners"

I watched the film "Beginners" on DVD.

The main character, Oliver, who was played by Ewan McGregor, had just lost his father. His father had lost his wife four years ago, and then he came out that he was gay.

When his father and mother married, homosexuality was thought to be an illness. His mother proposed to his father and said, "I will cure you," and he decided to accept her proposal.

But, of course, his "illness" wasn't cured, and he realized that he wasn't ill.

When he came out, he also said, "I wanna do something about it," and he actually did many things about it: he made a boyfriend, joined a gay association, enjoyed parties, and participated in Gay Pride Parade. He had lived as a gay for four years and passed away with his boyfriend and gay associates.

I think that it is really wonderful for anyone to realize what they, themselves, are and to actually do something about it actually, no matter how old they are. If my father does so, I must be proud of him.

And I, myself, wanna do something about it.

Feb 15, 2013

Humorous Holmes and Serious Holmes: My Impression of the Movie Series "Sherlock Holmes" and the TV Series "Sherlock"

I watched the movie "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" and I really enjoyed Robert Downey's humorous Holmes and great action scenes in this movie. (In the entry "Guy Ritchie and Quentin Tarantino Good Taste and Bad Taste," I wrote about Guy Ritchie.)

Recently two of pastiches of Sherlock Homes novels, Guy Riche's movie series "Sherlock Homes" and BBC's drama series "Sherlock", were made and both of them were quite successful.

Originally I've been a big fan of Arthur Conan Doyle's novel series "Sherlock Holmes" since I was a child, and I loved both series, which were very contrasting.

In the 1980's the drama series "the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes," in which Jeremy Brett played as Sherlock Holmes, was made. This series reproduced the original novel quite precisely, and its historical authenticity was perfect. Jeremy Brett's Holmes perfectly looked like the real Sherlock Holmes, although I haven't seen real Sherlock Holmes yet.

After this series, producers, who tried to make the live action version of a Sherlock Holmes story, might be freed from the original novels, because it was obviously impossible to reproduce more precisely than "the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes."

Both of Guy Riche's movie "Sherlock Holmes" and BBC's drama "Sherlock" were basically based on the setting of Arthur Conan Doyle's novels, but Guy Riche and BBC made their own interpretation of the original novels successfully.

Robert Downey's Sherlock Holmes was humorous. His drag on a train might be a parody of Jack Lemmon in "Some Like It Hot." In the original novel, Holmes was mischievousness and teased Dr. Watson. The first Sherlock Holmes short story, "A Scandal in Bohemia", which is one of my favorite Holmes novel, was a light romantic comedy, and Irene took Holmes down.

On the contrary Benedict Cumberbatch's Holmes on BBC drama series was modern and serious. The original novel was also modern, for example Dr. Watson was a disabled veteran from Afghanistan, and Holmes was a cocaine addict. In the drama "Sherlock" Holmes made full use of IT devices in the twentieth century. In the original stories, Holmes also used advanced devices at his age, automobile, telephone, and so on.

I love both of Holmes. Robert Downey's Holmes had enough emotional capacity to be humorous, because was already adult, and Benedict Cumberbatch's Holmes had a tension, because he was still young.

I am eagerly looking forward to the next Guy Richie's "Sherlock Holmes" and "Sherlock season 3."

Feb 13, 2013

You Must Read "Sunny" As Soon As Possible

I've just finish "Sunny volume 3" by Taiyo Matsumoto, which made my heart ache.

In the entry "Japanese Manga Classics (3): Taiyo Matsumoto "Ping Pong"," I wrote about one of my favorite manga author, Taiyo Matsumoto. "Sunny" is his latest work and I think that it is his best work.

His graphics are artistic and fantastic, and I've been fascinated his graphics. Although manga consists of graphics, story, and dialogue, his graphics are so amazing that he gave too much importance to graphics in some of his work. And his works were sometimes so avant-garde that it was difficult to understand them. I, myself, love these works, but I don't recommend them to somebody else.

But "Sunny" is quite orthodox, and graphics, story, and dialog were integrated into an impressive manga, which must touch everyone's heart.

I was really happy to find English version of "Sunny," and I strongly recommend reading it as soon as possible.

Feb 12, 2013

Chinese Characters: De Facto Standard Language for Two Thousands Years in East Asia

Yesterday my wife and I went to Tokyo National Museum to see the exhibition "Wang Xizhi: Master Calligrapher."

Wang Xizhi (王羲之) lived in the forth century, but I didn't find it difficult to read the Chinese characters which he wrote at all. It is really incredible. Egyptian and Mayan hieroglyphs haven't been able to read for many years, although descendant of people who wrote these hieroglyphs still have been living around the remains where these glyphs were discovered.

Why can I read Chinese characters that were written in the fourth century?

Egyptian and Mayan hieroglyphs were used mainly for keeping kings' achievements, on the contrary Chinese characters has been used for communication between multiple languages.

Chinese characters were used not only in China but also in the country around China: Viet num, Korea, Japan, and so on. And more, in China many different languages have been spoken. Mandarin is now the standard Chinese language, but in each region each language has been spoken. It is important that they haven't had their own characters. In China and countries around China, although they have been speaking different languages, they have been using common Chinese characters.

Chinese characters are ideographic, so we can read them with our own language. For example, the name "王羲之" was read in Mandarin as Wang Xizhi, but I, Japanese, read it in Japanese as Oh Gishi. In the area of Chinese civilization, we have been sharing the common culture with Chinese characters, even if we couldn't speak Mandarin.

Now, English is de facto standard language all over the world. Chinese characters had been de facto standard language in East Asia for two thousands years.

Feb 11, 2013

Sometimes Tokyo Seems to Be Quite Exotic to Me: My Impression of the Film "Lost in Translation"

When I hear replaying my own voice, it sounds really strange. I don't believe that my voice is so funny and the other people hear such a strange voice.

Sofia Coppola felt Tokyo was exotic and described Tokyo as exotic. Although I'm living in Tokyo and Tokyo in her film is real, Tokyo seems to be quite exotic to me, when I see Tokyo in her film through her eyes.

In this film, Bob Harris, who was a Hollywood movie star and visited Tokyo to appear a commercial film of Japanese whisky, saw his movie dubbed in Japanese on TV. Of course he felt it strange. In the similar way, watching Tokyo through this film was a strange experience for me. It is typical defamiliarization.

Incidentally Tommy Lee Jones has been appearing the series of caned coffee called "BOSS" as an alien for several years.

I always keep a dream to get out of Tokyo, while I'm working in my office. Sometimes I make a trip to a foreign country, and I feel relieved, but in the end I returned to Tokyo, so Bob returned to America. I was trapped by Tokyo so firmly that I can't run away from Tokyo.

Intimacy with Tokyo makes it much harder for me to live in Tokyo. I hate Tokyo, because it is so intimate. When I felt Tokyo strange like a stranger in Tokyo, I could love Tokyo.

The swimming pool on the top floor in Park Hyatt Tokyo is my favorite.

Feb 10, 2013

Sometimes America Seems to Be Quite Exotic to Me: My Impression of the Film "ARGO"

First of all, I'd like to say that I love the United States of America very much. I'm always interested in politics, society, culture, and history of America and I can't remember how many times I've been to America. But sometimes America seems to be quite exotic to me. I guess that the exoticism of America might deeply fascinate me. 

I watched the film "ARGO" yesterday. I think that we can enjoy a good film like AROG from a variety points of view and it worth the Oscars.

Islamic Iran and Hollywood are literally opposite. From Hollywood, Iran is just a nice location for an exotic science fiction movie, like "ARGO."

The concept "exotic" is relative. From the Hollywood standpoint of view, Iran is exotic, but from Iranian standpoint of view, it is Hollywood that is quite exotic. Honestly, for me Hollywood is more exotic than Iran.

I was born raised in a non-Western country, which was at the mercy of America like Iran, so I feel more intimate to Iran than America. We can find cities, which resemble to Teheran around the world, but Hollywood is quite unique.

Ben Affleck might know that Hollywood was exotic from Iran and the drop between Islamic Iran and Hollywood made humor.

My favorite scene in Argo is two press conferences in Teheran and Hollywood. In the press conference in Teheran Islamic young woman, who wore a black hijab, denounced "evil" America, and in the press conference in Hollywood actors and actresses, who made up as aliens, read the script of the science fiction movie "ARGO." 

Both of them were completely opposite, but their fates were twisted with each other.

I hope that American people will know that they are really exotic from people in the other part of the world. If they don't realize it, they will keep making conflicts all over the world.

But I love America, because it is quite exotic to me.

Feb 9, 2013

Why Do Firms Exist in Market Economy

I think that Fridrich Hayek was one of the greatest economic and political thinkers in the twentieth century, who insisted that the collective intelligence of general public was better than the wisdom of elites. He supported market economy and criticized planned economy.

Basically I also believe that market economy works far much better than governments and governments should play just accessory roles, because market economy reflects the collective intelligence of general public and governments are based on the "wisdom" of elites.

But if market mechanism is more effective than any organization, why do firms or governments exist in market economy? Why do firms work better than market economy?

Ronald Coase answered this question in his book "the Firm, the Market, and the Law." His answer is "transaction cost."
In order to explain why firms exist and what activities they undertake, I found it necessary to introduce a concept which I termed in that article "the cost of using the price mechanism," "the cost of carrying out a transaction by means of an exchange on the open market," or simply "marketing costs." To express the same idea in my article on "The Problem of Social Cost," I used the phrase "the costs of market transactions." These have come to be known in the economic literature as "transaction cost." I have described what I had in mind in the following terms: "In order to carry out a market transaction it is necessary to discover who it is that one wishes to deal with, to inform people that one wishes to deal and on what terms, to conduct negotiations leading up to a bargain, to draw up the contract, to undertake the inspection need to make sure that the terms of the contract are being observed, and so on." Dahlman crystallized the concept of transaction costs by describing them as "search and information costs, bargaining and decision costs, policing and enforcement costs."
The Internet gave a great impact on the structure of transaction costs and firms should adjust themselves to it. This change brought the rise and fall of Apple and Sony. Now that Apple successfully adjusted to the new structure of transaction costs, but Sony failed it.

Drucker pointed out that the role of enterprise as follows.
Because it is the purpose to create a customer, any business enterprise has two ― and only two ― basic function: marketing and innovation. These are the entrepreneurial function.
In a sense, it's true. Apple has succeeded, because they concentrated in marketing and innovation. But at the same time, Foxconn also has succeeded, because they got the order of fabrication from Apple.

The key factor of success is to clear up their own position in the new structure of transaction costs. Any organization should identify that what cost they can save in the market economy.

Feb 8, 2013

The North Wind and the Sun

When I asked my man to do his task, he emailed me that he couldn't do it immediately with full of silly excuses.

I knew that he just wanted to delay it and his excuses were just "excuses." But I was really tired at that time. When I feel tired, I couldn't control myself. So I wrote an email to him, which shot down his excuses completely.

And then what would happen? Nothing!

He just wanted to delay his task, whether his excuses were right or wrong. If I pointed out that his excuses were not logical at all, he would never feel motivated. My email was so logical that he couldn't retort, so he just ignored my email.

And I got much more tired.

I had a talk with the vice president of my company about how to manage my department. "Do you think which is better the north wind or the sun?" I asked. He answered, "The sun must be better!"

I blew the north wind to him and it didn't work at all. I should bright like the sun to him. I should be patient to make someone move with the sun. In order to be patient, I should keep being calm and sunny.

Feb 6, 2013

Please Explain to Me What Anti-globalism Is.

I couldn't write a new entry these three weeks. I wasn't so busy at work, but I was just tired. Anyway, I'll try to write a new entry.

It's really true that I can't understand what anti-globalism is at all. What do anti-globalists want?

I think that it is clear that free trade makes people's welfare around the world much bigger. Of course some industries might suffer damage by free trade, but it is the governments' role that compensate these industries. If a government adopted a protectionist trade policies to protect these industries, it would seriously damage tother people.

Globalization isn't a phenomenon in the modern age. The begging of the globalization was that Genghis Khan built the Mongol Empire and made connection between Asia and Europe in the 12th century. In the Age of Discovery, finally Portuguese got to Japan, Zipang, in the 16th century, and the world became literally one globe.

In the previous entry "Spread of Guns in the World History," I wrote that Portuguese gave a deep influence to Japanese history. In other words, the globalization of Japan had already begun in the 16th century, not in the 21st century.

I want to know what anti-globalists want. Do they want to go back before the Mongol Empire or the Age of Discovery? We are living in the globalization and it's almost impossible to refuse it. North Korea isolates in the world and it can be call anti-globalism country, but I guess that anti-globalists don't want to be like North Korea people, do they?

In the novel "Slaughterhouse-Five", Kurt Vonnegut wrote, "writing an anti-war book is like writing an anti-glacier book." Going against globalization is like going against glacier.

Please explain to me what Anti-globalism Is.