Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Final day's troubles - 1

I left New York last Sunday and I came back to Japan last Monday. Last Sunday was very hard day for me. First, I forgot my important bag in my room. Second, the train had a trouble while going to the airport, JFK. I want to describe this day’s story here.

Last Saturday night, it was my last night in New York, I went to Jazz club and I spent there until 2:30 a.m. After that, I came back to my apartment, and then I started to prepare for going back to Japan. I prepared that until 4 a.m., and I took a short sleeping.

I wake up at 7 a.m. on Sunday. I had to continue to pack my stuff and I had to clean my room. I had estimated one hour for that at the previous night, but in reality I had needed two hours for this. I got upset, because I thought I needed to get on the subway at 8 a.m. for my plain at 12 o’clock, but it had been 9 a.m. already.

After the preparing and cleaning, I went out my room with my luggage, and locked the door and I put the keys into the room through under the door, but then I realized that I forgot one of my important bag in the room. There were my cell phone, digital compact camera and some electronics equipment that I need for my job in this bag. However, I couldn’t take this. I had locked out.

I got upset, and then I called this apartment’s caretaker that is Japanese agency. However, this is Sunday. They were in a day off. I couldn’t reach them, but I remembered that they gave me another phone number for emergency. I searched the paper on which this number was printed in my bag that I had, and I found it. I called to this number. It was a cell phone that the chief of the agency had. I told him about my situation and I had to go to JFK immediately. He said that he couldn’t open the room for me at this day. Therefore, I had to ask him to send this bag to Japan by international mail after.

I regretted that I should have checked my room again before locking the door, and if I had not spent deeply in the Jazz club at the previous night, I might have had spare time and I might not have made such a mistake by lack of sleep, but it was 9:30 a.m. already. I had to go to JFK as soon as possible. I didn’t have any minutes to regret something. I went to the subway station in a hurry. I estimated one hour to arrive at JFK by the subway and the Air Train, so I thought that maybe I could arrive there between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. However …

I will write about my next trouble, a train trouble, at the next time. To be continue.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Visiting to Washington, D.C.

I went to Washington, D.C. last weekend. I visited to Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, National Gallery of Art and American History Museum. Of cause, I walked through the National Mall and I saw the Capital Hill, Washington Monument and Lincoln Monument. I went up to an observation room of Washington Monument and looked down to the city from there.

I had stayed in Washington, D.C. for three days. When I was walking to subway station from my hotel to get on the train that I would go back to New York last day, I found a new museum named “NEWSEUM”. I had three hours to get on my train, so I stopped to visit at this museum.

NEWSEUM exhibits the history about Journalism in the U.S. I found here that the modern journalism was one of the most important “inventions” by the U.S.

American journalists started the movement that they were reporting their own article by themselves’ getting stories. They write articles with their own experience and their own responsibility. They try to reveal the facts that government or powerful people hide for their interests. For example, Vietnam War was finished by New York Time’s releasing a government’s classified document. The Watergate scandals that led to the resignation of former President Richard Nixon were released by Washington Post’s reporter. Their activities affected the government and politics.

I think that Japanese journalists were influenced by this movement in 1970s. For example, former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka was forced to quit by revealing his illegal money politics by a Japanese journalist. After that, many journalists reported many case of political corruptions.

On the other hand, this kind of journalism has dark side. Some journalists want to sell their articles, so some of them make untrue sensational stories. Therefore, American schools educate media literacy for children. Media literacy is an ability of objective and logical thinking for all kinds of media.

These days, a lot of journalist activate on the Internet. They are called “blogger”. This is a new type of journalism. I think American people leads this movement also, and this movement is spread out all over the world.

Why can the journalism be improved in the U.S? I think that the reason relates to their splits of state's founding. It means liberal democracy. They are very proud of it and they think the important thing is civilian power. Journalism is an aspect of this in the U.S. I thought about that while visiting at this museum.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Japanese Tea Ceremony as a measure

After getting up I have a small breakfast, and then I make a cup of green tea and drink it every day with trying to calm down. I make it in a style that followed simple Japanese tea ritual. I try to concentrate to make a cup of tea, but I actually can’t help but think other things, for examples, I think what I should do today, how I can say someone what I have to say and I regret something that I made mistake on the previous day. Therefore, I can’t concentrate to make a cup of tea. These thoughts affect a work of making a cup of tea, for example, I forget wash Cha-sen (a tool for mixing tea), I drink tea from the wrong side of a tea cup (I have to set the opposite side of painted pattern on a tea cup in front of me) and spill a little water on a table. I make mistakes in a procedure of the ritual or dealing with stuff.

I realize that my mind moves like smoke when I make mistakes while making a cup of tea and drinking it. I think that I might have the same kind of mind in my daily life, and I might not be able to realize that. However, the ritual of tea can show such aspects of mind and it makes me realized it. I am interested in it. This is a kind of measure for my mind’s situation.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

"Digital Native"

I watched a TV program which titled "Digital Native" made by Japanese broadcast company called NHK. Digital Native means young people who have been using computers and the internet since the time when they were teen age or less age. They are more familiar with computer technologies than older generation, so their sense of value is quite different from older generations. They can have global relationships through the internet and they don't hesitate to have these relationships. They don't care about ages, titles and sexualities. In addition, they don't have any distinction between real world and virtual world.

This TV program introduced three types of person. The first one is a 13 years-old boy who built his own business. He had an idea of a card game, and he got investment from a government's venture support program. He looked for some professional person – illustrators, logo typist and package designers on SNS (a kind of the internet service), and he ordered them for this product. He didn't hesitate to ask his requests to these adult people.

The second one is a young Japanese guy who built his own company that provide some internet services. His policy is unique. Even when his company could be listed in the stock market, he didn't care about that. He said that the important thing is how they can provide good services on the internet and anything else are not important for them. The program said old generations tend to try to make their own profit but new generations have different sense of value.

The third one is an African young guy. He is working voluntarily for AIDS problem, because he lives in the society that there are seriously AIDS problem in Africa. He is managing his own organization and makes negotiations to other AIDS problem organization and individual activists through the internet. He is not rich and his country is a developing country, but he can connect all over the world's these kinds of people with computer. He wanted to have an opportunity of presentation on the international AIDS conference for speaking about his own country's problems. He campaigned it on the internet and got advice from activists who are in all over the world, asked them to help. Finally he got this opportunity.

I think that we can expect the hope of our future to Digital Native. They might be able to change the world. For example, Obama got a lot of donate from volunteers' contribution through the internet, and he brought a big change to the presidential election. Some new situations are growing globally in this world. I might need to study English more to take part in it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Business Trip to Geneva

When I was a programmer team leader of a software company, we developed a document processing software for a laboratory which belong with a Japanese communication enterprise. This laboratory wanted to show this software on a communication technology exhibition that was held in Geneva. Then I went to this exhibition to support them. I was excited about going to Switzerland where I have never been. However, I had to only maintenance for this software but also had to explain it. I became jittery, because we needed to fix vulnerable part on our codes and sophisticate our software for this exhibition in a hurry. Additionally I had to prepare for explaining this software in English.

When I was going to Geneva, I was excited a business class sheet on the plane, because it was my first time to have a business class. I transferred at Charles de Gaulle Airport. After arriving at Geneva Airport, I was riding on a train to Lausanne where I would stay. I was excited again in the train when I was looking at the big waterworks that was lighted up in night sky on Lake Leman.

Next day, I was explaining our software in the exhibition. Actually, most of attendance at the exhibition were not interested in our software, or they satisfied my demonstration and explanation which I prepared in advance. However, some people asked me their questions. For example, an Indian software engineer came to me and asked a question in English very quickly and I couldn’t hear his English pronunciations. His questioning caught me off guard, I panicked and my brain turned to moss. Then I had to ask the other Japanese staff to help me. I heard their talking, and I tried to stock up it in my questions and answers list, but in this Indian’s case, I couldn’t understand at all what he said.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Japanese Tea Ceremony - history

I’d like to try to figure out the outline of the Japanese Tea Ceremony and Japanese artworks’ history. This is from the sixteenth century to the nineteenth century in Japan.

There ware stronger warriors (samurai) who governed their own area in the Muromachi-era. The Muromachi-era is in about the sixteenth century. Some of them had their own artists and they asked them to create artworks for their castles.

I think the most important artist in the Muromachi-era is Kano-Eitoku. He created many kinds of artworks. My favorite is his picture of tigers and trees. He drew it on a folding screen. We Japanese sometime use a folding screen for just displaying pictures instead of separating a room. He drew two terrified tigers but they have something charming. He used gold papers on this picture, so this picture is golden and shining.

This era’s artworks were dynamic and glittering like this. Most of warriors preferred such kind of artworks in the Muromachi-era.
The Japanese Tea Ceremony movement started in this era. Actuarially I think the real spirits of the Japanese Tea Ceremony isn’t match to warriors’ preferring, because these spirits preferred something simple. However some warriors wanted to do the Japanese Tea Ceremony by themselves. I think they found aristocratic things in it – ceremony or ritual is something aristocratic, so it made some problems after that.

Anyway, the Japanese Tea Ceremony movement was supported by powerful warriors and it was improved in the Muromachi-era.
I will write about that in Edo-era at the next time.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Japanese Tea Ceremony

I am interested in Japanese tea ceremony, because it has not only a particular ritual form but also it has two particular aspects of Japanese culture.

First, some Japanese tea ceremony masters have been like an art director from the beginning, 500 years ago. They have unique directions in artworks, for example, ceramic teacup, architecture, Japanese garden, art of calligraphy, and some kind of painting.
Second, Japanese tea ceremony is based on the Zen philosophy. The Zen is a kind of Buddhism religions. The Zen respects good manner and meditation in our lives, so this influences our life style.

I want to write more for another day.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Private problems - food and clothing

I have been staying in New York since June 29th. I lived in midtown Manhattan, and I moved to upper east Manhattan last week. I feel these locations are quite different from each other. There are many shops and offices in midtown, and almost buildings are taller and bigger, a lot of people and many cars are on the roads, in addition, there are something smell bad and dirty in midtown. However, Upper east is very quiet and cleaner place. I saw many mothers and children on the roads, and when I went to coffee shop, old men told about politics together. I have never seen these kinds of people in midtown.

On the other hand, I can’t find deli in upper east. Deli is a food shop. It is very convenient for me. They have many kinds of ready-made foods, for example, breaded chicken cutlets, steamed sermons, flied rice, pastas, salads and cut fruits. These foods are on the trays in their shops. We take a little plastic bowl and put any foods which we want to have in it, and bring it to register counter. They weigh it, and the price is depended on the weight. We don’t need to leave tip. I often go to deli when I lived in midtown.

I can’t find these kinds of shop near my upper east new residence, so I often buy frozen foods at grocery stores these days, but these foods are expensive and not enough for me. I have to consider my dietary life now.

I have to consider another thing. It is clothing. When I came to New York, it is on the summer. I brought only clothes for the summer from Japan, but the season is becoming the fall. I have to get new clothes for the fall. I went clothing shops these days, but I found that American clothes’ size is bigger than Japanese size. The small size is even little bit bigger for me, so I wanted to have extra small size clothes, but almost clothing shops don’t have extra small size.

Moving living place and changing season bring me the new problems. I hope I could find some good ideas to solve these problems.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"Android" by google

Yesterday, T-mobile announced their new product. It is an intelligent cell phone, named "G1". T-mobile is one of the mobile phone companies in the USA. of course, many mobile phone companies often released a lot of their products. But G1 is a different from them. They adopted "Android" for this product’s operating system. "Android" is developed by Google that is a famous Internet searching engine company.

Operating system is basic system software for computer. It controls all software on computer and every software takes advantage of the functions in operating system. Many type of intelligent cell phone has such an operating system also.

Google has been developing an operating system for mobile phone. Furthermore they open the source code of it. Source code is rewritable original code of software by programming language. If software developers get such source codes, they can read all this technology from it and use it for free. Any mobile phone makers can implement "Android" on their product freely.
This idea is called "open source approach" in software industry. It is a kind of policy. Someone who takes this policy opens his source code, then someone else can use this source code but he have to open his new source code. They are developing each other with their codes in common. Google has been developing "Android" with such source codes, so they want to open the source code of "Android".

Usual businesses proceed with being depended on their own specialty. So almost software developing company close their technology and they want have their uniqueness. But the idea of "open source approach" is quite different. They want to have creative solutions efficiently with using their resources each other and want to make creative combinations of their resources.

Our global world has a lot of intelligent resources. If all of them were opened and we could use them freely, we might be able to create a lot of things more efficiently. But most of people don’t allow it, because they think they have profits of rights of their own resources. Therefore open source approach might be able to change a social situation. So I think that ‘G1’ is very interesting product.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The economic crisis

I think we are in the crisis of economic. The global economic is very complicated now, so I hardly understand what is happening on that. But I will try to understand it and try to figure out it.

The one of reasons of economic crisis is the problem of the subprime loan in USA. Many banks make loans for buying house. A lot of people got the loan. Because they were told by banks that the price of house is growing up, then they could get money to sell their house after that. But in reality they can’t pay back their loan and went bankrupt. And the price of house is decreasing. Banks got their house in mortgage, but the price is lower at this time. A lot of banks lost money.

In addition, financial companies bought these loans’ rights, and they sold these as claimable assets. This is a strange for me. I can’t understand enough what they did and why they can do it. Anyway, they have done it and these assets have gone down the drain. An insurance company for them additionally broke down.

Maybe these will influence our global economics. Some politicians say that markets naturally make our economics to be good. But nowadays we need to control our economy. I think we should consider about the balance of freedom and controlling of market economy.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Tokyo's subways

Tokyo’s rush hours subways are extremely terrible crowded. We have to have long patience to it. In addition, standing people have to pay attention not to step on someone’s toes. Women have to be careful of groper and men have to be more careful of being misunderstood as a groper.

But in even such trains we try to do anything for example listening music, learning English with iPod or emailing with cell-phone. These help us to be in our own world. I mean that it is not only a mental way to make an escape from pain but also useful for our life.

I think we can’t get rid of crowded trains at this time. However we can take advantage of this. Maybe it is a good opportunity to take a meditation. We might be able to find pleasure in studying ourselves in crowded trains.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My favorit TV show

I had a favorite TV show in Japan. It’s name was “The Spring of Trivia”. You know, Trivia means unimportant and obscure information.

For example, In Australia they play tag separated men and women, and when someone catches someone, they have to kiss each other; The Bush administration abandoned the White House to Clinton administration in 1993. They removed doorknobs before going out; Louis Vuitton had made the chopsticks had their logo mark; Keanu Reeves’s house is next to Leonardo DiCaprio’s house; like that.

These are really unimportant information. But some people are interested in these things and say “Oh, year?” or “You don’t say so.” Then this TV program counted how much interest their panelists had. That’s all. Maybe This TV program was also definitely unimportant for our world. But I thought it was interesting that a lot of Japanese people watched this TV program.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bosston:Museum of Fine Arts

I went to Boston three weeks ago. My main purpose was to visit to the Museum of Fine Arts. They have a special exhibit now. “Art Nouveau jewelry.“

Art Nouveau is a style of art. This started at the end of nineteenth century. Art Nouveau artists use nature creatures as their art motif. For example, flowers, leaves, vines and insects. They made various art works with these things that are decorative and symmetrical, artificial. They designed advertised posters, furniture, building, glassware, and jewelry.

The interesting thing is that they were influenced Japanese nineteenth century’s craft works. Some Japanese crafts were brought to Europe in nineteenth century and became a boom. This boom was called “Japonisme”. After that, some artists got inspiration from these things when they started Art Nouveau.

I am interested in not only the beauty of these designs but also this background.