Archive for August 2004

Friends Share

August 30, 2004

T

here was a time not too long ago when one would hear of the music Nazis going after those who were downloading or sharing songs for free. I can understand some of the need to protect copyrights and intellectual property. But then there is also a limit to what can be considered protectable.

As many of you know, I teach, and I want my students to read some books and articles or view a video for class. Sometimes, however, some books or videos are out of print. Since it is virtually impossible to get a new copy, I would think that making a copy and making it available to students would be okay. But nooooooooooooooo… That is a copyright infringement. Now, let’s think about this. If a particular author / composer / artist wants to be known by a wider audience, it is necessary to be read or viewed by said audience. But if the author / composer / artist’s material is out of print, and a new copy is unobtainable, AND I can’t copy it to distribute it to my students, how the heck is the material going to reach a wider audience? I don’t get it. Shouldn’t there be a reasonable compromise between the protection of copyrights and the rights of the consumer?

Well, it is not my intention to create new law, and I’m not about to test the limits of my protection under the law as it is currently being interpreted. But I must say that I can’t see the illegality of sharing music with a friend. I’ve been buying music since I was in the sixth grade when I bought my first album, Headquarters by the Monkees. Back in those days when an album cost about $5.00 and our allowances hovered around $1 a week, we had to resort to other means to get a hold of music. So my firends and I would allways attempt to buy different albums so we could share them. By the time I was in 10th grade, I helped out around my old elementary school in the summer and was able to buy my very own Panasonic radio-cassette player. The upshot of this was that I was able to borrow my friends albums and record them. Back in those days, one never heard of people getting sued by record labels for sharing albums. While the quality of reproduced music probably had something to do with it–there were pops and scratches in every recording–the bottom line was that we were able to share music without fear…

In any event, there are a few old Japanese songs that I’ve been tyring to find but have been totally unsuccessful.

  • フレンズ (Friends) by Rebecca
  • ふたりの夏物語 (Futari no natsu monogatari) by 杉山清貴&オメガトライブ Sugiyama Kiyotaka and OMega Tribe
  • ガラスのPALM TREE by 杉山清貴&オメガトライブ Sugiyama Kiyotaka and OMega Tribe
  • ボヘミアン (Bohemian) by 葛城ユキ Katsuragi Yuki
  • 哀愁夜 (Aishuuya) by 葛城ユキ Katsuragi Yuki
  • メモリ-グラス (Memory glass) by 堀江淳 Horie Jun
  • 哀愁のカサブランカ (Aishuu no Casablanca) by 郷ひろみ Go Hiromi
  • ふられ気分でRock’n Roll (Furare kibun de rock ‘n roll) by TOM☆CAT
  • 夢の途中 (Yume no tochuu) by 来生たかお Kisugi takao
  • Romanticが止まらない (Romantic ga tomaranai) by C-C-B
  • あなた (Anata) by 小坂明子 Kobayashi Akiko
  • 待つわ (Matsuwa) by あみん Amin
  • そして僕は途方に暮れる (Soshite boku wa tohou ni kureru) by 大沢誉志幸 Osawa
  • 今だから (Ima dakara) by 小田和正、財津和夫、松任谷由実 Oda, Zaitsu, Matsutoya

Well, its a short list and ecclectic at that–pop, new music, idol. Now if only it were 30 years ago and I had a friend who would share them with me. *sigh*

I’m a Xangan

August 29, 2004

T

ension is often brought about when there are two disparate, usually opposite forces vying for the same thing. For me, it would be my consciousness and my conscience. My consciousness becaus the matter I choose will control my consciousness and take up most of my time. My conscience because whether it is good or bad, it will determine how much energy I use to deal with the choice. I was confronted–albeit briefly–with a decision last week: Xanga or LiveJournal

Fortunately, the decision was rather facile.

I know a few people who are already on LiveJournal and have been there a number of times to leave comments. But I never thought of actually starting page. SimplyMarie has a place at MyDiary and I went there to open a site as a backup to my Xanga. But it turned out to be a bit more confusing than I had expected. Yes, I am totally computer illiterate so don’t make fun of me.

Anyway, I decided that I already have the JAJournal and so don’t really need another blog. My MyDiary site has been sitting there collecting dust ever since. Then all of a sudden, people I know here on Xanga started kicking up this LiveJournal dust and temporarily blinded me. First, scslider abruptly abandons his Xanga–for personal reasons, apparently–and moves to LiveJournal. Then SleepingCutie writes that she’s been tempted to move over to LJ as well. I’m thinking: What is going on? Less than a week goes by when I find Steve has bookmarked me at RBJ. I decide to look up who he is and he turns out to be a nice, well written guy at–that’s right–LiveJournal. I decide to leave him a comment–you can comment anonymously at LJ, even if you are not a member–when I see another member there: SammyStorm. Sammy didn’t leave a comment as an anonymous user like I did, he has his own account! So what do I do, thanks to these four influential people? I open my own LJ site

Now, LiveJournal is a bit different than Xanga. You can do virtually everything youcan do at Xanga, except that there seems to be a more intimate feel over at LJ. For some reason, there is not the kind of openness that one finds at Xanga. I have yet to come across a site that has 80 comments that seem relatively common at Xanga. And this might be due to the absence of e-props. In a way, Xanga has set itself up so that people can self-promote. This, of course, is fine, as I must admit that I have done similar things from time to time as well.

Well, after a bit of soul searching, I decide that I am not moving to LiveJournal. I will keep the LJ account and post my Xanga stuff there as a back up. This way, my LJ friends and acquaintences can leave me comments, and I can leave comments on their sites without going through the “anonymous user” procedure every freakin’ time I want to say something… Ulitmately, I remain on Xanga because of all the virtual friends I have made here. A year ago, I would never have guessed that I woud meet so many people through Onigiriman. Xanga has proven to be a fun and interesting place that I could never abandon. And yet, LJ feels like the real journal, a private, intimate place, perhaps even a bit dark in a way. I need that kind of place, as well, a place where someday I may post darker things about myself I am unwilling to post on the bright, sunny place called Xanga..

I’m a Xangan

August 29, 2004

T

ension is often brought about when there are two disparate, usually opposite forces vying for the same thing. For me, it would be my consciousness and my conscience. My consciousness becaus the matter I choose will control my consciousness and take up most of my time. My conscience because whether it is good or bad, it will determine how much energy I use to deal with the choice. I was confronted–albeit briefly–with a decision last week: Xanga or LiveJournal

Fortunately, the decision was rather facile.

I know a few people who are already on LiveJournal and have been there a number of times to leave comments. But I never thought of actually starting page. SimplyMarie has a place at MyDiary and I went there to open a site as a backup to my Xanga. But it turned out to be a bit more confusing than I had expected. Yes, I am totally computer illiterate so don’t make fun of me.

Anyway, I decided that I already have the JAJournal and so don’t really need another blog. My MyDiary site has been sitting there collecting dust ever since. Then all of a sudden, people I know here on Xanga started kicking up this LiveJournal dust and temporarily blinded me. First, scslider abruptly abandons his Xanga–for personal reasons, apparently–and moves to LiveJournal. Then SleepingCutie writes that she’s been tempted to move over to LJ as well. I’m thinking: What is going on? Less than a week goes by when I find Steve has bookmarked me at RBJ. I decide to look up who he is and he turns out to be a nice, well written guy at–that’s right–LiveJournal. I decide to leave him a comment–you can comment anonymously at LJ, even if you are not a member–when I see another member there: SammyStorm. Sammy didn’t leave a comment as an anonymous user like I did, he has his own account! So what do I do, thanks to these four influential people? I open my own LJ site

Now, LiveJournal is a bit different than Xanga. You can do virtually everything youcan do at Xanga, except that there seems to be a more intimate feel over at LJ. For some reason, there is not the kind of openness that one finds at Xanga. I have yet to come across a site that has 80 comments that seem relatively common at Xanga. And this might be due to the absence of e-props. In a way, Xanga has set itself up so that people can self-promote. This, of course, is fine, as I must admit that I have done similar things from time to time as well.

Well, after a bit of soul searching, I decide that I am not moving to LiveJournal. I will keep the LJ account and post my Xanga stuff there as a back up. This way, my LJ friends and acquaintences can leave me comments, and I can leave comments on their sites without going through the “anonymous user” procedure every freakin’ time I want to say something… Ulitmately, I remain on Xanga because of all the virtual friends I have made here. A year ago, I would never have guessed that I woud meet so many people through Onigiriman. Xanga has proven to be a fun and interesting place that I could never abandon. And yet, LJ feels like the real journal, a private, intimate place, perhaps even a bit dark in a way. I need that kind of place, as well, a place where someday I may post darker things about myself I am unwilling to post on the bright, sunny place called Xanga..

I’m a Xangan

August 29, 2004

T

ension is often brought about when there are two disparate, usually opposite forces vying for the same thing. For me, it would be my consciousness and my conscience. My consciousness becaus the matter I choose will control my consciousness and take up most of my time. My conscience because whether it is good or bad, it will determine how much energy I use to deal with the choice. I was confronted–albeit briefly–with a decision last week: Xanga or LiveJournal

Fortunately, the decision was rather facile.

I know a few people who are already on LiveJournal and have been there a number of times to leave comments. But I never thought of actually starting page. SimplyMarie has a place at MyDiary and I went there to open a site as a backup to my Xanga. But it turned out to be a bit more confusing than I had expected. Yes, I am totally computer illiterate so don’t make fun of me.

Anyway, I decided that I already have the JAJournal and so don’t really need another blog. My MyDiary site has been sitting there collecting dust ever since. Then all of a sudden, people I know here on Xanga started kicking up this LiveJournal dust and temporarily blinded me. First, scslider abruptly abandons his Xanga–for personal reasons, apparently–and moves to LiveJournal. Then SleepingCutie writes that she’s been tempted to move over to LJ as well. I’m thinking: What is going on? Less than a week goes by when I find Steve has bookmarked me at RBJ. I decide to look up who he is and he turns out to be a nice, well written guy at–that’s right–LiveJournal. I decide to leave him a comment–you can comment anonymously at LJ, even if you are not a member–when I see another member there: SammyStorm. Sammy didn’t leave a comment as an anonymous user like I did, he has his own account! So what do I do, thanks to these four influential people? I open my own LJ site

Now, LiveJournal is a bit different than Xanga. You can do virtually everything youcan do at Xanga, except that there seems to be a more intimate feel over at LJ. For some reason, there is not the kind of openness that one finds at Xanga. I have yet to come across a site that has 80 comments that seem relatively common at Xanga. And this might be due to the absence of e-props. In a way, Xanga has set itself up so that people can self-promote. This, of course, is fine, as I must admit that I have done similar things from time to time as well.

Well, after a bit of soul searching, I decide that I am not moving to LiveJournal. I will keep the LJ account and post my Xanga stuff there as a back up. This way, my LJ friends and acquaintences can leave me comments, and I can leave comments on their sites without going through the “anonymous user” procedure every freakin’ time I want to say something… Ulitmately, I remain on Xanga because of all the virtual friends I have made here. A year ago, I would never have guessed that I woud meet so many people through Onigiriman. Xanga has proven to be a fun and interesting place that I could never abandon. And yet, LJ feels like the real journal, a private, intimate place, perhaps even a bit dark in a way. I need that kind of place, as well, a place where someday I may post darker things about myself I am unwilling to post on the bright, sunny place called Xanga..

Random thoughts

August 28, 2004

T

his is the last weekend of the summer for me. I have a Program meeting on Monday, and a departmental meeting Tuesday. School will start Wednesday with my first class, Japanese Literature in Translation. Going back to school is all fine and dandy, but what I want to know is: Where the heck did the summer go?!? At the risk of sounding like a whiner, I really wanna know, where the heck the time goes. I can literally see my life flowing away. Time to sit back, take stock, and get my $hit together.

Okay, I’m glad I got that off my chest…

Real Tension…

Yesterday, I wrote about my view on my familial responsibility, between understanding modernity and maintaining traditions. As is often the case, neither is right nor wrong. I believe that in most of us live with varying degrees of tension in our life. It manifests itself in our beliefs, in our like and dislikes, in our emotions. Indeed, our very life is a taut line pulled between two extremes: am I good or bad, right or wrong, active or lazy. Ulitimately, our lives are determined by the choices we make. If we make the “right” choices, which means the choices the one can live with–or perhaps more importantly, one that is socially acceptable–then there is some slack in the line. Make the wrong choice, then the tension in the line intesifies. When the line gets too taut… *snap*…

So we make adjustments so the line won’t snap. AmI moder or traditional? Do I root for America or Japan? This may sound like easy or inconsequential decisions… I mean, really, whether I root for America or Japan is not going to change the Olympics, will it? Will my voice push athletes on one side or the other to excel even more? Not likely. But it IS important to me, for these decisions ultimately determine who I am, how I see myself, how I present myself to the world. And this presence will change–albeit in a small a way–those around me, including, maybe, some fo you. And while I may sound pompous and self-important by saygin something like that, I should note that many of you have changed me as well. Not greatly, perhaps–age has its advantages, as well. But we all influence each other and to ignore this would be foolish. There is no one who is completely isolated from society.

Anyway, this is getting deep than I wanted. It was just a random thought, but this subject gets me going. I think I’ll think about this a bit more…

Locked in

Omega wrote about being locked out, and it reminded me of the first time I got dead drunk. I was 17 years old and I had gone to the boss’s house for New Years for the first time. Diddly, a fellow worker, tried to hit on GeishaGirl and later played some poker with the “elders”. I found myself sitting and talking to Chikara, one of the rice cake cooks. He was already drunk and he told me to join him. Which I gladly did. After he a few sips from our second fifth of J&B, GeishaGirl and Diddly thought that it would be awful if I was returned home in such a state, so they drove me around town in an attempt to get me sober. I sat in the back seat of Diddly’s dark blue Toyota, and watched the city lights whir pass my unfocused eyes.

I guess the kaleidescope of colors was too much for my somach. I notified Diddly that the contents of my stomach were heading north instead of south, and he flew into the first open gas station. He led me to the men’s room where I entered an open stall and puked my life force away…

Whew… I felt a bit better, and when I washed my face a bit with cold water, I felt even better, although still quite drunk. Too bad you can’t puke the alcohol already in the brain, I thought as I turned around to leave. But when I reached for the door but I realized that there was no handle to pull. I was in a panic. I pounded on the door and screamed for someone to rescue me! Help me! Diddly! Get me out of here! Finally my friend pulled open the door from the outside.

“What the hell is taking you so long,” he asked me sternly.

“uh, I was just about to leave” I responded sheepishly. I realized that all I had to do was push it open. Damn! No wonder there was no handle!

Ah, the dangers of being drunk, young, by yourself, and… yeah, stupid.

Have a good weekend all. I’ll get to the senryu results asap.

Random thoughts

August 28, 2004

T

his is the last weekend of the summer for me. I have a Program meeting on Monday, and a departmental meeting Tuesday. School will start Wednesday with my first class, Japanese Literature in Translation. Going back to school is all fine and dandy, but what I want to know is: Where the heck did the summer go?!? At the risk of sounding like a whiner, I really wanna know, where the heck the time goes. I can literally see my life flowing away. Time to sit back, take stock, and get my $hit together.

Okay, I’m glad I got that off my chest…

Real Tension…

Yesterday, I wrote about my view on my familial responsibility, between understanding modernity and maintaining traditions. As is often the case, neither is right nor wrong. I believe that in most of us live with varying degrees of tension in our life. It manifests itself in our beliefs, in our like and dislikes, in our emotions. Indeed, our very life is a taut line pulled between two extremes: am I good or bad, right or wrong, active or lazy. Ulitimately, our lives are determined by the choices we make. If we make the “right” choices, which means the choices the one can live with–or perhaps more importantly, one that is socially acceptable–then there is some slack in the line. Make the wrong choice, then the tension in the line intesifies. When the line gets too taut… *snap*…

So we make adjustments so the line won’t snap. AmI moder or traditional? Do I root for America or Japan? This may sound like easy or inconsequential decisions… I mean, really, whether I root for America or Japan is not going to change the Olympics, will it? Will my voice push athletes on one side or the other to excel even more? Not likely. But it IS important to me, for these decisions ultimately determine who I am, how I see myself, how I present myself to the world. And this presence will change–albeit in a small a way–those around me, including, maybe, some fo you. And while I may sound pompous and self-important by saygin something like that, I should note that many of you have changed me as well. Not greatly, perhaps–age has its advantages, as well. But we all influence each other and to ignore this would be foolish. There is no one who is completely isolated from society.

Anyway, this is getting deep than I wanted. It was just a random thought, but this subject gets me going. I think I’ll think about this a bit more…

Locked in

Omega wrote about being locked out, and it reminded me of the first time I got dead drunk. I was 17 years old and I had gone to the boss’s house for New Years for the first time. Diddly, a fellow worker, tried to hit on GeishaGirl and later played some poker with the “elders”. I found myself sitting and talking to Chikara, one of the rice cake cooks. He was already drunk and he told me to join him. Which I gladly did. After he a few sips from our second fifth of J&B, GeishaGirl and Diddly thought that it would be awful if I was returned home in such a state, so they drove me around town in an attempt to get me sober. I sat in the back seat of Diddly’s dark blue Toyota, and watched the city lights whir pass my unfocused eyes.

I guess the kaleidescope of colors was too much for my somach. I notified Diddly that the contents of my stomach were heading north instead of south, and he flew into the first open gas station. He led me to the men’s room where I entered an open stall and puked my life force away…

Whew… I felt a bit better, and when I washed my face a bit with cold water, I felt even better, although still quite drunk. Too bad you can’t puke the alcohol already in the brain, I thought as I turned around to leave. But when I reached for the door but I realized that there was no handle to pull. I was in a panic. I pounded on the door and screamed for someone to rescue me! Help me! Diddly! Get me out of here! Finally my friend pulled open the door from the outside.

“What the hell is taking you so long,” he asked me sternly.

“uh, I was just about to leave” I responded sheepishly. I realized that all I had to do was push it open. Damn! No wonder there was no handle!

Ah, the dangers of being drunk, young, by yourself, and… yeah, stupid.

Have a good weekend all. I’ll get to the senryu results asap.

Safe Birth

August 27, 2004

MsbLiss posted that her water broke, so I’m under the assumption that she will have her baby in the next few hours. I encourage you to click on her name and wish her a safe birth and a healthy baby.

The white pouch-like item on the left is actually a “safe birth” amulet 安産お守り. Okay, I don’t believe in such superstitions, but I figure its always good to be on the safe side. These amulets protect soon-to-be mothers and are usally obtained at Shinto Shrines, but not to miss out on any money-making opportunites, they can also be found at most Buddhist temples. In a country so seemingly secular–far more secular than the US–one finds many references and representations of casual, but still pervasive, religious beliefs.

Anyway, msbLiss, ganbatte!

Our Family Crest

I

n a previous post, I wrote that my father was the eldest son of the main line of his family of farmer in Fukushima Prefecture. However, once when he thought he might die, back in the late 30s, he overheard his elder sisters squabbling about this property, and in disgust, he relinquished all claims to the property to his younger sister. As such, I am the eldest of the eldest of the main line in name only. Which is fine. I am not a farmer. But with the recent death of my father, I find myself thinking about my responsibilities as the eldest.

mokkou

This pattern is called a mokkou 木瓜. It was used during the Tang dynasty in China before it ever came to Japan. My mother and father told me a long time ago, that the reason why it’s called a mokkou (lit. 木 tree, wood, and 瓜 a kind of melon) is because it looks like a cucumber when sliced. But according to what I have read on the internet, it is actually a representation of a birds nest seen from above. The design is upposed to suggest an abundance of descendents, another way of saying fertility, I guess. This crest was used by none other than Oda Nobunaga, the monkey Shogun. It is also used by every other family in Japan, as well… or so it would seem. There are many families who use this particular crest or a variation of it.

As I rummaged through my father’s things I found a some items bearing this crest: an old notebook, a set of small sake cups. And the meaning of this crest has been on my mind. My father sired three children, two sons and a daughter. I have sired only one daughter, and she lives with her mother in Japan, although she still bears my surname. Am I letting my father down? Am I betraying my ancestors for not siring even one son? This line of questioning may seem silly in this day and age in the US, but like my father, I am at heart a conservative. I believe in change and all the wonders they bring about. But there is also something important about tradition. There is a sense of pride in knowing and understanding whence I came. Okay, so I come from a stock of farmer, no big deal. But I think it might be greater than that. While I am proud to be an American, I am also proud of my Japanese heritage. I’m not just talking about eating sushi and tempura. I enjoy speaking the language, and having participated in a variety of cultural activities representative of this heritage: karate (five years), composing senryu poetry, and of course karaoke. Hahahah.

But I can’t help but wonder if perhaps I haven’t satisfied my extended family by not providing a son. Oh well, it’s too late now… Maybe, someday my daughter will help me deal with this issue by marrying and having a bunch of sons of her own…