Tam's Posts (109)

A mistake results in success

Let me introduce Mr.Tanaka Kouichi, a Japanese chemist who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2002. He invented a method of mass spectrometry of protein that is useful for the early detection of disease. The process of his invention is interesting. One day, he mixed a solution A with a solution B by mistake, but the mixture contributed significantly to his invention. It is interesting that a mistake results in success. Have you ever experienced something like that?

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Do you have failure that you should not forget?

About four hundred years ago, there was a shogun who opened Edo bakufu. Bakufu is the Japanese word for a feudal government headed by a shogun. He fought against many generals before he became a shogun and he mostly defeated them. However, he was once defeated by a general, and it is said that he pooped his pants with fear when he fled on horseback. It is also said that he made a painter draw a picture of him pooping his pants in order not to forget the humiliation. It seemed to give him motivation like 'I don't ever want to feel miserable like that again" when looking at it before fighting other generals. He changed the failure to his power. Do you have failure that you should not forget?

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A traditional Japanese drum

I will introduce a traditional Japanese drum. There are several traditional Japanese instruments, but the drum is the most famous and popular instrument in Japan. The size of the drum varies from large to small, and the playing style also varies. Sometimes they are played by a person and sometimes they are played by a group. When a group plays them, the sound has a beautiful harmony.

This is Kodo's promotional video. Kodo is one of the most famous groups that played the drum. Enjoy the sound. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzOVthBhxnE

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The first digestive organ

What digestive organ do you think of first? You probably think of the stomach. However, in fact, the first digestive organ is the mouth and teeth. We first chew food, and then it is sent to the stomach. Chewing food well helps your stomach digest it. Bad teeth are not only a burden on your stomach but also deprive you from the pleasure of eating. This is very unfortunate because eating is one of the most important and pleasant things for us. Do you care about your teeth? How do you care about your teeth?

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I feel that mass murder has been increasing recently, especially in the U.S. I often hear we must take measures against it such as gun control, mental health care, prohibiting violent movies and video games and so on. However, they seem not to be working so far. Even if we have strict gun control, murderers can kill many people in other ways. On the other day in Japan, a murderer killed 35 people by setting fire to some spread out gasoline. It is impossible to notice and treat the mental illnesses of all people who may commit mass murder. Even if we prohibit violent movies and video games, they would keep existing illegally. 

Nothing can be done about it? I think that the most important thing is to know the importance of life. If they kill people, those people are no longer alive. The victim's family and friends will feel deep sorrow, and anger for the assaulters. I think mass murderers can't understand their sorrow. How can we tell people about the importance of life? Especially to people who may commit mass murder, though it is very difficult to find them, Are there any effective measures against mass murder? What can we, as individuals and as a society, do in order to prevent mass murder?

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Does society create mass murders?

I discussed mass murder with a woman a few days ago. She said that society is also responsible for mass murders. However, I don't like this opinion. Of course, there are various problems in all countries, but there isn't any excuse that would support the ideas that we allow mass murder. She seemed to shift the responsibility of mass murderers to society, as if to say "Society creates mass murderers."

There are many people who live without committing a serious crime in the same society, even if they have frustrations with their societies. I think most mass murderers attribute their unfortunate conditions to society and others, not to themselves. This is very selfish.  People who killed many people must be responsible for their actions. Then, we should investigate their backgrounds of their actions so that mass murder will not happen again.

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I have mixed feelings about a mass murderer's recovery

In Japan, thirty five people were killed by a man about a month ago. He broke into a famous animation studio, spread gasoline there, and lit it on fire. He was also seriously hurt, but seems to be recovering in a hospital. I have mixed feelings about his recovery. Of course, the details of this tragedy must be revealed in court with his testimony, but he will be surely condemned to death because he took so many people's lives. I wonder if it is reasonable to spend much money and time on the murderer. He took not only their lives but also good animation creators, and original pictures of some popular animations as well.

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As if killing a mosquito with a gun

This news was broadcasted about two years ago. An officer of the U.S army said in his talk that an ally of the U.S destroyed a small drone with a Patriot Air Defence missile. The price of a small drone was about 200 dollars. On the other hand, the price of a Patriot Air Defence missile was about three and a half million dollars. It cost seventeen thousand times as much as a small drone. It was a huge waste of money, wasn't it? It was as if killing a mosquito with a gun.

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Which do you think is more important for you when you vote for a candidate in political elections, their policy or personality? In Japan, people tend to think that their personality is more important. They tend to vote for a candidate because of their fame and popularity more than their policy and ability as a politician. 

The other day, a male Diet member, in a campaign speech for a candidate of his party, who was a member of an idol group, said that her biggest achievement is to have had children. She says, "I want to be a politician as a representative of mothers." Of course, mothers are great, but she doesn't talk about her policy and what she will do concretely if she becomes a politician. On the other hand, the party doesn't expect her to have any ability as a politician, but just want to take advantage of her popularity, and they think she only has to follow the policy of the party. Even if candidates don't have their own policy and plans of what to do concretely for the nations, if they are famous, popular and follow the policy of a party, they can become politicians.

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No effort, no gain

When he saw coconuts high up in trees, he wanted to drink coconut water. He thought about how he could drink them for a while. He thought he needed to climb a tree, so he practiced climbing trees for many days.

After he learned how, he climbed a tree and drank coconut water. Then, some guys came to the tree and said, "Please give us the coconut water." He thought that I had made an effort in order to get them, but they tried to get them without any effort. So he said that, "You guys should practice climbing trees if you want them. No effort, no gain."

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Child Abuse

Recently, I have often heard news of child abuse. When I hear the news, I always feel sad and angry at the parents who abuse their children. A few days ago, a 10 year old girl was killed by her father. He had abused her for a long time like by beating her, throwing her in a cold shower and making her stand for hours. She asked for help from her school and a child consultation center, but they couldn't save her life. One reason of that is because he insisted his actions like that were the actions of home discipline. Japanese society tends to admit slight physical punishment as discipline. Of course, his actions were obviously not home discipline but violence.

After that case, the Japanese government is considering whether they should make a new law that prohibits any physical punishment in the family. However some people think they need slight physical punishment and say that: what they should do if their children are bad and don't listen to what they say? What do you think about that?

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I will introduce the Japanese Empress Masako, who became the empress a month ago. She spent her childhood in Russia, the U.S and Japan because her father was a diplomat. She spent her teens in the U,S because her father became the Japanese Minister in the U.S. Therefore, she can speak English fluently, and speak Russian, French and German as well. She is very intelligent, and she graduated from Department of Economics, Harvard University with honors. After that, she entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. I think the job was perfect for her, because she can speak many languages and has an international way of thinking. 

She met the new Japanese emperor Naruhito for the first time at a reception party for the king of Spain in 1986, and he asked her to marry him 5 years later. However she was worried about his romantic advances towards her because she had a lot of passion for her job at the time. She hesitated to become the empress and wanted to keep working in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Naruhito persuaded her that she can still promote international goodwill like a diplomat if they married, and said to her that he would protect her from any difficulties. She believed him and they got married in 1993. 

After the marriage, she found it difficult to adjust and she was often absent from public service as a crown princess, This was because she couldn't be active in the Imperial House Of Japan. Members of the Imperial House of Japan are asked for modesty. It also distressed her that she didn't have children until 8 years after she married Naruhito, despite the expectations of Japanese citizen that she would have children soon after marriage. However she adjusted to it little by little. 

Naruhito became the Japanese emperor and Masako became the empress a month ago, A few days ago, the U.S President Trump and his wife Melania came to Japan as state guests. Masako talked with them fluently in English at the Imperial Palace and amazed them. I think she can promote international goodwill as the empress more than any member of Imperial Household of Japan. 

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I will introduce Hasama Kanpei(間 寛平)who did the Earth marathon. The Earth marathon is to go around the world by running and sailing. He is a famous Japanese comedian that likes running. He left Japan for San Francisco by sailing in January 2009. And he went across the U.S and then sailed to France. Then he went across Europe and China, and returned to Japan in January 2011. He went around the world in two years. This was really around the world.

Of course, he couldn't do it alone. Many people and companies supported him. For example, he had a support car. The support car was used to drive him to and from hotels where he slept and to load necessities such as food and clothes.. He ran about 50km a day and went a hotel to sleep by the car. And he went back next day at the point where he run previous day. One man cooked for him, and many Japanese people and some Japanese companies gave him food or drinks to support him. This challenge is very hard but incredible. Nobody has ever done this challenge.

My favorite scene is an interchange between Kanpei and three kind American women in La Veta , Colorado. This is the link. https://youtu.be/kiZnuV09GCU

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Two famous and traditional Japanese festivals

I will introduce two famous and traditional Japanese festivals. One is Nebuta festival. It is held in the summer in the north part of Japan. People parade with very big dolls called Dashi(山車) on the street while dancing or playing the flute or beating a drum. Dashi is very beautiful. Many people participate in this festival and many tourist come to see Dashi.

The other is a summer festival held in the southeast part of Japan. People dance a funny dance, which is called Awa dance, in the festival. This dance has a history of four hundred years. People walk the street while dancing with duple sound that is played by drums and flutes and so on, saying 「えらいやっちゃ、えらいやっちゃ、ヨイヨイヨイヨイ、踊る阿呆に見る阿呆、同じ阿呆なら踊らな損々…」 or phrase like 「Yattsutosa-yattsutosa)」. The meaning is that 「It's crisis. It's crisis. Dancing fools, watching fools. Both are the same fools, so why don't you dance?」. In short, dance crazily with no worry. It is a really funny dance.

Nebuta Festival


Awa Dance


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First of all, I want you to look at the first picture of a Korean woman. Is she ugly? Then I want you to look at the second picture. Is she beautiful?

She had had an inferiority complex about her face, so she got plastic surgery many times to become beautiful. The second picture shows the result. People have their own faces by nature, but some people seem to dislike their face and they even attribute their unhappiness to their looks. They think if they were more beautiful, they would be happier. But people like that tend not to be satisfied with their faces, no matter how many times they get plastic surgery. What do you think about plastic surgery to become beautiful? Would you want to do it?

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What do you think this poster is for?

I disgrace my country in public. What do you think this poster is for? This is a recrutment poster for the Japanese Self‐Defense Forces. Armies are severe places. Personnel are trained hard and they may have to go to the battle front and may die there. This poster is far removed from reality. I wonder if Japanese Self‐Defense Forces intend to deceive boys.

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Do you approve of the death penalty?

The death penalty is the most severe penalty in Japan. It is mostly enforced for murderers that killed two or more people with murderous intent. Some people oppose it because they think it is against human rights. However, I wonder what they think about the human rights of people who were killed. No matter how many people a murderer kills, is it really necessary to think about the human rights of the murder? One problem of the death penalty is false charges. If the death penalty is enforced in the case of a false charge, there is no recovering from that. Does your country have the death penalty? Do you approve of it?

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Onee's Writing Challenge: How I Describe Four Words

Can you guess them?

1. The more people you share your pleasure with, the more you feel pleasure. On the other hand, the more people you share your sadness with, the less you feel sadness.

2. Sea water evaporates and becomes vapor. It is cooled in the sky and becomes cloud. Cloud makes rain and it falls down on the ground and sea.

3. I am not sure whether it will become successful, but if the possibility of success is more than 50%(The percentage depends on the person), there is no reason why I don't try to do it.

4. I need it to achieve my goal. Even if I sometimes feel like my goal is far away, it cheers me up at such time and gives me energy to make a effort for my goal.

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What do you think about modifying human genes?

A Chinese scientist is being criticised for making twin girls whose genes were modified. He seems to have modified the girls' genes when they were ova, so that they wouldn't contract AIDS, because their father had AIDS.

Most scientists around the world criticise him because they think it is unethical to modify human genes. If they allow it, they can design people as they like. It would be very terrible, wouldn't it?

There are some problems about this case. For instance, how about the girls' human rights? The girls will be an object of study. They will be observed throughout their lives. How about their health? We can't know what will happen to the girls because they are the first humans whose genes were modified. Are they allowed to have babies? If they have babies, of course, their babies will have the same problems as they have. What do you think about modifying human genes?

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Carlos Ghosn's greed hurt his reputation

Nissan, a big Japanese car company, was facing financial difficulties in the late 90's. Carlos Ghosn was appointed as the president of Nissan in 1999 and succeeded in rebuilding the company. At that time, most of the Japanese mass media admired him as a good manager. 

After eighteen years, he was arrested by Japanese police in December of 2018. The reason is because he is suspected to have underreported his income from Nissan by more than 10 million dollars and shifted his 16 million dollars of losses by stocks trades to Nissan. Moreover, he is suspected of using the money of Nissan for himself. He could do this because he had been the president of Nissan for a long time and power became concentrated in him. I think that this has happened because of his greed for money. He lost his reputation because of his greed. Greed ruins one's life, doesn't it?

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