Tag Archives: China

It’s Harder for Religious People to Tell Fact from Fiction

Jesus-Krishna

When I wrote the article “Should Parents Tell Their Kids ‘The Truth’ About Santa?” three and a half years ago, I argued that most children whose parents allow them to believe are giving them a potentially important opportunity to learn. That is, to understand the process of believing something they inevitably stop believing in (or should I say, most people stop believing in). However, I stumbled upon some research that both reminded me of this story and made me wonder about it.

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Label Wars: Made in China, Japan, or America

American bikini Asian girl

Do you care where your clothes were made? It seems like virtually everything you buy at the store now has the “made in China” label on it, but that’s not stopping consumers or retailers from dealing with such products. American companies deal with tons of sweat-shop workers in China and elsewhere for cheap labour, and it seems there is no end in sight. Even Japanese people, who currently have probably the most negative views of Chinese people in the world, still consume goods from China. So what’s the deal?

Posted in Culture, Japan | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Possessed by Demons, Animals, and Nonsense

Green Snake hand art

“Japan doesn’t have that stuff. That’s more of a Western thing.” Just like I constantly have to remind Westerners how they’re horribly wrong about the bizarre and ridiculous stereotypes of Japan, I had to show my Japanese friend that she was totally wrong in her idea about “us” and “them.” The notion that only Westerners believe in exorcisms and demonic possessions is simply wrong. In addition to the many stories I mentioned in an earlier post about exorcisms in Japan, yet another case occurred recently in Japan where the belief in possessions reared its ugly head.

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Gender, Age, Socioeconomic, and Cultural Differences in Social Networking Site Usage

Anime high school girls in London-esque BG

Online social networks has become an interesting platform for research, and hundreds if not thousands of studies around the world are investigating how we interact with others online. This article looks into recent studies that analyzed data regarding differences in age, culture, gender, and socioeconomic status.

Gender Differences

Researchers from the Santa Fe Institute used a multiplayer game “Pardus” to analyze social networks. Online video games have become increasingly seen as a gold mine of data on social interactions in recent years, and, as it turns out, many of the same gender differences seen in the real world were observed in the social networks in Pardus.

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If Toby Becomes Japan’s New Prime Minister, Will Japan Cease to Be a Pacifist Nation?

Toby’s at it again. The dream of having to never blog about Tokyo’s most famous bigot – who I hesitate to call anything other than Toby (explanation here) – has been short lived. A few days from now, the country will vote in a general election. Having been a governer of Tokyo for over a decade, Toby has proven that he is a stable leader, which has become an increasingly attractive quality for a prime minister here. Is it possible that he could become the leader of the country? And what would that mean for Japan?

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of China Copying Everyone Else

Anyone who knows China well enough can attest to the fact that a lot of what you see in China was taken from elsewhere. That’s why there are high profile cases like the Huawei telecommunications company, which was featured on 60 Minutes – the investigative American TV program – for its alleged role in stealing trade secrets and espionage. But not all of what China has been doing – stealing, copying, imitating, or whatever you want to call it – is a bad thing. In fact, there are some imitations that should even be celebrated.   The question is really about how much should be celebrated vs. condemned.

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If dating an 18 year old at 30 is okay, is dating a 12 year old okay at 24?

Meet Miki Akama, the twelve year-old model from Canada. While she was eight, 20-year-old amateur music instructor and Chinese pop star Zhang Muyi was hired to be her coach. What happened within four years is more of a mystery to us onlookers; but whatever happened, the two have since publicly exchanged mutual declarations of love.

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The Ten Most Educated and Smartest Countries in 2012

An interesting ranking was recently reported by Yahoo! Finance, on the ten most educated countries of the world. That is, which countries have the highest percentage of people with post-secondary education. Apparently college and university graduation rates have increased in half a century by almost 200%, but the rates among countries vary greatly. And while it’s not surprising to see countries that spend a great deal of their GDPs on education, many of the countries on the list spend comparably little, and yet see high numbers of graduates. So after you check to see if your country made the list, be sure to ask yourself: Just what does this really mean?

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TED Gallery: Endangered or Forgotten Languages

Language is a massive part of culture. There’s absolutely no denying it. Anyone who speaks multiple languages that are from cultures that do not generally intertwine (i.e., not places like Pakistan, where they may grow up to speak three or more languages, such as Urdu, Hindi, and English) understand well. But the internet, along with a rapidly increasing desire to communicate with people across the world, is homogenizing us in ways that some say are detrimental to smaller cultures. I decided to make compilations of TED talks among various topics, and I’m going to start with linguicide, the death of a language. We’ll start with one person who is trying to decipher the script of the Indus people; another who has studied many cultures across the globe; and another who believes that we can unite the world under one language, without doing so at the expense of other languages.

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Japan’s New Prime Minister, and the Shrine to War Criminals

 

Meet Yoshihiko Noda, who will officially become “Prime Minister Noda” in three days. I always prefer to stay away from politics here, but an election of the highest authority in the country is a valid exception. I’m not going to get into his political plans, like how he might raise taxes to help pay for the tsunami reconstruction (which is really the same thing as giving to charity, except they don’t ask for permission). But it may be helpful to know who he is, how he got here, and what the deal is with this “shrine to war criminals.”

Posted in Biographical, Culture, Japan | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments