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- Japan: Habitat for Humanity Japan fits first panel in solar power project to support tsunami-affected families
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- World: UN agency to open nuclear emergency preparedness centre in Fukushima
- Haiti: HRF Quarterly Update / No 6: Spring 2013
- Haiti: Bulletin d’information trimestriel du FRH numéro 6: Printemps 2013
- World: Linking Humanitarian and Nuclear Response Systems
- Japan: The Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster: a Compilation of Published Literature on Health Needs and Relief Activities, March 2011-September 2012
- World: Disaster-induced displacement worldwide in 2012
- Japan: Earthquake and Tsunami Operations Update n° 11
- Japan: Update: Two years since the tsunami
- China: East Asia (MAA54001) Annual Report 2012
- Japan: Singapore opens S$5m nursery school in Shichigahama
- World: Building Resilience to Natural Disasters and Major Economic Crises
- World: Sharing this earth: on common ground - Annual Report 2012
- Bangladesh: Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction: Stories of Triumph from the Field
- Japan: Japan supports disaster risk management
- Myanmar: Asia-Pacific Region 10 - 16 April, 2013, Natural Disasters and Other Events being monitored by the OCHA Regional Office for the Asia-Pacific
- World: Leveraging Technology for Disaster Risk Management
- World: CredCrunch Newsletter, Issue 31, March 2013, “Disaster Data: A Balanced Perspective”
Global Voices Feed
WordPress communities in Japan celebrated the 10th anniversary of the open source blogging platform. Events were held in Sapporo, Kagawa, Tokyo, Chiba and Osaka. There are 40 local WordBench [ja] groups, Japan's WordPress local community directory is powered by BuddyPress. Naoko Takano blogs more about the events in Japan.
A major Japanese newspaper has revealed that billions of yen meant to employ people in areas devastated by a powerful earthquake and resulting tsunami off the northeastern Japan in 2011 were funneled into other unrelated projects that did not benefit the victims.
The Asahi Shimbun reported that of the 200 billion yen (two billion US dollars) of government budget meant to help those who lost their homes and jobs in the Great East Japan Earthquake, more than half went to 38 prefectures other than the nine affected in the Tohoku region.
Emergency employment budget was spent on, among other things, a team of workers to count sea turtles, an international manga comic expo, and a campaign to promote Yamaguchi Prefecture with a green-haired mascot called Choruru.
The news of the misappropriation of reconstruction funds drew criticism among social media users.
Twitter user @2_happy commented with disappointment:
@2_happy: Public office and authorities doing such terrible job in this country. Can we still call this country doing just fine? | One hundred billion reconstruction fund diverted
The editor of cyclingtime.com, a portal site for bicycle fans, slammed the “money-grubbers” responsible for the misuse of the money on Twitter. The comment was retweeted for more than 200 times:
@cyclochabumaro: Of 65000 people hired in 38 different prefectures in disaster recovery effort, only 3% were the residents of the disaster-stricken area. 97% were from elsewhere. Please. You should be kidding me, this was meant to help recover from the disaster. Too many money-grabbers making people believe that they are sympathizing and helping fellow citizens.
Shingo Nishinari (@shingo_ghetto), a rapper who is known for political criticism, commented:
@shingo_ghetto: Disappointing. This is unforgivable diverting. Ministries and agencies making excuse to make money. Heartless organizations and groups carrying the money away. My deepest wish for true reconstruction.
This is not the first time that disaster relief funds for the Great East Japan Earthquake have been used for unrelated projects. Kahoku Shimpo, a regional newspaper in the greater Sendai area in central Japan, wrote in June 2011 with disappointment that the government hired [ja] national contractors over local contractors from the devastated region to build temporary housing for earthquake victims.
And The Hokkaido Newspaper wrote editorial [ja] in October 2012 criticizing that 3.4 billion yen of relief aid was used to fund road construction on southwestern Okinawa island, which was unaffected by the earthquake.Twitter user inakamon_jiji (@Inakamon_jiji), whose name means an old man in the countryside, commented on Hokkaido Newspaper’s editorial:
@Inakamon_jiji: “Appropriation of reconstruction budget, unforgivable bureaucrats.” says the paper. The essence of this issue is that government officials are incompetent in governing the country. It’s obvious they needed to do something before they increase taxes.
After the earthquake, fierce criticism was also directed at the mainstream media and public relations agencies which allegedly devoured parts of the reconstruction budget to run morale-boosting public service announcements using celebrities on television. In 2012, blogger popo wrote [ja] about the massive spending by these large television stations funded by siphoning off disaster relief funds. The blogger referenced an article by weekly magazine Post Seven which broke the story in August 2012 [ja].
According to the piece, of the entire reconstruction budget, more than three billion yen were used for recovery support advertisements. The local fishermen’s guilds in disaster-stricken areas barely got any government support and some were forced to shut down business due to a lack of financing. If this piece really reports the truth, I think these major stations should be shut down immediately!
The latest funding revelations by Asahi Shimbun drew vocal criticism. In response to the report, the government plans to ask local governments and other organizations to stop using the reconstruction money and return any untouched funds to the government, according to the newspaper. The Finance Ministry is currently investigating the matter.
On blogroll esteru.com[ja], an anonymous author criticized the plan as being too late. Anonymous users debated in comments below the blogger’s post, trading blame and squabbling about whether it was the fault of the former ruling party Democratic Party Japan (DPJ) or the current Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) administration:
52 名前：はちまき名無しさん 投稿日：2013年06月04日 09:23
I think LDP was quick to take action on this misuse of the reconstruction fund, given how messy of a situation the DPJ created. I’m pretty sure LDP needed at least a half year [after they were elected in December 2012] to respond to the misappropriated budget issue.
148 名前：はちまき名無しさん 投稿日：2013年06月04日 13:57なんで、自民党を叩いてるのがいるのか、まったくわからん。政治、法律の構造をわかってないからだと思うが。自民党が豪腕を発揮した話だろ？ たぶん法律的な手続きを踏んでるから違法性はないと思うけど、普通に考えたら基金にまでいった金を返還させんのは無理だろ。で、その基金を作ったのは自民党かい？
I don’t understand why some people here are blaming on LDP. I suppose they have no idea about political system. I see this story on hauling budget appropriation as a demonstration of LDP’s competency. I mean think about it:it was not LDP that established the fund in the first place. It’s obviously difficult to return funds especially when it was legally proceeded.
151 名前：はちまき名無しさん 投稿日：2013年06月04日 14:20
So they blame DPJ for this? I bet they don’t understand how the Basic Act on Reconstruction passed. When DPJ made cabinet decision on the bill, it included one sentence; the budget should be exclusively used in disaster-stricken area. But when the Diet lawmakers of DPJ-LDP-Komei party together put into legislation, they decided that this budget should not be exclusive. So they are all to be blamed.
153 名前：はちまき名無しさん 投稿日：2013年06月04日 14:26
[in reply to 148] It’s been two years since the diversion of disaster relief funds was first criticized. I think the government is to blame for not interfering with the agencies responsible for the funds. This is not a partisan issue. The pork-barrel spending is an act of government agencies. It’s not a partisan issue. Government agencies are the wrongdoers that spend money without monitoring the use.
On Twitter, Nakano Takashi, who organizes a project in Minamisoma city, Fukushima to support victims of the earthquake, argued that it's not a partisan issue:
@wildft: These budgets that were scrounged via tax increase, but were misused massively; 2 trillion, 1.2 trillion, 10 billion yens used for funding “yuru chara” regional cartoon mascot, local idols, national road construction, counting turtles, gourmet. Each local municipality applied for the fund. In other words, all of us is responsible.
Japanese football fans are often called the “the polite hooligans.” They peacefully give each other high -fives while chanting “congratulations.” But for Japan's authorities, the risk of riots and mishaps in any crowded area is always imminent.
And it was no different on the night of June 4, 2013, when football fans were celebrating Japan becoming the first team to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. During the celebrations, one police officer came under the spotlight for his persuasive microphone performance in marshaling a large crowd at Tokyo's popular Shibuya district.
This video by YouTube user yuuhei1987 captures the scene with lingering excitement:
At the popular Shibuya crossing where hundreds of police officers were deployed to man a barricaded pedestrian crossing, this officer in the following video took his loudspeaker to pacify the large crowd.
Many witnessed the scene via Japanese live-streaming platform NicoNico Live [ja] and praised the way the officer spoke to the spectators. On the Internet, people started calling him “the DJ police” like an eloquent radio host. He eventually became became a viral topic.
@Simon_Sin: DJポリスがいい仕事しすぎだｗ 「皆さん同じサポーターですね。ルールは守りましょう。日本代表はマナーとルールを守るチームです。私も嬉しいんです。日本代表応援したかったんです。でも仕事ですからね、皆さん交通ルールを守りましょう」
This police officer talks like a real MC. Let me transcribe what he says to the crowd;
“We are all supporters of the Japanese team. You know that all the players follow the rules and have good manners. So let's together follow the rules! I am happy for Japan to be qualified to World Cup. I was rooting for them in my heart but you see I have work. Now let's follow the traffic rules!”
Here you go, the DJ police officer talks the talk again. “I don't want anybody to get hurt here today. Causalities makes you feel bad despite all these wonderful results we had today in football. Let's try to keep everybody safe with our team play. Now let's clear the way and move over to the station!”
While television news emphasized the chaos and fanatic hooligans, social media users highlighted this police officer [ja] and emphasized cooperative supporters and peaceful scenes.
I can't help but to think Japan is really a peaceful country. In other countries, they riot win or lose. I think the way authority manages the crowd is peculiar to Japan and no other nation can imitate.
The DJ police says “See, all the serious-looking officers here are in fact happy inside to find Japan qualify for the World Cup. We don't want to yell at you on such a wonderful day.”
It's making me laugh given how peaceful this country is.
Variety shows on TV repeatedly reported about Shibuya being in turmoil. But in reality, the crowd was fully under control by emphasizing empathy. Amazing job of Japanese police.
In the land where green tea remains the hot beverage of choice, 3D coffee art is winning hearts one foamy cup at a time.
More and more cafe goers in Japan, inspired by popular photos on social media that show steamed milk creations rising out of a coffee drink, are asking that their latte be topped with a similar work of lofty art.
In 2010, Haruna Murayama of Japan won the World Latte Art Championship.
Flat latte art is already popular around the island nation. A search of “latte art“ [ja] on Twitter returns many photos of special lattes bearing the shapes of hearts, leaves, teddy bears, popular anime characters, and even Internet icons.
A vending machine in Haneda Airport, Tokyo's international airport, even serves cappuccino [ja] with the face of a classic Japanese female, designed and produced by Kyoto's well-known cosmetic company Yojiya.
YouTube user Nowtoo Sugi uploaded the following video explaining how he drew character onto a coffee latte with chocolate syrup:
Reaching new heights
But baristas have pushed this creative coffee phenomena to a new level with foamy 3D sculptures.
Kazuki Yamamoto (@george_10g), the latte art master who uploads his latte art on Twitter, wrote in his blog that he works at a Belgian beer house in Osaka. He calls his latte art “spare time cappuccino” [暇カプチーノ], a creation out of boredom or spare time, of course with great efforts and labor of love. He once posted to Twitter recalling numerous works of latte art that he had drawn:
@george_10g: I started drawing on lattes in 2011 and I've drawn and served roughly about 1,000 cups by 2012 but somehow I still remember when and what I've drawn and who I served it for. It's kind of creepy.
@petakopetako: I like taking photos. Normally I am bad at remembering people's faces, but once I take photos of them, I can remember where it was and what they were talking about. Maybe people remember things better when doing something they are passionate about.The social media effect
Cafe owners and baristas in Japan have uploaded photos of their secret, off-the-menu 3D latte art to social media. These images were circulated widely and later gained the attention of local broadcasters and magazines.
The publicity has attracted so many new clients to some coffee houses that owners are struggling to keep up. The owner of Cafe Bar Jihan in Shizuoka prefecture wrote about Facebook effect in his blog [ja]:
I started serving 3D latte art after my long-time customer asked me to do it. I uploaded the picture on Facebook page just for fun, then I was astonished to see the enormous number of people who liked the photo. With the image widely amplified, several media outlets asked me that they wanted to cover our coffeehouse. I was a bit confused by being asked to appear on television in Tokyo!
He also wrote [ja]:
This kitty cat latte art requires so much time that I can't take orders when things are busy in our cafe. I've been struggling with what to do about this situation. At least the cafe is relatively slow after 6 p.m. on weekdays, so if you are visiting for 3D latte art, please come around these times.This post was originally written by Ayako Yokota. Keiko Tanaka edited her post and L. Finch sub-edited.
Activists in Tokyo demonstrated against agricultural giant Monsanto in front of their local offices, joining 279,723 protesters in 57 other countries around the world for March Against Monsanto day on May 25, 2013. Project 99% [ja], an anti-nuclear power and anti-Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement [so called TPP] coalition of activists and groups in Japan working to create society for the 99 percent, organized the action. Some of the activists performed a short original theatrical play entitled “Keep the Monsanto Police out of Japan! [ja]“.
In November 2012, a truck departed from the northeast Japanese city of Kesennuma on a journey to Fukushima. Its sides were pasted over with pictures of a giant eye, and at the back of the truck was an opening like a mailbox slot. The truck was equipped with a camera to take people's photos and a large-format printer to print them out.
The truck was part of French artist JR‘s “Inside Out” project, an art concept based on public participation. The artist's project is centered on taking photos of people on the street in different parts of the world and then pasting their portraits on the sides of buildings. The project is a global platform for people to share their untold stories and transform messages of personal identity into works of public art.
Photographs of about 400 people were collected from Japan's northeastern Tohoku region, which still bears the scars of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami which killed nearly 16,000 people and devastated the area. A selection of these photographs were then put on exhibition.
JR's exhibition at the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, which is located in Tokyo's Shibuya district, started in February, 2013 and runs until June 2, 2013. While JR's Inside Out Project was unfolding in Tohoku, the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art put out a call for financial support[ja] for the project through Campfire[ja], a Japanese crowd-funding site.This call for support met with a favorable response, reaching the museum's two million yen (about 19,600 United States dollars) goal during the fundraising period.
Campfire is one of Japan's leading crowdfunding sites [ja]. In 2012, it raised [ja] about 92 million yen (about 903,000 US dollars), with one particular project netting a record-setting 5.3 million yen (about 52,000 US dollars). Compare this with well-known US crowdfunding site Kickstarter, which successfully raised one million dollars for 17 different projects and collected pledges totaling about 320 million dollars in 2012.
Despite the relatively small size of Japan crowdfunding market, the fact that Campfire was able to overcome such challenges and reach its goal is telling. The Watari Museum is now working once again with Campfire [ja] to raise funds aimed at nationwide expansion. [Update: The fundraising project was closed by May 10, 2013]
In addition to the Tohoku photo project, the museum is also presenting other “Inside Out” projects by JR in chronological order. There is even an area where people visiting the exhibition, which is called “Could Art Change the World?”, can have their photographs taken. Giving people the chance to have their portraits taken at the museum is a way of getting them involved in the “Inside Out” project.
JR discussed the idea behind the project during an interview with online news publication Blouin Artinfo:
[...] Although I helped with the construction and logistics, it’s important for me that the local people manage the truck, the photo booth, and all the operations themselves. It’s meant to be a project by the Japanese, for the Japanese. [...]
On Twitter, user TAKEI Toshifumi (@toshify) discussed his impression of the exhibition in a tweet:
@toshify: I went to see JR's “Could Art Change the World?” exhibition (being held at the Watari Museum until June 2).
JR is a French artist who draws attention to social issues by taking photos of people's faces and then posting them on the street. While there is the belief that a person's face is something private, putting someone's face on display to the public can be used to convey a powerful message. The artist's language is also beautiful.
Reaction to the participation aspect of the project have been varied:
@Hiro183: Visiting JR's exhibition at the Watari Museum again (this makes it my 13th visit). Why did I come to this kind of event? Because I am participating in the event through my financial contributions to Campfire. Art has a meaning only after we participate in it.
@hiswii : I find it hard to say that I actually participated in JR's exhibitionat the Watari Museum just by going there and having my picture taken. JR's lack of embodiment should carry over to the project as a whole.the Watari Museum [ja]. Published in accordance with Campfire's intellectual properties guidelines in Japanese, which allow Campfire members to repost the image/text of materials appeared on the campaign page to their blogs.
Blogger and activist Masaki C. has something to say about English media coverage of LGBT politics in Japan, arguing that they simplify the issue down to marriage equality:
They are, in constructing LGBT politics in Japan as such, erasing local history and ignoring dialogues taking place among queers in Japan.
To counter the dropping birth rate, the Japanese government is proposing compiling a handbook with information on pregnancy and family planning to educate teenage girls on the subject. This plan to distribute the so-called “women's handbook” has been met with criticism by women's groups, which argue that the issues of pregnancy involve both men and women. (more…)
Against a backdrop of growing concern about ‘land grabs‘ in Africa and the conversion of smallholder agriculture to large-scale commercial agriculture, a leak from a controversial economic development plan has raised alarm in Mozambique, as well as Brazil and Japan [ja], two key donors.
According to Mozambican NGO Justiça Ambiental and a number of other co-signing organizations, a leaked copy of the so-called Master Plan for the ProSAVANA program, dated March 2013, reveals the ‘land grabbing’ plans of the governments of Japan, Brazil and Mozambique.
Brazilian activist Fátima Mello explains what ProSAVANA is, and gives some important background on the project in an interview with Instituto Humanitas [pt]:
O ProSavana é um programa de cooperação e investimentos entre três governos: Brasil, Japão e Moçambique. É um programa agrícola que abrange três províncias no norte de Moçambique, numa área estimada em 14,5 milhões de hectares, onde vivem aproximadamente 5,5 milhões de camponeses que produzem, a partir de um sistema de base familiar, alimentos. O ProSavana deriva do Prodecer, um programa que foi desenvolvido no Cerrado brasileiro, em Mato Grosso, realizado pela cooperação japonesa com o Brasil nos anos 1980 e que produziu as características que conhecemos no Cerrado: gigantescos monocultivos de soja em larga escala voltados para a exportação, intenso uso de agrotóxicos, expulsão de populações tradicionais, concentração da propriedade da terra, contaminação do solo e criação de um poderio econômico do latifúndio e do agronegócio, que se traduziu em poder político…
Prosavana is an aid and investment program between three governments: Brazil, Japan, and Mozambique. It is an agricultural program that spans three provinces in the north of Mozambique, in an area estimated at 14.5 million hectares, where approximately 5.5 million people produce food as family farmers. Prosavana derives from Prodecer, a program that was developed in the Brazilian “cerrado” (grasslands), in Mato Grosso, undertaken by Japanese aid with Brazil in the 1980s and that produced the characteristics that we know in the Cerrado: gigantic monocultures of soy on a large scale for export, intense use of agrotoxins, expulsion of traditional crops, concentration of land, contamination of the soil and creation of an economic powerhouse of land-owning elites and agribusiness, which translated into political power…
The land area in question in the “Nacala Corridor” is the size of Switzerland and Austria. The agencies sponsoring this project and the government had not yet made maps available to farmers and citizens, detailing what land will be included. Farmers organizations have felt totally shut out of the shaping of this project and policy.
The National Farmers Union of Mozambique (UNAC) said last year:
We, peasant farmers, condemn the way in which the ProSavana programme was drafted and the way it is intended to be implemented in Mozambique, which has been characterised by reduced transparency and the exclusion of civil society organisations throughout the process, especially peasant organisations.
On the blog Delegoa Bay, a blogger called ABM writes [pt]:
Conversando com camponeses ao longo do Corredor de Nacala fica claro que brasileiros e japoneses estão indo às comunidades para avisar que o ProSavana está chegando. Depois afirmarão que fizeram as chamadas consultas a sociedade civil. Isso que estão fazendo não é consulta…
Conversing with family farmers along the Nacala Corridor it becomes clear that Brazilians and Japanese are going to communities to warn that ProSavana is coming. Then they will maintain that they did so-called consultations with civil society. What they are doing is not consulting.
In March, under increasing pressure the Mozambican government stated [pt] that “dialogue [with communities] must be permanent”. Brazilian diplomats have responded to the calls for transparency by stating that small farmers will be included in the plans to develop Mozambique's Nacala Corridor. Head of the Brazilian Cooperation Agency, Fernando Abreu, was quoted last month [pt] as saying that more information was needed, also claiming that there were no plans to resettle or move farmers from their land.
The leaks contain maps, showing which districts will be targeted for large-scale farming for export, allowing civil society organizations to verify exactly which communities could be affected in order to get a better idea of the potential impact. The leaked document identifies seven “clusters” for intensive development.
Justiça Ambiental and co-signers describe what kind of agriculture the plan will bring
Some of the projects within the plan will provide large areas of land to investors. The Integrated Grain Cluster, which is planned for Majune District, Niassa Province, will be managed by one vertically integrated company that will operate nine 5,000 ha farms, within a 60,000 ha zone, to produce a rotation of maize, soybeans and sunflower, mainly for export. According to the plan, ‘the project has a high profitability and the internal rate of return was calculated at 20.3% and the payback is 9 years.’
They go on to question whether there are any benefits for the Mozambicans in the region:
It is telling that only one of the seven clusters in the Master Plan is aimed at small scale farmers and family food production. And this cluster only proposes the same old failed green revolution model of development. The Master Plan puts no real thought and energy into the needs and capacities of peasants in the Nacala Corridor.
Corporations are the big beneficiaries of this Master Plan. They will get control over land and production and they will control the trade of the foods produced, which will be exported along the roads, rail lines and Nacala port that other foreign corporations will be paid to construct with public funds from Mozambique and Japan.
The National Farmer's Union foresaw a host of problems arising from the ProSAVANA project already last year. Landlessness, social upheaval, impoverishment, corruption, water pollution and ecological imbalance due to deforestation, the Union warned, could become a reality if the project went ahead as planned.
Japan participated in NASA's International Space Apps Challenge 2013 with a hackathon in Tokyo on April 21 and 22, 2013. Eighteen project teams developed apps with the aim of improving life on Earth and in space, including an app to create dishes in a shape of celestial bodies [ja] such as the moons of Mars using 3D printers, and a location finder app to suggest less cloudy places for installing solar panels.
Among the thousands of people that fill Japan's parks every spring to picnic under the delicate pink cherry blossoms, known as sakura, are young professionals. They are new recruits sent by their bosses to reserve a spot for the company's outdoor feast, and are sometimes made to sit for hours well into the night guarding the location.
The blooming of the cherry blossom trees in Japan in early spring coincides with the beginning of the Japanese business year, and it is tradition to test new employees with this task.
Twitter user Mame (@MameBroth) wrote about the thankless job on his account on March 20, 2013:
@MameBroth: I am taking place for hanami spot as a new employee. But I have to meet a product deadline so they told me to bring a laptop computer. I do coding while reserving the spot. Night comes on. Nobody has come yet. I call the office. I get yelled at over the phone, “What make you think we can come? We are busy as hell!”. All alone on a chilling night. How sad is this.
The tradition of new hires reserving a picnic spot for their companies is part of the larger annual tradition of hanami where friends and families hold feasts under the flowering trees and enjoy sake and beer. Companies also organize hanami, and often cases, the new employees are being evaluated based on how good they conduct the hanami party.
If you are responsible for your company's hanami party, simply reserving a spot and procuring liquors are not good enough.The skill of preparing hanami is associated with management skill and neat work. Your bosses and seniors are surreptitiously evaluating your capability through your skill of preparing the feast.
This year, the Japan Meteorological Agency announced cherry blossoms reached full bloom on March 22 in Tokyo, the second earliest since the weather agency began taking statistics in 1953.
With the early arrival of the full bloom of cherry blossoms this year, Twitter users wondered if the new employees’ first task would be affected. The blooming period is very short, and company hanami parties are supposed to be held in April.
Twitter user Wappa (@tokyoallnight) wrote on April 1, the start of the Japanese business year:
@tokyoallnight: Oh today is the day of initiation ceremonies at companies… Speaking of the very first task for rookie, the task used to be hanami spot keeping. Is it still rookies’ job? We used to say that we could tell who would have leadership among those new ones by watching their hanami preparation. Well, but here in Tokyo, cherry flowers have already fallen off.
Twitter user Yas (@yas_ukey) advised new hires to seize on alternative opportunities to prove themselves:
@yas_ukey: New worker’s mission, reserving a hanami spot become impossible this year. Find some other ways to have a leg up on your fellow colleagues.
On the other hand, others were puzzled by the tradition. Masumiyutaka (@masumiyutaka) tweeted:
@masumiyutaka: I have an image of cherry trees beginning to bloom in April around the time of school entrance ceremony in the old days. But nowadays, the image of blooming cherry blossom is the latter half of March. Blooming is getting earlier and earlier. So the weird tradition of new employees taking place for hanami spot in April would possibly disappear?
Not everyone supports the tradition of rookie employees serving as party location placeholders. An online article by business newspaper NIKKEI.com reported [ja] that telling junior employees to reserve hanami spots could fall under the two of six categories of power harassment specified by the Ministry of Health and Welfare – excessive demands, such as assigning work that is impossible to perform or obviously unnecessary; and intrusion upon the individual, such as intrusion into an employee's personal life.
In free posting site Hatelabo, an anonymous user was strongly opposed [ja] to the custom:
新人に花見の場所取りをさせる会社ってまだあるのか？ 外国育ちの俺には心底意味がわからん。 勤務時間外に付き合わせるだけに飽きたらず場所取りって！ 人を何だと思ってるんだ。 俺なら絶対にやらないね。絶対にだ。
Are there still companies that force new employees to take place for company’s hanami spot? As someone who grew up in a foreign country, I really don’t get it. On top of the heavy social obligation after working hours, to use them for reserving a spot? Who the hell do they think they are? I will never ever accept it. No way.
Another anonymous user responded to the comment:
I didn't grow up in a foreign country, I'm not a new employee and I'm not young. But I agree with you. It's OK if you are willing to do it but it's not OK that society forces the individual to do it. Or of anything.
On Twitter, user xxxxxlg (@xxxxxlg) wrote about his personal experience with the spring tradition:
@xxxxxlg: First and second year workers had a meeting for a hanami party in Ueno Park. Apparently, we have to plan the detail of budget and schedule for the big hanami party that 100 people participated from operational headquarters. By the way, taking spot for the hanami party kicks off the night before the day.
The thumbnail image used in this post is taken by lestaylorphoto on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
The Chinese government has turned down Japan’s offer to help with relief efforts following an earthquake in China's southwest Sichuan province that left at least 193 people dead and more than 12,000 injured [zh].
The quake, measured at magnitude of 7.0 by the China Earthquake Administration, stuck on the morning of April 20, 2013 in the mountainous areas near Ya’an, a city of 1.5 million people known for its population of pandas and tea industry.
In response, the Chinese Foreign Ministry in its daily news briefing on April 21 said the government was grateful for the gesture, but overseas aid at the moment was not necessary, citing congested roads and the competency of Chinese authorities to cope with the relief work:
After the April 20 Lushan earthquake in Sichuan, the international community has swiftly offered condolences and support, some countries have shown willingness to offer assistance of all kinds, to which the Chinese government and its people are grateful. Chinese government are carrying out all-out disaster-relief work. At the moment, we have sufficient relief and medical workforce, as well as sufficient relief supplies, given the inconvenience of telecommunication and traffic in the quake-hit zones, for now don’t need foreign rescue teams, medical teams, and relief supplies. If we are in need of them, we will make the demand to relevant countries where necessary. The China Red Cross has released the contact for the acceptance of overseas financial aid.
But at the same time, Chinese state media reported the imminent arrival of nearly 200 Russian rescue workers [zh].
Japan's offer to help comes at a shaky time for relations between China and Japan as the two countries continue to spar over islands in the East China sea.
The ministry's rebuff of Japan's help sparked lively debates on Chinese social media, with some netizens shelving the recent territorial dispute and historic bitterness between the two countries.
“Kuaile Songxiang” from Beijing wrote[zh] that China should learn from Japan about disaster prevention, commenting on popular Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo:
Not only should we accept Japan's assistance, we also need to introduce the advanced disaster prevention and reduction from Japan, of course, fundamentally
Echoing the same sentiment, Weibo user “name no longer meaningful” lamented [zh]:
Narrow nationalism, it's just biting off more than we can chew, is it really humiliating to accept Japanese assistance?
“Yanger Dini” from the northwestern city of Xi'an, however, came to the government's defense by offering his analysis [zh]:
There are many political elements involved, many heavy industries and nuclear facilities are near Sichuan, choosing to shut ourselves off is for the reason of national defense.
“Pushan Pushan De Yanjing” from the provincial capital Nanchang of eastern Jiangxi province wrote sarcastically [zh]:
Japan is the the subject of negative propaganda used to rally nationalism, if we let them do good deeds in China, it will elevate their positive image among ordinary Chinese people, which will be bad for the negative propaganda, so…
“Yihao Caomin” seemed dismayed [zh] at the comparison between the two nations,hinting about China's Red Cross scandal and media reports about leaders eating instant noodles as nothing more than image boosting.
Japan experiences sensible earthquakes more than 1,000 times, 10 percent of all the earthquake in the world occur in Japan. But earthquakes in Japan rarely cause large casualties. Why? 1. Houses that can sustain quakes, not shoddy construction projects. 2. Professional and timely relief work, no inexperienced army sent to do the work, no declining foreign aid. 3. No photos of leaders eating instant noodles and millet porridge to boost their image. 4. Red Cross (in Japan) does not have Guo Meimei. 5. People can access Twitter without posts being deleted. 6….any addition is welcome
Japan has approved a bill that will allow political candidates to tweet and blog and run online advertisements during their election campaigns
Up until last week, Japanese electoral candidates had to cautiously navigate their Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and blogs to avoid breaking the country's strict election laws which banned online political activity.
The revised election law passed by both houses of Japan's legislature on April 19, 2013 will allow political candidates to use social media and other online platforms to voice their opinions and reach their voters.
The bill's impact could be soon as early as July, during the election for the House of Councilors.
Young activists and change-makers had been working behind the scenes to revise Japan's election law. Kensuke Harada, one of the founders of the One Voice Campaign [ja] that advocated for online election campaigning wrote [ja] in a Facebook post:
Finally the ban on online election campaigning is lifted! We've been working on this issue as One Voice Campaign since last April . This is the issue that our elders have been working on for years. But April last year, nobody was talking about it, not even the politicians, or the public.
But I still wanted change. I thought it would be definitely fun if each one of us worked to make a difference in the law. With that passion, various people came together to the One Voice crew, and shaped how we are today. I am grateful to the people who are not members but helped us a lot too. [...]
I don't know how much impact we had in passing the bill but I can say it wasn't zero. With voices from each one of us, politics can change! You can bring change!
The change is expected to recapture Japan's youth vote, by offering young people, who have turned away from old media like newspapers, an option to be politically informed online.
Only 37.89 percent of voters in their 20s exercised the right to vote during the general election held in December 2012, which made overall voting rates hit a post-war record low of 59.3 percent.
But online campaign will not be completely free, there are rules and restrictions for both candidates and voters.
One concern is identity fraud; falsifying identity and posting damaging messages can lead to imprisonment of up to two years or a fine of up to roughly 3,000 US Dollars.
Internet service providers (ISP) have the authority to delete malicious comments, if users fail to provide acceptable reasons within two days of being notified。
GMO GlobalSign, an Internet security certification company, announced that they would provide verification services for political parties online. The Liberal Democratic Party of Japan also announced [ja] their plan to extend the use of Extended Validation Certificates on websites of individual politicians. They embraced the popular Verisign certification on their official website in 2011.
@wms: According to some sources, there are chances of online users getting arrested by posting political comments with pseudonyms Even though social media is now fully acceptable for online campaigns, I think it can be dangerous to post political comments if you don't use an account with your real name.
Another concern is the use of online advertisement. Muto Nobuki, a Twitter user who works in the news and advertising industry tweets:
@mutonobuki: Now that there's a new market online, political parties feel anxious without placing online ads, it is likely they will pour money on the Internet. But they have a limited budget, so certain media will lose advertising revenue.
Kalaiyo, a supporter of the Liberal Democratic Party, which is popular among Japan's conservative voters, worries that the revised law allows political parties to buy as many online ads as they want, but leaves out measures for independent candidates:
@kalaiyo: Japan's politick is based on a party system. So it's common that independent candidates that do not belong to any party have disadvantages. However it's kind of strange that [the law] bans independents from placing online ads.
Ryosuke Nishida, a researcher and professor on social entrepreneurship and public policy writes on his blog [ja]:
I think permitting online campaigns is a good starting point. Citizens pay more attention to politics during election campaigns. Using Information Technology, politicians will have better understanding of IT in the mid to long term while learning to adapt themselves to latest technologies: this will potentially lead to e-government and [integration of] communication and broadcasting.
Another Twitter user writes about the irony of the new law being passed while legislators have been unable to solve the unconstitutional state of Japan's election process due to vote disparity:
@gankuma_: Let me think out loud – the online campaign bill was passed quickly while those who sit in the legislatures seem to have lesser motivation to resolve the issue of our unconstitutional elections.
A thousand Japanese facebook users unknowingly endorsed and shared a fictitious image [ja] that seemed to be an official publication and highlighted the negative impact Japan's apologetic stance in history has on the country's children.
A citizen journalist traced the image, which even has the official government seal of Japan in its top-left corner, (although the government does not use this seal for its official publications) to a right-wing Facebook page.
Facebook user Tsubasa who liked the image wrote[ja] in support of a patriotic view:
I'm sick and tired of introspective history textbooks. I want the children today to learn from legit textbooks. I don't mean to glamorize the war, but people need to think what they fought and died for.
The fabricated image took a life of its own on Facebook when it was shared along with famous quotes, from Indian jurist Radha Binod Pal, Thailand politician Kukrit Pramoj, Indonesian scholar Arifin Bey and British historian Arnold J. Toynbee, that reinforced the idea that Japan's war posture was always for Asia's liberation.
Earlier this year, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, almost offended China and Korea, when he signaled that he would “review” the country's apologies made in the past for its World War II aggression. Later, he backtracked and said would not review Japan’s wartime history and that he would abide by the official stances of his predecessors on the issue.
Facebook user Rie noticed it was fake:
This image is fake. I've checked and I can tell you there's no such government publication. It's insane for somebody to intentionally create a fake government image and amplify it on facebook. I don't understand why they do this on purpose.
Citizen journalist Norifumi Ohtani at Miyazaki Citizen Media criticized [ja] social media users who shared this image without verifying its source and traced the image to right wing activists who apparently fabricated the image, and gave it an official government seal.
The image of the uniformed child originated from an online shopping site for children's school-bags. Ohtani wrote a series of analysis [ja] on how the image was edited and right-wing text and a government seal were added, before it was appropriated on a Facebook page and shared without context.
I saw this on my Facebook feed on April 15, 2013. [...] Apparently this image gained more than 1300 Likes with many comments. I wondered when this image was released by the Cabinet Public Relation Office. So I checked the website of the Office [ja] but I couldn't find one like this.
Then I thought, maybe this image is a fabrication. So I searched for more information.
The one I saw on Facebook was posted by “Japanism“[ja], a Facebook page that has 4,617 likes.
There was no reference of source in the description of the image so I searched on Google with words like “Cabinet Public Relations Office Let's teach our children the true history” and arrived to this page.
It directed me to a Twitter account that intentionally amplified this image.
It is okay to quote blogger's posts, but when you quote, make sure you name the source.
I think people should refrain from abruptly sharing facebook images, [out of context] when they do not reflect the agenda of the author.
Maybe it's nice to pause for a second and verify where the source comes from.
The alleged creator of the image was a Facebook fan page called “反日対策協議会” [eliminate anti-Japanese activity]. They have since admitted [ja] that it was fake, meant to be ‘parody.’ The Facebook page of Japanism also added a comment [ja], apologizing for sharing the image without checking where it came from.
Ohtani criticized [ja] the ‘parody’ which mislead citizens, saying that right-wing activists went too far in disguising themselves as a government publication.The quoted blog post was written by Norifumi Ohtani in Japanese under Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 2.1, by Nippon：Citizen's Media Miyazaki
In Japan, summer is the season of eel.
On the sweltering midsummer days between mid-July and early August, it's traditional to eat a plate of golden-brown broiled unagi kabayaki, or broiled eel. The popular dish is believed to help people stay healthy during the hot weather.
But the tradition is now at risk. Skyrocketing demand for glass eels, once considered a highbrow delicacy, is pushing fishermen to exhaust the population and causing prices to soar. A number of East Asian countries including Japan have proposed ideas on how to preserve the wild eel, but there are so far no concrete efforts underway to curb the trend.
Ida Tetsuji, a columnist from Nippon.com, a Japanese news website, described how the production of eels has been increased fourfold over recent decades to satisfy the increased eel consumption:
Domestic eel production in Japan held at about 40,000 tons a year through the mid-1980s. This was supplemented by imports from Taiwan, which ranged from about 25,000 tons to a high of around 40,000 tons. [...] In 2000 a record high of over 130,000 tons of eel products were imported from China and Taiwan, and domestic sales volume rose to almost 160,000 tons, also a record high. This was almost double the volume of sales 15 years earlier.
A common misconception is that glass eels can be farmed to keep up with the increased demand. However, eels are catadromous, meaning that part of their life circle is in freshwater and part in saltwater. Since there was no current method to reproduce the eel larvae, the fishermen need to catch the wild glass eels when they enter the river and travel upstream and farm them in ponds.
So without a way to replenish the eel population in the face of such demand, the number of these glass eels caught by fishermen in recent years continues to decrease. “Dogfamily”, an independent reporter in a Taiwanese citizen news portal, Newsmarket, reported [zh] the reality on March 18, 2013:
過去亞洲一年日本鰻苗捕獲量接近100噸，但近4年產量急遽下滑，2010-2012的產量遽降為41、35、26噸；以台灣為例，過去一年有20噸，但2010-2012僅剩4、4、2噸，今年（2013）約1.5噸。The number of caught glass eels of Japanese eels has dropped dramatically in the recent four years from an average of 100 tons per year to 41, 35, 26 tons in 2010-2012. Take Taiwan for example, Taiwanese fishermen used to catch 20 tons of glass eels annually (e.g., 20 percent of the glass eels caught among the countries along the Kuroshio Current), but the total number dropped to 4, 4, 2 tons in 2010-2012. This year (2013), the number is around 1.5 tons.
The price of glass eels has soared as a result. Dogfamily [zh] pointed out:
幾年前，鰻苗1尾10元[…]今（2012）年的平均價達到180元/尾。以每公斤6000尾來換算，一公斤的鰻苗要價108萬，接近黃金的市價。即使價格如此驚人，但因為捕撈量嚴重不足，苗戶的收入還是下降。Several years ago, one glass eel was sold for 10 Taiwan dollars [0.34 United States dollars] [...] This year (2012), one glass eel in average is sold for 108 Taiwan dollars [3.62 US dollars]. Since 6,000 glass eels are about one kilogram, one kilogram of glass eels is 1,080,000 Taiwan dollars (36,249 US dollars). This is close to the price of gold. Nevertheless, despite the amazing price, the fishermen’s income decreases because the amount of caught glass eels is so little.
The shortage in supply has resulted in smuggling activities, Dogfamily [zh] explained:
即使台灣經濟部已訂定3月31日前鰻苗禁止出口，但在日方出價高的誘惑力之下，苗商仍透過各種管道以走私的方式將苗輸出至日本。去年12月間，桃園機場就查獲以行李箱攜帶20,000萬尾鰻魚苗走私的案件。根據業者私下透露，1月15日前捕獲的鰻苗，幾乎是100％供應到日本。Although the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Taiwan has set up regulations to forbid the export of glass eels before March 31, the Taiwanese merchants still find ways to smuggle glass eels to Japan because the price provided by Japanese businessmen is so tempting. Last December, 20,000 glass eels were discovered to be smuggled in suitcases in Taoyuan International Airport. Based on private conversations with the Taiwanese merchants, almost 100 percent of the glass eels caught before January 15 were sold to Japan.
European eels have already been listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in June 2007. Earlier on this year, the U.S had considered submitting a proposal for an international trade regulation on eel catches in CITES. At the same time, the Japanese Environment Ministry also designated the Japanese eel as a species at risk of extinction on its red list of endangered freshwater and brackish water fish in last February. However, the move is not legally binding.
In reaction to the pressure for eel preservation, a number of East Asian countries, including Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea have held several conferences and several preservation procedures have been proposed, including rehabilitation of the eels’ natural environment, restrictions on eel export, and release of adult eels in the rivers.
Nevertheless, with such a huge consumer market, eel merchants will continue to find new ways to make profit. In fact, the Japanese merchants have turned to African eels as an alternative, Dogfamily [zh] reported:
美國意圖將鰻魚列入貿易保護名單的舉動使得日本相當緊張，開始尋找替代的鰻魚來源，最近觸角伸向馬達加斯加的養殖業者，將購買非洲鰻來因應日本鰻價格節節升高以及美洲鰻前途未明的情況。America’s intention to list eel in CITES makes Japan very nervous, and they have started to find an alternative source for eels. Recently, they contacted eel farmers in Madagascar and plan to buy African eels to avoid the soaring price of eels and prepare for the possible ban on American eels.
At the same time, international NGO, the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network (TRAFFIC) has also discovered that the Philippines has started exporting large amount of Japanese eels and Luzon eels, a newly discovered species, out of the country:
In July (2012), TRAFFIC surveys found almost 50 listings from businesses in the Philippines offering eel fry or glass eels for sale through online B2B platform Alibaba.com. Several reported they could supply for export hundreds of kilos of glass eels of a variety of eel species every month.
To break the demand-supply cycle, some Japanese have started consumer campaigns to reduce the consumption of eels. Ida Tetsuji on Nippon.com wrote:
Consumers and distributors of eels also bear considerable responsibility for the situation. As a result of the unsustainable inflow of large quantities of imports, eels, formerly considered a deluxe food, have turned into a cheap item sold in bulk through convenience stores and supermarkets […] We need to take this opportunity to transform the eel business from its low-profit, high-volume “quantity over quality” model back to a “quality over quantity” approach. Otherwise the stocks will become even more seriously depleted, and we are liable to sink into a descending spiral in which consumers tire of low-quality eels and stop buying them, causing the eel industry’s profits to decline further and the business as a whole to weaken.
Tirrano, a Japanese blogger from Decent Point, also believed [ja] that despite the gravity of the problem, the solution is rather easy:
どうしたらよいか、激減した原因の反対のことをすることなら簡単に始められそうです。つまり、不必要の多くのウナギを食べないこと、安いからといってウナギを食べないことです。日本の消費量がとてつもなく多すぎるのです。それを30年前ぐらいに激減させればいい。それには、スーパーなどの特売にある、それほどおいしくはない、ウナギを無理して食べないことです。What to do to avoid the dramatic decrease of Japanese eels is actually easy. In short, we should not eat eels if not necessary, and we should not eat those cheap eels. Eel consumption in Japan is too high. If the amount of eels consumed can be reduced to what it was 30 years ago, conditions would be better. In other words, we should not eat eels only because there is a super sale on eels in the supermarket.
The Chinese entertainment industry's incessant production of anti-Japanese TV dramas, under the scrutiny of netizens for a while now, has hit a nerve with China's state-controlled media after two photographs from a war drama showing a nude girl saluting a group of Chinese soldiers leaked online.
As the territorial dispute between China and Japan over islands in the East China sea has intensified over the last three years, so have the number of television dramas [zh] about the Frist and Second Sino-Japanese War, which led to the death of millions of Chinese. Authorities in the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television have been delighted to approve these patriotic story plots.
But the nudity depicted in the two photographs which leaked on popular Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo seemed too much for even state-controlled media outlets, including the China Central Television and the People Daily, which criticized [zh] the country's relentless anti-Japanese TV dramas for being too vulgar.
Chinese airwaves have been inundated with anti-Japanese war dramas. According to a local news report, 70 of the 200 primetime dramas on major TV networks in 2012 were about the Sino-Japanese War. Sources from Hengdian Movie and Television City [a drama and film production compound] in Zhejiang province said [zh] that among its 300,000 contracted actors, 60 percent have performed the role of Japanese soldiers.
Annually, there are about 48 drama production crews working on anti-Japanese invasion dramas. An actor playing a Japanese soldier can die up to eight times a day. A drama takes an average of four months to complete, which means more than one billion Japanese soldiers have been ‘killed’ in Hengdian alone.
In response to the leaked photos, Sina Weibo's headline news microblog composed a collection [zh] of screen captures of other vulgar moments from war dramas. The set of images was republished more than 30,000 in less than 24 hours and attracted thousands of comments.
Below is the translated collection:
A group of armed Japanese soldiers running away from a woman with an arrow aimed at them.
All the weapons are too weak — let me tear the Japanese soldier apart. His Arms are so strong to tear the Japanese soldier into two pieces so easily.
Our soldiers have turned into armed secret agents with all-terrain vehicles. How can this be about Sino-Japanese war?
Look at this girl. Even though she is surrounded by Japanese soldiers, with her Tai Chi Chuan, touch of death and flying steps, she kills all the gun-armed Japanese soldiers with bare hands.
This drama has combined the anti-Japanese invasion theme with a love story, are you genuinely fighting against the Japanese?
This is the best one. An anti-Japanese “hero” throws a bomb to the sky and takes down a Japanese fighter plane!!! This is such a bluff!
Jump off the cliff to catch the Japanese soldiers who are driving around and kill them… You would be damn lucky if you did not die, can anyone still expect you to kill Japanese soldiers?
I have heard that this gun is called AK47…
Netizens on Weibo disparaged the films, accusing them of distorting the invasion's actual history. In reaction to the still of the nude girl, “City Grass 2013″ (＠城草 2013) wrote [zh]:
So shocked to hear that there is a nude heroine saluting to a group of Chinese soldiers in the anti-Japanese invasion drama. In exchange for a lot of viewers, there is no baseline?! In recent years, the anti-Japanese invasion dramas have a lot of strange ideas, some even turn prostitutes into anti-Japanese heroines. When the actresses are in the battlefield, they wear make-up and try to be sexually attractive. It has twisted the history. How can we let our kids see this?
User “Forest big wood” (＠林林林林大木) found [zh] the adult-television style hilarious:
The fact that they can develop adult-TV style out of anti-Japanese invasion theme has demonstrated our party's progressive style, it progresses with our times. I clapped my hands all day…
Script writer Bei Cun (@北村) was angry about the plot line [zh]:
Can't they produce something more serious? The Sino-Japanese War is a very solemn historic episode and it is a trauma for Chinese people. Such plots not only pollute the TV screen, but also disgrace our heroes by burying their blood and tears.
User “Observe the Red Cross – 365″ (@看听-红十-365) wondered [zh] who is responsible for the situation:
The TV is flooded with anti-Japanese invasion dramas that distort history. They sell fake patriotism as entertainment to make a profit. This is so disgusting…. but when you have a second thought, who did the wrong deed…
Most Chinese people understand that propaganda authorities have encouraged the production of anti-Japanese drama. That's why user “ThreeWatches” called criticism from state-owned CCTV and People's Daily hypocritical [zh]:
It is true that the anti-Japanese invasion dramas have lost their baseline but when CCTV and People's Daily criticized them as “nonsense and obscurant”, it sounds strange as if rapists are accusing others for harassing women.
“Water Rita” (@水水Rita-天然呆) made fun of the nationalistic conspiracy language and said [zh]:
I suspect the directors are the overseas enemy forces and they intentionally produce such awful anti-Japanese invasion dramas.
The first non-profit community radio station to be licensed for broadcast in Japan made its debut a decade ago out of a small corner cafe in Kyoto city. Kyoto Sanjo Radio Cafe [ja], FM 79.7 on the dial, celebrated its 10-year anniversary on March 31, 2013. They aired a program to talk about how things have been in the community since the first broadcast.
North Korea has a long history of bellicose rhetoric and threats against South Korea and its allies. The North's latest aggression, however, has been as intense as ever and tensions in East Asia region have escalated dangerously fast over the past few weeks.
After the North nullified the armistice with the South Korea in early March 2013, the U.S.-South Korea executed joint military drills as a show of force. On March 28, the U.S.’s B-2 stealth bombers flew over the Korean peninsula and North's leader Kim Jong-un, taking this as the last straw and ordered missiles on standby on March 29. The next day, Kim also announced that the North is in a “state of war” with South Korea and vowed to shut down the Kaesong industrial complex, a joint venture between the two Koreas. On March 31, the United States sent F-22 stealth fighter jets to South Korea for another military drill.
Even to South Koreans who have been overexposed to all kinds of hostile signals coming from the North, current developments were frightening indeed. And some net users tried to calm themselves by bringing up the old saying of ‘Barking Dog Never Bites’–which has become one of the most used metaphors in the Twitterverse and Blogsphere. However, how net users employed this clause, varied.
@idk209: 누군가 그러든데, 예전엔 한미가 대규모 훈련을 하면 북한도 맞대응 훈련을 했는데, 이젠 그것도 힘에 부치니 입으로 짖어대는 거라고.. 대게 맹렬하게 짖는 개들은 겁에 질려서 짖는 것이고, 그렇게 짖는 개가 무는 경우는 별로 없다…
@idk209: Some said the North, that usually responds to the US-South Korea joint military drills by having its own drills afterwards, is now in a situation that it lacks the stamina and tries instead to bark loud. Dogs, when frightened, bark murderously loud, but rarely bite.
@tobeto01: 북한의 전쟁 운운에 대하여..”짖는개는 물지 않는단”다. 하지만 그개가 미친개라면? 물리면 광견병 걸린다.
@tobeto01: Regarding North Korea’s war rhetoric, people say “Barking dog never bites”. But what if that dog is a crazy one? Victims will get rabies (referring to the following aftermath) when bitten by crazy one.
@nezerac: 안 짖는 개가 더 무섭다. 북한이 떠들면 떠들수록 개털이라는 말 하지만 우린 최악의 상황을 가정해서 대비를 해야 한다. 일일히 대꾸할 필요없다[...]
@nezerac: Of course seldom-barking dogs are more scary. And surely North Korea- the more they bark, the more they make fun of themselves by doing so. But still, we do need to prepare for the worst case scenario. But there is no need to respond every time to each of their barking.
But of course, there were some usual uninterested net users who have had so much disturbing news about North Korea that they grew numb to it. A tweet below shows how South Koreans take this news, comparing it to how Japanese citizens who are living in a country so prone to earthquakes, respond to news about earthquakes.
@kor_heinrich: 일본 : 강도 5도의 지진 발생 외신: 헐!! 야단났네! 일본국민 : 별거아님 자주있는 일임 한국: 북한, 서울 불바다 만들겠다! 외신 : 헐 야단났네! 한국국민: 별거아님 자주있는일임
@kor_heinrich: [Japan] When an earthquake of magnitude five points hits Japan, international Media says: Gasp! What a crisis!! Japanese citizen says: No biggie. That happens a lot more than you think. [South Korea] When North Korea claims it will turn Seoul into ‘sea of fire’, international Media says: Gasp! What a crisis!! Korean Citizen says: No biggie. That happens a lot more than you think.
When Gaesung Industrial complex, which provides the North access to $2 billion in trade a year, is closed, local reports predict it will affect livelihood of 300 thousand North Koreans [ko]. Some people discuss how different the crisis’ implications would be for North Korean power elite and ordinary North Korean citizens.
hssi84: 북한 지도층은 너무 권력의 물을 많이 먹어서 절대 권력을 놓치려 안할거란 사실이죠. 그런 사실로 봤을때는 망할 수도 있는 전쟁따위는 버릴겁니다. 권력은 쉽게 버릴수도 게임처럼 질러보기식으로 던질 수 없는거자나요
hssi84: North Korean leadership, who had too much of the sweet taste of power, will never let the power slip away. Those people are unlikely to risk a war which they will lose. Power is not just a random game they can merely try-out for fun nor something they can afford losing.
@ourholykorea: [...] 평화 시가 전쟁 시보다 나을 바가 없기 때문이다. 6.25때 죽은 사람보다 90년대 배급중단으로 굶어죽은 사람 숫자가 더 많았던 게 현실이다.
@ourholykorea: (for North Korean people) Peace situation is not better than war. It is cruel reality that more North Korean people died back in 90s when food distribution halted than those killed during the Korean War.
The tensions and conflicts have increased so far with no sign of alleviation, and some predictions claim Kim Jong-un may actually pull the trigger just not to lose face [ko]. More than a few net users voiced concern that responding to hostility with more hostility may not be a wise move, considering what South Korea could lose in case of a real war.
@toplkw: ”북한 도발시 1차 세계대전 수준 사상자 발생” http://www.viewsnnews.com/article/view.jsp?seq=98067 적대관계와 냉전적사고로가면 우리안보가 튼튼해지나 이 수구들아.
@toplkw: In the case of North Korea actually making (some military) provocations, the number of victims could amount to those of the World War 1: link to local article [ko] Listen, you conservatives: It is unlikely that responding to their hostility with another hostility (will ever solve the problem) and having cold-war mentality will not magically strengthen our national security.
@welovehani:미 스텔스 전투기가 한반도에 떠서 안전해지면 좋았겠지만. 북한의 반응은 정전협정 파기 선언. 도발은 북이 먼저 했기에 비난받아 마땅하지만. 도발에 똑같이 도발하는 대응 방식에 미국에서마저도 우려의 목소리가 나오고 있다.
@welovehani: It would have been good if the U.S.’s stealth flights which flew over the Korean peninsula worked in a way of protecting our security. However (after that) the North Korea decided to announce the end of the truce. I am not defending the North, actually I blame them for having started all these provocations in the first place. But even some people in the United States, have started voicing worries on how the U.S. handles this situation– responding to provocation with equal provocation.
Finding a job in today's tough economy is hard. But for Japanese college students, the country's ultra-competitive recruitment process or “shu-katsu” which starts a year or more before graduation, takes things to a whole new level.
Recruitment Rhapsody, an emotional short animated film that captures the rigid and obstacle-ridden job hunt process Japanese students must endure has gone viral with more than 350,000 views.
The film by art student Maho Yoshida [ja] was uploaded to YouTube on March 9, 2013 and illustrates a regular carefree university student who suddenly finds herself struggling to find a job among a crowd of focused, competitive, and uniformly dressed sycophants.
YouTube user afas afsa looked back to his days of job hunting in this comment [ja]:
Oh, I remember I used to be like this. I hated being a part of the crowd of job-hunters, but I also hated having no job offers. I tried not to make any mistakes, so as not to be laughed at…just do as everyone else does. I was reduced to that condition by the dreadful job search. I wonder how many talented young people must be labeled incompetent and are heart-broken, just because they ”lack job-hunting skills”.
While youth unemployment in Japan is not as bad as most of the developed world, most commenters were worried that the rigid social structure, not the economy, made the recruiting process competitive and complex:
If the only way to gain recognition from society is to conceal your true self, then the structure of society must be rotten in the first place, right?
If this is what the social structure of Japan is like, what must the rest of the world think when they see this?
I feel a sense of restriction in Japanese society today, as if I were trapped inside a greenhouse. In the future in Japan, I feel that there should be a time in which you can express yourself as a human being. Thank you for uploading the video, it was very interesting.
However some commenters disagreed that the recruiting system crushed individuality:
Let's think about the meaning of a “job”. If I'm paying you a salary, it's not because I want to restrain you. People who can produce their own profits do not need to belong to a company. The “work, and get money for each minute worked” type of job doesn't exist anymore. Even if it will not happen for a few years, if there are people who will generate profits for the company in the future, the company will employ them. You and the company are equal.
I think this video is well-done. But I doubt the wisdom of the “Job-hunting is so ridiculous!” type of comments. In school, the examinations were uniform, and you had to tailor yourself to the standard. Isn't it the same case for society?
The same basic manners of society are required for job-hunting students (it would be odd to go to the job interview with long hair, or dyed hair). Nevertheless, you can still develop your individuality beyond the basic [recruitment] etiquette.
YouTube user posaburo went a step further and suggested that students need to think out of the box:
Since students are only taught the “correct answers” while at school, these students are confused when they have to confront the real world, without definite answers. While job-hunting, they are thinking that they must act upon “correct answers”, and they still are not able to escape from the school mentality. You can't do business simply by imitating what other people do, right?Comments were translated by Andrew Kowalczuk