Archive for category General


Women, Family and work in the Japanese Economy

Posted by on Monday, 12 September, 2005

EIJS (European Insitute of Japanese Studies) is giving a new seminar on September 13 titled “Women, Family and Work in the Japanese Economy.” This seminar is, for some unknown reason, not posted on their website, nor is it on the Swedish Embassy webpage. That is unfortunate, because the theme of the seminar sounds very interesting, and with a lack of advertising it will not get as much attention as it should.

In light of recent discussions in media and on the web, e.g the TIME article entitled The Wasted Asset, this seminar is very timely. (I first found that article via Neomarxisme where there is a lively discussion on the topic as well.

Details on the EIJS seminar:

Date: September 13, 2005
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 PM (drinks and snacks served from 6:15 PM)
Place: Conference Square M+ Room “Success” 1st floor, Mitsubishi Building 2-5-2, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Three-minute walk from JR Tokyo Station, South Exit
Fee: 2000 Yen (Free for students)

For details, contact Ms. Miki Futugawa at (03) 5220-4567 or e-mail eijsjap (AT)


Tokyo is beautiful

Posted by on Tuesday, 30 August, 2005

I think Tokyo is beautiful. In a certain idiosyncratic way which only really works for Tokyo.

Some people say that the mega-city if cluttered and lacks an overall design and has no architechtural guidelines – ‘everything goes’ as one could say. While it is true, it also gives Tokyo a unique feeling. Nowhere else can you see sights like the one below (I snapped it with my cellphone, the large building with the round platform is TV-channel TBS’ headquarters) with a mix of small tiny winding roads, old residential homes and modern skyscrapers within the same viewframe. Sure, some areas of Tokyo (especially if you leave the absolute center) are not as nice, and it’s just stretches of low residential and old apartment buildings, but I nice the interesting and beautiful areas still make up for this. Now I guess it’s all in the eye of the beholder, but this is at least my two cents.



Time for Warm Biz!

Posted by on Tuesday, 23 August, 2005

A while ago, I wrote about Cool Biz and what a crap idea I think it is. Well, now it’s time for Warm Biz to battle unnecessary use of heaters during the fall and winter…

First I thought it was a joke, because this certainly could not be true! The government actually saying “wear a coat and hat inside” !! Geez, but after a little searching I found an official announcement here. Indeed, the heater in the offices around Japan should be set at 20 degrees and no higher during the cold months of the year. Seeing as how Japanese office ladies cover themselves in blankets and whine when the air conditioner is set to lower than 25 degrees, I have a hard time imagining how this will play out in reality. As with Cool Biz, this is merely a Government recommendation, but I think all Government offices have to follow it strictly.


Japanese-American Friendship Festival

Posted by on Monday, 22 August, 2005

This past weekend it was time for the annual Japanese-American Friendship Festival over at Yokota Air Base near Hachioji, to west of of Shinjuku, Tokyo. Actually, for me it was news – I hadn’t heard about it before, even though it’s been going on for I don’t know how many years.

It was a blistering hot day yesterday when we went out there. I think it was already about 33 degrees when we arrived at the base around 11 AM. And it didn’t get better after that. The part of the base which was open to the public is virtually all concrete and offers little to no places of shade. So we walked for what seemed to be miles along the airstrip looking at cool military planes kindly loaned from the 374th Airlift Wing (correct me if I’m wrong here!). The planes ranged from F-whatchamacallit to the sleek F-somenumberhere. Yep, I don’t know diddly-squat about military airplanes, but I’m sure there were some good stuff displayed. I think the one we got to board was the C-5 Galaxy, but I’m not sure. (I will put some pictures up later). Oh and I think they displayed some kind of stealth-plane to, I’ll put a picture up of that too, so someone may identify it.

Anyway, apart from looking at aircrafts, one could wander around in the concrete desert eating a variety of Japanese and American snacks. There was for example a hamburger-tent which manufactured American burgers with military efficiency – the burgers were not so good, but they all looked exactly the same and I think they could fry 50 burgers at once! Further they had a lot of places selling Shaved ice, or Kakigoori as it’s called here in Japan. A strange feeling for us “outsiders” (i.e. people not living on the base) was the fact that they accepted USD as payment. All prices were written in both USD and JPY (to a good exchange-rate too, I might add!) which gave a surreal feeling to the experience. It felt as we weren’t in Japan for few hours.

The Yokota Air Base has been in operation for 60 years (since September 5, 1945 so there’s an anniversary coming up). Yokota is the closest to Tokyo of all the bases here in Japan.


New blog!

Posted by on Friday, 19 August, 2005

Well, I finally decided to throw Grey Matter out the window and install something a little bit advanced and useful. Yep, I upgraded to WordPress 1.5.2 ! It was slightly troublesome to import all the posts, but I managed to do it thanks to some great help files over at the wordpress site.

Anyway, I will re-design the templates next, although it’s got a good look straight out of the box, but it doesn’t make the look of the rest of my site – so I’ll have to do some thinking; should I re-design the blog or the rest of the site?

[EDIT] Aaarrgh…. I managed to delete all the images from the old blog. I thought that WordPress would automatically copy them too, but nooooo….. Gotta re-upload the ones I still have left… :sigh: