Right Place

I could write an entire article about the wonders of the social bookmarking site del.icio.us, but I won’t at this point. Suffice it to say that by subscribing to this search for movies relating to Japan, I am frequently surprised at what arrives automatically in my iTunes. Today was no exception.

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This morning while drinking coffee and reviewing work email, I was treated to an excellent short film by Kosai Sekine called “Right Place“. As a musician, I’ve always loved working with independent filmmakers, but this short 5 minute film really struck a chord with me. Not only because of its Japanese-ness or its simple aesthetic, but because it is truly a great short film in many aspects. The concept is simple yet incredibly powerful, the cinematography stunning, beautifully done colors and editing, and easily digestible in five minutes.

I cannot say that I am any sort of film critic, but it was no surprise to find that “Right Place” won many awards include Young Director / Best Short Film at Cannes 2006, Diesel Film of the Festival at The Raindance Film Festival, and the Best Foreign Film Award at the New York City Short Film Festival.

If you are into indie films, you may really like this film and it’s director. Take a look at Right Place.


Japanese, Day One

I’m writing a quick entry this morning as we wait for our China Business Issues professor to arrive in class. Today is the first “official” day of Japanese language classes for Alex and I (as well as two other classmates who are interested in Japanese). Though I’ve learned some of the language through self-study and online resources, I’m still a bit nervous about learning the language in a classroom environment. It’s been nearly 14 years since I’ve attempted to learn a language in a classroom setting.

The text we are using is Nissan’s Business Japanese. It was written in the early 1990s I believe and its quite a strange way to learn Japanese. Most of the verb forms are introduced to the student in the polite present form, already conjugated. It’s throwing me a bit since I’ve attempted to learn the proper forms to begin with. I will most likely take it upon myself to re-study the three major verb forms and just continue to add to my vocabulary.

Hopefully, this will give me the opportunity to interact with more people on mixi.jp. I’ve missed writing in Japanese since there was not much time available last semester for language focus.

Apple Advertisements, What Gives?


Are you confused?

So first there was the news that Justin Long was no longer making Apple commercials. Next, I had discovered that there were equally compelling commercials using the same schtick for Japan. Following this, I posted some borish comments on the topic. Then, I read another article today claiming that the long-man himself is denying it. Whatever, I’m so confused, and yet I don’t care. I still like the Japanese commercials better.

But in all this, I couldn’t help but wonder, what if this guy were in the Japanese commercials. Would he be confused? Would he brush it off? Would he try to talk to the hot Japanese camera girl again?

So to add to the confusion, here is a little ditty done I did with Final Cut Pro while taking a study break, just for each and every one of you. Enjoy.


134 Free Academic Podcasts

A few months ago, I wrote a post on free education resources online. Today, I continue that post a bit as I ran across an interesting blog post that lists 134 Free Academic Podcasts. There are free courses on everything from Air Traffic Control to World Religions. Truly, this makes me wish I had more time to spend learning.

Unfortunately though, this list does not contain anything Japan-related lessons at this point but I will keep my eye out. In the meantime, here are my two favorite Japanese-related academic podcasts.

  • JapanesePod101.com – Free online audio lessons in Japanese. Highly recommended.
  • JapanConsidered.org – Brush up on your Japanese politics with this highly educational podcast from the University of South Carolina.


Hikikomori Video


My del.icio.us crawling for videos of Japan picked up something interesting today – a well shot mini-documentary on the social-withdrawal phenomena of Hikikomori. I’m not adding this as a video podcast episode since this is not original material, but definitely check it out. Hikikomori video.

I have to agree with one of the skateboarder interviewees with the thought that, in some ways, everyone is otaku. I have plenty of friends who I would consider business-otaku. I think I am music-otaku, or perhaps even photography-otaku. If not for the great shots of Japan at night, the video is well worth the guy rocking out on drums at the end. Give it a watch if you are in mellow mood.



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Foreign Direct Investment in アイスランド


Japanese FDI in Iceland? Someone please clue me in.

For a global economics class, my program requires me to research the economic state of a particular country. For this class, I had chosen Iceland since it presents such a unique macro and microeconomic picture. this research I ran across a great website maintained by the Invest in Iceland Agency outlining the particulars of FDI and how to invest in Iceland.

What surprised me however is the availability of a very colorful, very rich PDF in Japanese of investing in Iceland. There were no other languages available that I could see and Japan is truly nearly on the other side of the world from Iceland. I did some brief research and I could not find the connection for myself.

Strange…please help.

Time to Get Serious, Again

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Today I met with my Japanese track advisor, a very intelligent and caring individual. I think we will be perfectly situated to handle the logistics of getting to Japan, getting our applications at Waseda taken care of, securing our visas, and convincing the Japanese government that we are otherwise fiscally responsible and can pay for our year and one-half stay in the land of the rising sun.

What does concern me though is my overall language ability and how much I can improve it within the next 222 days. I went out and purchased my study text for the fall today, complete with an incredible amount of business Japanese. I’ve only really studied Japanese on my own and until sometime in January, it will continue to be that way. In January we will begin intensive classes before heading to Waseda.

Our workload for regular classes really doesn’t allow much time for intensive language study at this point. However, I do want to do try my best to get up to speed. So I guess it starts again, but on another level of task and time management yet unheard of. If I begin speaking Japanese to you with expectations of a reply, simply wack me hard enough to bring my back to the reality of Leadership and Ethics.