Thursday, September 25, 2003

Hi Onigiriman! It's been 100 days since you joined Xanga...

Hi Onigiriman! It's been 100 days since you joined Xanga... won't you support us by going Premium?
Oh my goodness! Has it been 100 days? I think this calls for something special... I know! How about Twenty Questions? The first 20 questions I receive from those who subscribe to me. Now, be nice. Don't ask obviously embarassing questions, for I just may answer "No comment" and you will have used up a whole question needlessly... BTW: I never wrote you couldn't ask personal questions, just not embarassing ones... I also reversed the order ot the questions, most recent first.

Shiroi_Norite: What is the worst thing about your job?
Posted 9/23/2003 at 10:32 PM. Finally,a hard ball. The worst thing is the politics involved within an academic world populated by people with little or no social/business skills. I am fortunate to have colleagues within the program who have adequate skills, but as for everyone else...pfrzzzt! Forget it. They have Ph.D.s and are brilliant people, but for the most part, they went straight to graduate school directly from undergraduate, got a full scholarship, did their research with adequate funding, and did not hold a "real" job until they got a tenure track job at a university. Few have actually worked at jobs where, people skills are necessary, where production and efficiency are a requirement. As such, they have little or no skills in how to deal with the dynamics of a department or committee or faculty of diverse people. It ends up being a power grab by the most popular people, sorta like politicians... I always find myself rolling my eyes in disgust... Not to say that I have a extraordinary people skills. My kids know me so they are better suited to evaluate me. But I have worked full or near full-time jobs outside acedemia: bank (serious efficiency quotient required), warehouse employee (serious physical stamina), and of course manager of the sweetshop (all kinds of stress). I brought all this to where I teach and help put together a J program that is efficient, effective and growing, the best sign things are working... That's 11.

CultofDizzo: wow, I am very humbled and feel kinda bad. How did I miss it before? Eh...well thanks for anwering my question 3 times.....sorry...
Posted 9/23/2003 at 8:05 PM. How did you miss it before? Hmm. Isn't that your second question? Sorry only one per individual, even though you have a cool site.

lovingxmemories: What made you want to become a "Japanologist" as you answered before in Grom's question?
Posted 9/23/2003 at 7:57 PM. I think you mean Mattblue's question? But I'm onlly answering questions from people who subscribe to me. If, however, I don't get a full twenty questions, I will answer your question.

pochi124: i'm not sure if u used up ur 20 questions already. . .but what do u think about suicidal ppl??
Posted 9/23/2003 at 7:55 PM. This is a very difficult question. I am not a trained economist so I am nowhere near being a psychiatrist. But there are, as far as I know, 2 general types. One is truly mentally ill and needs a psychiatrist's help. I give them my sympathy. The others type is less an illness and closer to a "disorder", one who can't handle problems and/or does not have the appropriate support system at hand to deal with these problems. I offer sympathy for these people as well, but would also encourage them to work hard to continue to solve their problems by seeking solutions positively and proactively. Dwelling on problems only make them worse. But in either case, seeking the advice of a professional is always good. In the meantime, I will offer moral support. That's 10

Ichiro_Suzuki: how many times have i hit grand slams in amelica?
Posted 9/23/2003 at 3:07 PM. Two, both this year, against the KC Royals and Boston Redsox. But this is just another wasted question. Be egotistical on your own Xanga. This is my house! Hah! That's 9

Tiggerj: A totally separate question about Japan. Now there is a recession in Japan so I kind of expect people to be saving their money or putting them somewhere... However, super-lux brands are doing extremely well in Japan. (Brands like: Prada, Hermes, LVMH Louis Vuitton, and others...) In fact they are doing so well that Prada has opened the Epicenter store, "a spectacular showplace in Tokyo's posh Aoyama neighborhood." In economic theory, sales of expensive handbags should fall in a downturn, when incomes fall. However, sales way are up. So what's up with that?
Posted 9/23/2003 at 1:42 PM. I took the liberty of editting your question. If anyone wants to read the whole question, click on comments. Anyway, I am no economixt, but as you say, the Japanese don't seem to follow the economic model, so here's what I think. As the economy goes down, real property gets harder and harder to obtain. For most J, owning property, a house or even a condo, is beyond the realm of reality. So what should they do? Feel pity for themselves? Save for something that they feel is unabtainable? No. They will use disposable money that will still make them "feel" rich. They may not own property, but they still control the most important thing for them: a sense of self worth. Certainly a $330 handbag is more attainable than a condo. And given the headaches of home ownership--I am a prime example--they opt for the easier "high". I have talked to guys who buy cars for this very reason: Can't buy a house, but have you seen my car?!? That's 8

CultofDizzo: WHAT IS BUNGO!!!!!!!???????!!!!!!!!!
Posted 9/23/2003 at 10:38 AM. I already answered this. Didn't you read the post for September 20? Well, here's another wasted question/answer: Despite the fact that Masahiro and I answered your question a couple of days ago (re: Monday Sept. 15 comments), I will write it here again: Bungo 文語 is literary Japanese. It is the Japanese used in classical texts but was used extensively in written Japanese until WWII. To read govt. documents, you need bungo. To read newpapers and journals pre-WWII, you need bungo. Any serious Japanologist needs to master this if he intends to do serious research. That's 7.

mmh: What would you do if you won a million?
Posted 9/23/2003 at 10:05 AM. A million yen? Save it. A million dollars? Hmm... This is a relatively easy question since I think about this everytime I buy a lotto ticket. After paying off my mortgage, I would set up a scholarship fund for students studying classical Japanese literature in the name of my parents. Why classical? Cuz I've been dissed about studying this most of my academic career. Actually, unbeknownst to many, classical Japanese betrays an uncanny understanding of the instability of meaning in language. In other words, the meaning of texts are based on the context in which it is read. The compiler/editor of Ise monogatari from the early Heian (ca. 10th cen.) placed poetry into prose texts in an attempt to arrest this movement of meaning by forcing readers to read the poems within a structured context. Later in medieval times, renga--linked poetry--played with this fluidity by intentionally allowing verses to be read differently in different contexts. How cool is that?!? As an analogy for my students, I tell them it is like the US constitution. The phrase "all me are created equal" does not include "all men". It means all white men. Blacks were not instantly freed when the consitution was adopted. Indeed, the author, Jefferson, owned his own slave, so you know he didn't include black men. But now, it is different, no? This phrase means not only ALL men, but all men and WOMEN. Did the words change? No. Only the reading of the words changed. How? The context changed, our current modern society. This is so fundamental to how we live our daily lives. Everything we see and feel is understood through the prism of our own experience, our own context. And I try to convey this through classical Japanese literature. Anyone wanna take my class? That's 6.

korikai: Hm, now that you mention it, there are so many things I could ask... But I'll just bother you during your office hours one day when you can't escape...hehehe....
Posted 9/23/2003 at 9:47 AM. Like when you come to ask me for a letter of recommendation? Didn't you graduate already?

Piratechan: What can render you speechless- with awe, sorrow, or joy?
Posted 9/23/2003 at 8:46 AM. Not much. I usually have an opinion to express on virtually anything, particuarly things that inspire awe or joy? You couldn't shut me up. This player juked the defender for the touchdown and we won the game, or a sudden cold front in autumn cause the leaves to turn a beautiful hue... Yeah, I know, not very romantic, but that is what I am. Outrage at senseless violence also gets me to express an opinion all the time. But things that arouse a sense of sorrow usually leave me groping for words. I never know what to say at a funeral to people directly related to the deceased. I think this might have something to do my "rational" mind. I am always searching for cause-and-effect relationships in events. However, how can you rationalize a sense of sorrow, or a sense that something--or someone--is missing? What is it that causes me--anyone--to feel that emptiness inside my stomach, that wrenching pain in the guts. I wonder if that's the reason why many Japanese expression dealing with emotion refer to the belly--hara? Hmm... That's 5.

Grom: If you could eat lunch with any famous historical person (aside from Einstein or Jesus), who would it be?
Posted 9/23/2003 at 3:39 AM. After pondering this question a bit, I thought of a number of people I'd like to talk to. As a JA and Japanologist, it would be interesting to talk to Jakuren, the poet-priest who was the topic of my Ph.D. dissertation. Of course, I also thought of Tokugawa Ieyasu (How'd you bring peace to the entire country?), Toyotomi Hideyoshi (Did you really think you could defeat Korea?), and Sen Rikyu (Did you ever imagine that the way of tea would still be popular 400 years after your death?). But you said lunch, right? Well, lunch with these dudes would entail a gruel of coarsely polished rice, boiled roots and ferns, and maybe some dried fish, so forget it. I think I'll break bread with an American president--people who know how to eat. Maybe with Jefferson (What did you really mean by "All men are created equal"?) or Harry Truman (Why did you drop the A-bomb when you HAD to know that Japanese was on its last leg and there were other options? Were you a "Yes man" or just stupid?). But to answer your question--finally--I think I would like to have lunch with JFK and ask him, "How good was Marilyn?" That's 4.

PaikyPoo: well, that's 3 wasted questions... i don't have anything clever to ask so i'll wait until i have a brain fart and think of something.
Posted 9/23/2003 at 3:32 AM. The first intelligent comment! hahaha! Anyway, three down, seventeen to go.

nefarious_hatter: which came first, the chicken or the egg? ok. that's not my first question for you. I was just yoking. haha. bad joke. Anyway, If you could turn back time like Cher could, what in the past week would you want changed. Yourself? current events? socks?
Posted 9/23/2003 at 2:08 AM. Man, does no one take me seriously? The egg! I thought every woman knew the answer to THAT! But to respond to your first question, I would change myself... into the reincarnation of Sonny. No, no, seriously. I would change my literature lectures last week. I thought I was prepared but I botched them. I would want to say something more "humanitarian" like prevented attacks against American troops in Iraq or pushed aside hurricane Isabel from the East Coast or convinced UCLA coach Dorrell to forfeit their game against Oklahoma so they wouldn't embarrass themselves. But this is my Xanga, so I may as well stay consistently self-centered. That's three.

mattblue: Damn, Masahiro stole my question...but here's another one. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Ok, ok, seriously - what made you decide to teach Japanese?
Posted 9/23/2003 at 1:19 AM. Like I wrote, only one question per individual. A woodchuck cannot chuck wood, so the answer is zero. But I'll let you slide this once and answer your question seriously. It's not so much teaching Japanese, but to become a teacher. I met a professor when I went to the community college who saw something in me that I did not know existed. He encouraged me to strive and convinced to go to UCLA, a school I thought I had no chance of getting into. But I did. This man changed my life and I decided to dedicate myself to being as encouraging an influence on others as he was for me. Actually, this story will probably be a part of installment nine, if I ever get around to finishing it. That's two.

Masahiro: How many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop?
Posted 9/23/2003 at 1:10 AM. This is definitely a wasted question, but a question nonetheless. Complain to Masahiro. Anyway, this is a subjective question, but for me, exactly nine (9) before I bite the hard candy outside. Someone told me it was related to sexual frustrations--like chewing ice-- but I have yet to see scientific proof of this. That's one.

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