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  1. #26
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leroy_Brown
    A member here who agrees with much of what I've got to say sent me the following PM:

    "It's kinda strange to have a "JAPANESE" forum with so VERY few real Japanese members. The few times a Japanese person posts something, it gets stampeded
    by Germans, Americans, Frenchmen etc. with their 'CORRECT' Japanese answer."
    Not every member's personality and temperment is going to find resonance in Asian or the Japanese culture and there is nothing shameful in admitting that. What is objectionable is expressing frustration with so many any aspects of the life there (freely ranging from Japanese mindset, emotional expressiveness, language, art, culture....) nominally as a way of helping the people become aware of and ultimately solve their own problems. Most of which are patently obvious to anyone who has spent time there, foreigners and natives alike. Maciamo is obviously welcome to share his observations and inferences without reservation, but when the discussion degenerates from how to improve education or limit government corruption into subjective arguments over deeply held values and beliefs without being open opposing views is the point I think it becomes a bad experience for a lot of us.

  2. #27
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth
    What is objectionable is expressing frustration with so many any aspects of the life there (freely ranging from Japanese mindset, emotional expressiveness, language, art, culture....) :
    I don't remember criticising anything about the art or culture (non including mindset). As for the emotional expressiveness that was just an observation. It doesn't bother me and didn't ask them to change. My rants are mainly about the political and educational systems, and I know that many Japanese agree with me, but often don't know how to change because they haven't experienced anything else. I think I a wide enough experience of education system (having studied in 5 countries + teaching in Japan) to be able to compare the various systems and hopefully change Japan for the better.

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  3. #28
    Regular Member misa.j's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyBrown
    "It's kinda strange to have a "JAPANESE" forum with so VERY few real Japanese members. The few times a Japanese person posts something, it gets stampeded
    by Germans, Americans, Frenchmen etc. with their 'CORRECT' Japanese answer."
    Actually, this forum is mostly for people who are interested in Japan, so I thind it's kind of natural to have more members from other countries than Japan.

    I've always felt welcomed here. I'm sure most other Japanese members will agree with me. The reasons why the discussions sometimes seem like the way you discribed might be because of a longuage barrier or different ways of communication.
    It never really seemed that way to me, though.

    Anyways, I appreciate anyone who is trying to lead Japan in better directions, like Maciamo, because I really know how difficult it can be to live there sometimes.

  4. #29
    Regular Member cicatriz esp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leroy_Brown
    A member here who agrees with much of what I've got to say sent me the following PM:

    "It's kinda strange to have a "JAPANESE" forum with so VERY few real Japanese members. The few times a Japanese person posts something, it gets stampeded
    by Germans, Americans, Frenchmen etc. with their 'CORRECT' Japanese answer."
    I've given at least 5 Japanese people the url of this forum and told them to join if interested. They've usually told me that it's very interesting to lurk here, but they don't want to join because they don't want to debate people, due to little confidence in their language skills but also because they simply don't like to debate or argue.

    I (and several other westerners here) love to debate. I love to argue. They don't. The end.

  5. #30
    JREF Resident Alien Pachipro's Avatar
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    No need to post an explaination Maciamo. I completely understand where you are coming from as I said in my post here . But do you really think you can change the thinking and culture of a country whose beliefs are so embedded and has hardly changed in hundreds of years?

    I've read your reasons why you feel the way you do, but you have only 3.5 years experience in Japan. I have 10x that amount and I have seen many, many, people (famous foreign tarento and those not famous) that have tried to change exactly what you want to change and they have failed miserably only to become overly critical and/or they have come to despise and hate Japan because of it. Neither of which I hope happens to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth
    What is objectionable is expressing frustration with so many any aspects of the life there (freely ranging from Japanese mindset, emotional expressiveness, language, art, culture....) nominally as a way of helping the people become aware of and ultimately solve their own problems. Most of which are patently obvious to anyone who has spent time there, foreigners and natives alike. Maciamo is obviously welcome to share his observations and inferences without reservation, but when the discussion degenerates from how to improve education or limit government corruption into subjective arguments over deeply held values and beliefs without being open opposing views is the point I think it becomes a bad experience for a lot of us.
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    For example, the main purpose of criticising a country's economical and political system is to point out the problems and hope for improvement In Japan's case I cannot keep mum because continuing like this, Japan is doomed in the long run.
    I have to agree with Elizabeth here for the reason I stated above. (I know you said you didn't criticize the art or culture.) What I would like to see is some input from Japanese people themselves on how they feel. And are they up to changing long held beliefs/customs no matter how discriminatory they may feel or be to us. Sure we can argue and ***** all we want, but if the Japanese themselves don't desire to change the system as it is, who are we to force them? Are we General Macarthur who can impose our will on Japan and force them to change like he did? Not.

    Also, why is "Japan doomed in the long run"? It has survived for over a thousand plus years just the way it is. The Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and Americans have tried to change Japan and failed (with the exception of Macarthur). I think Japan will solve it problems as Japan and the Japanese see fit. On their own terms, in their own way, no matter how slow or archaic it may seem to us.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Some of the motivations behind my criticism is aimed at improving the situations of long-term foreign residents in Japan (eg. experience of discrimination), but some is more idealistic, like getting rid of government corruption. Other things are a mixture of both, such as like improving the education system, which I want based on my own ideals to improve the Japanese society and the relations between Japanese and foreigners, but also because I wouldn't like my future children, who will probably be born or spend at least part of their childhood in Japan, to be raised with the current dysfunctional and indoctrinating education system.
    Sure, I understand exactly your reasons and your thinking, but to change the thinking of 150 million people and an entire country? I think not. Look at all the criticism Bush has taken for trying to establish democracy in the Middle East based on his ideals. The whole world hates him because of it. I am no Bush supporter, but his ratings have fallen to their lowest ever here in the US.

    The Japanese education system, for all it's flaws, works for them as it has for years and years before we ariived. If they are unhappy with it, it should be they who change it, not us. If I had children in Japan I may send them to a private international school instead of the Japanese schools if I felt so strong about it.

    I admire your passion as everything you are saying is true and if you do end up changing it, you'll be a hero to all gaijin and a statue will probably be erected in your honor. However, based on my experience nothing will change. And if it does, it will be gradual. Sure, I'd like to not be turned down for an apartment or house when I return to Japan permanently, but I know it will probably happen. However, I know that sooner or later I will find one. To me it's par for the course. This is Japan. Maybe it will change someday, but I don't think it will in my lifetime. If a Japanese person doesn't want to sell me, or rent to me, his house or apartment it is their choice. It is their property not mine. What am I to say? "Give it to me because I want it or I will sue you!" How American! (and maybe European). To me that would just not be right. Am I complacent or docile? I don't feel that I am as some Japanese would not even rent or sell their apartment/house to other Japanese if they didn't feel right about it. Maybe the guy/gal had a tatoo or was missing a finger or had long hair, or looked too young or had a pierecing. Again, to me, it is their property and it is their choice to whom they sell/rent it to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank D. White
    I guess the Forum is like the news a little bit, it seems sometimes all we hear is negative. But the millions of nice things about Japan don't generate posts that get people talking like negative posts do. The thing we all need to remember are the beauty, history, and people of Japan are what draw us to this Forum and the negative things are a small percentage of what Japan really about.
    I couldn't agree with you more Frank!.

    Maybe I'm too old, I don't know. But I do know one thing and that is Japan, for all it's flaws and subtle discriminations, is a wonderful place to live for me. I have never been on the receiving end of some of what you have experienced, and maybe I will someday, but the good things about Japan and it culture, and most of it's people, and what I have come to love, far outweigh the flaws to me. I have discovered in my 50 years that no matter where one lives, even in one's own home country, town, or city, one will always find something to ***** about whether it be schools, local politics, discriminatory practices, etc. It's just human nature.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    I not only have positive views, but have done more than 99.9% of all other foreigners interested in Japan to promote the Japanese culture via the practical, culture, language and glossary sections of this website. I can hardly be called a Japan-basher. But I am not a blind Japan-lover either. I am a mixture of both - balanced.
    Maybe I might be considered a "blind Japan-lover", but I do understand it's flaws and agree with most of what you are saying. I just hold the view that this is Japan and until I become a Japanese citizen, if I ever do, things may change, but not at the pace I or you desire them to unless I run for local office and change them myself.

    Whatever you do Maciamo, please do not stop expressing your views. Your honest and sincere input, logic, passion and research, coupled with your inputs on the good things about Japan and it's culture are most welcome to us who have experience with and live in Japan, and those who have never visited, but desire to. You have made this site most educational for all and I thank you.
    Do What You Love And You'll Never Work Another Day In Your Life!


  6. #31
    Underdogs Unite! qwertyu's Avatar
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    Maciamo, very thoughtful, and although I am also skeptical of your success in changing Japanese minds, the alternative is simply to keep silence, isn't it? No criticism, no problems, right? No NYTimes, no torture in American prisons!

    I guess many do declare "my country right or wrong!" but if one cares for the country, one would want it to go in the right direction. Just ask the good Germans of 1935. Don't we wish more people had spoken up then, within Germany and without. And these things usually take one by surprise. Who would have thought that America, another country I care deeply about, the beacon on the hill, etc. would be setting up torture and killing camps one day? Likewise, the current government of Japan is doing some very scary things to its constitution. It is the duty to be critical. The ancient Chinese saying goes, the ordinary citizen is responsible for the success or failure of the country. And also "good medicine tastes bitter but is good for sickness, good advice sounds horrible to the ears but is good for deeds." It is the responsibility to speak up when you feel something is terribly wrong, even if others shout you down for disloyalty, treachery, etc. We live in a period when the glorification of militarism, cheerleading of our leaders and daily affirmation of the goodness of ourselves is no longer considered Orwellian. I hate Star Wars, but there was a good line, "This is how liberty is lost, through loud applause."

  7. #32
    JREF Resident Alien Pachipro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qwertyu
    Maciamo, very thoughtful, and although I am also skeptical of your success in changing Japanese minds, the alternative is simply to keep silence, isn't it? No criticism, no problems, right? No NYTimes, no torture in American prisons!
    Very well said and I couldn't agree with you more. We must not keep the silence when it comes to the subtle discriminations Japan and some Japanese impose on foreigners. The Japanese are so hard headed about it though, that I often wonder if they will ever listen to what the foreigner is saying and step into the 21st century.

    Sadly, after 30 odd years, I have yet to see any real changes in their culture as far as the treating of foreigners is concerned, and I have just about given up hope as who in Japan will listen when I reside in the US?

    To me, Japan is exactly the way it was (save for the construction) when I was living there. Nothing has changed. This is exactly why we must never give up the fight, especially those that are living there and experiencing these discriminations everyday. Maybe the Japanese are just trying to wear us down, I don't know. But when the likes of a Maciamo comes along, it gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, the Japanese will listen this time to a foreigner who is actually living there. I have my doubts, based on my experience and the experience of those who came before me, but we must never be silent!

    In this case, the quote by Pastor Martin Niemoller, a Protestant priest during the Holocast in Germany seems quite appropriate:

    Quote Originally Posted by Pastor Niemoller
    'First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist, so I said nothing. Then they came for the Social Democrats, but I was not a Social Democrat, so I did nothing. Then came the trade unionists, but I was not a trade unionist. And then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did little. Then when they came for me, there was no one left to stand up for me.'

  8. #33
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    I hear this all the time. Every japanese forum I go to a guy is married to a japanese girl and then he complains about being called "gaijin" and other things that japanese people discriminate against. I feel like I'm reading the same thing over and over.

  9. #34
    Comfortably Ignorant Faustianideals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apri1
    I hear this all the time. Every japanese forum I go to a guy is married to a japanese girl and then he complains about being called "gaijin" and other things that japanese people discriminate against. I feel like I'm reading the same thing over and over.
    I'd get pretty pissy too, lol.

  10. #35
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/showth...ery#post128394

    It isn't any big deal, but this is what I was referring to in the criticism of culture bit.

  11. #36
    Otosan-no-Conan Otosan-no-Conan's Avatar
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    Maciamo,
    Thank you for your initial post.
    I can better appreciate your position/view when reading your posts.

    I have never lived in a foreign country, save Los Angeles, so have not been involved in the day to day life challenges (in Japan) you face.

    I've traveled internationally (17 countries) and have experienced many cultural events.

    Now the devils advocate view...

    Hmmm the changing of culture(s).... or should we call it forced global conformity.

    This hits a nerve in me for some reason.
    Who are we as foreigners to perpetuate cultural change in any country?
    Shouldn't they want to change? Shouldn't it be their responsibility to perpetuate change, or bring it home from traveling abroad?

    Why should the Japanese have to change?
    It is their country, their politics, their language, their culture.
    Why should Japan change to suit Euro-American desires/wants.

    I think the root of the issue, global conformity, is based in economics/money and power. By getting countries to change their ways and accept cultural intrusions, products and services can be sold. By the government controlling the educational system they maintain power.

    Just another way to view the situation.

    I have visited Japan three times and would love the opportunity to live there. I am also willing to concede that if I lived in Japan my views would probably change as I run into cultural problems/differences based on the language barrier, my ethnicity and nationality. I would have to find a way to adapt.

  12. #37
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Otosan-no-Conan
    This hits a nerve in me for some reason.
    Who are we as foreigners to perpetuate cultural change in any country?
    Shouldn't they want to change? Shouldn't it be their responsibility to perpetuate change, or bring it home from traveling abroad?

    Why should the Japanese have to change?
    It is their country, their politics, their language, their culture.
    Why should Japan change to suit Euro-American desires/wants.
    Could you tell me which topic in particular you are referring to. If it is about the legislation changes, it is unrelated to the culture, especially regarding discrimination, immigration, international treaties (eg. about child abduction), and other international issues. As for social changes (again discrimination, women's rights, quality of education, etc.), rare are the Japanese who disagree wıth me. Many of the issues I raise were brought to me attention by Japanese people themselves. I am often only speaking for them and criticising the government and education system because I can compare it to systems in other countries I know (what many Japanese can't do). Japan has imported new systems and laws from the West since the late 19th century and from China before that. It is part of its culture to copy to progress, and I am usually only pointing out at what should be improved and how. Hope this is clearer.

  13. #38
    Otosan-no-Conan Otosan-no-Conan's Avatar
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    I am thinking more the later, social changes.

    It is not our (those of us who are not Japanese citizens) responsibility or place to impose our will or desires on the Japanese. The citizens of Japan need to to create their own change. We (gaijin) should only be role models or advisors regarding the change.

    I should ask herec.
    Maciamo, you live in Japan and have a Japanese wife.
    Are you a Japanese citizen? Dual citizen?

    I agree that there are values and morays in Japanese society that are outdated or counter productive (discriminatory) to various segments of the population. But I still feel, change has to come from the citizens or they will not appreciate the new ways or freedoms. Let the Japanese import the cultural changes they want, immigrants and tourist should not be forcing change on the citizens.

    Yes, I think it deplorable that if my wife and I go back to Japan with our children it will be very difficult if not impossible for her to get a job based on her age, family and possible my nationality and/or ethnicity. I know I will be resigned to teach English or work for an American company. These issues will have to be overcome with inventiveness and ingenuity if and when the time comes. I also accept that I will most likely be an outsider or yabanjin when in Japan, maybe even amongst fellow Americans.

    This is a tough topic for me for some reason as I really enjoy people from other countries and I have a strong desire to reside outside the US. I try to see the issues from multiple angles and keep coming back to it is the citizenfs responsibility to perpetuate social change through self education and/or voting in sympathetic public officials.

    I don't think I am doing my argument justice and am having a difficult time defending it, probably because I have not lived in Japan.

  14. #39
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Otosan-no-Conan
    Now the devils advocate view...

    Hmmm the changing of culture(s).... or should we call it forced global conformity.

    This hits a nerve in me for some reason.
    Who are we as foreigners to perpetuate cultural change in any country?
    Shouldn't they want to change? Shouldn't it be their responsibility to perpetuate change, or bring it home from traveling abroad?

    Why should the Japanese have to change?
    It is their country, their politics, their language, their culture.
    Why should Japan change to suit Euro-American desires/wants.

    I think the root of the issue, global conformity, is based in economics/money and power. By getting countries to change their ways and accept cultural intrusions, products and services can be sold. By the government controlling the educational system they maintain power.
    ...
    I am also willing to concede that if I lived in Japan my views would probably change as I run into cultural problems/differences based on the language barrier, my ethnicity and nationality. I would have to find a way to adapt.
    "This hits a nerve...why should they have to change ?"

    I see in your statement a healthy, wakeful, critical view on American 'arrogance' often seen in political rallies, human rights hearings, and disrespectful propaganda dwarfing and demonizing a country's government that the US wants to bring under greater control. And in this sense, though perhaps not in others, I agree with you in sentiment.

    Yet the argument to respect Japan's ethnocentric tendencies must also be brought under close scrutiny. One major aspect of Japanese society that perhaps citizens of the winning side of WWII seem to overlook is... well not exactly overlook, but rather succumb to the false and ill-based impression of content, or perhaps even guilt ? Or even the impression that all is okay since Japan has learned to fear the power of the greater good; that the Japanese people have somehow learned their lesson.

    The purpose of the Marshall Plan was not to repeat the mistake of the harsh punishment imposed on Germany after WWI. It was to rebuild society and trust in a healthy manner, based on change, reform, mutual understanding and forgiveness. It looks as if the idea worked for Germany; but Japan doesn't see it, and refuses to do so out of self-interest. Bankrupcy is a system to reinstate a person so he can start over and not be ostracized from society for ever. But then he must accept the terms entailed to qualify.

    Japan as we have seen for the past 60 years certainly has not been intent on these positive ideas of acceptance and change. Calls for reform have been grossly ignored by the administration, the legal system, right-wing political parties, ultra-facist nationalist elements, and the media. How many liberals and humanitarian voices were crushed, ignored, terrorized, and even put behind bars under the ignoble names of Communist, Anarchist, and even Christian !
    Last edited by lexico; May 27, 2005 at 19:27.
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    H: How do you know ? You're not fish.
    Z: How do you know I don't ? You're not me.
    H: True I am not you, and I cannot know. Likewise, I know you're not, therefore I know you don't.
    Z: You asked me how I knew implying you knew I knew. In fact I saw some fish, strolling down by the Hao River, all jolly and gay.

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  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Could you tell me which topic in particular you are referring to. If it is about the legislation changes, it is unrelated to the culture, especially regarding discrimination, immigration, international treaties (eg. about child abduction), and other international issues. As for social changes (again discrimination, women's rights, quality of education, etc.), rare are the Japanese who disagree wıth me. Many of the issues I raise were brought to me attention by Japanese people themselves. I am often only speaking for them and criticising the government and education system because I can compare it to systems in other countries I know (what many Japanese can't do). Japan has imported new systems and laws from the West since the late 19th century and from China before that. It is part of its culture to copy to progress, and I am usually only pointing out at what should be improved and how. Hope this is clearer.
    From Japanese points of views, I am afraid that your opinions are probably mistaken as Japanese liberalists'
    http://www.jcp.or.jp/english/index.html
    http://www5.sdp.or.jp/
    http://www.jtu-net.or.jp/
    Or even from J far-left's
    http://www.jrcl.org/english/e-top.htm

    J liberals tend to eat most delicious parts of food, that is, just focusing only upon great freedom, equality, democracy or whatever and miss reality such as severe discriminations against foreigners, crimes in the context of European liberalism or socialism/communism.
    Liberalism may stay sound as long as we all believe that it is just a fiction, I believe. But J liberals have been too loyal to the idea that liberalism is all and that it should not be denied, even criticism for better liberalism itself.

    As Japanese liberalists would not start a thread like this, I think you are totally different from Japanese liberalists, though it was a bit sad to see you changed your nationality from Edo to European, correct me if I am wrong.

    I'm more into conservatism culturally or politically. For the left it would be taken as the far-right or outdated, for the right as the opportunistic. I know it is Muzukashii.

    About the Japanese culture in the post, you, in fact, have quite a different view from the post, don't you?

  16. #41
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    how can we get 25 percent japanese people here

    i observed too: only 5 percent japanese. many japanese may stay away, because of long intellectual explanation:

    including "is" "be" "can't" "will/will be". japanese does not have direct word for "is" "will"

    japanese people have great difficulty to understand/do not want to make absolute assumption about tomorrow.

    now, my weblog does not leave so much room for discussion.

    though, i could criticize the IRISH government a lot- this does not occur productive to me.

    so, first i go to produce, then to criticize. or even save the time.

    well i understand, if *forgets name, really* writes a lot, including a few criticizing lines. nothing for ungood.

    personally, i would write keyword list- because some people, including me, they just look for keyword.

    and, try to outsource politic affair stuff completely.

    because, approximately 90 percent of people are NOT looking for that.

    now, i remember, name=maciamo?

    i suggest a customizeable keyword list: these word's are getting censored. like "war" "communism" "dead" "police" "hash" "sex"

    japanese people would appreciate that- i assume, they do not want to waste time with these topic's- even not to see/read these word's.

    for japanese eye, this occurs as massive treat.
    they are looking for distraction free/low distraction atmosphere.

    customizeable censorship as advertising attribute
    anonymus scare counter: people can vote "this reply/post scares me", and:
    "this reply/post scares me unexpected". not the same as bad post.

    probably, a system of scales for approval, customizeable. this displays, what one intends to talk about. (means, one might explicitely look out to get "scary" point's)

    like the different personal title's in japanese

    and, this may get people who like/appreciate such a system...

  17. #42
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
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    Alex, this is a fine idea !!!
    I suggest you make it a separate thread. I would hate to waste this wonderful post hidden in this very hot thread. What do you say ?

  18. #43
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    i just started to learn jp language, the month count occurs as three.

    lexico: i see a need to customize the forum/even jref, towards japanese customer/visitor.

  19. #44
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
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    Yes. I agree. We seem to have such a clear divide between Japanese speaking / English speaking membership.
    Greater diversity could achieve more for everyone.
    JRef as engine for cultural exchange between Japan and the rest !
    Less bigotry thru talks and friendship !
    Revolutionary idea of yours !

    edit: Mad Pierrot just signed out. Ask Thomas instead.

  20. #45
    Where I'm Supposed to Be kirei_na_me's Avatar
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    And I'm chopped liver?
    i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)

  21. #46
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
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    Sorry, Kireiname ! I was looking real quick not to be late to reply. I apologize if I missed. Honest, I didn't mean to ignore you; not at all !

  22. #47
    Where I'm Supposed to Be kirei_na_me's Avatar
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    It's ok. I just felt like picking.

    My name is in blue just because it's pretty, I guess.

  23. #48
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    Maciamo,.you have a thousand more reasons than me to love this forum as you are a much greater contributer to it. You need to defend a thousand things but yourself.

    We are here not to check out how others think of us, but to check out how others think and for others to know how we think.

    And despite all the vast gaps of opinion that we individuals may lack the power and influence to bridge, I persomally never doubt that we (the many posters on this forum)would still hug each other warmly if someday we met in a street in Shanghai or Tokyo. Would you hug me, Kireiname? Sure, no doubt.

  24. #49
    Underdogs Unite! qwertyu's Avatar
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    May 5, 2005
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    23
    Thanks Pachipro. And here's something for Maciamo to chew over. I read this to think things over when I question what the hell am I doing trying to effect change in peoples' minds and attitudes?? Why is it that we think forcing progressive changes to some conservative societies [eg. Islamic ones] is "good" but other conservative ones [eg. Japanese, Indian] "bad"? IMO, progressive changes are always good for any society.

    http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=3273

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