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Thread: Japanese cities' lack of seasonal balance due to a man-made biodiversity

  1. #26
    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    That is not the point of this thread. I am talking about the influence of Japanese people on the biodiversity (mostly in cities), resulting in a poor knowledge of native species of Japan (e.g. inability to recognise a beech or an oak from the leaves).
    I don't give a damn about your living around farmland. Please stay on topic.
    Your initial post did not say only in cities. Therefore you lumped all Japanese together. You do that a lot. I will concede that people within the cities probably are ignorant to quite a few things when it comes to nature, but not all Japanese are the same.

  2. #27
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CC1 View Post
    Your initial post did not say only in cities. Therefore you lumped all Japanese together. You do that a lot. I will concede that people within the cities probably are ignorant to quite a few things when it comes to nature, but not all Japanese are the same.
    I never said all Japanese, but most, and indeed most of them live in cities.

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  3. #28
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaijinalways View Post
    Actually the Great Kanto Plain covering from Tokyo to Hiroshima and something like 85% of the population of Japan.
    From Tokyo to where????

  4. #29
    TAN Hiroyuki Nagashima's Avatar
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    Is it comparison of urban region limitation?
    Is it comparison of urban region limitation?
    If it is it,
    Because population of Brussels is around 1000000,
    It is strange to do Tokyo and Osaka and comparison.


    A city of scale the same as Brussels is Sendai.

  5. #30
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    The haunted mentality, sakura, seasons or whatever, of your friends/students/wife
    The answer is perhaps simple. You asked them leading questions for the answer you needed, such as "what is the climate in Japan like?" or "what is your favorite activity in spring. I guess many people tell you "the four season" or "hanami" first. For you, they were repeated answers to hear millions of times, but for your friends or wife, it was the first time.

    Timber industry in Japan actually has lots of problems and has been destroyed for years, though we have resouces. But this economic or industrial problem does not have anything to do with what you call, the mental problem, right?

  6. #31
    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I don't give a damn about your living around farmland. Please stay on topic.

    please keep things civil...and no more insults! My comments were on topic.

    I believe in most cities around the world you would be hard pressed to find people who could positively identify either a beech or and oak leaf. It is not something that is often taught anymore, unless one studies these things outside of school. These are often skills that are passed down by older generations, and being that Japan (and the rest of the world) are becoming life-less drones who are stuck to their PS2's, cell phones, i-pods, PC's, laptops, insert latest gadget here... etc... it is not so hard to understand why they are lacking in these skills now.

  7. #32
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CC1 View Post
    please keep things civil...and no more insults!
    I don't think that saying that I don't give a damn about something is an insult. It only refers to my interest.
    My comments were on topic.
    I don't think so. I made the topic, I am the one to decide what is on or off topic.
    I believe in most cities around the world you would be hard pressed to find people who could positively identify either a beech or and oak leaf. It is not something that is often taught anymore, unless one studies these things outside of school. These are often skills that are passed down by older generations, and being that Japan (and the rest of the world) are becoming life-less drones who are stuck to their PS2's, cell phones, i-pods, PC's, laptops, insert latest gadget here... etc... it is not so hard to understand why they are lacking in these skills now.
    Well, I learn to distinguish leaves of at least the most common 20 or 30 varieties of trees in my country in both primary (elementary) and secondary (junior high) school. We had to make a herbarium by collecting the leaves by ourselves, dry them and flatten them (e.g. inside a phonebook), paste them on a blank sheet of paper, search in books or encyclopedia (or ask our parents) which tree they were, describe them, and we were rated on the quality and quantity of our researches. I do not know any (French-speaking) Belgian that hasn't done such a herbarium at school.

  8. #33
    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Well, I learn to distinguish leaves of at least the most common 20 or 30 varieties of trees in my country in both primary (elementary) and secondary (junior high) school. We had to make a herbarium by collecting the leaves by ourselves, search in books or encyclopedia (or ask our parents) which tree they were, describe them, and we were rated on the quality and quantity of our researches. I do not know any (French-speaking) Belgian that hasn't done such a herbarium at school.
    Japanese children do this as well in elementary school. They also study insects quite extensively. I do not believe that they carry it into the Jr or High school level as these tend to be more specialized.

  9. #34
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CC1 View Post
    Japanese children do this as well in elementary school. They also study insects quite extensively. I do not believe that they carry it into the Jr or High school level as these tend to be more specialized.
    I have just asked my wife, and she has never done it at school or in her life... The Japanese education system being extremely homogenous, we can very well suppose that if she hasn't it wasn't part of the curriculum that year. Maybe children do it now, but it hasn't always been the case.

  10. #35
    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
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    I can testify that it has been done the last several years, as my children have all done it. I will have to ask my wife later, but if I recall correctly, she had to do the same when she was younger.

    Of course I am not calling you are your wife a liar.

  11. #36
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I don't think that saying that I don't give a damn about something is an insult. It only refers to my interest.
    Unfortunately, the "I don't give a damn about...." phrasing, when used in direct connection to what another person has just said, is considered dismissive. And while a dismissive remark is not an insult, it is insulting.

  12. #37
    相変わらず不束者です epigene's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CC1 View Post
    Japanese children do this as well in elementary school. They also study insects quite extensively. I do not believe that they carry it into the Jr or High school level as these tend to be more specialized.
    Yes, I've done that, too. And so did my children (now in their 20s).

  13. #38
    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by epigene View Post
    Yes, I've done that, too. And so did my children (now in their 20s).
    Perhaps Japanese schools are not as extremely homogenous as some people think.

  14. #39
    相変わらず不束者です epigene's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CC1 View Post
    Perhaps Japanese schools are not as extremely homogenous as some people think.
    I can't say for sure, but curriculum can change quite frequently (like in, say, five years or so) and also differ by type of school. Also, the schoolteacher has significant elbow room on what part of the textbook is emphasized, especially in elementary school. A teacher with keen interest in nature can organize special outdoor classes, spend double class time on it, etc. The opposite can be true, of course.

    FYI, I went to a "mission" (i.e. Catholic) school. My kids went to local public schools here in Tokyo. My 4th and 5th grade teacher in elementary school liked field excursions. I can't say how extensively my kids studied plants and trees, but I did have to accompany them on excursions to collect leaves, etc.

  15. #40
    TAN Hiroyuki Nagashima's Avatar
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    I remember the time of a primary schoolchild.
    It is a park in autumn in winter,
    I collected "MATUBOKURI(a pinecone)" and "DONGURI(an acorn)".
    Though I do not eat, the fruits which I collected form a toy.
    The cultivation of a plant was a required class.
    "A morning glory", "a sponge gourd", "a gourd"
    "ASAGAO(A morning glory)"
    Observation of a vine,
    Observation of flowering of a flower,
    A pressed flower of a morning glory,
    I extracted a pigment from a flower and made paint

    I make a scrubbing brush with a fruit of "a sponge gourd".
    It is the making of water bottle with a fruit of "a gourd".
    I failed in cultivation of "a morning glory" and have cried
    A sponge gourd grows too much and makes a fuss,
    (brought up to height of the second floor of a school building)

    Other than it
    "A killifish" "crawfish" "tortoise" "goldfish" "bell cricket" "beetle" "stag beetle"
    We bred it in a classroom
    The insect gathered it in a Shinto shrine.
    Because there were various trees in a Shinto shrine, there were a lot of insects.

  16. #41
    Regular Member misa.j's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CC1
    I believe in most cities around the world you would be hard pressed to find people who could positively identify either a beech or and oak leaf. It is not something that is often taught anymore, unless one studies these things outside of school.
    That explains why there is a whole college course for forestry. I too think that it is a very specific knowledge.

    I personaly don't remember distiguishing the types of trees being a part of my school curriculum, but I wish it was.

  17. #42
    Regular Member Mars Man's Avatar
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    I would suggest, Maciamo san, that you let this one run free for a while. It most evidently stands that you have twisted the theme a bit, and have attempted to force changes mid-stream.

    I put off posting here purposely. Some good comments and observations, in their various degrees of relativeness and correctness, have been put out on the table along with their opposites. The title to this thread makes a positive assertion, namely, that Japan does not have four seasons, and that Japan does not have biodiversity. Firstly, universally acceptable working definitions should be decided on as to what makes four seasons, and then a model against which to compare the degree of biodiversiy. (which you did, Maciamo)

    However this has nothing to do with cultural comparisons, which I say is fair enough, only, then we have to allow room within the discussion for wide sweeps, seemingly off topic even, to build arguments to prove or supply evidence for a point.

    I say Japan has four seasons, in different ranges of length and degree, but never the less a universally agreeable on four.

    When compared to Saudi Arabia, yes, Japan has great biodiversity.

  18. #43
    Regular Member taehyun's Avatar
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    I personaly don't remember distiguishing the types of trees being a part of my school curriculum, but I wish it was
    .
    Well, I think it is not in any curriculum, it is joushiki, common knowledge, which people get by reading books other than manga.
    Wanna walk like a normal human being again

  19. #44
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mars Man View Post
    The title to this thread makes a positive assertion, namely, that Japan does not have four seasons, and that Japan does not have biodiversity.
    :sigh: The word "lack" was intended to mean that it was "not enough", not that it was "inexistent". I always use the word "lack" in that sense. If I had meant that "there wasn't any seasons or diversity", then I would have said "Japan has NO seasons and biodiversity". But that is an absurdity.

    I suppose it was obvious from what I wrote that my sole point in this thread was that seasons were less clearly marked in Japanese cities than in Belgian ones, because the little variety of trees in the former (due to human selection) has resulted in a blossoming period and red-yellow-leaves period restricted to a much shorter period than in Belgium.

  20. #45
    Junior Member DoctorP's Avatar
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    http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=lack&x=0&y=0

    There are 4 possible definitions for Lack Of

    The definition you refer to now is Lack in

    Lack of implies none....lack in implies a shortage of.

    Sorry if I misunderstood your meaning, I can not possibly read your mind. My responses are based upon your useage of Lack Of

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    :sigh: The word "lack" was intended to mean that it was "not enough", not that it was "inexistent". I always use the word "lack" in that sense. If I had meant that "there wasn't any seasons or diversity", then I would have said "Japan has NO seasons and biodiversity". But that is an absurdity.
    I suppose it was obvious from what I wrote that my sole point in this thread was that seasons were less clearly marked in Japanese cities than in Belgian ones, because the little variety of trees in the former (due to human selection) has resulted in a blossoming period and red-yellow-leaves period restricted to a much shorter period than in Belgium.
    Your sole point here is about the Japanese nationalistic mentality, isn't it?
    The comparison on nature between Japan and your country is off-topic here.

    I guess your wife has her great asset, being a multi-lingual person. I forgot what I did in my cooking class in my elementary school, actually I hated it, but I like cooking now. This is also an outcome.

  22. #47
    Regular Member Mars Man's Avatar
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    Perhaps a better wording would have been in store--as it stands, Maciamo, you are incorrect. It would be good, perhaps, to let this run free for a while. MM

  23. #48
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    Since I'm getting above myself today, I comment in this thread as well - hope you don't mind...

    First off...
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Well, I learn to distinguish leaves of at least the most common 20 or 30 varieties of trees in my country in both primary (elementary) and secondary (junior high) school. We had to make a herbarium by collecting the leaves by ourselves, dry them and flatten them (e.g. inside a phonebook), paste them on a blank sheet of paper, search in books or encyclopedia (or ask our parents) which tree they were, describe them, and we were rated on the quality and quantity of our researches. I do not know any (French-speaking) Belgian that hasn't done such a herbarium at school.
    You know, I wish we had done some things like that at school in the UK.
    For me personally, my parents were keen to teach me about nature - types of trees, flowers, animals and their habits, etc. - and I enjoyed learning this stuff. But we hardly learned anything like that at school.

    Perhaps the curriculum in Japan is lacking much teaching about nature? It certainly sounds like it, if the majority of people really have very little knowledge about it. Of course, I'd expect people who live in the country to have a better knowledge than city-dwellers, and as was pointed out, the majority of Japan's population live in cities. So maybe it's not considered very important in schools to teach about nature? Perhaps the curriculum is more "career-focused"? Is knowledge about plants and animals considered to be not very useful? These are all questions that run through my mind, but I don't know the answers...

    The word "lack" was intended to mean that it was "not enough", not that it was "inexistent".
    Maybe that is what might confuse. People are inclined to argue that Japan has "enough" seasons and "enough" biodiversity, thank you very much. Well, I don't know Japan, so I can't say about that. But in fact, it seems like your point isn't that Japan doesn't have enough biodiversity, but rather about a lack of imagination to make the best use of a diversity of different plant species in its urban planning, and a lack of general knowledge about plants/nature, which seems to you surprising, as Japanese are often represented as a nation proud of its "closeness to nature" and four seasons.

    About the cities... perhaps, with this "close to nature" kind of "stereotype" (not sure if that's the right word ><) prevailing since a long time, people have become a bit complacent about their use of / connection to nature, hence unimaginative in their urban planning?

    As far as it goes about the seasons, I think I understand what you're saying... that actually a "season", or at least, the "feeling of a season" (I don't know how to describe it...) doesn't last very long, compared with a country like Belgium where the seasons come closer to the "3-month balance". (So "lack of seasons" isn't meaning too few seasons, but the fact that when autumn, for example, arrives, it's "autumn feeling" lasts for only a few weeks.)

  24. #49
    puzzled gaijin
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    My apologies Mike, I extended the Kanto plain past its original territory. Better and correct would be to say approximately 85% of the people in Japan live in the part of Honshu from greater Tokyo to Hiroshima. Thus, related with the topic thread, not so many Japanese live outside of cities and urbanized suburbs, and in many of these seemingly treeless environments, they hardly seem in touch with nature. Their idea of nature in my opinion is often something you visit on vacation.
    Last edited by gaijinalways; Sep 23, 2006 at 20:31.

  25. #50
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kinsao View Post
    Perhaps the curriculum is more "career-focused"? Is knowledge about plants and animals considered to be not very useful?
    In Belgium and France, school teaches people about all the academics, whether you like it or not. Everybody has to learn maths, physics, biology (including the names of plants and animals), chemistry, geography, history, economy, philosophy, religion, several languages... You can choose to have more or less of one subject (at least for maths, sciences and foreign languages), but you must have at least 2h/week or each until the end of highschool (which in Belgium normally coincide with the end of compulsory education at 18). You cannot pass to the next grade, and thus finnish highschool, by failing one major subject or 2 minor subjects the same year, or twice the same subject in a row. So if you fail biology in the 9th grade and again in the 10th grade, you have to repeat the 10th grade until you pass biology (and the other subjects of course). There is usually little pity (at least in the schools I went to). This means that anyone who finnish highschool in Belgium is supposed to know all the basics of all the subjects mentioned above (except if they kept cheating at their exams, but they would need to be very good at it, and it doesn't work at oral exams).

    But in fact, it seems like your point isn't that Japan doesn't have enough biodiversity, but rather about a lack of imagination to make the best use of a diversity of different plant species in its urban planning, and a lack of general knowledge about plants/nature, which seems to you surprising, as Japanese are often represented as a nation proud of its "closeness to nature" and four seasons.
    Exactly.

    In fact, urban planning for architecture in Japan didn't really exist as such until last year, when the government introduced the concept (a university professor of architecture admitted it to me, a bit before I left Japan). Maybe things will change for trees as well...

    As far as it goes about the seasons, I think I understand what you're saying... that actually a "season", or at least, the "feeling of a season" (I don't know how to describe it...) doesn't last very long, compared with a country like Belgium where the seasons come closer to the "3-month balance". (So "lack of seasons" isn't meaning too few seasons, but the fact that when autumn, for example, arrives, it's "autumn feeling" lasts for only a few weeks.)
    You understand me well. Thanks for your reply.

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