The things I do when I leave my appartment in the morning seem to be so ritualistic that they begin to be more humorous. Rather than taking the elevator down from the sixth floor I walk but ofcourse the people who live on nearly every floor seem to believe that they can do whatever they want with the space around their doors and even he stairs near thier doors they feel they can leave thier shoes and other personal possessions. So how am I supposed to walk down stairs? First of all kick the shoes out of my way to clear a pathway. I have noticed that the area around the elevator is always clear, which seems to me that no one walks and everyone takes the elevator. Rained the whole weekend and it seems to be continue today and probably most of the week. Like rain the shoe clearing ritual continues.


Dedication to one's work

Throughout my travels around the world I have found one thing in common. I have found that true dedication and a love for what one does for a living is truly a rarity. I find that people are just too preoccupied in making money for themselves. I see this in this from the viewpoint of the apprentice who works tirelessly to perfect a trade that is handed down from generations. I see my friend of 31 years old working as a potter in Japan following in his parents footsteps. So what that he never completed high school, he could be working for 7-11 or some other low paying low educated job. The point being he chose the potter not because he had no other choices but because he likes what he does. I see the many people of my age whom returned to their small towns to become fishermen among other occupations, they had choices but they chose a better quality of life over a money-making job that tired them out by the end of the day. These people have passion; they are dedicated and have a love for what they do. In fact I can only name three such people whom really have a passion for what they do outside of my own family. It is depressing. I feel like an out of date human being or one that is out of touch with society. I see a lot of this in young English teachers overseas. They slap together a lesson plan in the seconds before the lesson begins; they never or rarely fight for changes, they brush off the BS saying the money is alright in other words they wait for that wad of cash at the end of the day or month. I�fm saying this is everyone but this is sadly a great majority. It is not entirely the teachers fault but also equally the responsibility of the school administration as well. They too are too preoccupied in increasing students. Of course, more students equal more money so essentially they too are money hungry and have little passion for what they do. Can they choose what they want to do? Of course they can. Remember they too could take the lowly paid, low educated 7-11 job too. Potters, weavers, carpenters, fishermen, mechanics, administrators and teachers should have a passion for what they do, do what they do best and enjoy it and dedicate yourself fully. If you teach then dedicate yourself to your student�fs success not your pay cheque. Teach every student the same values, to enjoy studying as a life long culturally enriching hobby. Teacher�fs are and should always be continued to be respected as part of Asian culture. Administrators should respect this and allow for appropriate time for class preparation and quality materials. Students and teachers before profits.


East-West Philosophical thinking - Where is China?

The "East" versus "West" thinking has been always the same throughout history but in my mind is wrong, and MUST change in today's global society. "East" has always been Asia and "West" has always been Europe/North America.

The term East and West may be used in two different contexts, one the context of direction as in North, South East and West. Two, East and West has the meaning of two different lifestyles or ways of thinking. The first is easy for everyone to understand and is agreed upon by international convention. The second is purely arbitrary.

Let us think of a map, by definition and by international mapping conventions North is always the top of the map and South is the bottom, the left therefore must be West and the right side is East. This is based upon international mapping conventions.

Going back 1000 years, before North and South America was invaded by Europe and Asia; there was really one great huge land mass. That of Eurasia and Africa and people traveled very short distances often on foot or by horse. North and South America did not exist (in the minds of Eurasians). Therefore, people's idea (let's call them "X people") of the outside world was very limited to how far they could walk in a day, say for example 25km. Their home was the center of the world/universe. The edge was water, dangerous and not to be ventured onto, they stayed very close to land if they traveled by boat.


Therefore, we can see very clearly that according to these "X people" that Europe is LEFT (West) of Asia and Asia is on the RIGHT (East). A very central way of thinking. Now fast-forward, to the point when long distance boat travel came along, and North/South America was captured by Eurasians. We now have two new continents according to these "X people". Where are they now? Left or Right? At the time of the Roman empire Rome was the center and everything to the Left was West and to the Right was East (Asia). The same was true when France was central (held the power), England, Portugal, etc. etc... For centuries, Europe was center and everything revolved around Europe. Asia was to the Right (East).


Now we have the United States as the most powerful country, the majority of them coming from a European decent, Europe which has been a stronghold for power in the world for centuries is still held onto even to this day. BUT LOOK! at the map again, where is North/South America in relation to Europe and Asia? According to North American made maps they are in the middle. Where is Europe? on the Right, the Right was? East. Where is Asia? Left of course! But the East-West philosophy remains engraved in the minds of everyone because Europe had held onto world power for so long and people cannot let go of this thinking.


Next point, again look at the geographic location of the United States; where is it? In the CENTER. What does this mean? As I have stated before, these "X people" who have never traveled much more than 25km beyond their own home thought that their home was the CENTER. Therefore, whoever is in power is in the center. This is an imperialist way of thinking. Furthermore, "I am center, therefore I am the best" is a further indication of nationalism.


The thinking is everyone likes to suck up to the one in power. Everyone wants to be in power, everyone wants the status or the glory. Japan quickly emerged from its' feudalist period to in a way suck up to the United States because they too wanted at the time to be "more developed" like that of the U.S. and less "backward" as a "Westerner" may say the "East" is.


Now we have China emerging as the fastest "developing" country, being the biggest country in Asia (except for Russia) and the one with the largest population. The decline of communism in the 1990s and its' opening up 25 years ago has lead China to its' Socialist Market Economy. In my view, China has abandoned all socialist traits for capitalism, even more so in Taiwan. For example, in the past, education had been free and it has now become the responsibility of the individual further undermining the thinking as a "whole" or "group" as thought of by the Confucionists. China is by far a socialist country, and I compare to countries like Sweden and Cuba whom are socialist countries. Some may say communism must go through all the phases and that capitalism is just one phase in development. How long this takes is unknown but what is known now is that China and even more so Taiwan are by far the most right-wing and even most capitalist. I only hope that one day socialism will soon return to China and perhaps the world. So my question, where is China? East? Or West? Where will China be placed in the future? In whose view is it East? Who will determine its placement? America? Or China? Have a look at maps made in China and have a look for yourselves where China is. Even maps made in Australia have Australia on top.


Taiwan English schools bribing children

Doesn't the title sound like a headline for a newspaper? I had to think twice about that one.
I have been here nearly a year now and I am sure it is just another bribery tactic to get children to learn English. At first I never really paid too much attention to it but I soon realized quickly that the point cards in 1, 2 and 5 denominations are sort of treated as if they are money and the children are just driven by competition to get more for themselves. I have taught in Japan, China and children of all ages from Korea and Vietnam and Taiwan children are by far the worst. I always thought Chinese children were bad but they are not as bad as Taiwan children whom are extremely competitive. I wonder what drives them?


Bulk E-Mail Marketing

Perhaps it is me and that I do not understand how internet marketing works but I was looking at a list of keywords put out by Facts About Adsense and the number one keyword that has the highest average bid price is bulk email marketing. I can understand how dating, web design and hosting and insurance can all be at the top five but how can bulk email marketing be on average the highest bid for keyword? I think of bulk email marketing and I think of spam and the definition by most law enforcing entities is something along the lines of unsolicited bulk email. Perhaps the people involved in bulk email marketing consider their email to be solicited and wanted such that the recipient has subscribed to the bulk email being sent. I say the hell with bulk email. I would like to further clarify the definition of spam if not already done as if it is not personalized for me and that the E-Mail address is not a valid E-Mail, for example if I cannot reply to the person. The amount of mail I get that cannot be returned is quite annoying. I like to return spam to the user, thanking them kindly of course. Although using spam and bulk E-Mailings does have its benefits in intermediate and advanced foreign language classes. I have done this in my English classes in China.


Rainy days

Last year I picked up a book for Windows 98 through to XP error and trouble shooting guide in Japan and recently it has become one of my greatest investments in books so far. The solution for nearly any problem imaginable is right there, no more consulting with service centers or other people who appear to be helpful but are not really helpful. It would make a better reference than a book for a rainy day.



blogging from airports

With no internet access at home anymore I could find myself blogging from airports and roadside cafes where they offer wireless internet services. I have been told that there are many cafes that offer wireless internet but I have yet to find one. Most of them are just in districts where there is access and you have to pay the ISP to get a password. I don't see why the coffee shops don't get involved and offer customers the chance to use the facilities in thier shops. Buy a drink and the price couls be either included or added to the bill and on the bill there would be a password to get online. Makes perfect sense, and those who travel will not have to buy monthly internet access and you will not have to use thier computers, which are always so dirty and worn from game playing and cigarette stains. It's always a problem when the damn internet cafes remove all external drives and ports so that you cannot upload files or photos.

Blogging from Qumana

I just downloaded Qumana not to long ago and just decided to give it a try today. Really easy to use but it doesn't seem to support Japanese. I tried to find a Japanese version to download but I have not yet found anything yet. I just cannot imagine myself blogging unilingually. English is one the the more widely spoken languages but that does not make it an interesting language. English is just a language of business and business is what really is boring.
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Long time Bloggers

I've been blogging now for over six months now and I have yet to

see a blog much over two years old. I did see one yesterday that
was nearly six years old by someone in Singapore but that was it.
I wonder who has the oldest and current blog?
The fact is probably that the blog boom period began only 2 to 3
years ago and is still a relatively new thing for most people.