Saturday, October 1, 2016.
This is about E-mail, my blog, my Facebook page, and my Piper Paper. I began E-mailing, with lots of encouragement from friends, in the early-2000s as an alternative to writing the copious number of postal letters I was mailing in those days. Then I evolved up to my Piper Paper (March 2004) to expand my self-expression. After that I grew into my blog in 2008. What I used to write in postal letters is exactly what I wrote in Emails (long and epistellein), and then in my Piper Paper and finally onto my blog. Despite an accident in 2012 that wiped out the blog, I was able to quickly rebuild it because all the material was saved on my computer. My intention was for my family to learn about my life more quickly than having to wait for letters to be exchanged, and to learn about my doings in greater depth than the mere notes too many people are disposed to write (if they are disposed to write anything at all). I had already learned that despite their promises, no one E-mailed. Email was more a tool to better filter out and ignore people than a device to enhance communication. Then I learned that despite the ease of clicking on a linked blog address, it was beyond most people. Maybe it’s a moral problem. I mean, maybe people viciously decide not to access the blog. Or, maybe it’s a dexterity problem. I mean, maybe people are not skilled at using their computer keypads. Or, maybe it’s a mental thing. I mean, maybe people are too dumb to use the technology.
Finally it came to Facebook. Acquaintances recommended FB for a long time, but I resisted on the grounds that I thought it was stupid, that there were hidden risks (which there are), and that I am not a joiner anyway. I resisted until September 2015 when I finally gave in and opened a Facebook account - first, as a strategy to further attract viewers to my blog - which I think it has done; and, second, to further enhance my self-expression. As it turns out, I found FB instantly addictive and I’ve become a Facebook maniac. Has it contributed to increased exposure of my blog? I think so. My blog averages about 1,500 views / day which is higher than the average before I created a Facebook account.
The nature of my FB posts is similar to my old written letters, then my Email letters, then my Piper Paper stories, and finally my blog posts. My output is overwhelmingly narrative, observational and analytical, tending towards academic, even pedantic accounts in essay form. Maybe it’s a reflection of the disposition of my brain after long years of schooling. I spent seven years at university - at five institutions, earning three degrees - and didn’t finish until I was 27.
I post very little about me personally, but the cumulative nature and content of what I write and post either on FB or on my blog continuously inform about me. Much of what I post on FB are photographs with description of inanimate things: signs; vehicles; urban scenery; weather; newspapers; mailbox flyers; cultural things like holiday celebrations, etc. Once again, my intention is to allow my friends and family to see what I see every day and to know what my life here is like.
I often choose photo subjects based on my esteem for the genius of the designs of the things that make up daily life - things like simple roads, buildings of all sorts, gardens, etc. I am very interested in paper, in the graphic art used in ubiquitous advertising: newspapers, magazines, print books, posters and signs, etc. This stuff is completely disposable. We see it every day but don’t think much about it. Posters and signs used in advertising are regularly replaced and destroyed. I hope some museum collects a copy of this stuff. So I like to take pictures of signs and posters, things I see, things that are real. Not much about me personally, although the overall effect probably tells a lot about me, just as other people’s social media behavior informs about them.
Friday, September 30, 2016.
The Sagamihara stabbings were committed on July 26, 2016 at the Tsukui Yamayuuri En home for people with intellectual disabilities in Midori War, Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan. 19 people were killed and 26 others were injured, 13 severely, at a disabled care home. The suspect was a 26-year-old man, identified as Satoshi Uematsu,. He was a former employee of the care facility. He surrendered at a nearby police station with a bag of knives, and was subsequently arrested. The attack has been described as the worst mass slaying in Japan since the Second World War. The suspect, Uematsu, has been quoted in the media expressing some euthanasia ideas about improving Japan by eliminating disabled people, to rid society of what he saw as the nuisance that is severely disabled people.
The treatment of the crime in the press here has been remarkably different from what follows a similar crime in the West - in America, for example. Little information has been released about the victims of the attack. There have been no vigils, no protests, no coloured ribbons and catchy slogans. The Reuters news service wrote that this is due to Japanese culture being less accepting of physically and cognitively impaired people and it is a thread that has been repeated.
Critics of the handling of the Sagamihara massacre continually call out the police, the victims' families, the media and society for "secrecy." First, the patients are hidden away and isolated from society in nursing homes and similar facilities. Second, even in death, by not releasing their names, they are still being hidden while all the attention goes to the suspect. It’s as if, by not acknowledging their names their very existence is being treated as shameful. The lack of reaction by Japanese and their media leads some to speculate that Uematsu’s euthanasia motive might actually be an accurate reflection of a common sentiment. I wonder what does work mean to human beings? In today’s world there seems to be a growing tendency to try to justify meritocracy and performance-based wages. Society demands ability, efficiency and results from us all. More and more governments, companies and even our neighbourhood schools and universities are steering towards ruthlessly practical dividends. Failure in those things contributes to the segregation of people with and without disability under the guise of “protection” or some other virtue. Perhaps we should not judge people like machines, based only on how they function.
Privacy means private. That's why it's called that.
I don't see it that way. I have a very high regard for privacy, which is how I see it. If the families of the victims want to keep their identities private (the police claim) then that is their prerogative, not the business of disabled rights advocates who think they know better. Full stop. End of story. Privacy means private. That's why it's called that. I disregard the proposition that publicizing names of victims honors their humanity by affirming their existence because I see it the opposite way: excessive publicity is dehumanizing more than ennobling. I understand the arguments that knowing names confirms humanity, and that shrouding identity denies it discriminatorily, with a related fear that continued anonymity in death will extend discrimination into the afterlife. I understand, but I disagree, because those arguments are wrong. Knowing someone's name is a powerful thing. I try to avoid my identity being excessively publicized, which is why I often use a pseudonym. Anonymity and under-estimation are liberating. The internet and social media are good that way because they lend themselves to obscured identity. I use so many pseudonyms on the internet that I have to keep a written list to keep track of myself. Human life, of course, is a tale told with a mixture of truth and lies. It’s how we mine our experiences for meaning.
The petition by disabled advocates for name revelation and name recognition is a development of contemporary individualistic culture, which has what I think is excessive regard for the Self. It seems very American to me. I am less impressed with overly assertive Self - which looks like self-centeredness and even selfishness - than many are today. I have greater feeling for the mysteries of the unknown and the seduction of the unseen than many others today who need and insist that things be laid out for them like pablum before an infant - Now!! - and then have a hissy fit if it isn’t.
The police have said that they are not publicizing names at the families’ request for privacy. That sounds suspiciously like Japanese double-talk, a conspiratorial cleaning of the story. It could be true, or it might not. Are the police acting on their own and fallaciously rationalizing it retroactively with no regard at all either for the facts or for the true feelings of the victims and their families? To date no one has proved it, calling us humbly to accept their explanation.
But I could be wrong.
Friday, September 30, 2016.
1. cup and string
2. first land lines
3. Public telephones / telephone booths
4. Cell phones
6. Time travel phones
Sunday, September 18, 2016.
Japanese summer festival
The last day of the weekend summer festival in Sugiyama Park, Nakano-ku, Tokyo, at the corner of Nakano dori and Ome-kaido.
Saturday, September 17, 2016.
The West Exit of the Marunouchi Subway Line in Shinjuku Station, central Tokyo, around 2:00 p.m. today.
The Kanda River runs through my neighbourhood in a steep cement bed. During heavy rain the normally shallow stream quickly rises to a dangerous torrent as it drains towards the sea. There are depth markings painted on the cement wall to help officials gauge the rate of rainfall and estimate the flood risk. If you wanted to commit suicide by drowning this would probably do it.
I am a permanent foreign resident in Japan. I have no plan. I don't know what I'm doing.
10 月 2016