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Ahmed FASIH @22@octodon.social

‘A kind of “GNP nationalism” took hold of the public imagination. The Japanese could no longer boast about the country’s prowess as a military or diplomatic power, but they could boast of its success as an economic superpower. By the 1970s many journalists and academics even linked economic growth to national character.’ —Peter Duus, “Shōwa-era and beyond: from Imperial Japan to Japan Inc.”, in *Routledge Handbook of Japanese Culture and Society*, V.L. Bestor, T. Bestor, A. Yamagata, eds.

“The first half of the book is about women and the second about men. The women are divided roughly into the two roles they traditionally play in so many societies: the mother and the prostitute. Both are extremely important in Japan.” —Ian Buruma, from his preface to *Behind the mask: on sexual demons, sacred mothers, transvestites, gangsters, drifters and other Japanese cultural heroes* (1984).

I used to have a cycle of websites I'd visit whenever my brain “needed” a break (including Mastodon).

Now I just grab my phone, take a walk, and read a few pages on iBooks. It syncs highlights/comments between devices (even for unofficial EPUBs), and is dead-easy to export highlights/comments to email, etc.

I used to be a real-book snob, since most books I read weren't ebook. That's gotten better recently, but also, the cost of “bad content” (web content) has gotten so high.

Just read books.

People quitting twitter seem to talk about alternate ways of getting morning news—RSS, bookmarks, etc.

My morning news is iBooks. I read books, about topics that their authors have spent more than a few days thinking and caring about (usually a few years). No, I don't want to know “10 things about this election”. I don’t particularly care about your analysis of this or that crisis. I’m much happier reading history, ethnography, travelogues, memoirs.

Just call me Mister Lindy Effect.

The glitzy eighties gave way to the terrible nineties:

“in the early twenty-first century in a climate of almost palpable despair, the belief that ruination lay just around the corner.”


From this superb book, Theodore Bestor’s “Tsukiji”, an ethnographic analysis of the social and cultural and economic networks of the world’s biggest fish market, in Tokyo. I love this book. It’s making my mind and my stomach hungry. 🍣 🍣

“Tsukiji is a freewheeling spot market where one might expect to find competitive, individualistic, short-term profit maximization to be the normal course of events. This book analyzes instead how patterns of trade emerge from and are ordered by the social institutions and cultural patterns… For the engines of economic activity, culture is not simply a lubricant or a fuel… culture designs the cylinders and camshafts, turns the key, shifts gears, unfolds road maps, and writes traffic tickets.”

This book is INSANE. Look at the quality and amount of the analysis (the commentary goes on for another page).

Alexander Vovin, “Man'yōshū: A New English Translation Containing the Original Text, Kana Transliteration, Romanization, Glossing and Commentary”.


‘although /b/, /d/, /g/, and /z/ agree very well with the modern standard Japanese and with Kansai dialect pronunciation, it is well known that these voiced stops were actually pronounced in Old Japanese as they are pronounced today in modern Tohoku (東北) dialects, namely as prenasalized voiced /ᵐb/, /ⁿd/, /ᵑg/, and /ⁿz/.’

I find this scandalous. Also, Unicode-fu FTW.

—Alexander Vovin, “Man'yōshū: A New English Translation Containing the Original Text, Kana Transliteration, Romanization, Glossing and Commentary”.

“A literary translation will inevitably call for poetically-sounding English at the expense of the Japanese text. However, I want to present the Man'yoshu to the reader having preserved to the maximum possible extent the flavor and the actual semantics of the poems. That is, I want the Japanese poets of that distant age to speak to the reader in their own words, and not on the terms of modern English poetics. … I provide original text,
kana, romanization, and glossing with morphemic analysis” 😮🙌

“Leave my loneliness unbroken” (when telling people to quit bugging you, The Raven style).

- (cont.) 國 is the older form of 国, which we know via 中国 (chuugoku, China) and 韓国 (kankoku, South Korea), but its pronunciation we know via that great game, 二ノ国 (Ni no Kuni, meaning, two countries).
- 男 is read otoko, or just o, and means “man”.

Cool! Before I started learning the kanji and readings, I’d been led to believe Japanese names are very hard to decode. When in reality, they can be very cool, as this shows!

note: 柳田 國男, read Yanagita Kunio, is the famous folklorist.

- 柳 I remember as it’s a part of 出町柳 (read: Demachiyanagi) station, the terminus of the Keihan and Eizan lines in Kyoto. And, it’s a little convoluted, but I like how 柳 (yanagi, willow) contains a version of 卵 (tamago, egg).
- 田 should be familiar via 田中 (Tanaka) and 山田 (Yamada), if not 織田 (Oda, as in, Nobunaga) and 武田 (Takeda, as in, Shingen—both great daimyo in the Sengoku).
- (cont.)

Just making sure: did everyone note the brutal political commentary in “Your Name”? From Alex Kerr (“Dogs and Demons”) to Patrick Smith (“Japan: a reinterpretation”), I’ve read about the pork-barrel corruption, but I’ve only recently started to notice how Japanese politicians are represented in domestic media.

Airbnb seems to have truncated my review of the Airbnb we stayed at in , the awesome Murasaki House (airbnb.com/rooms/15761027) so here’s the full review :) gist.github.com/fasiha/0b3f557

tl;dr: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A+!

Why spouse cannot enjoy Makoto Shinkai films: “What are you going to put me through this time, buddy [i.e., Makoto Shinkai]? How sad are you going to make me now, huh?"

(Watched *Your Name*, whose blu-ray is now released in USA.)

Spouse, two kids (≤5 years old), and I spent the entire month of October holidaying in , . Ask me anything.

Set the camera to US Eastern Standard Time (UTC-4), then flew to Japan (UTC+9), now your camera’s photos are all misaligned with your phone photos? Exiftool to the rescue:

$ exiftool "-DateTimeOriginal+=0:0:0 13:0:0" "-CreateDate+=0:0:0 13:0:0" -overwrite_original .

This command adds thirteen hours to the "DateTimeOriginal" and "CreateDate" EXIF tags for all images in the current directory. I will correct this if Dropbox fails to sort phone & camera images correctly.

In the sense that, different countries/markets are different instantiation of drift, i.e., different runs of the same random process that are mostly independent.