The Imperial Senate Can Into Silly Love Song

It is inevitable, I suppose, that it has come to this. What is it like to blog for the first time in more than a year, after so much has changed? I think it proper that rather than expounding on something profound, or discussing the insights I have gained during this time, I instead should appeal to the lowest common denominator, and procure a piece of simplistic, cheesy, romantic, musical poetry.

I suppose it would be mildly more entertaining if I pretended it was an anime theme song. Also, pat on the back to anyone who can guess the reference or origin of this. Hint: מֹשֶׁה

 

My love is yours
I gave my love to you
My sweet and gentle love
To you

And when the morning sun
Shines on your smiling face
Then I know I’ve seen a smile
Worth living for

I’ll take your hand
And go to Scarborough Fair
And go to Scarborough Fair
With you

Though I am just a man
When you are by my side
With our hearts as one
I know I can be strong

Though I am just a man
When you are by my side
With our hearts as one
I know we can be strong

To walk to Scarborough Fair.
If I must fight
I’ll fight to walk to Scarborough Fair
Until I die,
My heart is yours

 

Vector graphics yay

Mildly unrelated.

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Japan: Regretfully the World’s Last Hope Against Eurocentrism

Eurocentrism in its extreme form.

Why does the world continue to allow for a lack of respect for diverse peoples and cultures? Comrades, these are troubling times indeed, when the masses embrace the capitalist corruption of the people’s liberation: Eurocentrism.

On a serious note, Eurocentrism is a terrible thing. It makes me mad, for one thing; so much that I wrote a blog post about it ages ago. It also, more importantly, leads to a decline in respect for diverse peoples and cultures. It leads to, for instance, Mitt Romney arguing that Israeli culture is better than Palestinian culture, and thus by extension that generally Western culture is better than Islamic culture. Or, on a rather depressing note, it leads to unnecessary violence like the recent shooting rampage at a Sikh temple. But, on a brighter note, there is hope against Eurocentrism. In fact, it is blatantly obvious hope, even if you only have some basic knowledge in international affairs and history. That hope is Japan.

Japan is the best – and perhaps (currently) the only – counterargument against Eurocentrism.

No, no, I don’t mean to imply that Japanese culture is awesome compared to Western culture. Because it’s not. Yes, I think the phonological structure of Japanese is interesting, and I think the Japanese have the best Asian confectionary; however, Samurai and ninja are overrated, and I don’t give a damn about how spiritually pure they are in their martial arts, and anime is just goddamn anime for goodness sakes.

But Japan is still, perhaps, for now, the only clear argument against Eurocentrism.

Think of it this way. When you think of the “developed world,” or of “modernized” countries, especially those with any political or economic power on the international stage, these would probably come to mind: America, Britain, Russia (sort of), Germany, Japan, France, and so on. Which one’s the odd one out? Japan. Why? Because it’s the only non-European one on the list. When you think of countries that were formerly colonial empires/imperialist douchebags, these would probably come to mind: Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Russia, and America (arguably). Who’s the odd one out again? Japan. Because, again, it’s the only non-European one on the list.

Starting to get the drift here?

Japan shows the white devils that they, too, can be imperialist douchebags by shooting those godless, heathen, pagan Chinamen. (See First Sino-Japanese War)

For the past century and a half or so, Japan has proven itself to be the only successful non-European nation – if we define success as becoming a world power rivaling that of the “Western” states. A number of recent economic powerhouses, such as China, South Korea, Taiwan, Brazil, India, and so on, don’t count because they have only recently rose to power. Japan has been at it since the late 1800s, and not only that, it also has a history of being an imperialist douchebag like former Western colonial powers.

But one could argue that Japan is Westernized: they wear “Western” clothing, eat fast food, and have a democracy that supports freedom and equality. These, however, are relatively superficial. Traditional clothing is still very much commonplace in Japan, though in more limited contexts; and Japan still eats rice; and so on. Even their sort of freedom and equality is not exactly the same as in Europe or America. For instance, while there is freedom, there isn’t on the other hand much encouragement of individuality. Conformity to society is much more important; standing out, playing the unique hero – that’s discouraged. Shy from conflict, cooperate and compromise or even comply rather than “fight for what you believe in.” And so on. That’s not to mention that there’s still a clear patriarchal, even repressive, element of Japanese culture: women still have clear gender roles. Ultimately, the traditional influence on Japan is still extremely pervasive, even if guys don’t go around committing suicide to preserve their honor (as much).

Thus Japan – yes, that very Japan that gave you Pokemon and anime and sushi – proves that Western culture is not fully necessary for success. For Japan did not begin as a white folks’ nation with white folks’ culture, nor did it become one . Nay, even its modernization programme during the Meiji era relied heavily on cooperation between the government and corporate leaders of samurai stock, and it was done so in terms of a Confucian worldview (all honor to the Emperor, etc.); so so much for laissez-faire capitalism. And Japan’sefforts succeeded beyond imagination, flabbergasting the Europeans who watched in shock as Japan beat Russia and China and colonized Korea and Taiwan, proving that Westerners weren’t the only people capable of being big colonial douchebags/dicks/jerks. When Japan was defeated in World War II, they shocked the West once again as they rebuilt themselves into an economic power, without the need to adopt heavy doses of Western individualism, so much that in the 80s Americans feared that Japan would one day take over the world.

Arararararararararararagi

Anyone who can explain to me how this is related to the concept of Japanese conformity vs. individualism/playing hero will win free french fries.

My conclusion here is that perhaps culture does not determine the superiority of a nation or people; institutions (as well as historical luck) have a much bigger role. The Japanese developed institutions that kept them going for a long time, and, despite their current economic woes, still keep them going well enough to at least barely float. At the very least, something happened that caused Japan’s standard of living to rival that of America or France. I highly doubt it was because white people have better manners or philosophy. Japanese children are still taught values that adhere, directly or indirectly, to Confucian ethics and East Asian ideals. But this did not, and does not, really produce a culture inferior to that of the so-called “Judaeo-Christian” West (a concept which itself I find problematic, and, yes, you guessed it, Eurocentric).

If Japan, so steeped in its Confucian and East Asian roots, could produce a modern power without heavy doses of Western culture, who are we to day that an Islamic, Indian, or West African culture couldn’t do the same? That’s why Japan is so important. It’s the only clear evidence we have of a successful modern nation that isn’t Western in culture. Japan’s example proves that with good leaders, right timing, and luck, any culture can have the means to succeed and become the imperialist jerkass and/or economic powerhouse it always wanted to be, Western Judaeo-Christian culture or not.

Yes, Japan is overrated in some ways – no, in many ways. But in other ways, it really is the only hope against Eurocentrism, the only good evidence we have that you don’t have to be white to be an imperialist, greedy, violent, ruthless, colonizing douchebag if they try hard enough – and in some ways, that’s good for the white folks too. When every culture is a douchebag, maybe then it’d be easier to have respect for diverse peoples and cultures.

I admit I prefer Japanese rice over Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, or Indian rice. I like its texture and moistness. Also, this rice is white. Is that racist?

(Also, happy one year birthday to my blog. What an imperialist, people’s blast, a truest respect for diverse peoples and cultures:

Happy birthday to the masses, happy birthday to the masses, happy birthday to you all, may we rid the world of dirty reactionary imperialist-capitalists!)

Skyrim vs. Anime – An Objective Comparison

Pic unrelated.

Despite being products of two drastically different psychoses, Skyrim and Anime (that is, Animeland, the magical land of magical schoolgirls, explosions, and skittles) are remarkably similar. Both are extremely inhospitable lands that contain some of the most dangerous environments ever known to man. They also may qualify as drugs.

That being said, in respect for the glorious Chairman Mao’s sponsorship of the ideals of “respect for diverse cultures and peoples,” it is pertinent that we compare and contrast these two generally unusual, occasionally creepy, and even fantastically insane realms.

1. Literary Achievements
Animeland: It seems the inhabitants, in a few cases, have a reoccurring penchant to live their lives like some mind screwing, post-modernist, insane incomprehensibility akin to that of Alice in Wonderland or 20th century Russian literature.
Skyrim: Scripture made by a living god that secretly shows, using Biblical style prose and poetry, that the world of Tamriel is actually that of a video game. Oh, and the Lusty Argonian Maid.
Winner: Skyrim.

2. Progressive Roles of Women in the Military
Animeland: Military women are sex objects
Skyrim: Military women are sex objects
Winner: Skyrim. At least they (probably) are wearing their panties or the pseudo-medieval equivalent.

3. Landscape
Animeland: Varies.
Skyrim: Varies.
Winner: Draw. Just kidding, Skyrim.

4. Safety and Security
Animeland: Statistics reveal Animeland to be an extremely dangerous to traverse, physically and mentally
Skyrim: Somewhat dangerous to traverse, despite the arrival of time-eating dragons
Winner: Draw. Bureaucratic regulations mandate that there needs to be at least one draw to ensure fairness.

5. Language
Animeland: High-pitched Japanese seems to be the default dialect among women. Its linguistic relationship with more standard dialects of Japanese is otherwise hard to discern.
Skyrim: Shouting at the sky can change weather or summon dragons.
Winner: Skyrim.

That's not the Dragon Language, it's ancient Mesopotamian cuneiform.

6. Musical Traditions
Animeland: Occasionally there exist decent ballads, but otherwise it’s the same thing.
Skyrim: Songs have the power to make universes explode.
Winner: Skyrim. Is there any comparison?

7. Courtship Customs
Animeland: This is better left unmentioned.
Skyrim: Marriage simply requires an inconsequential, petty trinket.
Winner: Animeland. Skyrim, unfortunately, encourages risky choices as it provides a small timeslot between engagement and marriage, and thus prevents serious contemplation on how one will now ruin one’s life forever.

8. Infant Mortality Rate
Animeland: Monstrously Low. For unexplained reasons the infant mortality rate for females is ridiculously low, hence why there are so many schoolgirls running around.
Skyrim: Absurdly High. There’s probably about 10 kids total running around the entire region.
Winner: Animeland.

9. Military Capabilities
Animeland: Giant mecha.
Skyrim: Manly shouts that rip through the fabric of time and space.
Winner: Skyrim

10. Byzantines
Animeland: …
Skyrim: Imperials are Romans. Romans are Byzantines.
Winner: Skyrim. No explaination needed.

Winner:

Skyrim 7-2

Sorry, anime fans, as much as I like a couple things here and there… but I saw this coming.

Pic also unrelated. Did you know this vaguely resembles Indic and Southeast Asian bas reliefs?

Dear America: Great Shame Comes to the Asian Race when We and our Foods are Confused

Not two hours ago, embarrassed was I when I read this article. Great anger and shame overwhelmed me as the journalist suggests that all Asians are alike. Great rage enveloped me: could these white devils really think that glorious People’s Republic is the same as wanton Japan?

The proper and honorable reaction to reading this article, the demonstration by honorable Jackie Chan.

Dear readers, the dishonor of this article is great. Necessary is it to withhold ire when reading this article. Necessary is it to withhold ignominy when reading this article. Normal Americans were lied to, told that the progeny of the exalted Obama-san will eat Japanese food on the day of Pearl Harbor. These are deceptions of the greatest shame!

Do the white devils have no honor? Do they have no understanding? Do they have no culture? Time will be wasted if we argue with the ignorant, but we must counter their ignorance. Let us confer the facts and reveal the deceptions.

The article says that the progeny of Obama-san eat “Japanese food” on this day, the 7th of December. The article says that Obama-san’s progeny eat such Japanese food at their school cafeteria. This is deception!

Perhaps the erudite reader can inspect the menu itself and inform him or herself of the Japanese nature of this Asian menu featured in the cafeteria of Obama-san’s progeny:

Asian Mushroom Soup
Oriental Noodle Salad
Classic Spinach Salad
Teriyaki Marinated Chicken Strips
Szechuan Tofu & Veggies
Garlic Roasted Edamame
Vegetable Fried Rice
Fortune Cookies

Ground yourself in the manners of critical reasoning! Only “Teriyaki Marinated Chicken Strips” are vaguely Japanese! Placed on the menu are also many “Chinese” foods: “Szechuan Tofu & Veggies” and “Fortune Cookies”!

Perhaps Americans imagine Chinese and Japanese to be the same? Perhaps Americans forget that China fought much the cruelty of Japan in WWII? Perhaps Americans forget that the squint of the eyes of Asians differs in each of us? Should Kung Pao Chicken be Japanese? Should Pho be Japanese? Should Kimchi be Japanese? Such deceptions are most shameful.

Most shameful is it that America continues to misunderstand the Asian race. Is Japan the same as China? Is Korea the same as Vietnam? Shall Mongolia and Thailand be the same? I call to honorable and intelligent Americans: letting not your devil countrymen confuse the Asian peoples must now be your great quest.

How terrible! Upon reading this article, the questions that must grapple the mind: shall the delicacies of Asian food be considered unpatriotic on December 7th? Shall I refuse rice and soybean on this day to appear “patriotic”? Shall I refuse afternoon tea when comes the day of the War of 1812’s anniversary?

I am greatly dishonored today, but fret not. There is an even greater deception here.

How can there exist a delicious-sounding and nutritious school lunch at all?

I like Homestyle tofu, actually. Once I ate like 3 entrees of this or something when I was 8.

I wish I had that in high school.

Asian Parents Aren’t the Only People who Think Humanities and Social Sciences are Useless

Because Florida Republicans have converted to that mindset. Or at least Florida governor Rick Scott did.

The governor recently stated in an interview about how college students need to focus more on subjects dealing with science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) instead of less “practical” subjects – which pretty much by definition would include anything in the Humanities or Social Sciences. Okay, fair enough. I strongly disagree with that, but I consider it a legitimate (if misguided) idea. However, he went a bit further, with Anthropology as his choice (of all the wonderful non-STEM subjects) for lashing:

“Is it a vital interest of the state to have more anthropologists? I don’t think so.”

He added in a later interview:

“It’s a great degree if people want to get it. But we don’t need them here.”

The backlash from Anthropologists, particularly those in Florida, was intense, and justifiably so. The governor, so it seems, holds an erroneous, stereotypical idea of Anthropology that most of us also hold: that Anthropology is a subject concerned with only studying isolated tribes in the middle of some jungle. Most of us who have had exposure to Anthropology know better. Anthropologists have found employment in various places – including international corporations, the government, ICT companies, the military, and so forth – where their knowledge of culture and society are needed. Surprising as it is to some, Anthropologists study people – regardless of whether they are from the Bagwere tribe of Uganda, downtown Chicago, business settings in New York, or an Iraqi village near a US army base. The field is far from useless, especially with the advent of so-called globalization. But I won’t really rant too much about that here; if you want to read more, go search google (although two articles (here and here) are good places to start). Or, heck, just talk to an actual anthropologist.

Governor Scott’s sentiments are nothing new for us Asians. Stereotypically, Asian parents have always had distaste for the Humanities and Social Sciences. However, I find it a dangerous mindset. The only degree that can guarantee you a job is either a medical or engineering degree, right? I admit it’s probably true. Statistically, apparently, those who major in STEM or economics/finance/business tend to have higher starting salaries and are blessed with better job demand. Fair enough. But here is what I think is a problem.

Not everyone can or should get STEM. Imagine the problems that would happen if 90% of graduates got STEM degrees. Or, heck, even if 50% of graduates got STEM degrees, that still poses a big problem. I simply don’t think employers are looking for that many people. Alright, I admit I don’t have the statistics for this, but I think my point still stands. It is impossible to have so many jobs available for just a select amount of sectors.

And furthermore, there is a need for people in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Because those majors teach you to analyze and study people, their behavior, and their attitudes. And that’s important, frankly, because, cliché as it sounds, humans are social animals. Some types of jobs and careers simply demand people who might not necessarily know as much about STEM subjects. As an example: who would you trust in dealing with intense international negotiations – an Engineering major or a Political Science major? Honestly I’d trust neither, but I’ll be more willing to place my bets that a PoliSci major has more knowledge about how to conduct international relations.

I love Western-style freedoms.

Asians are Good at Bowing

As an Asian, I find many aspects of Asian culture, like pandas, kung pao chicken, ninjas, karate fu, samurai, K-pop, and octopus tentacles to be kind of uninteresting. Not to mention that those things don’t really represent Asian culture that well anyways. However, one thing I do think Asians got right is bowing.

In most East and South Asian cultures, bowing is not just a greeting. A bow can also show respect, an apology, self-deprecation, thanks, gratitude, marriage, condolences, humility, remorse, deference, and expressing to the other person how much you yourself suck.

While the overt displays of respect and even submissiveness might turn off some of us who have been raised in “Western” society, I actually like it. I find the supposedly humiliating gesture much more genuine and straightforward than a simple “I am sorry” statement, for instance. It also ensures that you know that the other person knows that you are sorry.

Teddy Roosevelt: the only person who bows to no one.

At least that’s how I see it. I hate having to guess someone else’s intentions or feelings, or having to guess whether someone else understands mine.

As a final note, about two years ago people were freaking out when Obama bowed to Asian heads of state and government, particularly the Japanese Emperor. Some Americans got pissed off that Obama was being “submissive” and “weak” towards world leaders. Others, trying to keep respect for diverse peoples and cultures in mind, however, said that Obama did do something very wrong. But it wasn’t that he bowed.

The problem was that he did the wrong type of bow. Supposedly.

Types of Japanese bows.

In Asia, but most particularly Japan, bows can be differentiated by the angle the body makes, the angle your head is at respect to the rest of the body, where your eyes are looking at, whether you’re also doing a handshake or not, and so forth. But I won’t comment much further, as tons of people ranted about this two years ago. Actually I don’t know if the Japanese themselves cared. They probably thought Americans are funny at worst. Obama might not have done the wrong type of bow, actually. People here in America don’t really know the actual protocols behind bowing in Japan and Asia, so for all we know Obama might have just done the right thing. If anything, all the media attention given to the bow two years ago just shows the lack of knowledge about diverse peoples and cultures around these days.

Respect for diverse peoples and cultures is difficult. But it is also very important. Anyhow, I think bowing should be used more often since it’s so blatantly obvious and hard to miss. Because in Japan, if you fail to show such respect or remorse, you might have to do seppuku.

Shame