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No.10
Culture, No.10  Feb. 6, 2012

IS HIGHER EDUCATION POSSIBLE ON A "SMALL GOVERNMENT" PLATFORM? PROBLEMS OF JAPANESE UNIVERSITIES SEEN FROM A UK PERSPECTIVE

The changing role of the state In March 2011, a conference was held at the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies of Oxford University, to which I belong, on the subject of higher education. I took part as one of the conference’s planners. The event was built around the theme of the state’s role in higher education. University education in Europe, which achieved development mainly around national universities, is now at a turning point. In exchange for expanded educational opportunities, heavy fiscal burdens have been placed on the state. The state also faces a... [Read more]

No.10
Culture, No.10  Feb. 4, 2012

FROM A PLACE FOR PRACTICAL SCHOOLING TO A PLACE THAT FULFILLS YOUNG PEOPLE’S NEED FOR APPROVAL

“Let me say a few words about what I want for universities. – To start with, I hope that universities will be places where both instructors and students are as free as possible to research, educate, and learn. Secondly, it is my earnest hope that we will become decent human beings through research and education at universities. We need to scrutinize what it means to be a “decent human being,” but here, in any case, I would like to emphasize that human beings must not be an instrument, or a means for something else. Thirdly, universities are not only for the people at the universities, but they also want to serve society outside universities, to enrich the lives of people, and to contribute to decent lives for all human beings.”... [Read more]

No.10
Culture, No.10  Feb. 2, 2012

JAPAN’S LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE SYSTEM IS A SAVIOR IN THE SUPER-AGING SOCIETY

From benefits to rights Japan has entered the period of a “super-aging society” the likes of which no country has ever experienced. As of 2010, Japan’s percentage of elderly (those aged 65 or above as a percentage of the total population) reached the world’s highest level of 23.1%, and is expected to exceed 27% in 2020. The progress of population aging simultaneously gives rise to the challenge of nursing care. In fact, the number of people with conditions requiring long-term care (defined as “a condition assumed to require care on a continual and regular basis for... [Read more]

No.10
Culture, No.10  Feb. 1, 2012

[SERIES: INTERVIEW] "DIET AND LIFE" — FOR HUMANS TO BECOME PEOPLE

Tatsumi Yoshiko: We have asked Professor Fukuoka Shinichi, Professor Kawashima Midori and Doctor Hosoya Ryota to give us their personal perspectives on the relationship between food and life. This time we are asking Doctor Takeuchi Osamu, who teaches ethics at Sophia University and is also a Catholic priest (Society of Jesus), to sum up their talks. Doctor Takeuchi, I’m hoping you can take this discussion a level deeper to explain how life in its final stages relates with food, and I hope in doing so that we can offer the readers some new insights. Why don’t we start with your story?... [Read more]

No.9
Culture, No.9  Jan. 29, 2012

[SERIES: INTERVIEW] "DIET AND LIFE" — FOR HUMANS TO BECOME PEOPLE (FOREWORD)

Somehow, my mother and I have shared a life of working on food. My mother was innately a cook; and even more, she was an expert at raising children. I lived with my mother for almost 52 years without ever questioning the taste of her food. She had prepared food for me until the evening before she died, telling me, “Don’t tell me I should rest. Have some rice with katsuo (bonito) sashimi.” People will always eat food that shapes their life. This warms the hands and feet. It colors the cheeks. It motivates. It is such physical responses that accumulate like layers of thin paper on which people seek dependence. This accumulated dependence eventually redirects to a will to believe in something or someone. From the garden of faith grows hope, and the process has naturally developed the soil for love.... [Read more]

No.9
Culture, No.9  Jan. 27, 2012

[SERIES: INTERVIEW] "DIET AND LIFE" — FOR HUMANS TO BECOME PEOPLE

Tatsumi Yoshiko: Last year, I conducted a food lifestyle survey centered on different municipalities. I was shocked when I saw the results from 500 people aged 20 to about 60. Singles in their 20s and 30s skip breakfast, or would eat something like snack rolls or a Chinese dumpling together with a bottle of water. Lunch would be a slice of pizza. Dinner: ramen. Not once during the week did they eat cooked food or ohitashi (boiled vegetables). That’s how they live. They eat just enough so they don’t die. They don’t have a clear understanding on food, self, and life. How did we get to this point? Fukuoka Shin-Ichi: It’s probably because as the act of eating became associated with the notion of improving... [Read more]

No.9
Culture, No.9  Jan. 25, 2012

[SERIES: INTERVIEW] "DIET AND LIFE" — FOR HUMANS TO BECOME PEOPLE

Kawashima Midori: The modern day nursing scene undervalues the significance and importance of eating through the mouth. Being in a position to coach and encourage nurses in the field, I always tell them, “Think more about the meaning of eating through the mouth. That’s where you find the role of nursing.” Tatsumi Yoshiko: I think it was in Ohmi, Hikone that there was a patient who had completely given up on eating, saying he didn’t want to do it anymore. The doctor said, “Think of something, anything you would want to eat,” and the patient said, “I want to eat funazushi [a type of fermented sushi].” So he ate a piece, and his body... [Read more]

No.9
Culture, No.9  Dec. 9, 2011

JAPANESE WINES YOU SHOULD TRY

In the last ten years, Japanese wine has improved significantly in quality and offers a greater selection in terms of price and variety. Instead of, “Maybe I’ll give Japanese wine a try for a change,” you can now say, “Tonight we’re having Hamburg steak, so let’s go with a Nagano Merlot” or “The Kellner will go with this Chinese cabbage and pork nabe,” and color your daily meal solely with Japanese wine. Selection has spread most notably for wine in the 1,000-yen range, and I have many to recommend. There are also excellent wines in the 2,000- and 3,000-yen range, and some in this price range have competed against foreign wines of the same grape variety in international wine competitions and won medals. When you drink Japanese wine, take your time tasting it and imagine the land the grape was grown on and the ... ... [Read more]

No.9
Culture, No.9  Dec. 5, 2011

TURNING EARTH’S HISTORY INTO PARKS: REVITALIZING REGIONAL COMMUNITIES WITH GEOPARKS GEOLOGY IS A NEW TOURISM RESOURCE

People have become well acquainted with the World Heritage designation by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and municipalities in all parts of Japan are now looking to World Geoparks as a means for revitalizing regional communities and attracting tourists. The “geo” in the term represents features such as the ground, geology, the planet Earth, and Geopark literally means parks of the earth; geological parks. This is UNESCO’s new plan for protecting and utilizing the natural environment. The Global Geoparks Network (GGN; secretariat in Paris) established in 2004 has certified regions with important natural heritage from an earth... [Read more]

No.9
Culture, No.9  Dec. 3, 2011

UE WO MUITE ARUKOU (SUKIYAKI)

Ue wo Muite Arukou (Looking Up As I Walk) was a big hit for the Japanese singer Sakamoto Kyu (1941-1985). The lyrics by Rokusuke Ei were set to music by Nakamura Hachidai. As Sukiyaki, the song made it big in the United States, ranked No. 1 by Billboard magazine for the week ending June 15, 1963, and entering the Top 10 in the annual rankings for the same year. Here, we get to the bottom of the background and creation of a work that became a pioneer of Japanese content export, as it were. It was Kuwashima Akira, currently living in Camarillo in the suburbs of Los Angeles, who told me about Dave Dexter, Jr., the A&R man for Capitol, one of the Big Four record labels. A&R is the abbreviation of Artist and Repertoire, and it is a job that only exists in... [Read more]