Archive for the ‘classes’ Category

Cars and Japan

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

So my friend Chris did his presentation about cars.

It was cool.

Japan is an interesting place to find car culture. There is no need for cars here. The public transportation system is awesome and allows you to get anywhere you want to go within a reasonable amount of time.
So, why do people want cars?
According to Chris, people want cars, not because they are useful for something, or they need to commute or whatever. It is because they want to be a car owning person.
There are many people in Japan who, having bought a car, proceed to leave it in what passes for a driveway. Most people who own cars probably don’t use them much. Which makes sense with the public transit an all. Interesting.

Cars are expensive in Japan

First, you need a driver’s license. these cost ~$3000, because, like I said, cars are not needed–they are a luxury item. Makes sense doesn’t it?

Then, before you can buy a car, you need a place to park it. Garages at home, unless they were there before are not such a great choice. Why? Because the taxes for building a garage are the same as for building a house, garages are expensive.

Like I said, interesting.


Self, A Useful Abstraction

Monday, February 26th, 2007

Today in Zen, before Kenney kicked me out because she was covering material she covered in Religion in Japan, we talked about Non-Self, one of the most important ideas in Buddhism. As you know, after the Buddha came up with all that about suffering and how it was escapable, he became a selfless teacher. But selfless means more than altruistic. In this case, Non-Self.

I used the word abstraction in the title because I am a student of computer science and abstraction is what we do, more or less. Self is an abstraction, it takes a complex system, say the brain( reptile, and the other later bits), the body, and mind(the patterns in the brain) and makes it seem like it is one entity. I think that this is a useful thing. Thinking and being aware of all the connections of those subsystems takes a lot of time and energy, so it is simpler just to roll it into one idea.

The same is true of many things like cars, computers, skyscrapers, etc. (more…)

Problems with Modern Japanese History and Politics

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

I signed up for this class because it sounded interesting. That and I need some social science credits. It was late in the day, but at the time I didn’t really pay attention to that. Honestly, those sort of things are not important to me.

So, I went to the first class and imagine to my surprise that the class is not what the syllabus says, not exactly. The class is a fieldwork exercise kind of like a graduate level class, where the students pick some topic dealling with the people of Japan, get their feet wet, talk to people, have experiences, and then write it up. It sounds like this class could be the most interesting, hardest class I have taken at the uni thus far.

At this point I don’t really know what I want to do for it. We can form into groups, so I think that I will come up with some ideas by friday, and if none of them are workable maybe I will just join up with someone else’s project.

I am really looking forward to starting on something–I dunno what yet though.