Monday, December 31, 2012

Sequels in Dec. 2012

DEC 19, 2012
Gun control and Nash equilibrium

Discussion about gun control seems to be confused. The National Rifle Association claimed that some pop culture including video games or Hollywood movies bring violence.

The Wall Street Journal: NRA Blasts Video Games After Sandy Hook, Twitter Responds

I think it is ridiculous that gun providers blame materials including crime scene. If crime scene were to be restricted, the arms themselves are also to be prohibited. I would like to see more creative debate.

DEC 16, 2012
Concern about general election

General election resulted in the victory of Liberal Democratic Party, as most mass media predicted. Mr. Shinzou Abe became the prime minister. I wonder if he will restore the economy of Japan. Nonetheless I expect him.

DEC 11, 2012
American comics movies

I bought some BD about American comics movies. “The Dark Knight Trilogy” describing Batman is excellent! But they are so serious that I hardly watch it easily. I will make enough time to watch them completely.

DEC 9, 2012
What Madoka Magica tells us

I also read Madoka Magica comic books.

This series was written from the original scenario of TV animation. So the story completely copies the original one. I recommend it for beginners. English version is also available. Puella-Magi Madoka Magica Vol.1

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Restriction in medical situation

I saw a decision paper of the Supreme Court of Japan about physical restriction of a patient in a hospital.

Ichinomiya Shintai-kosoku saiban shiryo (Resource of Ichinomiya restriction court case, in Japanese)

The case summary is below;
An old lady admitted to a hospital for medical treatment. Then she contracted a delirium, probably due to severe physical status and noisy environment. She tried to walk around and cried for help some time. So the nurses at work in the hospital putted mittens on her hands not to manipulate any medical devices.
The patient  felt humiliated after that. So she and her family sued the hospital for violation of human rights.

The first decision of a Distinct Court rejected the complaint of the plaintiff. However the Higher Court judged the restriction by the hospital staff to be illegal. This decision affected medical organizations widely.

And at last, the Supreme Court rejected the complaint of the plaintiff again.

Restriction in medical situation is a complicated problem. As a practitioner of mental health, I believe that restriction is inevitable in some cases to protect the patients and bystanders. Of course, restriction itself is a evil behavior essentially. Excessive restriction must be prohibited. But there are some court decisions that treatment without restriction, result in an accident of the patient, was medically inappropriate. If in similar cases restrictions were authorized to be illegal, medical practitioner would hardly offer treatment for the patients with danger of delirium. Moreover,  aging is rapidly progressive in Japanese society. The cases that an aged patient falls in a hospital will be increasing.

I deny blind restriction. However medical safety must be discussed in multiple angles.

Well, there is a legislation about restriction in mental hospital. But there is no legal rule about it in general hospital in Japan. It is another problem, I think.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cassandra’s curse

Cassandra is a woman in Greek mythology.
She was a prophet with mystic power and she was able to predict any disasters which would attack Greek.
However, she was cursed by Apollo. Due to Apollo’s curse, nobody believed her prophecy. So she was censured as an agitator, and ended in tragedy.

Cassandra’s curse is common even in the modern era.
When one person expects a bad outcome about a project, there are two results to be assumed. If everybody did not believe the expectation, the project would fail. They would recognize the correctness of the expectation, but too late. On the other hand, if everybody believed the expectation, they would try to avoid the failure. Then when the project completed in success, they would blame the prophet for too much worrying about this.

This episode tells us about the essential risk in risk assessment itself. Statistic evidences are indispensable to analyze the fact without being emotional.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Three factors make us work

What do you think if you quit your job?

I think it is an essential question for most of the people.

Many people might agree to quit their job if the same income were guaranteed. But the fact is a little different.
In Japan regulation about dismissal is so strict that companies must use a trick to make troubled employees quit their job. One idea is “stay home order”. The boss ordered the targeted employee to stay at home without work. He has nothing to do and get a salary. It is a paradise, isn’t it? No. The employee who lost his own work tends to quit voluntarily.
This case explains the importance of the work itself.

To work is to earn money. It is no doubt. But it is not absolute matter.

I think that there are three reasons why human works other than for money.

The first reason is “fun”.
Many energetic or even workaholic people enjoy their work. Working is the reward for them. They often regard their work as a game. Good company makes the employee play an exciting game.

The second is “self-development”.
Some people are struggling in extremely hard work. Resident doctors also must be patient. We must overcome the stage to develop ourselves to be professional. Working is an investment. Good company offers the employees some valuable investments.

The last one is “contribution”.
I think this is the most difficult to obtain for work. Every work is to contribute others. It is obvious, as others pay the reward for work. But we often forget this simple matter. We cannot see the importance of contribution when we are really poor. To be conscious about contribution, we must be satisfied the first. So, good company satisfies the employees, and then teaches them about the contribution.

Which is your reason to work for others?
And does your company offer the three factors?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Trilemma of reports

We sometimes get angered against report by mass media.
Said, "The contents are ridiculous! It must be incorrect."

Or have you ever thought that it was too late that the government or a company revealed certain information?

Actually, every report has some disadvantages.

More logically, there is a trilemma about reports.
The three elements are "quickness", "accuracy", and "simplicity".
No document can commit all of this three elements perfectly.

When you inform some people about an accident or a disaster, you will try to let them know the matter as soon as possible. The speed is prior. And the information is simplified. You have no time to examine the information deeply. As a result, the report can be less precise. Several Demagogie, or false rumors tend to occur in disastrous situation. We must accept it to get fast information.
In Japan, Twitter or other social media reported many information in 3.11 earthquake and Tsunami disaster. They were very helpful but included a lot of false rumors. They were to be examine after that. And few false rumor survive until now.

On the other hand, afterwards report must be precise. Much time was spent to investigate the contents of this kind of report. So the final report is to be delayed. It is also acceptable.
Statement of accounts of a company is a nice example. If it were incorrect even only in detail, a severe legal problem would occur.

And a precise report is not easy to read. No one can explain a complicated matter as a simple one. Academic reports are difficult to understand because they take much account of scientific correctness.
Some bestsellers about how to make money are easy-reading. But we seldom learn something valuable with them. Too simplified article omit the fact to be learned.

You must always consider what is your goal when you seek a report. Fast information? Deep knowledge? Or an outline about this matter? You also have to guess the author's intention of which factor is regarded as important.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Distribution of taxi fee

Imagine a situation that you take a taxi to go home. Some of your colleagues are together. Of course your houses are different from each other. But it is economical to share a taxi since the directions are the same.
Then, what is the best way to distribute fees for taxi?

This problem is frequently asked in real world. And I have also heard in elementary school class of mathematics such as below:

“Three persons, Mr. A, Mr. B and Mr. C are going to share a taxi to go home. The driveway is assumed to be straight. Mr. A’s home is 10km from here. Mr. B’s home is 10km from Mr. A’s home. Mr. C’s home is 10km from Mr. B’s home. Taxi fee is $10 every 10km. How much do each person must pay?”

The standard answer is that;
“Total cost for 30km driving is $30. This has to be distributed to 3 persons according to their riding distance. Mr. A rides in 10km, Mr. B 20km, and Mr. C 30km. So fair costs are, $5, $10, and $15, respectively.”

This answer is logically correct. But it is not practical. To adopt this method, we have to know the total fee in advance. It is not realistic.
So I recommend the second method.

The three persons share the taxi in first 10km. So the fee for this distance is to be distributed equally, $3.3 each other. And the second 10km are shared by Mr. B and Mr. C. Two must pay $5 each other. The last 10km is occupied by Mr. C. So he must pay $10 alone. After all, total fees of each person are, Mr. A $3.3, Mr. B $8.3, and Mr. C $18.3, respectively.

However, this method forces Mr. C to owe harder burden, compared to the previous one. It is not logically wrong but hardly acceptable for some people. If the driveway is not straight, the problem is more complicated. Mr. C must take longer time to go home than taking a taxi alone. It is much painful for him.

Indeed I usually pay the taxi fee a little much more than regulated for younger colleagues. It is not logical, but a social behavior.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas cakes and Japanese trait

Today, I visited Imperial Hotel Tokyo.
(Website of Imperial Hotel)

Japan is now in Christmas events. There are Christmas trees everywhere. The main hall of Imperial Hotel Tokyo is not an exception.

And today “Sweets Art Exhibition” is ongoing. I watched several huge cakes imitating Christmas scenes. How beautiful and sweet!

But it will be ended after 25th Dec.

Japanese Christmas events are very fantastic but, rapidly vanish after Christmas day. This characteristics as both temporary rising and immediately shrink after the peak were compared to sexual reaction of men by Mr. Miso Suzuki, a reporter cartoonist in Japan. According to him, St. Christmas Eve is day of sex in Japan, whereas it is day of happy home in western countries.

Indeed, Japanese has tendency to be excited rapidly and to forget it soon after that. It is a national trait of Japanese.
Japan was attacked by many disasters historically. Ancestors overcame them one by one without abandon Japan. They were very patient I guess. And patience may be accompanied by forgetfulness.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Kindle Fire has come

I was waiting for a long time. At last, Amazon Kindle Fire HD has been delivered to my home!

I bought Amazon Kindle 3 (now Kindle Keyboard) from Amazon USA 2 years ago. And it was favorite gadget of mine. Recently I got Kindle Paperwhite, the first Kindle localized to Japan. Unfortunately, it is not completely satisfactory for me because of some disadvantage, such as limited volume of storage.
However Kindle Fire HD is splendid. The display is quite beautiful. Touch screen works very well. I can also listen to music or audiobooks with this.

But there is an anxiety about Kindle in Japan.
As I mentioned, I expect greatly to future of e-book. However the growth of electronic books market is very slowly in Japan. Kobo, an e-book reader made by Rakuten is suffering from low reputation of customers and sluggish increasing the number of contents. Sony Reader is also struggling. One of the reasons is conservativeness of Japanese publishers for e-pub, I guess.
Amazon also has not started service of newspapers, magazines or movies yet in Japan.

Of course book of paper has unique attractiveness. But young people tend to read light novels or Manga with their mobile phones. The change from analog to digital is approaching fast, I think. The problem is when it comes.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gun control and Nash equilibrium

The USA government was shaken by a mass shooting case happened in Dec. 14 in Connecticut.

Reuters: Connecticut gun rampage: 28 dead, including 20 schoolchildren

According to the reports, the offender killed his mother and went to an elementary school, to shoot children. Twenty-six persons including 20 children were sacrificed. It is the most tragic massacre case in the USA.

The USA society is relatively tolerant for citizens to have a gun. Now the Brady gun control law requires licensed gun dealers to examine buyers not to sell guns to drug abusers or mentally ill persons. But this legislation hardly prevents gun crimes, I think. Severely mentally ill person cannot buy a gun whether the legal restriction exists or not. On the other hand, a person with deep menace can easily disguise his status.

In the USA there are debates whether gun control should be strengthened or not.

The New York Times: Debate on Gun Control Is Revived, Amid a Trend Toward Fewer Restrictions

Of course gun sellers will oppose to strengthen the restriction. Some libertarians are likely to claim that they have a right to protect themselves with their own.

In Japan, possession of arms is strictly restricted traditionally. I have not ever seen a real gun or even Samurai sword. Japan has strengthened the regulation more strict about possession of knives since 2007. I remember that was enforced after a criminal case with a knife.

How is the difference between two countries?

It is logically explained with Nash equilibrium.

The Nash equilibrium is invented by Jon F Nash, a mathematician. It means that each player of the game has no alternative to improve their interests. In a situation of Nash equilibrium, we hardly make any changes.

Wikipedia: Nash equilibrium

In Japan, there was no gun in modern society. If someone wants to possess a gun, he will be blamed heavily by other people. So it is reasonable that we all continue to adhere the regulation of gun control law.
In the USA, guns are used historically. If everyone wants to eliminate guns, the first person drops his gun must take a risk to be shot. Since outlaw is the last person to drop a gun, innocent people tend to get severe disadvantage. After all, nobody can drop guns.

The situation may be not so simple. Nonetheless it is possible that historical background that was occurred by chance makes the current issue complicated. And this is one of the reasons why we hardly import the idea born in foreign country easily.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Exception overcomes the rule

All rules have exception.

This self-paradoxical epigram is very famous. We must always be careful to decide whether the rule should be adapted to current situation. This work is hardly done by a computer. Be flexible. Otherwise we would be replaced to computer easily.

However, the rule that include too much exception in it will not work correctly.

Imagine a driveway in Japan. Regulated speed is 40 km/h in a city area. But nobody adhere this regulation. If you handle a car with 40km/h, you would be blamed by any other drivers. On the other hand, maximum speed of bicycle is not limited. So you can ride a bicycle with over 200 km/h legitimately, if possible!
It is an example that exception may overcome the rule.

In general, the rule or legislation is established to protect interest or safety of weak people. So when people other than predicted are adapted to the rule, the intention of the rule would be twisted. It is sometimes criticized that rich people get advantage of extra financial aid for medicine. It means that redistribution of estate that is one of function of government is abused.

In medical care field there is a lot of exception. It is quite natural since human bodies vary one another. Moreover we are always annoyed by personal information protection policy. As a principle, we are not allowed to tell information of the patient to other people, even their family without permission of the patient. But this rule is hardly adhered. When the patient cannot visit hospital for some reason, we have to consult his or her family, even prescribe some medicine to deliver it to the patient. This kind of behavior is not so evil, but we must be aware to our behavior and the meaning of it in legal context.

In my sense, rate of exception should be lower than 5%. And when the rate reached to 30%, the system itself will be collapsed. Before the critical point we should examine the rule and change it with correct method.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Conveyor belt sushi, not bad.

Today I went to "Kura-sushi", a Conveyor belt sushi nearby my home. The store was reformed recently and is always crowded.
(The website of Kura corporation)

Sushi is a soul food for Japanese. I like sushi the best of Japanese cuisine.
Traditionally, sushi is communication itself between the guests and the chef. “Itamae”, sushi specialized chef cooks sushi with his own hands in front of the guests, making conversation with guests. Traditional Japanese loved sushi so much that making sushi was a kind of art and also compared to dead-or-alive battle.

Traditional sushi is very expensive. Famous sushi restaurants even do not display the price of sushi set. The guest has to pay any amount of money that the chef presented. The system requires good partnership between the guests and the chef. Famous chef did not work for strangers, historically.

However the era has changed.

About 50 years ago, Conveyor belt sushi born in Japan. In such kind of stores, you will sit by the counter, which equips a belt conveyor. You need not ask for your order. you only take the dishes streaming in front of you. There are a lot of sushi-rolls upon the dishes streaming one after another. The choice is yours.
(Wikipedia: Conveyor belt sushi)

This style of sushi is innovative for some reasons.
You eat anything very quickly. Indeed, the sushi has been made already! You do not need to hesitate to order one. Chefs can concentrate to make sushi, without talking to guests. So visiting time of guests is to be very shorter than traditional style. Above all, Conveyor belt sushi also rotate the guests quickly. And rotate rate is very important for administration of restaurant.
They make great effort to offer cheap and fresh meal. The cost you should pay is about one-tenth of the traditional sushi restaurant. Besides, the taste is not so bad.
There are a lot of choices in Conveyor belt sushi. You will eat 7 to 10 dishes when you are hungry. Variation of menu is one of advantages.

Recently, stores of Conveyor belt sushi invent many original sushi-rolls. Traditional sushi is made from rice and fish or shellfish. But newly sushi includes even beef, pork, chicken, avocado or other vegetables. Hamburg sushi is popular for children. Besides sushi, we can eat other light meals such as chinese noodles, chicken bowl, or some sweets. Modern Conveyor belt sushi is likely to theme park of the meal. Perhaps they aim to get more family customers.

I have visited some time at Conveyor belt sushi also in foreign countries, such as London, Hong Kong or Munich. They also offer variable menu. Good job!

But I do not recommend buying a sushi set at a convenience store. It is no good either in Japan or in foreign countries. Freshness is the first priority of sushi, I think.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Concern about general election

Today general election of lower house was performed in Japan.

Now adding up of the vote is carrying out. According to NHK, national broadcasting, the result will be the one-sided victory of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). LDP is doubling the number of seats and ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) lost many seats. Japan Restoration Party won seats to some degree but it is not amazing.

This result was predicted by several mass media. So I am not surprised. What is surprising is the low vote rate. According to Asahi Shinbun, the vote rate will be less than 60%, it is the minimum in history of Japan after WWII.
We have many arguments around this election. Nuclear power plant, consumption tax, Trans-pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (TPP), diplomacy, and so on. Basic polities of major parties differ from each other. Compared to past election, it must be easy to vote for one party which is suitable to our own interest. I feel that political discussion has rose in internet forums actively.
However vote rate is low.

Vote rate tend to decrease in winter. The weather is not so good in some region.
But maybe the biggest reason of low vote rate is the boring of citizens for national politics.

In 2009, long lasting (over 50 years!) ruling of LDP had ended by general election. DPJ tried to change the structure of policy-making system, replaced LDP. But they failed. Indeed some reforms are accomplished; nonetheless, most citizens were critical to DPJ.
I guess not a few people abandon his own power to change Japan through voting. It is very sorry.
Vote rate itself is not essential matter, as I wrote in the past. If concern about politics of the people is decreasing, it is a serious problem.


Saturday, December 15, 2012


Today, I worked in the university I belong to as an examiner of school of medicine.

Japanese medical student has duty to pass several exams to get physician license. Before starting clinical clerkship program they learned about medical interview skill.
So we establish a committee to evaluate their skill and perform general examination (Objective Structured Clinical Examination; OSCE). I observed conversation between a trainee and a simulated patient in ten minutes and scored their performance according to grading standard fixed in advance.
The exam is highly structured and well developed. We made use of clinical skills center newly build. To avoid cheating, students are not allowed to equip mobile phone, and even if to get out until the exam ended. The memorandum they described is to be used at the next exam about writing medical record. To certificate equality of the students the process of exams is determined so strictly that valiance was minimized. We took good care of performing fair exams.

But, what is good examination is not a simple problem.
Obviously, the answer is different between selective examination and certifying examination.

The former, we regard fairness as very important matter. It is not good at all that some students have advantage upon others. Students differs one another, in age, sex, race, estate, and so on. The standard of selection should only due to his or her skills or intelligence. Otherwise the exam itself has no value.

However, certifying examination is not a competition. This kind of exam is to assess the student. When the student has specialized skill to be worth of a license he or she should pass the exam. Then it is a problem that what kind of skill is to be assessed.
For example physician license is very specialized privilege in Japan. To get the license you must enter medical school and learn about medical science for 6 years. Finally after graduating from medical school you must pass the national examination. But the skill of doctor is not the same to passing the exam. It is problem solving skill. It includes communication with patient, observation of the patient deeply, to hypothesize about what is wrong with the body and mind of the patient, and treatment. They are hardly assessed with an examination. On the other hand, if the physician has very few knowledge, when he are intimate with other authorities, he can consult another one. Human resource is one of real power for a physician. Nowadays social network enabled us to ask for help. So skills to use several tools are also important.

Traditional examination style in Japan is going to be out of fashion. I hear that searching via internet is allowed during exams in Denmark.

We have to consider new style of examination suitable to modern world.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Power to ignore

We need power to ignore in the newly age of internet.
In Japan it is so called as “through-power” or “power of insensibility.”

Modern era is very information-rich. There is much information about everything. Some are helpful and others are dangerous or simply wrong. So we must choose correct information suitable to our own situation.
Moreover, prosperity of social networking has changed the way to deal with information. Now we can connect directly to Mr. Barak Obama with Twitter. When you ask a question via internet, you can get some advises from professionals immediately. We can easily declare our opinion about politics or more severe matter to the world. The world is extremely narrowing.

However too much connection bring some disadvantages. Over-connection itself is one of the problems.
If you are famous person, you should be very careful to write a blog or twitter. After you wrote some kind of contents that blame other people, you may get criticized by anonymous with loud and ugly voice. You should never write your experience about a minor offence you committed in younger age. It is possible that someone find the record and tell it to your boss.

But absolute defence is nonsense. Every comment that has suggestive theme has power to raise emotion of others. So it is inevitable that some people read it to get angered. Too much fearful about this, you have nothing to write. When you see a negative comment with aggressive manners as a feedback of your entry, ignore and forget this.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Kanji of the year

The Kanji of the year is determined today.

“Kanji of the year” is an event that the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation has performed every year since 1995. The foundation chooses a Kanji from collected candidate that is most likely to express this year.
Kanji is Chinese letter also used in Japan. They have some meanings in each one.
The one of this year is read as “kin” or “kane,” both meanings are differ from each other.

“Kin” means “gold.” Japan won the most Gold Medals ever in London Olympic. The players gave all Japanese great courage. Moreover, Mr Shinya Yamanaka got Novel Prize for his excellent research about iPS cells. It is also honorable.

On the other hand, “kane” means “money.” In 2012, some discussion about money occurred in Japan. Consumption tax was decided to be raised. It is criticized that the mother of a famous talent had received national welfare payment. The most notable issue about next election is national financial polity. Most Japanese has ideology that a person too much concerned about earning money is despicable. So the word “kane” has negative impression.

Some people suggest the third meaning about Kanji of the year. It is the family name of Kim Jong-un, the supreme leader of North Korea. To be strange, today North Korea reported that they launched a new rocket successfully today. Tension between North Korea and Neighboring countries has strengthened.

Kanji of the year is humorous and ironic. How about the next year?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

American comics movies

I like movies based on American comic heroes. X-men, Batman, Spiderman, and the Avengers series are all fun of me.

As far as know, the vast majority of the Japanese underestimated charm of American comics, at least since 2000s. Superman is the only one American comic movie I remember in 20 centuries. We recognized that Superman was a hero for children, not for adults. Many Japanese had an image that American comics were very simple and shallow, in which the superhero had absolute power and goodwill and overcame the villain. I was no exception.

However, in my high school age, I knew that one story of batman dealt with Plea agreement. In an English textbook, I read that the fact that some American comics were so well considered that children could learn about problems in American society was not known well also in the USA. Then I was interested in American comics.

Still now I seldom read American comics. There are a lot of numbers of comic books and we hardly get a complete series in Japan. Few Japanese read the original comic book, I guess.
But the movies have changed this situation. Modern SFX development enabled to show the incredible power of heroes on the screen. The storylines are enough complicated to amuse adult viewers. Nowadays a lot of people in Japan enjoy the battle of American heroes.

Newest American comic movie, “The Avengers” was advertised with an aggressive copy, said, “Hey Japan, this is the movie!” It encourages Japanese movie fans and also provokes movie makers. Cinema industry is suffering from decreasing of income now. I hope movie makers make more exciting one.


Monday, December 10, 2012

The Dictator Switch, my favorite story of Draemon

I believe you know Draemon, a famous comic character in Japan.
(Official website of Draemon Movies: in Japanese)

He is a cat-type robot came from future with time-machine. He always helps Nobita, a poor boy, using his secret items invented in future.
He has a lot of secret items. Above all I like “The Dictator Switch” the best.

I read this episode in my childhood. The storyline is below:
Nobita was annoyed by his collegues. He ask Draemon to punish them. Draemon gave him a magical item, called “The Dictator Switch.” Draemon said that when the user pushed the switch it would eliminate the person whom he wanted to destroy.
Nobita pushed the switch with a hope to destroy Gian, a bully. Immediately Gian got lost, and the world reconstructed as if Gian had not existed. Nobita was pleased once. But Suneo, one of underling of Gian, acted as a bully, instead of Gian. The circumstance did not change.
Nobita got angered, and eliminated people one after another, using the switch. Even Sizuka, Nobita’s sweetheart, was destroyed because of slight misunderstanding. Finally Nobita despaired completely, and he pushed the switch with crying, “Everyone, be gone!”
Nobita stood on a town alone. He regretted absolutely. Then Draemon came. He said to Nobita, “The Dictator Switch was created to teach a dictator a good lesson. Do you get understood that everyone around you is indispensable?” Nobita nodded and everything restored.

This is a child story but very suggestive. Have you ever wanted to push The Dictator Switch? If you exclude a person you dislike then you will must do the same thing in the next situation. Elimination will be repeated. After all you will become alone.

To tell the truth, a series of X-MEN movies has the same theme. I will tell you this in another opportunity.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

What Madoka Magica tells us

I am watching the animation of Puella Magi Madoka-Magica with Blue Ray Discs bought in Taipei.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a famous animation TV series created in Japan in 2011. Last autumn it was remade into theater movie. Translated versions are also released.

About this great work many people say comments. So I have only one point to be mentioned. It is an important matter for us, especially in professionals aiding other people.

In the story, puella magi are made from pray. And witches are made from the curse. Both are two sides of the same coin. When a puella magi, who has been praying for other people strongly, turn into witch, she will curse other people on the same degree.
We have also the same problem. We hope to help other people, even if our effort would not be rewarded. It is very noble behavior. But excessive effort and attempt in vain will make us tired. When too tired and exhausted, we tend to be ironic. We will deny the situation around us. It is the curse.

Some people burn out after self-sacrifice and change his mind. It is very sorry. We must be careful about the goodwill of ours. Sometimes you need admiration, reward, and respect, even though you are good.

Personal Rating: 5 (excellent)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Illumination at Tokyo Midtown

How beautiful it is!

Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi is filled with atmosphere of Christmas.

It is cold day today, but there are a lot of people around trees.

After 3.11 Tsunami disaster and accident of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, we must save electronic energy. A lot of companies started saving electricity and Tokyo got darken. However excessive saving makes us discouraged. Special days are to be celebrated even if in severe situation.

Friday, December 7, 2012

What you do not do

In election week, what disgusts me is dreamy talk by politicians.

Said, “We promise hopeful future in Japan!”, “We carry out admirable policies!”, and “We will accomplish both growth of success, decreasing of tax, and fulfilled welfare!
Indeed dream is necessary. But they sound incredible for me.
Economic growth, decrease of tax, and fulfilled welfare are a kind of trilemma. To develop industry and get high economic status, we must accept competition. Both winner and loser would be born. Then, if we save poor people, it is necessary to increase tax for redistribution of the estates. To attach greater importance to deal all people equal will allow some lazy people and decrease total creativity.

All politicians claim they can do everything. Propriety of their policies can not seen in their manifestoes. It annoys me.

It is important to make decision what is postponed.
Past candidate of the president of USA, Mr. Mitt Romney, declared that he was not concern about welfare for poverty. He thought that to encourage normal or relatively rich people was the first priority for USA. His though was not accepted by US citizen. But I think he is a brave and responsible man at least.

It is the same thing about individual matter.
We sometimes hear that “Your life is once and unique. Live your own life! Do the thing what you want to do the best!” I agree with this. However it is difficult to know what is the best thing to be done by you. On the other hand, it is rather easy to know what the worst is.
I recommend you to make a list what you do not want to do. The absolutely last thing of the list is your own job.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

General election is approaching

General election is coming in Japan. It will be 16th Dec. Now, many politicians are appealing their policy.
There are some points of political debate. Nowadays Japan is suffering from severe recession with chronic deflation. Some economists say it is due to a strong yen. So Mr. Shinzou Abe, the president of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), claims that Bank of Japan must intervene in financial market more actively. Prime Minister Mr. Yoshihiko Noda in ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) opposes this idea.

LDP was ruling Diet in Japan for a long time until 2009. The opinions of politicians in LDP are relatively conservative. They tend to take account of traditional Japanese culture. On the other hand, DPJ is more liberal. Policy of DPJ includes establishment of right to vote by foreigners living in Japan. So DPJ are hated by nationalists.

The third power was born recently. Nippon Ishin-no-kai, (Japan Restoration Party, JRP) is a party whose president is Mr. Shintaro Ishihara, past Governor of Tokyo. JRP was originally made by Mr. Toru Hashimoto, the Governor of Osaka city. Mr. Ishihara resigned the Governor of Tokyo in Nov. 2012 and established his own Party, “Party of the Sun (PoS).” However PoS immediately joined JRP.
Mr. Toru Hashimoto is very radical politician. He is very famous but has a lot of foes. Mr. Ishihara is also supported by vast people. Whether the two giants can cooperate with each other is a important point.

LDP, DPJ and JRP vary in their policies. So voters have to consider deeply about which is to be elected. The next election is very interesting.

However, regardless which is chosen, I have a pessimistic prospect about the future of Japan. Japan has some critical problems hardly to be solved by political power.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Journey in Taiwan

Last weekend, I went to Taipei in Taiwan for a fun.

Taiwan is one of the nearest nations from Japan. It takes about 4hours from Tokyo. From Okinawa, it takes only 1 hour.

Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is very wide and has modern structure. It has developed as a hub of Asia. There is a lot of duty free shop in it. Unfortunately I had no enough time to look around them.
(Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport)

However, when I got out of the airport, I saw a crowd of people waiting for a shuttle bus to Taipei city. Maybe, number of vehicles is not enough to move into the capital city smoothly. I had to let 3 buses go past to ride on.

It was heavy rainy day. Actually, through the journey it rained continuously. In winter it rains much more in Taiwan than in Tokyo, according to a travel guidebook. I was correct to carry a handy umbrella from Japan.

Taipei gourmet is splendid! I went to “Din Tai Fung” the most famous restaurant as Xiaolongbao (eastern Chinese steamed bun) provider. Very delicious! Xiaolongbao includes soup in it. It is not too hot and has good taste.
(Website of Din Tai Fung)

Besides it, I have eaten very nice meals in Taiwan.

Taipei is also famous as a city of IT. I visited Guang Hua Digital Plaza. It is a large building with several floors occupied by a total of 200 electric stores. The atmosphere was similar to Akihabara electric town in Tokyo.
I bought blue-ray discs of “Puella Magi Madoka Magica.” I am so satisfied to get them.

Overall, Taiwanese were all very kind and friendly. I am really thankful to them.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Gunosy, an excellent e-curator

Today I will introduce a web-based curation service.

“Curation” may be an unfamiliar word for most people. Indeed I had heard it in a book last year for the first time. It is “The Age of Curator” written by Mr. Toshinao Sasaki. The Age of Curator (in Japanese)

Mr. Toshinao Sasaki is a freelance journalist and a curator. He use his own twitter account (@sasakitoshinao) and he introduce several valuable information via twitter every morning.
Originally, the word “curator” is used to show a person who work in a museum of library and administer materials and resources belongs to the institution. However recently a person who collect information and extract valuable ones from it is also called curator.
Modern world is full of information. So to distinguish and rank them is important skill. Newly curators is so called a guide of the ocean of information.

Now, there are several internet services of curation. Using them enable us to get information of high quality for free. I like “Gunosy” the best of them.

To use Gunosy, you need only the account of Twitter or Facebook. Gunosy automatically investigates your timeline. According to the result of analysis Gunosy recommend a total 20 of webpages that may be curious for you every day. For my impression, selection of Gunosy is very precise. So I can read my own e-magazine edited for me.
Not so long time have passed since newly curator was born. But it is going to be replaced by computer.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Recognize your minimal advantages

Self-development is one of buzzwords in modern society.
In Japan a lot of books referring to self-development are published every month. Some of them become best seller, and fade out.
I think a charm of self-development is to shows you a hope. Said, “You are stupid now, but, you will be genius if you do as I tell you!” So you have a hope to become another than you.

In fact, you are yourself. I am myself. It is impossible to become another person, develop another talent all at once, or change your mind completely.

When you yield to despair, it is not recommended to read a self-development book, nor make decision to change yourself.
Rather seeing you simply would be better.
Do not create a new hope. Recognize a present hope in front of you.

Maybe my voice sounds similar to self-development. It is right to some extent. But the difference is important.
They say, “every person has own advantages. Feel your power! Believe your unique strength!”
Unfortunately, it is not correct, I think. A person is not unique at all. Someone else is better than you.

However, “minimal strength” is reasonable.

Every person does not have their own unique talent. But everyone has normal power. It is not ignorable. For example, I have never experienced insomnia. I can sleep whenever I want to do. It is not special talent at all. But it makes me some minor strength. It is an advantage for me.
Look around you about your daily life. Cooking, cleaning, writing, moving, speaking, and so on. You could not do well. But when you do as normal, It is your minimal advantage. Make account of it.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Time revolution

There are 3 major revolutions in the history of humankind.

The first is agricultural revolution. About 12,000 years ago our ancestors began to make plants to eat them, instead of hunting. It made possible for a lot of people to survive without hunger.
The second is industrial revolution from 1750 to 1850. People invented many innovative tools with steam power. They also created the rule of the law, transportation systems, and capitalism. The modern civilization has developed in this era.
And the third revolution is information revolution that is now going on. We can use telegraph, fax, mobile phone, and internet. I can write this entry and publish it for all over the world via Google!

So what is the next revolution?

It is very difficult to predict. I have only vague image in it.
I think it is the TIME.

Time shifting is already common. Border of nation is lowered. The world is narrowing. In several jobs adapted age become extremely younger. Early retirement has been a trend in new-riches. But human lifespan is expanding. What do you do in the end stage of life?

In the next era, definition of time will be changed.
Common sense in elder people is no longer useful. The world is going to asymmetric. Each persons are to live their own lives alone. Value of the time will be various. Perhaps eternal life or reincarnation would be available.

Everything is changing.
Besides, what is the thing not to be changed?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Sequels in Nov. 2012

The last day of each month, I will make postscripts of my entries in this month.

NOV 26, 2012
Coming of KINDLE

KINDLE PAPERWHITE has come to my home. Wonderful!
The first impression is that it's a little heavy. Maybe due to front light, Kindle Paperwhite is not as light as it looks like. Touch screen is very smart. It is so sorry that audio function is omitted. In spite of some disadvantage, it is a cute gadget.

NOV 5, 2012
Politic initiative or abuse of power?

One week after, Ms. Makiko Tanaka, the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, withdrew her decision that she had rejected the establishment of 3 new universities. The 3 universities are permitted safely. Some rumor has occurred. Said, officials in the Ministry had asked Ms. Tanaka in advance to say “NO!” to show the force of the government to industry of academism. I do not know whether it is true or false. If the officials wrote the scenario, they are poor storyteller, I think.

OCT 31, 2012
New PC with WIN8 by Panasonic (2)

With many troubles, finally I asked for exchange of the machine to the vender. Now I am writing this entry with the new Let’s Note AX2. Unfortunately some troubles are still alive. The touchpad is quite unstable. The staffs in customer center were very kind.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Does the end justify means?

There are a few persons who use all means to realize their ultimate goal. In fiction, such a person is often described as a villain. And at last the hero, who has good intention and a correct way to perform it, defeats them.

So, is it incorrect that going a wrong way to get the final victory?

A person who does not concern to a right way is to be hated. He throws away former allies mercilessly when they become to be useless. People around him think that they are the next person to be abandoned. So he is often criticized that he has a good end but bad means.

However, is he to be really criticized if he had performed something good?

Theorists say yes. Good will does not justify the evil method. But in the real world, it is often happened that people in the different side attack the method of the leader only to blame him. Once the event ended, they often forgot their own criticism and started to blame another thing.

When this phenomenon occurs, the critics themselves have confused their own goal with the procedure to claim it. That is, they justify their purpose for their means. It is very paradoxical.

Indeed, there are some means not to be justified by any goals. However, we must always take account for the ultimate goal.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Modern Escape Games

Escape game is a category of the computer game. Perhaps its origin is traditional adventure games such as mystery house in 1980s. Escape games are easy to make generally worked with Flash and solved in a short time. So a lot of escape games are built in 2000s.

Mystery House in Apple II

Wikipedia: Escape the room

They are a fun indeed, but I am not satisfied with them, because its story has no reality. Usually the game begins with the protagonist locked in a room. But the reason is not discovered forever. Moreover, the methods to escape are not well explained. So I must click and click the display any number of times. Most escape games are no more than being to taste the circumstance.

Recently, some games are released, including the elements of escape games.

“9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors” is a Nintendo DS game. In this game, the protagonist was trapped in a building with great mystery and tried to escape from there. A total of 9 persons are struggling together, or betray each other. They have own purpose of themselves to be clarified at later stages. Several rooms to be challenged have reason to exist. Storytelling is exciting. At last this game has a particular feature only performed on the platform of the Nintendo DS. I strongly recommend it for all gamers. 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors

It has a sequel. “Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward” is released in both Nintendo 3DS and Playstation Vita. It is also good. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward

These are easy to solve. For more tough player, “Misshitu no Sacrifice” is a gift. Puzzles in it are so extremely difficult that I could not solve any puzzles without information of websites. Unfortunately, there is no translated version into English available. Misshitsu no Sacrifice [Japan Import]

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Decision making is to abandon the future

What is decision making?
I will answer, to decide is to abandon.

Decision making is an important stage of almost every challenge.
In business project, we are to begin with problem setting, collect all opportunity with brain storming, and evaluate them from multiple points of view. At last the leader determines the final choice of strategy.

In evaluating the choices, we can dream several futures. But once decision was made, there is only one pathway. Other chances or time spent are never returned.

Decision making is a way to narrow the path. It is also a commitment to throw away the alternatives.

So after the decision, the leader must not wander. He has abandoned any other futures than selected. He will never know whether he did correct or wrong choice. He must be resistant for the anxiety forever. Any decision are followed by some anger or hatred of the opposite side. The only thing he can do is to believe his decision itself.

Abandoning without wandering is a necessary condition as a leader.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Coming of KINDLE

Today, I received an e-mail from to notice that KINDLE Paperwhite will arrive at my home tomorrow. It is good news.

KINDLE is an e-book reader with e-ink provided by KINDLE store

E-ink is easy to read. It does not shine itself, so I can read a long story for a long time without hurt my eyes, different from liquid crystal display.
Indeed, before KINDLE several e-book readers had established in Japan. For example “Librie” was an e-book reader provided by Sony in 2000s. I bought one with glad. But Sony had failed to spread this item all over Japan. It is due to marketing misunderstanding and resistance of the traditional bookstore alliance, I guess.

Librie website by Sony (in Japanese)

Sony abandoned Japan market and started to sell “Reader” a new e-book reader in USA the first. The last year Sony started to sell Reader in Japan.


I have already used KINDLE since 2 years ago. This is 3rd generation KINDLE of the international version. Unfortunately, this KINDLE is no use to buy or read Japanese e-books.

Japanese KINDLE is now available. Tomorrow I will get it.
So, will KINDLE change Japanese culture of reading?

The people administering electronic appliance are cautious to KINDLE. If many people who love electronic items start to use KINDLE, they may buy items from, instead of real stores. Yodobashi Cameras, a famous electronic appliance store decided to not deal with KINDLE in their store.

Japanese market of bookstores is also complicated. In Japan, bookstores can return the books that are not sold to wholesale stores. So small bookstores in rural areas could work without risk of holding excess stocks. However, if e-book is generalized, sales of paper books will be decreased. Even the necessity of small bookstore will be lost.

I think e-book is a revolutionary tool. I am very interested in the habit of reading in the next era.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Suicide in Japan

To be shameful, Japan is deemed to be a suicide rich country.

In fact, over 30,000 people have killed themselves in a year since 1999 in Japan. It is a big problem. So the government makes an effort to prevent suicide. Basic Act on Suicide Prevention was enforced in 2006. However, in spite of all efforts of the government the number of suicide did not decrease.

Discussion about suicide is very difficult. I think many people fail to set the point of discussion to begin with.
The questions are…
1. Is Japan suicide-rich?
2. If 1 is true, why?
3. Is suicide in Japan increasing?
4. If 3 is true, why?
5. What should we do?

To be honest, I must accept that Japan is a suicide-rich country. According to the OECD data or other facts, Japan is one of the worst in developed country at suicide rate.
(OECD StatExtracts)
(List of suicide rates in Wikipedia)

Then, why does suicide occur so frequently in Japan? It is not easy to answer this.
Besides Japan, Korea and Russia have also a high rate of suicide. It is also said that suicide rates are high in communist countries. So some researchers claim that religious mind is related to suicide rates. Suicide is strictly forbidden in Christian culture. In the old culture in Japan, suicide as “hara-kiri” was a means to take responsibility. Nowadays, many people commit a suicide for a humiliating failure in jobs. It is not rational at all, I think. But not a few people think death compensate the failure and deletes all responsibility. Most people are tolerable for suicide, and the idea that suicide is absolute sin is not common in Japan.
But it is only a hypothesis.
The relationship between depressive disorder and suicide is also discussed. The more depression, the more suicide, it is obvious. But what cause depression has not clarified yet. Fewer daylight hours are positively related to depression. It may be one of the reasons of the high rate of suicide in Russia.

By the way, is it true that the suicide rate is increasing in Japan?

(* Statistical data do not exist in the term of WWII.)

Many people claim that politic problems cause many suicides in Japan.  Of course 30,000 people are not ignorable. But thinking about absolute number of suicide is not appropriate. The suicide rate is increasing with aging. The average age in Japan is rising. So suicide rate is to be raised naturally. Moreover, population itself in Japan had been increasing till 2005. We have to talk about not absolute numbers, but rate of suicide.

(* Statistical data do not exist in the term of WWII.)

In fact, the suicide rate in Japan is repeating the vertical movement.
But why?

One of credible hypothesis is the influence of national economic activity. After WWII, Japan had experienced a great recovery and rapid development in the 1960s. In this term suicide rates were relatively low. In 1999, Japan entered into severe depression and suicide rate was increased.
Now I am deeply concerned about Greece. What does the financial crisis in Greece will affect the suicide rate in this country?

It is very interesting that the word “depression” has double meanings, the both recession and melancholy.
Now what should we do?

Thinking about suicide is not simple. I am always confused, but should do something better.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Japanese delicious food

Recently, I wrote about problems in Japan. Yes Japan has many challenges and is in crisis now. But Japan has also some absolute advantages.
One of this is deliciousness of food.

Japanese food is admired all over the world for its high quality. Sushi, Tempura, Saki, and Kaiseki (full course) are world famous.
Among them Sushi is the best I love. High grade Sushi is very expensive. You must pay about $200 or more for first class Sushi course. But in Japan there are cheaper Sushi bar. You will satisfied with about $20 there. It is also good. Sometime I ate Sushi in foreign country but they are inferior.

(Sushi Bar in London; It tasted not so bad, but far different from real Sushi.)

Moreover, in Japan we can eat local cuisine from almost all country. French, Italian and China cuisines are popular in Japan. Korean or other Asian foods are also delicious.

I went US and UK sometime but unfortunately seldom met delicious meals.

A Thai cuisine ate at Chicago was very good.

(Duck Curry; I had not eaten till then.)

Japan is a resource-poor country but has rich international distribution. Tokyo is the best city of the world to eat something good, I think.

I am proud of Japanese taste. So I recommend you to come to Japan and try it.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Welfare problem in Japan

Poverty is a great problem not in developing country but in developed country such as Japan.

In Japan the Livelihood Protection Law is established to ensure human right to live. Everyone who is suffering from poverty can apply for welfare to live for healthy and civilized life. However welfare system in Japan has some problems.

For example, when a man loses a job because of mental illness and hardly recover, he may apply to welfare provision. But in that time he has to dispose all of his estate including his own car. So he lose any items need in future and it make difficult to withdraw from protection.

In last decade, some miserable cases were occurred in several regions. A certain officer of local government refused to apply the welfare for an applicant. It caused fatal result. Indeed welfare cost is increasing rapidly in most local government. For attempt to hold down the deficit of official finance, they investigate the applicant very strictly. This may result in the delay of application for needed people.

Recently, discussion was happened about the issue that a woman applied for welfare was revealed to be the mother of a famous entertainer who earned much money. Some people blamed the entertainer for not caring for his mother. Some politicians claim to strengthen the duty for caring for relatives. It is certain that family bonds are essential, but what do you think if you are ordered to care for your old family forever as a legal duty?

People receiving welfare is increasing up to 3 million in Japan. How to support them is a serious problem mirroring our own future.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Economic problem in Japan

Japanese economy is suffering from severe depression for several years.
Many economists and even non-professional people are arguing about the reason.

Some people claim that stasis of Japan is due to structural problem. Japan has a lot of legislation restricting companies. So entrepreneurs have to take more risk to change the environment. Innovation hardly occurs. Past Prime Minister Mr. Koizumi made a point of this and he carried out broad relaxation of restriction, so called “reform of structure policy” in 1990s. His leadership made a chance to change the society. But divide between rich people and poor ones was widened.

After that some leaders of Japan rose and fell one after another. In 2009, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) got the majority of the parliament, and started to administer the government instead of long past ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). But Japanese fiscal problem did not improved at all.

Now the next general election is waiting in the next month. Each party is declaring about their own manifest. One of the points of conflicts is economic policy.

The chairman of LDP, Mr. Abe claims that Bank of Japan (BoJ) should make a quantitative relaxation of the money. He intends to reform the Law about administration of BoJ. Mild inflation and justification of deflation caused by appreciation of the yen will rescue financial crisis of Japan, he says.
Present Prime Minister Mr. Noda is opposing it. According to him, if the government invaded the independence of BoJ Japan money would lose trust and hyper-inflation occurs.

I do not know which is right. If I knew, I would earn more money.
Economy is difficult. We have learned many things from past experience. But the future is always clouded.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A New form of academic review

Sometimes I work as a reviewer of academic manuscript.

In academic field, peer review system is established to maintain the quality of newly reports of research. When some scholars or research groups completed a new work, they write a manuscript about their findings and submit it to an academic journal. Then editors of this journal would read it and investigate the contents. If they thought it is impressive, the manuscript is sent to some peer reviewers who are familiar to the region the manuscript refers to. Reviewers check it up carefully without knowing about the authors of this manuscript, and send back their opinion to the editors. After all, the editors decide whether the manuscript is accepted for publishing or rejected.

Peer review system is widely adopted in many journals regardless of the region of study. Non peer reviewed article is not assessed as valuable in general. The acceptance rate of world famous journal such as Nature, Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, is less than 20%. So for a scholar, it is more honorable that his research is accepted by an authorized journal than introduced by newspaper or TV.
(Website of Nature)

However, peer review system has a serious disadvantage. It costs much time. Usually a reviewer needs at least 1 month to review a manuscript and make a comment. And you know that a deadline is very often broke. It is not rare that over 1 year or more time passes from beginning of submit to publishing of the final article.

Nowadays this slowness may be critical.
In region of study, new things are valuable, and old things are worthless even if it is interesting.

Besides, it is one more problem about it.
Recently region of study is divided into thousands of categories. For example, I am a psychiatrist. I have Japanese Doctor License. But I cannot perform a surgery of course. And my specialty is forensic mental health and I am not so familiar to pediatric psychiatry or geriatric psychiatry. I hardly understand about brain images or human gene.
Now, most scholars have little knowledge about their neighboring regions. Especially in niche category, it is very difficult to detect a researcher who can evaluate another one’s research precisely.

I think that making good use of collective intelligence will be a solution of this matter. Some attempts have been started. “ResearchGate” is a Social Network Service constructed of scholars. We can discuss various problems about specific research and review articles each other closely in the SNS.
(Top page of ResearchGate)

Recently I participated in a project for revision of a medical textbook. The reviewers of it were gathered with Twitter information. We had argument about the contents with mailing list without clarifying our own personal information. It is also exciting and I had a fun.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Three elements of spirituality

Today, I play a word puzzle.

In traditional Japan, “Shin-Zen-Bi” are three elements to be pursued as a human.
“Shin” means truth, a concept belong to logic, opposite to false.
“Zen” means good, a concept belong to ethics, opposite to evil.
And “Bi” means beauty, a concept belong to aesthetics, opposite to ugliness.

We always pursue the three goals in our daily life. But they are often conflicted one another. For example, telling the truth to other people sometimes hurts the listener. It is no good.

Then what do we call the mixture of two concepts of the three elements?

Mixture of truth and good is “Soundness.” Sound argument lead people to the correct answer. And it has based on justice. However sound remarks usually lack fun. It is sometimes denied emotionally because soundness is not always beautiful.

Mixture of truth and beauty is “Harmony.” Harmony is made from a correct melody and rhythm. Harmony is also attractive. However, too strong harmony creates a pressure to yield to the opinion of the majority. It is not good for an individual.

Mixture of good and beauty is “Virtue.” Virtue is a way of life for a citizen. Man of virtue is loved by everyone because of its goodness. And the virtue of modesty is beautiful. But it is not always true. Man of virtue is so humble that he sometimes disguises himself.

Yes, each cell is explained.
It is the last problem. What do you think about the center of Venn diagram? It may be the ultimate goal of human spirituality. Unfortunately I don’t know.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Why do we vote?

The lower house of Japan was dissolved in 16 Nov and now is going to the general election next month.

A light vote in younger people is deemed to a problem in Japan. Indeed, recently general vote rate is about 50 to 70%, and the majority of the twenties did not take a vote, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

The highest vote rate was recorded in North Korea. Some other countries such as Australia and Singapore have legislation to vote as a duty and penalty for non-voting. But Sweden has also high vote rate without compulsory voting. The vote rate is under 50% in Swiss, France and US.

Some scholars claim that a heavy vote does not mean that the citizens are aware of democracy. Forcing to vote can be an infringement of human right. Ignorance to voting might be an attitude not supporting existing politicians or political system itself. I will vote in the coming election, but I do not blame them for not voting.

In the world, why does a person vote? The possibility for your own vote to change the future is extremely low. Do we have a dream or believe a miracle? Voting is not free. We spend not a short time for voting. Of course, time is money.

Mr. Tim Harford, author of “The Logic of Life” says that they do not think that their own vote would be critical at all. According to him voting is a fun. This is the reason why many people take an unreasonable vote.

Then, to make a heavy vote it is helpful to make a social belief that voting is so cool in our community.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Amenity in convenience store in Japan

Japan is one of the safest countries in the world. A lady can walk around downtown without anxiety at midnight in few country.

Both one of the reason and result of safety is “convenience store” in Japan. In Japan there are many franchise store everywhere, even in rural area. Convenience store sells many kinds of commodity such as food, drinks, magazines, stationery, detergents, underwear, and so on. In convenience store we can use cash dispenser of banks or copy machine. And we can also pay the electricity bill, ask for send a baggage, or other requests. Moreover most convenience stores are available 24 hours.

Now not a few people use convenience store as second refrigerator, salon, or office.

Convenience store is a result of standard of demand for high quality service of Japanese people, I think.

Recently many convenience stores started advertising some character goods related movies or animations.

This is “Relakkuma.” It is a coined word from “relax” and “kuma (bear),” a famous character in Japan.

This is “Puella Magi, Madoka Magica.” It is from Japanese newly animation movie.

We can see something new every day in a convenience store. It’s a real fantasy.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Trilemma of medical care

Yesterday I caught a heavy cold and broke down. Now I still have a headache.

Medical care is a big issue in every country. Administration of a hospital is similar to other business but actually far from normal business. Purpose of medical care is to normalizing human, whereas purpose of business is to enrich human life. Therefore, medical care tends to deal with poor people. So if medical care system declines to business too much, it would changes to so call “poverty business.”

It is said that the system of medical care have trilemma. The three elements are cost, access, and quality.

In US, the level of medical skill is so high that many famous persons move to US to be treated. But it costs quite high. Recently Obama administration decided to apply health insurance for all citizens. I feel this policy quite natural but it is criticized by several states.
In UK, all citizens become a member of national health insurance. So they can be treated for free. But they have to wait quite long time before consulting specialized doctors.

On the other hand, Japan has also national health insurance. So Japanese can be treated for not so high cost. And Japanese can consult any doctor as they want to do. Cost and access is guaranteed in Japan.
Quality of medical care is not so low in Japan. Infant mortality and life expectancy are first classes of the world. WHO also set a high validation on medical care in Japan. The Lancet, one of leading medical journals, made a special issue for medical care in Japan
(Wikipedia about infant mortality rate and life expectancy)
(THE LANCET Japan: Universal Health Care at 50 years)

However Japanese people are not satisfied to medical care. Some researches show that satisfaction level to medical care in Japan is the worst of the world. I do not know the reason. Perhaps level of demand for service of Japanese is too high. I often feel this matter in other fields.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Translation Problems

Even if I am an English beginner, sometimes I work as a translator of English articles about psychiatry.

Translation into other language is a difficult task. I guess it is harder in ordinary contents than in specialized ones. Surprised?
I often read special articles about psychiatry which is my specialty. It is not so tough for me if I have enough time. On the other hand, I hardly read English novels.

What is the difference?
Every article has own context. And contexts are based on their culture. I have to know culture in the context to understand them completely. Psychiatry is based on science. So I can understand articles about psychiatry based on scientific context. Since culture of science is universal.
However, I have to understand culture of foreign country and another era when I read English novels. It is not so easy.

One of the most difficult tasks in translation is to translate words which are rhymed. Translators can be distressed if the original article has many rhymed words.

It is one example of a good job in translating.
In cognitive psychology, it is said that a person in front of obvious danger feels excited emotion. It is called “fight or fright.” A scholar translate it into “tohsoh ka tohsoh ka” in Japanese. The former “tohsoh” means combat, and the latter “tohsoh” means escape. There are same in sounds but differ from each other in Kanji (Chinese character). This translation is cool, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cognitive Bias and Risk Control

We live in the real world. But it is not true that we always see the real world. Because there are a lot of cognitive biases.
Cognition of human has begun to be studied since late in 20th centuries and is one of hot topics in not only neuropsychiatry but also other region, such as marketing, politics, economy, and so on.
According to leading hypothesis, we tend to distort our thought in order to simplify the phenomenon we have seen. It is a result of evolution. However, sometimes a cognitive bias harms us.

For example we tend to make account of avoiding huge loss in front of us.

Last year Fukushima Daiichi atomic power plant was crippled by 3.11 earthquake and tsunami disaster. Not few people moved away from Fukushima prefecture to western region in Japan. But actually there was not so much risk of life by radioactivity except the area nearby the power plant. Rather the cost involved in evacuation and mental stress with moving were not ignorable. But when we hear the severe accident, we overestimate the influence of the matter.

In USA, similar problem occurred after 9.11 terrorism. Many people deemed airplane as dangerous and use land transportation instead of airline. The result is increasing traffic accident to death.

I have empathy to the people being afraid of the risk. However politic decision making has to be based on scientific evidence and overall optimization.

Many biases are around of us. We are to be aware of it, even if it is not avoidable completely.