Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Fantasy Pet Peeves

This blog is brought to you by "stereotypes".  "Stereotypes":  making unrealistic generalizations since the dawn of human reason.

I've been a fanatic of fantastical worlds for years.  I use "fanatic" loosely because while I love fantasy, I actually haven't read too many fantasy books.  It's shameful, I know.  That being said, I still have some musings about the genre, particularly in relation to Tolkien-esque masterpieces.  I understand how popular it is to mimic Tokien because his books helped revolutionize the fantasy genre.  My musings, therefore, cover certain fantasy stereotypes.  Those are the stories I have grown up to love, but there are some things I dislike.  Here are a few:

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

How Can We Combat the Cold in Japan?

The past couple days have been quite cold, and I've had to compensate by hiding under my kotatsu just to stay warm.  Problem is my legs are the only part of my body that I can actually fit under that thing.  My other heater has been failing to provide enough heat for my room, and that’s not because of the heater itself.  The reason is that the thin walls and floor of my apartment aren't insulated.  I said in a previous post that Japanese homes are built for summer, not winter, and that Japanese schools and students in this prefecture aren't prepared for winter.  That, in turn, affects students’ productivity in the classroom.  Therefore, I tried to think of some solutions.  Would it be possible to install insulation in the buildings?  What heating options are there?  And finally, how can Japanese students bundle up for the cold winter months?

Friday, 6 February 2015

Temperature vs. Productivity

According to Science Daily, "exposure to cold temperatures can help boost weight loss."  In the article, a study looked at Japanese workers who were put in a room for six weeks at 17˚C and reported that the workers showed a decrease in body fat.  Weight loss sounds preferable, but what about colder temperatures ranging from 0˚C to 10˚C?  In my last entry, I stated my concerns about how Japanese schools and students are insufficiently prepared for cold weather.  While weight loss may be a plausible, if not humorous, argument, I have reason to disagree.  After googling how the cold might affect the body's performance, and sifting through numerous links to health articles about extreme cold risks and hypothermia treatment, I finally came across something to support my argument.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Issues In Winter

This entry is going to be part of a series since what I have to say is going to be quite long.  I got this idea a couple days ago when I was at one of my schools.  Some things in Japan just irk me the wrong way.  But rather than just complain about the issues, I'd also like to find solutions to these "problems".  Don't get me wrong.  Japan has a lot of great things going for it, but every nation has its pros and cons.  So, let's begin with the issue then, shall we?

Every morning in winter, I wake up cold.  Now, some of you may call that shameful considering I'm Canadian, but please hear me out.  This is my third and last year living in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.  It's so warm here that on the one day it snows, people freak out and barely make it to work in their tiny kei cars (small, cheap cars with tiny engines).  That snow day comes in December, but most years it doesn't come at all.  In late January/early February, the morning temperature drops to about -5˚C, which, for comparison, could pass a typical spring or fall temperature in my home country (except Vancouver).  Despite that, though, I still wake up cold.

Sunday, 1 February 2015


I get some pretty random thoughts when I'm in the shower after a good workout.  Today, I got to thinking about colours.  It's a coming topic in the early grades of Japanese Elementary school or Kindergarten, mostly revolving around the question "What colour do you like?"  My default is green. For a number of years leading up into adulthood, it used to be blue.  It changed to green when I found myself acquiring an unusually large number of green accessories.