blogging expectations life in Japan personal university
I just saw this poster in my building commemorating the fact that 100 years ago in 1913, Tohoku University was the first university in Japan to admit women as students. I didn’t know that, and I am quite pleased to be working at such a progressive place (here’s hoping they’ll be progressive enough to allow me to stay on past my initial contract LOL).
This is interesting to me in two ways:
1) has women’s place in Japanese society really improved all that much in 100 years?
2) is society going to facilitate women working in the future?
It always struck me as strange that there are such structural and societal limitations on women in a democracy where they make up more than half of the electorate… but I have come to realize that a lot of the obstacles working women in Japan face come from societal expectations, often voiced by other women. Japan seems to be one of the last holdouts of the housewife mother, to an extent that I haven’t seen in Europe of the US. Specifically, I am thinking about how volunteer and community groups (like PTAs, chounaikai, sports team parent groups, etc.) make no efforts to cut working mothers any slack. If anything, they seem to pick on them, at least in my limited experience.
At the same time you get politicians making asinine comments like this and you wonder if things are going to change in the future?
Looking at Japan’s demographic future (the government projects an aging population of less than 100 million by 2050), and lack of plans for mass immigration (this is the government’s focus at the moment, but I can’t see many people applying), women seem to be the economy’s last shot…
And yet women seem to have expectations of men that are becoming increasingly unrealistic, at least according to the small sample in the link. This has been mooted as one of the main contributing factors to the low birth rate -after all, if you don’t have enough money to get married, you probably aren’t going to be having children either (or at least one would hope so).
What do you think? Is Japanese society supportive of women choosing what to do in life? Can you see it changing in the future?
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This is only going to be of interest if you use Google’s excellent Google Reader service to consume your web content via RSS feeds.
If you have no idea what that means, stop reading now
I logged into Google Reader a couple of days ago to discover that Google is planning to discontinue the service in July. Seems like they weren’t able to monetize it sufficiently, or there weren’t enough users, or something data-driven like that.
While I’m sure they have their reasons, I was unpleasantly surprised. I’ve been using Reader for years now to read blogs and webcomics and really like the simplicity, and how well it syncs across computers and mobile devices.
Fortunately I am not the only one with this problem, and it seems as though Feedly has decided that they would like to snap up all of the Google Reader customers. If you go to their website, you can sign in with your Google account and when the time comes they will migrate all your settings to their system.
I’ve been playing with Feedly on Windows and my iPhone since yesterday and so far it seems like a good solution. It’s not the same as Reader, but it comes close, and I’m sure it will be fine once I get used to it.
So as a public service announcement, if you need a replacement for Reader, Feedly seems like a relatively painless solution.
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(I’m really excited. This is my first post in response to a reader question. I feel like a real blogger now )
A few years ago, after deciding to get a proper website made for us by a company, we realized we needed a logo for the school.
I originally approached a local designer, but that would have involved paying a high fee (over 150,000 yen) with little recourse if we didn’t like the end product.
Looking for alternatives, I found a website that arranges design competitions: people post their design projects, put up a prize, and designers then submit their ideas. The person who posted the project chooses a design they like, and that designer gets paid. We used DesignContest.com but there are now dozens of websites based on this same model. I recommend doing some research before committing to one.
The advantages for us was a much reduced price (we paid $300 for the design above), a much wider variety of ideas, and a chance to work with various designers to narrow down what we wanted.
My original idea and the final product were completely different, and I am convinced we would not have gotten such a good result if we had commissioned someone in a more traditional manner.
The best thing about the process for me was that the contest lasted for a couple of weeks, and during that time we were able to look at designs, comment on them, and have designers then come back with new designs based on our comments.
We had about 40 people participate in our contest, and it was a very smooth and interesting experience. If you don’t get enough entries or don’t like any of the designs you get your money back, so it’s a fairly risk-free process.
You can do the same thing with logos, website design, blog design, t-shirts, etc.
I’m planning to get someone to redo my blog at some point
Has anyone else used online design contests? How did it go?
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Another tangent, I’m afraid. If you don’t have an iPhone you can probably stop reading now. If you have an iPhone that is running iOS 5 or less, this may be of interest. But if you have an iPhone running iOS 6 and you haven’t downloaded the Google Maps App yet, keep reading.
I’ve been playing with the new Google Maps App on my iPhone 4S for a couple of weeks now. The short version is that it is amazing.
(it’s not just me that thinks so, either: here’s the Wall Street Journal version)
The long version:
- all the accurate data from before
- better interface
- amazing driving instructions (it’s better than any dedicated satnav I have used)
- sharpened up graphics
I’ve used it a few times while driving, and the app is amazingly user-friendly. Clear voice directions, simple screen, very user-friendly (I particularly like the way you can scroll around the map then get back to your route with a simple ‘resume’ button).
The local transport functionality is there too: this is probably the thing I use my phone for the most. When in an unfamiliar city, the app gives accurate local train and bus times and connections -so much so that I use it instead of the official websites to find times.
No negatives I have found at this time. If you don’t have it get it now -it’s free.
*this review is only talking about the Google Maps App in Japan. I haven’t had the chance to test it abroad yet