Friday, January 13, 2017

Selling a clinker

Explaining a boat sale…
Gump: It just got a bit heavy to launch.
Bro: I mean, you’re 70 now, so sooner or later you’re going end up slipping a disk or tearing a back muscle lifting a one and a half ton boat trailer.
Gump: I am NOT 70. I’m 69.
Bro: I hear the fisherman who built your boat had his workshop gutted by a fire. Maybe you could share the profits of the sale with him.
Gump: A fire? That’s too bad. OK, I’ll give Malcolm half the proceeds.

A feel-good story. A rally-round of people who had bought your boats contributing to building you a new workshop…  “If you’re in the luckiest one per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.” Warren Buffett.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Contrasting Ipoh and Taiping

Ho and Bro tout their hometown attractions…
Ho: I recommend you go to Ipoh. Heritage buildings, street murals, balanced multiculture. But mainly, go to see the limestone. That’s most of all.
Bro: Karst landscape. Rugged beauty. Majestic verticality. But my town, Taiping. Aah! A town built around ten lakes fringed with rain trees. Serenity. What more can you dream of?
Ho: But karst has a natural grandeur. It is so old. Three hundred, four hundred million years of rain carving. Taiping’s lakes are only a hundred and fifty years. Holes carved by tin-mining. Not so natural.
Bro: But Taiping’s rain trees? That’s nature!
Ho: And the age of the trees? 100 to 200 years? Cannot hold a candle.

Cliffs carved by rain over millions of years. Lakes carved out of tin mines run dry. Geological grandeur vs botanical beauty vie for visitor viewings. Such might be the summary of sights in Ipoh and Taiping.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

White Rabbit January 2017

Where’s Wally the White Rabbit?
Why, half-hidden in the shime-kazari.
Happy New Year 2017.


Friday, December 30, 2016

Right-Wrong, Right-Left

2016 ushers in an uncertain 2017...
George: A year of reductionist slogans.
Bill: Reductionist ad absurdums. Reductionism is the root of mendacity.
George: But powerful. You’re right or you’re wrong. You’re on the right or on the left.
Bill: A year of the word “right” being trotted out a lot.  Right-wrong. Right-left. Imagine an army being told to march only with its right foot. Right, Right, Right.
George: Goes round in circles.
Entering an era of manipulating the masses through simplistic slogans. Trump, Johnson, Farrage, Le Pen, et al.

Party politics and international issues are discussed through nuanced diplomacy, not by an infantile fist raised in front of a Christmas tree.

Kudos to John Kerry’s speech about Palestinian rights in increasingly rightist Israeli political environment. See also 5 Broken Cameras by Palestinian Burnat and Israeli Davidi.

One goal of Political Science 101: Focusing awareness of issues away from simple hysteria and on to nuanced honesty.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Urashima Taro and the Farewell Speech

I have been a teacher for 50 years. Half of those years have been at this Palace of Economics.
I feel a little like Urashima Taro.
I came here in 1990. It seems like yesterday.

One day, I met a professor who said, “I’m working at a great place, the Palace of Economics. Shall I introduce you?”
At the Palace of Economics, professors asked me, “Why do you have an interest in coming here?”
“Well, I like economics. The ideas of Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman, and in management theory, Peter Drucker and his sense of history.

Also, I have been reading The Economist every week since 1982. In 1990, Margaret Thatcher was often on the cover.

The Economist has a good variety of information.
Not just economics.
For example, recently, there was an interesting article “How to Make a Good Teacher.”

Among the several main points of the article were:
Feedback to the students, 90% effective.
Develop students’ metacognitive strategies, 80% effective.
Employ peer tutoring, 60% effective.

I incorporated these ideas my teaching approach.

Students sometimes asked me questions. This is Japan so it was “sometimes”.

For example, “Why did you become a teacher?”
I like to help people. Helping makes you feel good. A win-win arrangement. Not zero-sum.

“Why did you come to Japan?”
This is the “S” answer. Not just sushi, sashimi and sake.
Japan is a sophisticated, secure, sincere country.
Japan is a place I can regard as a home.

“What will you do in the future? “
I believe in two important concepts to a satisfying life: a sense of identity and sense of community.”
And every week I will read The Economist. As usual, I will always open it to the back page first. There you can find an obituary. The life of a famous person is summarized. Always well-written and inspirational.

When he left the Palace of the Sea King, Urashima Taro was given a box. He was told he must never open it.

But he went back to his home country, and opened the box and white smoke came out…  He became VERY OLD.

One possible moral for the Urashima Taro story is that after a person has left his homeland, he will change and his homeland will also change. Return is a challenge.

So perhaps, for a little while, I will stay here in Japan, to avoid the white smoke…
Thank you very much to everyone for a treasured experience in the Palace of Economics!

Delivered as follows in Japanese:
ある日、ある教授と合って、「私が素晴らしい所でPalace of Economics働いています。経済宮殿に紹介しましょう」と言いました。
「さあ、経済学を好きですね。Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes, Milton Friedman と経営学者Peter Druckerの思想を好きです、特にDrucker歴史のセンス。
又、毎週1982年からThe Economistと言おう新聞を読み続けていました。」
1990で、Margaret Thatcherは、表紙によく乗っていました。

The Economistは色な情報がはいています。経済学だけじゃなくて。例えば、最近、面白い記事がありました。「いい教員になるとは?」
ピア・チュータリング を利用する70%効果。

例えば、「なぜ教員になりましたか」人と助け合いを好きです。助け合うと気持ちよくする。 A win-win (勝つ)状況。


毎週The Economistを読むつもりです。いつも最初の読む記事が最後ページにあります。それは死亡記事ページです。有名人の人生は要約されています。いつも、よく書かれて、インスピレーションです。