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Survival Info for Foreigners in Japan
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Because we have so many foreigners who visit Japan or live in Japan, I wanted to share this website with you.

http://www.debito.org/

Arudou Debito, formerly David Christopher Aldwinckle, is a naturalized Japanese citizen now. He put together this site to raise awareness about his fight against discrimination of foreigners in Japan.

On the site you will find links to lots of cool info, including "Survival Strategies in Japan" and "Debunking Myths about Japan."

Many of these links could be very helpful for people, including:

WHAT TO DO IF...
...you are asked for your "Gaijin Card".
...you are stopped by the Japanese police.
...you are arrested by the Japanese police.
...you overstay your visa.
...you see a "Japanese Only" sign.
...you are refused service at a business catering to the general public.
...you are turned away at a hotel.
...you want to protest something you see as discriminatory.
...you want to take somebody to court.
...you want to get a job (or a better job) in Japanese academia.
...you are having a labor dispute in the workplace.
...you are swindled in a business deal.
...you need a lawyer.
...you want to get Permanent Residency (eijuuken).
...you want to become a Japanese citizen.
...you want to run for office.
...you want to build a house.
...you want to get a divorce.
...you want to do some awareness raising.

Arudou sucessfully sued a Japanese onsen (hot springs bath house) for denying him entry as a foreigner. The Supreme Court of Japan supported the decision by refusing to hear the appeal filed by the onsen owner. You can find interesting information about the case on the site.

Finally, Arudou collects images of blatant discrimination in Japan, such as signs that read: "NO FOREIGNERS ALLOWED." If you ever see anything like that, feel free to contribute to the fight.

-ben

Posted on: 2006/3/18 8:18
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"Do no more than is needed. Do no less, either." -- Benjamin Cole

"Many waza have survived real war. All have died the death of peace." -- Ed Lomax
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Re: Teaching methods
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Quote:
Masatoki wrote:
At first, my teacher followed the Ten Chi Jin very closely.
However, nowadays not at all. I'm not feeling at my ease, at this regard.


Why?

The worst thing you can do at this stage in your training is not trust your teacher's judgment of what you need to grow in this art. Just keep going.

"Wax on, wax off"

I personally have NEVER used TCJRNM in my teaching, for example. I feel I can teach things more effectively through other means. Perhaps your teacher knows more about your needs than you do.... Crazy idea, I know.

-ben

Posted on: 2006/3/5 6:40
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"Many waza have survived real war. All have died the death of peace." -- Ed Lomax
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Sushi Eating 101 -- Video Parody
Kutaki Postmaster
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This is REALLY funny, especially if you have ever visited a sushi-ya in Japan. Evidently, this group has put together various videos like this. This one has to do with eating sushi. It has Japanese narration and English subtitles.

Enjoy!

http://video.google.com/videoplay?doc ... ocumentary+japanese+sushi

-ben

Posted on: 2005/12/28 1:26
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"Many waza have survived real war. All have died the death of peace." -- Ed Lomax
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Re: Yagyu Shinkage Ryu and the Bujinkan
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Quote:

Onibi wrote:
Anyway Hatsumi Sokè do not have the mastership in this ryu-ha.


How do you know this? Honestly.

-ben

Posted on: 2005/12/26 5:13
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"Many waza have survived real war. All have died the death of peace." -- Ed Lomax
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Nambu Foundation
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For those of you looking for ways to get to Japan, here is an option:

- - -

Nambu Foundation Program
The program offers internships at various Japanese corporations for approximately 10 students each year. Interns will receive 160,000 yen per month as allowance plus accommodations in a company dormitory. Commuting expenses will also be provided by the host company. The Nambu Foundation will reimburse a round-trip economy airfare between the US and Japan up to $1,000.

To qualify, candidates must be highly proficient in the Japanese language and most currently be enrolled as a graduate or undergraduate student. The 2006 program will begin in early June and end in mid-August.

Application Deadline: postmarked January 31, 2006.

For more information, please consult the web page www.nambufound.com

- - -

-ben

Posted on: 2005/12/23 6:29
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"Many waza have survived real war. All have died the death of peace." -- Ed Lomax
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Re: Togakure Ryu
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Quote:
siralec wrote:
Can Togakure ryu ninjutsu prove its lineage claims?


Alec, as someone else suggested, you should climb on a plane and go up to Hatsumi-sensei yourself, and ask these questions. To ask others to do this for you is cowardly, in my opinion. It is not the responsibility of others to find evidence that befits *YOUR* personal standards.

By asking these questions, you are implying that either Hatsumi-sensei is lying or his beloved teacher is lying. That's pretty rude, no matter where you are from. I pray that Nagato-sensei is not standing closeby; I am certain you enjoy having your tongue attached to your skull.

Hatsumi-sensei's claims of the lineage are based on what he was told by his own teacher. The documents that he was given state clearly the names of the previous Soke. The stories he heard (kuden) also confirm the existence of these men. A given third-party researcher has even discovered that one of those obscure names did, in fact, belong to an actual human being that was documented.

Does Hatsumi-sensei know that all of these men didn't go by other names? Nope. Does he know that one of them might have been a woman in disguise? Nope. (BTW, it happened in Japan before.)

Nevertheless, Hatsumi-sensei has presented the information that he has at hand, and is not being dubious about it. This contrasts greatly with people who claim false lineages when none existed. You have hinted here and elsewhere that by not being able to provide evidence that meets your standards that you are equating Hatsumi-sensei or Takamatsu-sensei with these other frauds. I'm not the only person to have found this line of questioning offensive.

Let me give you a personal example, before her death, my grandmother provided me with a recipe for ice cream. She claims it is the "Cole Ice Cream Recipe." She even showed me an article from Good Housekeeping magazine from way back that featured this recipe.

Now, when I pass this recipe on to my children, am I obligated to prove that the recipe came from my grandmother's parents or their parents?

Do I need to prove that my great-great-grandfather actually existed?

I've got a family history that my grandmother gave me. Does that count?

Would Good Housekeeping be guilty of falsity for publishing what was called the "Cole Ice Cream Recipe" if, in fact, a future researcher discovers that my great-great-grandfather died too early to have created the recipe (for example, before vanilla extract was first commercially produced)?

At the time of the passing of the information, each individual--my grandmother, myself, and Good Housekeeping (as an entity)--was acting in good faith.

If, when I pass over the recipe, my child demands that I prove that my great-great grandfather existed, I will introduce my child to my shuto , and then tell the dork that it is not my responsibility to do this.

I will scoff at my child and tell him/her that if it means that much to him/her to start digging, because I could honestly not care any differently.

I trust that my grandmother was telling what she considered to be the truth. End of story. By passing on the Recipe, I have done my job as a Cole. I owe my child or any further generations nothing more than that.

Notice how this differs from a supposed fraud, who knowingly passes on a recipe he wrote down in some drunken stupor and tells his child that it is the "Secret Smith Ice Cream Recipe."

There is a difference. The reason these frauds get called out on things is that they are not calling their ice cream "Smith" but something like the "Kubota Ice Cream Recipe." When people say, "Kubota, huh? You look awfully white to have the Kubota name and you speak zero Japanese, could you provide us with proof that this Kubota person actually had contact with you at least once in your life?" They cannot.

Hatsumi-sensei has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he has trained with Takamatsu-sensei. Takamatsu-sensei is also the verified Soke of at least two Koryu schools (as you have admitted). For some, that is more than enough evidence that what he claims about the other Ryuha is, in fact, true. If it is not for you, then start digging....

Why Hatsumi-sensei should doubt his teacher (e.g. Grandma Cole) and the documents he has at hand (e.g. the Good Housekeeping copy and the hand-written recipe), and occupy his valuable time searching for information on all of the former Soke (e.g. whether my great-great grandfather lived before vanilla extract was first commercially produced) just because a couple of people (e.g. my idiot children) demand it is beyond me. If they care that much, they can go look themselves. Soke (and I) have more important things to do with our time.

I hope this clarifies. (And, yes, the Ice Cream really is THAT good. )

-ben

Posted on: 2005/12/20 4:41
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"Do no more than is needed. Do no less, either." -- Benjamin Cole

"Many waza have survived real war. All have died the death of peace." -- Ed Lomax
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David L. Boren Graduate Fellowships
Kutaki Postmaster
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The National Security Education Program

David L. Boren Graduate Fellowships

The NSEP David L. Boren Graduate Fellowships enable U.S. graduate students to pursue specialization in area and language study or to add an international dimension to their education. Boren Fellowships support students pursuing the study of languages, cultures, and world regions that are critical to U.S. national security but are less frequently studied by U.S. graduate students, i.e., areas of the world other than Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

It is hoped that recipients of Boren Fellowships will comprise an ever-growing cadre of experts whose enriched educational and professional experiences will enable them to provide leadership and direction in our national commitment to economic growth, international peace and security, and the promotion of democracy abroad. Fellowships provide support for overseas or domestic study, or a combination of both.

The maximum award for overseas study is $12,000 per semester for up to two semesters. A maximum of $12,000 is available for a program of domestic study only. The maximum level of support for a combined overseas and domestic program is $30,000. The Academy for Educational Development (AED) is the administrative agency. Applications must be postmarked no later than January 30, 2006.

http://nsep.aed.org/


Posted on: 2005/11/24 1:28
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"Do no more than is needed. Do no less, either." -- Benjamin Cole

"Many waza have survived real war. All have died the death of peace." -- Ed Lomax
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Shinobi Winds DVD Review
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Shinobi Winds DVD Review

I was finally able to view the Shinobi Winds DVD and thought that a review of the product was in order. Over the past few months since the DVD went on sale, I’ve seen glowing reviews and some not so glowing reviews. I am afraid that I fall into the latter category myself.

Let it be known that I did contact the film-maker, Brandon Alvarez, with some very specific questions about how certain aspects of the production on Japanese soil unfolded, but Mr. Alvarez was unwilling to provide answers. I shall therefore present my personal assessment of what I saw and how I think things unfolded. I provide these opinions as a professional translator both for business and cultural issues during my nine years in Japan, as a student of the Japanese language for the past 17 years, as a former translator for the Bujinkan grandmaster Hatsumi-sensei, as a co-author of a book with Hatsumi-sensei, and as someone with several years of video production experience.

To begin, my hat is off to Mr. Alvarez for his deft use of historical photos, modern silent film footage and music. It is quite difficult to make a historical narrative interesting to a viewer. The transitions between scenes were interesting and the narration carries us through a lot of history. (Note: Other reviewers have taken aim at the historical accuracy of the piece, so I will leave those concerns untouched.) There is no doubt that the piecing together of these innumerable images was an *ENORMOUS* undertaking. Literally, this project must have taken thousands of hours of editing! The film-maker deserves our respect for his tenacity and hard work.

Sadly, the film-maker’s handling of LIVING INDIVIDUALS in on-screen interviews was incredibly amateurish and overall cripples the documentary, in my opinion. I shall explain the three most egregious examples below.

First, one look at the list of individuals who appear in on-camera interviews, it is clear that many individuals were “people of convenience” rather than “people of appropriateness.” To have individuals with no actual expertise making comments on a subject is just plain silly. What on earth does a hachi-dan in the Bujinkan with less than ten years of experience in the art and zero time in Japan have to share? What about a guy who trained in the art for only a couple of years over twenty years ago? If one reads a list of interview subjects, the first thing that should *NOT* come to mind is, “Who’s this guy?” Was the film-maker aware, for example, that Kenichi Someya, a Bujinkan Shihan, actually spent time in the National Museum in Japan caring for display weaponry? Now *THAT* is a guy who should have been on camera! The entire documentary would have been of much higher quality if the film-maker had limited input from just experts, not teachers who live down the street.

Second, anyone who markets a product as “including rare interviews with such world-renowned ninjutsu authorities and master practitioners as Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi…” (http://www.shinobiwinds.com/synopsis.html) had better deliver. The film-maker clearly does not. For anyone who has ever interpreted for Hatsumi-sensei, it is very clear that Hatsumi-sensei wanted to have *NOTHING* to do with the project. The scene in which the film-maker whips out a camera at Hombu during practice and gets Hatsumi-sensei on tape was like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. Hatsumi-sensei dances around the question using “ninja-speak” and then makes a heart-sign with his hands before tersely stating (in feeling), “That’s it. Turn off the camera.” and walking away. As soon as I saw that scene, I knew the film-maker had really blown a great opportunity! My request to the film-maker for information of whether Hatsumi-sensei refused a proper sit-down interview was met with a “no comment” response.

Third, the film-maker’s visit with Mikio Momochi, descendent of Sandayu Momochi himself, was an embarrassment to all true scholars of Budo and history. The interviewer had such a poor understanding of Japanese language that Mr. Momochi was forced to use broken English to pass on even the simplest pieces of information. There was so much potential to get some *REALLY* interesting information out of Mr. Momochi, but the film-maker was sorely under-prepared. What a complete waste of everyone’s time, especially Mr. Momochi!!! If I ever meet Mr. Momochi, I will get down on my knees and fully apologize for the buffoonery he experienced in that childish interview. What a shame!

Watching Mr. Alvarez gleefully holding a 350-year-old rifle reminded me of scenes out of the Columbine shooting here in the U.S.--a child thinking he is cool because he’s got a gun in his hand. My only thoughts were, “Imagine the truckloads of stuff that Hatsumi-sensei would have shown him if the film-maker had approached the project differently.”

In short, Mr. Alvarez blew so many great opportunities that he really should be cursing himself at night rather than telling me that the project was a “labor of love.” I believe that if you are going to do something, you should do it right. Mr. Alvarez either got very poor advice from his advisors about how to handle the Japanese, or he simply didn’t know any better. Either way, the final product is severely handicapped by his under-preparation. I could not recommend this film to anyone.

Regards,

-ben

Posted on: 2005/11/6 4:39
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"Many waza have survived real war. All have died the death of peace." -- Ed Lomax
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Re: Dojo at Tokyo
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Quote:
ombre wrote:
No japanese sensei in tokyo ??
I live in MEGURO ku...


There are two Japanese instructors in Tokyo proper.

Nakadai-sensei, my first teacher, is in the Omote Sando area. He teaches both in the morning and evening on Wednesdays. He has students from white belt all the way up to Judan, so he is clearly talented as a teacher. When I was training with him, I would say that about half the class was lower than black belt, which means that you tend to be paired with a blackbelt when training!!! Nakadai-sensei is also one of the only (if not the only) Shihan who still teaches things like suiton jutsu. As his former student, I have only great things to say about Nakadai-sensei. Here is a page run by one of Nakadai's current students:

http://www2s.biglobe.ne.jp/~genki1/bujin3.htm


The other Japanese instructor is our own (former) Joji Ohashi. Joji is Soke's chief administrator for the Bujinkan. You can find his webpage here:

http://www001.upp.so-net.ne.jp/bujinkan/

Hope that helps!

-ben

Posted on: 2005/10/21 1:20
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"Many waza have survived real war. All have died the death of peace." -- Ed Lomax
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Re: Great photos/blog
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Click on the link on the right hand side that says:

"clock THIS IS POSSIBLY THE COOLEST THING YOUR LITTLE EYES WILL EVER SEE"

I agree! As an artist, that is WAY cool!

-ben


Posted on: 2005/10/12 3:16
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