Thursday, March 30, 2006

Disturbing article on the war

English only - sorry. 英語だけーすみません。

The Guardian, a British newspaper, published an interesting article on the Iraq war and some protestors at,,1741942,00.html .

I found this article rather disturbing. If we are basically convincing our soldiers that Iraqi people are not humans, there is no wonder we are not doing well in winning the hearts and minds of Iraqis and other Islamic people.

I did protest the war prior to it starting, including going to one or two of the anti-war protests in San Francisco. I even believed there were WMDs in the country, but didn't think we should be preemptively starting a war. I did agree with attacking back in 1990 after Iraq invaded Kuwait, but not for the then-stated goal of just removing WMDs.

Once the war started, I did not protest. And I did not agree with the people who called for us to just pull out our soldiers immediately. This was because I felt that now that we made the mistake of starting the war, we must finish it and leave Iraq a much better place than it was, even though this would cost us a lot.

Unfortunately, I am losing hope that there is any chance of us being able to fix what we caused. Maybe the people who are calling for us to pull out are right.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Blogs I Read - Bicycle Sidewalk

Another Blog that I track with Bloglines is one called Bicycle Sidewalk. It is a Vlog (video web log), actually, as the author post video clips on it. And even though it is called Bicycle Sidewalk, it is not about bicycles (which is too bad, given my interest in cycling). Instead it is about life in Japan. The author lives in the city of Kurume on the Island of Kyushu (the big island on the south-western tip of Japan).

One of my favorite posts is Post #101, which took place at a local (to him) elementary school.

One downside is that being video, the files can be rather large to download. If you are one of the 12 people in the U.S. who are still using dial-up, you may not want to view this site until you upgrade to DSL or cable.

他のよく読むブログはBicycle Sidewalk(自転車の歩道の意味)だ。実はビデオブログだ。「自転車」と言う名前があるのに、自転車の事がない。日本に住んでいる事だ。ビデオブログ作成者は九州の久留米市に住んでいる。

私の好きな事の一つは101番目の日記だ。小学校の事だ。 楽しかった。

ビデオは大きいファイル・サイズなので、遅いダウンロードだ。 ダイヤルアップ接続を使ったら、このサイツを見ないほうがいいよ。


Blogs I Read - Tokyo Girl

I am not sure if everyone knows, but you can track Blogs (like mine) using a Blog aggregator program. The one I use is Bloglines. Basically, I tell Bloglines which Blogs I want to read, and it tracks which postings I have read. When I view the Bloglines web page, it then tells me if there are new postings that I have not read yet. This makes it easy for me to keep up to date on other people's Blogs (and you can use this to keep track of when I post in my Blogs).

On that, here is one of the Blogs I read often. It is called Tokyo Girl, and it is rather amusing. I have only recently started reading this, but it has quickly become one of my favorites. She is British, married to a German guy, has a young child, and had to move to Japan for her husband's job. Definitely brings about some interesting insights into life there. And a few laughs.

ブログについてブログ集積者で知りやすいよ。私はBloglinesを使う。 私はBloglinesに読みたいブログを告げると、Bloglinesが読んだブログの経過を追う。BloglinesのHPを見ると、新しいブログの日記を教える。新しい日記を読みやすいよ。私のブログについても。

それについて、よく読むブログはTokyo Girlと言うブログだ。楽しい。最近は読み始まる、でもすぐに私の好きなブログの一つになっている。彼女はイギリス人で、ご主人はドイツ人だ。子供さんがいる。ご主人お仕事のために東京に引っ越させた。面白くて時々おかしい経験がある。


Monday, March 27, 2006


The Doppler radar shows more rain coming towards us. This has already been a wet winter, with us recieving 140% of what we normally receive in a rainy season, and more rain coming. I am definitely looking forward to the end of the rainy season...


Saturday, March 18, 2006

Oil prices won't go down

日本語は英語の後だ (Japanese version follows English)。

My plan for my next car is to get a hybrid car of some sort. My current car is a 5 year old Subaru, has only 55,000 miles on it, and is running fine, so I don't think I will be replacing it any time soon. But my expectation is that oil prices will not go down any time soon, and it is quite likely they will go higher, so getting a more fuel efficient car would be a smart step to take.

Even if the oil companies expand and are able to get more oil out of the ground, it is only a matter of time before something major happens that causes prices to go up a lot. Most of the oil which is produced comes form unstable areas, like the Middle East, Nigeria, Indonesia, etc.

Right now, the most likely problem that I see will be something in the Middle East. Perhaps a terrorist attack on the Saudi oil production facilities. Or maybe is Iraq has a civil war, which likely will affect other oil producing countries in the area (especially Iran).

And the hurricanes last year also should have been a major warning to us that the area where most of the oil arrives into the U.S. at is not safe from weather. And the predictions on global warming are such that there will be more storms per year, not less, in the future.

Not a pretty picture, but an unfortunate reality for our time.






Friday, March 17, 2006

Thoughts on Homless People

This is just a quick post, so English only. Hopefully some time later I can post a Japanese translation also...

I was driving on Polk Street in San Francisco yesterday, and saw a homeless person begging outside of the Walgreens drug store. This area of San Francisco is relatively affluent - I've been around here enough to recognize the 2 regular homeless (the less affluent areas, and the tourist areas, have many more homeless). There is an older black gentleman, who is very talkative, dresses well, and looks clean. And also a 30ish asian guy, who obviously sleeps on the street. I haven't talked to the Asian guy yet, but because his sign asking for handouts says "sparing change" (incorrect English), I suspect was not born here. I have meant to try to talk to him, and see if I can determine where he is from, but I have not gotten up the nerve yet.

From time to time, there will be a different homeless person or two in this area, but it is rare. They seem to have their territories, and few come into this stretch of Polk street.

But yesterday I saw this older gentleman begging. I looked at him and thought he could be my grandfather. He was clean and well dressed. Made me wonder what situation caused him to have to beg on the street. I rarely give money to homeless, but I did consider stopping and giving him some money. If I see him there again, I just may.

I think my thoughts were tempered by a conversation I had the previous day with Sree, a guy who was a student of mine a year or two ago. We were talking over lunch about his home country, India. I have not been there yet, so was very interested to hear what he had to say. He said that when foreigners arrive, one of the first thing they are hit by is the amount of poverty and beggars in India. I asked him if he ever gave money to poor people, figuring that because there was so much he would say no (I don't give much directly to homeless because there are just so many on the street - it just doesn't feel fair to me to give to one but not all).

I was surprised when he said he does, but only to women with children and old people. Women with children he gives to because he feels that because begging is so demeaning for a mother, they much be in really bad straits if they are begging. And there isn't social security or other safety nets in India, so old people who didn't make out well in life don't have much choice. But men, he won't give to because he feels they should be working instead of begging.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Joshua Tree

Last weekend, my girlfriend and I went down to Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park. These are both located in a desert in Southern California. While there, we hiked and hoped to view desert wildflowers in bloom.

This picture shows Joshua trees, which the park was named after. The smaller plant to left is a yucca plant. And there is snow on the ground - it was cold and even snowed there, which is very rare for this part of California.

This picture shows the Bigelow cholla cactus in bloom. These cactus live at a lower altitude than the Joshua trees, so are in a different part of the park.

This picture shows Sylvia standing behind a beavertail cactus that is in bloom. This was the only one of these cacti which we saw in bloom - most did not look like they were even close to being ready to bloom yet.
シルビアさんは咲いたビーバー・テイル・サボテンの後ろにいた写真だ。そのビーバー・テイル・サボテンは一つで咲いた。 他のはもう少しいかかるだろう。

This is a picture of a barrel cactus in bloom. They produce these yellow blooms on their top. These cacti can get pretty large - this one was about 3 feet tall and a foot in diameter.

This picture is of a waterfall in Indian Canyon that we hiked to. Because of the recent rain and snow, there was a lot of water flowing through the waterfall.

The trip was a lot of fun.


Friday, March 10, 2006

3 candidates for US President?

CNN is reporting that Alan Greenspan is predicting that there will be a third candidate for President in one of the next two elections. He thinks this because the Democratic party promotes very liberal candidates, and the Republican party promotes very conservative candidates, leaving a lot of people in the center without representation. This leaves room for a well-financed, third party candidate to run in the center. It doesn't say whether he thinks that candidate will win.

I think that a moderate candidate would be a good thing, and I would probably vote for such a person.

CNN によるとアラン・グリーンスパンは2008年か2012年に大統領候補者3人を予測するそうだ。
中道派の資金力のある大統領候補者の余地がある。 その人は当選するそうじゃない。