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June 24, 2005

Kahala Mall, Barnes & Noble

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One of the interesting things about Honolulu was that there were many youngsters and senior citizens outdoors, especially in the Waikiki area, but not so many middle-aged men. This is no more than my impression, so I may be wrong, but I was very curious about the ratio of population in Honolulu. Their atmosphere is gentle, compared with those in Connecticut where I once stayed for a year. This is probably because tourism is the main industry of this area so people are very sensitive about their attitudes towards tourists from abroad. Waikiki is an interesting place. Beaches were artificially made by the resort industry, but the sea, the sky, the air, the clouds, and the trees are blessings of nature. This is a combination of "painless civilization" and abundant nature. Or this may be another kind of "painless civilization" that has incorpolated abundant nature within it. (Let me have time to analyze this.)

I went to Kahara Mall, located at the outskirt of Waikiki, and spent time at Barnes & Noble bookstore there. This bookstore did not have so many books on philosophy, but I found interesting books on Buddhism and sociology. I bought them, and read the latter, Introducing Sociology in the airplane back to Osaka. This was an introductory book with cartoons in every page. Contrary to its appearance, it was a good book. I want to recommend it to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Photo: At Honolulu Airport

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

June 17, 2005

Nikki Bado-Fralick, Erin McCathy

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The reason for my visit to Hawaii was to join East West Philosophers' Conference held in East West Center, Hawaii University. I attended some sessions and found them very interesting. The campus of Hawaii University was covered with lots of tropical trees and plants. The university itself is like a kind of botanic garden. I love this university. During lunch time I had lunch in the campus center, and took a look at the university bookstore.

One of the most interesting sessions was "Learing of cultures and cultures of learning" in which scholars of Japanese studies talked about the relationship between education and the body in Japanese traditinal philosophy. Especially, Kukai's theory and practice of the body presented by Nikki Bado-Fralick, Iowa State University, and comparative research bewteen Watsuji Tetsuro and Luce Irigaray presented by Erin McCathy, Saint Lawrence University were interesting. I was very impressed with their ways of talking about Japanese philosphers, particularly their interpretation of Japanese discources. Nikki mentioned the name, Yuasa Yasuo, who are well-known for his phiosophy of the body. It was interesting because Yuasa was one of my teachers of philosophy when I was in Tokyo University. I was influenced by his philosphy and his books. listening to their talk, I thought that Japanese philosophies might become more popular among "Western" people gradually in the future, because Japanese ideas on the body and life sound very interesting when presented in English!

After the session I took a bus from Hawaii University to Waikiki, but the time table I had was wrong, so I was taken to a wrong destination, and I got a panic. I changed to another bus and finally got to Waikiki in the evening. The sunset was beautiful.

Photo: At Honolulu Airport

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

June 12, 2005

Stun gun in the United States

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While I was in Honolulu, I was reading the newspaper, USA Today, which was delivered to my room everyday. One of the articles I found very interesting (shocking) was the report of stun guns used in schools by police officers.

USA Today, Jun 3-5, 2005, says that in Miami-Dade County a police officer used a stun gun on a 6-year-old student. A stun gun is a very degerous device, which paralyzes people with high voltage electric currect. From USA Today:

Investigation by Amnesty International and The Arizona Republic have linked more than 100 deaths to the devices. ..... 1,700 cops assigned to U.S. schools carried the devices at the start of this school year. ..... In the central Florida counties of Orange, Seminole, Brevard and Polk, at least 24 students have been shocked with stun guns during the past 19 months.

The comment from a stun gun company:

The Taser [stun gun] device has been shown to be medically safe when used on children.

This comment is shocking because this person takes it for granted that a stun gun is used on children, and says that it is safe if used. In the US we can buy stun guns on the Internet freely. For example, you can buy a cell phone shaped stun gun here. On this page they say some states (Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan etc.) and several countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, etc.) restrict the use of stun guns, but this means in the other states or countries there are no restrictions on this device (including Japan). I can't believe this. I can imagine how many parents are using stun guns on their children in their home at night. It's horrible.

Japanese police do not carry stun guns. they only carry normal guns, but they rarely use them. After they used guns, they have to explain the reason why they used, and newspapers the next day report the case and make a comment about whether it was used appropriately. In the USA such a procedure is unrealistic. American cops use guns everyday all over the states. When I was in Connecticut a person shot a gun in a college campus, but this was not reported nation-wide. If this happened in Japan, it would be the lead story in newspapers and TVs. In the USA ordinary people can have a gun at home. America is a free contry, they say, but I don't like this kind of freedom. What do you think?

Photo: Hotel room

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

June 05, 2005

Hawaii University

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I have just returned to Osaka from Honolulu, Hawaii. I will talk about my trip to Hawaii later. I attended a conference at Hawaii University. I had my fingerprints taken at the Honolulu Airport. This was my first experience because this was my first trip to the USA after 9/11. My fingerprints were registered in the state's computer. I don't agree to the system like this, but there was no other way to enter that country.

Photo: Hotel room

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org