Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Stabbing rampage

Last (Monday) night, my parents and I went out to dinner in Hiratsuka near the station. I took them to a ramen shop I really like. On the way, we saw a bunch of fire engines race up to the station, and there were a ton of police at the koban.

Turns out, there was a stabbing rampage here in Hiratsuka around that time. It's the latest in a series of stabbing episodes that kicked off after one guy ran over a bunch of people in the Akihabara electric district, then got out and started stabbing the people who'd gone to help the victims. Seven people died in that, but fortunately, none of the seven men stabbed in Hiratsuka were seriously wounded. That's some crazy stuff.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My folks are coming

Well, that's the theory, anyway. They were supposed to land at 1:30 this afternoon and be here by now, but it turns out their flight was delayed, and they won't touch down until 8pm. This puts a serious damper on their first day here, as they won't even reach Hiratsuka until almost midnight.

At a loss for what to do with myself today (I cleaned the apartment somewhat yesterday, but that motivation has gone out of me today), I rode my bike around town. The downside was that I forgot that it was really hot and sunny, and how that would affect my poor bare arms and shoulders, which are currently bright red and not too happy.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Corporation

I finally got around to watching "The Corporation", a documentary recommended to me by a coworker a few years ago. I expected it to be a diatribe against corporations and capitalism, simply that it was evil and we should do away with it. What I found instead was a serious look at the history behind corporations, and the "legal person" theory (you have the 14th Amendment, granting rights to slaves, to thank for that - along with hordes of corporate lawyers).

One of the more interesting characters in the film was a man called Ray Anderson, founder of a carpet company. In the mid-90s, he had an epiphany, after customers started asking about his company's environmental considerations. For people who would take the corporatist position on this, his story is important to note, especially considering he's managed to balance profits with social responsibility. In my opinion, the ethical decline the world has suffered is not due to atheism and lack of religion, but a blind adherence to the almighty dollar. This should give those genuflecting businessmen something to chew on.

The main thrust of the film is that corporations have one inherent evil, a drive for profits that gives them an incentive to ignore long-term benefits in place of short-term profits. The idea isn't that capitalism is bad, but that the way it's currently done - in the case of a corporation responsible to no one - is.

It also gives a good reason to stay away from milk in America. Unless you like bacteria-filled pus, that is. Ick. Glad Japan has the sense to limit rBGH.

My new toy

It can't do Aut-exposure bracketing for HDR, but it oughta take some pretty photos.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Josh and Jenn came to visit

I've been remiss in my writing, so let me say that my friend Josh and his wife Jenn came to visit last week. It was good to see someone from home finally show up here, it'd been more than 18 months since my last visitor. My apartment is rather small and not well-suited to accommodate visitors, nor is my roommate terribly keen on having people crash on our couch for a week (he bitches a lot). So it was a great stroke of luck that my friend Eric from Michigan had to go to western Japan for some business during that time, and graciously opened his apartment to them.

Anyways, hopefully I'll get around to posting the pics, but this weekend's the Tanabata festival, so I won't be in the house much.

Happy birthday America

232 years old today, and your age didn't start showing until about 7 years ago...