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Léonce of Dame-Marie, Haiti

Written by  |  Published in Haitian Culture & Politics

Léonce of Dame-Marie,Haiti: A True Free Man

Something from the ocean, something from the hills

By Marcel Duret
Co-author: Kettly Mars

It was four o’clock in the morning, pitch black, cool, and we were about one hour early. When our driver turned off the car’s engine, life seemed suspended to the songs of crickets and the spicy smell of mountain vegetation. It was an eerie moment for a city man like me who is intoxicated with artificial noise day and night. Léonce had promised as a farewell gift to end my three-day stay, that he would take me to “Planò” Hills, a few kilometers south of Dame-Marie, to see where the earth and sky become one. We waited in the darkness, using our cell phones when we needed light, talking and sharing the cassava, avocados and bananas that the generous old man had brought.

A New Place

Written by  |  Published in Lifestyles

There is nothing like the first morning in a new, foreign place. At first it seems like any other morning; I’m half asleep and my body and mind has no recollection of the journey last night. Then the magical moment happens. Usually it’s an unfamiliar sound that jolts me out of my dozing state. Where am I? It can take a second before my mind manages to grab the memories. Then it all comes back to me. I feel a surge of joy rush through me. The best part is yet to come. I sink happily back into the pillows and let the cascade of foreign sensations seep in.

Everything is different from back home. The bed, the room, furniture and colors are all different. Even the texture of the sheet gives my skin an unfamiliar sensation. But the immediate surroundings are seldom what excite me. My focus stretches outside. I blend the sounds, scents and what I can glimpse through the window with my imagination.

Yoga Crosses Cultures

Written by  |  Published in Yoga Lifestyle

ON any given day I interact with people from around the world. I attend meetings with colleagues from France, the Philippines and Bangladesh. I write emails to Japan and make Skype calls to friends in Chile. My neighbors are Greek and my boss is from Egypt. In this diverse but connected world I face the challenges of intercultural communications every day.

A powerful technique in cross-cultural interactions is empathy. Cultivating an empathetic feeling as we interact with friends, colleagues and strangers whose thinking and values differ from our own, helps to widen our perspective on the world. But trying to understand other people’s thoughts and feelings can also have a destabilizing effect on us. Through cross-cultural communication, it’s possible to become vulnerable and get lost in a medley of conflicting values, customs and rules. Empathy needs a force to balance it out.

QUALITY TIME

Written by  |  Published in Parenting

What is the most beneficial way to reward your children?

Buy them a new toy? Allow them to stay up later? Let them watch a special TV show?

These may or may not have positive effects, but none of them can compare with the undivided attention of a parent.

Older children may deny that they require attention from their parents; however, it is possible to see the impact extra attention can have. With younger children, the results are often visible straight away. They respond with smiles and can be encouraged to try new things. Eventually you may notice an increase in your child’s self-esteem as they grow older.

充実の時

子供にとって一番

励みになるのは何だと思います

新しいおもちゃを買ってあげる?遅くまで起きていること を認める?特別なテレビ番組を見させてあげる?

こうしたインセンティブが効果的かどうかはさておき、い ずれも親が子供にしっかり目を向けることとは比べようも ありません。

子 供は大きくなると、親が自分に注目することを拒むかも しれません。しかし、親の注目は必ず効果をもたらします。 子供が小さければ、その結果はストレートに現れます。子 供は笑顔を見せ、新しいことに挑戦しようとするでしょう。 子供が大きくなれば、子供の自尊心の高まりが感じられる かもしれません。

Standing Up To Culture

Written by  |  Published in Commentary

Standing Up To Culture

By Daniel Yankelovich


IN a changing world, Japan and the United States face similar challenges even though our histories and cultures are very different. In both nations, the influence of tradition and culture is wearing thin while individual choice grows stronger. This places a heavy burden of responsibility on the individual, more than most people are comfortable with.

In late September, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe wrote an editorial in The Wall Street Journal 1, titled “Unleashing the Power of Womenomics.” He out- lined a series of policies for which the dual purpose is to boost women in the workforce significantly and thereby also raise fertility rates.

Prime Minister Abe is well aware that combining these two goals runs counter to the long-held belief that female participation in the labor force lowers fertility rates. He cites a number of government policies that would make his twin goals compatible. These include: expanded day-care and nursing-care services, flexible work arrangements and better pay for women.

文化への抵抗
ダニエル・ヤンケロビッチ

この変化の時代にあって、日本と米国は、歴史的文 化的背景が大いに異なるとはいえ、似たような問

題 に直面している。日米のいずれでも、伝統と文 化がすたれつつある一方で、個人の選択が優先されるよ うになっている。この流れにより、多くの人が望む以上 に個人に重い責任がのしかかっている。 この秋、ウォール・ストリート・ジャーナル紙に安部 晋三首相の寄稿があった。タイトルは「安部総理、ウィ メノミクスのパワーを解き放つ」。女性の雇用を大幅に増 やし出生率上昇を促す一連の政策をまとめたものだ。

この2つの目標を掲 げることが、女性の雇用増は出生率 を下げるという長く正しいとされてきた論理に反するこ とを、安部首相は十分承知している。そのうえで彼は、 この2つの目標を両立させるための多くの政策に言及し ている。デイケアや介護サービスの拡大、柔軟な就労形態、 女性の賃金増などである。

Moments in Construction

Written by  |  Published in Tokyo Photography

Moments in Construction

by H. Suzuki

TJ: Can you describe the process of taking photographs at a construction site?
SUZUKI: Shooting in monochrome is an expression by a single color consisting of light and shadow or white and black. The subject is achromatized and the composition of the picture is decided based on white (light) and black (shadow). The light and angle of the Sun, which is the origin of light, is one of the most important elements. Therefore, the time of the shoot and the weather are critical.

TJ: What are the biggest lessons you have learned about photography since you started?
SUZUKI: I try to find the perfect date and time for ideal light. However, sometimes I can achieve more in unexpected circumstances. Therefore, I have learned that I should be proud of myself for behaving casually.

TJ: 建設現場での写真撮影について説明してい ただけますか?
ス ズキ : モノクロームの撮影は光と影、白から 黒への一色表現です。撮影する被写体の色を消 すことは白い色は光、黒い色は影から一枚の絵 の構図を決めるということ。光の発信源である 太陽の光と角度は最重要項目ですね。だから撮 影の時間の決定と天候がポイント。

TJ: 写真撮影で学んだ一番大きな教訓は?
スズキ : 自分の決めた日程と時間に思いどおり の光が指すかどうか? しかし、想定してない 状況から想定以上の収穫があるので思いついた 自分に正直に行動をとる自分に自信をというこ とが学びです。

Synopsis of Haitian Art

Written by  |  Published in Haitian Culture & Politics

Synopsis of Art by Artists of Haitian Descent in the Diaspora –– Part II

By Marcel Duret and Fred Thomas


One of Haiti’s greatest exports to the world is its beautiful art. To illustrate the four major trends of the Haitian diaspora as outlined in the 2013 Summer Issue of the Tokyo Journal, Haitian art experts Marcel Duret and Fred Thomas cast a closer look on the works of a few selected artists.

THE NAIVE VEIN
When looking at a naive painting a most striking element is the raw quality and directness of the composition and design. Everything is kept simple. What you see is what it is about. Lines and colors are combined to convey a clear image where each element appears necessary for the edification and justification of the whole. As few ornaments as possible are used, making the bluntness of expression look even more evident. The lack of artifice and hid- den meanings maximizes the connection between the picture and observers, many of who lose no time trying to decipher some cryptic iconography or unclear symbols that require initiation rites or specific knowledge. This simplicity can baffle onlookers who try so hard to complicate things based on their own bias or collective pool of references, instead of opening up their minds and let- ting themselves become impregnated by the unique visual and emotional experience that a primitive painting can achieve when it is made by someone genuinely awestricken by an inner vision or a natural phenomenon.

This simplicity sometimes appears in the flatness of shapes. It is as if the artists use some type of magnifying glass that enables them to bring forth every element of a scene as though each one is of equal importance. This way nothing is left behind for the benefit of the observer who can see the relevance of every item as it is conceived in the artist’s mind.The idea is not to judge but rather to take everything indiscriminately at face value.

Natsuko Toda

Written by  |  Published in Translation & Subtitling

Movie Subtitling with Natsuko Toda

Interview series with Japan’s most renowned translator of foreign films and interpreter for Hollywood stars, Natsuko Toda

Interview by Miyuki Kawai

TJ: What do you think is the future of subtitling?

TODA: There are not so many subtitlers anymore, and recently people have come to prefer dubbed movies. I believe subtitling will survive, but the number of subtitled movies will decline in the future.

TJ: That’s true. But isn’t it also true that the number of minor movies or TV programs to be subtitled has been increasing?

TODA: Yes, but the payment is very low even though it requires the same amount of effort.

戸田奈津子が語る映画字幕

日本で最も著名な字幕翻訳家でありハリウッドスターの通訳も務める 戸田奈津子のインタビュー・シリース
インタビュー:川合美雪

TJ: 字幕は今後どうなっていくと思われます か?

トダ: 最近は字幕より吹替えを好む人が多く なっています。もちろん字幕は残るとは思いま すが、数は減っていくでしょうね。

TJ: 確かにそうですが、マイナーな映画やテレ ビ番組の数は増えていますね。

トダ: でも同じ手間をかけても作業の単価はと ても安いでしょう?

Moments in Construction

Written by  |  Published in Tokyo Photography

Moments in Construction

by H. Suzuki

TJ: What makes a good picture stand out from an average photo?
Suzuki: A good picture moves viewers. Good pictures extract the intention of objects and invoke the feelings of viewers. In other words, a dialogue between objects and viewers is enabled.

TJ: Location and weather conditions seem to be crucial aspects to a successful picture. How do you handle these unpredictable factors?
Suzuki: I can’t control them, so it can’t be helped. But I think I am lucky in terms of unpredictable factors. For four years, I had a lot of luck. For example, I took a picture of 2,000 people gathered at a morning meeting in a construction area. Although such meetings were planned to be held regularly after that, they didn’t happen again. I need to rely on luck and instinct.

TJ: 優れた写真と普通の写真を隔てるものは何 でしょうか。
スズキ: 迫ってくるものがあるかないかの違い ですね。被写体の意図を引き出し、見る人の共 感を呼ぶ。つまり被写体と見る人の対話を可能 にするのが優れた写真でしょう。

TJ: ロケ―ションや天候は写真の成否に重要な 影響を与えると思われますが、こうした予測不 可能な要因にどのように対応なさっています か?
スズキ: これはどうしようもないことです。で も、この4年間の経験を考えると、僕はツイて いたと思います。たとえば、ある工事現場で 2000 人が集まった朝礼の写真を撮りました。 その後もこの朝礼は定期的に開かれるはずでし たが、結局 2000 人もの人が集まることは二度 とありませんでした。運と直感は大事だと思い ます。

A Philosophical View of the Economy

Written by  |  Published in Commentary

THE British philosopher A.N. Whitehead had many wise things to say about business and society. One of his wisest observations was his statement that a great society is one in which its busi- ness leaders “think greatly of their functions.” When they fail, Whitehead concludes, the consequences are “orgies of exploitation” followed by “a descending standard of living.”

This philosophical way of thinking about business and society is strikingly different from the dominant view of economists and politicians. They favor a more technical picture of economies operating in accord with impersonal laws. In this view economies are semi-autonomous entities obeying laws that are independent of the norms, mores and characters of the societies in which they are embedded. The moral vision of the nation’s business leaders carries little economic weight.



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