What was the cruelest thing a school teacher did to you or someone else?

At Quora, there was a someone asking for What was the cruelest thing a school teacher did to you or someone else?

I have decided to share my story from my 1st (and 3rd) year of the school. It was very strange years…

My first year in my elementary was cruel all year round due to crazy home room teacher. (This was in Japan.) I got picked on every little thing, I forgot to bring a single pencil? I got written up for it. Ate school lunch slow? I got written up for that too, and literally made me sit through reminder of a school day with my unfinished lunch on my desk and sometimes well into after school hours. (Keep in mind this was my first year in school, at 6 years old.) A slight deviation from what he considered standard would have resulted in write up, and had to face this guy for up to 4 hours a day at time, 6 days a week. (Back then, Saturdays were not off.) I later found out noone else in the class were subjected to this, so certainly I was being bullied by this teacher.

I was stressed and had a meltdown to the point that I refused to do any homework for a month — it could have lasted longer, but eventually my parents found out about it and did get chewed me out for it, although that didn’t make any different as I have been written up for it for other things anyways. (I don’t remember how I managed to hide the fact I didn’t turn in my homework for this long, however.)

Irregularities caused by this teacher was fairly apparent considering this never happened for a year with different teacher, until he was my home room teacher again in my third year at school, which basically threw me into same hell, but longer, for another year. (1st year student dismissed around noon, but 3rd grader had 1 or 2 extra hours, which basically means I’ve had to deal with this for up to 6 hours a day!) Fortunately teachers for latter three years of my elementary school after this were very decent.

Probably, these days, this type of actions by teacher would cause question in teacher’s competencies, but back then, teachers were bit more respected, at least to the extent they didn’t get scrutiny of what happening despite complaints. (and due to overall naivete of my end, I was very young after all.) While I generally did okay in school but I can only remember horrible things in my first and third years of school.

The point of this story… teachers, please don’t bully your student. It’s awful.

How the End-of-the-Day Meeting at Japanese Schools Endorse Horrible Totalitalian Whistle-blowing

(This is a translated/enhanced edition of the Japanese article originally published on 2013-11-25, due to some interests from Freenet users, I am publishing English translated version.)

When I was attending a Japanese elementary school, very long time ago, beginning around the year 1986, the end of each day was an end-of-the-day meeting.

Generally, important information for the following day, for instance, are main purpose of the meeting, however, there were part of the meeting where people were encouraged to whistle-blow their fellow students, usually for anything petty, such as “So and so weren’t working hard during cleaning hours.” (Students do cleaning duties for schools in Japanese schools.) It was held for all grades, perhaps except for first year, so I believe it was practiced school wide. (A quick Google search suggests it is widely practiced in school throughout Japan.)

It’s probably have been OK, if the whole accusation is true and appropriate for the one being accused, but the problem is when it is an accusation that one do not deserve. Many people who are weak to be confronted (or being sensitive to how others see them) tend to admit their fault, even when they know they don’t deserve one. Myself being quite cynical, and not necessary popular (kind of guy who would be alone, when the teacher asks pair up with other students, sort of speaking) I wouldn’t admit where there was no wrongdoing. This would often have caused this supposedly 10 minute meeting continuing for hours, although, by the time it deemed to take too long, teachers tend to wrap it up, perhaps making a rather ambiguous remark like “I have to leave this up to your consciousness.”

The problem of the end-of-the-day meeting is that there were no protection for one being accused, and judgement is being held by person(s) of interests; essentially first one that says something wins. It’s because logically, it is difficult, if not impossible to prove such wrongdoing didn’t take place to begin with. With an added disadvantage of not being popular in the class would make it worse, and indeed, these are the ones targeted the most. The End-of-the Day meeting contributed nothing but unnecessary dissension among students. What it essentially promoted whistle-blow for every minor dispute; including ones supposed to be solved among ones involved, as well as self-contained wrongdoing that has no effect on anyone but themselves. Essentially, it was a world of MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) to make sure they weren’t the sole target for such whistle-blowing.

I don’t think it is an overstatement this practice promotes forced confession by police officers, with no transparency in Japan. The End-of-the-Day meeting should be abolished.

A Statement Regarding Interview by NHK of Japan About Tor Technology

This is a document originally written on September 20th, regarding interview about Tor conducted by NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)

Written on 9/20/2012

I’ve received inquiries from NHK (Nippon Housou Kyoukai) regarding interview they want to do with me. As they will be having a discussion of anonymizing technology in their show called Science Zero to be aired on October 7th, they wanted to do a segment with me, in the topic of why use Tor.

I maintain information site for GnuPG in Japanese and advocacy of information technology is a big thing for me, thus, I accepted their inquiry to appear on TV.

The interview itself was conducted over Google Hangout, for about an hour. Being myself not used to those press interviews, there were times I have explained things for quite a bit of time. (They wanted something simple.)

And this is what happened so far.

So answering their questions, why use Tor, first point is that it is useful when searching for “questionable” matters. (For instance, I am interested in military technologies, like submarines) I feel it is a real threat as in post-9/11 era, information that used to be public is now obscured. Also, eavesdropping capability of NSA is improving in recent year, it is a real fear my activity online would be interpreted in pieces, causing misunderstandings. Another point is simply that the importance of this type of technology only increases over time. I am not sure how they will be using my interview footage, but I wanted to write few words about it.

I am in a stance that information itself should never be incriminating. It is more of the statement that what matters if what action people take with these information in hand, and it’s not the information itself that is a crime. This is also related to freedom of the speech, but regulating information itself will inevitably infringe such freedom of the speech. This is because globally speaking, the only way to protect your own free speech is to also protect someone else.

It is very challenging to describe question of why use Tor without myself sounding like a conspiracy theorist. In practicality, deep webs, such as Hidden Service and Freenet are also important to cover, but as a scope of this interview, I mainly explained it in context of Tor use in public web. (As deep web is not easily perceived by the general public, it would require its own session to explain about it.)

These technologies are in surge of being more important, and I am looking forward to see how this is covered in the show.

More opinions to come after viewing the show.

[ Updated 9/24 ]
NHK just wrote to me that they had to cut my segment due to time constraints. Bummer, but oh well.

An encrypted version of this document is released first and key will be released on certain days (when they have the show listed with the topic on their webpage) so everyone can decrypt. For verification, a passphrase for decrypting encrypted version of this document as follows:

gOsuUwhhUPb6FUBvBW

http://int.tumblr.com/
http://google.com/+HidekiSaito

This document is released under Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-ND 3.0).

Errata

  • Grammatical changes but overall meaning should be same.
  • Terminology fix: Darkweb -> Deepweb
  • Few hyperlinks are added.

Social Expectations in Japan and Why I Can’t Ever Live in Japan

During Sakura-Con, I had chance listening to Roland Kelts talking about foreigner living in Japan. He said that if foreigners visit Japan, they can’t be one of them (Japanese) but they will be able to enjoy benefit of being in Japan without being expected to be Japanese. (and any effort of blending into them will be taken favorably by Japanese.)

This was very interesting to hear from “foreigner perspective”, as its flip-side is exactly what I had in mind, and what I have written in the past. In the US, even though I’m considered to be American, a lot of people still may see me as foreigner, but at same time, that doesn’t mean much, as a lot of Americans are originally from foreign country; it’s just part of the society. However, this creates very awkward situation for me to be in Japan.

I have been long enough in Japan; first 13 years of my life to be exact, and I understand sociological norm in Japan. However, it is also true that I have lived in the States for 18 years. This makes it very awkward when I visit Japan; while I understand that norm, I do not necessary believe in executing it myself. I speak perfect Japanese, I look like Japanese, and I don’t look like a foreigner — so unless I pretend I don’t speak Japanese; which actually I have done casually in the past, Japanese people expect me to behave, and more importantly, think like Japanese.

Because their social expectation for me to act like Japanese, I do not get any credits for efforts of act (and think) like Japanese, because they assume that what I am supposed to be doing, yet any deviance from it would count negative toward me.

I don’t have any problem living in the States looking like Japanese, but this is why I sometimes wish I looked like foreigners in Japan.
While I am doubtful I will ever be living in Japan, this will be certainly life-long wonder of how I should mitigate this “identity crisis” every time I visit Japan, or merely dealing with Japanese elsewhere.

Donation for Earthquake, Tsunami in Japan

As you probably know by now, North-Eastern part of Japan has suffered major earthquake and subsequent tsunami, which caused devastating damage to the region. They are dealing with many problems still; aftershocks, additional earthquake (yes you heard it right…Shizuoka region got hit by another — not as strong, but still major one) as well as continuing problem with nuclear power plants.

Last weekend, I responded the call to create the website called SeattleJapanRelief and it was my honor taking part launching this collaborative effort.

So if you or someone you know are considering donation, please do direct them to the website above. You don’t have to be in Seattle area to donate through it!

Sakuranbo Elementary School Fiasco

Sakuranbo, a Japanese word for cherry, sounds quite innocent. Probably so if you stick that as name of the elementary school, well, unless it was already being used by mature themed sexual game (eroge) group.

Here’s what happened. In Higashine city in Yamagata prefecture, there is new elementary school being built. Since Higashine city is known for its cherry produce, they are pushing to name many of their city features with name of cherry — and it is now natural for the city to try to follow that trend with their newly building elementary school.

While they were searching for possible overlap, they seems to have done many kind of checking, but one very simple thing — searching on the Internet.

Searching for Sakuranbo Elementary School (さくらんぼ小学校) on Google and other search engine reveals that this name already is being used as branding for mature game. The city was notified by residents about this problem. Mayor of the city, Seigo Tsuchida, initially responded their lack of intension to reconsider its name, with reason “by changing the name, we are approving mature games.”

For the meantime, Sakuranbo Elementary School, the mature game group, announced on their webpage, about their willingness of cooperate with school by changing the name of the group if necessary.

Later, the city reversed its decision of not changing the name, with mayor’s statement that “I feel like I was struck by a car.”

Analyzing the whole situation, this situation well could be prevented by the city conducting simple search on the Internet. Sakuranbo Elementary School, the mature game brand, has been in its existence for 8 years since 2002, and search would easily reveal existence of the group. It’s city’s sole responsibility to make sure their branding is not overlapping with existing entities.

Legally, anyone who knowing something about trademark would see that they aren’t in infringement to each other, as they are in different class. Therefore, the city should be legally clear to open up their new elementary school in that name. This only got problem because the group was offering mature products.

The group’s offer of changing their branding is extraordinary, considering they are legally not required to.

The city, in other hand is under big fire, possibly perpetual for years to come. Apparently, the mayor of the city has received message from his staff by this problem — with no luck persuading the mayor.

It is worthwhile to note that for past 10 years, the mayor, Seigo Tsuchida was reelected without contests 4 times. Perhaps lack of residents’ interests choosing proper leader might have also contributed this problem.

Borrowing Tsuchida’s word, no car was there to struck the city, it was city rammed into the wall.

On Japanese E-mail Mannarism

One of Japanese “E-mail mannerism” article is causing bit of arguments on twitter. Idea is that the article is saying that one should be suffixed with sama (Japanese Mr./Ms.) to names showing up in “TO” header, which a lot of people claim it is bad know-how.

I actually believe it is very bad idea. Simply because TO headers are not context sensitive. For example, say, someone sends you E-mail with you referred with suffix of sama, among with your colleague in CC, each with same sama suffix. You reply to that E-mail and suddenly, what you see your colleague referred as sama and other person referred without that suffix. It is considered rude that you refer your colleague with sama suffix, when you are talking someone outside of your organization, and further more, it is of course considered rude you don’t put the sama suffix for addressee, if you are appending the suffix at all, it is very inconvenient.

Some other things considered part of E-mail manner in Japan with my take on them:

  • Don’t send things in formatted E-mail (as long as it’s not WINMAIL.DAT, it should be fine these days — but also append text version of the E-mail. Most software do this automatically if you send in formatted mail.)
  • In the body, address recipient with his or her company name, department, and name. (Many people do address someone this way. I don’t do it for few reasons. First it’s redundant, and second, it risks recipient’s personal information when it happened to be delivered to someone else. I even omit this completely for quick responses.)
  • Introduce yourself on the every E-mail. (Not necessary bad idea, but I don’t personally do it unless I’m sending E-mail to someone for very first time, or case it is first E-mail in very long time.)
  • Include your full name, E-mail address, company name, company address, company URL, etc. as a signature (I think name and company is enough. There’s privacy implications as E-mail is not necessary private. I also put in statement that the message may be signed because I do sign E-mail, and to prevent confusion when signature.asc ends up in the E-mail — which is not applicable for everyone.)
  • Put in line break often. (I think this is stupid. Because putting in line break will cause ugly display when someone adjust their window size. I’m not opposing putting in extra line between topics.)

JASRAC to Collect Copyright Fee for Singing on Twitter?

There have been some shock in Japanese internet users when Mizuo Sugawara, the director of Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers also known as JASRAC, said posting portion of lyric on Twitter can be subject to copyright fee payment. It seems to be bit ambiguous how this can be enforced, as what constitute singing in twitter can be very difficult to determine. You could be unknowingly using part of lyric without realizing about it.

I think JASRAC will be more likely be seeking for blanked licensing, similar to what they have done for YouTube and Last.fm.

That’s quite interesting, as I’m affiliated with ASCAP, which is in agreement with JASRAC, if someone sings my creation on twitter, do I get a piece of pie, too?

The Way Japan Treats Japanese

There’s a law in Hyogo, and now Saitama prefecture that forces parents writing essay to their carrier in order to the parents to lift mandatory internet filtering service on their childs’ mobile phones.

It is their effort of preventing children in their community to not be exposed to inappropriate contents, but I just felt it’s quite creepy. It is parents responsibility to be conscious about what their children are being exposed to, but isn’t it ultimately parents’ decision, and also authority to determine what their children can do and not? I just don’t see why parents need to “beg” to their service providers. (It is worthwhile to note that this clause is also included in TWYFO as well.)

In recent years, I’m starting to see news about government going into individuals’ jurisdiction. For example, people cannot use mobile phone at some ATMs because that would encourage fraudulent transaction directed from the phone.

Seriously, people in Japan are willing to put up with it?

Death of Anime and Games in Tokyo

I have posted new article called Death of Anime and Games in Tokyo (now renamed to Tokyo Wholesome Youth Fostering Ordinance). This page talks about new ordinance in Tokyo which could change anime and games created in Japan in a negative way.

I feel this is very important and deserve its own page, and the above link will be updated with fresh information. I will keep you posted with further information as new development occurs, but I’d like people to be conscious about such attempt to destroy creativity in Japan exists and immine