Japan

Pictures from Japan

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I have been in Japan for almost two weeks, and already wish I could back again. It is a land of beauty, serenity and traditions. I wanted to go here already as a child. I watched manga-cartoons, fell in love with geishas, samurais and the esthetic houses, and found my favorite author there. The people here look really beautiful, and they are so diverse. The wear anything they fancy, which is liberating. I`ve seen close-knit families playing with their children, and experienced their kindness. There is so much more I could write, but a pictures says more than a thousand words, so here are some of the pics I`ve taken so far.

 

 

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Protected: What never was

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A step into the future: The museum of nature and science in Tokyo

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This is my third day in Japan, and I have already seen and experienced so much! High buildings that tickle my aesthetic sense, people so different from Norwegians (they are so respectful of others, in a way that both amazes me and scares me. When are they allowed to just be themselves?) and tasting food I never thought would enter my digestive track. Today we first went to the imperial palace, and it was fascinating. Right next to the park where skyscrapers, and the contrast of old vs new appealed to me. It was very warm, though, so when we had wandered through it we almost called it a day and went home. But I found the guide-book and I was mystically drawn to an area of Tokyo called Odaiba. It took an hour to get there, and right there and then it seemed like an ordeal to find our way on the busy metro, but when I saw that museum of nature and science was in Odaiba too, me and my brother decided to got there.

I have rarely been so glad that I conquered skepticism before. The museum was amazing! From the start, when I read the introduction to the museum, I was energized. We could see a drawing on the floor that showed ways science can develop. I do not remember all the paths to enlightenment, but coincidences and integration through the exchange of information were two of them. It felt like somebody GOT me, and I knew this was the place to be. I was so touched that I almost started crying, filled with awe. Here was a place full of knowledge and desire to educate visitors.

I liked it that all the exhibits had a question at the end. “What would you do if you could help improve the climate?”. There were many challenges to think about. This was especially relevant when it came to the presentation of robots. On the one hand, the importance of robots and the technology that follows was highlighted, but it also encourages us to think about ethical issues on the other hand.

At four o’clock we sat down with others to see a real robot. I got goosebumps . It seemed as though I had the future right in front of me, that a curtain had been drawn that showed tomorrow in all its splendor. Perhaps that’s how it felt for those who sat in front of the television before the first moon landing? I realized how many opportunities we have. I realized how different it is to actually see the manifestation of something I have only read about before. Seeing robots that resemble people and talk like them was excruciatingly exciting. I was not the one who was fascinated and moved. I saw a little girl next to her mother who was “talking” with one real robot. First she cried, because it must have been uncomfortable to see something so alike a human being, that wasn`t quite like one. After a while, she became more curious, and calmed down when the mother continued as if everything was normal. I thought: These children, they are building our future. They have already taken the step into the future and might therefore accept it with open arms. I hope their enthusiasm also contains a dose of skepticism. Robots with consciousness are potentially dangerous. When I saw the robot who could kick a ball and jump on one leg, I imagined a fraction of a second, how scare it could be if they started to “think” for themselves and wanted nothing to do with the stupidity of our human race. Like everything else in life: one should hurry slowly. Most things can be used both for positive things and negative. This is a good example of nuclear power.

The world is a fascinating place, and every day we are getting closer to advancing into a world very different than how it is now. Education is the key to build a peaceful world, where we use technology for the benefit of humankind.

Here are some pictures of what I saw today:

Going to Japan

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Saturday I am going to Japan! My little brother is coming with me, and we have both waited for this trip so long. He was just 8 when I promised him that when I became a psychologist and had money for it, we would go there. He kept reminding me of my promise every year, and now we`re finally here. That means my head is buzzing. I can`t say if its butterflies flying around in my head or a fanfare longing for my attention, I just know that I wish the butterflies or fanfares would quiet down a bit. When I am in this hyper state I also start thinking about everything else. Work is going very well at the moment, but today I had to apply for staying where I am now, for longer (hopefully forever, since I love the place already) and that set off a cascade of thoughts. I also got some new patients this week, and I just keep going through what some of them said, turning me into the investigator, searching for clues on what might help them. I don`t worry too much about staying up a bit longer than usual, though: Tomorrow is my last day at work before I start on my two-week holiday. These are exciting times, and sometimes I`m allowed to just bask in the glory of it.

If any of you has been to Japan, I would love some tips or recommendations.

 

Feet of Baggage

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Reblog from Magic Behind the Morning

Let’s talk about baggage. No, not emotional baggage. Physical baggage. When my grandmother died, all of her belongings and her mother’s belongings, including several rooms’ worth of large pieces of furniture and boxes and boxes of glass and china, went to my mother. When my mother died and my father moved, all of that stuff, along with many of my mother’s belongings, were divvied out between my sister and me, which meant that I ended up with half of four generations of belongings.

What I’ve discovered about myself is that I am the master of manipulating myself into keeping things that I don’t want or need, much of which have no emotional or monetary value for me (insert dramatic Hoarders soundtrack here). Here is my logic: “Oh, but there is a label on this handkerchief that says it came from my grandmother’s friend’s mother; I can’t get rid of that!” Or “Well, I don’t actually like this sweater, but my mom wore it at some point in time so I should keep it,” or “This doesn’t hold any fond memories for me, but I feel like I need to keep it anyway.”

have gotten rid of things here and there, so it never felt like this was a serious emotional problem deeply affecting my quality of life, but at some point I looked around my home and realized that almost none of my belongings were actually things that I picked out. Truthfully, I have accumulated the type of belongings that many people don’t have until their late fifties, and even then have had much more time and emotional space to cull through them. Most of my furniture was willed to me. Most of my clothes to this day are hand-me-downs from someone.

On the one hand, my gratefulness for having been given these items far overpowers any frustration that I have with it, and truly, there are many things that I have that I absolutely love. Still, the strange thing is that at it has taken me until my late twenties to stop and ask what my personal style truly is, and what I want my belongings to look like, or even what kinds of belongings I want and need in my life. I used to believe that having these items was saving me money as well, and I’m sure the smaller items were, but the thing is, items that take up physical space mean more cost in moving and storing those items, especially for someone who has moved several times like I have.

I recently read a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. I won’t go into everything the book says (you can read it if you want to) but there were four pieces that I took away that were the most helpful for this type of baggage:

1. Only keep things in your life if they “spark joy” in you.

2. When you get rid of belongings, thank them for the place they have had in your life and the things they have taught you. Sometimes an item’s purpose is to teach you what you don’t like.

3. A gift’s purpose is to show the gratitude and love of the giver. Once the gift has been given, it’s purpose has been filled. 

4. If you are keeping something purely for sentimental reasons, consider taking a picture of the item instead. 

I am now immersed in a deep process of tidying up. And here is where I have created a method that Marie Kondo may possibly hate: the guilt box. It’s label literally says “Stuff I Feel Guilty Getting Rid Of.” Everything in that box are things I am keeping not because I love them, or because I find them to be useful, or because they have great sentimental value, but simply because I feel guilty getting rid of them.

What’s the point, you say? Well, the point is that everything outside of that 2x3x1 box in my life brings me joy. I’m allowing myself that much baggage, that much guilt, that much “but what if I need thing X?” or “but so-and-so really loved thing Y.”  In allowing just a little bit, I can quell any anxiety, guilt, or fear I have about getting rid of other belongings; if I can fit it in the guilt box, I can keep it. And, I’m hoping that by being brutally honest about the reason I’m keeping things, I can become more discerning about what I keep and what I discard.

What I have found through this is that I have a true love for many of the things I have in my life that were given to me, like my grandma’s beautiful quilts, much of my mom’s jewelry, and some absolutely beautiful dresses and cardigans that I was given by my in-laws. I hadn’t noticed how much I appreciated those things before because I hadn’t had the physical and emotional space to savor their beautiful history and fine craftsmanship. Now that I am starting to identify the types of things that bring me joy in life, I am hoping to truly savor my home, and to discerningly bring only things into my space that truly enchant me.

The sound of management

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In the book I am reading, I have come to the people behind the problem of trafficking. What scares me is how much they earn by using other people, and not giving them profit in return, and their close connection to politics. Examples are the Yakuza in Japan, and politicians in Pakistan.

image
our knowledge, their problem

Slaves are forced to work for their “master” or “owner” and cannot get free. Sexual slaves are forced to work as prostitutes. The masters or pimps use violence, threats, blackmail and other methods to reduce the woman’s self worth and self esteem until eventually she will not try to escape because of fear or mental trauma. Sexual slavery is a way for a man to make a lot of money and to feel powerful. Society rewards people with power and wealth so unfortunately sexual slavery may continue until society values caring and sharing above all else. Women are trying to alter men’s attitudes towards violence and abuse of power and this is gradually having an effect. There are now shelters for abused women and heavier fines for pimps but there is a very long way to go yet.
http://otrazhenie.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/nothing-in-life-is-to-be-feared/
image Vulnerable people, usually poor, are deceived or forced into working abroad with promises of a better life. When they get there their passports are taken off them, they are forced to work behind locked doors and beaten or starved if they refuse. Sometimes they are killed and the threat of murder is always there. Their “masters” or “owners” make money by forcing them to work in sweatshops, dangerous jobs or as prostitutes. If the victim manages to get to the police, she is often not helped because she has no documents or the crime is not taken seriously. Because she is likely to be deported to her own country where she will probably be murdered, she doesn’t usually try to contact the authorities and so human trafficking continues to grow.

Women and girls are at particular risk of becoming victims of trafficking due to diverse factors, such as the high global prevalence of violence and discrimination against women; unequal access to education and the consequent lack of good employment opportunities which may render women more susceptible to false promises of work abroad; the lack of legal channels of entry for unskilled workers; and sex-selective migration policies.
The ILO estimates that women and girls represent the largest share of forced labor victims with 11.4 million victims (55%), compared to 9.5 million (45%) men and boys. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that 500,000 women are trafficked into prostitution each year.

on this side (on the bottom) you find small but important things you can do, like spreading information and signing petitions.