米軍の極秘プロジェクト

今週火曜日。午前6時前。

外はまだ暗く、頭の中もぼおっと薄暗く、フランス・アンフォ(ラジオ)を聞きながらパンを口にしようとした矢先、椅子からずり落ちそうになった。

ニュースが伝えるには、冷戦時代にしかも氷原の下につくられた米軍極秘核ミサイル基地が、気候変動により地表に出てくる可能性があるという。

「なんとまあ。米軍って、とんでもない事をやってのけるよな~。汚したまま片づけもせずに、核廃棄物を置き土産にでて行ったのは沖縄だけじゃないんだ」とあらためて知った。

ネットで調べてみたら、英ガーディアン紙のジョン・ヘンリー記者が基地に関する記事を書いていたので、訳する許可をいただいた。

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ルクセンブルグの言語環境

その日のワークショップの講演者は、ケベックから招かれた大学教授だった。私の後ろに、ドイツ人の友人が座った。

彼は右隣の人とルクセンブルグ語で話し、左隣の人とはドイツ語で、斜め前の人とはフランス語で、私には英語で話しかける。右を向き左を向き、話し相手の母国語か、相手が一番ラクに感じる言語の4ヶ国語でやりとりしている。この5人の共通語は仏語と英語で、彼の冗談に一斉に笑ったりする。

ある週末。有機野菜のマルシェ。(ちなみにラジオ情報によると、最近フランスでは有機農家が一日に26件増えているらしい)

店主の名はエミン。コソボ出身の友人である。メルディッタ(コソボ語でこんにちは)とあいさつし、野菜やくだものを選んで彼に渡す。

「さっきジャン=クロード・ユンケルが、買い物に来てたよ」とエミンがいう。ユンケルさんは、20年近くルクセンブルグの首相を務め、現在、欧州委員会の委員長である。

彼はメルケル首相と話すときはドイツ語で、オランド大統領とはフランス語で、英国首相やEUでは英語で、いずれもネイティブのように話す。相手の母国語で話すということは、その国の感受性もあるということである。そういう政治家の存在は、やはりルクセンブルグやベルギーならではだ。

(ついでに当地はルクセンブルグ・リークス、通称ルクスリークスというのもありました)

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Donating and volunteering: For love of self and others

In the first week of September, in Luxembourg, I had lunch with the funding member of ‘Dress for Success’ and my student who wants to join her in helping and empowering women. A few days later, I bumped into an acquaintance who has been teaching French to new arrivals in our region without financial remuneration. Two weeks ago, I attended a fundraising dinner and dance in a town about 10km from my city. It was a friendly atmosphere with men, women and children making sure that we would have a fantastic time, in addition to being busy collecting money for local charities and NGOs. Last week, through the encouragement of a friend, I went to the nearby park and was mesmerised by about a dozen tents with generous and smiling individuals selling and entertaining people for good causes.

As I write this article, I think of my friend who has always time for her environmental group doing information dissemination, pancake making and coordinating Christmas stalls; as well as my ex-student who founded ‘United by Dream Onlus,’ a humanitarian organisation aiding impoverished children and their families. Sometime in our lives, we are volunteers; however, some do more than others.

Why do we volunteer? Research and individual testimonies have revealed that volunteering has benefits for individuals and societies, and the main ones are: i) It gives the volunteer a sense of achievement and belongingness to a community; ii) Offers opportunity to meet diverse range of people and experiences; iii) It enhances social and relationship abilities; iv) Enables development and/or practice of new skills, hobbies and interests; v) Can boost your career; vi) It’s a rich resource for organisations to carry out their missions, thus helping less fortunate than we are or those in need.

Computer Literacy

A few weeks ago, while researching for information on technological jargon for my intermediate class, I fell into a test on computer knowledge. I sometimes get into this spur-of-the-moment kind of thing and forget it in a blink. That test, however, turned out to be more than just an extemporaneous ego exercise. The result indicated that I only have average knowledge of computers (I’m being generous with myself as the average score on that day was 7.3/10 while I got only 7). For someone who has a website and blog regularly, has self-published a book and is active online, I thought I would be above average. I may not be a power user of new and advanced technology, but I’m certainly a computer literate.

Computer literacy (CL) refers to the ability to use computer applications rather than programs. How literate do we need in order to succeed professionally and make the most of life?

Australian public and private schools have computer science as a subject. For instance, the New South Wales public schools’ Year 6 students (their average age is 12 years) are taught and expected to have the following computer skills: Using computer-based technologies to manipulate, create, store and retrieve information to express ideas and communicate with others (Word Processing, Graphics and Multi-media); Using computer-based technologies to locate, access, evaluate, store and retrieve information (Spreadsheets and Databases) and to express ideas and communicate with others (Internet and Email); Downloading copy of document; Identifying hardware components, such as keyboard, mouse and screen (see ''List of Computer Skills addressed by the Year 6 Computer Skills Assessment'' on www.schools.nsw.edu.au).

Not long ago, I read a report saying that in the USA as much as 60% of schools issue laptops or tablets to their students.

あなたも・わたしも・みんな ⎯⎯ 「障害者」の定義づけ

相模原障害者施設殺傷事件について

シカゴ市内の精神病棟で、元クラスメートにばったり会った。

広大な州立病院で「さち」と呼ばれて、お互い目をあわせて一瞬かたってしまった。

4・5年ぶりの再会で、名前がすぐに思い出せなかった。互いに「この人は患者なんだろうか、あるいは・・・」ととっさに判断しようとしていたように思う。

彼がそれを問いかけた。「なんで、ここにいるの?」

私は大学から来ていることを告げ、彼もリサーチでインタビューしに来ているのだという。そんなことを話しながら、笑いあった。白衣やパジャマなど「役割」を示すユニホームがないから、たたずまいや言葉づかいや語彙で、判断するしかない。ハロウィンの日は薬物中毒の男性が、担当医に扮して蝶ネクタイをつけていた。そんな病棟である。

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I was in Nice, France

(This is dedicated to the people of Nice and those who were in this radiant and splendid city on the 14th of July 2016)

We lived in Nice (the capital of the French Riviera with about 344,000 inhabitants) for over one year and have unforgettable moments there, including visits of our Australian nephew and friends who jogged at the Promenade des Anglais (7-kilometre walkway along the sea) in shorts and sleeveless t-shirts in winter. They were amazed by the very narrow streets of Vieux Nice (Old Town of Nice) aligned with colourful (mainly yellow-brown) houses that have laundry hanging from the windows and specialty shops, such as the butcher that sells alive-looking pheasants (with heads and feathers, of course).

According to literature, Nice was founded by the Greeks, and during the 19th-century it was a famous destination for Europe’s elite. Today, it attracts travellers and artists from all over the world due to its sunny weather and liberal atmosphere, splashy markets, alluring restaurants and proximity to other well-known places (such as Cannes, Monaco and Saint Paul de Vence).

Its library, the Bibliothèque Louis Nucéra, was our second home. Almost every day, I found myself relaxing on its colourful small chairs between bookshelves and audio-visual stands. We made the most of the free artistic workshops and film showings on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I often mingled with retirees wanting to learn or improve their computer skills. Once I had to help a well-groomed woman in her mid/late 60s who was struggling to upload information on pages of an introduction website.

選挙 と 日本会議 と 主権を制約しようとする「自虐」の日本人!?

先月。パリのジュンク堂に10日後に届くはずだった本が、棚にあった。よろこび勇んで菅野元さんの「日本会議の研究」をゲットし、あわせて集英社のKotobaも読んだ。人にすすめられ「そおーかなァ」と半信半疑で読んでたら、なんと読めば読むほどオモシロい。日本会議に、はまってしまった。最近、肩ががちがちにこっているのは、そのせいだろうか。日本会議をとりまく問題はパンドラの箱というか、昔話にでてくるお化けというか。開けてもあけても魑魅魍魎がでてきて、おもしろい。

すこし最近の雑感とぼやきを。

日本の選挙投票日は、なぜかこちらのお祝いの日と重なる。今回は、欧州のサッカー最強国を決める決勝日だった。その前の選挙は、友人カップルの新居でお茶をする予定が、あまりの選挙結果に落ち込み私だけ家に引きこもった。その前は、忘れもしないベルギーの建国記念日。友人宅でバーベキュー・パーティーという楽しいはずの7月21日。「家が一番」と満足げな友人や子どもたちがプールサイドで踊りたわむれ、水しぶきを太陽光が反射していた。それを眺める友人たちはフラゴリーノ(苺のお酒)をたのしみ。まわりは幸福に息づまるような快晴の夏日で、私は暗澹たる気分で日本を心配していた。その落差ったら、ないッ。

一水会の鈴木邦男氏が日本会議の中心人物たちのことを、「優秀な人たち」と評価していた。www.videonews.com/marugeki-talk 。。。

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Expired Medication

There were more rainy than sunny days in my region last month. As in previous spring months, I took the pleasure organising not only my wardrobe but cabinets and cupboards. I was heartbroken putting outdated medicines in a paper bag. I thought of bringing these to the chemist (UK)/pharmacy (US) on my way to work, but the queue was half a kilometre long and my bus was about 5 minutes from departing, so I ended up bringing this with me to a nearby country (where I work) that does not legally obliged chemists to take unwanted or expired medicines.

Arriving in the classroom, the first thing I did was to ask my students if they knew of the nearby chemist that accept expired drugs. Co-incidentally, one of them actually took an expired aspirin that morning and she said that she had done this before and it was effective in getting rid of her headache.
The other two students asked me if we can still consume drugs after their use-by date. The Harvard Medical School has reported Psychopharmacology Today’s advice that a drug is absolutely 100% effective even when the expiration date has passed a few years.

According to Psychopharmacology Today, most of what is known about drug expiration dates comes from a study conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration for the military, and this study found that 90% of more than 100 drugs (both prescription and over-the-counter) were perfectly good to use even after 15 years of its expiration date (except nitro-glycerine, insulin and liquid antibiotics), and placing a medication in a cool place (such as a refrigerator) will help drugs remain potent for many years.

(Do you wonder about the role of manufacturers and those in the market chain regarding the use-by or expiration date?)

インドシナにおける強制送還:「我々は歴史から忘れさられている」

Jérôme Jadot, Cécile Mimaut - www.franceinfo.fr "Les déportés oubliés d'Indochine" (21-04-2016)

今年4月、週末。のんびり朝食をとりながらラジオ(フランス・アンフォ)を聞いていたら、涙にむせびながら話す男性の声が耳に飛びこんできた。あんな風につらそうに高齢の男性が泣くのを耳にするのは、祖父が若い頃に(曽祖父の破産が原因で)苦労したといって泣いたとき以来である。

これは訳さなくてはいけないと思い、フランス・アンフォに一応許可を得ようと連絡したところ、約1ヵ月後に許可をいただいた。(こちらが忘れていることでも、欧州人は忘れていない!)できるだけ多くの日本人に、読んでいただきたい。

4月21日 2016年 ジェローム・ジャド(国営ラジオ フランス・アンフォ)
今週日曜日の強制送還記念日は、ナチスによる強制収容所の犠牲者への追悼と尊敬の意を表する。だがその日は、我々があまり耳にすることのない、第二次大戦中に強制送還されたその他の犠牲者たちを含むものではない。1945年3月~9月の間、15,000人のフランス人はインドシナの日本収容所に収監されていた。

キャンプの生存者のインタビュー。

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Language, identity and global necessities

Language is a cultural, political and economic tool, and English has shown great success in this domain. The spread of English internationally has been aided and abetted by the advancement in technology, forging of international organisations, and bare economic and political necessities. On the other hand, languages have been (and can be) taken over by one which is spoken by those from an economically, politically and socially dominant nation.

People who speak English as a second language do so because either they want or are obliged to (it is imposed from the outside). These days, they represent more than two-thirds of English speakers in the world, and the distinction between native and non-native speakers is not that significant anymore.

In the Philippines, for example, English is used in government, private and public dealings. Although Tagalog is the official language, English is the medium of instruction in schools and universities and is used lavishly in the mass media. This country was a Spanish colony for more than 300 years; however, it's the Americans who have had the recent influence on its culture. Its proximity to Australia - another native English speaking country - has been a convenience. In the Asia-Pacific region, the Philippines has the largest population of English-speaking inhabitants (over 102 millions).

The majority of this year’s Eurovision songs were in English. Even the winning title by Jamala of Ukraine has more English than Tatar words. For the first time, Spain's entry was also in English which aroused criticisms from its Royal Academy of Spanish Language (RAE), the official body that oversees language use. The French entry was also mainly performed in English. (In Eurovision's earlier days, contests were dominated by francophone nations - e.g. France, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg & Monaco - and by entries in French). These days, contestants believe that English gives them a better chance to win because it is more widely understood than other languages; as well, successful songs have English lyrics.

The words in our language

“How was your staycation?” my student asked her colleague.

“It was relaxing,” he answered.

Another young woman sitting next to him raised her hand. “What did you say? What was it?” “stey-key-shun?” He replied, “Ah.. you were not with us last year. Staycation means vacation spent at home doing something you enjoy. In the beginning, I also thought it sounded funny.”

Then he added, “holiday in UK and vacation in US English.”

I couldn’t help smiling and was glad that my student remembered something from our previous course. Languages evolve, appear and disappear to adapt and cater to the changing needs and developments (e.g. technology) in our society. Often, new words are created by: 1) putting together letters from 2 different words (e.g. ‘Brexit’ – British/Britain’s exit from the European Union. There’s a referendum on this issue in June 2016); 2) shortening words (e.g. company representative = company rep); 3) borrowing from other languages (e.g. French ‘chef’ – cook); and 4) even from mistakes or words of celebrities (e.g. Gwyneth Paltrow’s conscious uncoupling which describes divorcing or separating couple who find the source of unhappiness in themselves and refrain from blaming each other).

日本礼賛 と 星の王子様のうぬぼれ男(2)

先週のブログで、大事な点がもうひとつぬけてました(他にもありますが)。うっぷす。

日本礼賛は、日本の美点を誇りほめたたえる政治宣伝です。

日本礼賛を見聞きしているうちに、われわれはこんなにも優れた民族なんだという気になるのでしょうね。でも、その有能感の深層にあるのは、優劣重視や差別意識に基づいた世界観ではないでしょうか。

愛国心や戦意高揚をねらった称賛扇動と軍国主義は、密接なつながりがあることは述べました。(英文エッセイには、もちろん「星の王子様」は登場しません)過去にはアジアの「指導民族」であるという優越心が、自国の来し方や侵略戦争を善なるものとして正当化したわけです。
mizohata.org - Superb Japan!? ― 日本礼賛の幻想

敗戦により、日本人のおごりや陶酔感はものの見事に叩きつぶされます。

ですが戦後すぐに、日本のうぬぼれや虚栄心を目ざとく見てとったのが、ジョン・フォスター・ダレスでした。そう、「望むだけの軍隊を、望むだけの場所に、望む期間駐留させる」と発言したことでも知られるアメリカの政治家です。

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日本礼賛 と 星の王子様のうぬぼれ男(1)

「日本すごい!」本が、ブームなんだそうですが。 まず芥川賞作家のツッコミを、読んでみてください。


このごろ私が、「気色わるゥ」

と思ったこと、二つ三つ。       (中略)

しかし「日本人上等論」を読んで(それみい、やっぱりや)などとにんまりしてるとえらい目にあう。日本人をほめられてワルイ気はしないところが、要注意のこわさ、気色わるさである。戦争おっぱじめる、軍隊を組織して軍備を強化する、ということをもくろむ手合いはまず、国民の士気と民族意識をたかめ、(それみい・・・・・)という優越感を植えつけようとする。気色わるゥ。

田辺聖子「気色わるゥ」

女の口髭 文春文庫 1987年 116~118頁

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Not always whiter and greener

My friend’s daughter always complains about the heat in Brisbane and has said to me how she would love to live in cold Europe. She doesn’t like her air-conditioned car and looks forward to skiing. My Belgian acquaintances find winter miserable and think it is a paradise to use the outdoor swimming pool and visit the nearby beach any time you feel like it.

A former neighbour recently confided to me about unmet expectations in her new job. She described in detail her uneasiness working with native-English speakers (she’s French) which, ironically, was one of the main reasons why she left the Francophone working environment (i.e. she wanted to improve her English by speaking it every day).

When I visit Singapore or Philippines, I observe smilingly women snuggling under their umbrellas not necessarily to prevent from having skin cancer but to avoid getting browner/darker. In western countries, however, men and women spend a lot of time and money trying to get tanned as it is considered good and healthy looking.

Consumption of dietary and vitamin supplements is cultural

Getting into a chemist (Oceania and the UK)/pharmacy (US) in Australia, you notice immediately the wide range of dietary and vitamin supplements occupying almost a third of the store. There are a variety of choices from A to Z of brands locally and internationally. But, in France and Luxembourg this is not the case. Often, you have to ask the staff for common vitamin supplements, such as Omega 3 and grape seed tablets, which are stocked between beauty products and medicines. In developing countries of Asia, Africa and Central & South America, these are highly unaffordable for most people. Surprisingly, however, the Nielsen study showed that Asians (and North Americans) lead the world in the usage of dietary and vitamin supplements with the highest levels found in the Philippines and Thailand (66% compared to 56% in the USA). Europe (30%) and Latin America (28%) had the lowest intake (France and Spain at the bottom: 17% and 13% respectively). The respondents' main reason for not taking vitamins was that "their diets were already balanced while those in Poland, Russia and the Baltic states felt that "it is too difficult to understand which product to use." (''North-America, Asia lead vitamin and supplement usage'').

It is known that, generally, Europeans have poor vitamin D. A comparative study of eating habits and calcium & vitamin D intakes in Central-Eastern European countries conducted by the Faculty of Health Sciences in Semmelweis University, Hungary headed by Dr. Katalin Tátrai-Nèmeth concluded that the highest calcium intake was in the Hungarian population while the lowest in Slovenia, and vitamin D intake was critically low in both of these countries. (''A comparative study of eating habits calcium and vitamin D intakes in the population'').

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