Vél’oh! in Luxembourg, Vélib’ in Paris, Bicing in Barcelona!

Vél'oh! sign Vélib’ is a self-service rent-a-bike system available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in Paris. There are so many similar initiatives in other cities in Europe.

For this blog post, I tried to take a few photos of Vélib’ on Boulevard Saint-Michel near the Sorbonne. Vélib bikers were in a rush in the morning, fearlessly riding downhill at top speed to reach their destinations. I felt a bit overwhelmed in Paris since I live in a calm provincial city, so I failed to take the photos!

But, here are some photos of Vél’oh!

Shrinking Sado by Peter Matanle

This presentation titled "Shrinking Sado: Education, Employment and the Decline of Japan’s Regions" was presented by Dr. Peter Matanle of the University of Sheffield at the British Association for Japanese Studies Annual Conference that took place on 11-12 April 2008 in Manchester, United Kingdom.

Sado was once famous for the biggest gold and silver mine in Japan.

Booming times are long gone. A rural prefecture, Shimane, also used to have the thriving Japanese silver mining industry in Iwami-Ginzan. Today these rural areas depended on natural resource extraction have failed to attract people and businesses and have succumbed to depopulation and demographic aging.

Click here to see Peter's presentation.

Shrinking_Sado : Education, Employment and the Decline of Japan’s Regions presented at the British Association for Japanese Studies Annual Conference, at Manchester, UK, on the 11-12 April 2008 by Dr Peter Matanle, University of Sheffield

Identity: Parody songs of Englishman in New York

You know the song about an Englishman in New York by Sting. Here are two parody songs; one is quite funny and the other is quite serious.

関西人in Tokyo (Kansai person in Tokyo)

Social-issues.org is now running D.6.2

Hi everybody.

I just drop here a few lines to inform the community that the platform now runs on Drupal v.6.2.

"Public Forums" section is now open

I know that this feature should have been working a long time ago. No need to cry anymore (or to complain), now it's here!

Why we should all be suspicious of this organ called heart

For all those who find themselves faced up with the following crucial question: Is he\she the one for me ? this article gives you a hard but sensible advice: Listen to your brain rather than your heart.

Témoignage visuel du vieillissement rural au Japon

image extraite du livre de M. Kajii

Cela peut ressembler, aux yeux des citadins, à un univers parallèle - un monde moyenâgeux et décalé - et pourtant il n'en est rien. Cette scène aux accents anachroniques se passe de nos jours dans les campagnes japonaises oubliées du Monde Moderne. On y perçoit le côté obscur du Japon d'aujourd'hui - un des pays les plus développés en termes d'infrastructures et des plus technologiquement avancés. Un pays fait de mégalopoles qui n'aiment pas trop regarder du côté de ce parent pauvre que sont les campagnes où des personnes à l'âge plus que vénérables perpétuent - faute de moyens - des techniques agraires désuètes - sans se plaindre - dans le silence et l'oubli.

Aging villages in dire need of attention

image from the book of M. Kajii

It may look like an unfamiliar parallel universe for many city dwellers.  But, this is REAL.  You can see how the countryside of Japan, one of the world's most materially developed country, looks like and how older people continue farming practices.

You see, living in a remote rural village is not easy.  Rural elders have to do everything by themselves.  They have to shovel the snow in winter, prepare their own meals, heat the evening bath, etc.  Rural people are hardy souls as they need to be.  The next photo shows a septuagenarian or octogenarian granny, who is probabaly suffering osteoporosis, though she continues hard toil.  But, what if she becomes a housebound?

 

Money makes the world go round, world go round, world go round ... or Dirty cash

There is one interesting subject I was thinking of for a while now. At a first glance, one could say that the discussion around it could stay at a surface, and that there would not be much to say about. However, I will try to relate it with some deeper issues, in order to settle the field for discussion. Needless to say, I’ll appreciate very much your responsiveness.

少子化と公園 

ある公園の注意書きを読んで、仰天した。「公園利用者やご近所の迷惑になるようなボール遊びはやめてください」「花火をしているのを見かけたときは警察へ通報します」このような注意書きがいたるところにある。なにやら公園で遊ぶ子供たちを迫害し、告発するようで穏やかでない。なにしろ、その公園には公衆トイレ以外、大した遊具も設備もない。最低限の公園

日本人「難民」

3日前、フランスに戻った。今回は関西に2週間、滞在した。昨年は3週間、帰国した。時差ボケ、文化ボケで過ごす一週間目、「あれはナンだったんだ」とヘマや混乱を分析する二週目、そしてやっと慣れたころに出国する日本。

The social-issues.org ready for Drupal 6

Wow, Whoaw!  It was hot February on Drupal.org... version 6 (Final) on the 13th and then 6.1, just two weeks later.  However, we made it and now the social-issues.org Community has become something like diapason!  Thank you to the team.

So, with this new release/update, new bugs will appear... it's logically unavoidable.  Feel free (especially the Community members) to report any anomaly.  TIA!

Castaways of Oblivion

Predisposed to the media images of overpopulation, traffic congestion, and glittery commercial centers, it is widely assumed that Japan has “too many people and too little land [1].” But these familiar images of overcrowded megalopolises are persistently maintained, so that they cut people off from an often forgotten fact. More than half (51.7%) of Japanese territory is classified as kaso areas, predominantly rural, underdeveloped, and largely afflicted by serious depopulation [2] (see the map below).

How to learn French (or a foreign language)

Even if you have completed the advanced level of French at a language school, you know there are still certain points to master. So, how can you be proficient in both spoken and written French? This is my question and I have been struggling to improve my French badly (and English, too). Here are my favourite methods. Maybe, you can share your ways to learn languages with me!

格差と障害者

「えー、おっしゃってること、おかしいですよ」
2006年、5月24日。新経団連会長に就任した御手洗富士夫(みたらい ふじお)キャノン会長が、格差拡大をどう考えるかというインタビューに次のように答えた。

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