Doing some spring cleaning, trying to clear out some things that have been cluttering my mind…

(1) The house I saw on first trip to Tokyo (in Shibuya)

On my second day ever in Japan, I saw an interesting house in Shibuya. I’ve never been able to relocate it, but I found a house that is reminiscent, and also in Shibuya (map).

Shibuya contemporary home.jpg

And Shibuya Crossing, from that same trip:

(2) Sakai 堺市 / Quora question about libertarians and urban planning

A question on Quora asks, “What do libertarians think about urban planning?”. I’m not a libertarian, so I’m not qualified to answer this question, but I’ll mention the following:

Some Japanese blogs describes Imai-cho 今井町,  Hakata 博多, and Sakai 堺市 as some of the original gated communities in Japan. Old Sakai City, just south of Osaka, has been referred to as “free city”「自由都市」, as it was also (at least partially) self-governed for a time.

“During the Sengoku Period, Sakai faces its golden age as a trading port. Sakai developed as an exchange hub for foreign trade with the Ming Dynasty, Spain and Portugal. Sakai at the time, was surrounded by a moat, which was a rare incidence, even on a global scale, and it flourished as self-governed city.”

I saw a Japanese blog, 市場は正義!(Market is Justice!), present Imai-cho as a positive example of a free society. Strictly speaking, I think this blog may be more Anacap (Anarcho-capitalist) than Libertarian, but there are probably overlaps in their philosophies (and maybe also in their views towards urban planning).

Based on the existence of a moat and a street plan, it seems quite clear that “urban planning”, broadly defined, played a role in Sakai’s successful development. I imagine that a libertarian would not object to urban planning as long as the planning is the result of free choice exercised by the people who live in that area.

Pic 1 source, Pic 2 source:

(3) The concept of tsundere ツンデレ

A friend mentioned the word tsundere ツンデレ, which was new to me. According to Wikipedia

“Tsundere (ツンデレ) is a Japanese term for a character development process that describes a person who is initially cold and even hostile towards another person before gradually showing their warm side over time. The word is derived from the terms tsun tsun (ツンツン), meaning to turn away in disgust, and dere dere (デレデレ) meaning to become ‘lovey dovey’…The term was made popular in the visual novel Kimi ga Nozomu Eien.”

Related Quora post: What is it like to be a tsundere?

(4) Unique jobs in Japan

Another Quora question made me reflect on this…
The first few that come to mind are:
  • the yakimo man (seller of baked sweet potatoes from the back of a truck)
  • the girls at baseball games, serving beer from kegs that they carry on their backs
  • the guys waving flags at construction sites
  • greeters (always female?) who stand outside pachinko parlors

(5) A book called “THINGS Japanese”

There’s a book called “Things Japanese” that I’ve been scrolling through. Written by Basil Hall Chamberlain and published in 1890, the book is an A to Z list of Chamberlain’s observations about Japan. Some topics are given brief descriptions, while others are addressed with mini-essays. It’s full of interesting social observations; full text is available on the Internet Archive.

(6)  Bad News Bears go to Japan (1978)

At the end of “Bad News Bears go to Japan“, the American and Japanese teams play an informal game on the grounds of the former Yodobashi Water Filtration Plant, now the Shinjuku skyscraper district. This photo is taken from roughly here, site of the Hyatt Regency Shinjuku. We are looking east/southeast. The large building in the middle of the frame is the Shinjuku Sumitomo Building 新宿住友ビル (map).

Shinjuku water filtration Bad News Bears in Japan 1978.jpg

Some other scenes from the film…

Tokyo Tower:

Mt. Fuji and a Shinkansen:

Mt. Fuji Bad News Bears 1978.jpg

Sakai & Imai Notes & Links

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