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Independence Day – International Edition

So one of the strange, or at least unexpected, things about how this blog has turned out is that nearly all the readers are international. I do get some readers from the US, but they are actually something of a rarity. I appreciate that. It also feels like a responsibility, because I’m representing my country, and probably not well. I at least hope better than some others, but truth be told, many Americans make that a low bar. Some of us are fat boorish assholes. Some are nice and would… Read More »Independence Day – International Edition


Probably one of the most frequent questions that’s never been asked of me, but probably would be if people felt comfortable asking me questions, would be “what’s it like living in Texas”? Well, specifically for my foreign friends, let me answer that question. Texas is big. I mean really big. It’s one and a half times as big as Japan. A statistic that shocks even Americans is that its less distance from San Diego to El Paso than it is from El Paso to Houston. I-10 is about 800 miles… Read More »Texas

Kaepernick’s Folly

America (the United States) is, generally, a very patriotic country. We don’t have very many symbols. We have a flag. We have a national anthem. We have a constitution, a declaration of independence, and a few other important symbols. Generally, we tend to be pretty proud of those symbols, as they represent something pretty special. It causes a lot of offense when someone deliberately tramples on them. Our Independence Day is coming up this Sunday. It is a time of fireworks, picnics, and reflection on the things that make this… Read More »Kaepernick’s Folly

Why I’m Not A Republican

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that I’m no fan of Democrats. Honestly, I’m being very nice when I say that. I’m no fan of Democrats in the same way I’m no fan of dirty diapers, and much for the same reason. So I’m not really going to go into that – I have no reason to. I can do that in other posts. But I’m not a Republican, either, and that is absolutely intentional. In my opinion, the only reason one would even consider becoming a Republican is… Read More »Why I’m Not A Republican

The Westernization of Japan

I watched an interesting thing on YouTube about the history of Japan on my lunch break today, and in doing so, I discovered something really interesting.  It was Americans that kind of forced Japan’s hand and caused them to open up after several centuries of self imposed isolation. Japan has always struck me as a really interesting mix, but I haven’t been able to figure out why.  It is almost as if they would like nothing more than to retreat back into their period of isolation, but can’t.  There’s this… Read More »The Westernization of Japan

Cultural Neuroses

I think every country has something I call “cultural neuroses” – or at least I started to about twenty seconds ago.  Something in the culture that lives deep inside the cultural zeitgeist and underlies invisible assumptions that a culture makes.  In my opinion, this is one of the primary reasons to learn a foreign language – but for two reasons, not one.  One reason is to try to see the cultural neuroses in other cultures that are invisible to them.  And another is to try to see the cultural neuroses in… Read More »Cultural Neuroses

America’s Darkness

A part of me feels like I’ve been a bit hard on Japan. I take back nothing, honestly.  There is a darkness that runs through their society, and it is a little jarring when contrasted with the beauty of their culture.  I am not comfortable with that, honestly. But then I thought about how my country must appear.  There are some places in most major cities in which it is not safe to be out at night.  There are fewer but far too many places where it is not safe… Read More »America’s Darkness