Inspirational News: The Daily Yomiuri, Osaka, Japan

Edited by Peter Y. Chou,

* WORLD: Excerpts from Chiang Kai-shek's diary made public
[Members of Chiang's family entrusted the diary, which Chiang started in 1917
at the age of 30 and maintained until his death in 1975, to Stanford University.]
(By Yukiko Furusawa, The Daily Yomiuri - Osaka, Japan, Mar. 26, 2006)
* MUSIC: Mull over Beethoven [Edmund Morris's Beethoven: The Universal Composer
Five years before his death, while working on the Missa Solemnis, his longest work,
Beethoven wrote to a friend, "It seems to me that I have only just begun to compose!"
Indeed, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony was still two years away.]
(By Brian Chapman, The Daily Yomiuri - Osaka, Japan, Mar. 26, 2006)
* DANCE: From classroom to ballroom [Mad Hot Ballroom (Japan title: Step! Step! Step!),
an uplifting documentary on children in New York who learn ballroom dance at school, shows
that the joy of dancing is universal, and is boosting awareness of dance education in Japan.
(By Tokiko Oba, The Daily Yomiuri - Osaka, Japan, Mar. 25, 2006)
* DANCE: Shall we dance? / Ballroom dancing catches on with children
["When I first heard about it, I thought, 'Oh no!'" said one student, the shy Reiki Nomoto.
"I didn't want to hold a girl's hand." The students were asked to choose either dance or judo
for their 12-hour physical education course, and about 110 students out of 165 preferred dance.
"In this information technology society, where people have less direct human interaction,
children tend to have less of an idea of cooperation and teamwork," Saito says. "Among
various types of dance, ballroom dancing is special in that people always dance with
a partner. Children will learn to communicate with their partner and care about them."]
(By Tokiko Oba, The Daily Yomiuri - Osaka, Japan, Mar. 25, 2006)
* SCIENCE: Tiny tweezers can manipulate single molecules
[Kazushi Kinbara of Tokyo University Graduate School of Engineering has developed
3-nanometers-long tweezers and as tiny as one ten-thousandth to one hundred-thousandth
of the thickness of a human hair. The tool is made of organic compounds which expand
and contract responding to light, and structurally similar to scissors and forceps.
The tweezers will gain attention as a tool used in nanotechnology research.
(The Daily Yomiuri - Osaka, Japan, March 24, 2006)
* SPIRITUAL: In search of enlightenment
[Zazen, or seated meditation, is a rigorous practice by Zen Buddhist ascetics
to attain enlightenment. The Shohozan Myoshinji in Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, holds a
zazen session every Saturday night, from 5:30 p.m to 9 a.m. the following day.]
(By Tatsuya Sakamoto, The Daily Yomiuri - Osaka, Japan, March 24, 2006)
* MUSINGS: Team Japan's miraculous success in winning the World Baseball Classic
[A huge storm hit the ships of Mongolian troops converging Hakata Bay (Fukuoka Prefecture)
in 1281. As many as 4,000 Mongolian war vessels are said to have sunk after they were
slammed by what is called kamikaze, or divine wind. Japanese troops furiously fought
the invaders in bloody battles to prevent them from landing. If the Japanese troops
had not tried desperately to fight off the enemy, no kamikaze would have blown.
The Japanese proverb "Un mo jitsuryoku no uchi" has a Western equivalent:
"Chance favors the prepared mind." Whether in the East or West, it seems the
god of fortune does not abandon those who try their best in difficult times.]
(By Henshu Techo, The Daily Yomiuri - Osaka, Japan, Mar. 23, 2006)
* MAGIC OF GO: Discussions on world trade
[Some pros actually refer to the go board as "the world". Trying to keep things
simple by slowing down your opponent is a personal gain. One way is to force him
to make a move. This is called kikashi.]
(The Daily Yomiuri - Osaka, Japan, Mar. 22, 2006)
* EDUCATION: Educational Renaissance/ Thinking skills begin with 'Why?' at juku
[A class in Yodogawa Ward, Osaka, began with a Japanese translation of a poem by the
famous Chinese poet Tu Fu (712-770). "Kuni yaburete sanga ari," lecturer Satoru Yano, 24,
recited. (The line means, "Though the nation has been defeated, the hills and rivers remain
as they were.") The students repeated the words after him, before writing the lines down.
The course aims at helping children develop "full-scale" thinking skills that enable them
to come up with flexible ideas. In a standard 90-minute class, the first 30 minutes are
dedicated to listening comprehension and speaking— the reciting of the Chinese poem
being one such example. Students also practice deep breathing to improve their concentration,
before moving on to discussion sessions between the lecturer & students on various topics.]
(By Kazuya Sekiguchi, The Daily Yomiuri - Osaka, Japan, Mar. 21, 2006)
* SCIENCE: War of the cherry blossoms [This year's predictions of when cherry trees will
begin blossoming throughout Honshu vary widely, with privately owned weather service
Weather News casting doubt over dates announced by the Meteorological Agency.]
(The Daily Yomiuri - Osaka, Japan, Mar. 18, 2006)
* NATURE IN SHORT: Learning from the spirit mountain
[The 929-meter Mt. Mitake located in western Tokyo is a well-known reizan, or "spirit mountain,"
that has been worshiped as a sacred peak for well over 1,000 years. According to legend,
Yamato-takeru, the great hero-prince sent by Emperor Keiko to subdue rebellious tribes in
the southern and eastern provinces, is said to have buried his weapons on the mountain.
When wandering in the forest, the hero was guided by a wolf, and even today a wolf-spirit
is identified as the familiar of the local deity. The kami deities of Mt. Mitake offer
long life, abundant children, and protection against disaster, ill luck, and thievery.]
(By Kevin Short, The Daily Yomiuri - Osaka, Japan, Feb. 28, 2006)
* SCIENCE: 1st 3-D image of coelacanth produced [The fish's name means "hollow spine"
in ancient Greek. Tokyo Institute of Technology has successfully produced the world's
first 3-D image of a coelacanth that has survived unchanged in 400 million years.]
(The Daily Yomiuri - Osaka, Japan, Feb. 27, 2006)

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