Housing discrimination against foreigner students (and others) in Japan

I read this article on housing discrimination in Japan.

I was visited by memories of being turned down at my own uni co-op and several private real estate agencies because I was a foreigner.  And of finally being grudgingly allowed to see some apartments after being asked these clarifying questions:

Is it a male or female?

Does she speak Japanese?

What nationality is she?


Is she Chinese?

It does feel like Japan is utterly unprepared to deal with discrimination.  Though I must say that rural Japanese people have seemed far more capable of accepting ‘new’ people than urbanites who have lived listening to Tokyo’s Ishihara Sr.’s right-wing, racist, nationalist tripe.

I support you, Victor Rosenhoj!



Innovative anthropology conference in 2016

Looking for some new venues to meet people and exchange info about your research?

Here’s an anthropology conference hosted in the U.S. that aims to do create such a space! It’s open to anthropologists from all fields, and to researchers of other disciplines who use anthropological methods or theories in the work or research that they do.

Call for abstracts is out, but the deadline isn’t until September of 2015.

The conference will be held in Columbus Ohio, on the OSU campus April 2-3, 2016.

See the website for more details!

The best rejection letter

Back in August, I applied for an open pool lecture position, knowing that most likely, first semester decisions had been made, but hoping that they might need someone in spring.

Months pass with no word, but today I received an email from the school informing me

We have filled all of our teaching needs for the 2014-15 academic year.

I actually got to laugh out loud at a rejection letter!
With less than half of second semester left, they thought it important to inform me that they won’t be hiring me? Although not yet a Doc Phil myself, I had figured that out.


I once got a letter from an ex, months after we decided not to move in together, informing me that moving in together wouldn’t be possible.
I am reminded of this today.

It’s the best kind of rejection. It comes after you have already forgotten/dismissed the possibility, and you have already accepted that it won’t work out.

Here’s to hoping for a better letter next time!
So far 0 for 2 (and haven’t heard back on number two yet).

Indecipherable SocSci diagram of the month

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 11.36.40 AM

This time chart courtesy of a Japan MEXT page sponsoring research on economic development.  The diagram purports to explain the ‘dynamic relationship between the economy and social capital’. Yellow arrow represents economic development, green arrow is change in social capital.

The little white labels accompanying the grey lines include such things as ‘increased leisure’ and ‘importance of finding a reason for living’.  My favorites among them are ‘other’ and the one coming up from nowhere toward the green social capital arrow that reads, ‘other non-economic reasons’, because that is the whole world.  I feel truly enlightened.


This is Ghost.

Here is a Shikibu-type list of things that make me feel pleasure:

・the not cold

・all real cheese


Right now, in the dead of N. American winter, this is the best I can do to populate a list.  My list of un-pleasures is reams and reams long, but that is a post that can wait.

In yoga yesterday, we worked on the second chakra, and lots and lots of hips.  This area is a not-pleasure. In meditation, the teacher said, “think of a moment that gave you pleasure recently.”  Based on what has been shared in class before, I’m pretty sure the other women in the class were imagining their grandchildren smiling at them, eating good food, being on a beach, hugging their dogs and other warm and fluffy thoughts.

And me?  My pleasure was recalling the hour I spent caulking the shower earlier that morning.

Wracked with guilt over my pleasure, I wonder:  have I chosen the wrong career?  should I have chosen a trade school over a Ph.D.?  Would I be happier?  Or is this because I am waiting on feedback on the diss and am generally discontent sitting in wait?sad ghost


If you have ever heard of the infirm losing muscle strength in a matter of a few weeks, but wondered if it was possible, really, I can now personally attest that yes, it is possible. Even in a twenty or thirty something.
And that the dissertation can cause it.

After two and a half weeks of intensive writing, I have a full-ish draft.
But I also lost the strength in my legs.

Really. So seriously that my beginners level yoga class, which is usually the way for me to begin the week and move on to intermediate and advanced classes later in the week, left me hard-pressed to go up and down stairs for three days.

My advice?
If you must write your dissertation in a big clump, make time to exercise each day, not rolling from the bed to a desk or the couch for writing to write for ten hours and then back to bed.

Your legs and heart and writing will thank you.
Word to the wise!