The following is an essay that I wrote for an English school AEON as an assignment of writing:
Topic: A person I admire Style: Casual
Hiroshi Orihara, a professor emeritus of the university of Tokyo, is a person I admire and respect. He was born in 1935. He is a famous researcher of the sociology of Max Weber. In 1968, when he was an assistant professor at the Komaba campus of the university of Tokyo, he protested against the university regarding a unwarranted suspension of a student in the literature department and declined to restart lectures for several years. What he criticized harshly at that time was dual attitude of the university’s professors who teach in one side scientific approaches to students and do not follow those scientific principles in another side; in their real lives. (The student of the literature department was suspended by false accusation that he used some violence against a professor which he instigated. But the truth was, the professor tried to drag him out of a room and the fact that he resisted against that was interpreted falsely. Mr. Orihara tried to find the hidden facts by a kind of scientific approach, but the university ignored his protest and the suspension was not changed eventually.)
In his study of Max Weber’s sociology, his main achievement was that he studied Max Weber’s one of main works named “Economy and Society” very precisely spending 10 years and showed one very strong hypotheses for the correct edition. (I joined this study in the first two and half years when I was a university student). In this giant work of Max Weber, there is a famous edition problem. He started to write this book as an inclusive textbook of economics and sociology in 1910. He was forced to stop writing because World War I started in 1914. After the war, he tried to revise the old drafts and also tried to make some additions, but since he suffered from Spanish Flu, he died in 1920 and could not finish the work. After his death, his wife Marianne Weber tried to rearrange the whole drafts based on her own judgement. Her edition was criticized very harshly by some scholars later, and controversies for the correct arrangement of the drafts has been still continuing. Mr. Orihara joined these controversies from Japan and criticized German scholars who edited the complete works of Max Weber, published by Mohr Siebeck.
What I plan in the near future is, to publish “Economy and Society” in the orders based on Mr. Orihara’s hypotheses. (Please note that Max Weber’s copyright expired in 1990.) I have already prepared the web site for this project: https://max-weber.jp/
Since Mr. Orihara is now 83 years old, I must be hurry.
The following is my essay that I wrote as an assignment for an English school in Japan:
Topic: Japanese cuisine and kitchen knives
Style: Free writing
Washoku, traditional dietary cultures of the Japanese are now quite famous worldwide, and UNESCO added them to their list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013.
One of the most important factors that supports this sophisticated culture is wide variety and long tradition of Japanese kitchen knives. If you think of Japanese dishes, you might be reminded of sushi or sashimi. Both dishes use raw fish. Some people may think the latter one is quite easy to prepare since it is just a dish with cut raw fish pieces. Yes, it is just cutting fish, but what is important is how you cut it. If you cut raw fish with a normal kitchen knife, the cells of fish meat will surely be crushed, and you cannot get cut pieces of fish with sharp edges. It is alleged that bad way of cutting diminishes the taste of sashimi quite a lot. All Japanese skilled chefs use very thin and long special knives specially dedicated to sashimi. They cut fish meat utilizing the whole length of a knife and cut it by drawing the knife quickly because the edge degree will be minimized and it will enable better cutting.
In order to keep sharp edges, it is vital to sharpen them before you use them. In western countries, chefs use a grinding bar to sharpen knives. Japan has a long tradition of Japanese swords and sharpening skill has reached at the highest level in the whole world. Japanese blacksmiths and chefs use several different grinding stones to sharpen Japanese swords and kitchen knives. The stones are usually flat stones with sizes usually around 7 X 30 X 3 cm. They start to grind swords or knives by rather harsh stones, and gradually change to stones with finer surfaces. Most grinding stones now in Japan are made artificially, but some good chefs stick to natural stones. A good natural grinding stone costs sometimes more than $1,000. Some say that each good knife has an ideal grinding stone as a pair, and they do not spare money to find it.
Another interesting thing about Japanese knives is that many of them are single-edged while most western knives are double-edged. It is said that single-edged is better in cutting but is difficult to cut something straight. There are also big differences in the way we sharpen single-edged knives compared to sharpen double-edged ones by grinding stones. Good chefs in Japan usually sharpen their knives by themselves, but there are also many of those who leave it to some professionals.
The following essay is what I wrote as an assignment of an English school AEON.
Topi: Cell phones and social etiquette
Among many alleged manners for cell phones or smartphones, the most vocal one in these days might be “do not use your cellphone/smartphone while you are walking on the street”. It is absolutely true that looking at the screen of a cellphone/smartphone during your walk is quite dangerous not only for you, but also for others whom you may jostle. Some of smartphone applications, however, require users to watch the screen while they are walking. The most typical one is Google Map. Many people (including myself) use the app to find destinations when they are lost in unfamiliar areas. Some may argue that we should use the “vocal guidance” function so that we do not need to look at the screen. For many others, however, it is inevitable to look at the screen even with some vocal guidance since the app is named “map”. And a map is to look at while we are walking. In the past, when we had no cellphone/smartphone, nobody said that we should not look at a paper map while we were walking. The difference between the old information system and the new one is, just the number of people who use it. People did not always have maps in the past, but now most of them have smartphones and they use them almost all the time while they are awake.
From this example, we can argue that we should think more how to solve the addiction to smartphone than to expect good manners for smartphones. For many young people, the first thing to see in the morning after they woke up and the last thing to see before they fell asleep are the same thing, their smartphones. When I travelled in China in last September, what shook me most was the fact that many young engineers with whom I had a lunch one day started to check their smartphones as soon as they finished eating. At this point of change in personal behavior, we should intensively study potentially negative impacts to human health for both body and mind.
As a conclusion, smartphone addiction is quite a serious problem and to consider good smartphone etiquettes is quite useless without thinking of possible solutions for this addiction.
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