The only reason I use Facebook is...

Why do so many people feel the need to justify why they use Facebook? I don't use it - I can't stand it - but lots of times I've told somebody that they'll tell me the "only reason I use it is...".

I don't care. I'm not saying it's wrong if you use it, I'm just saying I don't, although articles like this make me think some people are pathetic if Facebook is their sole method of communication. So if you want to use it, stop justifying it. I used to use it, started to hate it, and deleted my account. If you want to delete your account, delete it, don't act all sheepish to me about how you'd love to delete it, but...

I've never met anybody who's felt compelled to justify their use of email or telephones. If you treat Facebook just the same, why would you be embarrassed about it? Unless, of course, you don't.

Calm. I'll be calm.

Here in Tokyo you see people running, jumping, elbowing and shoving to get on trains. If they miss the train, they'll curse to themselves - or perhaps to the people who obstructed them - because now they might have to wait up to four whole minutes for the next train.

I've decided to stop adding to this madness by no longer running for trains. I tried to explain my reasoning to my business partner, thinking about it as I spoke.

"This year I'm planning to be..."

I doubt I'll be late, I said, or any later than I usually am. But I'll be calm.

Yeah, that's it. Calm. I won't be late, I'll be calm.

And a Happy New Year to you, too, ladies and gents

What's that you say? It's a bit bloody late? Well, rather late than never.

It's traditional at this time of year to bang on about oneself, regaling people - including complete strangers - about your big plans for the year.

This is the year you're going to run that marathon, tell your boss to stick his job up his arse, write that novel, travel the world, learn that language, learn how to cook, save money, drink less, stop smoking, be nicer to people, cut down on coffee, stop wearing fur, cycle everywhere, climb trees, start doing yoga, go surfing, get a sports car, wear nicer clothes, lose weight, close your Facebook account, start a band, learn how to paint and, ooh, I don't know, stroke more camels and bring peace to the world.

And good luck, I say! Go for it! All of it. If anybody tells you you're an idiot, tell them to fuck off. And if you fail, who really cares? Just don't keep on and on about it.

No idea the level of his own ignorance

I love Tom & Lorenzo.

This piece about a certain "overprivileged marginally talented brat" called Justin is brilliant. Scathing, true and sad in equal measure.

The revolution should be universalist

As I mentioned the other day, Russell Brand is stirring talk of revolution and I'm all for it. I'm not calling for people to smash things up and go on killing sprees of course, and neither is Brand. Like many other people, we're just fed up with the crap we have to deal with and can't help but think there's a better way. And it's not all hippy-dippy hug a tree stuff. Neither is it a lean towards preconceived views of communist oppression.

Speaking of communism or socialism, lots of people view them as if they're staggering evils, accompanied by brooding music and the stomp of jack boots and the rattle of tank tracks. That's not socialism or communism, it's good old totalitarianism. There's a difference.

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Russell Brand on revolution

I left the UK early in 2000, so I wasn't really around when comedian Russell Brand was becoming very, very famous. The only things I knew about him was what I occasionally saw in the paper or heard from other people, and the impression I got of him was that he was a bit of a dick.

Then, sometime last year, I read an article he'd written for the Guardian and loved it. He not only came across as articulate, self-effacing and very humorous, but also very intelligent and full of good ideas. That's why my ears pricked up when I heard he's been letting loose on revolution, a subject dear to my heart. He didn't disappoint.

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Young Japanese people aren't interested in real sex, apparently

According to a recent article in the Guardian, Japan is going through a crisis as young people are abandoning sex in droves. It can only happen here, of course, because Japan is so wacky. That's why people much prefer watching robots shagging than getting sweaty with the real thing.

Apparently the causes are - surprise, surprise - the bonkers culture, the hierarchies, the historical rigidity that Japanese people can't let go of, and probably Godzilla, too. It's crap, of course, but it plays all the right notes and ticks all the right boxes for every stereotype about Japan and Japanese people.

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Dealing with criticism

A few people have been blogging about criticism recently because, it seems, they've been criticised and got a bit pissed off about it. The thing is, they don't just come out and say they're pissed off about it because they're mainly blogging about lifestyle design/live your passion stuff. It doesn't pay to say "take your criticism and stick it up your fat fucking arse!" when you're flogging self-help guff.

Instead, they write slightly passive-aggressive posts which usually revolve around the same premise: it's not me they're criticising, it's themselves. Then they go on to offer advice that ranges from remembering that the people criticising you are hurting (that's why they do it, naturally) to giving them a mental hug. Aaahhh.

You may have noticed that I think this is ever so slightly a barrow of bollocks. People aren't just criticising you because they're hurting - they might just be dicks or, they might really think you're shit.

That's why I prefer the Stoic approach to dealing with criticism.

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Some facts to show you how shit the world is

I visited UNICEF today and, just in case I'd not being paying attention to the news for the last few years and thought everybody was going about whistling and crapping rainbows, I was reminded that we live in a pretty shitty world.

I say "we" but my guess is - if you're reading this - you're living in a pretty comfortable world, just like me. We're in a lucky minority.

Continue reading "Some facts to show you how shit the world is" »

Women: Know your limits

It's simple, really. Women are good at making cakes, arranging flowers or making things look fluffy, while men are better at, well, real work. At least that seems to be the view in lots of countries, including the world's second largest economy.

That's right, China makes sure that the ladyfolk know their place by helpfully making lists of jobs that girls just can't do. And then making laws to make sure they don't. Mining, for example. "Some jobs are really inappropriate for women," says the forward-thinking Prof Shu from the China Mining and Technology University. "If they force their way into these jobs, they will waste energy that can be better used elsewhere."

Quite right! They could be serving tea to men, or knitting things for men, or looking after men. Not lifting heavy things, which is the reason they're not allowed to work in mines. Makes perfect sense: all men are powerful Adonis types who can lift cars off suffering kittens. Women are pathetic weaklings who'd be much better off stroking said kittens. They'd be shit in mines.

They're not just physically weak, though. No, no, no. They're weak-willed and feeble-minded, too. That's why one university in Dalian, northern China, bans ladies from studying naval engineering - "because months on board a ship would be tough for women to endure." Men, as we know, can endure any hardship and never complain.

I'd write more, but surely a woman should be typing this for me. I should be devoting my time to more manly pursuits like lifting things and enduring stuff. Shame, really, because I'm shit at both. But who am I to defy the natural order of things?

A few other k-creative-japans cropping up

I was recently informed that some company in China is registering a whole bunch of "k-creative-japan" domains - except this one, because it's mine. I'm not really sure why they're doing it. Perhaps they expect me to buy them for an inflated price? Perhaps they think this a thriving concern?

They're wrong on both counts, of course. It initially made be a bit uncomfortable, but then I remembered the same thing happened with my other website, so I'm not unduly concerned.

If you do see another k-creative-japan site, or sites, cropping up, they're not me. You know, just in case.

Eli Beer: The fastest ambulance? A motorcycle

Inspiring stuff.

As a young EMT on a Jerusalem ambulance, Eli Beer realized that, stuck in brutal urban traffic, they often arrived too late to help. So he organized a group of volunteer EMTs -- many on foot -- ready to drop everything and dash to save lives in their neighborhood.

Today, United Hatzlah uses a smartphone app and a fleet of “ambucycles” to help nearby patients until an ambulance arrives. With an average response time of 3 minutes, last year, they treated 207,000 people in Israel. And the idea is going global.

An experiment in health, and avoiding death (for as long as possible)

Life has a way of creeping up behind you, then smacking you in the head (or chest) and running away.

It's inevitable, which is shitty, but you can delay it, which makes a little less shitty. The problem is, all the reasons for being healthy and not reaching for another doughnut, cigarette or beer seem too vague and not immediate.

That's why I decided to focus on the immediate, i.e. the next month. For one month, I'm going to eat decent food, exercise, and not get boozed up, just to see if it has any effect. It's not that I'm a raging alcoholic that eats shit and never moves muscle unless it's to change channels, but I could be doing more.

In more(ish) detail, for the month of July, I will:

  1. Not smoke (Not even that 'social smoking' thing. I will quit this time.)
  2. Eat no fried food
  3. Eat no junk food (which includes store-bought pizza)
  4. Drink a maximum of two beers, a maximum of twice a week
  5. Exercise for at least 90 minutes per day
  6. Drink only water, tea and (a little) coffee
  7. Eat only healthy snacks, like nuts, seeds, and fruit
  8. Go to bed earlier and get up earlier
  9. Spend less time on the computer/phone/other attention-sapping device
  10. Make lunch every day

Let's see what happens in a month.

How long is the average email?

In terms of word count, how long is the average email?

I've heard the average direct marketing email is around 350 words, but what about email sent for business or even personal messages?

I don't know the answer, but I'd like to know for some research I'm doing with my partner. If you can spare a few moments, I'd not only really appreciate your help, but there could be a special treat for you.

Simply let me know how many words your average email runs to and whether it differs for business or personal emails. Either leave a comment, or email me at: richard (at) k-creative-japan (dot) com.

Thank you!

Danny Hillis: The Internet could crash. We need a Plan B

My, how times change.

In the 1970s and 1980s, a generous spirit suffused the Internet, whose users were few and far between. But today, the net is ubiquitous, connecting billions of people, machines and essential pieces of infrastructure -- leaving us vulnerable to cyber-attack or meltdown. Internet pioneer Danny Hillis argues that the Internet wasn't designed for this kind of scale, and sounds a clarion call for us to develop a Plan B: a parallel system to fall back on if -- or when -- the Internet crashes.

Hello. I'm Richard and this is my blog.

I write, edit design and teach things from my base in the wonderful city of Tokyo, Japan.

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