Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sequels in Feb. 2013

Feb 18. 2013

This case astonished a lot of people. However, it is also surprising that information about this was widespread so rapid. If we have been in cold wars, whole information would have been sealed.
I heard that Russian drivers attached video camera on their cars as usual to be prepared to a traffic accident. It enabled us to get the situation around meteor strike in detailed. It is interesting.

Feb 7. 2013

At last I got a gastrocamera examination the other day. It was so tough for me. The tube gave me severe nausea. Nasal camera would be more painless but I hesitated to choose nasal one because my nose is often stopped up. An examination performed under anesthesia was also available. I wonder to choose which method in the next time.

Feb 1. 2013

A bill about internet election is to be presented at the Diet. Democratic Party of Japan and Your Party claim that e-mail should be allowed completely for the purpose of advertisement of election. Ruling Liberal Democratic Party opposes to it. Nonetheless, new legislation will be established. I am welcome to deregulation.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

IC recorder by Olympus

Recently, I bought an IC recorder by Olympus for the purpose of my research.
It is light and easy to use.

For the first time I touched one of the IC recorder in 2005. Those days, even cassette tapes and mini discs were available. Also ZIP discs might be popular, though they were not common in Japan.
I remember I was surprised of multifunction of IC recorder. It equipped storage, recorder, and MP3 player. I carried one for business, but used almost only for listening music.

In Japan, Sanyo was a leading company about this kind of gadget. I loved the products of Sanyo because of its design and usability. However, Sanyo was purchased from Panasonic.

Now Panasonic is struggling for better fiscal balance.
The situation has changed. Nowadays, few people buy IC recorders. We can record conversation using iPhone, or other Smartphone. Why should we bring another device than the iPhone? IC recorders cannot let us watch TV or internet.

Old electronic devices tend to be outdated rapidly. It is destiny about technology.
However, in some situations, they can an interesting role.

I was able to buy an IC recorder with a certain academic funding because this device is necessary to perform a project. Perhaps, iPhone is not allowed to be bought with funding. IPhone is expensive and vulnerable to malware. Limited function is sometimes advantageous.

Gadgets with limited usability are cheap but have unique fascination. In many developing countries they will use more cheaper gadgets which are convenient enough. I love not only PC, Smartphone, and Kindle tablet, but also low-end gadgets.

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Boycott by Koreans against Takeshima

An unofficial association composed of 6 million of independent businesspersons in South Korea began to reject buying Japanese products. According to news reports, they are opposed to performing the ceremony of “Day of Takeshima” by Shimane prefecture in Japan.

A Boycott against Japan in Korea, MSN Sankei News site (in Japanese)

Takeshima is an area of which there is a severe conflict about which is the fair ruler.

About Kakeshima, actually, I do not know whether is right or wrong. History is unavoidable from distortion. Even if an international court decides the true ruler, the loser would not accept it. As a Japanese, I believe in the claim by the Japanese government. But I can also imagine the political stance of South Korea. Such a conflict is hardly to be resolved.

On the other hand, it is far from my understanding why Koreans should begin a boycott.

First, now Takeshima is under the control of South Korea. In this situation, ruling side has not to mention the problem of territory. If they were continuing to rule the area silently, the evidence of the fairness of their ruling would be strengthened. Besides, loser side, Japan must be agitated about this to let other countries know about this problem. This is a common strategic theory for problem of territory.

Second, this is much greater, the reason why an unofficial association leads this social movement is unknown.
South Korea is a country highly dependent on foreign currency. It is contrasted with Japan. They were struggling to compete against foreign countries, especially after fiscal crisis in 2008. Samsung and LG electronics are now world famous companies. I guess that the government of South Korea has made great effort to grow up them. As a result, Korean industry is essential for the world. Samsung and LG are now international companies. Of course they need more international cooperation in both economic and industrial views for more prosperity.
For such mega companies, conflict against other countries is quite harmful. If South Korea were deemed to be risky, most countries would be hesitated to deal with South Korea. Moreover, Japan is one of important partners in South Korea.
I do not know whether it is advantageous for independent businesspersons association to be against Japan.

Perhaps, some agitators may lead this movement. If so, the move would no longer continue. International problem of territory is not easy to be resolved. No one hopes that a conflict would influence badly for the daily life of Koreans.

I am not emotional about this problem. Indeed, I like Korean cuisine very much. That’s all.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Washing machine and task

I have a washing machine produce by SHARP.
This one is equipped with drum roll and can dry the clothes after washing automatically. It is an excellent function. It lets me free from labor of hanging out.

However, there is a disadvantage.
This machine sometimes does not work ordinarily. When washing and drying are completed, a bell sounds. Then, I have to find that the laundry was not dry, occasionally.
This phenomenon tends to occur when I put in a large amount of clothes. Maybe, laundry surpasses capacity of this machine, I guess.

Usually, when I put in too much clothes, an alarm tells me about this. But even if washing begins, it is possible of failure.

Human work is similar to this.

We often order a work to other employees. They accept the order. But sometimes the work is not successful. Then we tend to think that the employee had to decline the work if he had known that it was impossible to complete the work in time.

Both sides are to blame for it.
Reject the task that you think impossible.
And do not such an order. Look at the amount of laundry and capacity of the drum. You can compare them and predict the result.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Failure and recovery of my Let’s Note AX

Last week was a tough one for me.

One day, I talked about our new research with one of my colleague. The discussion is not so boring, but I was not able to concentrate on it.
On the other hand, my newest PC, Let’s Note AX was not working so well. The touch pad was so sensitive that the cursor often moved unintentionally. The other day I installed some bug fixes but to be in vain.

My past entry: New PC with WIN8 by Panasonic (1)
My past entry: New PC with WIN8 by Panasonic (2)

So I tried to update BIOS of this machine, during our conversation.
It was my fault.

After updated, a critical change occurred. Keyboard was no longer respond. I could not type any words! As far as I know, this kind of phenomenon is quite rare in laptop PC. Perhaps I mistook the process of installation. BIOS update is so dangerous.

Next, I tried to use system recovery tool supplied by Windows8. For my experience, most problems with new software or updating had been cancelled.
But, after restarting, Cursor had vanished!

Damn it!

I hesitated to call customer support, because I had changed the machine once. I decided to recover the OS itself.
I booted up EFI, to input the command to order full recovery to factory setting.

It was successful. My Let’s Note began to work again. Of course, data in the SSD was completely deleted. Fortunately, I always use Microsoft Skydrive to back up all of business data. So the damage of this tragedy was minimized.

However, the cursor remained vulnerable. I was about to give up. Then I saw popup news by Panasonic.

“Newly support information, system update to stabilize movement of the cursor”

This notification had not appeared yet when I tried to update the BIOS. This program released during my struggling. Is it good timing, or bad?

I installed the program. And usability of this machine improved dramatically.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Informed consent and forced treatment

One day one of professors of ethics told me, “Ethics is not a simple matter.”
He continued, “For example, it is not an ethics that to be kind to elder person. In real world, there are a lot of dilemmas. You should help an elder person, but you have to hurry up to go to other place. It is the ethical situation.”
I remember this thought well in my university class.

In medical situation, ethics is of course important. We must get informed consent from the patient before treatment performs.

However, the term “informed consent” is complicated one.

In legal context, informed consent means the human right to refuse any treatment according to one’s free will. The choice is patients’. Therefore, the responsibility of decided treatment is shared by both the therapist and the patient.
Any treatment is not certain. Some patients will get recovered. Others will die. If physician was arrested every time the patient died, nobody would be a physician.
So, the concept of informed consent has changed from human right to self-responsibility.

Self-responsibility is dangerous concept. Especially, in mental health issue, we are to be prudent to use this thought. IF the patient was suffering from mental illness, it would be possible that the desire told by the patients is not true. Self-responsibility and informed consent may kill the patient.

When is forced treatment allowed, overcoming informed consent? Each country establishes their legislations. United Nation set a principle of mental health care, called “The protection of person with mental illness and the improvement of mental health care.”

General Assembly

Japan has ratified this treaty. However, human right protection for the patients with mental illnesses is still weak. Ethical committees are not working in most mental hospitals.
On the other hand, there is the other side in forced treatment. If treatment was delayed, the patient would harm self or others in some cases. We practitioners have duty to protect both human right and life of the patients. Every day we face a dilemma.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Women's era

Going into society of women is one of key words in 20th century.
Now, it is not rare that a woman occupy an administrative position in major companies.

However Japan is deemed as a country not easy to get a high class job for women. In Japan the rate of women in administrative posts is about 10%, lowest in developed countries, except Korea.

Women feel that it is difficult to have a baby in their work life. Child-care leave is hardly offered. Nurseries are very busy. Past ruling Democrat Party of Japan tried to supply child allowance for mothers, but financial crisis did not allow this policy.

I seldom see female bosses around me. On the other hand, several subordinates of mine are female. They are cheerful, have a fun for work, and get a child. The age is changing.

New government in Japan promised to support working women. Powerful women will rise in Japan, I predict in future.
Besides, men are rather powerless recently. It is said that men who do not look for sexual partners aggressively are increasing. They are called “Soshoku-kei”, herbivorous –style. In Japan balance of power between men and women is changed upside down.

Also in Japan domestic violence sometimes occurs. Most of victims are women. However, a few men are suffering from their wife. Legislation in Japan about domestic violence is advantageous for women. So, male victims tend to fall into a pitfall. It is relatively rare, but there are cautious cases.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Four patterns of policies

We often talk about politics, and sometimes argue each other.
As far as I know, political stance of human is categorized into 4 patterns.
They are libertarians, liberals, communitarians, and conservatives.

I use 2 axes to classify them.
One is Axis of Principle. When freedom of individual principle is widely accepted, the whole society becomes tolerate to minorities, free from totalitarianism. But too free society would incline to chaotic. Governance of authorities cannot works well. They would fall into ineffective populism.
The other is Axis of Economy. If power of market is respected, citizens work harder to improve their own life. This results in development of society and culture. But market often fails. Unequal society results from too free economy. Moreover, handicapped person hardly successes in the world of survival of the fittest. Human is not equal by nature, indeed. Some adjustment is needed.

So, there are 4 stances for policy.

Libertarians believe in God’s invisible hand by Mr. Adam Smith. They take account on one’s own choice. If all persons made their favorable decisions, all would have been happy. According to their thought, adjustment by the government is a necessary evil. Taxes and legislations have to be minimized. They are not anarchists. Some regulation to keep market fair is needed.

Liberals impress the importance of human will. It likes libertarians. However they prefer equality to fairness. As protection for weak people is essential, tax for rich people is justified.

For communitarians, absolute freedom in individual thought is a kind of fantasy. They claim that common goodness is the best value for a community. They think that neither pragmatism or liberty solve the conflict in human society. Recently, Prof Michael Sandel is a famous communitarian. He denies the freedom to sell one’s own organs.

Conservative is other than 3 above policies. They think traditional thoughts are worthy to respect. They like to maintain old styles of cultural behavior, especially nurture, gender, and work styles.

It is an example for classification. Some other explanation I have seen.

According to this categorizing, I am a libertarian. Why? This policy is the most optimistic. When all of us act as selfish, all would works well. How splendid! I wish to believe the potential of human.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Meteor Strike in Russia

Disastrous meteor fall struck Russia in Feb. 15, 2013. The meteor exploded, to injure over 1,000 people, according to media.

Meteor explodes over Russia, 1,100 injured (The Mainichi)

Meteor swarm is the most powerful spell in fantasy world, such as Dungeons & Dragons ®. But in real it is nothing other than a calamity.

The word “Astronomical” has a meaning of rarity in Japan. Probability of meteor strike is quite astronomical. According to some assumption, it is deemed to about 1/100,000,000 or 1/10,000,000,000. Now in Japan, probability of fatal traffic accident in a year is 1/10,000. So you should watch out around you, not above you, of course.

Nonetheless this event influenced people much. Someone tweeted “I am afraid of an atomic power plant struck by a meteor.” Another replied, “It would be much more dangerous that the meteor strikes your house.”

We have to prepare to undesired incidents. It is essential to control the risk. Crippled Fukushima atomic power plant case also results from failure of risk control. However, nature itself is not controllable. Earthquake and Tsunami, Typhoons and Hurricanes, heavy rain and snow are also terrible. We can manage the risks, but cannot delete them completely.
Moreover, a meteor has great power of heat. I guess normal walls or roofs does not have enough power against big meteors.

There is a useful tool against rare but critical events. It is “insurance”. Perhaps “Insurance for meteors” will rise.
But then, if a big meteor strikes urban area, insurance company may bankrupt because of need for enormous payment.

At last, humankind is not strong enough to overcome a meteor. When will we be able to conquer nature?


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Collagen for beauty, is it true?

Oral supplement with collagen is popular, especially for women. A lot of products are on sale every day. Collagen is a group of protein that keeps human skin smooth. So it is commonly said that taking collagen is beneficial for anti-aging.

However, effect of taking collagen for human skin is uncertain in the academic field.
It is obvious that collagen taken by mouth does not replace old skin. Collagen we ate are to be broken down into amino acids, and then they will be reconstructed to elements of human body. Therefore, taking vast collagen is not equal to supply collagen in human skin.

When I tell the story above to women, they are disappointed. Usually they say they feel the benefit of collagen-rich meal.
When a man strongly believes the effect of a certain material, it often has a real effect on him. This is called as “Placebo effect”. The placebo effect is somewhat confusing, but really beneficial for some patients.
On the other hand, it is sorry that a patient had to take a drug to be proved to have no effect for him. Some anti-arrhythmic drugs have been proved to useless in prolongation of life of patients who has arrhythmia. It is well known as an example of the dilemma between calculable effect and real outcome. In Japan, some drugs related to cerebral circulation were banished from the market, because of failure to show a significant effect in a makeup examination.

Today I saw a tweet about this issue. Someone wrote that there was a clinical trial on the effect of oral collagen for skin elasticity. Collagen is broken into amino acids through peptide. According to the description, some peptide may have a positive effect on human skin. It is an interesting hypothesis. Is feeling of women correct? Whether it is true or false is remain unknown. Indeed, only one quarter of academic articles are correct.
I am seeking the original article about this to investigate it by myself, but unfortunately I have not found it yet. Instead, vast articles about human skin and anti-aging are found. The desire for beauty is so strong.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Making foe, a dangerous technique

Making someone a villain, is one of techniques to get trust of others.

Mr. Steve Jobs had advantage of this method. This book explains his excellent ability of presentation. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience

Indeed, he always showed something made by another company as a villain when he presented his new product. Netbook against iPad, stylus pen against iPhone, and Sony VAIO against Mac Book Air. The audience are influenced by other products Mr. Jobs presented, And they are led to know advantage of products by Apple more impressively.

In political situation similar way is used frequently. Politicians often attack a certain group, such as a big company, an association, or even other countries. When we hate them, we are to be fascinated to the politician who blames them. It is psychological effect of cognitive harmony.

However this technique is very dangerous I think.

To blame something is negative behavior. An alliance against evil sometimes possesses great power. But when the evil is extinguished, the alliance will collapse. Or they would seek another foe. It is silly that seeking foe has changed into the final destination.

You have to be careful when you respect others. If the man attacks another one, I recommend you to doubt your emotion. Perhaps your trust is not true, but reflection of negative emotion to created foe.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Human relationship

One day, a senior doctor told me about the three essential elements of life. They were “work”, “companions” and “control of greed”. I agree with him.

Among them companions is complicated one. We have to think about human relationship to know the value of companions.

Human relationship is quite important. A survey about stress among working environment shows that human relationship at the work space is the most critical factor of stressor for working person, more than salary, more than pressure.
Interestingly I have heard that a similar study in USA shows the same result. It is a little surprising, as companies in USA are deemed to be more businesslike than ones in Japan. Actually, in many company in USA the boss has authority to decide payment for his subordinates. So employees may be much concerned about temper of their boss.

Oldies Japan community had deep human relationship. A Japan company was compared to a family. Nowadays, people who dislike conventional culture in Japan are increasing. Japan culture itself is changing. Some people say collapse of Japan community will result in worsening of security. I agree with it. However, disadvantages of old culture in Japan must be got rid of for further prosperity in future.

I don’t know where we go to. The only thing that is certain is importance of human relationship cannot change forever.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Problem of Hats logic

Here it is a quiz of logic.
A hundred men, all of them are genius, are sitting around a huge table.
They wear a hat on their head. They can see hats anyone wears other than the hat of their own.
Now the facilitator announced, “Let’s play a game. I gave you hats whose color is either red or white. And at least one man wears a white hat. Who can know the color of your own hat? If so, raise your hand. The first man who can get the color is the winner. Let’s begin!”
Actually, the hats they wear are all white.
Then what will be happened?

It is a famous problem. To solve this some techniques similar to mathematical induction are needed. Additionally, you have to imagine the thought of other persons.

You got it, or confusing?
The answer is below;

First, if the first man (called A) saw 99 red hats, A would know that he wears a white hat, because the only man who wears a white hat must be himself.
But A did not raise his hand. So, at least one man in the last 99 men other than A wears a white hat. It is objectively true information.

Second, if the second man (called B) saw 98 red hats besides A’s hat, B would know that he wears a white hat, because at least one man in the 99 men other than A wears a white hat, and it must be B.
But B did not raise his hand. So, at least one man in the last 98 men other than A and B wears a white hat.

Same as before, C is not able to raise his hand. D, E, and F…

At last, the 100th man noticed that he wears a white hat.

He raises his hand.
In the assumption of this problem, the men are all genius. So everyone will notice the final fact and raise their hand at the same time.
This is the answer.

It is very interesting. One can know the fact according to the fact that other people cannot know. It’s a little tricky.
However, this is not realistic situation. In real world, we are not genius. We are not equal. And unfortunately we are not trustful each other. I am sorry I would not be able to see that everyone raises their hands synchronized.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A case of Louvre museum by mental disordered suspect

In Feb. 7th, 2013, a certain woman was arrested because she vandalized “Liberty Leading the People”, a world famous painting work by Delacroix in Louvre museum.

The culprit is a 28-year-old woman, reports say, seems to be mentally disordered. The message she wrote was “AE911” whose meaning remains unknown. But most people imagined about Sep. 11, 2001 terrorism in USA with it. Famed painting defaced at Louvre gallery with 9/11 truther scrawlings

Lantinos Post: 9/11 'Truther' Vandalizes Famous 'Liberty Leading the People' Painting at Louvre?

Local media reported the case in detailed. I cannot read French, but using Google Translator, I knew she would be evaluated to be hospitalized into mental hospital.

Le Parisien: Musée du Louvre-Lens : le tableau tagué de Delacroix a pu être restauré (in French)

I can hardly comment to such a case due to limitation of precise information. It is unclear whether she was mentally ill. But I am concerned about some issues.

First, it is a problem in which case insanity defense is applicable. In Japan, the judge in court seldom decides that the suspect was legally irresponsible for the reason of mental disorder. On the other hand, a prosecutor sometimes decides to send offenders with mental disorders to mental hospital or court for involuntary admission. The border between responsible and irresponsible is still vague among legal professionals, even more differ in countries.

Second, I am afraid of spreading of stigma for people with mental disorders after this case. Some people claim that mentally ill patients have to be secluded. It is nonsense. Every people have risk for mental illness. And it is difficult to predict the crime by a people with mental disorders.

Third, should you strengthen the security level in museum? I think not. Probability of damage of a work in museum by a visitor is not so high. If the administrator began to cover all of the works with secure glass, number of visitors would be decreased extremely. A museum is not an atomic power plant. I hope all concerned keep calm.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Duty for professionals

Have you experienced such a situation of misunderstanding?
For example, you were a seller and had to explain an issue about your products for a customer. But the customer could not understand your explanation. At last the customer got angered and claimed that you had a fault of disguising.
Which is wrong, you or the customer?

The answer varies dependent on the each situation, indeed. However, I recommend you to think that you were wrong.
In this example, you were a professional.

A professional is superior to an amateur in both knowledge and skill. At least they should be superior. It is duty for professionals. Then professionals have no right to complain about amateurs who do not have enough knowledge or skill.
Imagine that a bright person and a dull person are to make conversation. For successful communication, a bright person has to control the difficulty of conversation. It is duty for talented one.
An artist should never say, “Dull people cannot understand the true value of my work!”

Similar condition often occurs. A teacher is annoyed by students watching mobile phone or comic book during his lecture. This is a common situation. The teacher may be angry. However, what he should do is not to scold his students but to reflect his own lecture which is too difficult for students or simply boring.

Nobles oblige is a standard of professionals.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Drug stores without drugs

In Japan, there are a lot of drug stores.

In Japan, selling medical drugs is very strictly regulated. Strong drugs are not allowed in a drug store without a prescription by a physician. Internet selling is also restricted.

A few years ago, Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare tried to relax the regulation to allow drug stores to sell some weak drugs such as compresses or Chinese medicines. But associations related to medical care providers strongly opposed to relaxation. At last this attempt of reform was not successful. The government intended to reduce expenditure of national health insurance. If some drugs were allowed to sell as over the counter (OTC) drugs, many orthopedists would suffer from loss of income, because they prescribed a lot of compresses.

Now drug stores can sell limited OTC drugs. From my point of view as a doctor, drugs they sell are nearly useless compared to normal medication.

Nevertheless drug stores are struggling to accomplish high amount of sales.
Matsumoto Kiyoshi co. (Matsu-Kiyo) is the largest company of drug stores supply chain. Mr. Kiyoshi Matsumoto, the founder of Matsu-Kiyo, was born in 1909. He established Matsu-Kiyo in 1954 and assumed the office of mayor in Matsudo-city in later. There are a total of 680 Matsu-Kiyo drug stores in Japan now.
Many drug stores like Matsu-Kiyo equip many kinds of items. Medicines and cosmetics are needless to say. Household items, kitchen utensils, wash items, some foods and drinks and so on they also sell. When you go to a drug store in holiday, you can buy everything to clean your home.

Drug stores in Japan are not selling drugs. They are another form of convenience stores. Usually they are bigger than convenience stores to equip more items. So convenient!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Sensitivity and specificity of examination about H. Pylori

Today I went to hospital to consult with a physician.

Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori) is a type of bacteria live in stomach of human. In most cases we contracts H. Pylori in our childhood. Twenty percent of adults are carriers of H. Pylori.
It is said that H. Pylori cause atrophic gastritis and even gastric cancer.
So I want to be examined about status of my stomach. If I am a carrier, I should be treated with antibiotics. Recent studies suggest extermination of H. Pylori in stomach reduces risk of gastric cancer in future.

There are some methods of examination whether a person is carrier or not.
The easiest way is to use antibody measurement tools. With this means you should collect only small amount of your urine. It is available in your home with no pain. However I heard that antibody measurement is not accurate. The sensitivity and specificity are about 90% and 80%.

Do you know about sensitivity and specificity?
It is important that these parameters should be translated with prevalence rate of the matter you want to measure.

Prevalence rate of H. Pylori is 20%.
Then, Positive/Negative Predictive Value of this method is calculated based on the table below;

Positive predictive value is 18/34=53%.
Negative Predictive Value is 64/66=97%.

According to this, Positive Predictive Value is too low. If this method were applied, we would be treated with antibiotics to be in vain in half of the cases.

Screening examination includes somewhat erroneous essentially. We have to be cautious when we watch the data.
I decided to be examined with more precise methods.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Skinhead in AKB48

A few days ago, Ms. Minami Minegishi, one of the members of AKB48, shaved her hair all for apologize. She published her skinhead in You Tube, an internet video site.

AKB48 is Japanese famous idol group consist of many girls. Love with a man is prohibited tacitly in members of AKB48. It is said that the reason for this extraordinary rule is to protect their image of purity. Ms. Minegishi was reported by a gossip journal that she was in a hotel with a man. She regretted that she broke the rule and damaged her reputation. So she expressed her sincerity with shaving her hair on her own.

It is the story told by mass media.

In Japan, shaving hair is sometimes used as a behavior for expression of apologize. Its origin may be from Buddhist priests. I have shaved my hair in school life when I had lost a game in tennis. But it is very rare for a girl to shave her hair.

Her action is deemed to be strange. Some people suspect that this event was created by a producer of AKB48 to seek public attention. Other people believe she was forced to shave her hair. If so, it may be an abuse on human right.

To begin with, it is one opinion that the rule of prohibiting love is ridiculous. Member of AKB48 are teenagers or 20s. It is weird that young girls do not seek a boyfriend but sing love songs every day. I am doubtful that audiences believe that a member keep her chastity. It is far from real. What a fantasy it is.

Actually, I am not interested to AKB48 at all. I prefer animation movies rather than real idols.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Making a novel, my past hobby

In younger age, my hobby was writing a novel.

I had written several novels whose types are various, such as fantasy, serious literature, and mystery. One of the longest novels I wrote consists over 400 pages.
In junior high school age, I wanted to be a novelist. However I noticed that it was too difficult for me to create new novels regularly. So I changed my mind, not to hope to be a novelist, but have a fun of writing. This choice was correct now I think.

In university, I established department of novels in the club I belonged to. And I published a total of 20 issues of self-publishing journals. Fortunately some of my colleagues joined me.
I wrote a series of mystery, titled “Apocalypse of Rei”, that I want to translate into English and introduce for new readers some day.

I thought that making a novel would be a hobby for me forever.

However, after becoming a doctor, I stopped writing a novel.

Medical situation for me as a psychiatrist was so serious that I had no dream about making an imaginary story. They seemed no longer real for me.

Twelve years passed.

Even now I want to write something about my imagination. On the other hand, the real world is also a fun worth to be described.

Monday, February 4, 2013

TOEIC test

Today, I received my score of TOEIC I took a month ago.

TOEIC, Test of English for International Communication, is an examination performed by Institute of International Business Communication (IIBC).
In Japan TOEIC is a very popular examination, rather than TOEFL test. Many companies recommend their employees taking TOEIC. Some companies such as Softbank give awards for good performers. If you were employed of Softbank, you would get $10,000 for your score of TOEIC over 900.

Japanese is deemed as poor English speakers, even though a lot of Japanese are willing to learn English. Many private schools for English conversation have established. Recently, online English schools, such as Langrich which I had used, are increasing. They offer non-native English speaking teachers via internet video service with low cost. Many college students work as a part time teacher at the Langrich whose main office is in Cebu Island. They have little knowledge about English, but have clear pronunciation and a cheerful smile.

Why cannot Japanese speak English well? One of the reasons is a necessity I think. We need not speak English in daily life in Japan at all. Nearly all of Japanese can speak Japanese and write Japanese. In a business context, most clients of our products are domestic Japanese. So opportunity of communication with foreigners is limited.

However the future is different. Japan is rushing into the era of decreasing population. Younger people think to run out from Japan for survival. I guess younger people are better English speakers than elders now.

Number of TOEIC takers are about 1.7M. Some people criticize TOEIC because its style is not pragmatic. I do not think so. TOEIC is a very busy test. Completion of answering all questions in time is difficult. I think this feature is similar to the real world. The conversation never waits for me.

Now my score of TOEIC is 825. It means B rank. Of course I am still a poor English speaker.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Discussion about mental health related to gun control in USA

I saw a report about mental health in USA by New York Times (NYT).

The New York Times: Focus on Mental Health Laws to Curb Violence Is Unfair, Some Say

After the school shooting crime in Newtown, argument about gun control were activated, that I wrote last month.

My past entry: Gun control and Nash equilibrium

It is not surprising that National Rifle Association, one of powerful lobbyists, is opposing against strengthening gun regulation. But it seems that they seek some scapegoats about the crime. They blamed computer games with gunshot or violent scene at first. And the next are patients with mental disorders.

NYT says that violent case occurred by mentally ill offenders are relatively rare. I also think it is true. In Japan official criminal report shows that 1% of all criminals are mentally ill. This is far less than morbidity rate of mental illness, that is about 3%.
(Besides, there are some discussions about this. For example, manslaughter case is more frequently occurred in mentally ill person.)

Therefore, it is doubtful that empowerment of the mental health support helps to reduce violent crimes. However, in many states legislation about mental health is being reformed, as NYT says. It is emotional decision making rather than rational one, I think.

Interestingly, similar cases occurred in Japan and other countries.
In Japan, outbreak of “Fuzoku Ikeda elementary school case”, that was rampage killing by a person disguising his mental status, pulled the trigger of dynamic reform of mental health care system. After long discussion, a new legislation called “The Act on Medical Care and Treatment for Persons Who Have Caused Serious Cases under the Condition of Insanity”, had been enforced since 2005. However it is said that this new system hardly prevent  recurrence of Fuzoku Ikeda case itself, as the perpetrator was not deemed to be mentally ill. Indeed, he was executed.
In United Kingdom, McNaughton rules were criteria as regulation to deal with mentally ill offenders. However Mr. Daniel McNaughton himself was not adapted to McNaughton rule.

Wikipedia: M’Naghton Rules

History may repeat itself. Nevertheless we have to be rational, must not seek another scapegoat. For more secure and comfort world, calm and scientific discussion is needed.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Annoying Powerpoint

Today, I was writing a report about my newly research.

Writing is one of my own tasks. Nonetheless I am sometimes annoyed with them.
Moreover Microsoft Powerpoint (R) always make me angry!

Usually we are demanded to present an official report printed when we are funded by Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare. The style of reports is fixed. And it is far from comfortable.
So we need to create a report with a lot of figures and graphs printed in monochrome.
However Powerpoint has poor option for monochrome printing. If you select an option for monochrome, some of numbers presented at the figure would be covered under black colored elements of the figure. You cannot read them!

After all, I have to replace all of numbers on figures manually for making it clear. This is boring work at all.

I think that Microsoft Office suites are worsening every time they are replaced by a new version. This is a fate for software. Enormous errors are found in them now, but unfixed. Workers at Microsoft may be genius. Nonetheless the situation is worsening.

Indeed, I am dependent on Microsoft. Without Word or Excel I hardly complete my daily work. But I consider saying good bye to Powerpoint.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Internet election will come in Japan?

Today I was surprised at news in Japan.

“Ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) established an idea of new legislation to allow activity for advertisement of voting in internet.”

(from Yomiuri Online, in Japanese, link missing)

I guess people in foreign countries cannot understand the meaning of this news. To be surprised, in Japan voting advertisement using internet is prohibited in voting term. Candidates cannot use his or her own blog to express their political opinion. Violators may be arrested. So in Japan when voting day is approaching politicians stop blog or twitter.
Ridiculous? I think so. But it is Japanese legislation.
The reason of this legislation I do not know. It is general explanation for this that elder people who hardly use internet would be annoyed if internet was used for voting. Of course I do not think it is rational.

Recently, some politicians were trying to change the law. But their attempt did not succeed because of political situation. It is obvious that the party which had won the last election does not want to change the system of the next election.

However, this is hopeful now. LDP and Komeito, an ally of LDP, occupies two third of lower house. It means that LDP can create any laws in Diet.

Why is LDP attempting to relax the regulation now?
I examined data of supportive rate of each party.

(a questionnaire in Nov. 2012 by Yahoo!, link missing)

Actually, young people support LDP more than DPJ or Japan Restoration Party (JRP). On the other hand, elder people tend to support DPJ of JRP.
Younger people are more familiar with internet than elder people. Now LDP is the most supported party by young.

Or it is another interpretation. A lot of people have no political party they support in Japan. Especially by young people no parties are strongly supported. Putting people supporting no particular party to stand is quite important for candidates to win the election. And internet may be a powerful tool to appeal their policy to young people.

Whether or not, it is essential to use internet effectively in modern society. Election is not an exception. I hope to establish the new legislation.