Just a bunch of crap all in one post

I’ve subscribed to a couple new Japan blogs: dottocomu, which I’ve known about for awhile but hadn’t subscribed to for whatever reason, and Japan Window, which I discovered today through Global Voices Online.

Here’s a story from Wired (via Slashdot) that startled and scared me:

Korean scientists have used cloned human embryos to derive tailor-made stem cells, a breakthrough with dramatic implications for the development of useful therapies that could help shift the debate over human cloning.

The researchers derived stem cells from patients with spinal cord injury, a congenital immune disorder and juvenile diabetes. The advance, announced Thursday, raises the stakes in the political and ethical argument surrounding embryonic stem-cell research. Once a pie-in-the-sky possibility, human cells now exist that could theoretically be transplanted back into patients without the fear of immune rejection, since as cloned cells they would be a genetic match.

And here’s a story about a lesser panda that can stand upright on two legs, complete with cute picture for all you furries out there. Via BoingBoing.

Here’s a story that Kevin might like (if he’d ever read my blog). (Keep Your Fork – There’s Pie!)

Hai’s cousin Dom posted a cute and funny rant about his whirlwind trip to E3. (I guess since it’s a blog post on a webcomic, it has to be called a “rant”. I don’t create the lingo, I just abuse it.)

Number of miles on the odometer so far: 480

Number of hours it has taken to rack up that many miles: 10

Number of hours if you take out the 60 total miles of commute to the LA Convention Center: 6

Speaking of “rants”, J. Jacques most recent “newspost” (ah, there’s another term for it!) on Questionable Content contains the following neat little story:

While riding my bike on a trail today, my front tire caught in an unexpected ditch and sent me flying over the handlebars. As I lay there, battered, bruised, and beset by opportunistic mosquitoes, I could not stop laughing. This is what it is to be alive.

I dunno, I really liked that. It made me smile last night at around midnight, as I was sitting around waiting for my damn pot pie to finish cooking so I could eat it and go to bed.

Wil Wheaton has a good anecdote and some advice about parenting.

Simon has defeated the trough toilet! I must say, bravo. I, personally, had some problems with it

Andy Gray of Japan Window posted last month about feeling his own mortality:

I think I began to face my own mortality for the first time in the weeks leading up to my marriage. I didn’t want the fickleness of life to cut short the journey we had begun. I realized in the face of great happiness that I was helpless to guarantee it would continue. The second time I experienced mortality so intensely was prior to the birth of the twins. Hitomi was in the hospital on bed rest; Reia and I were staying with my in-laws in their house. At that time, on the news they were saying an earthquake could be imminent on the major fault that passed nearby. Furthermore, I knew that an engineer had declared that the house would completely collapse if that happened. I had a hard time sleeping at nights. I didn’t want to miss seeing my daughters and watching them grow up. No wonder sometimes we’re afraid of even good things, because they make us so vulnerable.

In the comments, he talks about why he’s writing, and the kind of person he targets his blog to. I found this pretty interesting, especially since I fit the description to a T.

For now, I would say this about my intended readers:

1) They are interested in Japan, Japanese people and Japanese culture.

2) They are sensitive, postmoderns who are open to a story that talks about truth and love among other things (my story).

3) They are attracted to creative expression (e.g., photography).

4) They read blogs and realize what they are reading is personal and autobiographical.

5) They are not Christians necessarily. Although I talk about Jesus at times, I’m more interested in hearing honest responses than agreement. I don’t intend to write myself into a box of popular “Christian culture,” but I realize some will put me there at the first mention of the “J” word.

As I write this, I know that I’m narrowing down my potential audience a bit, but I’m optimistic that most people won’t automatically reject my blog because I write openly about my faith. Either way, I always knew I’d eventually have to go there in order to be honest as I write.

There was a time in my life when I’d read someone talking about their faith, and immediately turn up my nose. I’m glad I’m past that immaturity now. This guy seems to have a lot of interesting things to say, and I’m looking forward to reading him further.

Mr. Gray also has an insightful piece about politics in East Asia, focusing on how the Japanese have offered a revised history to their schoolchildren.

My wife completed her education in Japan and graduated from a good university here, but she never knew what really happened in Korea and China until she went to the USA for graduate school. In the USA she learned about the atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers and saw (through Korean and Chinese friends) how real and raw the wounds are even today.

And let me also point out this post, which talks about his family’s trip to Karuizawa, a mountain/forest tourist town that he said reminded him of Colorado. I want to mention it because of this line:

Every locality in Japan must be known for some kind of food or craft. If not, they make something up.

That is so true.

(Side note: I’m not sure if it’s a Moveable Type thing or an IE thing, but I have trouble highlighting text to copy and paste on his blog. I have to double click each paragraph to highlight it–click and drag seems to want to highlight everything that is in front of the mouse. Very irritating.)

Finally, I’d like to redirect everyone’s attention to my Return of the Sith review–more specifically, the comments section. I’ve added a few thoughts there. Please feel free to continue the discussion if you’d like.