Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year (よいお年を)

I hope everyone has a good year.  Do your best!

私は皆がよい年を過すことを望む。 がんばって。

- Just a peasant

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A windy day (風の強い日)

We both like windy days.  我々は両方の風の強い日が好きです。

- Just a peasant

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Speculation in Gangnam (江南投機)

I sit quietly, unobtrusively, and damaged on Gangnam-daero thinking about some things, all things, and nothing in particular.  I am motionless as a city of ten million people flows desperately around me and the horizon vanishes into the contemptuous smog.

The world is torn and it was torn long before I arrived.  I swallow hard in an effort to hold back my tears.  I never found the thread and needle to fix it all.  If only I could change this ridiculous fabric. 

What if there was an alternate universe where we lived only as carefree bubbles floating on waves made of music?  What if we could use giant glowing jellyfish as intergalactic space ships?

What if rainbows were dragons we could ride while flying over rolling oceans of liquid silver?  What if those sparkling oceans were simply the tangled vibrations of future events?

What if gravity wasn’t a force but a tiny particle?  And what if we could stretch it out into an eight-pointed star as big as a planet with gravity acting equally along the entire length of each axis?

What if every person we met was just a reincarnation of our self from somewhere else in time? What if Death was really just another chance to say and do all the right things? 

What if Forever was a wine we cultivated from fermented stars and sipped under a bright moon shaped like Love?  What if the cup we used to drink it was made from Hope and Amnesia?

What if I had never existed?  What if I had never looked into her eyes?  What if sadness is just a cocoon and the butterfly inside an unborn happiness?

What if Peace was a flower we could grow in our backyard and pollinate with the joyful wagging of a dog’s tail?  What will the wind think when it’s finally time to say, “Goodbye”?

- Just a peasant

Photo of Seoul.  The idea of wagging dog-tail pollination was creatively suggested by another biologist - Michael at Broken Radius.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Seoul, Korea(ソウル、韓国)

It was my first time in Seoul.  It is a remarkable city and just as interesting as Tokyo.  I came here on business but made sure to eat a lot of Korean food. There are also many interesting buildings. 

これは、ソウルで初めてだった。 それが顕著な都市と東京と同じくらい面白いです。 私は仕事でここに来たが、韓国料理をたくさん食べるようにしてくださいました。 多くの興味深い建物もあります。

- Just a peasant

A building in Gangnam-gu   江南区にある建物

Friday, May 30, 2014

Misaki Ito’s New Blog(伊東美咲さんの新しいブログ)

Good news today!  Misaki Ito has a new blog.  This makes me very happy!  I hope good things come of it. Yeah!  Yeah!  I stole the photo from another site.  I’m sorry.  But endorphins are surging though my body right now.   I have no control.

良いニュースは本日! 伊東美咲は、新しいブログを持っています。 これは私はとても幸せになります! 私は、良いものはそれを出てほしい。 うん! うん! 私は別のサイトから写真を盗んだ。 ごめんなさい。 しかし、エンドルフィンは、今私の体にもかかわらず急増している。 私は制御することはできません。

Misaki Ito Official Blog

Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Birthday Misaki!

Happy Birthday Misaki Ito!  Have a great year.  誕生日おめでとう。

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Apple Tree - Katie Herzig

Just a song for today.

- Just a peasant

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Sitting in my office I heard a woman start screaming.  There is domestic violence here and I thought a boyfriend or husband had come onto the campus to start trouble.  I went over to the classroom to find one of the students screaming hysterically and thrashing wildly about.  Four or five students converged on her to restrain her.  I could see she was having a seizure and had the students move her to the hallway where she wouldn’t injure herself.  It was in fact, a classic “Grand Mal” seizure.  Her eyes rolled about wildly while her limbs become rigid and she closed her fists so very tightly.  Within a few minutes her screaming subsided and her legs and body relaxed though her fists were still tightly clenched. 

Her cousin, also a student suddenly reappeared with some tree leaves and began harshly rubbing them on the face of the poor, moaning girl.  She rubbed them in her hair, then on the belly, and then on the chest. Sometimes she would slap the sick girl.  I asked what she was doing and at that point I was informed that the girl was possessed by a demon.  Yes, a demon.  As an atheist, it took all my strength to remain silent while I watched the impromptu exorcism take place.  Coconut oil was applied as was ‘holy water’ from a container of store-bought bottled water.  But in these cases there is not much you can do but let the seizure run its course.  It is sometimes better to let a family member comfort the patient as they are already familiar with each other.

The cousin seemed satisfied as the possessed girl soon fell asleep.  The sleep stage is also part of a Grand Mal seizure.  I did not mention any of this to her or to the crowd of students that had gathered.  In cultures like this, you simply aren’t going to change their fundamental beliefs.  This girl has been having these ‘possessions’ since childhood.  Her other relatives arrived, shook her violently up and down while mumbling some prayers, and then transported her home.  Alas, I did not get the name of this terrible offending demon.  And of course, I thought it was all a bit crazy.

Later, a student asked me if I believed in ghosts.  I hesitated, weighing the impact of my answer on my community reputation, then finally looked at him and said, “No.  Absolutely not.”   He laughed nervously and avoided direct eye contact.  Because you see, out here in their lush, tropical, Pacific-island homeland, with its haunted ruins and vibrant mythologies, it is me – the outsider - that is the crazy one.

- Just a peasant

The ruins of Nan Madol are said to be haunted with all manner of spirits

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Crab research(カニの研究)

Yesterday, I started a crab research project and there is always a learning curve.  That's what makes science great - there is always something new to discover.  These are mangrove crabs and their claws are very powerful.

昨日、私はカニの研究プロジェクトを開始しましたそして学習曲線が常に存在する。つまり、科学は素晴らしい作るものです- 発見する新しい何かが常にある。これらは、マングローブのカニですそして彼らの爪は非常に強力です。

- Just a peasant

Photo of two mangrove crabs, one male and one female

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tiny Rainbow (タイニーレインボー)

On this anniversary of a terrible tsunami and, with the loss of an airplane and its passengers, it seems appropriate.


- Just a peasant