Helping students with research

Some students are doing research projects now. If you have time, please help by responding. It will only take a few minutes.

Survey about social media use

Survey about part-time job experience (only for people older than 25)

Survey about the purpose of university education

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Poop coming in handy

Yes poop. 💩

Here are two ways poop came in handy this year:

In Japan: “Professor Poo bestseller brings scatology-based study to Japan” (from the Guardian). This book is helping kids learn to write kanji characters, and the term うんこ漢字ドリル(Poop Kanji Drills is the name of the book) was one of this year’s Words of the Year in Japan. (“The Japanese words that perfectly sum up how the country felt this year” from Quartz)

Read more about the workbook at Spoon and Tamago.


In the US: turning cow poop into electricity

Read more about this “methane digester” at the Strauss Family Creamery in California.

A day in the life

The California Sunday Magazine has a whole issue about teenagers this month. Because:

“We wanted to see how they’re living right now in the world adults made for them and how they’re beginning to change it — and maybe get a glimpse of where we’re all headed together.”

Here’s the cover photo:

Stories include:

Life advice from teen experts — how to meet new people, how to get people to care about something, how to say no, how to throw a good dance party (and more)

The two hour commute — see how three teenagers commute, with illustrations

How they do lunch

A conversation about social media and politics

Hanging out

This is a great model for a cross-cultural comparison or a research project about teenagers or university students in Japan: Find people to survey, ask good questions, analyze their answers, add photos and illustrations.

CMN and world heritage food culture

The other day I was half-watching a segment on CNN about the newly designated world heritage status of Neapolitan pizza. They had invited a chef to come on the show and demonstrate how to make a pizza. The hosts of the show kept pushing him to spin the dough in the air, repeating the “fact” that this is what made Neapolitan pizza so special and worthy of the world heritage status. But the chef kept saying, “We don’t do this in Naples.” He explained that they do “flip” the dough on the counter, but that the in-air spinning wasn’t a Neapolitan tradition. It was funny (depressing, really) to watch this lack of communication happen.

Anyway, it made me think about how annoying CNN is these days. Everything is “Breaking News” even if they’re repeating the same story for the 10th time. And they play the same commercials about a million times an hour. The latest is the Morgan Freeman one for Turkish airlines, which was replayed — I’m not joking — 6 times in the hour I had CNN on. I call it CMN (commercial network). I know certain world leaders criticize CNN and other media for being “fake news” and I don’t want to perpetuate that, but I do wish they’d make it easier to like  and support them.

As for world heritage food cultures, it was four years ago that washoku was given world heritage status. Time flies.