“People in order”

More interesting than statistics? The real people behind them.

Here are three videos showing people “in order” — the first is 48 couples in order of the length of their relationship. The second is 100 people in order of age. The third is 73 households in order of income. I would really like to see a student create something like this to show the world more of Japan.

A survey to document discrimination

In some classes this term, students have been making surveys to collect information about people’s knowledge, experiences, and opinions on a variety of themes. I happened across this article this morning that has an interesting survey. They want to know: “Have you experienced or witnessed hate?” Their goal is to collect people’s stories to better understand hate crimes and discrimination.

This survey appears to be only collecting information about discrimination and hate from the U.S., but it’s a good discussion starter and may help you with your own surveys.

Four years of trash in a Mason jar

It’s an idea for a 30 Day Challenge. See how little trash you can produce in one month and how many of the changes you make to your daily life are sustainable for you.

It’s also a good research project theme: how much trash and food waste do Japanese businesses produce, and how easy would it be to change policy in ways to encourage them to produce less waste? A lot of supermarkets now charge ¥2 or ¥5 or ¥10 for plastic bags, but convenience stores don’t. Should they?

“I have drawn ‘spring’.”

According to this article in the Economist, the average peak-bloom date for cherry blossoms in Kyoto is getting earlier, probably because of climate change.

Here are some ukiyo-e featuring cherry blossoms with explanations in English. This is of a hanami party from the mid-19th century:

Discussion/Writing/Research questions:

  • Did you enjoy a hanami this year? Where do you think are the best places for different types of hanami (walking around type, sitting and eating/drinking type)?
  • How would you explain the word “hanami” to someone who does not speak Japanese, has never been here, and doesn’t know much about Japan?
  • Do you associate cherry blossoms more with entrance ceremonies or graduation ceremonies? If this trend continues and cherry blossoms continue to bloom earlier, what do you think will happen to this tradition?
  • In this excerpt from The Tale of Genji, it says that they celebrated the cherry blossoms in “the second month”. But they followed a different calendar in the Heian Period, didn’t they? What would that be today? Have you read Genji? What do you remember about it?