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Postings by Nick Kapur

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Filed under: — Nick Kapur @ 10:39 pm

fukuoka-jogakuin-1921.jpg Buy Lasix Without Prescription, For years private girls academy Fukuoka Jogakuin in Kyushu has been credited with first introducing in 1921 the famous sailor-style uniform worn by so many middle-school Japanese girls. However a recent investigation by a uniform manufacturer preparing an exhibit on the history of Japanese school uniforms has unearthed photographic evidence that Heian Jogakuin in Kyoto introduced a uniform with a sailor-style flap one year earlier, is Lasix safe, Lasix interactions, in 1920.

heian-jogakuin-1920.jpg The debate has heated up, Lasix description, Buy Lasix online no prescription, with both schools insisting that they were the first and that the other schools claim is invalid. At a time when declining numbers of Japanese children are forcing private schools to become increasingly cuthroat in their competition for students, Lasix gel, ointment, cream, pill, spray, continuous-release, extended-release, Generic Lasix, having an awesome uniform with a storied past is seen as a way to attract students.

While it seems incontrovertable that the Kyoto school had the sailor flap first, cheap Lasix, Japan, craiglist, ebay, overseas, paypal, their uniform was an unsightly, shapeless one-piece, my Lasix experience, Lasix dangers, where as the Fukuoka school's uniform is clearly a precursor to the style still in use today, so maybe both schools have a reasonable claim, Lasix class. Lasix trusted pharmacy reviews, Source: セーラー服:発祥論争 平安女学院VS福岡女学院 (毎日新聞)
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Imperial Tombs Finally Opened to Archaeologists…Sorta

Filed under: — Nick Kapur @ 10:10 pm
It was quietly announced this week that researchers would be allowed to examine 11 ancient Japanese tombs, said to be the final resting places of Japan's earliest emperors.  The Japanese islands are dotted with thousands of kofun - hill tombs that house the remains of some of Japan's earliest bigwigs.  While a few of these tombs have been excavated, most of the largest ones have never been touched, because local tradition has assigned them to be the tomb of one or another of Japan's quasi-mythical early emperors; in the Meiji period, ownership of kofun associated with emperors, no matter how tenuously, was turned over to the Imperial Household Agency, which has not allowed archaeologists to even so much as set foot on them in over a century. This prohibition has been unfortunate because contents of these tombs promise answers about one of the least understood and most controversial era's in Japanese history, if only they could be examined.  Circumstantial archaeological evidence has increasingly pointed to Japan's imperial family having strong connections to Korea, but without examining the contents of the tombs it has been hard to definitively confirm or deny these theories. Alas, the current relaxation of restrictions--the result of a 2005 petition to the Japanese government by a consortium of concerned scholars from Japan and abroad--only eases the prohibition against walking on the hill tombs, but excavations of any kind are still forbidden, so it is unclear what new information, if any, can be gleaned by just walking around on top of these huge man-made hills. Still it's a step forward of sorts, if only a baby step.  I am still hopeful that one day we will not only know the contents of these tombs, but also that they will get the attention they deserve as some of the most amazing constructions ever built by man.  After all, the supposed tomb of Emperor Nintoku, which is among the 11 opened to examination, is the largest tomb ever built in history, about two times as big as the Great Pyramid by total volume. But hardly anyone even knows about it because nobody is allowed to go near it.

Shades of Mori Arinori

Filed under: — Nick Kapur @ 2:03 am
Recently the Japanese Diet has been debating several competing bills to revise the Fundamental Education Law of 1947.  One of the most contested issues is an effort by the LDP to make instilling patriotism an explicit goal of Japan's national education system, as it was under the education system devised by Mori Arinori in the 19th century and in force in Japan up until the US-led education reforms following World War II.  Reportedly, the original language was even stronger, but the LDP-backed bill that finally made it out of committee and onto the Diet floor still contained the relatively strong phrasing by Japanese standards, 我が国と郷土を愛する態度を養う ("to instill an feeling of loving our country and homeland"). Critics of this clause argue that it will promote militarism and inject further tension into already heated Japan-China and Japan-Korea relations, but the LDP-backed bill seems likely to pass largely as is within the next week or so. In related news, it was reported this week that many Japanese schools are grading students on "love of country".  A recent survey in Saitama prefecture found that at least 45 local schools evaluated "love of country" on report cards for 6th-grade students. Under current policy, individual schools are free to decide how report cards are structured and which categories are graded. Officials have argued that the practice is not objectionable because "instilling a feeling of love for one's country" has already been one of the Ministry of Education's stated objectives for 6th-grade social studies students for some time.

The Return of Uwano Ishinosuke

Filed under: — Nick Kapur @ 12:00 pm
 Japanese World War II military stragglers are still showing up on the newswires six decades after the end of the conflict. This past week, Japan has been captivated by the return of Uwano Ishinosuke, 83, a former soldier in the Japanese Army who was stranded on Sakhalin Island when the Russians took over, and has been living for the past 50 years in the Ukraine with his Ukranian wife and family. Speaking only Ukranian and travelling on a Ukranian passport, Uwano visited the graves of his parents and some relatives in Iwate prefecture before returning to the Ukraine.  Having last been sighted in 1958, Uwano's family had had him officially declared as "war dead" and removed from the household register in 2000. Uwano's existence came to light last year after he asked friends in Ukraine to help him contact the Japanese government and was eventually put into contact with the Japanese consulate in Kiev, which arranged his return visit. The Japanese government estimates that there may be as many as 400 Japanese military stragglers still living in the former Soviet Union, although the whereabouts are known for only 40 of them.  In other straggler news, last year reports of former Japanese soldiers living near a remote village in the Philippines caused the Japanese government to sent an official search party, but the soldiers were not found.  For those interested in learning more about Japanese Imperial Army stragglers, there is a pretty decent book on the topic by Beatrice Trefalt: Japanese Army Stragglers and Memories of the War in Japan, 1950-1975. Unfortunately it is published by RoutledgeCurzon and is therefore prohibitively expensive, so a university library may be the best place to get it.

Yasukuni and Japanese Flags

Rod Wilson and I visited Yasukuni on August 15 to check out the right-wing festivities, which was a pretty...interesting...experience. It was everything you'd expect with the ridiculously nationalistic speeches all day, right-wingers wearing all manner of Japanese military uniforms, jack-booted young wannabe fascists with shaved heads, and the black noise vans everywhere. There was even a choir of elementary school children singing gunka. Rod in particular got some nice photographs because he also went in the morning when the crowds were the largest. Unfortunately we both missed the speech by Ishihara Shintaro, but we did see a speech by an old woman who kept talking about the need to remember the sacrifices of Japanese soldiers and the "onshirazu" of Japanese today. At the climax of the speech, she dramatically revealed that that she wasn't Japanese as we had thought all along but actually a native Taiwanese, and then wrapped up with an anecdote about how kind and gentlemanly the Japanese soldiers were to her as a young girl in wartime Taiwan, before concluding with a thundering declaration in English saying "Americans go home! Stay out of Japan! Not your Business!" to the roar of the enthralled crowd. Konrad would doubtlessly have enjoyed the chance to hear the speech - apparently some World War II collaborators are alive, well, and still collaborating. On a related note, Rod and I were pondering how to refer in Japanese to the flag with the radiating rays of sun used by the Japanese navy during the war. We'd heard it referred to in English variously as the "naval ensign" or the more evocative "sunburst flag", but we weren't sure about what it's called in Japanese. We both sort of half-remembered the term "Nisshouki" (日章旗), but it turns out that that is just the official name of the regular Japanese flag more commonly known as the "hinomaru" (日乃丸). Well, we did a little research and found out that the "sunburst" flag is called the "Kyojitsuki" (旭日旗) in Japanese, which makes sense. But the question still remains, what are the best terms to use to distinguish these two flags in English? The best translation for 旭日旗 would probably be "rising sun flag", but that is problematic because the regular flag is commonly called the "rising sun flag" in English publications and even on EDICT, leaving only "naval ensign" or "sunburst flag" for the Kyojitsuki. Perhaps it would be better to come up with a more accurate translation of hinomaru/nisshouki? "Sun circle flag" perhaps? "Sun disc flag"? "Sun emblem flag"?

New Kamikaze Play

Filed under: — Nick Kapur @ 9:28 pm
This month a play about kamikaze pilots has been running at the El Portal Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, and has received outstanding reviews. Titled "Ten Thousand Years," (presumably after 万歳), the play is by veteran Hollywood screenwriter John Ridley and looks at the everyday lives of members of the "Thunder Gods" squadron of ohka flying bomb pilots. They play's objective is to portray the pilots as human beings with fears and doubts about their impending mission, rather than the stoic, brainwashed automatons so often found in Hollywood depictions. Although I haven't seen the play myself, my family watched it today, and they loved it. From what they say, it seems to be fairly historically accurate (at least in their judgment). LA Times Reviewer David Nichols also gave a rave review, declaring, "'Ten Thousand Years' could make a remarkable film someday, once its pertinent appeal has flown across the theatrical stratosphere." (LAT, 2/11/05). Hopefully this intriguing play will make its way to other parts of the country soon! The play's LA-area website is currently at www.10k.theatremania.com.

Restoration or Renovation?

Filed under: — Nick Kapur @ 12:17 am
I've always found it interesting how certain events in Japanese history have become indelibly associated with a canonical English translation that often has little to do with the actual Japanese name. 島原の乱, for example, is almost always translated as "Shimabara Rebellion," even though "乱" is translated in other contexts into all sorts of other words, including "war," "chaos," "uprising," "revolt," "riot," and "disorder." A more glaring example is 西南戦争, which is always translated as "Satsuma Rebellion" instead of something more literal, such as "War of the Southwest." Another curious term is the "restoration" in "Meiji Restoration" and "Kenmu Restoration." I was surprised to find out recently that these two events, strongly linked in English historiography by the use of the same English word to describe them, are labeled in Japanese with two different terms, neither of which means "restoration." In the case of the Meiji event, the term is of course, 明治維新 (Meiji Ishin), while Go-Daigo's coup is usually known as 建武新政 (Kenmu Shinsei). What is so odd about calling these events "restorations" is that they both make use of the character 新, which implies something entirely new, rather than a "restoring" of something old from the past. Thus, not only does the term "restoration" in English historiography imply a link between these two events that may not be so clear to the Japanese, but it also is simply not a very accurate translation of the Japanese terms in question. Perhaps a new English word should be chosen, such as "renovation" or "renewal" or somesuch.

自己紹介: Nick Kapur

Filed under: — Nick Kapur @ 12:46 am
I'm doctoral student at Harvard University in International History, with a focus on US-Japan relations. At least for now that is, as Konrad is doing his best to drag me all the way into Japanese history. I am especially interested in Japanese military culture, postwar US-Japan economic ties, Japanese environmental policy, and the evolution of the Japanese education system, but I'm pretty much interested in everything else too, so don't be surprised to see me post on Japanese baseball or Kusunoki Masashige or something. I spent last year in Japan, where I lived in Takarazuka (yes, that Takarazuka), taught English, and spent most of my free time visiting 古墳 and 古戦場.

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