Post-Brexit racism?

July 1, 2016 § Leave a comment

Racism. After the “Brexit” referendum result, so-called post-Brexit racism has gained attention. I have seen numerous twitter posts showing disgraceful incidents, which are totally unacceptable. The Leave voters say “Don’t call us racist. It’s just some of us. Do not tarnish the majority of decent leave voters”. I understand, because that is what racism is all about. That’s why, almost throughout my entire life, I thought “White British people never understand racism”.
The “post-Brexit” racism almost sounds like a one-off thing. No. Racism is something that the minority faces EVERY DAY. During my teenage hood in West Midlands countryside, I had that “look” from the British people. That isolated and alienated feeling of “I am different and people make me feel so”. Sometimes it was harsh for a 15 year old me back then. Kids can be harsh. Not that I was bullied, but that indescribable atmosphere was definitely there, and I did not like it. I had to grow up with the presence of racism. I never wanted to hang out with other Asians, just to make myself seem different and free from the stereotype. After moving to Brighton, life seemed a little easier. It was a multicultural and fun place, filled with joyful people from different backgrounds. Yet, racism was still present. It happened not just to me but also people around me (Iranian, Spanish, Italian, Moroccan, Nigerian…) The minority has to live with it. Teenagers chucking stones at me, abusive racial remarks, or a car driver saying we almost got into a car accident because I (pedestrian) couldn’t see things (lifting his eyes to imitate that “slinky” eyes of mine).
When people say “immigrants are stealing jobs from us” – think about it. We, us minority, had to be emotionally strong to survive, in order to achieve our life goals. My goal was to study and gain degrees, just like an ordinary British person, but it was extra hard. I would never say “British people are lazy” – it’s just us minority are perhaps mentally strong. I remember my ex-colleague, who was a refugee from Morocco, fled to Britain as he was a child soldier. He works in a shop, serves local people, pays tax… I said to him, “it’s nice you’ve got to stay in Britain”, and he replied “I had no choice. It’s not nice”. He went through a lot in his life, still he faces everyday racism – comments such as “terrorist” “refugees not welcome”. The minority either has to ignore or fight.
The Brexit result – did not reflect our voice. The anti-immigration discourse has won, regardless of EU and non-EU immigrants’ voice. And it seems we will need to endure more of the racists nonsense from now on, and that is sad.

Domestic Violence

September 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

Recently the video of Ray Rice dragging his unconscious fiancee from the elevator after the alleged attack has been exposed on the internet. It was beyond shocking and disturbing to watch, and it points out the fact that domestic violence is common throughout the world.

I’d like to mention that domestic violence is NOT only the matter of physical violence. Of course, injuries are visible and any perpetrators assaulting their partners should not be tolerated. However, it is often the case that ONLY actual physical violence is the centre of attention by the society in general, however, the psychological abuse is very often harming and affecting one’s life for a long period of time. Psychological abuse includes controlling behaviour such as isolating from friends/family, limiting the access to money, threatening to harm, indicating a suicide etc. The problem associated with this “invisible” abuse is that the police and the society often find it difficult to notice it is domestic violence.

As a result, the Government (finally) launches consultation on strengthening law by explicitly stating that domestic abuse covers coercive behaviour in England (Reference http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/aug/20/new-domestic-violence-offence-consultation ). It means that domestic abuse offence could cover emotional abuse as well as physical abuse. This is brilliant news – although it might be difficult to actually prove “invisible” psychological abuse compared to actual physical abuse.

Eco-friendly or Ego-friendly?

April 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

I have always been wanting to discuss the issue of growing concern over environment, which is undoubtedly a controversial issue.

To a great degree, I think a lot of so-called “environmentalists” and “eco-friendly people” are overreacting and hypocritical. I enumerate from following reasons.

Firstly, many wannabe-hippie environmentally friendly people a.k.a. fashion-environmentalists take recreational drugs and complain that human are damaging the environment and destroy the way of nature. I have nothing against being vegetarian/vegan for ethical reasons. Some people think it’s wrong and cruel to kill animals/live stocks such as cows and pigs. However, those people are ok with taking recreational drugs that is not fully metabolised in their bodies and contaminating the sea. One might argue “well, it’s not like I am taking tones of cocaine”, but you really shouldn’t underestimate the accumulation of toxic in the sea. For instance, one small fish contaminated getting eaten by a medium sized fish and this medium sized fish getting eaten by a bigger fish etc does affect the bigger fish in the sea, which get contaminated the most. You could also argue that “well, it’s not like I am eating millions of rashes of bacon”. 

Secondly, most of environmental related issues are imposed by the West and consequently the developed countries. Recently, the UN has announced that Japan cannot longer hunt whales under the name of “scientific/research purposes”. To be honest, I think it was wrong for Japan to continue whaling in the name of research purposes. Japan should rather hunt whales for consumption. Alaska, which is technically a part of the USA, is allowed to kill whales because it is a part of their culture. However, Japan has been hunting whales for a long time and consuming whales is definitely a part of Japanese culture. Therefore, I do not understand why it is legitimate for Alaska to hunt whales for “cultural purposes” and it’s not for Japan. This argument also applies to less developed countries. As environmental Kuznets curve and Inglehart’s silent revolution suggest, developed countries do start caring other issues i.e. environment compared to less developed countries. New emerging issues such as environmental issues are almost a norm for developed countries as they have reached the most growing economic period. Less developed countries are still concentrating on the growth in terms of economy. Therefore, I think it is wrong that people from developed countries to say the whole world should care about the environment. It is self-righteous for countries that have already been through damaging the environment for growth to say countries aiming for growth are damaging the environment thus should stop what they are doing right now. Furthermore, if the world was working the other way round in the sense that the West was not dominating the world, probably eating dogs/whales could have been a norm and eating beef/pork could have been seen as a taboo. Some people say dolphins and whales are intelligent animals thus should not be consumed, but if the world was dominated not by the West i.e. China, might have brought a different norm. 

In the light of these facts, I think a lot of eco-friendly people are actually, in fact, ego-friendly people, who want to be seen as cool, edgy and hippy. They care more about how they look in front of others rather than the environment. It makes more sense to say we accept how the nature works in the sense that human do eat other animals and big animals eat small animals. Without a doubt, it is important to think about the nature and sustainability but we humans shouldn’t really overreact too much and impose the Western culture on other indigenous/unique cultures. It may sound harsh but those fashion environmentalists are rather ego-friendly, whose ego is as big as mother earth! 

 

Brick Lane, London

July 24, 2013 § Leave a comment

Brick Lane in London is my favourite spot – although I’m currently based in Brighton, I often visit Brick Lane to go shopping (mostly for vintage clothes) !
Brick Lane is also very well known for its graffiti.

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What is the MOST FAMOUS food in England?
FISH AND CHIPS!
There is a really good fish and chips restaurant nearby Brick Lane. Poppies Fish and Chips
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YUMMY!

Not to mention, I love (window)shopping vintage shops.
Blitz is a place I always check out every time I’m in Brick Lane!
Its blog is very inspiring too.

Brighton and Brick Lane are quite similar in a way that they are relaxed, casual and adored by vintage lovers!

Pancake day

February 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

It’s Pancake day today also known as Shrove Tuesday. It sounds unfamiliar to a Japanese person since I’m not Christian (although I attended a Catholic school). To expain briefly, today is the first day of Lent.

Interestingly, I met up with my Japanese friends lastnight to cook and eat Okonomiyaki together. Okonomiyaki is a Japanese dish, which is a savory pancake that contains some shredded cabage, sometimes meat and seafood and lots of things.

It always makes me doubt to cook proper Japanese food in England due to the lack of ingredients but it turned out to be a very delicious Okonomiyaki so we were all happy.

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An ink blink

January 3, 2013 § Leave a comment

Tattoos are the things that I’d love to get.

Japan (and I assume most of the Asian countries) still have some degree of prejudice against tattoos due to the traditional perspective of tattoos seen as a symbol of Yakuza (Japanese mafia) or some sorts.

On the contrary, Western countries seem to accept the culture of tattoos.

I see a lot of people with tattoos in town here in Britain. What surprises me the most is that even some people work in office with showing their tattoos. My understanding is assumingly not enough in the sense that maybe it solely depends on what kind of jobs.

I will get tattoos (preferably 3 different parts of the body – on my inner triceps, around my ribs and back of my neck) – if I decide to live in England permanentally with a proper job. Supposively it is a good idea because tattoos should have personal meanings.

For example , I always wanted a tattoo looking like a barcode with numbers such as the date when I first came to the UK beneath the barcode then thought it kinda reminds others of Nazi thing? (Jewish people at the concentration camp forced to have numbers on their bodies). So I’m not too sure whether it’s a good idea or not…

Anyway, here are some photos of cool tattoos.

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New Year – Japanese Style –

December 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

In Japan, traditionally New Years is more important than Christmas.

We do celebrate Christmas (although it’s nothing alike compared to Western version of Christmas) but New Years is more traditional and important for Japanese people (as far as I know).

First of all, probably one of the most notable features in Japanese New Years is “Osechi ryori (お節料理)”. The incredible thing about this cuisine is that this tradition has started in the Heian Period (794-1185), and we do still cook this cuisine!

Look at this razzle-dazzle cuisine below. It looks pretty.

Osechi

Not to mention, Osechi ryori has lots of meanings. Basically Osechi ryori is like a big bento consisting of lots of different kinds of dishes in it, and those dishes have meanings for the coming year.

Examples of Osechi dishes are:

Daidai (橙) – Daidai phonetically means “from generation to generation” when written in different kanji as 代々.

Kazunoko (数の子) – Herring roe. Kazu means “number” and “ko” means “child(ren)”. It symbolises a wish to be gifted with numerouos children in the new year like Daidai.

Datemaki (伊達巻) – Sweet rolled omlette mixed with fish paste. They symbolise a wish for many auspicious days.

Kamaboko (蒲鉾) – Broiled fish cake. Slices of red and while kamaboko are alternated in rows or arranged in a pattern. The color and shape are remiscent of Japanese rising sun indicating a festive meaning.

Konbu (昆布) – A kind of seaweed. It is associated with the word yorokobu which means “joy”.

Kuro-mame (黒豆) – Black soybeans. “Mame” means “frequent” or “more often”.

Kohaku-namasu (紅白なます) – Is made of daikon and carrot cut into thin strips and pickled in sweetened vinegar with yuzu (citrus fruit). “Kohaku” means red and white, which are lucky colours.

Tai (鯛) – Red sea-bream. Tai is associated with the Japanese word medetai, symbolizing an auspicious event.

Tazukuri (田作り) – dried sardines cooked in soy sauce. Tazukuri means “rice paddy worker” meaning an abundant harvest.

Zoni (雑煮) – A soup of moch rice cakes in clear broth (in eastern parts of Japan) or miso broth (in western parts of Japan).

Ebi (海老) – Skewered prawns cooked with sake and soy sauce. Generally prawns have a festive meaning.

Not many people these days do not cook Osechi ryori which is a sad fact.

Moreover, there are many interesting New Year tradition in Japan.

There are some toys and games that are played by kids around New Years.

Fukuwarai (福笑い) – Means “lucky laugh”. The game is quite similar to Pin the Tail on the Donkey, whereby the players pin different parts of the face (such as the eyes,eyebrows, nose and mouth) onto a blank face and laugh at the humorous results.

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Kakizome (書き初め) – Literally means “first writing”. It is is a Japanese term for the first calligraphy written at the beginning of a year, traditionally on January 2.

So, do you like New Year “Japanese Style”?

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