Contents in 1994

no. dating title



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Great University in New Zealand



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Spring Holidays



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Safety of Cars



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Wimbledon Tennis Tournament



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Happening in This Summer



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Don'ts about Portable Telephones



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An Extraordinary Monk

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March 10, 1994

Great University in New Zealand

This is a letter to the Asahi Newspaper written by a Japanese resident in New Zealand named Mr. Sato. He is working there leaving his family in Japan.

The other day he read in the newspaper a story of an old woman who passed the lawyer examination at the age of 76. With only elementary school education, she had to work. But she entered the university in the latter half of her fifties, and in 19 years she got a bachelor of English literature, and a master of Italian literature. Besides finally she became the eldest qualified person as a lawyer in the history of New Zealand.

To our surprise, she can hardly hear at both her ears, so that she could make out only half what the professors said even with a powerful hearing aid and lip reading. She made up for what she couldn't get by studying for herself. She said in the story she wanted to take part in the volunteer activity dealing with violent behavior within the family and the like, when she became a lawyer.

Mr. Sato was completely moved. There is a special system that accepts such uneducated high- and middle-aged people in the universities in New Zealand. They are precious because they speak out positive opinions from their rich experiences, and offer the different view from students. Mr. Sato wishes that Japanese universities could do that, too, but he thinks it almost impossible in today's examination system.

To tell the truth, the biggest reason he works alone abroad is that his daughter is going to have an entrance examination. He feels the Japanese system prevents us from real lifelong education.

I myself wish that we could study more slowly and carefully, and even anytime we want in the university. When I hear about the American or New Zealand's system, I envy very much because they don't have to enter the university right after the graduation from high school.

We Japanese must do it, besides we must decide our major even if we don't know what to study. Once we enter a certain university and take a certain major, it is very hard to change. And there is a financial problem, too, though. I think students must be able to study independently.

To sum up, in Japan there must be as many universities as possible to accept all people who want to enter. And they must be cheap enough students can afford their tuition and living for themselves. And also the system in which anybody can enter anytime, but it should be rather hard to graduate. If possible, I would like to study again in such a university.

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April 7, 1994

Spring Holidays

These three weeks I've been very busy with my work and my husband's moving. Last spring he moved to Nagoya, and this year he moved to Tsuchiura again. He went back and forth between Nagoya and Tsuchiura three times in order to find a house and to take over the new work.

Every time he came home. On the last Sunday of March he moved to Tsuchiura, so on the previous day he sent his things from Nagoya and came home. And on Sunday he, our elder son and I went to Tsuchiura in order to wait for the truck. On Monday my son and I came back.

Last Friday he came home after finishing the rest of his work in Nagoya, and on Saturday he and I went to Tsuchiura again. While his working in the office, I stayed home to arrange the room and to wait for the man who set the phone. Even on Sunday he had to go to office, so I was busy with housework and came home on Monday. I was very exhausted.

This was my first trip along the Joban Line. The landscape of the countryside made me rather nostalgic. Accurately the nearest station is Kandatsu, the next to Tsuchiura. There are woods and orchards around his house, where we can hunt fruits like pears, persimmons, chestnuts, apples and grapes. One-hour drive leads to Mr. Tsukuba. I'm looking forward to autumn.

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May 26, 1994

Safety of Cars

A few days ago I watched a TV program by chance. It was about the safety of cars.

For example, they reported the results of various experiments about strength of car body, personal damage, functions of safety mechanisms and so on when crashed. They carried out these experiments with Japanese cars and foreign ones.
It is expected, yet serious, that Japanese cars are so much weaker in structure than foreign ones. And there are some differences of rules about car safety among the countries. I think they come from the gaps in the opinions about cars.

It was the story about door-lock that made me most shocked. When I get on a car, I always lock the door of my side unconsciously. If I forget it, so-called "auto-lock system" will work out soon.

In Germany, however, they never lock the door while driving. Because if the door is locked in case of an accident, there can be the danger that the door is broken and the man or men cannot get out of the car. In that program a strong man could not open the broken door even with various tools.
When we imagine the case of a fire or a pileup, it is a horrible situation. German people set the seat belt without fail, and never lock the door while driving.

A Japanese person concerned said on TV that there were two ways of thinking about door-lock mechanism. The Japanese people lock the door for fear that little kids might open the door while driving. In Germany they don't lock the door in order to get out of the car in case of an accident.

Which is reasonable nowadays when we must wear the seatbelt? I'd like not to lock the door when I get in a car, but how can I do with "auto-lock system"?

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June 23, 1994

Wimbledon Tennis Tournament

On this Sunday the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament has begun. I have been looking forward to seeing this match as well as former ones.

Recently it seems to be time for the famous players who have been leading the world to give way to the newcomers. In a sense, it is a very good thing because the young players will show us the marvelous technique and power that can overwhelm top players we used to seeing. It is exciting to see how new stars grow on and on. Thus the world of tennis should be inspired I know.

But I'm very sorry my favorite famous players are disappearing one by one from the court. John Mc'Enroe, whose splendid net play I still adore, has already quit to play in tournaments. Stefan Edberg is gradually going down in the world ranking. And Martina Navratirova decided this tournament would be her last game. She won the Wimbledon Title nine times and has won the most titles in the world. Among many female players I love her playing style most.

This time the number one seed player, Stefi Graf, has been already defeated and Martina stands a good chance of getting her tenth title of Wimbledon. I hope she can play her best game, and I also hope our Date Kimiko and other Japanese girls do their best.

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September 1, 1994

Happening in This Summer

It was the hottest summer in my life this year. It is surprising that I could come through it physically somehow.

Besides I had to care about my sons, because they got the driving license of middle-sized bike. Once they rode out, I worried so much until they came back safe. One good thing about this is that my two sons have more times to talk to each other since they came to have the common hobby. They read magazines and road maps together, fix their bikes together, and the elder tells the younger the way to go somewhere.

On 29 in August, when I almost felt relieved because nothing bad occurred so far, the worst thing happened. When I worked that afternoon, someone came home silently. I felt something unusual and went to see. To my surprise, my elder son had got muddy. He lost his way in Yamazaki, where he went onto the unpaved road, and his bike slipped on the gravel road, then he fell down to the valley. His bike got stuck in the mud. As he couldn't pull it out, he walked home. Fortunately he was not injured.

It took about 50 minutes for us to go to the spot on foot. It was at least 10 minutes on foot away from the nearest house. There was only a track like an animal trail. Only with the help of a kind man, who were working on the nearest farm, we could manage to pull the bike out of the muddy pool and carry to the road. Now I think it a kind of miracle for him to have come home safe except some scratches.

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October 13, 1994

Dint's About Portable Telephones

In Italy, the portable telephone is so widespread that too many rude calls are becoming a social problem.

Recently, therefore, the Telephone Company published a booklet "Don'ts about portable telephone". It says, "don't use the telephones in theaters, movie theaters or in the church", "don't put them on the table while eating", and so on. These things are extremely ordinary manners. But Italian manners are so bad.

For example, in a certain tennis tournament, there were so many calling sounds in the audience that a famous American player got irritated and quit playing. And in a wedding ceremony, the portable telephone the bridegroom had with him began to ring all of a sudden, and so the couple had to stop their marriage vows for a while.

The effect of the booklet might not be expected in that country.

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November 10, 1994

An Extraordinary Monk

I have something interesting I'd like to tell you. But I'm afraid, I couldn't do it well because I don't know the jargons about my topic. Anyway I'll try.

Last week I went to Osaka with my sister. On the 3rd we held a memorial service for my dead grandmother. It was the 17th anniversary, so only my mother's sisters and the closest relatives got together.

The Buddhist monk came and he was middle-aged, white-headed and strange to me. When he finished reciting a sutra, he turned toward us and said that he'd like to tell us about near death experience. All of us were a little surprised and listened to him carefully.

He said there are four phenomena that are widely known in general. At first he talked about the tunnel effect: the dying persons, of course, tell the story after coming back to this world, that they find themselves in a dark tunnel and they can see the light at the far end.

Secondly they say their souls or something separate from their bodies, and they can see their own bodies from the ceiling or they can see even what they could never see generally. For example, they can watch the course of operation and tell the details.

The third is the panorama experience. In a very short time, like a few seconds while they fall over a precipice into the sea, a long panorama of memories passed through their minds.

And the last is so-called "Omukae". They meet the Buddha's messenger, who tells them not to go to the next world, but to come back to this world.

So far we were very interested to hear and we took it for granted that the monk will tell that kind of story. Those things seem to be so wonderful, mysterious, and supernatural. But the monk said that those phenomena can be all explained scientifically.

He explained hologram, interference, and the quantum theory at last, referring to Dr. Einstein and several unfamiliar names of physicists in the world. It was as if we had had a physics lecture in the university. He talked very energetically, but most of the audience was puzzled because the story was beyond their ken.

To sum up as much as I can, all things in the world are closely related to one another on the level of quantum. According to this theory, there can be numberless spheres in the space we can not feel usually. Some people can feel something or can use something of another sphere, when they happen to be in the special condition. The next world can exist, and several strange things like spoon bending and clairvoyance can be explained.

After the monk left, I asked my mother why he had the special knowledge of physics. She told me that he used to be an office worker. His wife is the only child of the monk I knew well. When the father in law of the physical monk passed away, he quit his job and became a monk. At first he was not good at reciting a sutra, but recently he is already a full-fledged monk, she said.

Though I failed to know whether physics was related to his work or only his hobby, I have understood his uniqueness and I've come to like him.

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That's all in 1994.

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