Goodbye 2015

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2016Today is the last day of the year and like years past, it flew by. I am sure by now my friends on the other side of the world have already brought in the new year either with prayer, fireworks, parties, or hatsumode.

Most look forward to the new year full of hope and expectations. It is a time let go of past troubles. Start fresh with a blank slate. Some will make a new year’s resolution. A good number of people will break those resolutions. Others will not even bother.

For me, this year will be different. This is the first time that I cannot look towards the new year full of hope and I cannot start fresh. Sounds pessimistic and forlorn. Instead I look to 2016 to be more or less the same as any other year. Continue reading

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My Big American Fear

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crimesThe summer of 2012, I hesitantly returned to America to visit family and friends. I had been in Japan continuously for 2 years as a teacher and seeing the news of Trayvon Martin made me worry. After all, a black teenager was killed and there were people practically praising the shooter. It was scary to think the same could happen to me. Unlikely. But you never know. Needless to say, my trip went without any incident.

Fast forward to May 2015. I had to leave China and return to America for good-ish. Since then, more black guys have been shot dead with little repercussion for the shooters. Friends overseas did not want me to return to America. I was terrified to return. Circumstances however made the option unavoidable.

When I first came back this year, I was thinking of how to handle the ideas of police brutality and “accidental” deaths. Continue reading

A Stranger In A Familiar Land

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For those who know me, I left America nearly six years ago to find work. At the time, I felt aloof from mainstream American culture but now I am back in America, I feel even more aloof. You may have heard some of these ramblings from others but I though it would be interesting to see it from a different perspective. So here we go.

Food

The most obvious cultural shock is food portions. While overseas, a small is what you would expect a three year old to have: a small cup. The other day,  I went to Firehouse Subs and asked for a medium size cup. Continue reading

Ignoring Terrorism

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A few days ago, the San Bernardino mass shooting went from a typical mass shooting to a potential act of terrorism. Some may not like that I classify a horrible mass shooting as typical but all mass shootings are horrible…and we have over 300 of them this year. I digress.

It is not surprising that the incident would be treated as an act of terrorism. Not because of the guns they used. Not because of the bombs they had and used. Not even because of the strong potential link to ISIL. As soon as I read “Farook” in the initial reports, I knew it may be seen as terrorism. Continue reading

Religious?

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“God Bless America”

“In God We Trust”

“One Nation Under God”

Ever wonder where these phrases come from? The simple answer is that America is and always has been a Christian nation. The quick counter to that notion is separation of church and state. Not to mention the first amendment. However it is widely considered to be a fact. America is a Christian nation. Continue reading

The Loud Silent Problem

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Nearly three years ago, Adam Lanza opened fire in a elementary school killing innocent children and staff in Newtown, CT. As a nation, after children of an affluent town were claimed through senseless violence, we decided enough was enough. We would enforce tougher gun laws. We would enact legislation to help those with mental conditions. We would create a safer environment for the American citizen. Think of the children!

Think of the children indeed! A week later, NRA’s Wayne LaPierre gave a speech with his most memorable line, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” He suggested having armed police at every school to protect children from potential “monsters”.

Fast forward to the following April. Continue reading

In The Name Of…

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“The devil made me do it!”

Have you ever heard that phrase before? When I heard this phrase as a young boy, I imagined a little red horned man jabbing people with his pitchfork to take control of their bodies. Eventually, the image evolved into a ghoulish spirit hovering around victims and whispering poison into their ears. I digress.

It makes sense to attribute the wrong with the devil while associating the good with your choice of a benevolent super-being. When people act, they want to do it in the name God but why don’t we do things in the name of Lucifer? Continue reading

Why does pro-life seem anti-life?

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A couple of days ago, a man opened fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. After he was apprehended, he mentioned “no more baby parts”. An official motive has not been given for the shooting (may have changed by publication) but it is highly probable that the man is a pro-lifer who felt someone had to stop Planned Parenthood’s baby killing machine. As a result, he killed. Continue reading