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Old 2008-02-24, 07:12   Link #521
LiberLibri
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Originally Posted by Mueti View Post
Thanks!
And it's not like I don't know anything about Buddhism; I'll see soon enough whether my knowledge suffices or not. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a copy available at the local library, I'll have to look for one elsewhere...
Oh, sorry. I wish you will get.

Though I am not a Zen teacher (nor a zealous Buddhist), my grandfather was a priest and I think I have a bit more knowledge on the religion than normal Japanese do. Maybe it is helpful for some people if I here introduce the basic information. There are so many distorted notion like Zen for Your Business and that stuff, you know...

Why We Need It?

Buddhism assume the universe is full of sufferings; Death; Desease; Aging; and Life itself is also a source of pain (The Great Four Sufferings 四苦). The last one contains the four subdivisions;

1. Sometimes we have some modest funs; dearest lovers, pretty children, respectable friends, honourable jobs, confortable houses and so on. But all of them, without any exception, shall perish in some day. The more you love them, the more you shall grieve the loss. (Pain from Love 愛別離苦)

2. The history of human beings is the history of hostility. We hate each other, based on the difference of colour, religion, political thought... Even within one group, everyone competes and deceives other members for his/her own merit. (Pain from Antagonism 怨憎会苦)

3. Everybody has strong greeds for honour, sex, money, etc. Sometimes we succeed to satisfy them, but often we fail to do so, and we get frustrated. (Pain from Greed 求不得苦)

4. Our fleshes are the source of ceaseless agony. Starvation, thirsty, feeling of hot/cold... These come from our own physical body. (Pain from Flesh 五蘊盛苦)

Suggested Solution

How can we escape from those sufferings? By studying them and knowing the mechanism and the root of all sufferings. The person, who achieved the answer (Satori 大悟), is titled Buddha, which means "an awakened person" in Sanskrit. The first Buddha was, according to the legend, Gautama Siddharta (BC 463? - 383?), also known as Sakya (釈迦). He was born as a prince of a small nation in Nepal, and Sakya was his tribe's name.

Gautama told there were four principles to know and eight methods to observe (四諦八正道). I won't explain them here because their interpretation is the very kernel of Buddhism. After his death, his disciples codified his teaching into a number of volumes, which are called sutra or kyo 経. All sutra were written in Sanskrit, then translated into Chinese. Japan started to introduce the Chinese version since AD 593.

(off topic: Japanese accepted some Sanskrit words through Buddhism. You know Sanskrit is thought to be very near to the Proto-Indo-European. That's why a few Japanese "old" words have correspondings in European languages. e.g. 旦那 dan-na corresponds to "donator" in English and "donner" in French)

Change and Separation

As time passed, Buddhism experienced a series of schism and splitted into innumerable Sects. Many of them were affected by local indigenous cultures and transformed into, say, popular Buddhism. "If you pray to Buddha you will get health / wealth / victory", like that, you know. They also accepted some community functions like funerals or wedding ceremonies. Each Sect regards some of the sutra as more important than others. For example, Nichiren cherishes 法華経, while Jodo holds 阿弥陀経. Even when they share the text, interpretation has also been a tough problem.

Zen 禅 is a sort of fundamentalism movement in Buddhism. It originally occured in China, then came to Japan since 1168. It was supported by Samurais because of its affinity to their virture, though I personally think the two cannot be reconciled. Zen refuses all written textbooks (不立文字); Satori should be sought in silent communication between the teacher and the student because nobody can explain the Answer in any words (以心伝心). The lesson often takes the form of an abstract question (公案). E.g., "is what you think you are equal to what you think you think you are?". The teacher does not expect one absolute answer. By thinking so, the student is trained to approach to Satori.

Ethical Ideas

Buddhism does not have, at least in its pure form, the notion of Heaven as the reward for your good deeds. It assumes the whole world as an evermoving wheel of suffering, and you must endure the pain forever because you shall reincarnate into another flesh after you die. The sole solution is to know the way to escape from the eternal cycle and stop your infinite reincarnation. The ultimate goal for Buddhist is to achieve the Answer and die the Last Death calmly (涅槃寂滅). Good death is expressed as jobutsu 成仏, which means "becoming Buddha", getting the Answer. However, popular Buddhism sometimes expoilt the concept of avis for moral education; "if you behave badly, you will go to hell".

Buddhists avoid harming any lives because they might be your dearest persons or even yourselves reincarnated into the body. Strict Buddhists are vegetarian. Everyone should be kind and nice to each other for the same reason, but sticking excessively to a certain individual or individuals is not desirable. It is critically important to give away any attachment to anything because nothing on the earth lasts long (諸行無常). All desires (煩悩) should be abandoned because they strengthen your sufferings.

Zen sometimes adopts more nihilistic ideas in that point -- e.g. even suicide or murder is not a serious problem since the attachment to life also shoud be denied; how one lives is more significant than when one ends. The most well-known Zen scholar in Japan is Ikkyu (一休 1394-1481), born as a sun of the Emperor but purged into a temple. He was terribly intelligent and sarcastic, and often jeered at both social orders and cheap morals in the form of such poems as 正月は冥土の旅の一里塚 (Happy new year! Now you are taking another step toward your death!).

Last edited by LiberLibri; 2008-02-24 at 07:54.
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Old 2008-02-24, 20:35   Link #522
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How is the food culture in Japan? Do they eat a lot of american food? How much would a upscale restaurant cost in Japan? I dont mind if the dishes here in US cost around 20-40 for a plate.
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Old 2008-02-24, 22:10   Link #523
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There is no upper-end to what you can spend in the "upscale restaurants". You could pay hundreds of dollars to get a morsel from a star chef... even more for the right kind of beef or sushi. If you try to get American food in Japan...
1) you'll pay much more than its worth. Ingredient import costs.
2) it won't be "the same" (I've heard from several sources that the spaghetti is bizarre and burgers don't taste the same unless you've had Hawaii-style hamburgers).
3) and the real question, why would anyone want to eat American food in Japan? O.O

The Japanese do enjoy American food (particularly breakfast) and they're nuts over mayo (god knows why) -- they put it on everything (anyone remember the Tsukasa dialog in the first Lucky*Star episode (mayo on natto?)?
Someone I know in Japan has described a Tex-mex restaurant run by a Japanese national who spent time in Texas and loved the food. Much has to be imported.

The Japanese did go nuts for a decade or so over "american" fast food crap... but they seem to be reining themselves in and returning to traditional foods more often (and hopefully avoiding the descent into obesity).

They're also quite fond of curries and other "foreign imported then localized" dishes.
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Old 2008-02-24, 22:47   Link #524
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
The Japanese did go nuts for a decade or so over "american" fast food crap... but they seem to be reining themselves in and returning to traditional foods more often (and hopefully avoiding the descent into obesity).
Hmm...I'm not so sure about that anymore after reading some rather disturbing articles online about "Mega Macs" (メガマック), essentially a supersized Big Mac only sold in Japan for a limited time. Apparently it was so popular that almost all stores sold out for them eventually. The lines for these hamburgers literally trailed on the streets. It wasn't all that cheap either, I think ~500 yen for one.

Restaurant costs in Japan are ridiculous. My Japanese aunt once offered to pay for a $60 meal for 5. Not too bad by any standards, but she was like "ooh, food in America is so cheap". Without even batting an eye, she pulled out cash for $60, PER PERSON. True story. But she does live in a rather upscale part of Tokyo, prices in other places probably aren't so bad.
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Old 2008-02-24, 23:08   Link #525
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Yeah, there are certainly still fads... but the business sector news has been lamenting the stagation or actual drops in Japan sales for McDonalds, KFC, etc for the last couple of years. Now.. are they eating more healthily or at least returning to traditional foods? Harder to tell -- all I have are anecdotal news stories from Japan. The sales drop I can at least verify from viewing the business reports on the "fast food" megacorps.

It may also be as simple as the fact that Japan's recovery has bled off a lot of steam in the last couple of years due to energy costs.
Do you have any actual ingredient/weight/size data for those Mega-macs? I'd be curious to know how they compare to US prices.... 500yen isn't that much and many american burgers cost more than that --- but then the america-burgers >$5 are monstrosities (1/3lb-1/2lb beef, lots of cheese, chili, and goo). Sorry, must drool now.... :P
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Old 2008-02-24, 23:16   Link #526
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Yeah, there are certainly still fads... but the business sector news has been lamenting the stagation or actual drops in Japan sales for McDonalds, KFC, etc for the last couple of years. Now.. are they eating more healthily or at least returning to traditional foods? Harder to tell -- all I have are anecdotal news stories from Japan. The sales drop I can at least verify from viewing the business reports on the "fast food" megacorps.

It may also be as simple as the fact that Japan's recovery has bled off a lot of steam in the last couple of years due to energy costs.
IMO, this has more to do with fast food's appeal in Asia. From my experiences with fast food there, especially Pizza Hut, people actually come for the food, not the convenience. Pizza Huts in China are more like bistros than fast food places, definitely not the "take home/delivery only" system that it has here. I guess the novelty and appeal of slowly killing yourself with grease has worn off.

Fast food endures in America, because it's easy to get. I'm rarely in the house, usually only to sleep. So, a lot of my food budget is spent on fast food. This doesn't work in a system where you have to wait outside for a table to get your Pizza Hut.

For those interested:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
The Mega Mac - four 1.6 oz (45.4 g) beef patties and an extra slice of cheese. Available in Ireland, Japan, and South Korea. Discontinued in Australia and the United Kingdom, limited availability in the United States (where it is commonly marketed under the name Double Big Mac). Also available in Canada as the Double Big Mac.
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Old 2008-02-24, 23:41   Link #527
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Do you have any actual ingredient/weight/size data for those Mega-macs? I'd be curious to know how they compare to US prices....
The Economist can answer this question for the normal Big Mac which they use as a semi-comedic measure of "purchasing power parity."
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Old 2008-02-24, 23:48   Link #528
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thanks.. wow... patties used to be 4oz standard on a six-inch bun.... how times change.
Now you can only get that sort of thing at "specialty burger places" and they want $6-$9.
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Old 2008-02-25, 00:30   Link #529
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
There is no upper-end to what you can spend in the "upscale restaurants". You could pay hundreds of dollars to get a morsel from a star chef... even more for the right kind of beef or sushi. If you try to get American food in Japan...
1) you'll pay much more than its worth. Ingredient import costs.
2) it won't be "the same" (I've heard from several sources that the spaghetti is bizarre and burgers don't taste the same unless you've had Hawaii-style hamburgers).
3) and the real question, why would anyone want to eat American food in Japan? O.O

The Japanese do enjoy American food (particularly breakfast) and they're nuts over mayo (god knows why) -- they put it on everything (anyone remember the Tsukasa dialog in the first Lucky*Star episode (mayo on natto?)?
Someone I know in Japan has described a Tex-mex restaurant run by a Japanese national who spent time in Texas and loved the food. Much has to be imported.

The Japanese did go nuts for a decade or so over "american" fast food crap... but they seem to be reining themselves in and returning to traditional foods more often (and hopefully avoiding the descent into obesity).

They're also quite fond of curries and other "foreign imported then localized" dishes.
Sounds good to me, dont really want to eat american food there but would be interesting what kind of food they have over there. Can't wait to eat there one day. Thanks for reply
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Old 2008-02-28, 06:24   Link #530
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hey guys, any idea on the shoe locker thingy? you know in anime we always see students taking off their shoe and change the one in the locker . . Sorry if this have been asked before or if this is a practice done by other countries as well but certainly over my area we dont do that
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Old 2008-02-28, 06:38   Link #531
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Originally Posted by Yaoi_Daisuki View Post
hey guys, any idea on the shoe locker thingy? you know in anime we always see students taking off their shoe and change the one in the locker . . Sorry if this have been asked before or if this is a practice done by other countries as well but certainly over my area we dont do that
Well, you noticed it, yes... but what about it?
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Old 2008-02-28, 06:42   Link #532
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tripperazn View Post
Hmm...I'm not so sure about that anymore after reading some rather disturbing articles online about "Mega Macs" (メガマック), essentially a supersized Big Mac only sold in Japan for a limited time. Apparently it was so popular that almost all stores sold out for them eventually. The lines for these hamburgers literally trailed on the streets. It wasn't all that cheap either, I think ~500 yen for one.
It was expensive and IMO, wasn't all that great. I tried only the tomato version (I didn't come to Japan to eat at McD's!). The fast food chain in my humble city is extremely popular among high school students; after school's out the place is absolutely flooded with them. My college friends tend to stick to their homemade bentou.

Quote:
Restaurant costs in Japan are ridiculous. My Japanese aunt once offered to pay for a $60 meal for 5. Not too bad by any standards, but she was like "ooh, food in America is so cheap". Without even batting an eye, she pulled out cash for $60, PER PERSON. True story. But she does live in a rather upscale part of Tokyo, prices in other places probably aren't so bad.
Ahh... I pay about 500~700 for lunch. If I load up on extras (aisu kokoa!) it can be as much as 1,200. That's generally at the nicer places though (school lunches cost me no more than 400 at most).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yaoi_Daisuki View Post
hey guys, any idea on the shoe locker thingy? you know in anime we always see students taking off their shoe and change the one in the locker . . Sorry if this have been asked before or if this is a practice done by other countries as well but certainly over my area we dont do that
In certain restaurants you must take your shoes off at the entrance and often there are cubby holes for you to put them in. In school students take off their shoes and tuck them away and change to school shoes (shoes for walking in the school with). Many homes also have some sort of shelf or cubby hole area for you to put your shoes in when you walk inside.
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Old 2008-02-28, 06:47   Link #533
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yaoi_Daisuki View Post
hey guys, any idea on the shoe locker thingy? you know in anime we always see students taking off their shoe and change the one in the locker . . Sorry if this have been asked before or if this is a practice done by other countries as well but certainly over my area we dont do that
In most Korean schools, they have the lockers.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Risaa View Post
(school lunches cost me no more than 400 at most).
What's the average cost? It's 2500 won ($2.50, 250) over here.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Risaa View Post
In certain restaurants you must take your shoes off at the entrance and often there are cubby holes for you to put them in. In school students take off their shoes and tuck them away and change to school shoes (shoes for walking in the school with). Many homes also have some sort of shelf or cubby hole area for you to put your shoes in when you walk inside.
Same over here.
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Old 2008-02-28, 06:57   Link #534
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Ahh... I pay about 500~700 for lunch. If I load up on extras (aisu kokoa!) it can be as much as 1,200. That's generally at the nicer places though (school lunches cost me no more than 400 at most).
Hm...I wish I could give a counter example to that, but I haven't been to Japan in over 10 years, all I remember is being addicted to yakiniku and bottled oolong tea.

Damn it, why doesn't Suntory sell any of their drinks over here? Then I could drink Pocari Sweat at the gym instead of Gatorade (eww...)
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Old 2008-02-28, 07:38   Link #535
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kang Seung Jae View Post
What's the average cost? It's 2500 won ($2.50, 250) over here.
Well... lol, because I often get the special ramen of the month (last was black sesame ramen, yum!) it's around 360. If I get a lunch most girls get, it would be about the same, 250.

Actually I'm in Korea right now...
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Old 2008-02-28, 07:55   Link #536
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Originally Posted by Risaa View Post
Well... lol, because I often get the special ramen of the month (last was black sesame ramen, yum!) it's around 360. If I get a lunch most girls get, it would be about the same, 250.

Actually I'm in Korea right now...
Where?

Maybe we can meet on March 3rd, at Yonsei University.
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Old 2008-02-28, 07:59   Link #537
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Its a Japanese Culture for all the girls there to be really preeetty!! ^_^
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Old 2008-02-28, 08:01   Link #538
Kang Seung Jae
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Its a Japanese Culture for all the girls there to be really preeetty!! ^_^
What the.... ?
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Old 2008-02-28, 08:10   Link #539
tripperazn
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Originally Posted by Kang Seung Jae View Post

Maybe we can meet on March 3rd, at Yonsei University.
A Yonsei Student on AS? Wow...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amray View Post
Its a Japanese Culture for all the girls there to be really preeetty!! ^_^
Cosmetics and fashion ARE pretty huge there, but that's hardly a unique trait and the results aren't always pretty (ganguro anyone?).
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Old 2008-02-28, 10:37   Link #540
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Originally Posted by tripperazn View Post
A Yonsei Student on AS? Wow...



Cosmetics and fashion ARE pretty huge there, but that's hardly a unique trait and the results aren't always pretty (ganguro anyone?).
What is ganguro?
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