1. Shinichiro Hamazaki

    Identity Managgement on the Internet

    The following article was written as an assignment for the World Regions and Culture class.

    Today, I'd like to talk a little about online identity in this presentation.

    Identity policy of Facebook
    Regarding the online representation of oneself, there are interesting comments in the anthropological paper  titled "Facework on Facebook: The presentation of self in virtual life and its role in the US elections." At the end of the paper, it says,

    "Almost everyone, in the West too, has relations they would rather keep quiet about... One major task that remains is to uncover the ways in which social networking sites provide different possibilities for both revelation and concealment of aspects of personhood and social reality." (Steffen Dalsgaard 2008)

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
    What is said in here is that Facebook or Myspace forced the users to show all of your social relationships with your friends, family, and co-workers to the world. They didn’t allow public / private separation at the time when this article was released in 2008. This identity policy came from the philosophy of Mark Zuckerberg, who is the founder of Facebook. He once said that each person has to have a single identity online. This is easily understood because the more Facebook acquire the personal information of the users, the more it benefits by selling the data to advertising and marketing companies. It's better for its business. However, there has been a huge demand to keep the multiple personas of oneself and control one's representation of self according to circumstances. A part of this problem was solved in 2011 when Google launched its new service called Google Plus. It features a function called Circles so that one can arrange different groups of one's relationships with other friends and show one of them to one's friends accordingly. Facebook also started a similar service called Smart Lists. Now one can show different personas by arranging different friend relationships for each friend.

    Single identity online?
    4chan founder Christopher Poole at Web 2.0 Summit
    But still a single online identity is required both on Facebook and Google Plus. As we often see on the Internet, there are other kinds of self-representation styles such as handle names and anonymity. By examining these types of self-representation, a redefinition of personhood can be done. An article from wired.com argues this issue from a SNS user's point of view. In this article titled "You Are Not Your Name and Photo: A Call to Re-Imagine Identity" published in October 2011, the author argues a different online-identity form by quoting Christopher Poole's speech, who is the founder of 4chan. As many of you may know, 4chan is the site that seems to have more influence over not only the online world but also the real world recently. It is now known as the website where a hacker group called Anonymous (with a capital A) came from (they have attacked multinational corporations, governments, celebrities in the past). The site now has nearly 11 million users and more than a million messages are posted a day. Roughly 90% of all messages on the site are posted under the site-default "anonymous" identity. According to the article, the founder Christopher Poole has a totally opposite opinion to Mark Zuckerberg's. He made a speech at Web 2.0 conference in October 2011 and told the audience that even with Circles or Smart Lists, both Facebook and Google still diminish plural identities online. According to him, Twitter handles identity better than Facebook or Google because it allows handle names, multiple accounts, and even fake accounts. I'm not going into detail about his philosophy here. For more detail, please listen to his speech on YouTube. What I'd like to point out here is that although Facebook is so powerful in the U.S. that it's now used as an ID on the web, there is an on-going debate on identity management that is different from that of Facebook.

    Japanese tendency to be anonymous online
    When we turn our eyes to contemporary Japan, the situation becomes totally different. As many of you might have already noticed, most Japanese usually do not reveal their real names or faces online. This is often said as the reason why Facebook is not so popular in Japan. This Japanese tendency is also demonstrated by another research group. This academic paper titled "Anonymity in Computer-Mediated Communication in Japanese and Western Contexts - Comparisons and Critiquesis-" is not an anthropological paper, but I think we can find useful data and perspective here. According to the paper which was published in 2010, compared to the U.S. SNS users, Japanese SNS users seem to prefer much greater anonymity online.

    Table 1 through 4 show how they actually are (In these tables, "second-tier anonymity" means that an individual adopts a new online identity by using a handle name or an avatar). Here the authors say that there is a distinct degree of an identity exists between real identity and total anonymity. They roughly divide the levels into three degrees of groups and name them "Lack of Identification," "Dissociation of Identity," and "Visual Anonymity." Again I'm not going into detail of their theory here, but you can read the paper online if you would like to. What they basically say in here is to avoid stereotyped Japan-U.S. or East-West cultural dichotomies by examining several social networking sites such as MySpace, Japan's mixi, and Yayoo's Q & A, and see the self presentations there more in detail.

    Mixi and 2channel in Japan
    2channel logo with the image
    As we examine the online identity situation in Japan, this "second-tier anonymity" is quite important because many Japanese SNS users actually use it. As for the SNSs in Japan, each website has its own characteristics of the user's identity. For example, one of Japan's largest SNSs, mixi, used to allow the users to resister under handle names. It once forced the users to use their real names, but finally received a lot of criticism against its revised policy. It now allows the users to use handles. According to an article titled "New Media Practices in Japan Part Two: The Internet" published in 2009, one of the characteristics of mixi is that an average user has very small-scale friend relationship on the site. mixi users have four or less friends in their my-miku (my friend list) and only 4.8% have over 41 friends listed on their friend lists. On the other hand, 2channel, which is said to be the original website of the U.S. 4chan, has probably the largest anonymous online community not only in Japan, but also in the world. It is actually not a SNS. Here, almost all the messages on more than 800 threads are posted under anonymous identity. More than 2.6 million messages are posted in total on the site daily. Because of this massive amount of posting, death threats and other inappropriate messages regarding illegal stuff are often posted.

    User communities on Nico Nico Douga
    Streaming video with user's comments on Nico Nico Douga
    In between these two big online communities in Japan, Nico Nico Douga plays an important role in forming online (and also off-line) communities among young people. It is a YouTube-like video-sharing and live-streaming website. It now has more than 26 million members and is very popular especially with the young generation. It is said that 85% of the people in their twenties are the members of the site. What is different from other SNSs is that the users interact with each other quite often even if they don't know each other at all. Many online communities are created among them and hold streaming lives and chats (Between 30,000 to 100,000 streaming lives are aired a day). They often have off-line meetings and events, too. This is probably because the site is appropriately categorized into different sub-genres such as music, dance, and games. The users of Nico Nico Douga are more topic-oriented unlike the Facebook users who are more identity-oriented. On this site, almost all the users use handles, not their real names. Still, they are encouraged to interact with each other off-line with their online identities. The website itself often holds a variety of off-line events such as concerts and exhibitions in order to give opportunities to the users to mingle with others. A variety of off-line meetings and events are also held among the users. The important point here is that the users usually interact with each other without knowing their real names and social statuses, and their online identities often become their identities in real life. This could be a new form of Japanese socialization process in the digital age. I think self representation in contemporary Japan can be examined more from this aspect.

    In conclusion, as of self representation in a society, anthropological studies on the web identity are also done recently. A single-identity policy online is questioned even in the U.S. And although most SNS users in Japan try not to be identified on the web, they seem to have different identity management styles on each SNS accordingly. Finally, here is my question from the text to the class: How does information technology contribute to a redefinition of personhood in contemporary Western societies? My tentative answer for this is that as I discussed earlier, there can be plural identities on the web. A whole-person approach to an individual doesn't seem to work any more when it comes to anthropological studies on the Internet.
  2. Paul

    Getting Started with WordPress.com

    WordPress is one of the top blogging platforms on the web right now.  It's an open-source blogging software that can be installed on a server OR used through the site WordPress.com.  Today I'd like to show you the latter and give some tips on how to get your blog off the ground. When you first ...
  3. Shinichiro Hamazaki

    Hatsune Miku: What comes next to Anime and Manga

    The following article was written as an assignment for the Newsroom Management class.

    Vocaloid Hatsune Miku
    The Internet has dramatically changed subculture scenes worldwide in the last decade. Even in the last five years, after various social networking websites have played an important role in networking people and establishing online communities, subculture fans have shared information and contents they like with others who love the same genre. Some have even created their own pieces such as music, videos, photos, and writings, and posted on their Facebook pages. In Japan, the same things happen, but in a bit different way. People developed online contents collaboratively and share them with other users in a unique way. In the following article, by using the example of Hatsune Miku, I'd like to show how the online collaborative creation process has develop and become a huge phenomena that can no longer be ignored in Japan today.

    Hatsune Miku phenomenon in Japan
    Click the image to watch live video
    A digital character called Hatsune Miku has been popular on the Internet in Japan in the last few years. She now became a virtual pop idol in the digital age, especially for the younger generation. For example, the tickets of her two-day concerts held last month were immediately sold out. 10,000 people enjoyed lives at the theater, while more than 120,000 people watched them online. It now becomes more than 123-million-dollor business in Japan. Many kinds of commercial goods such as CDs, figures, and games are sold at the stores and online. For example, SEGA sold more than one million copies of Miku-related games in total so far. At a karaoke shop, more than 1,700 Miku-related songs are distributed and sung by fans. Her songs became so popular that one of her songs was sung in the graduation ceremonies at several junior high and high schools.

    Hatsune Miku phenomenon in the U.S.
    Click the image to watch Toyota ad
    Her name also becomes known outside of Japan. Last year, she had her first ‘virtual’ concert in L.A. with 5,000 audiences (See the live video above). There, she was shown as a projection of 3D animation, as if she were singing on top of the stage. Some big-brand companies also started to use her popularity in the ads. Last year, Toyota featured her in its TV commercial aired in the U.S. She was also featured as a campaign character after Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber in the Google Chrome's global promotion campaign.

    Who is Hatsune Miku?
    Vocaloid 2 interface shot
    Hatsune Miku is the name of an anime-like female character created and released in 2007 by Crypton Future Media, Inc. She is the mascot image of Vocaloid 2, which is singing synthesizer application software developed by Yamaha (Her name in kanji literally means “first sound in the future”). By typing lyrics and melody, a user can synthesize singing so that amateur songwriters can produce their original songs without any ‘real' singers' help for their vocal parts. There are more than 30 types of Vocaloids available now with different characters including male, child, and Korean characters. Miku's voice still sounds a little ‘robotic' for the first-time listener, but the latest model IA in Vocaloid 3 sings songs so perfectly like a ‘real’ singer that the listener doesn't recognize the song being sung by a Vocaloid.

    Hatsune Miku as a ‘singer’
    Click the image to watch music video
    Today many amateur songwriters and musicians use Vocaloid as their ‘singer’ and upload their original songs on YouTube and Nico Nico Douga, which is the most popular video-sharing website in Japan. More than 32,000 Vocaloid-related songs were uploaded on Nico Nico Douga last year. Several songs have become No.1 hits on the charts. For example, the song used in the Google TV commercial called “Tell Your World” by Livetune reached No. 1 on Japan's iTune Store chart. Some professional musicians such as Tetsuya Komuro also started adopting Vocaloid to their music. As a result, many music listeners now choose songs by songwriter's names, not by band's names. In a sense, as Hatsune Miku becomes a ‘common property’ among the listeners, song composition and live performance by a group band are no longer seen as a standard musician style.

    Massively collaborative creation
    Click the image to watch video
    Song writing is, however, just a beginning of the consequent creating process by different kinds of creators. As I examined one of the songs' variation in my previous blog post, a various types of videos related to a song are created collaboratively by many users in different genres (You can see how they are actually interrelated to each other in the video on the right). For example, one user draws illustrations that match to the song, attaches them to it, and uploads the video. The other user sings the song and uploads the video. The other ones create MAD videos based on the lyrics of the song and upload them. Some play the song with musical instruments. Another user choreographs the song, which makes others dance with it and upload their dancing videos. Some create 3D CG video with the Vocaloid character dancing to the song. Another user makes a hit chart of the week including the song. These different kinds of videos are uploaded simultaneously within a few months by many users if the song becomes popular among the them. Several genres such as singing, dancing, and 3D CG are so popular on Nico Nico Douga that hundreds of videos about a popular song are uploaded in each genre. Some of them are watched over a million times. In many cases, the viewers are inspired by other videos and make their own videos. In this way, they form loose creator communities online. On Nico Nico Douga, the reuse of existing videos on the website is welcomed. All users upload their videos in acknowledgment of the videos they used. Last year, the site started its own creator's incentive program so that the video creator can receive a certain amount of money accordingly if the video were viewed a certain times for a certain period. The Google TV commercial (See the video below) describes the collaborative works among different online users very well in 60 seconds without any words.

    Copyright issue
    Crypton CEO Hiroyuki Ito
    All the creations mentioned above can be done because there is no copyright issue involved. Crypton allows the users to use Miku's voice, name, and image freely as far as it is not commercially used and offensive. In other words, these creations cannot be done with other commercial characters such as Mickey Mouse or Hello Kitty. In this sense, Crypton proposes a new licensing business model. This coexistence between commercial products and fan creations is widely supported by the Internet users in Japan. This is thought partly due to Crypton's CEO Hiroyuki Ito's career background as a programmer and Japan's fan-fiction culture of anime and manga.

    Click the image to watch Google ad
    “HATSUNE MIKU is not merely music software anymore. It's turned into a source of inspiration to create its derivative works.” --- What Crypton says on its website describes precisely what actually happens on the Internet today in Japan. Miku has emerged as a new type of music creation and consumption in the online-sharing culture. I'd like to see how this ‘digital diva’ will change the music scene also in the world.
  4. Paul

    Bryan Alexander; 2022: My Thoughts

    First of all, I'd like to say that I found Alexander's lecture to be very interesting and I watched the entire video.  Starting out, I didn't think that I would enjoy it, nor did I belive I'd watch the whole thing. The shaggy hair and unkept beard didn't do a lot for me when I ...
  5. Paul

    Comments for Kids

    This section has focused on the future of learning, and with that in mind I tried to pick out an appropriate DS106 assignment.  Right away I saw "Comments for Kids" and knew it was perfect. After reading the Gardner Campbell article (and responding) I felt like this fit very much with what he was saying... ...
  6. Paul

    “A Personal Cyberinfrastructure” – My Response

    In Gardner Campbell's piece "A Personal Cyberinfrastructure", he discusses the future that he envisions for students to truly embrace the digital age. There are some parts of it that parallel the work we do in this class, primarily regarding the idea of giving each student a web server in which to "carve out" their own ...
  7. Mai Ueda

    audio project

    my audio projects' name is "誘拐ローテーション(yukai rotation)" which means kidnapping rotation.

    with the aim of creating showa era story, I tried to find sounds and music that would remind people of old japan.
    in this audio project, one man who will never die keep kidnapping kids from showa to present.

    no audio due to the copyrights
  8. Mai Ueda

    audio project

    my audio projects' name is "?????????(yukai rotation)" which means kidnapping rotation.with the aim of creating showa era story, I tried to find sounds and music that would remind people of old japan.in this audio project, one man who...
  9. Mai Ueda

    final project

    final project was aimed to produce one magazine called "zipper" which includes various fashion styles.since today's magazines offer one similar fashion style in each magazine.I thought there will be less chances to try various fashion styles for girls ...
  10. Mai Ueda

    final project

    final project was aimed to produce one magazine called "zipper" which includes various fashion styles.since today's magazines offer one similar fashion style in each magazine.I thought there will be less chances to try various fashion styles for girls ...
  11. Mai Ueda

    3 locations

    3 locations projectyui preparing for a date with his boyfriend.yui talking with her friends about thier boyfriends.yui seeing her boyfriend in front of a bike.no video due to the size of the video
  12. Mai Ueda

    3 locations

    3 locations projectyui preparing for a date with his boyfriend.yui talking with her friends about thier boyfriends.yui seeing her boyfriend in front of a bike.no video due to the size of the video
  13. Paul

    A Stick Figure Hitches a Ride

    I saw the assignment Stick Figures And Sticky Situations and thought it'd be a humorous project to tackle First, I had to find a photograph.  My iPhone is currently full of them because I usually don't take the time to download them to my PC unless space gets really tight. Because of that, I had this ...
  14. Shinichiro Hamazaki

    Women-only Trains in Japan

    The followings are two audio clips that I recorded with my own voice and the scripts that I wrote as a newscast assignment for the Writing for Journalism class.

    [NEWS] Women-only Trains in Japan
    Newscast 1: Women-only Trains in Japan by Shinichiro

    A recent police request sparks a debate over women-only trains in Japan. According to Kobe Newspaper, Hyogo-Prefecture Police requested JR West in October 2010 to expand the women-only train system to their express trains. Police say about 90-percent of reported groping in the trains was done in the express trains that haven’t yet introduced the women-only train system. The company says it’s difficult to meet the police’s request.

    This police announcement triggered the debate over the women-only train again in Japan. Groping in trains has been a social problem in Japan for a long time. Although one can be imprisoned for up to seven years or fined up to 485 dollars, four-thousand cases a year are reported nationwide. Roughly half of them occurred in Tokyo, as the Atlantic Cities magazine reported. According to ABC News, nearly 64-percent of Japanese women in their twenties and thirties said they have experienced being groped in the train.

    To reduce the groping acts, which is called “chikan” in Japanese, the present women-only train system was introduced first in 2000. Male passengers are basically not allowed to get on the passenger-car except for elementary school students or younger, handicapped, and their caretakers. These trains now run in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyushu, and Hokkaido during the rush hours in the morning, in the evening, or both. After the first system started in 2000 in the Keio lines in Tokyo, it spread to almost every train line in Tokyo and Osaka by 2005 with a strong push by the Government and police.

    According to a survey done by a train company, 80-to-90-percent of women and 60-percent of men support the system, while 20-to-30-percent of people do not support it for various reasons. Many women who support the system agree mainly because it’s less crowded and more seats are available in the carriage. Other women prefer the trains because there are no annoying smells or looks from male passengers and much less drunk passengers there, as one of the female passengers told the reporter in the Atlantic Cities’ article. “To feel safer” doesn’t come as the top reason for many women who actually use the system.

    For the opponents, there are a plenty of reasons to abolish this system immediately. They said that, as a result, the other cars -- especially the one next to the women-only car -- become more crowded. They say that the system hasn’t yet proven its effectiveness. It’s not a final solution to reduce groping acts, either. And most of all, it is sexual discrimination against men simply because the train companies discriminate against the passengers based on their gender. There are several opposition groups to the women-only trains. According to them, under this system, all the men are seen as possible sex offenders, and this makes some men feel uncomfortable.

    Groping has also become a problem in other big cities such as New York, London, or Paris. But, posters in the train in these cities just say “Groping is a crime. Report it to police or station staff immediately.” They haven’t yet introduced a system like Japan’s. According to the Atlantic Cities, there are few countries in the world that introduce women-only trains. For example, India, Indonesia, Egypt, Pakistan, Iran, Dubai, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, and, South Korea have the similar system. But many of them were introduced due to religious reasons.

    Some people suggest other measures to crack down on the sexual molestation. There seem to be many measures that train companies can take to reduce the crowdedness besides introducing women-only trains. For example, they can make the lines double-tracked or introduce off-peak tickets so that numbers of the passengers in the train would get less in rush hours. As the leader of the anti-women-only-train group suggested, security cameras can be introduced in each car to discourage gropers. In fact, they were installed in all the carriages in JR Saikyo Line and the groping cases reported dropped less than half of that in the previous year. One can easily think of other ideas such as setting more station staff or security guards on the platforms or letting them patrol in carriages. For passengers, setting emergency bells in each carriage would be good.

    Even with these alternatives suggested above, so far no train company seems to change the present system.

    [AD] Café and Restaurant Minami Azabu
    Newscast 1: Ad (30 sec. Edition) by Shinichiro

    Need a cup of coffee before you go to class? Or want a cozy space for your reading and studying? Why not drop by at our Café and Restaurant Minami Azabu on the first floor of TUJ building? By showing your Temple ID card, you can have a 100-yen discount. A variety of cakes, breads, and pastries are also available. You can have obento and bagel sandwiches, too. You can have a morning and lunch sets at the café. A cake set is also available. At night, we serve a special course dinner. Beer and wine are also available. So why don’t you come? We open from eight-thirty until ten at night only on weekdays.
  15. Paul

    Copyrights, Righted

    I chose an article by the Washington Post to base my presentation on for the topic "Copyrights and Wrongs". It was an interesting piece that proposed 5 ideas for fixing US copyright laws in light of the SOPA bill that was proposed and later struck down. Right now copyright laws in the US are very ...
  16. Paul

    Word Play

    After seeing Yue's creative "Fish" entry for the DS106 Word assignment, I decided I wanted to give it a try too. At first I wanted to 'Tangerine' with the 'T' as a stem and the rest of the word circling it, but sadly it looked too much like a melon. I then tried 'Temple' and ...
  17. Paul

    The Presentations Thus Far

    Thank you scottloradio for releasing this picture under Creative Commons! Not only do I get to use it (because I have no photos that fit with the presentations), but it also goes with my 'Copyright and Wrong' topic that I'll be doing tomorrow The presentations have been really great judging by the ones I've had ...
  18. Shinichiro Hamazaki

    Paragraph Analysis on In-N-Out Burger and Fast Food Nation

    The following article was written as an assignment for the Analytical Reading and Writing class.

    Often people buy a book at a bookstore after reading the first few pages to make sure that the book is interesting enough to continue reading at home. That is why Amazon has a "Click to LOOK INSIDE!" button on each book. The introduction is the most important part of a whole book in order to catch potential readers. One would expect that both In-N-Out Burger and Fast Food Nation must have strong hooks at the beginning since they were both New York Times bestsellers. Although they both focus on fast food industry, there is quite a contrast in the ways they are written. In the prologue of In-N-Out Burger, the author Stacy Perman writes not about the hamburgers or the company, but mainly about the phenomena that the burgers caused. On the other hand, in the introduction of Fast Food Nation, the author Eric Schlosser splits it into two different parts, a story about Cheyenne Mountain Base and a quick overview of fast food industry. Throughout the prologue of In-N-Out Burger, Perman successfully gets the attention of the readers by describing the facts in detail, which makes them want to turn the pages for further reading. On the contrary, despite Schlosser's concise and precise narrative, the introduction of Fast Food Nation does not seem to make the readers want to read more due to his unsuccessful analogy of the base and burger and awkward composition of the chapter. The introduction of In-N-Out Burger definitely draws more attention of the readers than that of Fast Food Nation due to the rhetoric, reading strategy, and composition.

    First of all, the facts shown in In-N-Out Burger stir the readers' strong interests to the topic, whereas Fast Food Nation displays the facts only to convince them. In In-N-Out Burger, Perman introduces many episodes with details. In the middle of the chapter, she quotes what many celebrities actually said about the burgers, which makes the readers understand how much they love the burgers. She introduces an episode that Tom Hanks loves the burgers so much that he rented an In-N-Out cookout trailer for the set while filming the movie The Green Mile (Perman 8). This episode sounds very realistic and impressive for the readers with the actual information. She continues to reveal similar facts for the whole chapter, which leaves a strong impression to the readers that the burgers, in fact, have some kind of power or magic to make people crazy about them. On the other hand, Schlosser gives many figures and statistics as the evidence of his points in his book. He shows them mainly to compare the situations now and the time when fast-food industry was growing rapidly. He quotes figures such as the amount of money Americans have spent on fast food (Schlosser 3), the numbers of mothers who worked and had young children in 1975 (Schlosser 4), and the numbers of hamburgers and French fries that an average American has every week (Schlosser 6). They are very effective to persuade the readers that fast food actually changed people's eating habits, but are only used to prove what he says. Both authors reveal facts effectively to the readers, but Perman seems to be more successful in using many good examples that are very familiar with the readers and enable them to think the next question about the burgers and company themselves. Schlosser's figures strongly support what he wants to say, but they just end there and do not work as a curiosity booster.

    Perman depicts the story in detail and leaves strong impression at the end, whereas Schlosser makes a short summary of the book at the end that fulfills the readers' interests. In In-N-Out Burger, Perman starts the chapter with detailed description of the opening day of a new burger shop in a local town without any background information of the burgers or the company. The readers can feel the atmosphere of that moment and imagine how big an event it was for a small town like Tucson, Arizona. Descriptions like, "businessmen in suits, women in heels, truckers in jeans, college students in T-shirts and with pierced noses, construction workers in heavy boots, and moms with babies on their hips" (Perman 1) makes it easier for the readers to visualize the scene on that day. Fast Food Nation also has well-depicted parts at the beginning of the chapter. Schlosser starts his story describing a gigantic military installation under the Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. He illustrates the details inside the base. The beginnings of both books are quite impressive with detailed descriptions. In the later part, both Perman and Schlosser become less descriptive due to their own reasons. Instead of revealing more facts, Perman introduces just the rumors about the company among the burger fans, which leaves the readers a little unsatisfied and much interest. She also gives a quick overview of the company's recent scandal at the end, but not in detail. This is how she ends the introduction. On the other hand, after illustrating the military base under the mountain, Schlosser kindly explains the main points of the whole book in short for the readers ("This is a book about fast food, the values it embodies, and the world it has made." (Schlosser 3)) including his true motivation for why writing this book ("Most of all, I am concerned about its impact on the nation's children." (Schlosser 9)). In the later part of the chapter, Perman gives the readers an incentive to know more about the burgers and company by introducing many unfolded stories at the end, whereas Schlosser writes a summary of the entire book, which may satisfy the readers then, but does not encourage them to go on to the next chapter. In this point, the introduction of In-N-Out Burger works better than that of Fast Food Nation.

    The most effective point that makes In-N-Out Burger different from Fast Food Nation is found in their compositions. From a functional point of view, the introduction of In-N-Out Burger works much better than that of Fast Food Nation by guiding the readers with much expectation to the beginning of untold, upcoming long story at the end of the chapter. As mentioned earlier, Perman starts her story with many hooks, which motivate the readers to continue to read the following chapters. She uses a number of actual details and facts to impress the readers into believing that the burgers are something great and making them want to know more about what makes people crazy about the burgers, what kind of people the owners are, and what actually happened behind the counter. She deliberately leaves the readers full of questions and with deeper interests, using words like "speculation" (Perman 9), "rumor," "gossip," and "numerous questions" (Perman 10). On the other hand, in the introduction of Fast Food Nation, Schlosser draws an analogy between a military base constructed under Cheynee Mountain and the dark side of the fast-food industry. He does it because both conceal "remarkable technological advances behind an ordinary-looking façade" (Schlosser 7), but fast-food hamburgers and natural scenery may be a bit hard to overlap in the readers' mind. Starting an introduction with an unexpected episode is a good way to unfold a long story, but in his case, it is not well-connected to the next episode. An introduction needs to "hook" the readers strongly. He might succeed in it, but he also has to bring the readers to the following chapters while maintaining the strong interests. It seems obvious that he does not seem to succeed as he has to explain the analogy with his own words later in the chapter. All the questions left unanswered are good hints in advance for the readers to continue reading. In that sense, Perman's prologue is interesting enough to keep reading the following story of the book.

    Perman successfully starts the story with many details and hooks, whereas Schlosser fails to motivate the readers to go on to the next chapter because of an inadequate analogy and quick summaries of the whole book. Perman leaves many mysteries and secrets about the burgers and company to the readers at the end of the introduction to motivate them to step forward, whereas Schlosser finishes his story there and does not give enough incentives to the readers to read more. Perman also quotes many interesting episodes to invoke readers' attention, but Schlosser displays the facts only to persuade the readers. For a book, especially for a non-fiction book, an introduction always plays a very important role to catch the readers' attention. It is a good strategy to leave them a little unsatisfied so that they will look for more and turn the pages. These two introductions are perfect examples of what is effective and ineffective.
  19. Shinichiro Hamazaki

    Can the Federal Government Regulate Fast-food Industry?

    The following article was written as an assignment for the Analytical Reading and Writing class.

    After Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation was published in 2001 and became a New York Times bestseller, the movie with the same title and other food-related documentaries such as "Super Size Me" (2004) and "Food Inc." (2009) became smash hits, which may reflect the enhancement of people's awareness of healthy food in the last decade. However, an article in Time Magazine Online shows that today's food situation in the U.S. has not improved since then. It has even become worse. Especially a social problem like the relation between childhood obesity and fast food draws more people's attentions. Legislation by the federal government is said to be required to stop the situation from getting worse (Melnick). Something should be done by the federal government through its policies to solve the childhood obesity problem, but it should not make laws to restrict the fast-food industry.

    The policies of the federal government can affect private sectors strongly in direct or indirect ways without legislating them. How it gets involved in fast-food industry without any legislation that against it can be seen in its recent political actions for school meals. It is aimed to solve a childhood obesity problem in a generation. In December 2010, President Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act to authorize funding for federal school meals and child nutrition programs, and increase access to healthy food for low-income children with a $10 billion budget increased for the next 10 years (Press Secretary). The budget will benefit the purveyors that can provide healthy food. It might have been no problem serving cheap but unhealthy fast food when "working-class families could finally afford to feed their kids restaurant food" (Schlosser 20) at fast-food restaurants in the 1950s, but it is not good enough now. All the food manufacturers and retailers will try to supply new meals that meet the requirements of the new policies, which will be done without any direct regulation against the food industry. What the Government actually does in this new law is listed in the initiative Let's Move!, which is the foundation that the First Lady Michelle Obama launched in February, 2010. It says: 1. Giving parents helpful information and fostering environments that support healthy choices, 2. Providing healthier foods in schools, 3. Ensuring that every family has access to healthy, affordable food, and 4. Helping children become more physically active (Let's Move!). Here, they not only try to replace unhealthy foods with healthier ones, but also increase accessibility and affordability of healthy food for the families that cannot afford them. This cannot be done by profit-motivated private companies. What the initiative is doing here is just to show all the stakeholders including parents, families, schools, communities, health care, industry, media, and government a right direction to solve the problem and let them get involved with their own initiatives. This initiative can work only through the federal government's policy that has nationwide impact.

    There has been a strong concern, however, that unhealthy fast-food has been served and advertised at cafeterias in public schools nationwide and legislation against serving and promoting these foods may be necessary to solve the problem. Schlosser revealed in his book ten years ago that "nation's food chains are marketing their products in public schools" (Schlosser 52) and points out that "about 30 percent of the public high schools in the United States offer branded fast food" (Schlosser 56). In Super Size Me, the director and performer Morgan Spurlock also shows that many public schools serve innutritious fast food in cafeterias. In 2005, the Institute of Medicine recommended in its report that schools and school districts should create environment that are advertising-free to the greatest extent possible (Kraak). Center for Disease Control and Prevention also suggests on its website that schools should provide food options that are low in fat, calories, and added sugars (CDC). They all suggest that something should be done for school meals in cafeterias, but the situation has not been changed since Schlosser reported because fast-food companies have never stopped targeting children since then with their strong advertising strategy that "childhood memories of Happy Meals can translate into frequent adult visits" (Schlosser 123) to fast-food restaurants in the future. According to Time Magazine Online posted in November in 2010, the Federal Trade Commission is said to be looking into designating children as a "protected" group in order to shield them from the advertisements of unhealthy foods (Melnick). In the article, Kelly Brownell, co-founder and director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, insists that change will come only from "public outcry and legislation" (Melnick). Schlosser says in his book a decade ago, "Most of all, I am concerned about [fast food's] impact on the nation's children" (Schlosser 9) and his concern seems to have become a reality.

    Nonetheless, legislation by the federal government against corporate activities does not change the children's thinking about healthy life-style. The new law mentioned earlier has been signed in December 2010 and the initiative had already launched ten months before that. It is difficult to tell if its new actions will work well or not at this point, but the U.S. Government now considers childhood obesity not only as a health care threat due to an increase of health care costs of obesity-related diseases like high-blood pressure, high cholesterol, and TypeⅡ diabetes in the future, but also as a national-security threat since more than one in four young people are unqualified for military service because of their weight (Lee). It is now taken as a national priority and the Government set a clear goal to solve the problem within a generation (Press Secretary). They are strongly motivated by the real threats and taking pragmatic measures to solve the problem as soon as possible based on the national interests.

    Another reason for not legislating against a food industry is that it may conflict with the state's policies. Instead, the federal government can help providing healthier meals nationwide. For example, the Government will spend additional six cents per lunch at school to provide with healthier options, which is the first-time increase in over 30 years since Truman. The new legislation will help 115,000 children gain access to school meal programs (Press Secretary) such as the HealthierUS School Challenge Program led by the Department of Agriculture (Food and Nutrition Service), while still permitting local flexibility to tailor the policies to their particular needs (Lee). It does not add a dime to the deficit (Press Secretary). These points are very important because there is huge regional diversity in the U.S. It makes the federal legislation difficult to apply equally. There are some locations called "food deserts" where fresh food is simply not available for purchase (Heuvel). The financial and legislative support by the federal government should be based on the challenges that each community faces because each knows exactly what is needed there. For example, a state or city council can pass a tough legislation directly against fast-food industry's marketing in the state or local community there.

    Some legislative actions are actually taken to end advertising fast food to children. A bill that was in hearing process in February 2011 in the Nebraska Legislative Committee prohibits toy giveaways in child meals and the City of San Francisco has also recently passed a similar ordinance (Beck). Schlosser also introduces the voice of the administrators in his book who refuses to allow any advertising in their schools. He quotes some words from a member of the San Francisco Board of Education saying "It's our responsibility to make it clear that schools are here to serve children, not commercial interests" (Schlosser 55). The members of a board of education and city counsels can do something to solve the problem in their ways based on the consensus in the community. If the problem cannot be solved among them, the state government would take actions then. What the federal government actually can do nationwide is very limited. For example, asking major food manufacturers and retailers to place nutrition labeling on the front of the package is the one thing to make it easier for parents to identify healthier foods (Ferran). With the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, each school is motivated by joining the Government's programs based on their needs. As a result, proper purveyors in the community are chosen in competition. Free market mechanism works here without any inhibitory regulations.

    There are many actions that the federal government can take to solve social problems such as childhood obesity without regulating corporate activities. In other words, this is how the federal government plays its role in the society without interfering with free-market competitions in private sectors. What they can do instead is to show the direction for the solution and draw a map for it. They can corporate with all the stakeholders in the problem and bring them forward by giving them incentives to do so. This is the crucial point that the Government has to keep in mind if they would like to gain bipartisan support in Congress and bring their policies into practice sooner.
  20. Shinichiro Hamazaki

    What’s Good about DS106?

    The following article was written as an assignment for the Newsroom Management class.

    What’s Good about DS106? (Project 2) by Shinichiro

    Here I report DS106 and what's good about it in audio. DS106 is an open, online digital creative course. (The name "DS" comes from digital storytelling.) Professor Scott Lockman introduces a part of the course in his Cyberspace and Society class at Temple University Japan Campus.I had an interview with him asking why he introduces it. I also asked one of the students in his class about the activities in class. My personal experience of doing assignments in the class and my thought on creativity are presented at the end.
  21. Paul

    I hate rain

    Really getting tired of rainy Tokyo days.  Minnesota definitely has its fair share of thunderstorms, but not the frequent drizzle that hits Japan. Luckily the shoes I bought keep my feet dry, but previously my old worn out shoes would just soak in any puddles I happened to step in and I'd wind up with ...
  22. Paul

    Debian: An Examination of its Web Presence 1997 – 2012

    Assignment: Entitled 'Way Back Time Machine' (ds106), it tasks students with looking up their favorite websites and seeing how they've changed from the earlier years of the internet using the tool of the same name, Way Back Time Machine (tool). Initially I didn't know what website I would choose. Some of the websites I wanted ...
  23. Paul

    Working with Prezi

    I'll admit, I held off on writing this blog until it was the new section started. Working with my group was great, I think we chose a decent and relevant topic (Twitter) and everyone contributed equally without having to be yelled at.  And Gabby didn't complain too much The only thing that didn't go smoothly ...
  24. Paul

    Wiggle Stereoscopy: Valentine’s Edition

    Assignment: I chose to do the "Wiggle Stereoscopy" assignment.  It's a pretty fun assignment that mixes photography and GIF creation.  You need to take two photos from very similar angles and then combine them into a single GIF. Process: After taking the pictures with the app 'Stereogram' on my iPhone I emailed myself the picture ...
  25. Paul

    The State of the ‘Net: SEO

    SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a huge component of how websites run now.  It is something that became prevalent after search engines started popping up on the internet and indexing sites.  Essentially, SEO-tuned websites will hypothetically show up higher on Google/Bing/Yahoo's search results because they've made specific changes or additions in order to accommodate how ...
  26. Paul

    Random Stereogram

    After Ken went to the Tokyo Pokemon Center, Danny and I decided to go as well! Ended up buying a keitai strap with this cute little bug/grass creature.  Bored in computer lab so I decided to make a stereogram.  If I were to do it again I think I'd make the shift more subtle and ...
  27. Paul

    Daily Create: 2 Weeks In

    Here's my recap of what I've done from February 3rd until up to the 15th: Feb 3rd: Recorded the relaxing sounds of my fish tank. Feb 4th: A picture of my shoes (red) with my boyfriend's.  I was pretty tired, but had to go to a party in Ginza after work so we were waiting for ...
  28. Paul

    Infographix: A Deeper Look

    Infographics have become popular on the internet as a new way to present data in a more engaging way than a simple spreadsheet. They usually are huge vertical images with plenty of statistics and charts that present data in vibrant colors and interesting typography. Our group, lucky number 7, is working on an infographic from ...

UMW Spring 2024 (Bond & Groom)

Welcome to Paul Bond and Jim Groom’s Spring 2024 ds106

Student Blogs

(9 posts)

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