2005-11-19

Some thoughts

I wonder what it would be like right now if China, instead of Japan, performed something like the Meiji Restoration and Westernized more than a century ago? It might've been China that attacked Pearl Harbor to secure her position in the Pacific. China would've probably annexed Korea instead of Japan. Atomic bombs might've been dropped on China. This alternate timeline is unlikely* to have occurred since Japan Westernized in response to the Qing Empire's defeat to the European powers -- very shocking since China was the overwhelmingly dominant power in the area since recorded history. Plus, with China's historically infamous hubris, it is unlikely to happen even given that the order of events is reversed and instead Japan was the first in the area to be forcibly opened up to European powers.

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Anyone experienced a moment when a familiar English word suddenly just doesn't "look right"? You question the spelling at first, then it becomes more and more 'correct' as you stare at it... I've had this happen to me often recently. I've already forgot the words that triggered this. =P

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I've made note of a couple minor problems that I've observed here.

Idling. No, not the people but the cars. My extended family here is a archetypical example of this: whenever they wait for anything -- people, events, etc. -- while traveling by car, they never shut down the engine. This could go on for a couple minutes to over an hour. Sure, my cousin likes watching the LCD (an excuse they suggest) but doesn't anyone care about the environment, not to mention the yen slipping out of their pockets by the second?

Smoking. I think smoking is a major health issue in Asia. I've been to Shanghai before and it's the same: cigarette smoke taints restaurants, streets -- almost everything. I have to give credit to some of the districts in Tokyo which have implemented anti-smoking bylaws to alleviate the problem, though they do not seem to have been very effective. I still breathe second-hand smoke almost everyday from men smoking as they walk around, even in crowded areas.

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*Of course, probability doesn't apply to historical events, but this is speaking with the quantum theory of multiple timelines in mind... :P

3 comments:

Alan said...

Hey, if China had done that, we might've seen a war like in C&C Generals instead of WW2! haha...dunno if that would be a good thing or not though.

Was the word "hubris" or "forcibly"?

It's kinda interesting to hear that those kinds of problems exist in Japan, since I haven't seen much evidence of them around here. Seems like every society has its share of disadvantages. Weird though, I thought smoking laws would be even more strict over in Japan.

For some reason, after rereading your post, I thought of Escaflowne, and how the bad guys in that series were using a "Fate Altering Device" to change people's destinies. It could do weird things, like make an archer's bow string snap at an inoppourtune moment (did I spell that right? :P) or even change the past so that someone who was born as a girl becomes a guy instead. It made for some really weird plot twists. But the now the themes of time travel and parallel universes have become overused. Just curious though, what made you think of your different timeline?

Bao said...

That Word thing happens to me a few times. The first time, or the most memorable time was with the word "LINE", I'm not sure why. Then it happens with other words.

I don't think I really had a problem with smoking in Japan. Of course, I wasn't in residential areas or offices, and I wasn't close to Japanese people all the time, so I guess that's a difference.

In Singapore (or it might've been Japan?), I noticed the opposite for the car thing for taxi drivers. I guess it's expensive to operate the taxi, but it was quite peculiar.

Whenever there was a stop light, the taxi driver would do a combination of: Turning off the headlights, turning off the engine, putting the gear into parking, and turning off the air conditioning and opening a window - like they really wanted to save as much energy as possible.

Jason Yu said...

Alan: Cool, what a coincidence.. I've been listening to a lot of Escaflowne music lately. I've yet to see one whole episode though... =P

Bao: That's probably Singapore, since it's like the total opposite here. I walk past a line of like 15 taxis by Toyoda station everyday, and all of them -- including the 15th guy at the end, who has to wait like 10+ minutes at least -- keep their engines running, even while they get out of the cabs and talk with each other...

Yeah...