The Amazingly Different Remarkableness of Japanese and Americans

The Japanese excel in order and discipline.

My favorite example to illustrate this is the shugaku ryokou, which is like a field trip for an entire grade over a couple nights at some exotic location like the historical city of Kyoto or Tokyo Disneyland. There, the students are divided up into small groups of four to five who are told to explore the locale without adult supervision and return to their lodging by a certain hour.

If you`re an American, there are so many things that are remarkable about the shugaku ryokou. For starters, it’s hard to imagine four American high school teenagers collectively having enough maturity to study the travel guide and coming up with a two-day plan to explore the city.

But what is really mind-blowing is that the shugaku ryoko occurs every year in middle and high schools across Japan without a single incident that makes newspaper headlines. This means that unsupervised teenagers roaming the streets for an entire day manage to avoid having a brush with the police and return in time for dinner.

This is unthinkable in the United States, where the thinking would go “of course teenagers are going to be reckless and irresponsible and expecting them to act any other way would defy common sense.” Any American school that lets something like a shugaku ryoko happen will be rightfully sued for negligence.


What I Had to Go Through in College as a Conservative, Liberals Should Experience, Too

I have had enough of reading about liberal college students on liberal college campuses complaining about their liberal sensitivities being offended.

These people are not entitled not to be offended.

The reason I know this is because if they have such an entitlement, so do I, and if I were to have such entitlement, the very people who are complaining now will never be allowed to speak another word because much of what they do and say are quite offensive to me.


To Underclassmen Eagles: Make Not Just Friends, But Friends Who Are Different

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Letter to an Eagle

Why a friendship was formed may often be amorphous, but there is one certainty about the how: you can only become friends with people you know. And that means that now, and for only the next few years while you are in college, you have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become friends with the most unexpected people.

It’s just a fact of life that after graduation, the people you’ll become friends with are those with whom you share something significant. If you become a doctor, most of your friends will probably be doctors, nurses and others who are in the healthcare profession. If you proceed to graduate school in philosophy, you’ll probably become close with other philosophers who’ll understand your Satre-like pontification on the meaning of grass. If you end up as a wine connoisseur, you’ll likely find that you’re spending much of your free time with other wine snobs.

The friends you make in college needn’t be so obvious and predictable, for in college, you are surrounded with people who are different from who you are and who you will become. This, of course, is the by-product of an academic institution’s conscious effort to make the student body as diverse as possible. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll find anything remotely similar at places you’ll be after graduation, when you’ll be in an environment that is likely to be, either unconsciously or deliberately, homogenous in skill, personality or thinking.


To Eagles Preparing for Senior Year: Commit to Writing a Senior Thesis

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series Letter to an Eagle

A senior thesis, though, will become much more than a leading item to place in your resumé under your “Education,” which is to say that it will be more substantively meaningful than the double major that you chased against my advice. It will be a rare opportunity for you to establish a specialty without going to grad school and despite attending a general studies liberal arts school. It will become the simple answer to the question, “what did you accomplish in college?”


Two Life Lessons From Failure of Johannes Kepler

We have all been told the cliché at some point in our lives that “there are no stupid questions,” but, as Kepler showed, there are wrong ones. It was nonsensical for Kepler to ask why there are six planets, because we now know that there are, in fact, more than six planets. The brilliant answer Kepler came up with was wholly off base because the question he asked to begin the inquiry was the wrong question to be asking in the first place.

Such misconception isn’t limited to history. Even in the modern era, very smart people are unable to ask the right questions, and as a result, leads the debate astray. In my profession, there are those who are unable to distinguish the “should” from the “could”, even though lawyers, more than any others, should understand the difference.


To Overachieving Eagles: How to Inflate Your GPA

This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series Letter to an Eagle

Being a natural overachiever, many of you will seek to become the cream of the crop of American society by obtaining a degree that’s even higher than the Bachelor of Arts, like M.A., M.D., J.D., M.B.A. or Ph.D.

As an overeducated double Eagle myself, I have some experience with knowing what it takes to get into grad school. Apart from the obligatory standardized test, with which I can offer no advice, and your personal statement, regarding which I’ve already written before, the next most important part of your application is your Grade Point Average. And on that topic I have some handy pointers, all of which I picked up during my four collegiate years that was dedicated to avoiding a GPA trap.

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