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.


The Art of Responsible Gambling

This post is about the art of responsible gambling.

The phrase “responsible gambling” may sound like an oxymoron, but it is not in fact a contradiction in terms. And there is “art” involved in responsible gambling because tact and subtlety are necessary in delicately balancing chance, cost and entertainment involved with gambling.

The first rule of responsible gambling is that you have to love gambling. This may sound paradoxical, but responsible gambling and love of gambling go hand in hand because only those who enjoy the thrill of gambling can accept that money lost to a casino is nothing more or nothing less than payment for a cost of entertainment. And so it is that the casino experience for responsible gamblers is no different from moviegoers who are willing to spend $20 or more for two hours to sit in front of a screen and munch on popcorn, often mindlessly.


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.

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