the world of jen keidleir

If I was a junior high school student in Yawata City, Kyoto, I would be getting a free Nintendo DS from the Municipal Government.

Mainichi Daily News:

The Yawata Municipal Board of Education has introduced Nintendo DS game consoles in English lessons at junior high schools following tests showing that the devices helped boost students’ English vocabulary.

The education board introduced the consoles in second-year English classes in all four of the city’s municipal junior high schools on Monday.

[ Link to full article ] [ In Japanese ]

The Japanese article makes it more explicit where the funds used to purchase the DS units are coming from:


For this reason, the Municipal Board of Education will purchase 600 game consoles with support from the state. It has decided to introduce the consoles for vocabulary acquisition in second-year English classes from this academic year. (Emphasis mine)

See? You learn better when you’re having fun. I always knew that.

[ Via Kotaku ]


{May 21, 2007}   On the Selling of Dreams

“The Great Happiness Space” (2006)
Documentary, 1hr 16min
Official website:

A film by Jake Clennel about a host club in Osaka. Host clubs are clubs or bars for women to drink at and be amused by male servers, called hosts. Winner of the Best Documentary Feature Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2006. Japanese with English subtitles.

[ Link to Google Video ]

It seems that most of the women who visit the club work in the sex industry as well. Something one of the hosts said during the interviews leads me to believe that some of the women do not begin as such, but start doing it to afford their visits. When I was growing up, I would often hear that in a relationship, “men trade love for sex, women trade sex for love.” This seems to ring true here in a strange fashion.

I also wonder if host clubs as a phenomenon are restricted to Japan. Where do sex workers elsewhere in the world turn to for their emotional and psychological needs? Where do rich women go when they want to buy the attention of and ogle at cute guys? I know of male strip clubs, but sex alone doesn’t satisfy women. Why isn’t human interaction available for sale then? The flippant part of me wants to say that maybe it’s because respect and emotional availability isn’t one of the things women can expect from men in Japan (see previous entry), so they have to buy it — but I guess there is no simple answer.

[ via Japan Probe ]

{May 21, 2007}   Two Articles

From Japan Probe:

Some Americans put a video camera on the belt in a kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi) place. This is what it caught.

(See it here at

I especially like the change in point of view — seeing things from an angle you normally don’t. Also, I’ve always wanted to see what the kitchen of a sushi place looks like, and this gives you a peek.

(Update: WordPress seems to thwart my attempts at embedding the video here. Maybe I should have stuck to Blogger after all.)

et cetera