Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Texas Liberal Panel Of Experts Reads Asian Poetry From Across The Ages Every Chance They Get—Not A Word Is Wasted

It has been sometime since the Texas Liberal Panel of Experts has been seen on the blog.

I’m sure you’ve been wondering what they’ve been up to in recent weeks.

They’ve been reading books of Asian poems written many years ago.

What else did you think they’d be doing?

Extinct has been reading Japanese Death Poems–Written by Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death.

Being a Woolly Mammoth, Extinct is always interested in reading about death.

Here is a poem from Death Poems written by a man named Gasan in 1885–

Blow if you will,

Fall wind—the flowers

Have all faded.

Hamburger Wearing An Astros’ Hat is reading Crossing The Yellow River–Three Hundred Poems From The Chinese.

As you can tell from the picture, Hamburger has studied Crossing many times.

Below is a poem from Crossing called View From Heron Tower. It was written by a Wang Chih-huan who lived 688-742.

The white sun is hidden by the mountains.

The Yellow River empties into the sea.

Climb up one floor:

You’ll see a hundred miles more.

Cactus is reading Written on Water—Five Hundred Poems from the Man’yoshu.

Cactus likes to read about water for a change of pace from the day-to-day life of a cactus.

Below is a poem from Written that was authored by a Kakinomoto-no-Hitomaro.  This poet lived in the late 7th and early 8th centuries.

Far above the roar

Of the rapids of the stream,

About the peak of graceful Mt. Yutsuki,

Hover heavy clouds.

Samuel Slater Bobblehead is reading Songs of the Kisaeng–Courtesan Poetry of the Last Korean Dynasty.

As always, Samuel Slater Bobblehead is quite industrious in his reading.

Below is a poem from Songs called Who Caught You? It was written by Kungnyo. Kungnyo lived in either the 16th or 17th century.

Who caught you, fish, then set you free

Within my garden pond?

Which clear northern sea did you leave

for these small waters?

Once here, with no way to flee,

you and I are the same.

The poems in these books waste no words. They convey both ideas and feelings from across many years.

No wonder the Texas Liberal Panel of Experts enjoys these books to such a degree.

(Below–The Yellow River in Qinghai Province. Picture by Andre Holdrinet. This is not as serene a place as  it may appear. There was a big earthquake in this province in 2010 that killed many people.  Here are facts about the the Yellow River.)

March 26, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Japanese Elections Shift Power And Move Japan To The Left

Elections in Japan have resulted in, to some degree, a shift to the left. Beyond ideological issues, the long-standing ruling party has been booted out and a more competitive two-party system for Japan may be in the offing.

( Above—A Buddhist Temple in Kyoto. Japan. Here is information about visiting Kyoto.)  

The Democrats have soundly defeated the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Do not view these party names through the prism of American party labels. The Liberal Democrats are the party of the right. The LDP has held power in Japan for all but a few months since the end of World War II.

A good explanation of what was at stake in Japanese elections can be found in this post at the blog World Elections. 

The blog Observing Japan has comprehensive posts on the political situation in Japan.

The new Prime Minister of Japan in likely to be Yukio Hatoyama. Here is his profile in the BBC.   

From that profile—

“In his manifesto, Mr Hatoyama said he wanted to improve people’s lives through increased welfare spending. “I want to approach policy from the perspective of the citizen, not leaving it to the hands of bureaucracy,” he wrote. “I want to create a horizontal society bound by human ties, not a vertically-connected society of vested interests.” Mr Hatoyama says he wants to raise spending on healthcare, child support and subsidies for farmers. But he has ruled out raising taxes to do this – prompting critics to ask where the money will come from.”

( Above –Japan as seen from space.)

In regards to the ideological shift as it impacts international policy, Democrats say they will reevaluate the Japanese military relationship with the United States and may no longer assist in the refueling of American ships headed to the War in Iraq. Japan may now look more towards it’s Asian neighbors and less towards the United States on security issues.  

Here is the New York Times story on the election.

Domestically, the ideological shift is caught up with what is the larger story of the election. The excerpt from Mr. Hatoyama’s profile gives some sense of what has been promised. Japan’s economy has been stagnant for many years and people in Japan are concerned about the impact of globalization.

Here is a Q & A from the BBC about policy differences between Democrats and the LDP. 

Yet articles I have read about the election suggest that weariness with the long-ruling LDP and a desire for a more competitive political system are a big reason why the Democrats have won. There is a widespread belief—seemingly correct—that the LDP has held power for too long and that the political system is rigged to a favor a certain few over the needs of the many.

For this desire for change to have real meaning, it will soon enough have to be accompanied by policy changes and a greater transparency in how Japan is governed.

Here are some basic facts about Japan. The population of Japan is approximately 128 million people.

(Below–Sapporo, Japan. Here is information about visiting Sapporo. )

August 31, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Japanese Death Poem

Here is a poem from the book Japanese Death Poems—Written by Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death.  The book was compiled by Yoel Hoffman. The poem was written by a man named Hakurin who died in 1817 at age 68.

Well, then, let’s follow

the peal of bells to the

yonder shore.

I’d say Hakurin was taking his impending demise well enough.

August 20, 2008 Posted by | Books, Poetry | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Japanese Whale Hunt & Other Marine Life In The News

There has been much marine life in the news in recent weeks.  

Japan is undertaking a new whale hunt for “research.” It will be the first so-called legal hunt of Humpback Whales since 1963. Theoretically, the number of Humpbacks is now high enough to sustain a hunt. 

It seems a restored population is in fact bad news for these whales. It is indeed hard to get ahead sometimes.    

Here is a link to information on the Humpback Whale.

The photo is a Greenpeace file picture of previous Japanese research on whales.

Japanese whaling fleet 

Here is a story about a firm in Tokyo that offers “whale curry” as something for you to eat. Another product of the research no doubt.  

A Minke Whale found its way far into the Amazon River. Local people tried to save it by splashing water on its back when it swam into shallow waters, and by attempting to use boats to push it back to the ocean.  These efforts were not successful.

Here is information about the Minke Whale.

This BBC story relates that rivers and lakes that become brown after being clear may in fact be much more clean and natural. What was keeping some European and North American waterways clear was acid rain that was killing off what would otherwise turn the water a more healthy brown.  

Here is a story from Practical Fishkeeping about an attack by billions of jellyfish on the only salmon farm in Ireland.

The jellyfish involved were Mauve Stinger Jellyfish.

Close to where I live, the former Texas A & M at Galveston floating classroom ship Texas Clipper has been sunk near South Padre Island so that it might become an artificial reef. This is reported by The Galveston County Daily News.  

Here is a link to the Galveston County Democratic Party.

Here is a link to the great liberal magazine The Nation. I’ve linked it here to articles discussing the merits of the Democrats running for President in 2008.

Please consider becoming involved in politics and becoming a fighting liberal!    

November 27, 2007 Posted by | Galveston, Politics, Sea Life | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments