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Japan: Alpha Blogger Awards 2008 (Part 1)

On the 20th of February, the 2008 Alpha Blogger Awards (ABA) [ja] were held in Tokyo. Sponsored by Pringles Chips, the event this year was attended by close to 80 people (including the team of GV Japan), awarding prizes to the twelve most widely-read posts in the Japanese blogosphere posts from the Japanese blogosphere in 2008 that received the most votes on the ABA site. This is a remarkable difference from past editions, when it was the most popular bloggers (and not blog posts) that were competing.


Video from Alpha Blogger Awards 2008

And the winners of the 2008 Alpha Blogger Awards are…

1) The end of the Ono case: acquitted (大野事件の終焉:無罪確定), by blogger nana (なな): the last of many posts written by a doctor (a gynaecologist) who started their blog [ja] with the single goal to support the cause of a colleague, Doctor Kato, tried for the death of a patient [ja] who underwent a Caesarean section at Ono Hospital in Fukushima Prefecture in 2004.

無罪判決を聞いた時、涙がにじみました。
喜びの涙ではない、敢えてなぞれば安堵の涙に一番近かったと思います。

医師としての人生観を、根底から覆す事件でした。
私自身は、加藤先生とは全く面識もなく、福島県には縁もありません。
共通点は、ただ産婦人科医だということ、だけ。
しかし私だけではなく、産婦人科医だけではなく、全国の医師たちの心をあまりにも大きく揺さぶり、我が事のように必死に、真剣にさせた事件でした。
自分でも御し難いこの強烈な感情は、不思議ですらあります。
[...]

When I heard that he was acquitted, tears came to my eyes.
Not tears of joy, but of relief, perhaps.

It has been a case that overturned my vision of life as a doctor from its very foundations.
Personally, I have never met doctor Kato nor have I anything to do with Fukushima Prefecture.
We have only one thing in common, we are both gynaecologists.
However, this was a case that shook not only my heart or those of my colleague gynaecologists, but the hearts of all doctors across the country, and we all [followed the case] frantically and earnestly as though we were all personally involved.
I myself am astonished by the strong emotions, so difficult to manage, that this case stirred in me.
[…]

2) 11 recommendations about pregnancy (妊娠の心得11か条), by lupo: the author gives advice to other fellow women about pregnancy and delivery. Here is a recap of the main points (refer to the original post for the explanation of each point).

1. セックスをしたら妊娠します。

1. If you have sex, you will get pregnant.

2.「この男の子供を産むためなら死んでもいい!」と思うような男の子供しか妊娠してはいけません。

2. You should only give birth to a child if the father is someone about whom you think, “I would do anything to give birth to the child of this man!”

3.妊娠しただけでは喜ばない。安易に他人に言わない。

3. Do not get too happy just because you got pregnant. Don’t rush to tell other people about it.

4.神様から授かったら、それがどんな赤ちゃんでも、あなたの赤ちゃんです。

4. Regardless of what kind of baby it is, the baby granted to you from heaven is your baby.

5.産む、産まないは自分たち夫婦で決めましょう。

5. Decide whether to give birth or not between the two of you, wife and husband.

6.かかりつけ医をもちましょう。

6. Make sure to have your own personal doctor.

7.赤ちゃんは全ての運命をあなたに預けていることを忘れないで。

7. Don’t forget that the child’s destiny is in your hands.

8.赤ちゃんが完全に元気であるか分かる方法はありません。

8. There is no 100% sure way to know if a baby is completely healthy.

9.出産は出来うる限り安全な場所でしましょう。

9. Deliver the baby in a place that is as safe as possible.

10.下から産んでも、お腹から産んでも、あなたはお母さん。

10. Whether the baby is born naturally or by C-section, you are their mother.

11.妊娠・出産は一つとして同じものはありません。

11. Getting pregnant and giving birth are two different things.

3) My thoughts (思うこと), by manga artist Mayu Shinjo (新條まゆ): the author reflects on her experience in the manga industry and the difficult relationship between the artist and their editor. Explaining to her readers why she took the decision to quit her job at Shogakukan (小学館), she also tells us about the hardships of the profession and the compromises she had to make:

やはり、編集者と漫画家は対等な立場でありたいと思っています。
気持ち的には、漫画家は編集者に対して「お仕事をもらっている」と思っていたいし、
編集者は漫画家に対して「漫画を描いてくれている」と思っていてもらいたい。
そんな気持ちでずっとお仕事をさせていただいていました。

There is no doubt in my mind that editors and artists should be considered equal.
The manga author should think of his or her editor as “the one from whom I receive work” and, conversely, the editor should think of the manga artist as “the one who draws [manga] for us”.
This is the feeling that has thus far pushed me to continue with my work.

[...]

ただ、そんな状況が、「描いてといえば、描く作家」「注文通りの漫画を描く作家」ととらえられたとき、
その関係は崩壊します。
半年間コンビニにも行けず、月産120ページをこなし、睡眠時間の平均が3時間を割るような状況は当たり前ではないんです。
感謝しろとは言いません。そういう気持ちは、言われて持つべきものではないと思うので。
そんな関係のひずみを感じると、それはストレスになってしまいます。
やりたいことを我慢する必要があるのか。ネタもないのに身を削ってまで、新しい作品を発表しなきゃいけないのか。

However, that relationship collapsed when it started being interpreted as “the artist [is someone] who draws if someone tells them to draw” or “the artist draws manga on demand”.
A situation in which [a manga artist], over a period of six months, produces 120 pages every month, without even being able to go out [to buy food] at the convenience store, sleeping an average of 3 hours per night — this is not normal.
I’m not saying that they should thank me. Because they should feel thankful on their own, without being told to feel that way.
And it is when you start feeling that the relationship has been spoiled that it starts getting stressful.
Is it really necessary to tolerate all this and not do what you would like to do? Do I have to release a new work even when I don't have any new ideas, or when it puts me in a state of anguish?

4) Learning about the subprime problem with Yaruo (やる夫で学ぶサブプライム問題): in this post an anonymous blogger summed up threads featuring Yaruo, a funny ASCII art character, in which Yaruo explains in simple terms what the subprime issue consists of:

プライム層とは?
————————————————————————————————–
プライム層とは、ローン会社にとって優良顧客という意味。
つまり、確実に返済が見込める顧客のことです。

といっても、お金持ちに限るわけではありません。
きちんとした職業に就いていて、収入もそこそこある人ならばプライム層に該当します。

What is a “prime class”?
“Prime class” means the best customer for a loan company.
In short, it is a customer who will definitely be able to pay the money back.

Of course the term does not refer exclusively to rich people.
Anybody who has a stable job and a fixed income can be considered part of the “prime class”.

84 名前:1[] 投稿日:2008/01/24(木) 22:06:06.55 ID:77WKU/rz0
        ____
      /⌒  ⌒\
    /( ●)  (●) \
  /::⌒(__人__)⌒::\ Hallooo.I’d like to apply
  |     |r┬-|      |  for a home loan.
  \      `ー'´     /

5) Rebellion against the single-party-dictatorship! “Charta 08” demands full democratization (一党独裁に叛旗!全面的民主化求める「08憲章」出現), by blogger gokenin168: as its title suggests, this is a post about Charter 08 drafted by Chinese intellectuals last December:

目下のところは、「08憲章」という今回の大胆な行動に対し、中共政権がどこまで無茶をするか、といったところが焦点ではないかと。その次第によっては国際社会が動くかも知れませんから。

同時に「08憲章」が中国国内の庶民レベルに浸透するかどうかも、まあポイントでしょうか。

 ……天下を引っくり返そうという檄文だというのに私のノリが悪くて申し訳ありません(笑)。大事件ではあるのですが、インテリ主導のままでは社会を揺るがす動きにはなりませんから。

 それ故に、「08憲章」がどのレベルまで浸透するかが一応のポイント。すでにある程度組織化され官民衝突も経験している労働者や農民が署名に続々と加わるようになったら、私も慌てて顔を洗いに行かなければならないでしょう。

At present, seems like everybody’s attention is focused on how absurd the Chinese Communist Party‘s response will be to this bold action, the “08 Charter”. Because later moves by international community may well depend on that response.

At the same time, it is also important, perhaps, to see at what level the “08 Charter” will penetrate among common people in China.

… I’m sorry if my words don’t sound terribly enthusiastic (LOL), despite the fact that they say that this manifesto is one that aims to overthrow authority. No doubt that it is a big event, but the fact is it will not develop into a movement that shakes the [entire] society as long as it remains under the leadership of the intelligentsia.

For this reason, the level of penetration of the “08 Charter” is an important point. If more and more workers and farmers sign up, [I mean those people] who are to some degree already experiencing the organized collision between the government and the private sector, then I guess I'll panic and I’ll have to wash my face too, won’t I?

6) Letter to the people at Google by Osamu Higuchi (樋口理): in this letter (previously translated by GV Japan) Higuchi-san explains the cultural reasons why Google Street View [GSV] has drawn so much criticism among the Japanese people and, directly addressing his comments to Google, asks for the removal of some residential areas from GSV. (For a better understanding of the “Google Street View issue” in Japan, check out GV's special coverage page.)

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