Technology

Finding Self-Acceptance Through Translation+Translation Request+End of Chapter 1

Hey guys, how’s life going on your side? It’s Glasses-Kun here~

It’s the first of August here, and I thought this would be a nice time to do some reflection. So here we go~

 *Warning. If you don’t want to read some heavy stuff and just want to find more about translation, just keep scrolling to the bottom.*

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As some of you might already know after having checked my ‘About Glasses-Kun’ page or my Twitter account, I’m a Korean. Yeah…I’m not a Japanese.

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I’ve encountered numerous people who were like,”Oh cool, you are a Korean!” through my international school, church, part-time jobs and etc. But to be frank, I didn’t really get why some individuals make it sound as if I should feel happy to be a Korean.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m fine with the fact that I am a Korean. And to a certain extent, I can see why some foreigners might think being a Korean is pretty cool. In the last several years, Korean culture has been attracting lots of interest worldwide. Korea’s beautiful girl K-pop groups(Ex.Girl Generation, Red Velvet, Bae Suzy are great. Sorry, I digress), handsome K-pop boy groups(Ex.BTS.), foods, entertainments(Ex.Running Man), movies(Ex.Train to Busan) and more.

But while Korea has its charms, it also has its flaws. As someone who suffered from these shortcomings during childhood, I can’t help but have slight aversion to moments when someone speaks of Korea as if it’s a paradise.

The main drawbacks in Korea that I’ve experienced myself are Korea’s education system and bullying that happens inside it. Korea’s education system seems to determine a student’s value and future(no exaggeration here) through his/her academic scores. As a result, this kind of environment causes the children and parents to place academics above everything. Youth? Romance? Friendship? Sport? Pfft, kids, just put them aside for now; if you don’t study, you will have no job and no future. This is what I was told when I was in my kindergarten.

When I was in the 2nd year of my elementary school, I was already daily studying until 1am. Morning to afternoon would be spent at my school, and the rest of my time until about 8-9pm would be spent at academic institutions. Occasionally, when I managed to come home early, I would have my dinner with my grandparents and watch TV. Fictional works(western movies, Japanese+Korean animations) had provided me escapism, which helped me and my friends to hold onto our sanity. If it weren’t for them, we would probably have broken down……..

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(But these challenging experiences helped me grow. You will see how by the end of this post). 

(more…)

Japan inside a virtual Pokeball

As soon as Pokemon Go was launched, Pokemon fever struck us once again.

For those who are not familiar with the concept of Pokemon, Pokemon is an eminent Japanese franchise that first entered the global market as a video game for the Game Boy. Players are designated as Pokémon Trainers that have two goals:

  1. Complete the Pokédex by collecting all of the available Pokémon species.
  2. Train a team of powerful Pokémons from those they have caught to compete against those of other Trainers and eventually win the Pokémon League.

Those who have encountered the Pokemon franchise will likely have, at least once, imagined themselves being Pokemon trainers. Pokemon Go has now made this dream come true. Virtually.

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Pokemon Go is an AR (Augment Reality) game that connects our real world and virtual world of Pokemons through iPhones and Android devices. As you move around, your smartphone will vibrate to notify you when there’s a Pokémon nearby. Once you’ve encountered it, you need to take aim on your smartphone’s touch screen and throw a Poké Ball to catch it. Be careful when you try to catch it though; otherwise it’ll escape.

By providing an opportunity to pursue our long-given up, surrealistic dream of catching Pokemons, Pokemon Go has used the Pokemon franchise as its ‘Pokeball’ to capture a tantamount proportion of the global market. It became the most downloaded app in its first week and also the fastest to reach 50million installations on Google play. It is also the fastest mobile game to surpass the $500 million in terms of pure revenue.

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To Japan—the birthplace of the Pokemon franchise— Pokemon Go is more than than just a game; for better or for worse.

One of Japan’s social issues is the high number of NEETs—those who are ‘Not in Education, Employment or Training’. In society, they are usually seen as hermits who never leave their rooms and devote their time to their hobbies. Such lifestyle tends to result in in a myriad of social disadvantages, such as insecure and poor future employment, criminal behavior, and mental and physical health problems. Thus, to resolve this issue, Japanese government had encouraged them to meet psychiatrists, and such approach—not surprisingly— turned out to be ineffective.

Yet, Pokemon Go was able to achieve this. Taro Aso— the Finance minister of Japan— claimed, “Shut-ins and otaku are all out there now playing Pokemon, which is doing what psychiatrists couldn’t — just look at what’s happening overseas.”

Without intending to, Japan was able to indirectly develop an effective way to recover NEETs. Although their employment is still an issue, this can still be seen as a great step forward.

However, many in Japan are concerned that the players might go too far in order to capture Pokemons and Yoshihide Suga, the Chief Cabinet Secretary, is one of them. When told that Pokemon characters can be caught around the Prime Minister’s Office, Suga said, “I would like to caution people not to wander into dangerous areas and places that are off-limits.” While some might perceive him as a worrywart, Suga’s concern is not baseless. After all, pokemons have been sighted inside the grounds of Fukushima Daichi power plant.

960x0.jpgIn 2011, the nuclear power plant in Fukushima was destroyed by the tsunami following the March 11 earthquake, releasing radioactive materials into atmosphere. In spite of the measures taken since then, there’s still more than 200 million gallons of radioactive water in Fukushima, which is more than enough to fill two Yankee Stadiums to the brim. Fearing the potential of Pokemon Go players inadvertently straying inside the contaminated sites while playing the game, Japanese government has enforced security to prevent them from entering dangerous areas and the facilities, including the nuclear power plants. In addition, Japan has requested Niantic—the founding company of Pokemon Go—to case pokemons from appearing at such dangerous areas.

However, effective action is yet to be taken.

Currently, Pokemon Go is only about 10% complete, and it also plagued with server issues, irritating bugs and a thoroughly broken combat system. Nevertheless, solving the problem of pokemons appearing in Fukushima is relatively easier than it is thought to be to Niantics with its connections and resources.  However, doing so will force Niantic to adjudicate its app into a selectively-functional app. Not only would doing this be a terrific headache, but it will also put the company in a precarious position during its prime time. Consequently, Niantic gave no comment. Most likely, Niantic will wait as long as possible before publically involving itself. Because once it does, there will be no turning back.

Although the situation was initially fine inside the ‘pokeball’ that Pokemon Go used to capture the market, things are gradually becoming hectic. Sooner or later, Niantic will fall, unless it can quickly learn how to properly control its own product, like how the pokemon trainers should with their pokemons before challenging the league.

 

 

UBER—The Disruptive Innovation

You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”

Friedrich Nietzsche, the German Philosopher

 

Like CityCab in Singapore, Uber is a transportation network company. It was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in San Francisco. However, there is one large difference between Uber and other major transportation companies—its drivers are not licensed to drive taxicabs.

Also, Uber drivers are able to log in and off the Uber system whenever they want, strategically allocating their work hours. Compared to the drivers of other transportation companies, Uber workers are granted better freedom and flexibility. Also, the quality of their services is daily rated by their customers, and this system allows Uber to effectively filter out unprofessional drivers, who might lower its brand image. According to the Wall Street Journal, Uber company’s value reached $51 billion dollars on July 31st, 2015. While Facebook took seven years to accomplish this feat, Uber took about five years; such achievement is unprecedented.

However, not everyone appreciates Uber. Numerous licensed taxi drivers now hold deep contempt towards it. For those whose main income sources are driving cabs, Uber is nothing but a giant parasite. As Uber grows, their earnings gradually decrease due to the increase in supply of transporters and thus, competition. This will continue to result in mental distress and insecurity on taxi drivers, forcing them to work longer hours to at least earn as much as they did before Uber entered the market. Moreover, there are rumours, in which Uber drivers’ average earnings are higher than those of licensed taxi drivers by 6 US dollars. Although their credibility still have not been substantiated, they are creating high tension among rival transportation companies and their labourers. Although many of us had been aware of this shaky situation, nobody was able to anticipate the outrageous conflicts it would brew in 2015.

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The scale of protests against Uber drivers went out of control in 2015, when Uber broke Facebook’s $50 billion record. Worldwide, the number of taxi wars dramatically shot up. In September 2015, the black cab union in London brought London to a standstill, blocking roads from Waterloo Bridge, the Strand, Fleet Street and to Piccadilly Circus by congesting the road with approximately 1500 black cabs; in October 2015, a group of furious local taxi drivers in Malaysia ambushed the Uber driver’s vehicle and threatened to destroy it. Another famous protest is local French drivers’ aggressive physical ambush on Uber drivers, including a man who was driving for Courtney Love— a 50-year-old actress and singer. According to her, the protesters vandalized Uber cars with metal bats, took drivers as hostages and even flipped some of their cars. Fortunately, she was able to escape with the help of two motorists; later on, she tweeted, “This is France?? I’m safer in Baghdad.”

The astounding number of crime cases, in which Uber drivers either kidnapped or robbed and sexually assaulted their customers, is certainly not ameliorating the problem. In India, there even have been incidents, in which the Uber drivers deliberately exposed his genitals or masturbated in front of their customers. If this conflict does not end soon, Uber, Uber’s competitors, their workers, and countries’ economies will all suffer severely.

Fearing the previously mentioned outcome, several countries, such as China, and Berlin, have banned Uber to prevent anymore protest, crime or increase in unemployment of taxi drivers. Although Uber has the potential to become useful as an appropriate competition among transportation industries with government’s appropriate regulation, many do not do so as Uber is a ‘double-edged sword’. However, is such action a right decision? The answer is unclear, like Uber’s future…