Posted in Travels in Japan

Itako Iris Festival 潮来あやめ祭

I went back to my Japanese hometown recently to watch my friend do Ayame Bride send off! I also went around town and saw some tourist sights I’d actually never been to before when I lived there. It’s a little long, but it’s interesting I promise. Please enjoy!

Posted in YouTube Videos

My First Copyright Claim

The other day I was editing a new video. It was a long and laborious process, as it was my first big video project for my new channel. However, I woke up the morning to a copyright claim on one of my videos. Now, not only was the video set to “Private” and not “Public” but I only uploaded it a few hours ago. The company “Columbia” must’ve had an auto audio program that sought out matches to its copyrighted material.

Copyright claim gmail

I wouldn’t have a problem with this except that, once again, the video was set to “Private” because I intended to slim it down and overlap it with free music from YouTube’s (quite awful) free and public domain music. However, with the copyright claim in place, it limits the viewership out of three countries and won’t allow me to monetize the video even if I added it into a longer version without the song. I don’t make money from YouTube at all, I’m only doing this as a new hobby and for exposure for my blog.

However, I found this claim extremely unfair and unjust. Not only are companies apparently now allowed to go onto your private videos and claim content, they can block you from getting money until your claim is finished. What’s worse, there are zero consequences for them putting this claim down on me. They will stay in good standing no matter what, whereas I’m going to have to fight to get it removed and probably continue to fight if their autobot decides to hit me again.

I clicked on the link and of course, it’s a click and fill out form. There were drop down options to dispute the claim and I chose the “Fair Use” option. From there I was sent to another form where I was told to “explain briefly” why I was disputing the claim.

Copyright Notice

Here’s what I wrote:

“To whom it may concern,
The music played in this video is playing in the background, it will be used for all of a few seconds in the finalized video I will be making. I believe then that my video fall under the same idea as the Lenz v. Universal Music Corp. (aka the “dancing baby” case), in that the music isn’t a live recording, nor is it being used as an exact copy. The “amount and sustainability” clause in fair use alone should allow for this slip to be considered within the realm of legally sound. Please remove this copyright claim, as my channel is an international channel and this claim would prevent my video from being seen in three countries. Thank you for your time.”

If you weren’t aware of the “Lenz v. Universal Music Corp.” case, basically a mother video tapped her baby dancing to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy.” It was cute and adorable, and Universal decided to slap a take down notice, because they’re a heartless corporation and that’s what they do for fun. Lenz sued, and Universal was told to shove their take down notice where the sun don’t shine because they needed to consider fair use when making claims. If someone rips a piece of music and sells it as a copy, that’s copyright infringement. If it’s background, low quality, and not even the full song, that’s a fair use claim right there.

Also, when I refer to “amount and sustainability” within fair use, I mean that the clip I’m going to use is short, like really short, and it’s not even going to USE THE SONG. I can’t stress this enough, the song won’t be in the finalized version. Regardless, even if I was going to use it, the amount of time the song is being used would be less that 10% of the original, which should fall under the fair use guidelines.

After I put in the e-signature of my full name, I was then directed to a very scary next stage. YouTube has a second part automatically added into my statement that also doesn’t sit well with me.

I have a good faith belief that the claim(s) described above have been made in error, and that I have the right(s) necessary to use the contents of my video for the reasons I have stated. I have not knowingly made any false statements, nor am I intentionally abusing this dispute process in order to interfere with the rights of others. I understand that filing fraudulent disputes may result in termination of my YouTube account. I understand that my video will be viewable by the claimant(s) so that they can review my dispute.

In other words, I’m going up against a company, and if they decide that I’m in the wrong here then I could lose my channel. What does that mean? Well, I guess that means I’ll have to just go out and learn to code videos into my blog, or alternatively use Facebook’s video system and then post to WordPress instead. I really enjoy vlogging, like way more than I thought I would. It’s fun, it’s challenging, and something about it makes me want to go out and try new things or look at the world around me with different eyes. I like it, basically, so I’m going to keep trying to dispute and if I lose, I’ll find a way to keep doing the vlogging thing without YouTube.

Still, the fact that I’m even going through all this trouble? And that I know for a fact that many people would just let it slide, and at the beginning I put up a video saying I wouldn’t fight these claims. I didn’t realize at the time how infuriating it would feel that after all the time, effort, traveling, editing, and so on, to get hit with a truly baseless claim. But now I know, and now I’m going to fight.


Posted in YouTube Videos

Denny’s, Daiso, and Christina (VLOG)

Well, I started out today wanting to try out some new, artsy style of vlogging. I intended for it to be just me walking around and doing things on a Saturday with some cute music with some cute things.

But then I came home and got blindsided with the news about Christina Grimmie’s death. I ended up doing a vlog about that with my kind of near raw first reaction to it. I wasn’t a huge, mega fan of hers, but I knew who she was and I knew that she was so young and talented. It couldn’t have been more unfair, unjust, and absolutely tragic.

Please give to her family’s GoFundMe page, and if you believe in the power of prayer or good vibes or what-have-you, send them all their way.

Posted in cultural differences

Dorky Comic Reviews: ‘Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo’

I’m reblogging this from my other site as it’s really more at home here, I think.


Grace Buchele-Mineta continues her adventurous comic book series with “Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo,” the third installment featuring her life as a Texan woman married to a Japanese man, Ryosuke Mineta, while living abroad in Japan.

I reviewed the second book earlier this year, and much of the same themes from the previous book return in the sequel. Grace and Ryosuke go through the trials and tribulations of Tokyo’s great metropolis, some of which involve cultural differences, along with the other everyday struggles of basic adult life in an intercultural marriage. With witty one liners and a great cast of characters, the comics elicits warm laughter in its blatantly honest portrayals of these struggles, but also hurts the heart at times with some harsh truths.

Shopping cheap and sacrificing heat to keep the bill down, Grace and Ryosuke definitely live the life of an average Tokyo couple…

View original post 829 more words

Posted in cultural differences, Uncategorized

Japanese School Lunches: Not That Great


Sometimes people share things with me and ask, “Hey, is this true?” One of the recent questions someone posed also came with a link to the video above. From the short film, one would think that Japanese schools have the healthiest lunches EVER and that American schools are the WORST when it comes to healthy food at school.

But actually, as with most cultural comparisons, the truth is a bit more complicated.

First of all, while it’s true that students in Japan do prepare lunches in elementary and junior high school, they don’t cook the meals themselves. That’s ridiculous. If a child burned their hand while cooking up soup, you can bet that parents would raise hell about it. No, there are usually food prep people who cook the food for the students.

Also, ATTN seems to believe that the food is all made “from scratch.” I saw the people prepping the food at my junior high schools, and scratch is a bit of a stretch. The soups are the add boiling water to dry ingredients type, and the rice is rice. You throw water in a pot and cook it, it’s not hard. The fish is fresh because Japan is an island nation and surrounded by fish. In short, the food isn’t terribly labor intensive, and that’s on purpose. This way the food prep people can get everything done quickly and it’ll be done in bulk.

Second, Japanese students do take mandatory classes for home economics in elementary and junior high school, but most of those classes aren’t labor intensive either. Students learn more along the lines of “How to Peel Potatoes and Apples” and less like “How to Make a Full Course Meal for Yourself.” And keep in mind that budget cuts can happen, and when they do, one of the first classes put on the chopping block (pun intended) is the home ec and music classes, just like in the good ol’ USA.

Next, what the video left out for obvious reasons, I think, is that the students do not get a choice about what they can or can’t eat at lunch. The food they get from the food truck that comes everyday is the food they get to eat: milk to drink, fish or pork, 1/4th a plate of rice, and some kind of soup. Everyone eats in their classrooms, so unlike in America, they’re not choosing this healthy lifestyle. The students eat what they’re given or they go without. If you’ve got allergies? Too bad, go get water from the water fountains. The flexibility you’d find in other countries isn’t here.

Japanese School Lunch
Actual school lunch I had at a JHS

The food isn’t as healthy as one would think. The rice is white, which means it gets stripped of all its nutrients. Unlike brown rice, white rice fills up the stomach, but it doesn’t add nutritional value. Basically, it doesn’t hurt but it doesn’t help the body. Since it’s 1/4th of the meal, it gives everyone the illusion of eating a lot, but in fact nutrition wise they didn’t eat enough. The lunch system is set up to just be a hold over until the students go home and eat dinner after school.

However, the positives outweigh the negatives. One good aspect to the lack of choice is the small portions sizes. Because America has cafeterias designed similarly to buffet style restaurants, portion sizes are generally bigger than most other countries in the world. Meanwhile, Japan has one tray plate with appropriate portion sizes. In addition, the fact that children are regularly from an early age eat lighter meals means that they’re less likely to over indulge when they get older. Americans have the idea that children need so many calories to grow, but the Japanese way of thinking is that children should just be given “enough.”

Finally, putting Japanese people up as a paradigm of good health is fine, but the reason so many people are healthy is because they’re active. Japanese schools have recess and P.E. They haven’t budged so far on cutting those kinds of activities, and I don’t think they ever will. In junior high school, nearly all students are in some kind of club, with the majority of students choosing sports. Sports clubs practice both in the morning and in the evening, especially the basketball and baseball clubs. When the students go to high school and the university, most Japanese people remain active and do physical activity. Most people ride bikes in the countryside if they want to go to the convenience store, they don’t hop in their cars. People in Tokyo walk everywhere instead of drive. People in Japan are just on their feet more than the average American person, and they do sports and such for fun.

In my opinion, yes American schools could learn a thing or two from the Japanese school system, but it doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul. I would suggest simply looking into cutting down the food options available at school. Less desert or no desert might be a good place to start. American’s love it, and it’s a big part of our culture, but desert isn’t really a big part of Eastern culture, so I’ve learned to stop having it at lunch and dinner. Then if we make it so that students can have only healthy options instead of constantly eating grease, cheese, salt, and sugar products then we’ll definitely have thinner waistlines and better minds.

When students eat better, they also perform better in school, fun fact. I hope that America will still give students options, because learning to make healthy choices is a vital part of education, and taking that away seems a bit too far. Fighting obesity would mean also bringing back recess in elementary schools, and getting all students more active. Until we have a more physically active culture, unfortunately we’re not going to see much change.