Saturday, October 31, 2009

2x4 versus Herzog and de Meuron

This is how Graphic artist group 2x4 transformed Herzog & de Meuron's Prada Omotesando in Tokyo:

(Photo source: Nikkei Woman)

A thought on democracy

Why does the international community these days criticize a coup while they are quiet about the democratically-elected government's attempt to restrict free media (as happened in Madagascar before the coup) or to extend the term limit for presidency (as happened in Honduras before the coup)?

Without free media, democratic elections cannot replace an bad-behaving government. Without the term limit, the minority who does not support the incumbent may keep suffering forever. (Imagine the US did not have a term limit for presidency, and George W. Bush won the third term.)

The reason is, I believe, the lack of scientific evidence on what aspects of democracy bring about good outcomes. If there's evidence, politicians and people in the media industry are unaware of it. The international community appears to believe that multiparty elections are sufficient. Alternatively, the media does not loudly report such issues as banning radio stations in less developed countries, and so the international community realize something is going wrong in these countries only after a coup takes place.

We should stop this. And I will devote my life as a development economist to tackle this.

Isola Linear

A kitchen suggested by Toyo Kitchen from Japan.
(The image taken from Excite Ism Concierge, October 30, 2009)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

No more nukes. Pray to music.

I'm usually apolitical. And I don't want music to be politically charged.

But in this case, a political message makes music more powerful:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Best sushi in Stockholm

Stockholm has many, many sushi restaurants. I would say the number of sushi places per person in Stockholm is a lot more than in Tokyo.

And everyone in Stockholm asks me which sushi restaurant is the best in Stockholm because I'm Japanese. I didn't know the answer until today.

Sushi Bar Kirin at Brommaplan is the one. For the first time in ages, I feel comfortable eating foods in Stockholm. I mean, this sushi place offers the kind of taste I'm used to.

Although Brommaplan is a bit far from the city center, Sushi Bar Kirin is located quite close to the metro station. So it's not such a hassle to go there from time to time.

I'm grateful to Sandra for letting me know this place via her blog.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Developing Rural Areas

I listened to a podcast of Esther Duflo's lecture on rural development at LSE on 24 September, 2009. It is an excellent lecture in the sense that she synthesizes the latest findings in development economics research from the viewpoint of rural development. This kind of effort has long been missing. The past decade saw an emergence of high-quality research on economic development. But there are so many pieces of such research that it is difficult to grasp a big picture of what's known and what's not in a systematic way.

Anyone interested in economic development should listen to this lecture, available as a video streaming (scroll down within the video player window to 24 September 2009) and as an MP3 file (search for Duflo and click "mp3").

Friday, October 02, 2009