Monthly Archives: October 2013

Need to settle on the ground / 夜を置き去りにして空かける

October 26th, Saturday to 27th, Sunday, 2013

October is passing so fast, I cannot. believe it’s almost the end of the month… Though it is fortunate, honorable, and exiting that both my works and studies go well, and thatI have lots to do, I worry my breath, and therefore thoughts being shallower. Thus it was so good for me that one of my friend invited me to a Japanese tea ceremony. In a tatami-mat room, taking every step to be in a polite manner in that world, and having delicious tea, gave me both tension and comfortableness. Quietly listening to sound of water, and tea processing, I realized, I as a Japanese do need such a time. I love New York, but this town has a too quick tempo and rhythm, and if I won’t be careful, I easily lose a time and opportunity for meditation.

But ironically, immediately after quiet and slow time at the tea room, I rushed to the Newark International Airport to get on an airplane to London, for the purpose of my research trip on home nursing services in UK and Sweden, as my research job…! I should have done all of my preparation and midterm papers at school before the departure so I can enjoy movies, but it never happened. I brought a bunch of copies of documents necessary both for my research trip and solving midterm assignments on the plane, and needed to read. Well, anyway, I should enjoy. I’m at the same time an easy-going New Yorker not only a Japanese.


木村カエラのSwinging Londonとか頭の中で流しながら街を歩いた。





Happy Hour with Ethics class, 3-semester is too short / 駅のおじいさんを抱きしめたい

October 19th, 2013, Saturday

Today was the last day of Healthcare Ethics class by Professor Heather Butts. She’s a wonderful teacher and the class was the best for me this semester. Last week and today each of us did presentation on case each of us chose by ourselves, related to ethics. Each of classmate’s presentation was interesting. Those who had clinical background presented about some cutting edge surgical technology to deal with difficult condition with ethical dilemma caused by uncertainty on possibility to save or prolong life, difficulty in trials to evaluate, and ethical debate to justify it or not. Other one presented about HIV, introducing a video narratives by HIV patients on the advocacy website SERO.

Since I don’t have any clinical or medical background as specialist, all of their presentation was impressive for me. So, I, as a writer or community activist, thought how to contribute to this class, then chose one favorite movie “Never Let Me Go.” It is a story of three young persons, grown up in a isolated house “Hailsham.” In a fictional world where medical breakthrough achieved beyond 100 years human lifespan, they are told to keep them healthy, being told that “you are special,” but they exist only as organ donors for transplants and will die in their early adulthood. They are human clones, and have ‘originals.’ I touched those points (but didn’t go into details of the movie cos I really wanted them to watch it by themselves. Professor Butts also loved this movie, or original novel), and mentioned to three ethical perspective to judge social justice, utilitarianism, liberalism and communitarianism. I was happy to hear that they and professor enjoyed my presentation and some of them said “I will watch the movie.” Professor Butts told me she will put the novel as a reading material for the next year class.

As I liked this class so much, I suggested to the professor to have a happy hour after the last class, today. We went down Broadway, and entered one pub near the campus, and had beers and cocktails.

There was another guy in class who made presentation also focusing on philosophical theories or philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, or Spinoza. He is a film writer. I talked to him at the pub, and said we or our interests are not on the mainstream. Academic or scientific debate needs to cut each components as small as possible, with internally validate definition, but process of writing is opposite. We learn from and pick up lots of stuffs, and harmonize them into whole one context or story. But it’s still good for us to be in MPH program, cos we can learn from real-world, field practices, as I mentioned above. I think philosophy or ethics is a centerpiece of public health field, where theories and practice intersect, and that’s why at this ethics class, both of us physicians and writers can make good discussion.

I will graduate in this december (but may stay until March), and will be back to Japan for my new job from April. So they said “let’s have dinner before you go!” I felt so happy about that. At the same time, I felt 3-semester was too short. Especially for international student like me, the first semester was a terrible time. I was overwhelmed with courseworks (readings and exams), and didn’t have time to talk with classmates so much. Also, it took time to enable me to actively participate in class discussion and be accustomed with presentation, being relaxed. But from the second semester, I was gradually fit into the campus life or NY life, and rapidly made friends with them. But, oh my god, it’s already the final semester for me. If I had time more, I could know about my friends more… But anyway, time is irreversible, what I just can do is do my best in the limited time, and enjoy the time with friends.

そんなわけで、土曜日のHealthcare Ethicsの授業は今学期一番楽しい授業だったので、今日も良い日だったのだけど、昨日から開いた吉本ばななが尾を引いてか、内面は並行してstill messed upであった。そんな時に限ってやっぱり泣きたくなるような出来事は起こるわけで。それは42nd Street, Aトレインに乗り換えるPort Authorityのホームでのことでした。

階段からホームに降り立つと、背の低くて丸い身体のおじいさんが取り乱し気味に、”How can I get to Queens!? Tell me what to do!!”と言っている。聞くまでもなくここはQueens方面Uptownの電車が来るホームであり、それは看板にも書いてあるのだけど、そのおじいさんの様子を見るに、それはたぶん、彼がなんらかの精神疾患か障害かを抱えているゆえの不安と取り乱しであるようだった。


それで泣きそうになっていたら電車がやってきて、やっぱりおじいさんは”Is this train to Queens!? Tell me!”と不安がっていて、ドアの前でオロオロしている。僕は駆け寄って一緒に電車に乗り込み、肩を抱き支えながら、「大丈夫、大丈夫、きっとQueensへ行きます、信じましょう」と一緒にオロオロしたかったのだけど、あぁなんということだ、その電車はEトレイン!僕はこれからAトレインに乗って大学に行かなきゃならないのだ!



Fallen leaves, Stressless paperworks, Party@Brooklyn / 落ち葉拾い・この街の人たちはオトナだ

October 18th, 2013, Friday

In the morning I cleaned up a street in front of my apartment building, gathering fallen leaves by bloom. Realizing, more and more autumn is deepening, I felt this kind of time, cleaning, is good for my mind. Living in NY, with much works and studies, tends to make my breath and thought shallow. Sometimes I need to stop by, breath deeply, and enjoy tiny but important daily houseworks.

Before going to campus, I stopped by 108th street Absolute Bagels, and bought and ate one bagel with salmon and cream cheese. I had heard about this store as one of the best bagel store in NY, but never had time to visit. As it was lunch time, a long line continued to out of the entrance. I waited for about 10 or 15 minutes to buy, but it was worth for that, tasty!

At Morningside campus, I visited ISSO to get signature to enable us to travel abroad during the semester, and also I asked about OPT, which enables us who graduating soon, to stay longer for job hunting. Then I visited the Language Resource Center to finish my paperwork to work as a language tutor. Though I was confused and sometimes stressed with such paperworks when I first came to NY last year, now I already have an idea to save time and finish as quick as possible them. Most of the time we are required to show same documents, such as I-20, I-9, Passport, SSN card, etc. If you forget to bring any of them, you need to visit there again and again. This time I brought all of them and the officer said ‘perfect!’

At night, we held a reception party at a building where I live now, in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Now I’m working as a staff at J-COLLABO, a New York-based NPO which facilitate collaboration between artists in Japan and NY, by inviting Japanese artists to NY or sending NY artists to Japan, and holding lots of cultural or educational events and performance. This year we moved our office to Brooklyn, and are opening a residential space and event space for artists’ use. Fundraising, cleaning, constructing the space, event staff etc. are my jobs. Our event space will open in December but tonight was a pre-opening party for announcement. Lots of artists (not only Japanese), and local people came and had good time with sake and food. Living in NY, not just studying at Columbia, give me such wonderful opportunity and meetings.


モーニングサイドキャンパスでこまごました事務仕事を終えてから、今年SIPAに来た日本人の友達と会ってほんの15分話をした。お互い次の用事があったのだけど、ちょうど同じdisaster management/preparednessの分野に関心があって、彼女からFBチャットが来て、ちょっとだけでも会おうかとなって、いそいそと。防災や災害対応はほんとに分野横断的で横串を刺す視点が必要なのだけど、コースワークでなかなかその要望が満たせるかというと難しく、自分らで色々機会を探したり作ったりしながら動かなきゃなんない。はぁ、もうすぐ卒業か。面白くなってきたんだけど、短い、短いよ。


NYで過ごしているとキャンパスの内外で、ほんとに色んな民族、職業、社会経済階層の人びとと交わっては別れを繰り返すのだけど、とりわけ好きだなと思うのが、「ニューヨークの日本人アーティスト」と一緒に時間を過ごすとき。このカッコに囲まれた3つの要素が相まって形作られる、彼らのなんとも言えないバランス感、人としての魅力。表現者としての自身の内的世界を追求しながらも、産業としてのアートの世界で経済的にも自立して稼いでいる人たちだから、independentという言葉がほんとうによく似合うし、ニューヨークの開放的な空気の中で生きている人に共通した絶妙なオトナの距離感とkindnessを兼ね備えていて. そこに同じ日本人としての共感?連帯意識?が少し注ぎ込まれて、僕との関係ができる。彼らは他人によっかからない。自分の力で生きていく、そういう前提を共有していて、だから他人の実力もフェアに評価する。だから僕に対しても自立した「大人」としての付き合いをしてくれて、そこでは年齢は関係なく、お互いにできることを持ち寄って仕事をするのだけど、なおかつそこにドライでもウェットでもない絶妙なレベルで「日本から来た元気な青年」に対するかわいがりを混ぜ込み、(期待してくれてるかどうかはわからないけど)色々なチャンスをくれるものだから、嬉しさとやる気で背筋が伸びる。僕も同様に、自立した大人としての気概・振る舞いと下っ端・弟分気質を混ぜ合わせて仕事に取り組む。




そう、現実はすごいのであって、現実の慌ただしさのおかげで生きていられるのだけど、ふと我に返ると不安と混乱と昔の色んなトラウマでmessed upである。なんてこった!

Kenny G @ Blue Note / ケニーGの演奏・エンキョリレンアイの話とか・不思議な夢の話

October 17th, 2013, Thursday

Yes, I’m already fit in my life in NY, but sometimes, especially such a night today, I’m surprised to realize to be here, or wonder “Why am I seeing Kenny G, a super star I never dreamed to see in the past? Oh, here’s Manhattan, I’m in Blue Note…” First I heard about him when I was in a brass band club in junior high school. Our teacher told us about his technique, circular breathing, which enables him to play as if endlessly, and introduced to us music videos of his wonderful performance. What I watched and listened tonight was, so amazing. I don’t have good vocabulary to describe it, but just so awesome…! Sometimes moody, melodious, other times dynamic. I had no chance to be tired. It felt the time passed so fast, despite his endless sound by circular breathing.

Not only the performance, his talk was also fun. He told us that he and his band members are ‘by-products of public school education,’ with a soprano sax on his hand, which he used for more than 20 years since his high school. He talked about an episode at White House when he performed for President. Humorous and warm, his talk reflected his attractive personality, in line with his sound.

I never forget such as wonderful night.


6pmの開場前に合流して列に並んだ。ブルーノートはバー席(予約なし早い者勝ち入場料$45)とテーブル席(予約ありだけど場所は早い者勝ち入場料$75)があって、しがない大学院生の僕らはバー席にしたのだけど(値段も演奏者によって微妙に違う。Kenny Gみたいなスーパースターは高い)、運良く座ることができた。









Practicum Day / 舞台ではみな平等

October 11th, 2013, Friday

It was a Practicum Day, when every MPH student gather for each department and make presentation about each of their own experience and learning during the summer internship (called as ‘practicum’). We met up at a large lecture room, and broke out into a small group of 7-8 students and 2-3 faculties. It was a whole day long event. Each student spend 15 minutes for presentation and another 15 for Q&A. In my group, most of classmates worked in US hospitals, consulting firms, and community services, one went to Uganda and conducted Qualitative research analysis, and I worked at an unique venture think tank focusing on social marketing of health promotion in Japan.

A common challenge those worked in US large organizations was a fragmentation of US medical system, and bureaucratic decision making process that blurred who’s in charge of what. It happens also in Japan.

I talked about my research project of international comparative study on home nursing service in Europe. For comparative study, merely collecting data on interested service (home nursing in this case) is not enough, because historical and cultural background and health systems behind the service are hugely diverse. To find lessons that are actually applicable to my own country, I need to develop common standard for comparison based on understanding of whole systems in each country. My presentation was the last one, and they looked enjoying it, with comments of ‘terrific presentation’ from professor.

今日はあれだ、Practicum Dayっつって、MPH生は夏休みにどこかしらへインターンするのが修了要件なのだけど(それをPracticumと呼ぶ)、その報告会的なやつ。小グループに分かれてひとりずつプレゼンして、夏の経験をシェア。まぁ、fun eventだよね。

HPM(Health Policy and Management)の学部単位でみんな同じ日時に開催。朝早くに集まって、朝食を食べてから担当教授のイントロトークを大教室で。その後7,8人の小グループ10,11組ぐらいに分かれて小教室へ。夕方までひとりずつプレゼン&質疑応答30分ずつでどんどん回していく。僕らのグループは、そのPracticumの担当教授が当たった。恰幅の良いアメリカのおじちゃんって感じなんだけど、けっこうバシバシ鋭い質問を浴びせていて、みんな割りとタジタジになってた。

MPHって、実務と学問の重なりあったような大学院だから、ビジネススクールと違って、バリバリ実務って人ばかりでなく、アカデミアよりの人もけっこういる。プレゼンもアメリカ人だからってみんな上手ってわけでなく、字数多すぎの詰め詰めスライドに、抑揚なく速いテンポでひたすら喋るだけって感じの人もいた。あんまりオーディエンスを意識してないんだなぁという感じ。研究発表とかならそれぐら情報量詰めても良いんだろうけど。質疑応答の時に教官に「Executiveに報告するつもりで3つの要点だけ言え」って言われて、まぁあんまりスラスラ答えられなかった人が、”You are not a student now, here you are a professional”って言われてひえーってなってた。


終わったあとはまた大教室に集まってwrap up. 各グループの担当教官がグループごとの全体講評をしていった。なんつーか、こっちの先生、みんなキャラ立ってて魅力的だって思うよね。日本の予備校講師ほど濃くはないけど。最後のグループの教授が、”Now I’m standing between you and matini”とか言ってて、気の利いたジョークだなと思った。


Working abroad, and cultural & ethnic roots / 海外で自分のルーツを活かすこと・男は直線、女は直角、の話・同窓会運営の諸問題 etc.

October 10th, 2013, Thursday

Visited The New York Asian Women’s Center (NYAWC) with a friend and talked with Japanese officer working more than 7 years there. They help women and their children overcome domestic violence and other forms of abuse by empowering them to govern their own lives. NYAWC is the largest organization that focuses on a DV issue for immigrants. Another young officer guided me their office and explained their jobs, 24 hours hotline, shelter services and so on. Their services are multilingual (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Spanish etc.). Then I talked with them for 1 and a half hour.

DV is an important problem, maybe in every country, every society itself. But in addition to that, when it happens on immigrant couples (both are immigrants or, husband or wife is immigrant), it become more difficult to support because of cultural and linguistic barrier. In general, US people have a stronger “sense of entitlement,” I mean they know their own rights to sue the partner, or depart when it becomes intolerant. But immigrants do not know well domestic laws and legal systems, and what they can do or cannot as immigrants (also immigrant population tend to be marginalized, low SES status). And they do not know much about where is a service or organization that help them in their own language. In addition to that, cultural difference suffers them, especially women marry with domestic men. The young lady officer, who is on hotline counseling service and talk with Japanese in NY frequently, told us that Japanese women tend to bear even if they suffer from DV, and to think they themselves have something wrong, their partners were just in stress at the time of DV, or they should improve their relationships. So Japanese women are not so active to declare and use their own ‘rights’ compared to US women. Thus NYAWC officers tell them “know your rights,” cautiously and cordially consult with them, and provide them with options such as legal actions support, shelter services etc.

What was interesting for me was that the Japanese officer said, their own cultural or ethnic backgrounds are very essential and vital to be competence in such jobs accompanying in person counseling. Just being able to speak English doesn’t mean competent in abroad. However we foreigner make efforts, we cannot be native both in terms of language and cultural ‘codes.’ Thus, leveraging our own background is important to be unreplaceable.





僕もまぁ、こっちで色んな繋がりやチャンスが広がったのは、石巻での経験あってこそで、1年deferしてなかったかどうだったか分からない。MPHの授業でも、よく語れるのはCommunityやSocial capitalといったSocial determinants, Marketingなど日常生活に根ざしたもの。それからEthics, Law, Politicsなど学部のmajorと関連するもの。そこそこ慣れたけど、アメリカでお医者さんやってた人がアメリカの医療制度・現場実践を前提にお話する時とか、銃社会であったり連邦制度であったり、社会の成り立ちからして日本と全然違う部分での話題は、なかなか(苦笑)MPHも学部・専攻はかなり多様で、中国やインドやケニアやなどから来てる留学生は、BiostatsとかEpidemiologyなどスキル向上で対応できる要素が大きいところやPopulation & family healthみたいな途上国・開発援助色が強いところに行く人が多い印象。まぁ、なんちゅーか、勉強熱心な優等生であるだけで留学や海外就職してもなかなかアレで、したたかさと粘り強さと創意工夫あってこそなんだろうなぁ。










翌日のPracticum Dayのプレゼン準備で切羽詰まっているときに、海の向こうのこれまた翌日にある同窓会に関する連絡の相談が後輩から。(今年は学年幹事に指名されて海の向こうからせっせと出欠催促のメールを同期に送っていて大変しんどかった…苦笑)








Fall deepens

October 9th 2013, Wednesday
It’s a clod day. Fall deepens. 朝晩冷え込んできた。

On Wednesday, I have a Strategic Communication class, by senior lecturer Alan P. Levenstein, who has a brilliant career as a business person and knows much about marketing (and also, every time humorous and wearing dandy suit). This semester we took a case of gun control and developed a communication strategies for Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and at last made a presentation to a officer from the organization.

Whenever I study about U.S. social issues, gun control, Obamacare, soda ban, tobacco etc., I see huge difference of between US and Japanese system and culture. Whenever political debate come to regulation on anything, US public debate (esp. from repub.-oriented persons) shows concern on, or allergy to, governmental regulation on individual freedom. It appears less time in Japan. Also there are huge varieties and autonomies between states under the federalism system. That makes them so difficult to realize nation-wide gun control or national health insurance. Japan tends to prefer equalized standard for everyone. It’s not a good or bad question, just a characteristics of each country, and it’s almost impossible to radically change the culture because of deep-rooted history (e.g. Independent War from Britan, defeat on WW2 and rule by US after), but at least give me interesting lessons.


ET Luv.Lab., 「横浜の創造力の舳先に」茂木 隆宏 – ノガン株式会社 コンサルタント












Dental clinic at school / 親知らずを抜いたこととか、気になったニュースあれこれ

October 8th 2013, Tuesday

At last I enrolled a student dental plan and went to a dental clinic at Columbia Dental School. Even after taking an antibiotics, swelling of my gum didn’t get better. I knew the cause, wisdom tooth left long time. The lower right wisdom tooth had grown in a bad angle. Early in the morning, I submitted an registration form, made a payment for the insurance, and told a staff my pain is urgent. They treated me as emergency, so soon I was directed to be diagnosed by doctor. Though I had to pass a class in the morning, I could successfully let the tooth pulled out. So now, my under right cheek is a little large. Nothing I could eat today…

By the way, I rarely go to hospital, because I’m generally in a good health. But whenever I go there, I feel a little tragic, or nervous, by seeing someone suffering. While I was waiting on a seat, an old lady groaned frequently. I didn’t what’s wrong with her teeth, but could guess her mental wasn’t in good state. Another lady kept putting her hand on her cheek. It must be painful. Every people coming to hospital have any kind of pain, anxiety, or fear. I know that is a hospital, but I’ve never accustomed with such mood.

In the evening, I attended an meeting of CJR, Consortium for Japan Relief (though friends told me “Why you come today!? Keep in bed!” by seeing my cheek), and discussed our activities this fall. We’re planning to hold some documentary film screening and panel discussion event this and next month. Now we think it is a time to further collaborate with other organizations, not exclusively related to Japanese 3.11 disaster, but more generally, persons and organizations that dedicate themselves with a field of disaster relief or management. Lessons from 3.11 disaster in Japan must be utilized to other countries’ cases, and on the other hand, we can learn something from others.

I came back home at late night. I like the mood of night Brooklyn, with trees along the street dimly illuminated by light.

先週抗生物質を処方してもらったものの、1週間たっても全然腫れがひかない。夏に同じ状況になった時は数日飲んだらおさまったのだけど、これはいよいよ限界か、と、朝イチで大学のDental Schoolに駆け込む。アメリカでは医療保険と歯科保険は別々。入学した時に学生向けの医療保険には入らされたのだけど、ここでStudent Dental Planというものに改めて申し込むことに。Emergencyだと言って、その日の午前中に抜歯手術をしてもらうことができた。保険加入で$180(年間プランのみだけど、12月卒業3月帰国だからちょっともったいない…)、今日の手術はディスカウントされて$108。安いんだか高いんだか。まぁ良心的な値段にはなっているのだろう。



先日、東京でNoh×Contemporary Artのワークショップ&コンサートを主催した青木涼子さんが、今日からスペインのマドリッドでオペラに出る。テアトロ・レアル王立劇場の「メキシコの征服」という演目だそうだ。青木さんの役はマリンチェという女性。演目はメキシコの最後の王モンテズマとスペインの将軍のコルテスとの出会いが描かれたもので、マリンチェは、実際に存在していた、二人の通訳を務めていたメキシコ人女性で、コルテスの愛人であったとのこと。青木さんからのご案内のメールでは、”オペラでのマリンチェの役割は、movement(動き)とsilence(沈黙)で、二人の間を行ったり来たりします。モンテズマとコルテスが西洋人のキャストなので、それと全く違う次元からの素材がマリンチェには必要である、またアントナン・アルトーが能に影響を受けていたこともあり、日本の能の役者、そして女性であることから、今回のキャスティングが決まりました。”とのことだった。先日観に行った東京でのコンサートは、まさmovementとsilenceの芸術で、とても感動した。

アピタル 内部被爆通信 《83》 診察に来たあるお母さん 坪倉正治 (つぼくら・まさはる)





毎日新聞 生きる物語:「弱さ」の向こう側/6 研修医の大きな壁 2013年10月08日




The Diplomat, “In Japan, Will Hafu Ever Be Considered Whole?” J.T. Quigley
記事でも紹介されている映画監督(彼女自身もハーフ)が、『ハーフ』 というドキュメンタリーを撮った。10/9-10/18に渋谷UPLINKにて上映。くそー行きたいなこれ。