The Chinese blind activist arrived in US

The Chinese blind human activist Chen Guangcheng arrived in New York on May 19, with his wife and two children. The four-week diplomatic friction between the U.S. And China resulted in Chen’s successful, safety arrival in the U.S.

Chen was welcomed by cheer and applause when he appeared at the housing complex of New York University, which would become Chen and his family’s temporary residence.

“For the past seven years, I have never had a day’s rest,” said Chen.“As I have come here, I need to make up the lack of knowledge for the past seven years and recuperate body and spirit.”

Chen was held under house arrest for almost 20 months in Shangdong province. He escaped on April 22 and sought refuge in the US embassy in Beijing.

“I am very gratified to see that the Chinese government has been dealing with the situation with restraint and calm, and I hope the central government will be more liberal and push for deeper reform and to keep the justice and equality of society and earn the respect and trust of the people,” said Chen.

This time, the U.S. Government negotiated Chinese government directly over this specific case. That was unusual. Although human rights always becomes an issue between the U.S. and China, the both sides intend to avoid direct confrontation for the purpose of practical profit.

It was also unusual that Chinese government declared early that they would permit Chen to travel for study abroad. The quick ending of Chen’s case seemed to be expedient for both the U.S. and China.


LGBT activists welcome the President’s endorsement

Daniel Dromm (right) appreciated Obama’s remark

New York City Council Member Daniel Dromm, who is openly gay, praised President Obama’s support for same-sex marriage in Jackson Heights, Queens, on May 10.

“I am ecstatic today,” Dromm said. He called it a step “in the journey toward better America.”

President Obama endorsed same-sex marriage in an interview with ABC on May 9. Obama became the first sitting president to support extending the rights of marriage to gay couple.

A man is writing a message on a big postcard for Obama

Using rainbow markers, Dromm and his supporters signed a big post card for President that read “Thank you Mr. President for supporting marriage equality!!!”

Although he admitted some countries and cities such as Spain, the Netherlands, Canada and Mexico City were more advanced regarding the gay marriage rights, “We would like to see this follow worldwide.” said Dromm.

“A historical moment,” they said

Dromm sent a message to Japanese audiences. “We hope Japan will do that. We hope all of the Asian countries will do that,” said Dromm.“We understand and know that it is the process of education, and a movement needs to occur.”

The audio of the interview with Daniel Dromm is available here.


The Empire State Building in the Color of Sakura

The Empire State Building was illuminated in pink and white on  April, 27 in honor of  the Sakura Centennial.

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The cherry blossoms that Japan sent to Washington, D.C. In 1912 are known well today. In the  same year, however,  Japan also sent the cherry blossoms to New York City, which were planted in the present SakuraPark in Manhattan.

The Empire State Building on April 27

The cherry bloosoms were sent for a symbol of friendship

The illumination on the Empire State Building is one of the 100thanniversary events of the Japanese present as a symbol of friendship for New York City.

Today, Japanese residents in the New York metropolitan area are estimated at more than 57,000, which is the second largest overseas Japanese population after the Los Angels metropolitan area.

The illumination on the landmark building will continue through April 29.


“getting the ungettable story”

Prominent journalists revealed how they dealt  with their sources.

The Annual George Polk Seminar “Getting the Ungettable Story” was held in Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York, on April 4.

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The Winners of the 2011 George Polk Award such as Jane Mayer at the New Yorker, May Ying Welsh at Al Jazeera English, C.J.Chivers at the New York Times and Sara Ganim at the Patriot News, shared their “ungettable” experiences.

May Ying Welsh/C.J.Chivers/Sara Ganim

Sara Ganim reported exclusive stories on the Penn State football sex abuse scandal. According to Ganim, she had around 25 people she talked to at one point. Some of them gave her just details, and others gave five or six interviews.“We only have one person who gave any kind of substitute, not reaction, but gave us something.” She also said that they really set a high standard for how many unnamed sources they were going to meet.

In her documentary, May Ying Welsh revealed Baharini crackdownon on protesters.

Jane Mayer/May Ying Welsh

“Almost every single source we had was arrested and tortured,” Welsh said. According to Welsh, people were tortured just because they talked to journalists. But some people really want the truth out. There was one source who continuously called Welsh. “I was just begging him. ‘Please stop talking to me,’” Welsh said.

Here is the audio record of the panelists’ comments about sources.


What a Japanese thinks in Spring

The blooms looked like Japanese cherry blossoms.

March 20 was the Vernal Equinox Day in 2012.

In New York, it was warm and blossoms on road side trees bloomed as if they had known an exact calender. New Yorker enjoyed the spring blossoms a couple of weeks earlier than Japanese people would do.

For many Japanese people, the bloom in spring means a cherry blossom. People can enjoy a lot of cherry blossoms even in center of cities there. Japanese people have special  feelings about cherry blossoms.

The Vernal Equinox Day was bright and warm.

On March 20, the National Cherry Blossom Festival started in Washington DC. They celebrated 100thanniversary since Tokyo sent the cherry blossom trees to DC as a symbol of friendship. In the Second Word War, a cherry blossom became a symbol of the fanatic militarism.

People enjoyed the spring weather.

This season  is also special for Japanese people. The weather report forecasts almost everyday when a cherry blossom will start to bloom in each city or area in Japan.

The many relate a cherry blossom not only spring but also separation because it is time of graduation in March there.

New Yorkers enjoyed staying ouside.

On March 11 last year, the earthquake and  tsunami hit Japan, where people were waiting for the bloom of cherry blossoms. Since then, a cherry blossom has related to the tragedy for those in the affected area.

The forecast of this year said that cherry blossoms would bloom on March 31 in Tokyo and on April 12 to 26 in the northeast area that was hit by the unprecedented disaster about one year ago. 

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North Korea’s prospective missile launch reveals its policy

North Korea announced that it would launch a satellite in the middle of April. North Korea claims it has a right to use the space for its peaceful purpose. The international society considers the satellite a missile and blames North Korea for the violation of the international agreements.

Kim Jong Un, the New North Korean leader/ photo from Krean Central News Agency

Kim Jong Un, the New North Korean leader

North Korea’s announcement is not only threat to the neighboring area. It also means their new leader’s foreign policy has not changed from that of his father, Kim Jong Il.

Kim Jong Un is the successor of Kim Jong Il, who died in December, 2011. Not long after Kim Jong Un became the new leader, the communist nation showed strong intention to negotiate with U.S. Their sudden change seemed to indicate they shifted their foreign policy.

Kim Jong Un and Kim Jong Il / photo from KCNA

Kim Jong Un and Kim Jong Il / photo from KCNA

By its declaration of a missile lunch, However, North Korea sent a clear message to the international society. That meant it had already decided it clings to brinksmanship foreign policy that Kim Jong Il regime had developed. That also showed that it had inherited domestic policy that put priority to strengthen the military. By launching a missile, probably on April 15, which is the anniversary of the national father Kim Il Song’s birth, the new leader  intends to enhance national prestige.

What the international society has to realize now is that North Korea is still willing to increase international tensions to maintain its military prioritized government.

North Korea’s planned launch puts food aid on pause

Seoul, South Korea (CNN)As senior U.S. officials sought to figure out how to respond to North Korea’s announcement that it will launch a satellite using ballistic missile technology, a State Department spokeswoman said Friday that an agreement by the United States to deliver food aid to the impoverished country would be put on pause.

‘I think we’re going to take a pause here and see what happens,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. ” A North Korean launch of a satellite would be highly provocative.”

Planning for the delivery of food aid — under a deal struck last month in which Pyongyang agreed to halt nuclear tests, long-range missile launches and enrichment activities in exchange for food aid — had been “relatively far advanced,” she said.

At the time of the food aid agreement, under which North Korea would receive 240,000 metric tons of foodstuffs, the United States told Pyongyang that such a launch would be contrary to the accord, Nuland said.

“Frankly, if they were to go forward with this launch, it’s very hard to imagine how we would be able to move forward with a regime whose word we have no confidence in and who has egregiously violated its international commitments,” she said.

Nuland’s announcement came hours after the country’s official news agency said that Pyongyang plans to launch next month an “Earth observation” satellite using a carrier rocket, a move that would potentially violate U.N. Security Council demands…(the original article continues. see the link)


A Lovely New York

A Lovely New York

It was cold on March 10. If people had found the tiny mark on the rearview mirror, they might have felt a little warmer. The lovely mischief in Manhattan excited one’s imagination.


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