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Two Daikons in Meiji Japan

The Meiji Emperor's silver anniversary (by Nobukazu Yosai 楊斎延一)
The Meiji Emperor’s silver anniversary (by Nobukazu Yosai 楊斎延一)

I was reading Takashi Fujitani‘s excellent Splendid Monarchy: Power and Pageantry in Modern Japan when I came upon this golden anecdote of two “daikons”:

“Quite outrageously, at the time of the emperor’s silver anniversary, which was often referred to as the Great Wedding (daikon 大婚), the people of at least one neighborhood in the provincial town of Saga made a visual pun and placed a giant radish (daikon 大根) on a festival float. Forty neighborhood residents of all ages danced to the rhythms of festive music (hayashi 囃子) as they paraded to the Saga prefectural office with what would appear to be a fairly explicit sexual symbol.” (228-229)

Bourdieu is Unreadable

I’m in a culture contact anthropology seminar this quarter, and we’ve been reading a lot of Bourdieu. A lot. Thankfully, we’ve mostly been reading him through the lenses and papers of other eminent scholars in the field rather than reading his work directly. His work, in the words of our professor, “are almost unreadable.” I thought he was exaggerating until I came upon his “sentence” explaining habitus:

The structures constitutive of a particular type of environment (e.g., the material conditions of existence characteristic of a class condition) produce habitus, systems of durable, transposable dispositions, structured structures predisposed to serve as structuring structures, that is, as principles of the generation and structuring of practices and representations which can be objectively “regulated” and “regular” without in any way being the product of obedience to rules, objectively adapted to their goals without presupposing a conscious aiming at ends or an express mastery of the operations necessary to attain them and, being all this, collectively orchestrated without being the product of the orchestrating action of a conductor.

Seriously, this is all one sentence. Professor Steve Vaisey has come up with a good alternate translation that’s a lot more readable and isn’t a complete word salad.

Cloud Drama

Weirdly, though the University of California system (including UCSB) utilizes Microsoft’s Office 365 Pro Plus service for all its students , it notably does not include Microsoft’s OneDrive for Business plan, which Microsoft advertises as coming with that package. I had been using the personal-level OneDrive plan instead, as it gave me a respectable 30GB of free cloud storage.

But things changed when they announced an ill-received move on November 2 that they were reducing free storage down to 5GB (making it the same as iCloud Drive, a service not exactly known for its generosity). To rub salt on the wound, Microsoft claimed in Orwellian doublespeak that they were making the change “in pursuit of productivity and collaboration”, but their actions directly contradicted CEO Satya Nadella’s cloud-first policy.

Turns out, UCSB just contracted with Box for cloud storage, and I get unlimited storage as long as I’m a student here (which will hopefully be a few years at least!). I remember using Box back in 2006 when they only had a web interface and no native-syncing client. Looks like I’ll be switching to them.