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Posts Tagged ‘Japan

30 revealing ideas from social psychology that can help us to appreciate people and our lives

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Below are interesting points (sometimes with some of personal thoughts & reflections) that I have learned from a course on social psychology taught by Professor Scott Plous of Wesleyan College.

@~@ Know yourself. Seach inside yourself.
LaoZi : "He who knows others is learned. He who knows himself is enlightened."
Benjamin Franklin : "There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self"
Daniel Gilbert : "We seem to know less about the worlds inside our heads that about the world our heads are inside."

@~@ People often MISWANT.
Blueroselady :
How to overcome the challenge that we are remarkably bad at predicting of what will make us happy?
This question is very important because many of life’s big decisions involve predicting our future feelings.
Examples of life’s big decisions : marriage, career / profession, migration, vacation.
Funny real-life example : a friend J told me that her husband fluctuates between praising-in-the-form of question and complaining:
(1) "why a such a smart woman like you wanted to marry a jerk and stayed on?"
(2) "It’s a nightmare to be with you for the rest of your life, I was enticed by your physical attractions"

@~@ Most people are too preoccupied with themselves to notice our shortcomings (e.g. your pimple, your spiky hair because of having no time to comb your hair because of waking up late).

@~@ "Research has found that audiences can’t pick up on your anxiety as well as you might expect …
Other people are noticing less than you might suppose."
Blueroselady: The next time you have to deliver a public talk / give a company presentation / make a sales pitch, do not worry. Just do it!

@~@ Susan Andersen & Serena Chen, 2002: In our varied relationships, we have varying selves.

@~@ Much of our behavior is not consciously controlled but automatic and unself-conscious.
Blueroselady: Be mindful. We can choose to practice mindfulness.
Mindful breathing… Mindful eating… Mindful doing…

@~@ self-schema vs possible selves
self-schema = beliefs about self that organize & guide the procession of self-relevant information.
possible selves = images of what we dream of or dread becoming in the future.
self-schema strongly affect how we see / perceive, remember, evaluate other people & ourselves.

@~@ major negative events vs minor irritations
major negative events activate our psychological defense.
minor irritations do not activate our psychological immunity.

@~@ Role playing becomes reality.
As we enact a new role, e.g. college student, parent. salesperson, we initially feel self-conscious.
Progressively, the role playing becomes reality.
This reminds me on the message that Amy Cuddy wants us to remember in her TED talk on body language.
Fake it till you make it.
Fake it till you become it.

@~@ How do we decide if we are rich, smart, or tall?
The answer is social comparison (Festinger, 1954) in affluence, status, achievement.
Blueroselady: Many things in life (that I know of) are relative, particularly those that are measurable.
A reader’s question: "I have made a living comparing data in my job / career. Comparing has become my second nature. How can I stop comparing in life?"
Blueroselady suggestions:
# Gratitude exercises.
# Detachment exercises : Detach your emotions from the outcome of your comparisons. I hear you, it is easy to say, but challenging to do, that is why detachment is an art; for the sake of our happiness, we must practice the art of detachment.
# Mindfulness exercises : Remember that (1) social comparisons can decrease our life satisfaction. (2) 人比人气死人 (3) "There is nothing noble in being superior to some other person. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self."
# Kindness exercises : Be kind & compassionate to yourself, leave behind comparisons with others.
# Affirmations e.g. It is better to be a first rate version of yourself than a second rate version of someone else.

@~@ Children whom other people label as as gifted, hardworking or helpful tend to incorporate such ideas into their self-concepts & behavior.

@~@ Self-reliance
Self-reliant individual is celebrated in Western literature, e.g. The Iliad, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

@~@ Classifying / pigeonholing / labeling cultures as solely individualist or collectivist oversimplifies.
The oversimplification is because within any culture, individualism varies from person to person (Oyserman et al, 2002).
Blueroselady: Remember not to do hasty generalization.

@~@ Interdependent self
# has a greater sense of belonging.
# is defined by social connections with family, colleagues, loyal friends.
# has many selves: self-with-parents, self-at-work, self-with-friends.
# disapproves egotism, whereas independent self disapproves conformity.
# e.g. collectivistic Asian & Third World cultures.
# persists more on tasks when they are failing because wants to meet others’ expectations (e.g Japanese)
# prioritizes WE over ME

@~@ "So far, most of psychology has been produced by psychologists in middle-class White American settings studying middle-class White American respondents."
However, there are ways of life beyond the one that each of us knows best.
Blueroselady: In other space & time context (e.g. sociocultural context), there can be different ideas & practices about how to live a meaningful life.

@~@ Tips: eat before shopping.
Gilbert & Wilson (2000) showed that hungry shoppers do more impulse buying

@~@ Why is your friend’s success can be more threatening that that of strangers?
According to Zuckerman & Jost (2001), you feel that your self-esteem is threatened.
How do people react to self-esteem threat?
High self-esteem people blame others or try harder next time.
Low self-esteem people blame themselves or give up.
According to Roy Baumeister, folks with high self-esteem are more likely to be obnoxious, to interrupt, & to talk at people rather than to talk with people.
Bonus: It is useful for parents to know that
# among sibling relationships, the threat to self-esteem is greates for an older chld with a highly capable younger brother / sister.
# many people could not escape their tough childhoods, which is a cause of low self-esteem.

@~@ Secure self-esteem
# is rooted more in feeling good about who one is than in grades, looks, affluence / money, others’ approval.
# is essential for long-term well-being.
# Blueroselady views secure self-esteem neither as high nor low self-esteem, but self-esteem in equilibrium / in balance.

@~@ self-esteem vs self-efficacy
self-esteem = if you like yourself overall
Self-efficacy = if you believe you can do something

@~@ How to be less intimated (by others) & less gullible?
# remember that personal testimonies are powerfully persuasive but they may also be wrong.

@~@ Self-serving bias?
# attribute positive outcomes to oneself (e.g. own managerial skill)
# attribute negative outcomes to other factors (e.g. a down economy)

@~@ Examples of self-serving bias
# Group members’ estimates of how much they contribute to a join task typically sum to more than 100%. For instance, husband & wife are members of a group.
# most business people see themselves as more ethical than the average business people.
# Pronin & Ross (2006) reported that we see ourselves as objective & everyone else as biased. No wonder we fight!

@~@ Feedback is best when it is TRUE & SPECIFIC.
Specific feedback e.g. You are good at maths.
General feedback e.g. You are great.
To encourage someone (e.g. children, mentees, students, subordinates), remember that specific feedback is more effective than general feedback.

@~@ To improve performance, give self-efficacy feedback instead of self-esteem feedback.
e.g. of self-efficacy feedback : You tried really hard.
e.g. of self-esteem feedback : You are really smart.

@~@ When to listen to criticism & not to listen?
David Dunning’s gentle rule: "if two people independently give you the same piece of negative feedback, you should at least consider the possibility that it might be true"

@~@ Terror management theory by Jeff Greenberg: the reality of our own death motivates us to gain recognition from our work & values, but not everyone can achieve such recognition.

@~@ Competence + perseverance = success

@~@ Success requires enough optimism to sustain hope and enough pessimism to motivate concern.

@~@ According to Jule Norem (2000), defensive pessimism can sometimes save us from the perils of unrealistic optimism.
Blueroselady: Negative emotions such as anger and pessimism are not entirely bad, we just need healthy ways to deal with them.
Tips: Whenever you feel angry, remember that the person you are hurting is yourself.

@~@ Tyranny of freedom? too many choices can lead to paralysis.
According to Barry Schwartz, individualistic modern cultures have an excess of freedom which leads to the tyranny of freedom.
# Choice may enhance regret.
# People have expressed greater satisfaction with irrevocable choices than with reversible choices. This is because when people can undo their decisions they tend to consider both the positive & negative features of the decisions they had made. When they could not undo their decisions, people tend to concentrate on the positive features & ignore the negative features. For example, people expressed more satisfaction with their marriages several decades ago when marriage was more irrevocable.

@~@ Love causes marriage, but marriage would also causes love.
Blueroselady: This hypothesis may explain why arranged marriages (in some cultures) have successfully worked and survived.

@~@ The 5:1 ratio of positive:negative activities
To sustain important relationships such as marriage and parental relationships, ensure that you strive to increase the ratio of positive to negative activities by at least 5 fold.
e.g. of positive activities : holding hands, giving a hug, lending a listening ear.
e.g. of negative activities : arguing, complaining.

# Book: Social Psychology. Chapter 2. DG Myers. 2012.
# Notes at the end of email

Written by blueroselady

December 26, 2013 at 3:55 am

How to choose sunscreen (at least for myself and children)?

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In mid November 2013, I read a scientific finding (by J.L. of my undergraduate almamater) that nano particles such as zinc oxide can possibly cause cancer.

Then, I feel the need to check the ingredients of my sunscreen.

SPF 15 or higher only protects against UVB, but not UVA. According to Dr. David J. Leffell (professor of dermatology and surgery at the Yale School of Medicine), the followings (ecamsule, avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone, or zinc oxide) protect against UVA.

According to the, children’s sunscreens use ingredients less likely to irritate the skin, like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

It seems that the more complicated a product is, the more hidden or unknown risks it carries.

Is zinc oxide (in sunscreen) good or bad for us?

Dr. Lawrence Gibson (a dermatologist at Mayo Clinic) views that sunscreen is safe (has not been proven to increase the risk of skin cancer, has been proven to reduce the risk of melanoma). Instead of looking at a sunscreen’s SPF, choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that will protect you from UVA and UVB rays

If you are pregnant, avoid sunscreens that contain antioxidant retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A or retinol.

Sand, water, snow and concrete reflect sunlight.

Instead of being confused by the choices of sunscreen,
consider the following tips:
# Avoid the sun during peak hours (between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.), regardless of season (Since UV light can pass through clouds, use sunscreen even when it’s cloudy).
# Choose indoor activities (e.g. indoor swim) during the sun peak hours.
# Wear protective clothing e.g. pants, long sleeve shirts, sunglasses.
# Wear a wide-brimmed hat.
# Use an umbrella.
# Vitamins. Vitamin E can protect against UV-induced DNA damage. Vitamin C helps protect skin from sunburn.
# Do not let any product lull you into a false sense of security about sun exposure.
# Finally, pursue a combinatorial approach (shade, clothing, umbrella / hat, sunscreen, common sense).

Written by blueroselady

November 14, 2013 at 7:30 am

Let us go for food hunt in the summer 2013

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Food that I crave in the summer 2012
Bun Mam, Vietnamese stinky aubergine soup.
Crab with spicy sauce.
Creme brule.
Salmon sashimi.
coffee with milk.
green tea latte.
oxtail soup.
satay beehoon.

Written by blueroselady

July 1, 2013 at 10:31 am

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Inspirations from the philanthropist Masa Kogure

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Masa Kogure 小暮真久 is a creative giver.

A former engineer who worked in the artificial heart pump industry, using his training in biomechanical engineering.

conducted medical research including investigation of new type of artificial heart valve.
Education :
Bachelor’s in Engineering, Waseda University, Tokyo;
Master’s in Engineering, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia.

McKinsey Consultant :
specializing in healthcare, medical devices and pharmaceuticals.
served more than 30 companies in Japan, Europe and US.

Author of Connecting the World with 20 Yen.

A social entrepreneur.

Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Asia, 2011
World Economic Forum.
Asian Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 by Schwab Foundation

Founder of Table for Two (TfT) since 2007 : an international group that aims to curb obesity in the rich world while ending hunger in Africa.

TFT aims to shift the global food imbalance by
"transferring excess calories" from the developed to the developing world, working to confront obesity and malnutrition.
To quote the first sentence in the TfT website (as of early summer 2013), "In our world of 7 billion, 1 billion lack access to adequate food and nutrition, while a roughly equal number suffer from obesity, diabetes, and other health issues related to overnutrition.

1. Many people have a kind heart to help others, but only some people like Masa Kogure can actualize his ideas. His training as an engineer and management consultant is essential to lay the foundations required for him to run TfT.

2. It is a norm for Japanese to stay loyal to a single company / profession, but Masa Kogure is an outlier from what is common in Japan.
Perhaps what is popularly believed is not always right, as Tim Ferriss highlighted.

In 2011, I was surprised when a friend of mine (from Tokyo University) shared with me that he wanted to pursue a PhD, then becoming a CEO, he seems to have many goals, but he plans to focus on different goals on different stage of his life.

You do not have to pursue a single career in this life. You can have a portfolio of career. No matter what your current career is, use it to learn and contribute as much as possible, because your skills will be applicable and transferable to your next endeavor.

3. The art of balancing.
The beauty of the TfT is in its attempt to re-balance / re-shift the equilibrium of extreme food consumption (obesity and hunger) in developed and poor countries respectively.
While TfT works at macro level,
every individual can work at micro level,
start within ourselves.
Have a balanced meal daily.
To people living in developed countries, we can start consume more green (vegetables) and less meat.
To people who suffer malnutrition, we can start consuming more nutritious food.
Being able to eat, to eat well is a blessing.
First we eat to live, but we also want to live to eat well, to eat balance.

4. The power of social media.
Masa Kogure deploys the power of social media to increase awareness of TFT’s message and as well as the usual Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Blog channels, TFT also makes an effort to engage with bloggers around the world to spread the word.

More in Japanese:

The idea that hunger and obesity are two sides of the same global issue has been echoed by Ellen Gustafson, co-creator of FEED bags (watch her TEDTalk here).

If you find my writings are inspirational to you, please donate to me by clicking here.

Written by blueroselady

May 18, 2013 at 12:55 am

Recipe: oriental mushroom soup

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minced meat (it will be better if pork ribs)
dried scallops
1 tbs oriental sesame oil
1 tbs minced garlic
1 tbs minced peeled ginger (I will not add this in the future as I do not like the spicy feeling)
red dates
sliced mushrooms: oyster, shitake, snow white, mushroom green head, Termitomyces (jicongjun).
add pepper to suit taste.

1. Fresh mushrooms taste better than dried mushrooms.
2. I do not like the taste of mushroom green head.
3. Inspiration was from mushroom feast (hot pot) in Kunming.
4. I think I put too many mushrooms in my cooking. Now, I am overdosed of them. But, I am still grateful to God for the abundance of food that we have.
5. Pine Mushroom / 松茸 song1rong2 / Matsutake Tricholoma is popular in Japan. It is said that the matsutake were the only “plants” that survived the atomic bombing on Hiroshima in 1945, and since then the Japanese have developed a strong belief in their health benefits. For grilling / pan-fried. I am curious on how it tastes.
6. truffle. I have brought Dad and Mom to Borough Market where we sampled some truffle and brought delicious mushroom pate (good to eat with bread or warm rice). I am so grateful.

To find out more about the nature that provides (delicious) food in China and some cookings, I recommend you to watch:
A bite of China

Written by blueroselady

May 27, 2012 at 9:32 am

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Music: Heavy Rotation by AKB48 and JKT48 with lyrics + video

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On Valentine 2012, I am sharing Heavy Rotation for the 1st time @ the Blueroselady WordPress. Happy Valentine.
May you always LOVE and BE LOVED !

In autumn 2011, my Japanese friends (including guys dressing in girls’ high school costume) introduced me to the AKB48 by performing the dance for Heavy Rotation.
Since then, whenever I listen to the Heavy Rotation, I feel LOVE.

On the 1st weekend of Feb 2012, my lover told me about JKT48.
I do not care if they are copycat of AKB48, I love their lovely and youthful features like I love those of AKB48.
They can be considered as “sisters”.
There are sister cities, why cannot be sister music bands?


I do not care when my lover laughed @ me while I practice how to dance Heavy Rotation like AKB48 does. It is good for my body and emotion. Must practice the dance more.

Update as of spring 2013: my lover likes AKB48 now in spite of him laughing of me earlier on. He especially likes to kungfu-like energetic kicks. I am so happy that I feel like dancing again.

Here is my Valentine gift from me to you.

Video of AKB48




頭の中 ガンガン鳴ってるMUSIC (atama no naka gangan natteru MUSIC)

POPCORN が弾けるように (ga hajikeru yoo ni)
「好き」という文字が踊る (‘suki’ toyuu moji ga odoru)
顔や声を思うだけで (kao ya koeo omou dake de)
いても立ってもいられない(ite mo tatte mo irarenai)
こんな気持ちになれるって (konna kimochi ni narerutte)
僕はついているね (boku wa tsuite iru ne)

君に会えて どんどん近づくその距離に

(kimi ni ae te dondon chikazuku sono kyori ni)

HEARTの奥 ジャンジャン溢れる 愛しさが

(no oku janjan afureru itoshi sa ga)

人は誰も一生のうち (hito wa dare mo isshou no uchi)
何回愛せるのだろう(nan kai aiseru no darou)
たった一度忘れられない (tatta ichido wasurerarenai)
恋ができたら満足さ (koi ga deki tara manzoku sa)
そんなトキメキを感じて (sonna tokimeki wo kanji te)
花はほころぶのかな?(hana wa hokorobu no kana ?)

夢の中で だんだん大きくなってゆく

(yume no naka de dandan ookiku natte yuku)
僕のIMAGINATION (boku no)

この想いを ビンビン伝えて欲しいから

(kono omoi wo
binbin tsutaette hoshii kara)

いつも聞いてた (itsumo kii te ta)
Favorite Song
あの曲のように (ano kyoku no you ni)
ずっと繰り返して24時間 (zutto kurikaeshite ni-juu-yon jikan)

君に会えて どんどん近づくその距離に

(kimi ni ae te
dondon chikazuku sono kyori ni)

HEARTの奥 ジャンジャン溢れる 愛しさが
(no oku janjan afureru itoshi sa ga)



One! Two! Three! Four!
I want you! 2x
I need you! 2x
I love you! 2x
didalam benakku
keras berbunyi irama musikku
heavy rotation (sing as hea-vy ro-ta-tion)

Seperti popcorn yang meletup letup
kata kata suka menari nari
wajahmu suaramu selalu kuingat
membuatku menjadi tergila gila
oh senangnya miliki p’rasaan ini
ku sangat merasa beruntung

I want you! 2x
I need you! 2x
I love you! 2x
bertemu denganmu
semakin dekat jarak di antara kita
Maximum high tension

I want you! 2x
I need you! 2x
I love you! 2x
di lubuk hatiku
rasa sayang yang terus menerus meluap
heavy rotation (sing as hea-vy ro-ta-tion)

Dalam kehidupan setiap manusia
brapa kali bisa rasakan cinta
jika ada satu cinta tak terlupa ku
akan merasa sangat bahagia
mungkin seperti perasaan sekuntum bunga
saat dia akan mekar

I feel you! 2x
I touch you! 2x
I hold you! 2x
didalam mimpiku
angan anganku menjadi semakin besar
oh it’s my Imagination

I feel you! 2x
I touch you! 2x
I hold you! 2x
perasaan ini
ku sangat ingin mengutarakan padamu
heavy rotation (sing as hea-vy ro-ta-tion)

Yang slalu kudengarkan
Favorite song
seperti lagu yang ku suka
kuulang terus tanpa henti
twenty four hours a day

oh baby
the only request it’s you

I want you! 2x
I need you! 2x
I love you! 2x
bertemu denganmu
semakin dekat jarak di antara kita
maximum high tension

I want you 2x
I need you 2x
I love you 2x
di lubuk hatiku
rasa sayang yang terus menerus meluap
heavy rotation (sing as hea-vy ro-ta-tion)

heavy rotation [slow hea-vy ro-ta=tion]

Written by blueroselady

February 14, 2012 at 2:14 pm