Saturday, February 27, 2010

Detours from Madison County

Detours from a book by Robert James Waller - The Bridges of Madison County:

Poems & Songs

by: W.B. Yeats

WENT out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread; 

And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout. 

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air. 

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

Bob Dylan's song - "Girl from the North Country"
Song -
Lyrics -
Hank Snow's Train Songs

Faron Young: The Shrine of St. Cecilia

(Rachel Carson, John Muir, Aldo Leopold)


Bellingham, Washington
Cascades - paper Mills of Kalispell, Montana - Indian Reservations in North Dakota -- Iron Mines of Hibbing (Bob Dylan-Zimmerman's hometown)
Duluth, Minnesota
Isle au Haut and Stonington...across the Bay of Fundy to Nova Scotia
Big Sur, south of San Francisco
Mississippi River towards Iowa
Iowa - Clayton, Des Moines, Madison County, Shenandoah, Roseman Bridge
Naples, River Po, Sicily
The Green Hills of Africa - a 1935 work of nonfiction written by Ernest Hemingway

'Words & Phrases'
  • The  constant chirping of those who would save me and those who would sell me.
  • Lying naked where the blue whales swim.
  • She wished him steaming trains that left from winter stations.
  • Before I became a man, I was an arrow - a long time ago
  • Somali Current, Big Hatchet Mountains, Malacca Strait
  • You are what you produce.
  • Thomas Wolfe - "ghost of the old eagerness"
  • "In a universe of ambiguity, this kind of certainty comes only once, and never again, no matter how many lifetimes you live."
  • Robert Penn Warren - "a world that seemed to be God-abandoned"


The movie - Bridges of Madison County (Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Work In Progress

Under the Central Library

A new Bench

Road-repair outside Hanamasa

Lost and found!

Ubiquitous ticket/change machine

Midnight Kiosk

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Transformation of Bihar

It is wonderful to see Bihar in the news for the right reasons!

But I just don`t get it. On one hand you have Lalu Prasad Yadav who left Bihar in shambles to become a celebrated Railway Minister, and on the other, you have a former railway minister, Nitish Kumar, who picks up the pieces in Bihar and then turns it around the same state in just five years!

How did a state with a population of 82 million which was `first devastated by colonial policies that enshrined feudal landlords, then shunned by a succession of Indian governments, and finally riven and destroyed when seeds of caste and conflict matured into a small-scale civil war in the 1970s`, make such a transformation?

How did Nitish Kumar make a difference?

According to Jason Overdorf, the key steps taken by the new Chief Minister -

  • focused on competence over patronag;
  • broke the trend of over-centralized state powers , and delegated more financial and administrative powers to officials in the field;
  • updated archaic rules that made civil engineers seek minister-level approval to spend absurdly low amounts of money;
  • re-established cabinet meetings as a weekly event, where in years past the cabinet did not meet for months
  • redefined the basic functions of institutions, essentially requiring offices to do the world they`d been assigned;
  • ended the widespread `transfer industry`, which sold coveted bureaucratic posts to the highest bidders, and handpicked bureaucrats became known for their competence.
  • to fill vacancies in the police force, he tapped trained personnel among the state`s ex-soldiers;
  • he publicly supported the police after they made high-profile arrests of criminals. Those jailed included MPs (Md. Sahabuddin, Pappu Yadav, Munna Shukla) but also an MLA from his own party;
  • managed to redress the state courts` abysmal conviction rate by instituting fast-track courts and working with the judiciary to focus on career criminals` most easily prosecuted offenses to ensure that they swiftly found themselves behind bars. The moves resulted in 39,000 convictions between 2006 and 2009, compared to less than 10,000 in the previous decades;
  • by retooling the bureaucracy in charge of implementing state projects, Kumar has been able to boost spending on government programs. Bihar`s outlays...rose from $320 million in 2001 to $3.5b last year, significantly outpacing the growth in central government funding in for Bihar;
  • added more than 100,000 teachers added in primary schools; better oversight of doctors and staff working at rural health centers. Primary-care centers that used to see 30 patients a month now see 3,600 - because people have a reasonable expectation that the doctors have shown up for work.
 So, despite the economic crisis and three years of droughts and floods, Bihar posted 11% average economic growth over Kumar`s five years in office, making it the second fastest growing state in India (after Gujarat), and the second-hottest-growing major economy in the world after China. In what was impassable badlands, the administration laid 6,800km of roads, built 1,600 bridges and culverts and cut journey time in half in many areas. Car sales eclipsed kidnappings, as crimes by roving bandits fell steadily from 1,297 to 640 and kidnappings for ranson fell from 411 to 66 between 2004 and 2008...the number of foreign tourists shot up from 95,000 to 356,000 over the past two years.

This is nothing short of astounding!

I am now curious to know how he `retooled the bureaucracy` and from where he managed not only all the extra funds but also the right kind of people to manage it...


Reference / Links

Overdorf, Jason (2010), From Worst to the Near First - how India`a most desperate state transformed itself to become a model for the rest of the country, Newsweek, 22 Feb. 2010

Goyal, Malini (2010), Bihar Rising From the Shadows, Forbes-India, 20 March 2010 -

Friday, February 19, 2010

Germans in Mao's Long March

In March 1929, in one of the greatest tactical retreats in human history, about 87,000 Red Army soldiers led by Mao, trekked from southern Chinese province of Jiangxi to Yanan (Hunan), and then again to Shaanxi province located along the Great Wall in north China. They trekked over 9000 km in 368 days, across some of the toughest terrains in Asia!

The purpose of this desperate journey was to escape being slaughtered by Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek`s Goumintang Army.

I was surprised to know today that there were two Germans who played a decisive role in this epic journey - at a time when both the Chiang and Mao had common cause on the expulsion of all the imperial powers who have carved the whole of China into their own "spheres of influence". One was an army General Hans von Seeckt, adviser to Chiang Kai-shek and the other, Otto Braun,  a seasoned communist partner-in-arms to Mao Tse-tung!

General Seeckt advised Chiang Kai-shek not to launch a full frontal attack on Jiangxi, where 500,000 had surrounded the area in an attempt to strangulate the Communists. Seeckt wanted a war of attrition but with minimal contact with the Communists as Seeckt wanted to starve them out rather engage in combat with them.

Otto Braun (aka Le De) at first went against Mao`s advise and launched full frontal attacks against the Goumindang. When this ended in failure Mao then wanted a breakout by the Red Army followed by an attack on the Goumindang rear but Otto again overruled him and ordered a full-scale retreat from Jiangxi to Hunan in October 1934. At one point of time Otto Braun had Mao expelled from the communist party committee!

The Red Army started to Long March carrying whatever it could. 87,000 soldiers started the retreat carrying such items as typewriters, furniture, printing presses etc. They also took with them 33,000 guns and nearly 2 million ammunition cartridges. It took the Red Army 40 days to get through the blockhouses surrounding Jiangxi but no sooner had they done this than they were attacked at Xiang by the Guomindang. In the Battle of Xiang, the Red Army lost 45,000 men - over 50% of their fighting force.

After the Battle of Xiang, Braun was blamed for these failings but the damage had been done. In January 1935, control of the Red Army was handed over to Mao and Braun was suspended. back in control of the Red Army, Mao adopted new tactics. He divided the army into small bands and moved in completely unpredictable patterns that made it very difficult for Chiang`s army to track them...


Walsh, Billie K. (1974), The German Military Mission in China, 1928-38, The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 46, No.3 (Sep. 1974) pp.502-513, The University of Chicago Press

Xiang, Ah (), Battle of Xuzhou & Chiang Kai-shek`s Stepdown -


Thursday, February 11, 2010


How does one capture the beauty of falling snowflakes?

If you set the shutter-speed too fast the snowflakes become wierd speks; if you set it too slow they come out as white lines lashing across theframe. During daytime its too bright for a large aperture and at night, just the opposite!

I've been scouring the net for is a suggestion from that made some sense -

One way to do it is to use a long lens so there is more falling snow between you and the background (preferably a dark forest, rock face etc). At something like 200 to 400mm and f/5.6, focus slightly in front of the background. A relatively fast shutter speed to freeze the snowflakes. The softly OOF background and snowflakes away from the plane of focus set the mood. Include a deer as a foreground interest and you`re set :D

But what is an OOF background?



Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Bowing in Degrees

As the Toyota recalls mount to epidemic proportions, apologies are flying thick and fast. Bowing to say sorry has its own is an excerpt from the Times -

The important thing to remember about the Japanese bow is that, when it comes to saying sorry, there are several contortions.

Degree and length of hold are the key measures: the theatre is important here, not the actual regret.

There is the momentarily-held 10-degrees (gosh, was that your toe I trod on?), the briefly-held 25-degrees (sorry, we’ve run out of tuna) the 2-second, 45 degrees (I know you’re the Best Man, but the flight is cancelled) the 5-second 45 degrees (I've just backed over your dog, boss), the 20-second 90 degrees (our widget blinds kids) and the “dogeza” kneel on the floor (evacuate your village, the plant is exploding).


Links / References -

International Population Movements

`Intensive seminar` sessions are seldom appealing -- especially if they are held for six consecutive sessions across two weekends!

This topic seemed interesting though, so I had planned to sit through a couple of sessions and then quit. But one intriguing topic led to another and I ended participating in the whole program. Some new perspectives -

Why do people migrate?

1. `Push-Pull Theories (aka neoclassical economic equilibrium perspective) - Formulated by Ravenstein (1885), this general theory is about the tendency of people to move from densely to sparsely populated areas; from low- to high-income areas.
However, it is not the poorest who usually decide to migrate, and it ignores the role of th state. So an alternate explanation was the -
2.  Historical-Structural Approach - stresses unequal distribution of economic and political power in the world economy, and says that migration was just a way of mobilizing cheap labor for capital. Here too there is an over-emphasis on the interests of capital, so the third explanation is a combination of the the first two -
3. Migration Systems Theory - this approach examines both sides of the flow and studies all the linkages between the places concerned - international relations, political economy, collective action and institutional factors. It sees migration is interdisciplinary phenomena, involving - sociology, political science, history, economics, geography, demography, psychology & law.

Tatemae and Honne

Inviting Japanese-American Migrants
Tatemae - `we want our people back`
Honne - `we`re facing serious labor shortages in the manufacturing sector`

Technical Trainees
Tatemae - `we want to contribute to international development by training Asians`
Honne - `we need cheap labor, so lets call them trainees and use them as regular factory hands`

Historical Time-line of Migrations in East Asia

  • 4c - 3c B.C: Introduction of rice production; use of bronze and iron tools (yayoi culture)
  • 1c - 3c A.D: Wa Japan sends missions to Korean peninsula
  • 5c: In Korean peninsula, Kogryo`s oppression on Baekje; Large-scale migration of the Baejke to the Japanese archipelago
  • 7c: Fall of Baekje and Kogryo; both royal families seek refuge in Japan
  • 9c: Japanese missions to China discontinues with the decline of the Tang dynasty
  • 10c: Trade with the Sung dynasty, China
  • 15c: Trade with the Ming dynasty
  • 1543: A Chinese ship with Portuguese on board arrives Tanegashima island (south of Kyushu). Trade with Portuguese begins, and also with Spain (50 years later from Hirado)
  • 1600: Trade with Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and English at the beginning of the Tokugawa Shogunate
  • 1613: Ban on Christianity
  • 1635: `Closed Door` policy starts (`Sakoku` - chained country)

Inter WW Period

  • 1868: Immigrants to Japan from Europe, USA (introduced new technology, like the Koreans did in 7c) and China (workers)
  • 1876 - early 1900s: Emigration from Japan to Asia and the Americas
  • 1910: Annexation of Korea; immigration from Korea begins
  • 1924: USA bans immigrants from Japan (`foreigners taking US jobs`)
  • 1932: Emigration to Manchuria begins - rises to 2m
  • 1945: More than 2m Koreans `registered` in Japan
  • 1945-1955: Repatriation of Japanese civilians (3.5m); military personnel (3m) -- total population of Japan at the time - 72m; 1.4m Koreans return

Cold-War Years
  • 1945: International isolation
  • 1950s: Emigration resumes (discontinued in 1960s)
  • 1960s-70s: High economic growth in Japan - large scale movement of rural population (8-10m) to urban centers on the East coast; Primary sector workforce - 48% in 1948, down to 10% in 1980.
  • Late 1970s: Migrant women from the Philippines
  • Late 1980s: Number of male migrant workers increases; With the revision of Immigration Control Act in 1989, Japanese Brazilians begin to arrive
  • Late 1990s: Aging population and declining birth-rate starts hitting the economy.

Links / References

Castles, Stephen and Miller Mark J (1998), The Age of Migration - International Population Movements in the Modern World (Macmillian Press, London)

Monday, February 08, 2010

Indian Driving License in Japan

Q - Is an International Driving License (IDL) issued in India, valid in Japan?

A - Technically, maybe. Practically, no.

For the past one year, I have been using the IDL issued by RTO Delhi because Japan is clearly listed among the countries where the document is supposed to be valid, as per bilateral agreements. Since the document is valid only for one year, I went last week to the Unten-Menkyo (Driving Licence) office at Mito, to get it `converted`, as per the local requirements.

As per the rules, you are required to submit, along with the application form -
  1. Driving License
  2. International Driving License
  3. Japanese translation of DL (either by Japan Automobile Federation or by the Indian Embassy)
  4. Alien Registration Card
  5. Photos (2)
  6. Processing Stamp-fees (Yen 2400)
My driving license had been issued by RTO (Sarai Kale Khan, Delhi, 1994), and my IDL (Black booklet, RTO Delhi, valid till 22 Feb. 2010) was issued by the same office in March 2009.  When I contacted the Indian Embassy for the translation they said, `You bring a translation and we`ll attest the document`.  Sure enough, when I submitted my documents on 5 Feb. 2010, they examined the originals, found it in order, and attested the translation (Charge - Yen 1400).

The next day, regrettably, my application was rejected. What was surprising, however, by the reasons given by the officer at Mito for doing so -
  1. The International Driving License issued in Delhi does not conform to the `Geneva` format. Hence it is not recognized in Japan;
  2. The Delhi driving license does not specify the date of issue.
  3. The Delhi driving license is not in a format recognized by Japanese authorities.
The IDL issued by Government of India clearly specifies that the document is valid in Japan. If the Japanese authorities do not share this understanding you may have a situation where Indian citizens using Indian IDL`s are being penalized or harassed for using what they think is a valid document.

I had conveyed this concern by email to the Indian Embassy in Tokyo (,,, but there has been no acknowledgment or response from their side. I guess they are all too busy finalizing the FTAs to bother about such mundane issues.

So if you're planning to get an Indian driving license "converted" in Japan, please make sure it is a new one.  And don`t expect any help from the Indian Embassy in Tokyo.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

With Rosseau to Tokyo

Last week I suddenly realized that my indispensable travel companion - my Delhi driving license - was expiring on 22  February 2010.

I had got it from the RTO office at Sarai Kale Khan in the winter of 1994, with the help of Negi Driving School in Lodi Colony. Since the time it came out nice and warm from the laminating machine, it had, over the years, survived numerous monsoons, a few traffic-policemen, as well as one metropolitan magistrate at Patiala Courts named Ms. Bhatnagar. She had fined me Rs.200 on the charges of `driving with a helmet-less pillion-rider`...

These days I just ride an old, yellow bicycle at Tsukuba University, and its been over ten months since I stopped commuting on a motorbike or a car, but the thought of NOT having a valid driving license had propelled me into the world of the Unten-Menkyo-Senta (License Bureau). Since its a lot harder to make a fresh license, I`d been collecting the documents required for the formalities here - passport, original driving license (Indian & international), and - the most cumbersome of all - a Japanese translation of the foreign license, duly attested by the national embassy in Tokyo. So this was the purpose of my first ever visit of an Indian embassy, anywhere in the world.

It is difficult to travel without book, and the book I picked this time was "Jean Jacques Rousseau - his education theories selected from Emile, Julie and Other Writings". Quite a mouthful...but I had not intended to pick such a 'heavy' sounding book but it was the only unread, small book available on the shelf. It once belonged to a much-respected former professor of Tsukuba University, whose family gifted away his entire book-collection after he passed away last year from a sudden illness. On the last page a hurried hand had noted more than 30 years ago - "'75 July 6 in New York - Tadashi Yamada".

As the 7:45 AM JR-bus rolled out of the campus, the morning sun was casting its long shadows on patches of dried grass, snow and ice. I started with the biographical note -

...born in Geneva to a French father and a Swiss mother who died when he was a week old. Rosseau was reared by his father, and eccentric and sentimental watchmaker. his father taught his to read but did not train him in the conventional habits and attitudes of normal life. Thus, he stole, lied, played dirty tricks, was indolent, ill bred and unprincipled...several years later... he failed as a clerk, was apprenticed to an engraver but ran away at sixteen and became a vagabond...

Memories of an old NCERT textbook floated up...`Voltaire-Rosseau-Montesquieu` and the French Revolution. Didn`t these guys pour something into that cauldron of ideas ideas on liberty and fraternity that swept away the monarchy in France and led to the rise of a Corsican artillery lieutenant named Napoleon Bonaparte? But how did a vagabond become an ideologue? The book, unfortunately, did not elaborate.

...In 1741 he went to Paris...lived with Therese Lavassuer who bore him five children. His genius awakened in a flash in October 1749. he wrote the prize essay, Discourse on the Arts and Sciences. This was followed by What Is the Cause of Inequality Among Men?...His life was a psychological puzzle - highly emotional, erratic, a creative genius, a man of reprobate and perverted nature, an idealist, passionately devoted to the downtrodden and liberty...

Our bus now turned into the Joban Expressway and sped past empty fields, woodlands and the occasional golf-course. Mt. Fuji appeared like an apparition on the horizon, its crest lit by the morning sun but the view was soon blocked out by tunnels that appeared at Nagareyama, and then by the sound-barriers and trucks speeding towards Tokyo.

Struggling to keep the book away from the bright sunlight, I read about the theory of social development; about the Natural Man, the Savage Man and the Civilized Man -

...the original man just wants to avoid pain & death and wants to satisfy his physical needs for food, a mate and rest. He is motivated by the impulse for self-preservation (amour-de-soi)...with reason he becomes more than an animal and develops speech, family-life and simple arts...later imagination brings more desires and he creates civilization...however, primitive self-love gives way to a calculated and ambitious love of self (amour-propre), which leads to all the evils of society and leads to degradation and inequality...

The bus got stuck and then re-emerged from the traffic-jams around Tokyo. By now it seemed that we are all, in a distant way,  by-products of Rosseau`s imagination. Education reformers were inspired by his `practical` approach. Froebel had taken his principle of following child`s nature (or instincts) and worked it out into the Kindergarten method.

The book was set aside aside as soon as we reached Tokyo station. The embassy was open only from 9:00 to 11:00 and it was already 9:50! Walking quickly out of the JR-Marunouchi gate I rushed towards the Otemachi Tokyo-Metro station. The entrance was only few blocks away, but once underground you had to walk about 350 meters to get to the right platform for the purple-color-coded Hanzomon Line. Luckily the connection came just in time and I was soon hurrying up from Kudanshita (`nine-steps-below`!) to the embassy.

I was there by 10:15 - well in time to get the work done, so I took some time to look around.

It was an unexceptional, glass-fronted building with long, high sliding gates. Near the entrance, a stone plaque said that it had been inaugurated less than a year ago (March 2009) by the current ambassador H.K. Singh; the architect was one Hiroshi Miyazaki; the consultants, Plants Associates and it had been constructed by Shimizu Corp. The first thing you noticed on this plaque was that it had a strange little piece of paper stuck on it - a closer look and it turned out to be a photocopy of the national emblem!!

Satyameva Jayate and Emperor Asoka's lion-crest fluttering in the Tokyo breeze. Welcome back, I said to  myself, to the world of chalta-hai, afterthoughts and ad-hocism.

Inside, at the consular counters, there were screens for the token numbers but the equipment itself had been hastily covered with an A4 sheet. A closer look revealed a note scrawled with a 0.5 ballpoint pen - "Not working, pls take token from tray". I wondered how difficult it might have been to take a simple, bilingual computer print-out, but then nobody was asking for the tokens anyway.

Am I nitpicking? Or perhaps I am looking from the other side of the fence. In any case, these are small acts of sloppiness that give bigger insights on what a visitor to India can expect from the government machinery.

The ladies at the counter were efficient. I handed in my Japanese translation of the Delhi driving license and waited. The hall had a bright, colorful M.F Hussain painting, a large flat-screen showcasing Manipuri classical dance and a nifty water-dispenser.

My papers came back in a few minutes with the seal and signatures of the consular officer-in-charge, and a neatly printed bilingual bill for Yen 1400. I wanted to ask why they were charging such a high fee for just an attestation (grumble, grumble) but I held my horses, collected the docs and walked out.

Across the gnarled old cherry trees of Chidori-Ga-Fuchi ("1000-bird's pool"), Kintanomaru Park was a nice place for a stroll. It would have been a nice place to settle down for the rest of the day with Rosseau. But I had to get back to the university quickly.

A brisk walk down the Yasukuni Road took me past the second-hand book stalls of Kanda (the Daryaganj or Tokyo!), some crumbling old buildings at Jimbocho and many colorful garment shops along Awajicho,  to the JR station at Akihabara.

Here I hopped on to the next available TX to Tsukuba and took out Rosseau once again...and promptly nodded off to sleep.


Links -

    Thursday, February 04, 2010

    Dhak-dhak, Doki-doki, Tun-tun

    Dhak-dhak, doki-doki, tun-tun...these words may sound strange and funny but they all have one thing in common -- they describe the heartbeat in different languages!

    In North India your heart beat is `dhak-dhak` while in Japan it goes `doki-doki` but to a Latino it is `tun-tun`. 

    In English there is a world borrowed (or created) from Greek to classify these colorful `words that imitates the sounds they describe' - Onomatopoeia

    Here is an attempt to collect such words in as many languages as possible.  :-)

    CHINESE (Mandarin)
    Pen-ti: Sneeze

    Kinhuti - Sneeze
    Stucati - Hiccup

    Haai - Yawn
    Tapur-tupur - Sound of rainfall

    Bow-wow - Dog bark
    Meaow - A cat`s cry
    Ululation -  Howl, wail, lament, felicitation (during a marriage in Kerala)
    Achoo (sneeze), Bang, Baloon, Beep, Burp, Buzz, Click, Cough, Crash, Cuckoo, Fart, Fizz, Hiccup, Hiss, Rip, Pop, Snore, Tinkle, Wink

    Dhak-dhak (धक्-धक्)  - heartbeat
    Fatfatia (फटफटिया) - a noisy Auto-rickshaw (3-wheeler taxi) - "tuk-tuk" in Thai
    Gubbara (गुब्बारा) - Baloon
    Hichki (हिचकी) - Hiccup
    Jhatpat (झटपट) - Hasty action
    Kharratte (खर्राटे) - Snore
    Khusur-fusur (खुसुर-फुसुर)- Whisper
    Paad (पाद) - Fart
    Teetar (तीतर) - Partridge-bird
    Thappad (थप्पड़) - Slap

    Bishi-bishi (びしびし) -  stickily; relentlessly
    Bisho-bisho (びしょびしょ) - scattering of drops, pieces
    Bura-bura (ぶらぶら) - aimlessly; idly; loiter; loaf; stroll idly;
    Chaku-chaku (ちゃくちゃく /  着着 )- Steadily
    Chika-chika (ちかちか)- Flickering light
    Choki-choki (ちょきーちょき)- Snipping, cutting sound
    Dan-dan - (段々) gradually; by degrees
    Giri-giri (ギリギリ) - Barely, Just-in-time
    Goku-goku  (ごくごく) - Gulp-gulp [same reading - 極極 = extremely, highly)
    Goro-goro (ごろごろ)- laze about,sound of an upset stomach!
    Fura-fura (ふらふら)- unsteady on one's feet; stagger; reel; totter; dizzy
    Haki-haki  (はきはき) - briskly; smartly; promptly; clearly; lucidly
    Hiso-hiso (ひそひそ) - speak in a whisper
    Jiro-jiro (じろじろ) - To stare
    Kira-kira (きらきら) - Glitter & sparkle
    Kune-kune (くねくね) ー Circuitous
    Kuyo-kuyo - Worry, fret over
    Kori-kori (凝り; こり) - lingering discomfort; uneasiness; bad aftertaste; unpleasant feeling
    Mago-mago (まごまご) - Confused
    Moko-moko (もこもこ) - lumpy; fluffy
    Nazo-nazo (なぞなぞ) - Riddle
    Nya-nya (にゃにゃ) - Cat`s cry
    Pachi-pachi (パチパチ ) - Clap, sputter
    Pera-pera (ぺらぺら)- Fluency in a language
    Pika-pika (ぴかぴか) - Gleaming (eg. car)
    Ponyo-Ponyo (ポニョポニョ)- Chubby
    Potsu-potsu (ぽつぽつ)- Speckle, pimples
    Shimi-jimi (しみじみ) -  《 染み染み》 - Earnestly; keenly; fully; heartily; seriously
    Shuku-shuku (しゅくしゅく / 粛粛) - Silently, solemnly
    Toro-toro (とろとろ) - Simmer, stew
    Uta-kata (うたかた) - Bubble
    Wan-wan (わんわん)- Dog`s bark in Japan (!)
    Zaa-zaa (ざあざあ)- Sound of rainfall

    Addi (അട്ടി) - Hit, slap
    Kaakaa (കാകാ) - Crow  (Ditto in Tamil)
    Korava (കൊറവ ) - Crowing, Ululation
    Koorkam ( കൂര്കം) - Snore
    Kushu (കുശു) - Fart
    Piri-pirippu (പിരിപിരിപ്പ് )- Fidgetty
    Thummal (തുമ്മല്‍ ) - Sneeze
    Thulli (തുള്ളി ) - Drop (water, dew)
    Umma (ഉമ്മ) - Kiss

    ROMANIAN (without the right intonation marks :(  )
    Bum-Bum - Heartbeat
    Casca - Yawn
    Ham-Ham - Dogs-bark
    Miau - Cat's cry
    Part / Basi - Fart
    Sforai- Snore
    Stranut- Sneeze
    Sughit - Hiccup
    Tusi - Cough

    Beso ("muak")- Kiss
    Gota - Drop
    Guau-Guau - Dog bark
    Hipo ("hip-hip") - Hiccup
    Maulido ("mau-mau") - Cat's cry
    Pedo - Fart ............... (Indo-European root?)
    Tonwar (v) - Snore
    Tos (col.) - Cough
    Tun-tun - Sound of heartbeat

    Beua - Burp
    Busu - Kiss
    Bweka - Dog-bark
    Chafya - Sneeze
    Jamba - Fart
    Koroma - Snore.......(similar to the Malayalam word!)
    Kohowa - Cough
    Kwi-kwi - Hiccup
    Miyao - Yawn  :)
    Nyau - Cat's cry

    Reference & Links -

    • Onomatopoeia at -

    Wednesday, February 03, 2010

    Snowfall at Tsukuba University

    The morning after the first overnight snowfall at the University of Tsukuba, this winter...

    Tuesday, February 02, 2010

    Unravelling of the "World Order"

    Interesting observations by Nader Mousavizadeh, a UN official, on the shifting sands of international politics:

    Rouge States - the word became popular in the 1980s, mainly in the USA, to describe minor dictatorships, threatening the Cold War order...It assumed the existence of an international community, united behind supposedly universal Western values and interests, that could agree on who the renegades were and how to deal with them.

    ...By the late 1990s this community was already dissolving, with the rise of China, with the revival of Russia, and the emergence of India, Brazil and Turkey as real powers, all with their own interests and values. Today it`s clear that the `international community` defined by Western values is a fiction, and that for many states the term `rouge` might just as well apply to the United States as to the renegades it seeks to isolate.

    ...Today countries large and small, well behaved or not, are looking for partners not patrons. Where Washington looks to punish rouges, seeking immediate changes in behavior, rival powers are stepping in with investment and defense contracts, and offering a relationship based on dignity and respect. This is the story of China in Burma, Russia in Iran, Brazil in Cuba, and so on down the line. And given that the core institutions of global governance - the UN Security Council, the World Bank and the IMF - are unwilling to grant the new powers a seat in the decision-making table, it is not surprising that they feel no obligation to back sanctions they`ve had no say in formulating...

    How effective have been the so called "core institutions of global governance" in maintaining world order?

    LINKS -

    Mousavizadeh, Nader (2009), End of the Rouge - The world that created `Rouge States` is gone, and the sooner Washington realizes it, the better (Newsweek, 8 Feb., 2010)