Osaka charms Japan with her manners _ and broken Japanese
By STEPHEN WADE and MARI YAMAGUCHI
Monday, September 10
TOKYO (AP) — Naomi Osaka’s halting Japanese, her manners — she bowed and apologized after beating Serena Williams in the U.S. Open final — and her simple charm have swelled national pride in Japan and eclipsed many questions about her mixed-race parentage in a famously insular country.
Two days after becoming the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam tennis title, Osaka is still filling the front pages of the country’s three major daily newspapers and leads the discussions on talk shows.
The perspective from Japan on Monday: Osaka is being embraced as Japanese despite her mixed background. National pride — at least for now — is overriding questions of cultural identity and what it means to be Japanese.
Williams’ dramatic behavior during a chaotic final on Saturday, a hot topic in the United States and around the world, has been largely brushed aside in Japan with the focus on Osaka’s poise under pressure.
Japan’s largest newspaper, Yomiuri, called Osaka a “new heroine that Japan is proud of” and characterized her appeal as “the contrast between her strength on the court and her innocent character off the court.”
Yomiuri centered Osaka’s photograph holding the U.S. Open trophy at the top of its Monday front page — as did the two other large dailies. In a headline inside the paper, Yomiuri called her an “Overnight Queen — Powerful and Stable.”
The Asahi newspaper also called her the “New Queen,” picking up on her mix of “strength and gentleness.”
None of the main-line newspapers dwelled too much on her background, which has been well reported. She was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and Haitian father, moved to the United States when she was 3 and now lives in Florida where she has trained for more than a decade.
In an interview Monday from New York on Japan’s TBS television, she was asked what she wants to do now. She replied in Japanese: “Have curried rice topped with a pork cutlet.” Then she slipped into English and said: “I am very honored. I don’t know how to say that in Japanese.”
She gave some of the same answers in a similar interview with Japan’s NTV television.
“She is such a lovable character,” said Seiji Miyane, the NTV talk show host.
She smiled through the media pressure, which several newspapers have called a Japanese trait. Her broken Japanese works as an asset, apologizing occasionally for getting the wrong word — or not knowing the Japanese word at all.
“She is not the type of person who asserts herself boldly, but she is shy and humble and that makes her look more like a Japanese,” Junko Okamoto, a communications specialist, wrote in the weekly magazine Toyokeizai.
Okamoto also said Osaka could become a face of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, leading to big sponsorship deals.
Forbes magazine has reported that Williams is the highest earning female athlete with income of $18 million per year, almost all from endorsements. The Evening Fuji tabloid newspaper, citing Forbes, speculated wildly about Osaka’s potential lifetime earnings. Its headline suggested she could earn $100 million.
The Mainichi, one of top three general circulation newspapers, noted that Osaka was wearing a dress at a victory celebration from a well-known Japanese designer.
Osaka’s 73-year-old grandfather, Tetsuo Osaka, surfaced in several interviews from Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, where he heads a fishing cooperative. He said he plans to meet his granddaughter when she plays next week in a tournament in Japan.
Their relationship seems solid now, but the New York Times reported that for a more than a decade Naomi’s mother, Tamaki, had little contact with her family in Japan.
Roland Kirishima, a photographer who is half Japanese and Scottish, criticized some internet comments questioning if Osaka is really Japanese, because of her darker skin color.
“Look at the French soccer team that won the World Cup,” he wrote on Twitter. “Half of the players are immigrants’ sons or multi-racial. I’m surprised many people in Japan are still obsessed with racial purity. It’s 21st century already. Please overcome this type of insular prejudice.”
It looks like Japan has taken at least a first step.
Stephen Wade on Twitter: http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP
More AP tennis coverage: https://www.apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Green Bay Packers fans love that their team doesn’t have an owner – just don’t call it ‘communism’
September 7, 2018
Alan J. Kellner
PhD Candidate in Political Science, Northwestern University
Alan J. Kellner does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
In July, I was walking with my parents through the newly constructed Titletown District in Green Bay, Wisconsin, a new community development across the street from Lambeau Field, where the Green Bay Packers play their home games. It features a local brewpub, a boutique hotel, free outdoor games like foosball and shuffleboard and a large practice field, where kids can play football.
At one point, I heard my dad say, “I know who this is.” He had picked out the Packers’ president, Mark Murphy, hurriedly making his way through the swarming crowd of people. Murphy kindly paused to shake my father’s hand and then my mother’s and then my own.
As Murphy moved on, my dad’s next reaction was interesting to me as a political scientist.
“The Packers are the only team with a president instead of an owner,” he said, turning to me. “You know, with every other team in the NFL, all that money the team makes, that goes straight to the owner.” Proudly, he continued, “The Packers don’t have an owner. All that money goes back to the community, the fans. It builds stuff like this,” motioning toward Titletown.
On our ride home, with Packer talk behind us, my dad started to ask me about my job prospects. I’m training to be a political theorist in an over-saturated job market with an overabundance of Ph.D.s, increasing university administration, increasing reliance on – ahem, exploitation of – adjunct instructors, and what feels like an all-time low in the diminution of the value of the humanities.
My job prospects are not good.
Next he asked why I decided on Immanuel Kant, the German philosopher, as my dissertation topic.
I explained that I had seriously considered Marx. But I didn’t choose him because I thought it would limit my job prospects further.
“Why?” My dad asked.
“Well, you know, because people often associate Marx with communism.”
“Communism – no, no, no,” he said. “I don’t want anything to do with communism. The very idea of it sickens me.”
In my head, I thought, “What an interesting cognitive dissonance.” Wasn’t the principle virtue of the Green Bay Packers based in a communist idea: collective ownership of the means of production? And because there is no owner, doesn’t that mean its proceeds go back into its community?
I’m not really interested in the degree to which the Packers are a communist organization. But I am interested in my father’s reaction to the word “communism,” and how this response conflicted with a real-world example of one of communism’s animating ideas.
He has not, to my knowledge, ever read Marx or any genuinely communist literature. But he has obviously adopted a negative attitude to the word.
Capitalist ideology seems to have launched a successful marketing campaign against communism. To be a communist, in my father’s mind, is to be against freedom. It is to want total control over the lives and fates of all individuals in society. It is to be a Stalinist.
What he fears isn’t communism; it’s totalitarianism.
I couldn’t bring myself to point this out. I couldn’t tell him, “Dad, everything you just said about the Packers – that’s communism.”
A special situation
On Aug. 18, 1923, the Packers became the first and only publicly owned team, selling $5,000 in shares to improve the team’s struggling finances.
Owning stock in the Packers is not like owning other stock, however. It pays no dividends. Although fans earn nothing financially by owning stock, this unique arrangement does ensure that profits don’t go into the pocket of one or a handful of owners. Profits go instead to Green Bay Packers, Inc. What fans gain – and not just those who own shares – is the assurance that their team will not leave Green Bay, the smallest market of all major American professional sports leagues.
In 1997, fresh off a Super Bowl win, the franchise turned again to its fans as “investors.” The team offered more fans the opportunity to join existing shareholders by selling additional shares. For $200 they could “own stock” in the team. Well aware of the fact that being an owner in this instance offers no real financial stake in the team, fans proudly purchased 120,000 shares.
In 2012, the team again expanded its sale of stock, selling an additional 30,000 shares. I remember my uncle excitedly showing me his share, framed and displayed prominently in his otherwise lightly adorned living room.
The Packers are not only unique in the NFL for being a fan-owned, nonprofit team, they are the only team the NFL will allow to be. The 1960 constitution of the NFL states, in what is known as the the Green Bay Rule, that “charitable organizations and/or corporations not organized for profit and not now a member of the league may not hold membership in the National Football League.” According to a member of the Packers’ board of directors, the model in Green Bay “is truly a special, special situation.”
Admittedly, the Packers organization still functions within capitalism. Although it lacks an owner, the team otherwise engages in all the same market-based exchanges as other teams. The Packers do show, however, how one communist principle might float within a capitalist sea. Without an owner, more people overall benefit. The team benefits first to be sure. But its interest happens to be the first interest of fans like my dad as well.
Sensing and seeing exploitation
My dad’s passion for the game is undeniable. My biased view is that it is unique, even among die-hards.
Otherwise, my dad is a rather typical Wisconsinite of his generation. He was born and raised in Sheboygan, where he still lives.
He grew up in an era when higher education was not the assumed post-graduation trajectory, so he became a laborer in a toilet seat factory.
I’m proud of him for that. I’m proud, particularly, because being a laborer is hard work. I know because I worked with him for two summers in college.
What makes it hard, for starters, is that the factory line always goes at the same pace. This means that if you have energy and would like to work quickly, you can’t. If you are feeling tired, sore or sluggish, you must keep up with the brisk, mechanical pace of the line. The job takes a physical toll.
I remember getting home from work one night and sitting down to watch a movie on the couch at 7:00 p.m. I woke up the next morning, still on the couch, leaving for work in the same clothes because I didn’t have time to change. I was 18. My dad has worked there 40 years and will continue to do so until he retires at 65.
As a laborer in a family-owned factory, my dad is well aware who profits when the company does: The family who owns it. Educated entirely on biographies of the American founders and iconic presidents, he has a surprising knack for seeing exploitation and inequality. I saw this in action when he went on about the benefits of the Packers not having an owner.
Like my father, my brother-in-law has a knack for seeing exploitation in action. In a recent diatribe, he railed against the popular view that professional athletes make too much money. According to the argument, athletes make extraordinary sums of money for playing a game, for doing something children do for free. That argument concludes that athletes ought to be paid less.
But my brother-in-law sees the big picture. Despite all the money they make, professional athletes are really making money for the owners – gobs of it.
Even though professional athletes make insane salaries by comparison to my father and my brother-in-law, they make far less than the owners. And this despite the fact that the owners themselves don’t do anything except own the team.
Without using any of the vocabulary – with no reference to bourgeois and proletariat, to owners of the means of production, and even without using the term “exploitation” – my brother-in-law has rather accurately described one of Marx’s main critiques of capitalism: Labor is fundamentally exploitative. Those who create surplus value are not the ones who benefit from it.
It doesn’t take Marx, apparently, to see what’s wrong with the owner-laborer, bourgeois-proletariat relation.
Refreshing an old idea with a new word?
When I teach Marx to my students, I ask them what comes to mind when they hear the name “Marx.” One of the first words listed is “communism,” but another is “Russia” or “the Soviet Union.”
Once we’ve assembled a list of associations, we begin to investigate how they came about.
I tell them that if you go to the Museum in the Round Corner, a former German Democratic Republic government office in East Germany’s lovely Leipzig, you’ll find a photo of a rally.
In a massive stadium, thousands of citizens each hold up a unique placard. Collectively each picture forms one gigantic image that can be seen from above. Organized by the communist government, the image is a blown-up portrait of Karl Marx with the phrase “Wir ehren Marx” – “We honor Marx.”
This display is an example of how the U.S.S.R. worked to make it look like it operated on Marxist principles. But communists such as C.L.R. James did not view Russia under Stalin as a true communist government. Nor did other scholars, like Hannah Arendt, who instead characterize Stalinist Russia as totalitarianism. It’s important to remember that Marx did not advocate totalitarian government. My Dad, however, associates communism with Stalinist Russia – and thus associates it with totalitarianism.
So much the worse for Marx.
If my father could dissect the vampirism of football franchise owners, if my brother-in-law could analyze the fundamentally exploitative structure of labor without him, is the biggest source of people’s attitudes toward communism the word itself?
If “communism” is too laden with historical failures and semantic difficulties, are “socialism” or “social democracy” better alternatives?
They, too, seem to register similar anxieties in society.
Although Bernie Sanders openly adopts the monikers, “socialist” and “Democratic socialist” as a member of the Democratic Party – as do ascendant figures in the party like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – such politics continue to be maligned.
Attitudes are beginning to change. A recent Gallup poll shows that 57 percent of democratic-leaning poll-takers view socialism favorably. A deeper look at the demographics is revealing, however. Although attitudes to socialism are becoming more favorable overall, it is quite clear that the working class of my father’s generation are among the slowest to come around.
Of my father’s age group – 50 to 64 – only 30 percent viewed it favorably.
Perhaps an entirely new word needs to be coined. Hell, why not call it Packerism?
If you want a political movement to work in Wisconsin, that’s what to call it. But of course, what might be a successful rebrand in Wisconsin is not likely to be successful across the country as a whole.
So if not by calling it Packerism, how can the left renew an old idea with a new word?
Sculpture uses shards of city’s history to welcome future
By ROBERTA GEDERT
Saturday, September 8
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A blighted entryway into downtown Toledo is being transformed into a portal that celebrates the city’s history of transformation, transportation, manufacturing, and innovation.
A realignment of the Anthony Wayne Trail flowing into the Erie and Lafayette streets intersection in the Warehouse District — a major passageway into the city — will include an artistic panorama flush with greenery, wildflowers, landforms, walls, and a 45-foot tall public art sculpture scheduled to be installed in the next few weeks. The project is a collaboration between city and state transportation officials and Toledo’s arts community leaders.
Although the realignment project’s ultimate goal was to be rid of a dangerous and awkward five-legged intersection at the end of the Trail that hindered both vehicle and foot traffic, it was apparent during the design phase about six years ago that collective heads had to come together to achieve what officials wanted to be a welcoming beacon into the city’s urban core, said Dave Dysard, planning administrator for Toledo’s division of engineering services.
“The right image of the heart of the region and the aesthetic elements were an important part of it, so we partnered early on with the arts commission,” Dysard said. “How the project looked, the aesthetics, were every bit as important, perhaps more important, than how well the roadway design worked.”
One of the final pieces to be installed as part of what has been called the Gateway Project, is a steel and glass centerpiece sculpture being fabricated by Flatlanders Sculpture Supply & Art Galleries in Blissfield, Mich. It is expected dedicated during a public ceremony onsite Oct. 18.
The artistic portion of the project cost about $628,000, including design and administrative costs, and was budgeted from the city’s 1 Percent for Art program. The entire infrastructure project’s price tag was $7.7 million and was funded by local capital improvement funds and a $5.7 million federal transportation grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Dysard said.
The concept for the space was developed by the architectural duo of Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan with Haddad/Drugan, whose Seattle firm was commissioned by the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo to put together a design concept for the gateway. Haddad/Drugan was chosen from more than 130 artists who submitted proposals from all over the world, said Marc Folk, Arts Commission director.
The pair’s concept highlights the history of transportation along the Trail, from canals that made up the Miami & Erie Canal in the 19th Century, to the railroad lines that replaced the waterways in the early 20th Century before highway travel became king, and the rail lines were abandoned and the Trail constructed.
The duo, who started work on the Gateway in 2015, traveled frequently to Toledo to research and meet with neighborhood leaders before developing the design.
“We were really struck, and fascinated, by this rich layering of history that Toledo has with the themes we ended up picking up in the artwork — the industry, the design, the invention, innovation,” Drugan said.
The project’s design is derived from Toledo’s history as a main manufacturer of the bicycle wheel and its pinwheel spoke and the cut-glass patterns in pieces created by Libbey Glass, including 12 concrete “spokes” topped with old steel rail lines that radiate out in varying degrees from the sculpture.
The twisting motion of the design’s pieces create a spatial experience for the driver or pedestrian, who will experience peaks and valleys of landform as they move past different sections of the Gateway, eventually transitioning their trajectory upward with the sculpture, Haddad said.
“The rails are slanting so they have a sense of motion that points to the sculpture in the center,” she said. “So you go from this horizontal experience into a vertical experience of twisting and spinning.”
The sculpture will sit atop a 5-foot high concrete wall indicative of the canal walls of yesteryear, designed with a cut-glass pattern. Considered a continuum of the deconstructed wheel spokes in the landscape, 12 stainless or carbon steel tubes will rise diagonally 20 feet into the air and will be topped with stainless steel tubes shaped into a flame.
More than 60 glass pieces cast by local glass artist Jack Schmidt of Schmidt Messenger Studios in tones of amber, orange, and brilliant red will be placed at the end of each tube. The pieces, in the shapes of Toledo Scales, glass bottles, spark plugs, and Jeeps, further narrate Toledo’s history.
“We have not only this great identity in glass through glass manufacturing, and glass art, but you have a manufacturing identity in when we make components for things — our Libbey bottles, our Champion spark plugs, our Toledo Scales, the Jeep, and the innovation that came from the Libbey cut-glass bowl,” Folk said. “And then you have this opportunity to reclaim this entry point, and you have the opportunity to start to celebrate these histories as we use this site and the artwork as a way to serve as a welcoming beacon, a gateway to a revitalized urban core.”
The sculpture will include a lighting system to illuminate the pieces.
A final component of the project will be the landscaping, which will include wildflowers, swaths of trees, prairie grasses, perennials and flowering bulbs, and a butterfly garden. The parkland area will include walking paths, a seating wall, and a crushed-glass aggregate at the base of the sculpture.
“You can walk up into the sculpture and that glass aggregate is going to radiate from red to yellow to match the glass colors of the ornaments and to complement the plantings,” said Nathan Mattimoe, art in public places coordinator for the Arts Commission.
The infrastructure portion of the project includes crosswalks on all four legs of the intersection that will allow pedestrians easier access to a thriving downtown neighborhood.
“You can now walk across the street right into the heart of the Warehouse District and Saint Clair Street, so tremendous, tremendous improvement for the Warehouse District and the ability of pedestrians to get across the street there,” Dysard said.
Folk said the project plays off similar projects in the Glass City in which the arts community and civic leaders work in concert to elevate an infrastructure project to an artistic endeavor, including the programmable lighting system Bowling Green-based artist Erwin Redl is designing for installation on the Anthony Wayne Bridge in 2019, a project being done in conjunction with physical improvements to the suspension bridge.
“We have been able to engage regional, national, international creative talent in shaping the landscape of our city in places where we could have simply paved a road,” Folk said.
Ohio misses Sept. 8 deadline for medical marijuana program
By JULIE CARR SMYTH
Sunday, September 9
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — While Ohio blew past the deadline Saturday for rolling out its medical marijuana program, the pot industry is confident greener days are coming soon.
It’s not uncommon for states’ marijuana programs to be delayed, sometimes for years, by legal, regulatory or logistical snags, said Tom Rosenberger, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association of Ohio.
“When you think about it, you’re starting the most regulated industry the state probably has from scratch,” he said. “So getting that right takes a little bit of time.”
Licensees will combine to invest more than $100 million in Ohio even before sales have begun, Rosenberger said.
The three offices that share responsibility for Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program — the Commerce Department and the state medical and pharmacy boards — say Ohio’s two-year implementation schedule was aggressive.
They emphasized the progress that’s been made, including certifying about 250 doctors and provisionally licensing 26 large and small growers, four testing labs, 40 processors, and 56 dispensaries.
The state patient registry also is ready to go live when the time is right, said Tess Pollock, a spokeswoman for the state Medical Board.
Ohio native Jill Lamoureux, whose company Pure OH LLC has received a provisional small grower license, lives in Colorado and has been involved in the medical marijuana business since 2009. She said delays are to be expected.
“Ohio has done a good job,” she said.
Mel Kurtz, the owner of Grow Ohio Pharmaceuticals LLC, a large cultivator in central Ohio’s Muskingum County, also has had a positive experience. His facility was scheduled to be inspected this past week and he expects to have marijuana available for processing as soon as December.
“As with any new venture, you have a substantial learning curve,” Kurtz said. “I think (Commerce) wanted to get it right. Measure three times and cut once.”
Still, some are frustrated. Parents of children with epilepsy, veterans with PTSD and other prospective medical marijuana patients have watched in frustration as neighboring Pennsylvania has gotten ahead of Ohio on implementation, said Rob Ryan of the Ohio Patient Network.
“It will happen; that’s a given,” he said. “But I think the initial reluctance has had quite a retarding effect on the whole program.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, signed his state’s bill 51 days before Ohio’s — at a public ceremony with hundreds of advocates present. Medical marijuana was available to patients this February, about 22 months later.
Ohio Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko, a Cleveland Democrat who co-sponsored the medical marijuana bill, said there’s no excuse for patients not having access to product.
He said he entered the debate holding stereotypes about marijuana that he believes continue to play a role in the fits and starts Ohio’s medical cannabis program has experienced. He said some state policymakers still argue marijuana has no medicinal value.
“People don’t want to believe it, because they have that perception in their mind the jokes with Cheech and Chong and Willie Nelson and George Carlin,” he said. “And the fact of the matter is that’s not true anymore.”
No two states are the same, said Jacqueline Williams, Ohio Commerce Department director.
“I feel very confident with the direction that we’ve gone,” she said. “Has everything always worked smoothly and has it been perfect? No. But it’s been a good process, it’s been a thorough process, it’s been unbiased.”
Republican Gov. John Kasich signed Ohio’s medical marijuana law in 2016 — but in private and without comment. One of his first acts afterward was to appoint a leading opponent of legalization to the advisory committee.
“Here’s the problem,” he told the Rubin Report in March. “You can’t tell kids don’t do drugs but, by the way, this drug’s okay. So it’s a problem.”
Williams said she takes “very, very seriously” her connection to the Kasich administration, but the governor’s personal beliefs have not influenced how her department proceeded to build Ohio’s fledgling marijuana industry.
Kasich spokesman Jon Keeling rejected the premise Ohio has missed any deadline.
“The law required a regulatory system to be up and running by Sept. 8th. We have more than met that deadline,” he said.
AP Reporter Mark Gillispie in Cleveland contributed to this report.
Patrol plans OVI sobriety checkpoint this week
Ohio State Highway Patrol
September 10, 2018
COLUMBUS – The Ohio State Highway Patrol announced today that troopers will operate an OVI checkpoint to deter and intercept impaired driver this week.
The county where the checkpoint will take place will be announced the day prior to the checkpoint, and the location will be announced the morning of the checkpoint.
If you plan to consume alcohol, designate a driver or make other travel arrangements before you drink. Don’t let another life be lost for the senseless and selfish act of getting behind the wheel impaired.
Operational support for the sobriety checkpoint will be provided by local law enforcement agencies.