Monkey behaviors noted in Japanese youth

I found this interesting article about Japanese youth and their mobile-phone behavior prompting monkey-like behavior patterns. It is very interesting to notice how technology is changing social structures. I doubt this is an isolated event, as the technocentric Asian countries are usually good harbingers of things to come to the rest of the world.

Mobile phones making a monkey out of Japanese

Going bananas over mobile phones for so many years is turning Japanese into monkeys, according to Sapio (11/23).

Nobuo Masataka, a professor at the Kyoto University Primate Research Institute and author of the monster best seller “Keitai wo Motta Saru (Monkeys With Mobile Phones),” argues that the proliferation of mobile phones has got young Japanese making monkeys of themselves, aping the behavior patterns of chimpanzees.

He says that young Japanese have lost the ability to discern between public and private space. He adds that they have formed what he calls the dearuki-zoku (out and about tribe).

“There’s been a dramatic increase in the dearuki-zoku. They don’t eat meals at home with family members and you can clearly see with your own eyes the large increase in young people who hang about on the streets together with the same old friends,” Masataka tells Sapio. “They make places like Shibuya their territory and rarely head even to places like (nearby entertainment and shopping districts) Shinjuku or Harajuku. They get tired going to new places or meeting new people. If they get hungry while they’re strolling around, they simply get food by going into a convenience store, buying something and sitting down outside on the curb to eat it. If not that, then they just hang around for hours in fast food joints.”

The primate specialist says the actions of the dearuki-zoku closely resemble behavior patterns in chimpanzees, which tend to travel in groups, walking around for a long time without going to any specific place, then eating and disposing of their wastes in the same place before bedding down on piles of grass whenever and wherever the inclination takes them.

“This ability to loiter on the streets exists only because of the proliferation of mobile phones. Parents let their kids go out because they think they’re only a phone call away. And even if the kid doesn’t come home, parents don’t call them because they believe the child’s mobile phone offers them an unbreakable link,” Masataka tells Sapio. “Behind this imagined ease of mind, though, lies a breakdown in communications among the family members. Mobile phones have made it possible to connect to family members or other parts of society 24 hours a day, drastically changing the nature of relationships that humans have created through their evolution.”

The problem is, Masataka notes, despite having this communication device, there’s little real communication going on with parents or children rarely calling each other.

Masataka adds that a tendency for the young to lash out in wild, unprovoked attacks also draws on primate instincts drawn out by over-use of mobile phones that have stopped people from speaking in favor of sending text messages and thus made them more emotional and unable to express their feelings in words.

“Apes will suddenly strike out at people for looking at them. Naturally, apes can’t talk and they’re expressing their emotions in the only way they can. People prone to rage are doing exactly the same thing,” the primatologist says.

Masataka claims that mobile phones have deprived people of brainpower because memory functions now eliminate the need to try and remember phone numbers and GPS functions mean people have no need to learn about their surroundings.

“Mobile phones are now performing tasks that minds once did, such as think and talk. If this continues, people will continue losing their ability to think. Information Technology may have liberated us from a whole series of daily burdens, but IT has also dragged us down. Incidentally, the only people so caught up with mobile phones and use them to send so much mail are the Japanese,” Masataka tells Sapio. “Some may criticize me for likening the behavior of humans with monkeys, but having studied primates for so long, I can clearly say that it’s a fact the proliferation of IT has made human behavior closely resemble that of apes.” (By Ryann Connell)

Peanut Butter & Jelly Monster auction

Monty bought a monster from under a kid’s bed for $560.

The monster was terrorizing this little girl, growling, and eating her toys at night. The mom developed an elaborate plan to capture the monster, which involved putting a peanut butter & jelly sandwich inside a ziplock and putting it under her bed. She then caught the monster by wrapping in the pictured blanket and then selling it on eBay. It is accompanied by the little girl’s drawing of the monster.

Harris Managment Sucks

I pulled into my favorite Starbucks today at 24th and Guadeloupe and a particularly gruff-looking tow truck guy said I would be towed today if I stayed more than an hour. I told him that I normally came for 3-4 hours and just sat inside with my laptop drinking coffee. He didn’t care and referred me to Harris Management.

So, like Hans Blix, I wrote them an angrily worded letter, telling them how I would take my business elsewhere. I gave them rational arguments and then ended my letter with:

I know Harris Management will still be profitable and so will Starbucks, but screw you guys for inconveniencing my life.

Halloween Beat Down!

I got a new Stormtrooper outfit for Halloween and it was quite the ensemble. It even had an air-conditioned helmet and a speaker/amplifier for my voice. It was totally overkill and really freaked out all the neighborhood kids. After a mile of walking, I quickly learned the flaw in the design of the Stormtrooper codpiece.

I had to go to this party at the top of the hill, and all the kids immediately surrounded me and started beating on me with swords and candy bags. Their parents didn’t even try to control them. I turned up the amplifier and kept yelling, “Die Rebel Scum! Isn’t it time for your naps!” in a thick James Earl Jones voice. It didn’t work at all and they just kept coming at me like soccer hooligans.

Chinese Pop Star – Zhong Xuan

Right before I left the Isle of Man today, I was getting some food and I saw this interestin’-lookin’ Chinese girl surrounded by two bodyguardin’-lookin’ guys. I went over to her after we both finished eating and I asked her why she was the only Asian on the Isle of Man. She said she was there for publicity purposes, promoting her new CD. I told her I know about as much about Chinese pop music as I do Chinese anything else, but I was sure she must be famous if she had bodyguards. She was super cool and spoke English perfectly. She took down my name and said she was going to send one of her music CDs. I told her she was full of lies like all the other Chinese. Then we had a good laugh and high-fived. Just kidding about that last part…

Okay – getting on the plane to get back for the Austin Game Conference!

Thinking about my infection

So this morning I figured out that I actually caught something when I was in Costa Rica – I am pretty sure I was bit by something in the rainforest. There was a time I was reaching for some stupid butterfly and I fell down a smallish but lush hill, doing a faceplant in a weird pile of creepy-crawlies. I had two bumps on the left side of my face for about five days, which have now quickly spread. For some reason, I thought itching them would make them go away, because that is usually a good plan with this sort of thing. When I woke up this morning, they had spread all over my face. I don’t know if you can quite see from this picture, but it is getting a little perilous.

Later, I would go to the chemist at London Gatwick and he set me up with some sketchy advice and sketchier pills. We will see if they work.

Finally found coffee AND internet on the Isle of Man

After a bit of time here, I finally found a good place to get coffee and wireless internet access at the same time. Where else is a guy supposed to get any work done?

I ordered some tapas and got some seabass. It came served inside this clamshell, which I thought was kinda cool, although probably incredibly confusing to the clam.

Closed by Government

I saw a sign that said this in front of a store window in a popular area. I can’t figure out if they made this sign to incite ill-will towards the government or if the government requires this sign of its own ability to instill ill-will.

A Stabit

Here is a picture of a Stabit. I was not familiar with whatever a Stabit was, and I was even more confused after reading the description, which I foolishly expected to give me an explanation of the Stabit. Look for yourself… It is vexing!

(Stuck in Customs does not have a picture with this exact name.)

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