Magic the Gathering and the Sunk Cost Fallacy

Recently, I got to enjoy a couple weeks as a pseudo-bachelor while my wife and kids were in Japan visiting relatives (I caught up with them later, but that’s another story), and decided to spend a bunch of time at my local game shop.  With the release of the M20 set for Magic the Gathering,Continue reading “Magic the Gathering and the Sunk Cost Fallacy”

Gauls in the Roman Senate: A Cautionary Tale

Recently, I was reminded of an anecdotal tale from the early Roman Empire about the introduction of Gauls to the Roman Senate.  The anecdote is also frequently alluded to in Professor Mary Beard’s excellent overview of Roman History titled SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome. In 48 CE, Emperor Claudius was trying to convince theContinue reading “Gauls in the Roman Senate: A Cautionary Tale”

Liberals and Conservatives: Roman Style!

While enjoying the awesome Youtube series Historia Civilis and its coverage of the last days of the Roman Republic, I picked up a terrific book on the history of Rome, its politics and how people lived.  I’ve been fascinated by the political and social struggles of the Roman Republic because there are interesting parallels toContinue reading “Liberals and Conservatives: Roman Style!”

Stop Memorizing Kanji and Learn Through Convergence

From time to time, I meet other folks who, like me, are interested in Japanese culture and language.  I have been studying it more or less since I married my wife, but more seriously about 10 years ago when I was focused on passing the JLPT exams, and through it all I’ve made a lotContinue reading “Stop Memorizing Kanji and Learn Through Convergence”

Practicing Buddhism As You Are

If you’re new to Buddhism, or if like me, you’ve studied it for a long time, you may be inclined to compare yourself to other Buddhists, either living or dead. Buddhism is not a passive religion1. Buddhists don’t sit around hoping to be saved, they are encouraged to apply the Buddha’s teachings (i.e. “The Dharma”)Continue reading “Practicing Buddhism As You Are”

That Darn Japanese Pitch Accent

Speaking Japanese language properly can be quite tricky for a native-English speaker because of the lack of stress accent, and a vague, often overlooked pitch accent.  My wife and kids often tease me about my accent when I speak Japanese, so I have learned this hard way. Allow me to share some tips. Japanese language,Continue reading “That Darn Japanese Pitch Accent”

Keigo: the Spice of Japanese Life

No study of Japanese language would be complete without learning how keigo (敬語) works. Ostensibly, keigo is just honorific speak, but it’s also a good window into Japanese culture as well and reflects a lot of unspoken, cultural rules. Kinship Terms One cultural/linguistic rule is how you address your own kin versus another person’s kin.Continue reading “Keigo: the Spice of Japanese Life”

Buddhist Sophistry

In the famous Chinese-Buddhist treatise, Mind Seal of the Buddhas (linked here and here), written in the 17th Century by a monk named Ouyi is the following quotation: The Pure Land [Buddhist] teaching is profound and wondrous. It destroys all sophistry and cuts off all delusive views….Those of worldly intelligence, the followers of Confucianism andContinue reading “Buddhist Sophistry”

What’s Your Alignment?

Dungeons and Dragons, in its 40-year history, has many things it is famous for and many influential mechanics. One of the most memorable is alignment. Characters are defined in part by their moral outlook and are inclined certain actions as a result. There are many interpretations of how alignment works and how strictly one shouldContinue reading “What’s Your Alignment?”

What’s up with Barkskin in D&D?

Barkskin is a spell in Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition, which my Elf Nature cleric automatically gets, and every time I look up this spell I kind of scratch my head.  The current online text states: You touch a willing creature. Until the spell ends, the target’s skin has a rough, bark-like appearance, and theContinue reading “What’s up with Barkskin in D&D?”