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January 5, 2011 / The Promiscuous Reader

He’s big in Japan

In addition to my day job, I also teach English online to Japanese adults in the mornings and evenings.  This morning, one of my students told me about a TV show that she was looking forward to watching that weekend called Justice with Michael Sandel.  She told me that he is a professor at Harvard and the program is essentially his lectures from a class on justice.  Apparently, she said, the show is big in Japan.  She was very serious and said that this show was sort of essential water cooler conversation and that a lot of people watched and discussed the show.  That got me interested.

So while we were still talking I googled Michael Sandel, found his website and then quickly scanned through his Wikipedia entry.  She asked if the show was popular here in the U.S. and I said that I didn’t think so–it wasn’t really the kind of thing that large groups of the population here would watch.  Then she had to laugh, because the show was marketed in Japan as being big in the States.

Later in the day, I watched the first episode , which covered “The Moral Side of Murder and Cannibalism”.  I was instantly hooked.  He has a great style at the lectern and really engages you with his questions and answers.  It’s a well-crafted lesson to be sure, incorporating humor into the process of delving deeper into the topic at hand.  Although I enjoyed pondering his various hypothetical questions about murder and cannibalism in the second half of the show, I couldn’t help thinking that moral ponderings are not at the top of anyone’s to do list when their own or their loved one’s survival is at stake.  I’ll keep watching, maybe he covers that in future episodes.


One Comment

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  1. promiscuousreader / Nov 20 2011 8:58 am

    Well, I’m glad I posted this! I haven’t watched another episode since then. I’ll have to revisit it over the long weekend. One more thing on my to do list!

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