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Maxilla, malocclusion and tongue posture

This blog is about the maxilla, malocclusion and tongue posture. I have to start with a disclaimer: I am by no means an expert or professional on the subject of teeth and dental hygiene. So the sources that I read could be questionable, but they made sense to me, so I am willing to try some of the tips I have read.



I suffer from a bit of malocclusion and I’ve suffered from that a long time now. Malocclusion is the state in which the teeth of the jaws don’t properly allign, which causes tension on the chewing muscles and may even lead to migraine and feelings of being exhausted (because you’re adjusting and pressing all the time).
One of the causes in my case is that I used to be a thumb sucker when I was little. Sucking on your thumb potentially messes up your tongue posture, which can lead to a narrow palate, which in turn can lead to malocclusion. A narrow palate also might influences your posture. From what I’ve understood, since it causes difficulty breathing people who have a narrow palate tend to tilt their heads a bit up in order to ease breathing. I have done that and it weakened my shoulder posture and my abdominal muscles. In a lot of people, mouth breathing seems to be the consequence of having a narrow pallate as well.

Mouth breathing

One of the disadvantages of having a narrow palate is that something just looks off. You will have to put effort into closing your mouth and there is a lot of tension on the chin and jaw muscles that shouldn’t be there. It can also result in a long face syndrome, which means that the maxilla (the upper jaw bone) has grown downwards too much, instead of slightly protruding.


On the above picture, you see the pictures of two sisters. As the story goes, they were told by their dentist a couple of years before these pictures were taken to stop breathing through their mouths and to start breathing through their noses instead. Also, he taught them a better way to swallow. A few years later, pictures (see the image above) were taken of the two sisters. The sister on the left had followed the advice of the dentist while the sister on the right was complacent about following the advice. The maxila of the sister on the right seems to have grown vertically a bit out of proportion. She has to tense her chin muscles and really make an effort to close her mouth. It doesn’t look comfortable, pretty or good at all. I feel for her, because I share her problem. Through trial and error, I would like to find a solution to this problem.


Tongue position

As professor John Mew tells us in this video our prehistoric ancestors used to have a different stance of the tongue than most of us have to day. Their tongues used to touch the palate of their mouths. I have allready tried this. What I’ve noticed so far:

  • immediate change in posture. Automatically, my shoulders are naturally set aback a bit.
  • more pressure on my abdominal muscles. That is a good thing I think, since the physiotherapist used to say that my posture was bad, because I didn’t put enough pressure on my abdominal muscles
  • more extending and moving of the diaphragm and ribs while breathing and the feeling as if more air flows into my lungs. While when mouth breathing, belly breathing is also easier.
  • difficulty breathing through my nose. I guess I am a mouth breather after all.  It feels my sinuses are not completely open. Would that be a potential cause of starting to become a mouth breather? This is uncomfortable, but I won’t give up.

Through a tongue position in which my tongue rests on the palate of my mouth, I hope to get a little bit broader upper palate. This will hopefully resolve some of the issues I have with my jaws.





Muse is a band that I really like. I like the combination of sounds that I often hear when listening to a Muse song. There usually are a lot of layers in their songs that cause their distinctive sound. If I had only one word to describe Muse with, it would be “epic”

Muse, img src:

Short biography

Muse consists of three members: singer Matt Bellamy, bass guitar and backing vocalist Chris Wolstenholme and drummer and percussionist Dominic Howard. Since the early 90s they have been active. In 2001 their album Origin of Symmetry came out. It got very good critics, because it was a unusually original and catchy record. They had recorded all kinds of sounds to create music. Matt Bellamy showed that he had a very wide vocal range on songs like Bliss and New Born.






me playing New Born by Muse

On their third album Absolution Muse recorded a versatile record with lyrical songs and hard rock. One of my favourite songs is Hysteria. I also like the video, in which actor Justin Theroux stars in a story that is based on the hotel-trashing scene from the movie Pink Floyd – The Wall.

In other songs of this album, complete orchestras can be heard. Muse remains a band that combines melodic music with electronic.

Over the years, other albums by Muse came out. Like Black Holes and Revelations with the hit single Super Massive Black Hole and Knights of Cydonia. In 2009, their album The Resistance came out and it was the first album they had produced by themselves. Uprising is a song of The Resistance that was inspired by the protests against the G20 (source: It embodies the yearning for being free and to be no longer controlled.

Muse on stage, img src:
Muse on stage, img src:


Drones came out in 2014. This album contains the song Psycho, which contains very heavy, raw guitar riffs. I hope Muse will be making new albums in the future, because their music is always interesting and often contains deeper meaning.


Day 6 Nagoya – Kimono, Atsuta Jingu, hot pot and dango

About Kimono, Atsuta Jingu and other Jingus and nabe (hot pot)

In Japan you can find Buddhist temples, called o’tera(お寺). And often, at the same terrain, you can find jinja (神社), or Shinto shrines. The three largest Shinto shrines of Japan are called jingu (神宮 ). Jingu are the most important Shinto shrines of Japan (What is Shinto? I will write a blog about that later on) and are connected to the Japanese Imperial Family. During this trip to Japan, I visited 3 of them, namely Meiji Jingu, Atsuta Jingu and Ise Jingu.

On day 6 of my trip, Azusa’s aunt dressed us up in kimono. I wore a pink one and Azusa wore a purple one. I am fond of the esthetics of kimono and I really liked those kimono. We wore spring kimono with a warm scarf. We also had kimono coats, but you can’t see them in the pictures. With the right hairdo, we were ready to go to Atsuta Jingu. This Shinto shrine is located in the same place where Azusa lives (Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture).

Azusa’s sister and her children went along with us. We walked around in kimono and we took a lot of pictures.

Azusa and Natasja closeup kimono Atsuta Jingu
Azusa and Natasja closeup kimono Atsuta Jingu

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Japan 2016 – Tokyo 4, Nagoya 1 – Lunch, Shinkansen, unwrapping presents

Meeting my friend’s family in Nagoya

On this cold day, Azusa and me traveled from Tokyo to Nagoya. In terms of inhabitants, Nagoya is the 4th city of Japan (about 3 million inhabitants). But before we got onto the Shinkansen (Bullet train, one of the fastest trains in the world), we went to Tokyo Station. Because Azusa had an appointment to meet her friends who she met in India near Tokyo station. So we had a wonderful lunch and I got to meet her nice friends. They were Japanese, but all internationally oriented and they had lived in differen places around the world. It was interesting and fun to meet them.

Japanese lunch near Tokyo Station (Japan)
Japanese lunch near Tokyo Station (Japan)

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Japan 2016 – Tokyo 2 – Akihabara, Harajuku and Teishoku

Tourist hotspots?

Today, me and my friend went to Akihabara and Shinjuku for a shopping spree. Shopping is a large part of Tokyo’s entertainment and of the “Tokyo Experience”, so it’s a pleasure, not even a guilty pleasure. Even if shopping is an activity that I only like in moderation, shopping in Tokyo can be an exciting experience.  After I woke up (which was a bit late due to the fact that I’m jetlagging like crazy -> is that a verb? No? Well then now it is ^^), we went on our way to the metro station. It was a very cold day today. Three layers of clothes and a coat still wouldn’t keep us warm.

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Japan 2016 – Tokyo 1

Sentimental feelings in the big city of Tokyo

Super nice flight

Today (or actually yesterday, because there is quite a big time difference between Japan and Western Europe), I went to Japan by plane. My dad brought me to the airport and I got on the biggest plane I have ever been on: the KLM jumbo jet (747-400). Another time when I went to Japan, the airplane shook and trembled in the sky the whole time. Not this time. This airplane was so big and I sat next to the left wing, that luckily I hardly even noticed any turbulence. You can see a picture of my view from the plane when you scroll all the way down this blog ^^.
In Tokyo, my friend Azusa came to pick me up at Narita airport, Tokyo. I hadn’t seen her in quite a while irl, although we regularly speak on Skype. We had a lot of catching up to do! We took the train and the metro to Tokyo to our hostel Japan Palace.

City Hall

After that I thought I wasn’t tired. But I slep and I slept and then Azusa said: we have to go to the Sky Tree! She was right. So off, we went. We ate lovely soba near the Sky Tree (Azusa treated me on it, lucky me!). And then we walked towards the Sky Tree.
The Sky Tree is the biggest building in Japan. I will put pictures of it on this blog as soon as I get home (Because I took them on a camera and therefore I can’t put them on my laptop just yet). It was a impressive sight. Later on, we went to the City Hall in Shinjuku where we looked out over Tokyo. For free (going into the Sky Tree is very expensive).

Skyline city hall Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
Skyline city hall Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, captured tonight by me.

Later on, we went back to the hostel. We came across a super market where we bought breakfast for the following day. I saw Nijntje (I’m not going to call her “Miffy”, cause that’s not her real name) everywhere! It was nice to see something Dutch being so popular here.

Nijntje on cup noodles in Tokyo, Japan
Nijntje on cup noodles in Tokyo, Japan

After that, we went back to the hostel, where I gave Azusa a presents from me and my mother. She was happy with the presents and that made me happy :).

Azusa unwrapping her gifts
Azusa unwrapping her gifts

Memory at the Sky Tree

However, the most important thing that I saw today was this little porch in front of the Sky Tree. It was also in front of a simple apartment complex and next to a vending machine. A while ago, I sat there with my friend Bas and my then boyfriend in the evening on a hot summer day. We were watching the Sky Tree that was under construction back then. Suddenly, a light behind us went on. I looked back and I thought we were going to get scolded by the owners of the condos. However, a young Japanese guy came out the door opening. He said: “Come!”

We followed him. We went to a vending machine and he bought us all ice cream. After that, we ate it at the porch while we were watching the Sky Tree. He told me that he was a construction worker and he worked at the Sky Tree Project. Then he went inside. We looked at eachother and thought: “What a nice guy.”  He came back and he wouldn’t stop spoiling us. He gave us fireworks and he gave us a bottle of his best sake (we knew this sake was great, because later on we went into a supermarket and the shop owner was impressed by the sake). This was an absolute “flow experience” as Bas would call it.

Sweet N’ Bitter Tears

I saw the same spot as where I happily sat with my friends at that time. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Everything around the Sky Tree had changed. But that was still the same. We had to cross a park and a bridge to get there. But there it was, that porch and that vending machine with ice cream for sale (Azusa made some pictures of me, sitting at that exact same spot). That’s why I knew it had been that exact same spot. I felt natsukashii (sentimental/ feelings of missing something dearly). It was one of my best experiences in Japan ever. We swore that we would go back there when the Sky Tree would be completed. This never happened. Some things are not meant to be, no matter how hard you try. That’s how life goes. Life is beautiful, but it’s also full of sweet n’ bitter tears.

View from KLM's Jumbo Jet (Boeing 747-400) going from Amsterdam to Tokyo, Japan
View from KLM’s Jumbo Jet (Boeing 747-400) going from Amsterdam to Tokyo, Japan
My room in Tokyo (Japan Palace Hotel, which actually is a youth hostel).
My room in Tokyo (Japan Palace Hotel, which actually is a youth hostel). It’s so tiny! But it has got everything that I need, such as  a Western style bed, a flat screen tv, a refrigirator (!) and temperature control.

What is a generalist?

Being a generalist; the good and the bad

If you’re living in a first world country, chances are that you are surrounded by people who are really good at something or are working towards become really good at a certain subject. They are called Specialists. On the other hand, there is a much smaller group of people that has different interests and tries to specialize in various topics. These people are called Generalists. I have to confess that I am not completely comfortable with pigeonholing people into groups. Therefor I’ll state that the Generalist – Specialist is usually more of a spectrum than a binary. There nearly aren’t any people who live for one craft alone or who collect information about 10.000 subjects. But a lot of people tend to lean closer to the Generalist’s – or to the Specialist’s side. For reasons of clarity, this article will sketch hypothential situations and at times exaggerate the dichotomy between Generalists and Specialists (and “Generalist” and “Specialist” are written with capital letters, while that is not common practice).

So many people, so many hearts (and brains)
So many people, so many hearts (and brains)


Specialist advantage

One of the reasons that our society is as advanced as it is, is the tendency of people to specialize in a subject. Their knowledge about the subject increases every day, because Specialists are working on the subject of their liking every day.

Being a specialist can lead you to the path of success.

Physicits will be theorizing and experimenting, surgeons will operating their patients and pianists will be learning about music theory and practice their fine motor skills. By doing these things day in, day out, their craft improves. Or take for example people who are members of -and specialized in- a certain subculture. The knowledge they gain about their style of dress, music to listen and “culture appropriate” interests refines their subculture. We see that Specialists have the ability to generate progress in a certain field, whether it’s the sciences, or a cultural subject. Seeing the advantages of Specialists and their contribution to society, what do we need Generalists for then exactly?

Good stuff about the Generalist

On the internet, there is a lot to be found about what generalists are allready. I see different definitions. The standard Google definition of the Generalist is:


Generalist definition by Google
Generalist definition by Google

But on other websites, I come across a different meaning, namely that Generalists are “Jack of all trades, master of none”. This implies that the generalist can’t do anything right. I think this definition is a bit derogatory and doesn’t seem to take generalists seriously (see Jack the Jester).

"Hi, my name is Jack the Jester and I can juggle, dance, tell jokes, play the ukelele and trip over my own feet."
“Hi, my name is Jack the Jester and I can juggle, dance, tell jokes, play the ukelele and trip over my own feet.”

So, it’s fair to say that I lean more towards the first definition; that a Generalist is someone that is being a specialist in different subjects than being this “master of none” kind of person.

Perhaps not every Generalist will gain the same level of knowledge that a specialist has in a field (But some of them will definately do!). However, there is a chance that a Generalist will gain unique knowledge about a subject and see similar principles and rules come to the surface  in different fields, making his or her knowledge invaluable.

Generalist overview

I think that a Generalist will bring unique knowledge of the table. I don’t know if this is true for every generalist, but I think that sometimes generalists can develop some kind of “bird’s eye view” of the world. Up in the sky, they can see the limits and shortcomings of the various fields they are interested in.


Foundation and principles

Example: Law and Japanese

On the other hand, Generalists are usually able to see the foundation of a field and they are often able to see certain principles resurface in various discipines. I, for example, am interested and specialized in law and Japanese. I see similarities in the Japanese language and in (Dutch) law. Both Japanese and the science of law have quite a strong framework that is dynamic at the same time. There are certain rules in both disciplines which you must follow, or you will be penalized. For example, the penalty of not following the rules in law is that you will be getting a sentence or a fine.  The penalty in not abiding the syntax of a language is that some people won’t take you seriously or they won’t understand you. However, there is a dynamic streak going on in both fields. Laws will keep on changing. Based on what the government does, on what the parliament decides and on the verdicts of judges, laws and juridsprudence will change. The laws of 2010 are different than the laws of 2015. And language is also a dynamic phenomenon. New proverbs will become part of spoken language, old words will be forgotten, words from other languages will be adopted and new advances in technology will lead to entirely new words. In summary, both fields know strict rules, that always change over time. Seeing similarities between fields will safe time understanding yet another new field of knowledge.

The generalist is like a (reversed and normal) glass prism
The generalist is like a (reversed and normal) glass prism

Figuratively speaking, some Generalists can be seen as a reversed prism. They take in a lot of colourful ideas and they beam out one ground rule. They can be seen as a normal glass prism as well. The unshattered light beam can be seen as a generalists and the rainbow beams that come out of the prism are like the various interests and specialties of the individual.


Out of the box thinking

By having knowledge of various disciplines, the possibilities are endless. Generalists are the ultimate “out of the box”-thinkers. Because of their knowledge of different fields, generalists can be a creative bunch and find solutions for certain problems. I can imagine a historian who is also a jurist being able to see the implication of the phrasing of certain laws that are being created in parliament. Or an engineer / surf dude could in his spare time create the ultimate indoor surfing experience.

Leonardo DaVinci

To me, Leonardo DaVinci is definately a role model. He was a painter, a scientist, a botanist and a sculptor among others. Combining his talent for painting with his research on the human body resulted in beautiful paintings and sculptors that we can still enjoy today.

Leonardo DaVinci
Leonardo DaVinci


We need both

In summary, I think we need both specialists and generalists in society and we should appreciate both. Specialists are going in a certain direction with their field of knowledge. They improve the field by refining their craft/ their knowledge. On the other hand, we need generalists too, because with their unique insights, they prevent tunnel vision and discover new directions to follow and new paradygms to build upon.



Tending to the “Generalist” side myself, I have written blogs about various subjects. Click here if you want to read a blog post about my band. And click here if you want to read about an article about 10 things that you really have to experience in Seoul, South Korea.







10 Things to do in Seoul, South Korea

Seoul; fashion, technology, delicious food

When you get to visit Seoul, the capital of South Korea, you might feel a bit overwhelmed. After all, it’s a city where more than 10 million people live and there is a lot going on there. Fashion, technology, delicious food, comfortable hostels, Seoul has everything! So I give you 10 sights or things you really have to do or visit when going to Seoul. In my travel blog about Seoul, I write about my experiences in Seoul. Click here to read.

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Public speaking: Mensa and teaching Japanese – Highlights of 2015 part 3

Japanese lessons

This year, I started teaching Japanese to people who were interested in learning about Japanese language and culture. It was exciting and interesting to do this. I could put a lot of creativity into my lessons. Lesson structures, new ideas, thinking of ways to explain things, making drawings and illustrations. And most of all: creating a fun and educational experience for the people attending my classes. Certainly one of the highlights of my year.

Eating sushi with my students of my Japanese class (part of class)
Eating sushi with students of my Japanese class (part of class)

Another highlight of my year flowed from this experience.

Being a Public Speaker at the Mensa October Weekend

One of my student was somebody of the Mensa branch of the Netherlands (for privacy reasons, I will not mention his or  her name). Mensa is a High IQ Society. We clicked and he or she always had interesting stories to tell. He or she told me there would be a Mensa event in October of this past year. That was the October Weekend of 2015. He or she asked me to give a lecture of 1.5 h over there. Continue Reading

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