Adam Shrimpton comments

Posted in: Wales dominant as it beats Russia 3-0 to win group at Euro 2016 See in context

A thoroughly well deserved win as well for Wales.

England deserved a couple of goals too earlier, but were unlucky. Glad to see both home nations through.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Harajuku Station to be rebuilt ahead of 2020 Tokyo Olympics See in context

This is blatant desecration.

With the exception of Tokyo station, pretty much every other station on the Yamanote line are horrible concrete monoliths or a kind of mishmash of lots of different buildings colliding into each other (Shinjuku and Shibuya, anyone?).

Harajuku station as it is, is lovely and a refreshing sight in the concrete drudgery of the rest of Tokyo. It definitely needs improving as New Year crowds for Meiji Jingu are awful enough, the Olympics will be worse. But why can't it be done whilst also preserving the facade and external structure in some way? If JR managed to do it with Tokyo Station, surely it can manage something with Harajuku?

It doesn't really need all that much done to it - passageway widening and new ticket halls at the most. Surely that can be done without the addition of the concrete breeze block in the artist's mock up. It looks like a ward office / public library. Ugly and horrible.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Most economists say Brexit will harm UK economy See in context

It's about self determination which the EU doesn't allow citizens

Yes it does.

EU Citizens get to vote for MEPs in the EU Parliament.

EU Citizens vote for the government in each member state. Each government selects a Commissioner - it is part of the democratic mandate governments are given by their voting public.

EU governments send their ministers to the Council of Ministers. Ministers are democratically elected by their people, representing their country in the Council of Ministers is no different to government ministers representing their countries at a G7 meeting.

EU Citizens can introduce legislation for the EU Parliament to vote on. They have to start it as a petition and, if the petition reaches 1 million signatures across the EU, it is voted on by the Parliament. It sounds like a lot, but 1 million is 0.2% of the EU's population or, to put it a different way, less than 40,000 signatures in each member state.

And if that's not enough to convince you otherwise, if the EU didn't allow self-determination, then how come the UK is being allowed to have a referendum on determining its membership? Surely that constitutes self-determination more than anything else.....

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Posted in: Near-record UK immigration figures fuel raging EU debate See in context

Dont be fooled by gossip and right-wing scaremongering. The government is running down public services in the UK, not East Europeans.

Spot on.

As usual, the right wing (and the press that fans their flames) will blame anything and anyone other than taking responsibility for the mistakes that we British have made ourselves.

The British people are rightly angry that infrastructure is creaking in the UK, but it is still heaven compared to some countries. If it was really as bad as people make out, why then do so many people (from both inside and outside of the EU) flock there in the hundreds of thousands?

The real reason that infrastructure is failing is because of the failure of successive governments to invest properly in the UK and allocate tax revenue proportionally, to ensure that services adequately meet the needs of the population. The anger that the British people have is misguided.

Leaving the EU is not a silver bullet that will cure all of these issues. These problems will still exist in the UK if it leaves the EU and because of the economic hit that the UK will take, the government will be in an even worse position than it is right now and even less able to actually go around fixing these problems. The worrying thing is, that by leaving we will be giving a massive thumbs up to the right wing. With Britain's problems not being magically solved by leaving the EU (and arguably, much worse), who or what will the right wing start scapegoating after that?

It's a dangerous slide downwards if we leave the EU.

If you are British and have lived overseas for less than 15 years, you really need to register to vote by post or proxy to help stop this madness from happening. As it will affect you too - there was a debate on the BBC last night in Glasgow and one of the things the Leave campaigners were arguing was that the UK would require all EU citizens (and non-EU citizens) to get a visa for even a short-term visit to the UK, which means that other countries around the world would reciprocate and require British citizens to get a visa to make a short term visit.... So if you're living in Japan, you will need to get a visa before visiting Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and many more.

It sounds mad - and it is - but they were arguing in favour of this. And these are the kinds of people who will get more political power as a result of a vote to leave!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: With Hiroshima, Obama goes where predecessors stayed away See in context

@toshiko:

Write the names of Japanese nationalist group to warn Japanese people.

I don't think writing down the names of nationalist groups will offer any help to the Japanese people, there are enough uyoku dantai out and about at weekends that most people who live in urban areas (so the majority of the Japanese population) will be aware of who they are.

Like I wrote in my original post, Japan was never a victim here. If you start a war, then you have to live with the consequences whether you win or lose. If you can't live with the consequences, then the logical conclusion should be not to start a war in the first place. I am sure that if Japan had won then the narrative would be completely different and we probably would not know about many of the atrocities carried out across Asia in the name of the Emperor.

@CrisGerSan:

Japan was following an identical path to all of the major European powers, and to point the finger at them over and over and over is just showing poor or no understanding of history.

Saying that Japan was just following in the footsteps of imperial European powers is a pretty lame excuse to be honest. Japan already expanded in 1895 and 1910 (by absorbing Taiwan and Korea respectively) and had access to treaty ports in China on the same terms as the Western powers.

Its expansion into China can't really be explained purely in terms of Japan wanting to be like a Western power. Japan had designs on China from the 16th Century when Toyotomi Hideyoshi invaded Korea as a route into China (the ultimate goal was to 'win' control of China) - those aspirations never seemed to go away and led to the militarists who came into power in the 1930s to push forward with this whilst China was weakened and fractured due to the civil war.

Because the invasion was condemned internationally, the US and Western powers placed sanctions on Japan which effectively stopped it from having access to oil and other resources, all of which were necessary to conduct its war in China. The only way Japan could access them was to invade resource-rich SE Asia, which is why it attacked the US, in order to make sure that the US did not stand in its way, as it only had enough resources (oil etc.) to do this once, there was no room for a second attempt.

There was no goal to create a Western-style empire. It was purely to allow Japan to access resources to continue its war in China. It 'justified' this, mainly to itself, by calling this controlled area the 'Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere' and used this as propaganda to try to win over local populations to help them fight against the Western powers which, at the time, controlled SE Asia as parts of their own empires. They did this to try and portray Japan as a liberator for Asians, which was never the case, it was a cynical ploy to get resources and to be brutally honest about it, the local populations suffered way more under Japanese rule than they ever did under Western rule, as the Japanese were trying to gain as many resources as possible in the shortest time possible.

So don't kid yourself into thinking that it was Japan trying to create a Western-style empire. It never was and to be quite honest, that's kind of being an apologist for the 1930s military government. It's also the line some nationalist groups take, saying that 'the Westerners did this too, so we were just copying'... It's a weak argument, pretty much along the lines of 'I was just obeying orders'.

If it was natural to copy Western powers at the time and go about on a bout of imperial conquest, why didn't Sun Yat Sen's ROC do this? It had the potential to and was industrialising before fragmenting and ending up in civil war. Or how about some of the countries that gained their independence in the 1940s and 1950s?

Every country has a right to be proud of its culture but not at the expense of ignoring or brushing over terrible things it did in the past, just because they are an inconvenient embarrassment. Germany goes to great lengths to educate its youth about the genocides committed in the name of the German people in the 1930s and 1940s and doesn't hide from the fact that they happened. Of course today's youth are not responsible for what happened, but they have a right to now and should know. Nor does it stop today's youth from being proud to be German or to be proud of their culture, why should it? You have to know about the past in order to learn from it - not bury it and hope that people will forget about it.

Japan does none of this and it should. It won't harm Japanese culture, nor will it stop people from being proud of Japanese culture. Japanese culture didn't start the war or commit the atrocities around Asia, nor did Japanese culture force the government and people of the time to enforce Kominka on Taiwan and Korea.

It would also allow Japanese people to be more understanding of why Korea and China get so upset with Japan for not facing up to its history. By not properly informing the Japanese people of why Korea and China are so upset, the Japanese government is wilfully leading to mistrust and potential hatred of people in these countries.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Why does Japanese writing need three different sets of characters? See in context

Korea seems to be OK with hangul (equivalent of hiragana?) only.

Kind of. Hanja are still used sometimes for names of things and certainly for legal terms, but have fallen out of more general widespread usage since the 1980s.

Katakana is widely used for purposes other than indicating foreign words and names.

Exactly.

It's still used a lot (not always) on till receipts in shops, supermarkets, restaurants and bars where they give an itemised list of purchases. So each word (even if it's a Japanese word) is written in katakana.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: With Hiroshima, Obama goes where predecessors stayed away See in context

With Hiroshima, Obama goes where predecessors stayed away

Good for him.

Nationalists put forward the idea that the atomic bombs “evened out” Nazi-allied Japan’s wartime atrocities, he said.

So a couple of hundred thousand dead from atomic bombs is somehow equal to a number of aggressive invasions and millions of deaths, caused by the Japanese is it? Whilst every life is priceless, the dropping of the bombs caused Stalin to halt his planned invasion of Hokkaido, which was about to go ahead, and doubtless would have caused Japan to be partitioned like Korea is today.

I think it's disgusting that Japanese nationalists are putting forward the notion that Japan was a victim here in light of this. Do they honestly think that the alternative would have been better? That is, having Japan split like Korea and having many Japanese suffer under what would have been an oppressive regime like North Korea with famines and all the associated madness?

Not to mention the fact that Japan killed millions of people in China, brutally oppressed occupied areas and tried to eradicate national cultures in Korea and Taiwan through Kokuminka. I think the fact that, no matter how awful nuclear weapons are, these weapons were used to bring about an end to the suffering that people were enduring at the hands of the Japanese, not to mention the suffering of normal people in Japan is enough on its own to justify the use of the bombs. Added to the fact that it stopped a Soviet invasion and a partition of Japan, then the necessity of their use is beyond reasonable question.

Japan was never a victim here. It started all the hostilities in Asia by invading China and then lashing out at the US and SE Asia. It treated people in the occupied areas brutally, not other countries. People may argue that it was the government of the day that did this, but rank and file soldiers sent all over Asia wilfully committed these heinous acts and the people at home rolled over and allowed this to be done in their name (and the Emperor's name). At a human level, people must know when they are doing wrong and there was nothing to stop the people from rising up against the government to stop it or from soldiers not being so sadistic in occupied territories. And at the same time, the government and its representatives should have known better than to try to force people in Korea and Taiwan to lose their identities.

Of course this is not the fault of people alive today, so sometimes I think that Korea and China should tone down what they demand of the Japanese government. However, the Japanese government's continued efforts to whitewash what happened and to try to dress Japan up as a victim here does not do the people alive today any favours. We live in a very connected world and people are able to access information from anywhere in the world - so the Japanese public today has absolutely no excuse for not knowing what horrors were committed all over Asia. It is time that Japan manned-up a little bit and stopped trying to play the part of being a victim of its own crimes. If it did man up, we may finally actually see Asia moving forward, which is a good thing for everyone.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Posted in: Why does Japanese writing need three different sets of characters? See in context

Not sure if saying hiragana splits a sentence or ideas up is really a strong argument for using hiragana. For example, a bunch of nouns describing something / somewhere / someone don't have any hiragana 'fillers' to split it up. For example in a job title, you would write something like 阿部産業営業部長 (Abe Sangyo Eigyo Bucho - Sales Department Head, Abe Industries) and for an address you would write 東京都新宿区新宿3−1−12(3-1-12 Shinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo). No hiragana 'fillers' there.

Also hiragana isn't used in Chinese - it's just kanji (hanzi) and no verb conjugations like in Japanese. So if you want to write 'I don't know' in Japanese you write (私は)知りません/知らない - (watashi ha) shirimasen / shiranai where the hiragana mixes it up. But in Chinese it's just 我不知道 (wǒ bù zhī dào) and just like Japanese, all words are written without spaces.

I think it's more to do with the fact that kanji have multiple readings in Japanese and verb endings / adjective endings etc. vary according to tense and the part of a sentence that it is. If they were just written with kanji, it would be very difficult to know just what reading they had, whereas Chinese doesn't have this problem (characters typically have only one or two readings) - imagine being able to read 知 as 'shiru', 'shirimasu', 'shiranai', 'shirimashita', 'shitta', 'shitte', 'shiri', 'chi' and others depending on conjunction and more..... In Chinese it's just 'zhī'.

So actually hiragana is a clever way of being able to write Japanese, allowing for Japanese grammar and the way words work, whilst retaining use of kanji to give a clear meaning of what words actually mean when written down. It's actually a very logical way of doing things - but hiragana is NOT a filler to break sentences up!!!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: The EU: In or out - what Japanese firms think about Brexit See in context

The UK is Germany's largest consumer in Europe and Germany couldn't afford to lose that business.

Not really. The UK only accounts for 6.9% of German exports and France accounts for 7.8%.

Bottom line is the UK only accounts for about 11% of total exports from the rest of the EU, and on a country-by-country basis it can be as low as 2% for some member states. The UK exports 45% of all exports to the EU, it is the UK's single largest export market and any future negotiation will be heavily in the EU's favour, if the UK leaves.

Also, many Brexit supporters are very shouty, xenophobic people who have some very misplaced ideas about immigration. None of this is helped by the fact that the populist tabloid press stokes all of this to sell more.

It is quite surprising then, that many British were up in arms about what Obama had to say about Brexit over the weekend, saying that foreign nationals should not be involved at all. Yet they are quite happy to read the opinion of an Australian media mogul who owns most of the UK press and lives in the USA. Also, which is quite shocking, the Brexit campaign leaders have invited Marie le Pen (from the FN in France) to come and 'help' out with the campaign. All very hypocritical.

And these are just some of the reasons that I will be voting to Remain in June!

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Posted in: Scores feared trapped as death toll from 2 Kyushu quakes hits 37 See in context

The news coming out on the news look awful. The landslides are pretty big and they're expecting there could be more with a combination of heavy rain later and potential aftershocks. For people trapped and people with no shelters in evacuation areas it was pretty cold overnight, forecast to be 25 today, but cooling down again later with the rain.

According to the news now 9 people confirmed dead and at least 700 people injured.

My thoughts are with the people of Kumamoto prefecture at this awful time. Kyushu and the people of Japan will get through this.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Liverpool's last-gasp goal sinks Dortmund in Europa thriller See in context

This was an awesome match! Finally believe that we can make it into the Champions League next season!

Well done, lads! YNWA!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: China expresses anger at G7 statement on East, South China Seas See in context

Hiro S Nobumasa APR. 12, 2016 - 09:46PM JST: Where were they when Taiwanese passenger airplanes were harrased by fully armed Japanese fighter jets just a few minutes after taking off from Keelung?

Good question.

Probably the same place as the non-existent planes that had taken off from Keelung's non-existent airport were, flying with the flying pigs.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: China says Japanese base on Yonaguni shows its hypocrisy on South China Sea See in context

China: “Japan always criticises others, so how can it explain its own actions?”

Ummm.... Because Yonaguni is part of Japan, not contested and isn't some sandy atoll that has been reclaimed and unilaterally declared 'Japanese territory', maybe?

Japan can build whatever it likes on its own land. Just as China is free to do what it wants in areas that are undisputedly China. Which doesn't go any further south than Hainan Island.

21 ( +21 / -0 )

Posted in: 2 dead, 70 injured after 12-vehicle accident in Hiroshima tunnel See in context

Probably due to a combination of speeding and general lack of spatial awareness.

That said, driving in Japan is a breeze compared to Taiwan. After driving in Taiwan in the past, I came to the conclusion that the rules of the road are generally made up as people go along and I have been told by numerous people that some people think it is unlucky to look in to the car mirrors. So they don't.... and the millions of mopeds buzzing around with even less spatial awareness than car drivers in Japan make it much worse (oh, and if you're driving a car, it's your fault if one crashes into you, even if you're stopped at a traffic light and they rear end you).

But I am glad that most people seem to have survived this. Car fires (and possible explosions) in tunnels are often much more deadly than this (does anyone else remember the deadly fire in the Mt Blanc tunnel between France and Italy?). So this, whilst tragic, could have been a lot worse.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

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