apects comments

Posted in: Japan fattens textbooks to reverse sliding rank See in context

It's always quantity and not quality in this country. It's not working, Mombusho no minasan. “Just adding pages to textbooks and pushing for more memorization isn’t going to get us anywhere,” Good for you, Mr. Kato. This country needs more people like you.

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Posted in: 2 high school students injured in Chiba hit-and-run accident See in context

Two boys on one bike? There's more than one individual to blame here.

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Posted in: Mao Kobayashi launches new burger See in context

Why do Japanese have to put mayonnaise on everything?

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Posted in: Do you think events like 9/11, the attack on Pearl Harbor, the A-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and so on should be commemorated each year or would you rather see the dates fade into history witho See in context

We soon forget those terrible events. They should be commemorated, so that we don't repeat them again.

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Posted in: Poverty grows among Japan's young adults See in context

The system here is out of whack--rents are too high and wages are too low. This country has too many poor universities churning out too many poorly educated graduates. Companies are not prepared to pay a decent starting wage for such low-quality human resources.

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Posted in: Generations See in context

This photo sends a strong message. Too bad this little guy has to be exposed to an event "celebrating" such a low point in human history.

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Posted in: Yamaha offers electric scooters for green errands See in context

Someone please tell the post office obasans about these. Their noisy bikes are a consistent pain waking me up every 4 in the morning.

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Posted in: Internet service company to show 'The Cove' in Japan See in context

Wonderful news. This country is a democracy after all. I was beginning to wonder.

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Posted in: Japan and its standardized test-based education system See in context

Oh, I should have mentioned; my wife is Japanese. We have a daughter who went through the entire Japanese education system from nursery school to high school. She is now studying at university abroad. I have very few gaijin friends in Japan, in fact, most of my best friends are Japanese. And I have excellent rapport with my students.

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Posted in: Japan and its standardized test-based education system See in context

I've been teaching English full-time in Japan for 20 years, and I the author of this article is spot on. (I've also taught music most of my life.) Japanese have a terrible time expressing themselves, in Japanese or English; it doesn't matter. And I agree; things start to deteriorate from junior high school when testing becomes the focus of education.

I recently asked some third year high school students whether or not, given the opportunity, they would like to live abroad, and why or why not. Most who said yes gave simple reasons like, "because the people are kind in that country", or "because I like the food there".

I think most of us move to other countries for the challenge, for new work opportunities, or for a better future. When asked their opinion, most Japanese have difficulty expressing themselves at a deeper level--answers tend to be very obvious or superficial--without substance or support to back it up.

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Posted in: 'Cove' star calls on Hollywood to save dolphins See in context

Unfortunately, Japanese have a long tradition of downplaying historical events that could damage national pride. Just look at the textbook controversy, for example, which is in the news again, I see. Japanese journalists just don't have the freedom (or the balls) to document facts as they see them. It's the old saying we hear over and over again here, "The nail that sticks out..."

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Posted in: Man punched in face by fellow train commuter over phone manners See in context

Punching is not the solution here, but those who ride the train can appreciate Matsukawa's frustration. There are a lot of rude people out there.

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Posted in: If "The Cove" is ever shown in cinemas in Japan, will you go to see it, or see it on DVD? If you've already seen it, what did you think of it? See in context

xuanzhang: "Why, is something wrong with killing dolphins?"

It's how they kill them that the film is trying to expose here.

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Posted in: Little Canons See in context

They keep packing these little cameras with more and more gimmicks in an attempt to attract a few more customers in market already saturated with these products, but they never talk about the the most important part--the lens. Despite all the bells and whistles, in reality there's a limit to what is photographically possible with lenses of this size and quality.

The price is always too high. But I guess it's a price people are willing to pay--if the "latest features" get enough hype.

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Posted in: How do you think Naoto Kan will do as prime minister? What do you think his biggest challenges will be? See in context

Given the track record of the past four prime ministers, chances are not very well. His biggest challenge will be to regain public confidence in the government.

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Posted in: If "The Cove" is ever shown in cinemas in Japan, will you go to see it, or see it on DVD? If you've already seen it, what did you think of it? See in context

I've lived in Japan for 20 years, have seen the film, and have even eaten whale meat bought from our local supermarket. I have to say the film was an eye-opener. As Damien15 said, most Japanese really don't know (and don't care) that it goes on. The film was not intended to bash Japan, just to document facts, so that we can all come to our own conclusions.

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Posted in: Hunter commits suicide after accidentally shooting friend See in context

Very sad. Of course accidents do happen, but in a country where guns are rare, I wonder how experienced the hunters were at using them. Not very, I suspect.

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