bfarm comments

Posted in: The ABCs of LGBT+ in Japan See in context

The most insightful thing I have heard spoken on this issue was by Stefano Gabbana (of Dolce&Gabbana):

“I’m just surprised at how, still to this day, people call me gay. But why ‘gay’ in reality, I am a man. Why should we define men? I’m biologically a man, in the sense that I am a male or like a woman. At my place they could call her ‘gay’ but if she’s a woman she is a female. The word ‘gay’ is just a word, an invented word that is used to identify people, but I don’t want to be identified or classified based on my sexual choice. Homosexuality has always existed, it’s not new. I am not gay, I am a man. That’s it. They are all associations. But I don’t want to be associated or classified with anything because I don’t need to be defended by anyone, I haven’t done anything wrong, I’m just a man. I even created a t-shirt that says, ‘I am a man, not gay’ which I will soon wear. I am saying that there are just human rights and that’s it. The most important thing is being human, with no other definitions. These distinctions are absurd and they are used in politics or by other entities to exploit situations in their favor.

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Posted in: People willing to move away from Tokyo to be paid ¥1 mil by Aichi government See in context

One of the major points that the article leaves out is that to qualify for the money, you have to move here and take a job that Aichi is advertising for through a recruiting service. You can’t simply transfer to a Chubu branch of your existing job. You also have to be under 50 years of age. I work with several major companies here and their HR departments all say the same thing - recruiting, especially for software engineers, is competitive these days, and companies are setting up pipelines to get talent from overseas to fill vacancies. This seems like another way to get talented people here.

I’ve lived in Nagoya for over ten years, and I love it. Good location relative to the rest of the country - a fairly large airport nearby for overseas travel - free healthcare for children under 16, many companies hiring and lots of $$$. Transportation is convenient and the commute to work for most people is short.

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Posted in: Bill banning parents from physically punishing children to be enacted See in context


I’m not an expert on the Japanese legal code, so if it’s a case of getting some legislation put into place because the current status of the law is like the Wild West where anything goes, I can understand the motivation behind such legislation. If it’s a case where there are already laws in place and basically the police, teachers, and social workers all dropped the ball on these tragic cases of children being beaten to death, then I think those people need to be held culpable and the legislation being pushed comes across as somewhat of a diversion from the real problem.

That being said, if, according to your words, actions like sending a child to bed without a secondary supper, or confining a child to the house due to bad behavior is illegal, but probably wouldn’t lead to prosecution, that’s a problem.

I wrote about this several weeks back when the legislation was being drafted, but I’ll say it again for good measure. Why is it that people have amnesia when it comes to government incompetence? Everyone rails about how corrupt and clueless the government is when it comes to construction projects, managing the economy, planning the Olympics, but then they’re ready to let the same government have more involvement in a much more important sphere or life, that of raising your children? As a parent, is there any issue more important?

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Posted in: Bill banning parents from physically punishing children to be enacted See in context


I think most people who object to this kind of legislation oppose it on grounds that the laws are vague regarding what constitutes physical discipline. As others above have posted, is locking a child in his room considered abuse now? Is refusing to let a child go out and play abuse? Is sending a child to bed when she’s hungry because she refused to eat the dinner prepared for her abuse?

I don’t think anyone is arguing for the right to clock their offspring with frying pans or to dip their hands in boiling water for punishment.

Comparing how you treat children to adults is a straw man argument. Children and adults are not the same, and it would be more abusive, psychologically speaking, to treat a child the same way you treated an adult, with the differing responsibilities and expectations each has. Just off the top of my head, I wouldn’t expect my children to make their own food, enroll themselves in school, take themselves to the doctor when they’re sick. I don’t charge them rent for living in my house or expect them to give me space when I’m tired or frustrated. If I lived with an adult that I did all these things for, and then that adult decided to draw all over my walls with crayons or wet himself at night and make me change his clothes and bedding - let’s just say “time out” wouldn’t be how I handled him.

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Posted in: Alarm bells sound over 'outings' in Japan's LGBT community See in context

How is this article news? It’s an advocacy piece. I don’t wish any harm on anyone and hope we can all learn to live peacefully and all, but there is nothing in this article regarding recent events. If, for example, this piece had come out in February after the court case alluded to in the beginning of the article, I could understand that.

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Posted in: Gov't OKs plan to legally ban parents from physically punishing children See in context


You wrote, “No one is saying to not use negative reinforcement - just that there are better options than hitting kids. You've created a bit of a strawman there.”

My original argument is that every form of discipline is conducted within a clearly unbalanced power dynamic between parent and child - the wording of the law is so vague that it would seem to open the door for any form of discipline potentially being construed as a violation. A kid says a bad word so the mom pinches his arm or pokes him in the side. Maybe she makes him sit with a bar of soap in his mouth - that could all be considered physical discipline. Is this all in the same grouping as beating a child to death?

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Posted in: Gov't OKs plan to legally ban parents from physically punishing children See in context

I'm sure Yua and Mia's parents thought they were 'responsible parents'; they did not recognize their behavior amounted to abuse.

If you put in the time and effort with the toddler, there should be no need for physical punishment in the older (5+) child.

I avoid trying to read minds as an attempt provide evidence to bolster my opinions. If telepathy is what you’re relying on to make your point, it’s probably a bad sign.

Well I don't know about you and your dog-training ability, but I keep my dogs on a lead when we're outside because the most intelligent dog has the intellect and reasoning powers of a toddler - and you know what? When my kids were little, I put them on a harness and lead when we were going anywhere near traffic, too. You know why? To keep them safe. So I never had to 'discipline' them physically for repeatedly running into the road. Because they never got the chance to do it, and by the time they were old enough to understand, they no longer needed the lead and harness.

You physically restrained your child? Well, that could be construed as physical discipline by some. You might want to watch out. That being said, I’d much rather have my grandmother pinch me on the arm for saying something naughty than be trotted out in public tied to a leash like an animal.

Dogs and toddlers have a lot in common intellectually: conditioning that works on a puppy works equally well on a toddler (and on adults too, did you know?).

Which is why parenting advice that allows for some form of physical discipline, such as the book I mentioned above, specifically notes that children younger than three years six months of age are unable to sufficiently think ahead and understand fully the consequences of their actions. No one here is advocating for parents giving two year-olds a hiding.

lol Seems you haven't interacted with many dogs.

I’ll direct you to my first response in this message about trying to read minds.

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Posted in: Gov't OKs plan to legally ban parents from physically punishing children See in context

And just for the sake of disclosure: I have two kids who I’ve never spanked, because the need hasn’t arrived yet. But I wouldn’t pretend I know what your kids are like, what messes they cause, and I wouldn’t presume to tell anyone how to manage their own family - and I sure as heck wouldn’t want the government telling any of you what to do with your own kids.

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Posted in: Gov't OKs plan to legally ban parents from physically punishing children See in context


From John Rosemond’s The Well-Behaved Child:

”Oh, by the way, the notion that spanking teaches children that it’s okay to hit other people is pure, unmitigated malarkey. Research done by eminent and ethical social scientists finds that children who are occasionally (the operative word) spanked score higher on measures of social and emotional adjustment than children who are never spanked. One study even found that children who have never been spanked are more aggressive than kids who have experienced spanking’s purgative powers.”

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Posted in: Gov't OKs plan to legally ban parents from physically punishing children See in context


You said, “I didn't say you were wrong (though I do dispute your claim that physical 'discipline' is or can be more effective). I was asking a question; if two methods effectively produce the same results, why would any parent deliberately choose the method that causes pain to both parent and child? Why not choose the 'nicer' method?”


“If being positive works that well with dumb animals, I ask again, why would anyone choose to use violence on either animals or kiddies?”

To answer:

Not all children are the same, and even the same child will differ in behavior from day to day or year to year. No responsible parent who uses physical discipline uses it as a first-line solution. I can recall being spanked once in my life for grevious misbehavior, and my father never had to do it again to me. He didn’t spank me in anger or for vengeance. I truly understood that he spanked me for my own good. If another, less intense method could have been equally effective, he would have used it.

Your wording of “using violence” points to great bias on your part. Why does the government choose to use violence to enforce taxation laws? Why do the police use violence to ensure safety in a community? These systems are qualitatively more “violent” than spanking a child, yet we all live by them. Does the government come and kick in your door the first time you’re late in paying your taxes? No, but if you make a lot of money which you try to hide over a long period of time, the satsu aren’t going to show up at your house with a cookie trying to get you to cough up the money (see Ghosn, Carlos).

Why use physical discipline on a child when even dumb animals can learn from exclusively positive methods? Well, do people keep dogs on leashes in most cases? That’s a form of physical restraint. In the context of training dogs, something I know a great deal about, dogs respond to conditioning because they have no other choice. Dogs do not have the intellectual capacity to resist consistently applied conditioning. Children do. Dogs also lack the capacity to be deceptive, to withhold information, or to be manipulative, all traits that children have in abundance.

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Posted in: Gov't OKs plan to legally ban parents from physically punishing children See in context


This kind of overreach is what leads to situations like with what happened to Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans in the UK - bureaucrats deciding what is best for your children.

I think we can agree that there are certainly cases where someone has to step in and save a child’s life. Some parents are monsters, or simply unfit to raise kids. But vaguely-worded catch-all legislation that can be backward-engineered to suit any kind of exercise of governmental authority is not the solution.

I’m sure what I write about distrusting the government comes across to some as tinfoil hat-type stuff, but we’re talking about a government that forcibly sterilized tens of thousands of people over the span of decades and forced tens of thousands of abortions during the same period, ending in 1996. 1996 ain’t that long ago, people. Bone Thugs-n-Harmony were on the charts, and last time I checked, all those guys were still alive.

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Posted in: Gov't OKs plan to legally ban parents from physically punishing children See in context

Strange that people on this board who constantly complain about how incompetent the government here is would support more government intervention in the most basic human relationship between parent and child.

I think many people are understandably wary about this law because it appears to be a sledgehammer of a solution to an issue that requires a scalpel. I don’t think the problem stems from the difference between discipline and abuse. The wording of the law, at least in how it’s being presented, states that ANY kind of physical punishment will be illegal. But isn’t every form of punishment by a parent essentially physical because the ultimate arbiter in disputes between parents and children is the fundamental power differential between them? Even if you advocate a measure like timeout, its efficacy depends on your ability to physically restrict a child to a specified area. What if the child decides he’s had enough of timeout and wants to go play? Is barring him from leaving considered physical punishment? How about sending a child to bed without dinner? Isn’t that a form of physical punishment?

It also strikes me as delusional on the part of some here saying, “If you have to raise a hand to a child, you’re obviously doing something wrong.” Maybe your kids respond to positive reinforcement, maybe they’re angels who could be reasoned with from the time they were born. But not all kids are the same, and this is a one-size-fits-all reaction to a more nuanced problem. I sure wish I lived in this utopia that some of you do, where negative reinforcement is never necessary in a child’s upbringing.

Bottom line is, why would you trust the government with the most important thing in your life as a parent, your children’s wellbeing, when you can’t trust them to compile data in order toadminister retirement benefits?

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Posted in: Buddhist temples seek slice of foreign tourism boom See in context

Of course, temples need income. How else do they keep the lights on! You can't pay the bills with "enlightenment".

I underwent formal training as a novice (shami) monk at a major zen temple in Kyoto, and from living at the main temple during training to visiting other priests' places to help out with funerals, to staying with my own master, I can tell you that they're not concerned with "keeping the lights on." They're concerned with yearly trips overseas, building new houses, and driving expensive cars. Supporting Fukui prefecture to benefit the normal people living there is a good cause, but I wouldn't shed a tear or lose a wink of sleep worrying about the "spiritual masters" at a major temple like Eiheiji. They're definitely living more comfortable lifestyles than anyone posting on here.

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Posted in: Do you support calls in some countries to replace expressions like “Christmas tree” and “merry Christmas” with “holiday tree” and “happy holidays?” See in context

So? I mean really, so what? Is it that necessary to get so butt hurt that a country chooses to find enjoyment in their own way of celebrating Christmas? Are you so insecure in your own beliefs that you have to feel so offended? Christmas is NOT the birthday of Christ. Christmas piggy-backed a Roman holiday and the church "made" it the birthday of Jesus. So is Christianity any better than the Japanese who celebrate it in their own manner? Think about that, you say that Japan should celebrate the original meaning? Then you had better get yourself ready for what the original winter solstice was all about during Roman times. You complain about a country that is making Christmas their own, in their own manner and yet you fail to accept the FACT that Christianity adapted it into their own as well. Rather hypocritical in my opinion.

No-one is arguing that holiday traditions are created out of thin air. Of course Christmas evolved over time. Christians wanted to celebrate the nativity and so adopted customs from their surrounding culture, blending symbols and practices familiar to them in a new way to reflect their beliefs. Sinterklaas and Father Christmas get blended and evolve into Santa Claus. Gift-giving becomes a popular tradition in emulation of Saint Nicholas. A central belief serves as the focal point of a celebration that grows and incorporates various cultural practices. It's not a mystery. After 1500 years of celebration and refinement, I don't think Christians or the church have anything to prove regarding the "authenticity" of Christmas. However, my question to you again is what, exactly, are Japanese people "celebrating" beyond pure, unadulterated consumerism? What is the purpose behind "celebrating" beyond companies simply trying to hawk a bit more of their wares to people?

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Posted in: Do you support calls in some countries to replace expressions like “Christmas tree” and “merry Christmas” with “holiday tree” and “happy holidays?” See in context

If what I wrote about Festivus offends you, I'm sorry. I was riffing on a couple of other posters who brought it up. Festivus was a fake - joke - holiday used on Seinfeld, the US comedy show. I used it as I assume some others did to add a bit of humour.

No problem at all, PTownsend. If you caught the beginning of my original comment, "Serenity now, insanity later," you'd know I'm a big Seinfeld fan :)

I think it's important to consider the context the words are being used in. I'm actually less bothered by replacing Christmas-related words with more "neutral" ones than I am by the infusion of overtly Christian symbols to make Christmas more "authentic" here in Japan. Anyone catch commercials for the USJ's "Universal Wonder Christmas?" Angels, boys' choir, crucifixes...notice on Universal Studios' website in the U.S. that the furthest you get beyond generic "winter holiday" celebrations is "Grinchmas," but the USJ website looks like a page from a textbook entitled, "Strategic Commercialisation and Commodification of Foreign Cultures and/or Religions."

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Posted in: Do you support calls in some countries to replace expressions like “Christmas tree” and “merry Christmas” with “holiday tree” and “happy holidays?” See in context

...Can I add... to some people in here... put your arms in the air and say "Serenity Now!!!, Serenity Now!!"

Serenity now, insanity later.

As for the question at hand, I think it depends on where the expressions are being used. I'm a Christian, but I don't mind people wanting to keep a religious holiday out of the office, schools, or government. Frankly, I'd prefer those measures because I'd prefer a simpler Christmas with my family at home and at church to the colossal consumption-centered event it's become.

And for the insecure contrarians here harping on about "It's Yuletide I celebrate, yadayadayada," I'm sure you're also really into cuju, you know, the sport that soccer/football REALLY is. Get over yourselves.

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Posted in: World's first washable smartphone to debut in Japan See in context

I don't get can already clean your phone with any number of cleaners and an inexpensive microfibre cloth. What's the point?

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Posted in: Consumer Affairs Agency urges people not to walk on escalators See in context


As I wrote in my original comment, I have no doubt that it will fail unless the stations start having staff members standing there directing people to the other side, just as people rushing to jump into trains just as the doors close will continue to do so unless there is someone on the platform physically preventing them from doing so.

You misunderstand the problem, however. Congestion is inevitable. The problem is that congestion is worsened when the majority of people only use one side of the escalator. No "walking" lane means the "standing" lane is 50% shorter. That shorter line allows more people to get off the platform and onto the escalator.

As far as the number of injuries being insignificant, or that you've never seen one yourself - that's irrelevant. If it's 10 injuries or 100 injuries or 1000 - the point is that they are perfectly avoidable if people use the escalator properly. You wouldn't care what the percentages were if it was your little girl or little boy getting smacked in the head by the bag of some d-bag rushing up the other side.

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Posted in: Consumer Affairs Agency urges people not to walk on escalators See in context


You ride the subway a couple of times a week. I ride the subway every single day from Kanayama to Sakae and then to Fushimi. You'd be hard pressed to find three busier subway stations in all of Nagoya. It's absolutely the case that the "walking lane" is wide open and people crowd around the "standing lane" regardless of the time of day, especially in places like Fushimi and Sakae where the station is busy all day.

Armchair urban planning experts here on Japantoday think that no one has ever measured foot traffic in the stations and considered the optimal utilization of space to account for safety, cost performance, and efficiency. It's not as if the transportation companies have anything to gain from there being hordes of people huddled around chokepoints obstructing movement. There's also the maintenance issue to address. Escalators break down more easily when everyone stands to one side because it causes uneven wear on the machinery.

But please, all you critics, continue to regale us with observations showing us how keen your intellect is and how utterly incompetent the people are in charge whose job is to make these decisions. In fact, just go to your local subway station and give your feedback to the station master. I'm sure he/she will be astounded by the originality of your ideas - " mean...people stand on one side, and walk on the other? It sounds crazy, but let's give it a try!" Please. This is another case of bitter ex-pats just looking for something to complain about.

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Posted in: Consumer Affairs Agency urges people not to walk on escalators See in context

borax is completely right

At least in Nagoya, what happens on the subways is there is a huge pack of people waiting around the escalator and clogging up the rest of the train platform just so everyone can line up and use only the left side, while the occasional person walks up the right. Congestion is doubled because of this. If it's not during rush hour and you don't have to wait in line to use the left side, then, sure - do everyone a solid and ride on the left. But if there are people lining up to use one side, while the other side is open, then use the other side. It's more efficient.

I'd say that, in Nagoya at least, probably 1 in 20 to 30 use the "walking lane" at most. 3-5% of people get 50% of the available space, while 95-97% get the other 50%. In high-traffic areas such as subway/train stations, this utilization of space makes no sense.

The problem is that, while there are signs everywhere in Nagoya about standing, there is absolutely no enforcement, so they go ignored. If they want to change people's commuting behavior, they need to put staff near the escalators during busy times to direct people to the right side. It's even got to the point here where the signs say stuff like, "Have courage and stand on the right side."

If you're in a rush USE THE STAIRS. And if you're a foreigner complaining about people being too slow on the escalator (like most of the posters here, I'd imagine) - then get over yourself. Where are you in such a hurry to go? There's a ticking bomb somewhere in the city and only you know its location? You're carrying a cooler which contains a human heart set to be used in transplant surgery? No, you're going to your eikaiwa school or junior high school. Your getting to Nova on time is of no more importance to society than anyone else making it to his/her destination on time.

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Posted in: 'Minister of Toilets' aims to transform Japan's public loos See in context

It doesn't matter how advanced the toilet itself is when the room you're doing your business in has no temperature control. Having a squeaky-clean bum is all fine and dandy, but doing your business in a 35–degree broom closet with no AC or even positive airflow is not my idea of the pinnacle of advanced civilization.

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Posted in: Is Japanese TV really as bad as its reputation? See in context

Moving outside the realm of the types of shows covered in the article, how about the production quality of sports broadcasting here? Whether it be professional baseball or soccer, the quality of the graphics used is on part with TV from the 80s in the US. From the large, completely opaque boxes with simple text in them blocking more than 40% of the screen, to the useless graphics, such as the "shots" count they put below the scoreline for J-League games, I wonder if any of the producers for these shows have ever seen an MLB, Premier League, Bundesliga, etc. broadcast. I actually went to the Asahi TV site to complain during the World Cup when they insisted displaying little meta-narrative lines in the corner of the screen throughout entire matches. I can recall the U.S. v Portugal match when it went from "Can Portugal Advance to the Next Round" to "Can Ronaldo and Portugal Make a Comeback?" - because, you know, who cares about what the other team is doing? At least get rid of the unnecessary graphic after the first five minutes or so.

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Posted in: Japan's smartphone 'zombies' wreak havoc on the streets See in context

Turn on the car blinkers.

They were on, but drive long enough on a road with no passing lane (except the one carrying traffic going the other direction) and people will assume you're old and forgot to turn them off, especially when there is no physical damage or problem with your car.

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Posted in: Japan's smartphone 'zombies' wreak havoc on the streets See in context

While it's important to spread the message that using your cellphone while walking, especially in crowded places, can be dangerous to yourself and others, reading some of the comments people have written here makes me think that another message needs to be spread–one of general compassion and consideration. Here's a story:

My father died of cancer this year. A week before he died, my sister and I drove him to an appointment at the hospital. His lung cancer had spread throughout his body, including his skeletal system, and his ribs had cracked from all the coughing he was doing. He was practically in tears, whimpering in pain, each time the car hit a little bump in the road, or when we went over a speed bump, so my sister was trying to drive as slowly as was safe, and taking turns really gently. The entire time we were driving, people would zoom past us, giving us the finger or starting us down because we weren't moving quickly enough for them. Of course, I'm sure if they were aware of what our family was dealing with in our car, they'd understand and treat us with more care.

My point is, maybe 99% of the people you see on their phones are playing a game. Who knows? But, if you live in a big city like Tokyo or Osaka, and 1% of the people on their phones have just gotten a text like, "Hey, mom is sick," or "Call me as soon as you get this," then you're probably walking past 5 or 6 people each day who are dealing with something so heavy that they could use whatever help you can give them, whether it be giving them a bit of space to walk, or simply not intentionally walking into them to prove a silly point.

Sure, we all get sick and tired of inconsiderate people, but always assume positive intent.

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Posted in: Japan is still way behind in terms of anti-smoking policies, especially measures against secondhand smoke. You can still smoke in a lot of public places in Japan such as office buildings, coffee shops See in context

@Strangerland: You make a valid point regarding cost to the healthcare system, but smokers do cost someone quite a bit of cash–employers: (another article linked to the same study:

On to your next point, that smoking, in general, shouldn't be banned, you could argue that yes, it should be banned, on the same grounds that a person isn't allowed to sell herself/himself into slavery. "Voluntary slavery" is a contradiction; as long as you wish to give up your free will, that's not slavery–it's simply your free will. In the future, if you no longer wish to be a slave, but are forced to remain so because of a previous decision, then it's no longer a voluntary act. Taken into the realm of smoking, you could argue that, sure, you're free to choose whether or not to smoke now, but given the addictive properties of cigarettes, you are possibly giving up your free will not to smoke in the future.

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Posted in: Butt out See in context

@BertieWooster: Any odor, besides fresh-baked cookies, that a person exudes which is strong enough to smell in the open air 10 to 20 meters away is an inconvenience. I can't stand walking down the same street when I'm behind a smoker, and have to walk through his/her puffs of smoke. Would it be ok for me to walk up and spray someone with a bottle of cologne, saying, "Here, now you can smell like this for the next few hours"? No, of course not. So why should I have to tolerate my clothes smelling like smoke?

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Posted in: Chinese buyers in Tokyo lead charge in iPhone 6 global debut See in context

I worked for Apple during the iPad 2 launch, and still maintain close contact with my old coworkers. The people coming from China to buy on launch days and several days after pre-launch are all resellers. The same people would come and wait in line every day, buy all their phones out of contract (unusual in the US), and would demand that you not open the product. They're not innocent, good old-fashioned fans of Apple products. They're their to get a product and turn it for a profit back home.

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Posted in: Japan's high school baseball looks to save pitchers See in context


Japanese rosters also use a 6-man rotation instead of a 5-man one like they do in the MLB. A good article can be found here:!bgCVVP

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