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billyshears comments

Posted in: Japan's troubled 'space junk' mission ends in failure See in context

"Failure" could seem overly critical, but the fact is JAXA has a long history of failed efforts going back a long time. Considering the huge amount of public money they have often wasted, there are those who might be tempted to question whether or not incompetence is involved.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: After 5 days, no clues to missing boy's fate in Hokkaido See in context

He might not be in the woods at all. There is the possibility that he was abducted by the occupant(s) of a passing car in the area. No matter how remote the area, if the boy's family were there, then there might have been other people in the area too.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Doctor leaves gauze in patient's body in Sagamihara hospital See in context

This kind of thing happens in hospitals all over the world every day and this comparatively trivial incident would definitely not make it to the TV news (where Japan Today presumably found it) in the vast majority of countries. That this story did indeed become a nationally reported event in a country of 126 million people must be indicative of at least something a little positive about its health system.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Osaka police find 80 reptiles in one-room apartment See in context

Where does one buy "frozen mice"?

Actually, some pet shops keep them for those (strange?) people who like to keep reptiles as pets.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Proposal to triple taxes on K-cars raises concerns among rural drivers See in context

The bottom line, if the tax is enacted, would mean an overall tax increase of approximately 200,000 yen over the 10-year life of a vehicle, and greatly impacting on people in rural areas, small business owners and other individuals who can least afford it.

That works out to an increase of 384 yen a week over 10 years. You wouldn't really think that amount would impact a small business owner, who could probably write it off as a business expense and get it most of it back as an income tax refund.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: China Internet users call for action against Japan See in context

It seems like an article written with the express aim of trying to stir things up. Five or six extreme quotes from the kind of jingoistic shallow-thinkers (that you can find in virtually any country), spawned by a nationalistic mentality that is a natural consequence of undiluted human greed, often nurtured and taken advantage of by those who seek (or wish to maintain) power. It appears on occasion the Chinese government, in the guise of protector of the people's "cake", needs to make aggressive posturing against any assumed (or government-manufactured) potential "cake" thieves. In reality, the dire worldwide economic consequences of any kind of war between the two countries will be the ultimate deterrent here.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Pop group Arashi inspires extreme fan worship See in context

Having been stricken with a mild form of this malady, I can admire these beautiful singers aesthetically

Beautiful singers? Got to be joking. Like SMAP, none of the members of this hand-made collection have any apparent musical talent. Calculated, money-making productions and living proof of the power of the media nowadays to create stars for profit.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Anti-whaling activist Watson tells U.S. court: 'We're not pirates' See in context

The hate that some of you people have for him is amazing

No, it isn't amazing. I hate the idea of whaling and I believe eating whale meat is a danger to human health, especially for children. However, he's an obvious phony who has made a personal fortune out of whaling. While Sea Shepherd, and the bunch of adventurists on board, is in action (for the TV cameras of course) , Japan will never give up whaling. This guy has managed to change a moribund issue into a matter of national pride. Consequently, their antics have turned public opinion here in Japan (and elsewhere) from anti-whaling to anti-Sea Shepherd. Ultimately, he has actually become detrimental to the cause of the whales in much the same way as any militant activists often ruin their causes.

9 ( +23 / -14 )

Posted in: Anti-whaling activist Watson tells U.S. court: 'We're not pirates' See in context

Obviously mis-reported quote. It should have read: "We are answering to our clients, which is....the Discovery channel".

8 ( +17 / -9 )

Posted in: Apple still rules in Japan as carriers battle to sell iPhones See in context

It's a psychological fact that people are not only attracted by media hype but also by others lining up, clamoring to buy things. In Japan, this includes cakes, donuts, tako-yaki and iphones. Apple products are certainly well-made (I love my ipod touch even though it's now been callously excluded from ios7) and have comparatively few technological glitches but they have lost much of their early "wow" factor and are tied in to that (what many, many people consider) horrible itunes system (whatever kind of PC you have, it's horrible). Apple also always holds something back (look at those atrocious specs on the first ipad mini); in the past, car manufacturers called this "planned obsolescence". It can be guaranteed that a 5-inch iphone is well past the drawing board stage and they'll all be lining up for it next November.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Google unveils new smartphone in Nexus line See in context

emobile is using the nexus 5


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: 96-year-old woman killed by train at crossing in Tokyo See in context

That's really sad. I guess there was no one around to help her. Feel bad for the driver too, having to live with that terrible image.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Google unveils new smartphone in Nexus line See in context

thanks carcharodon, looks like docomo

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Google unveils new smartphone in Nexus line See in context

With which provider can the nexus phone be used in Japan?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan Tobacco to cut 1,600 jobs as cigarette sales fall See in context

Must be psychologically difficult working in JT's publicity department trying to promote cigarette smoking as it usually involves enticing young non-smokers to become addicted to the nicotine habit. Maybe JT will try to increase the talented staff in that department with some special incentives (you know, like the devil did with Faust).

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan Tobacco to cut 1,600 jobs as cigarette sales fall See in context

I buy American cigarettes (blows smoke in faces of above posters)

eventually, you won't be able to do that

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Posted in: Casino lobby prepares to submit bill during current Diet session See in context

Edge or no edge, monthly report on business section of KLVGJ always show BJ the table games Casinos make.

Casinos make most total profit on BJ because it is far and away the most popular casino game (and that's because it has the lowest built-in house percentage). To reiterate, if you really have to play, that's the one game you should stick to. However, whatever game you play regularly in a casino, it is a mathematical certainty that, eventually, you'll end up losing (unless you cheat, which includes card-counting on BJ).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Casino lobby prepares to submit bill during current Diet session See in context

If you are going to casino to play one of table games, never play Black Jack.

All casino games have a built-in house percentage (combined with table limits) guaranteeing them a profit over a period of time and guaranteeing that nearly all regular players will be losers, unless they find a successful way to cheat. Blackjack has the lowest house edge. If you really have to play in casinos, the one game you should play (with simple established player strategy) is blackjack. Check out respective house edges for each game here:


1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan goes on gas, coal power building spree to fill nuclear void See in context

Well I certainly hope those coal-fired power plants are not going to be built in my vicinity. "In the US in 2011, coal-fired power plants generated approximately 76 million tons of coal ash. Coal ash is simply the solid residue that is left over from the burning of coal. There are two types of coal ash: fly ash and bottom ash. Fly ash refers to the tiny particles that escape up the chimney or stack. Ash which does not rise is termed bottom ash. Coal ash contains unsafe levels of mercury, arsenic, lead, chromium, and other toxic metals known to cause cancer, neurological and organ damage. And to make matters worse, coal ash is often mixed with water and stored in unprotected and unlined sludge ponds, which causes potentially catastrophic spills/releases as was the case in a disastrous coal ash spill in Tennessee in 2008. Coal-fired power plants also use an enormous amount of water. In 2005, thermoelectric power plants used an estimated 201 billion gallons of water per day. That is almost half (49%) of the total water use across the US."

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Another cabinet minister visits Yasukuni Shrine See in context

In Shinto, all the souls at the same shrine are believed to be united as "kami". It's not possible to separate them

These "souls" used to be physically separated until they were purposely smuggled into Yasukuni by the shrine authorities and uyoku dantai (right wing yakuza groups) in 1978 with the sole (no pun intended) purpose of making a political statement justifying Japan's role in Asia in the 1930s and 1940s. Shinto believers thinking the war criminals' souls would still be there, even if their remains had been taken away, wouldn't be an issue for concerned countries, I think; it would however be a gesture that could put this issue to bed forever. Why it will never happen is obvious and that is what antagonizes China and Korea in particular.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Posted in: Another cabinet minister visits Yasukuni Shrine See in context

He argued the shrine was not meant to “glorify” war. Rather, it is a place which many Japanese citizens have visited and maintained… to console the soul of their kin and friends who devoted their life to the country,” he added

Then why aren't the offending designated "category A" war criminals removed to a separate shrine? If that were to happen, the reason for the thinking that the shrine glorifies the war that Japan mercilessly waged against its Asian neighbors would also be removed. Is that too simple a solution or is it that the extreme right wing is so still so powerful in Japan that it must be pandered to every year with this ridiculous political charade?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Posted in: Doctor with TB examined more than 600 patients See in context

Did he visit Africa and come into contact with one of the resistant strains? Or did he see a tourist who had tuberculosis?

Although the risk is comparatively small, there is no need to travel abroad from Japan to contact TB; a crowded rush-hour train will do. There were approximately 26,000 NEW cases here in 2011 (4,000 more than Haiti), including the drug-resistant variety.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan considers tax on digital music, books bought online from abroad See in context

doesn't get much more stupid than that

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Posted in: 18-year-old girl killed by stalker hours after seeking help from police See in context

Apparently the guy was an acquaintance (I was wondering how the cops knew his cell phone number) and he had sent her an email 4 days previously saying that he would kill her. more information here:


2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Dolphin-killing town to open marine park See in context

Despite the potentially dangerously high levels of methyl mercury in dolphin meat the "tradition" continues. Why? I think this quote from a Japanese Health Ministry official gives a glimpse of the real reason: “The criticism does not affect the health risk of residents in Japan. We do not have to change our stance just because animal protection groups say something,” Kenji Urakami of the ministry’s Standards and Evaluation Division said. In other words, as with whaling, it's all about not losing face and appearing weak to outside groups.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Casinos to get Vegas-style regulator under legalization plan See in context

If Japanese casinos followed a similar plan such as the one in the following link, then that would go a long way towards addressing the problem: http://www.caesars.com/corporate/about-us-responsible-gaming.html

It would go nowhere near towards addressing "the problem" because Japan's problem would be that thousands upon thousands of people (no exaggeration; in the US the figure is now in the millions, see link above) who, at present have no interest in gambling, are going to become addicted. "Revived employment" is basically an over-hyped myth spread by guess who? When New Jersey allowed casinos into Atlantic City back in 1977, casino advocates promised that gambling would revive the town's fading economy. The casinos did create jobs as promised. But merchants who expected foot traffic to return to the city's main street, Atlantic Avenue, were sorely disappointed. The money that comes to the casinos, stays in the casinos. Liquor stores and cash-for-gold outlets now line the city's once-premier retail strip. The impact of casinos on local property values is "unambiguously" negative, according to the National Association of Realtors. Casinos do not revive local economies. They act as parasites upon them. Communities located within 10 miles of a casino exhibit double the rate of problem gambling. Unsurprisingly, such communities also suffer higher rates of home foreclosure and other forms of economic distress and domestic violence. http://www.krcrtv.com/news/Frum-The-harm-that-casinos-do/-/14286064/22091066/-/4n4r8e/-/index.html

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Casinos to get Vegas-style regulator under legalization plan See in context

Tourist potential? LOL. I know the casino industry very well. They call those who don't gamble "maggots". This is an article about casinos in the US will give you an idea of what Japan can expect.

The "dark side" of gambling legislation. Notwithstanding benefits for education and employment, gambling's proliferation will inherently spread the addiction—at rates some experts predict will devastate millions of Americans. "All this government backing makes gambling sound harmless," says Fong, "but there is a dark side that many state governments are downplaying."


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Casinos to get Vegas-style regulator under legalization plan See in context

Is gambling at a casino any different to gambling at the horse races? At pachinko? At the boat races? No it isn't.

Yes, it is. Very, very different. Casinos attract people who would never normally gamble and who definitely would never go into a pachinko parlor or go to the boat races. It would, without a shadow of a doubt, open up a whole new section of society to gambling.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Casinos to get Vegas-style regulator under legalization plan See in context

Let's ban alcohol, smoking, pachinko, horse racing and all the other evils that strangely, for the majority of people, provide some pleasure.

Your argument doesn't make sense. Why create a new social problem that at present doesn't exist? And for "the majority of people" gambling doesn't provide "some pleasure", it provides an adrenalin rush with a high possibility of addiction, like a drug. As you don't ever gamble, you obviously don't understand the sensation and therefore its possible consequences. However, if a member of your family became a compulsive gambler in a casino in Japan, you'd rue the day these places ever became legalized. Compulsive gamblers have as much chance of a stable family life as an alcoholic or drug addict.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Casinos to get Vegas-style regulator under legalization plan See in context

And Casinos definately bring in the money. That's what they are for.

Yes, money that won't be spent elsewhere.

There are also takarakuji, horse, bicylcle, motorcycle and motorboat racing gambling availabe to the punter.

Casinos are completely different in so many ways. People who would never dream of going to the above places, which are basically low-life hangouts, will flock to a casino with its entertainment, plush restaurants and bars (all funded of course, by losers). In addition, what a person can lose in hours at pachinko can be lost in seconds at a casino.

As for "a flimsy or false excuse for generating more tax": anyway of collecting tax from anyone but me is fine with me.

Do you honestly think you'll be paying less tax if casinos are legalized? And most of the money lost in casinos would have been taxed anyway if spent on goods and services through consumption tax.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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