Japan Today

blindtothetruth comments

Posted in: Japan declares victory in effort to end government use of floppy disks See in context

Moving back to Australia after spending 8 years in Japan made me feel like a bit of a luddite. The whole office was paperless - using Google apps and cloud docs was such a change from having to print out 8 copies of a 20 page slide deck (one for every person in the meeting room). Even onboarding was through an app and was seamless.

I had the same experience outside of work as well. Signing up to a rental and paying bond was all done online. Getting my drivers licence updated and sent to me and getting a new bank account - all online without any fuss.

Meanwhile to cancel my softbank account, I had to send them a fax. A fax!

The longer Japanese companies hold off embracing digital, the more inefficient they will become compared with their overseas rivals who are embracing digitisation. Japanese workers will have widening skill gaps with the rest of the world. A workforce trained on Windows XP? Great - while Hikari is spending 20 minutes crafting an email Johnny over here has used copilot to craft 20 sales emails for different clients using copilot.

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Posted in: Fire department review See in context

Who doesn't love a bit of fire fighter pole dancing? Apparently the worst part of the day is that instead of being thrown notes, they're pelted with ¥100 coins. Sometimes they get ¥500 coins from the high rollers but they hurt a lot more.

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Posted in: Kishida, 3 ministers eat Fukushima fish to show it's safe See in context

I don't know if the water is safe or not, but if it is, why dump it in the sea? There can't be that much water that it cannot be used elsewhere on land near the reactor? If it can be stored on land now, then it can be used on land now as well. If it is safe for fish then doesn't it mean it should be safe for crops and other wildlife? Dumping it in the ocean is dumping it in essentially a shared space - of course others who share that space may be worried.

This doesn't make sense to me unless, of course, the water would only be safe if it is diluted further with other sea water. Then, well is it really safe then?

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Posted in: Smart girls don’t marry? Japan rushes to erase stigma for women in science See in context

Two observations based on my experiences living in JP and abroad (not at all scientific. Maybe better to call them assumptions.)

1) There are not many opportunities in Japan for women. I rarely saw them in leadership positions in my (admittedly limited) dealings with government institutions, or with large corporations like the big banks or tech companies. In most of the meetings, if there where women in the room they served tea.

I also feel there is a strong cultural bias toward men, and gender stereotypes still play a role in a lot of every day life. I had lot of conversations where I was told 'men do this, women do that' with Japanese friends and colleagues regarding very small things (men that like sweets are like girls...) to larger things (women aren't strong enough for leadership positions) that frustrated me. You couldn't get away with comments like that in most western workplaces nowadays (well, in the places I work anyway). I imagine growing up in an environment like that as a woman would make getting into STEM or any male dominated industry extremely difficult.

And regarding the often mentioned 'oil rigs' arguments mentioned above - if a women wanted to get an oil rig job I don't think they would even be considered in Japan. If given the opportunity (and a worthwhile pay packet) lets also not assume that JP women wouldn't want those jobs. Lets take a similar industry in Australia, mining, where Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that over the past 20 years, the number of women employed full-time in mining rose from just 8,700 in August 2002 to 45,000 in August 2022. That's growth of over 400%. This shows that women ALSO want these types of jobs and given the opportunity, are taking them.

2) Judging from the commentary here it seems that like attracts like. At lot of the foreign men I met in JP (not all) seemed to have out dated views on women, race and gender. I always wondered if this was part of the charm for certain men to move to JP?

Based on these admittedly unverified observations (would love to run a proper scientific study on this) my advice to Japanese women is often to learn another language, as it can open up opportunities they may not get in their own country. If a country cannot do enough to provide you with chances to succeed, and a large proportion of its men are unwilling to give you the same opportunities they have gotten, get out. You owe JP nothing.

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Posted in: From lease to keys: Buying your apartment in Japan See in context

Have been curious about investing in JP property. Nice article

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Posted in: Japan’s super tight jobs market fails to deliver egalitarian promise See in context

Japan is a country of a 100 million in a very small space. Competition for employment would naturally lead to lower wages and or high unemployment, or both, if you left the free market to it's own devices. Government intervention has been needed over the last 20 years but why would the LDP be spurred into shaking up anything when they've held power 17 out of the past 20 years?

In a supposed democratic society it's the people that decide who leads them. The only other thing other than government that can stop Japan's slow fall into oblivion is it's people, but honestly they seem resigned to a fate that really is in their hands to change.

The term 'shoganai' is poisonous to change. Culturally Japanese people tend to put up with more than they should while Western cultures generally produce people with a greater sense entitlement. This is usually a bad thing but can also be good, as we in the west often believe we are entitled to better work conditions and pay and will fight for what we think we deserve. (The documentary 'American Factory' on Amazon Prime highlights this difference in East vs West mentality.) In my years in Japan I never saw this fight in its people.

The Japanese people need to act now while they still have a functioning middle class. From here the gap between the haves and have nots will only increase and those that do not feel empowered now will truly be powerless unless they act and gain more interest in the direction their country is headed. Build better, more powerful unions. Demand more pay from the companies you work for. Make the leaders that have failed you pay for that failure. Those with money, give opportunities to younger people. And if the opportunites don't come, create your own in Japan or overseas, where people are clamouring for Japanese products (and often 'foreign' entrepreneurs are filling the void).

Just do 'something'. Times running out to turn the ship around.

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Posted in: Yoshimoto Kogyo president says he hopes Shimada will return to showbiz See in context

Yes, he will probably be welcomed back to TV, but please don't think that forgetting celebrity wrongs is only a Japanese thing, as some of the commenters here are implying. Anyone remember Chris Brown? You know, the guy who beat up Rhianna and is now back in the charts a mere two years later?

People have short memories and fans will love their idols regardless of their faults. If someone is a huge fan of a particular artist and later it is revealed that that artist happens to have a horrible hidden side, it's hard for people to accept as it invalidates a part of their life. Sometimes it's easier to stay blind. Michael Jackson anyone?

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