Japan Today

bobobolinski comments

Posted in: British PM unveils tough anti-riot measures, including social media controls See in context

It's a bit worrying that with the encouragement of Cameron and other politicians, the courts seem to be handing out very heavy, custodial sentences. Some calmness and consideration might be appropriate in thinking about how to deal with this situation.

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Posted in: After the earthquake, there's been a prevalent feeling among people that you can make do with replacements... It doesn't have to be beef curry, it could be pork, or chicken, or the beef could come fro See in context

Well, obviously, rice could come from abroad too. It's just that there is a massive delusion, encouraged by the government on behalf of the farmers, that Japanese rice is far superior and safer than imported rice. Back in the 1990s, after some very low rice harvests, a lot of rice was imported. It was fine.

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Posted in: Prankster dresses Osaka street statues in red See in context

It would be nice if it could become a continuing trend. Seasonal and local variations would be good.

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Posted in: Japan ranks first for women's longevity See in context

The trouble with longevity is that it gets tacked on to the end, not when it would be useful. That extra five years, you get it when you're 80, not when you're 25.

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Posted in: New allegations besiege Murdoch media empire See in context

From latest news reports, it seems that Murdoch might be inclined to sell up the UK operation entirely - Times, Sun, FT, shares in BSkyB etc. He will then head back to America, taking favoured son James and the loathsome Rebekah Brooks with him. This seems to be fine with Americans, as represented here on JT, so everybody will be happy.

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Posted in: Toyota takes steps to beef up Japan production See in context

An unfortunate headline to this piece. Surely "increase" would have served just as well?

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Posted in: Alert: Terrorists look to implant bombs in humans See in context

I do wonder about this. I always thought that the body scanners were never going to be effective, as the level of radiation they emit is way too low to see much other than contours. Obviously, if someone really wanted to hide something, they might be able to do so. Hence the invasive groping that is going on now, when or if the scanner might not work thoroughly. I doubt very much that the surgical implant theory is real - when you think about the difficulties presented, it doesn't make sense. But, if the story was put about that it could be done, would it be used to go for much heavier radiation from the scanners? How else are they going to be able to check that a bulge or lump isn't a threat?

Like much of the anti-terror legislation and practices of the past few years, the real application of this would lie in the prevention of drug and other smuggling, just as fingerprinting, photo and retinal scanning, and RFID passports have much more to with immigration factors.

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Posted in: UK's News of the World bids farewell to readers See in context

Actually, Molenir, one of Murdoch's best-known traits is his hands-on involvement with his media; he reads all of his papers every day, for example, and is in constant contact with his managers and editors. But even if this wasn't the case, and he confined himself to looking over the accounts, he would have known about what was going on at the News of the World a long time ago. In 2008, for example, James Murdoch (son) approved a payment of 700,000 UKP hush money to one victim of the phone hacking. Rupert might have noticed that, or the massive payments being made to dodgy private agents, or the payments being made (totally illegally) to serving police officers. These outrages have been going on for many years, just reaching a public tipping point in the last week, and it is in your words "ludicrous" and "idiotic" to suggest that the boss wasn't aware of it.

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Posted in: UK's News of the World bids farewell to readers See in context

Des, News International will publish The Sun on Sunday within two weeks at most. They have been planning this for a while, so it's just a little earlier than they expected.

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Posted in: If I had a hammer See in context

The delay between US/Euro release of this movie isn't so bad compared to many films that take over a year to get a big screen promotion. (By which time the DVD has been available for ages.) Annoying, but then this, as Hyman Roth declared, is the life we chose.

What I don't like is that on its opening weekend, and possibly for the entirety of its show in Japan, Thor is only viewable in 3D. Fine for themz who like it, but I would much prefer the 2D alternative which has been available everywhere else.

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Posted in: Hundreds of thousands strike in UK over pension cuts See in context

Seems like teachers and health care workers in the UK don't get it. Even though they have devoted their working lives to areas with relatively low pay but reasonable benefit provision, they seem to think that having contributed to pension funds that gives them some kind of right to expect the money to come back to them later. Don't they realize how important it is that the government spend large portions of the national budget on shoring up hedge fund brokers, investment bankers, and other gamblers? Teachers, nurses, and other state employees should be happy to see their retirement plans going towards rescuing the unfortunate bad luck of the "wealth creators".

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Posted in: Driver forces way through ETC barrier over 1,000 times See in context

Nope. Doesn't compute. If you have a car in Japan, you have to have it registered with your address, parking space, license details etc. So any vehicle that goes through a payment barrier must be recorded, and the owner/insurer of that vehicle must be identifiable. OK, maybe this guy took unlicensed vehicles through the barrier a few times; but over a thousand? Unless ... there are hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of unlicensed vehicles in Japan, which, if you think about it, would be quite scary.

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Posted in: Wenger to assess Miyaichi for spot in Arsenal team See in context

USN - yep, that is basically it. EU players can play anywhere in the EU, so a lot of non-EU players who have a grandparent born in an EU country get dual nationality - a lot of South American players in Europe use this rule. Otherwise the club can appeal - sometimes approved but sometimes not.

I hope Miyaichi does get it. I don't understand anyone dissing Wenger. In his time Arsenal have been a major team, and have also played really good football. Miyaichi would be training, and playing at reserve level, with a seriously high quality of team-mates. Exactly the conditions to improve both his own play and the level of the Japan national side.

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Posted in: Pope beatifies John Paul before 1.5 million faithful See in context

Mugabe, and Berlusconi. Could it get any more beatific?

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Posted in: Tsunami causes delay to 'Avatar' sequel See in context

Sarge, if you have a really big screen at home, you might find the CGI impressive - if you like that kind of thing.

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Posted in: Kan says Japan will remain on 'maximum alert' to deal with crisis See in context

I think many of us have been feeling quite alert for the last couple of weeks. But it is good to welcome Mr Kan back from his hibernation.

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Posted in: Mizuho says quake donations crippled ATMs See in context

northlondon is absolutely right - the Mizuho problems were definitely occurring on Tuesday 15, payday for a lot of people. It was reported at the time - sorry can't find the link, but I do recall this - that the problem was put down to too many withdrawals of large amounts of cash.

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Posted in: U.S. weighs response to Somali pirates' hijacking of yacht with 4 Americans See in context

They must have many bibles to hand out to their captors. Perhaps in the long months of captivity that lie ahead they could read through some of the more pertinent parables and discuss them with the pirates. I think there may be episodes from the life of Saint Paul and other apostles that will be very appropriate in the circumstances. Who knows, but it could be an illuminating experience for all concerned.

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Posted in: Apple leads mobile computer market See in context

Maybe "Download Manager" is part of some email client software? Depending on your browser and/or email client settings, downloads are going to be handled differently. It might not be too bad an idea to have a number of steps, so long as you can handle them reasonably quickly. I wouldn't want an email client that downloaded files too easily. Jeff's experience just sounds like being totally unfamiliar with the OS and applications. Generally, I think most Mac stuff can be learned really quickly. In my experience it takes at least twice as long to work out how to do something on Windows as it does on Mac OS, and that includes asking people who use Windows all the time.

But I doubt that operating systems mean that much to most users; rather, it's about the hardware - durability, flexibility, battery life, connectivity, style. So, it's not comparing Mac OS with Windows so much as comparing Macbook, or iMac, with HP, Sony, Toshiba, etc. I would reckon more consumers see that the little bit you pay more for the shiny Mac machine is more than worth it for the speed and life span.

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Posted in: Scientists connect global warming to extreme rain See in context

Sam, you have a good memory, but really, OMNI? Proprietor Bob Guccione? Not really a scientific journal, was it? There were a few scare stories in the 70s in the popular press, picked up from a few conference papers - but even then, the majority scientific belief was in warming, and everything since then has supported that theory. And now we are beginning to see that the theory is not a hypothesis, but is supported by all the available evidence. Being a skeptic is fine, but sticking your head in the sand might not be such a good idea.

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Posted in: What are some of the worst movies you saw this year? See in context

A lot of the "big" movies - eg Inception, Hurt Locker - started off quite well, but became boring and lame by halfway through. Definitely the worst was Avatar; mind-numbingly stupid from the start. I would definitely second DentShop's picks for good movies, but I don't think any of them have had cinematic release in Japan.

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Posted in: European weather chaos spawns outrage, questions See in context

In times of economic stringency, extreme weather episodes are going to be difficult to deal with; the only thing to do is just get on with it. Neither the companies who operate transportation, nor the governments are going to have instant access to equipment, supplies, or back up transport to cover events that might only occur for a few days every few years. Quite clearly, from this report and from all other news reports, the recent weather has hit a lot of areas in Western Europe, including Germany, France, Holland, Ireland, as well as Britain. Nevertheless, as seen in this report, and in some of the comments, there is a tendency from some North Americans (thankfully a small, though vociferous minority) to moan about "third world" any time they come across a problem in a foreign country. I guess it comes from a combination of lack of international experience and a rather vicious inferiority complex.

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Posted in: Scanners and pat-downs upset airline passengers in U.S. See in context

Ironically, the "enhanced" (intimate) pat down is the only efficient way of detecting the kind of materials that a potential bomber might use. Other than even more intimate, internal probing, this is as efficient as it gets. But, even more ironically, it is not being used for that. It is being used to punish people who don't want, or who don't want their kids, to go through the useless scanner.

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Posted in: Scanners and pat-downs upset airline passengers in U.S. See in context

There seems to be some fundamental misunderstanding here. The TSA does not, so far as I know, operate outside of US airports, so it is not going to prevent terrorists getting on planes and flying to America. Of course, most other countries that have direct flights are already implementing the scanners, useless though they are. But the new directives about intimate searching are a special treat for travelers boarding internal and external flights within the US. I guess that the TSA are worried that too many people are going to refuse the scan, thus holding up the line, and so they are making the alternative as uncomfortable and undignified as possible.

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Posted in: Scanners and pat-downs upset airline passengers in U.S. See in context

I have seen reports which suggest that the scanning may not be working all that well; apparently it doesn't like pleats or thick clothing, such as sweaters. If there is a problem with the scan, then you get the pat down as well. Only "pat down" is not an accurate description anymore; touch up and grope is more like it. Enjoy!

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Posted in: 'Deathly Hallows' will leave fans eager for finale See in context

If you haven't got kids who are going to force you to go see it with them, I don't see what anyone has to complain about. If it isn't your thing, leave it be.

But I wonder how long it will survive, compared say with Tolkien. It seems to me that kids get into Harry Potter obsessively, and then grow out of it pretty quick, and once they are out of it, have no interest in further books or films.

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Posted in: Facebook founder's story no longer his alone See in context

Not on Facebook, and no intention of joining (I'll wait for the next wave now); but I would like to see this movie. Sorkin is a great writer of dialogue, and I think Fincher is a very interesting director. I would actually like to see it in the cinema, but by January 15 I have no doubt it will be available on DVD. Why does it take so long to open most movies in Japan?

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Posted in: U.S. military says 77,000 Iraqis killed over 5 years See in context

Statistics like this, as Smith says, depend on who is doing the counting, what they count and how they count it. Figures on the number of people directly killed vary according to different sources, but seem to be somewhere around 100,000 or a little lower. The really massive figures come from studies published some years ago in The Lancet, which counted the number of excess deaths; ie, not just people directly killed, but also those who died from other causes such as malnutrition, lack of medical care, spread of disease, and other factors associated with the invasion and subsequent insurgency. It's the same method used for estimating the total casualties from earthquakes and floods. At the time of publication the Lancet studies met with incredulity from commentators. But nobody, so far as I know, has seriously disproved either the methodology or shown that the estimates (about 650,000 excess deaths, I think) were wrong.

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Posted in: Johnny Depp, in pirate costume, visits UK school See in context

He seems to be a genuinely nice bloke. It's a pity about the Pirates movies, which after the first one have been abysmal. On Stranger Tides is a very good novel, so let's hope the next one will be better.

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Posted in: Prince Harry Taliban hostage film sparks outrage in UK See in context

all the crap movies Hollywood has made since 2003, in which US and coalition soldiers are all psychotics and thugs, and Al Qaeda and their supporters are portrayed as virtuous defenders of their exotic faith and traditions.

Tim, those movies sound interesting - can you name one?

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