Japan Today

browny1 comments

Posted in: Near-complete Tokyo condo to be demolished for spoiling Mount Fuji view See in context

桜川雪 -

Thanks for your reply.

I agree with some aspects of your comments.

However the articles case is not a case of nimbyism. It's a result of seemingly haphazard zoning laws resulting in the building being in an inappropriate position. If the building was in the same area but in a less than confronting site, perhaps little would have been said.

But this all goes further than that. People have rights to use their land as they wish, but the community also have rights. If one lives in an urban environment for example, the land uses impact upon the neighbouring areas should be taken into account imo.

Zoning laws exist all over the world for the protection of both urban and rural environments. I'm all for a mixed land use within sensible reasoning without detracting from or destroying the current situation.

Case in point - my friends house. 5 years ago my city sold a large plot of govt land opposite a school and in a 100% residential area with a sprinkling of small businesses. The buyers levelled a smaller building, cleared some adjoining blocks and built a funeral home surrounded by acres of asphalt parking. No resident was ever consulted for their opinions. It's impacted on the value of their properties and is another ill planned option. Funeral homes are necessary. We all will die. But this one located in such a place just 1.5 kms from downtown could just as easily been built on more suitable land not so far away. Some people think collusion was involved but we don't know.

But the critical point is - people are a part of a wider community and while they have the right for determining land use, their rights should not be to the detriment of others. Re - telling me what I can do with my property. Well yes. If you want to do whatever on your property you'd better move to an isolated place.

It can be complicated.

In most cases I've seen in my home country Australia - which has strict zoning laws - I and most, don't see it as some Big Brother Govt Inc crushing rights, but rather as a means to keep and create a harmonious living environment for hte majority.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Near-complete Tokyo condo to be demolished for spoiling Mount Fuji view See in context

Some places are stricter than others, but Weak zoning laws prevail nation wide.

In my city some historical sights and areas have been blighted by ugly apartment and other building constructions.

The "It's my land I can do what-ever I want" appears to still be the general rule.

Exceptions exist, but they are in the minority.

And it's interesting that the concept of Shakkei 借景 - borrowed scenery - has been an important part of Japanese architectural design esp of gardens for centuries.

The idea of distant vistas being incorporated into the design - not as a pretty view - but as an integral component of the atmosphere, has been lauded by designers world wide.

Sadly holding onto traditions only suit when banging a we are exceptional drum, but quickly discarded when Inc is involved.

Glad that this building will go but what an easily avoidable chaos and turmoil has been created for no doubt hundreds of people.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Doctor at scene of Akihabara mass killing recalls pain of lives lost See in context

This and the school stabbings in Ikeda Osaka, both on June 8th, were horrific at the time and still resonate years on.

Such cruel mass killings really changed the social-scape in Japan. The earlier Sarin gas attacks in Tokyo were thought to be a never to be repeated act of mass civil violence and murder.

All perpetrators are now executed. Their deaths did not bring back those killed or surely never deterred further murders.

I would have liked to see them spend their days in strict confinement until death, hopefully after decades of reflecting on their actions.

Execution was the easy way out.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Doctor convicted over girl's death in high-speed driving crash See in context

If the kei driver saw the speeding car at say 50 meters away, then that's plenty of distance to safely turn.

If the speeding car was travelling at the speed limit of 50 km/h then it would take 3.6 sec to arrive, allowing sufficient time for the kei car to safely turn.

As the speeding car was travelling at 120 km/h that same 50 meters would only take 1.5 secs to meet the kei car.

As all drivers know, there is a vast difference in what a few seconds means.

This happened to me years ago when I turned in front of a motorbike that was yonks away but travelling at hyper-speed and reached me in a wink of an eye, Thankfully he was skilled / lucky enough to go around me, avoiding a horror story.

I'm not a slow driver but that freaked the beejeeezus outa me.

I can understand how the articles incident could have easily happened at such speeds on local roads.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to replace cedars with low-pollen trees to tackle hay fever See in context

Surprised.

As this is not a new topic at all, I thought this was started years ago - truly.

The sands of time sometimes get blocked.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: 59-year-old woman arrested over theft of ¥120 from shrine donation box See in context

Same old, Same old.

A woman is arrested for the theft of pittance, yet I've yet to see arrests in major political fund scandals involving ¥millions of the main perpetrators.

I think she should go the way of a deep bow, preferably 90 degrees held for 30 secs, with the standard "I shall seek the understanding of the people".

That always works.

And as a religious man of the community, perhaps the Shrine official could have used his wisdom and found another way to mitigate the situation.

-5 ( +15 / -20 )

Posted in: 46% in Japan have issues interacting with foreign co-workers: survey See in context

As many indicated, I suspect not following/understanding the cultural norms expected in a work-place environment may be the greatest "misunderstanding".

This of course incorporates language skills - but the How, When, Where, Why way of doing things sticks out imo.

2 anecdotes - yeah I know- just stories, but....!

European friend a research medical doctor with ok Japanese refused to play the out-of-hours social games ie nomikai, weekend trips, golf days etc. Initially he did, but then thought he'd rather spend his free time with his wife who was home alone. Resulted in a severe dressing down and semi-ostracism by his superiors. Not a team man.

My close friend of a few years back - Chinese national very competent in Japanese, working for a medium size housing construction company in the office. He was computer savvy light years ahead of his co-workers. Developed a program to manage, coordinate all accounting procedures in the office to simplify and regulate daily procedures. Almost lost his job over that because a) who gave you permission to do that in work time (he could finish his daily work in a few hours); b) you are a junior in our company (altho holding a MEc and being IT smart); c) we work as a team together, not for ourselves (altho he created the software for the benefit of the team).

Tons of other stories and many involve Japanese - Japanese conflicts. My own wife - Japanese - has unfortunately experienced first hand some of the same "problems" as in the article - difficulty in communication. misunderstandings, mistakes etc.

A common thread in all of them is the rigidity of the workplace "rules" - written, spoken or unwritten, unspoken which doesn't allow for alternative ways, manners, thinking as a matter of course.

And I'm talking about positive ways here, not destructive.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Maybe it’s high time 'majime' Japan turned 'wagamama' (Part 2) See in context

The sentiments are interesting.

Actually I find Wagamama surfing a crest at the moment.

Outside of one's own group(s) , I've noticed "me" as in "I do whatever I want regardless of others" has been noticeably increasing over the years.

I differentiate this from a more solidly based independence or individualism, which also is increasing.

Wagamama types can also be found "in-groups" which can have devastating results.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Yuka Saso wins another U.S. Women's Open See in context

That was a charge home.

The top 3 - Minjee, Wichanee & Andrea lost their way with victory in sight.

Interesting how Asian/Asian connected women dominate the sport.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Six-year-old Japanese girl is school’s one and only first-grader as lack-of-kids shutdown ends See in context

Kazuaki - interesting points about kids walking and getting opportunities to do things independently.

I don't disagree with that.

But I fail to see how busing a handful of kids to a larger school - with all of it's offerings - deprives children of such opportunities.

I'm sure the few kids in the village have way more independence and chances to learn, integrate, develop in an environment that would be denied to most city kids.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Six-year-old Japanese girl is school’s one and only first-grader as lack-of-kids shutdown ends See in context

A nice story about the little girl and people's efforts to revive the school.

However, as others alluded to, it seems a huge waste of resources and perhaps a small bus shuttle service around the district, going to a centralized location would be better.

The social benefits for the children would be greater as would the designated school with a concentration of resources.

Looking at the photo of the school building, I can't help but think how desolate it must be for a handful of kids.

Just maintaining it as a safe environment alone must be costly.

100s of small towns/districts across the country will never be as they once were. Some very rare cases are successful, but in the main, society has to re-organize, re-invent and re-strategize for the coming century.

And this will mean many little village schools will not be viable.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Posted in: Osaka in tears after epic Swiatek defeat but admits: 'I've felt worse' See in context

BigP - what might those home truths be?

Serious question.

10 months ago she gave birth to her daughter.

Prior to her pregnancy, she'd certainly been troubled physically, emotionally, mentally and was off the page.

Can't see with her return to the world tour, seemingly fresher and brighter than in a long time and taking the world # 1 to match point, what home truths she needs to be told.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan constructs world's 1st wooden satellite See in context

Thanks to all for the responses to my query re woods durability in space.

My questioning was based on an image I had of cosmic radiation bombardment etc.

But on a quick check it seems like the research has been going along quite positively.

I was surprised that wood was first used in the NASA Ranger moon missions of the 1960s.

And even more surprised that the Chinese used wood - white oak - as a re-entry shield on satellites in the 1970s. It charred on re-entry thereby protecting the satellite.

So wood in space is not a new idea. Learn something everyday.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Toyota, Mazda, Subaru to develop new engines in hybrid push See in context

For the foreseeable future - a transition period to EVs - PHEVs make most sense.

A car that for all daily intents and purposes only uses electricity, particularly in the most polluted environments - cities, and can switch smoothly to a small hi-tech ICE if needed, esp for trips.

The technology exists now and is developing as the article states, for incredibly fuel efficient engines compact in size and powerful in performance.

The total environmental footprint of such vehicles would be very low, and allow for a smoother more practical move to totally electric in the future - say in 30+years.

But with laws already in place in some places, this option seems to be already discarded - unfortunately.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan constructs world's 1st wooden satellite See in context

Credit due for thinking outside the "box".

Certainly some merits.

But the overall durability of a wooden structure in space is perhaps of paramount concern.

Scaled up to a large modern/future working satellite with large areas of exposed wood, the question is how long will it last?

Good that they are testing - that's what science is about, but I doubt if wood in it's current state ie unmodified, will fill a niche in the satellite market.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Posted in: 88-year-old man with dementia arrested over death of 84-year-old wife See in context

The very elderly taking care of the very elderly with dementia.

We don't know what support - family or social services - were present in their daily lives, but must be untold numbers out there doing it hard.

Sad situation.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Shrine honors cats at Japan island where they outnumber humans See in context

WiseOne - yes Rabbit Island is an interesting place, although overshadowed by it's dark history of chemical weapons production.

More than likely that some of today's rabbits are descendants from the war era test bunnies.

Cat Island's history is much more likeable.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Shrine honors cats at Japan island where they outnumber humans See in context

Stray cats outnumber humans in my neighbourhood - 15 to 12.

Those 15 congregate across the road, fed by the house owner (who denies feeding them) and never takes care of their health.

Stretch to a wider 500+m radius and the number is much greater, probably still out numbering people.

Funny how no crowds flock here to see the cats. Maybe I should open a weekend ice cream stand out front.

On a more serious note, my areas cats are often in terrible condition reflecting their tough existence.

Hope the Tashirojima cats are well looked after.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: 2-year-old girl dies after her neck gets stuck in car window See in context

Sadly still so common here.

I've mentioned before - an "elite" kindergarten next to the high school I teach at, has parents picking up their kids daily. The staff help the kids into the cars and many sit in a child seat with no buckling up. I've watched countless numbers over the years drive off with the kids unbuckled.

Some even sit in the front seats - in a child seat or with a booster - a practice which is not only illegal, but especially dangerous for 3 ~ 6 year olds. And yes - some of these little kids don't have a belt on.

The duty of care by both the parent and staff is woefully neglectful in such cases.

Some countries would see them fined large sums, but here it's only a problem - if at all - after the fact ie a tragedy like stated in the article.

Mind boggling.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Record 19.1 million int'l passengers used Haneda airport in FY2023 See in context

And amazing to think that years ago when the idea of Haneda expanding deep into the international market was brought up, the powers to be that controlled Narita were dead set against.

They didn't want to see their "We are the capitals International gateway" challenged in any way.

Common sense prevailed. Imagine Narita way out there coping with another 20 million a year.

Haneda has it way over Narita - unless of course you live near there.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Death penalty sought again in retrial of 88-year-old man acquitted of 1966 murders See in context

Prosecutors case is weak.

The primary evidence - the blood stained clothing with stark red stains and material still light after 1 year in a miso tank - is obviously fabricated. Just looking again at the clothing on news last night, science will support the defense claim that this is all nonsense.

And the articles are way, way oversize for a man of Hakamada's build.

In fact, if this matter wasn't so serious - the incarceration and hanging of a man - then you'd be inclined to believe it's a somewhat dark Monty Python clip.

Just give it up prosecutors and humbly admit that the police/judiciary of 2 generations ago not only got it wrong - but did wrong.

To blindly follow some broken allegiance to "the cause" is a blot on the sensibilities of all.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan's new whaling factory ship sets sail on first hunt See in context

"These days, Japan relies on imports for everything," he said, so "it's a good idea to catch whales so that we can supply our own food".

This argument is often touted. Protein supply sustainability in a volatile international trade market.

But Japan has millions of tons of available protein running around the country in the form of Boar - pork and Deer - venison.

Devoting the same ¥billions towards sustainable management and harvesting of these resources would benefit the environment, the local economies and reduce an ever increasing danger to people.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Posted in: 'Mad Max' tears through Cannes with frenetic 'Furiosa' See in context

Thanks Toblerone.

If he gets the nod, then he's certainly a genius of the action genre.

Are you saying his being a genius is dependent on winning that silly, now-empty, prize?

Actually the nod I was implying would be the nod given by millions of folks who pay to enjoy the movie guaranteeing it's success.

And Miller could then be seen as a genius of the game by squeezing out more from what many have probably thought of as a done-to-death worn out trope - that is the dystopian buckle-up high octane adrenalin road chase for another spin, albeit with a slightly different edge - maybe.

So if it's the Big Hit many think it may well be - well Mr Miller will no doubt receive a lot of accolades.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Court rejects lawsuit to block restart of west Japan nuclear reactor See in context

It's actually only a few kms from downtown over a hill.

Kind of crazy to have located it there all those years ago.

Wonder what was going through the minds of all concerned - Govt, Chugoku Electric Power, Designers and Construction companies - at that time.

Like, the Shimane Japan Sea coast is sparsely populated, so why would you build in the most populated area in the capital?

I've been to Matsue many times - a lovely regional city - and to the Power Plant site once and can never figure it out.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Posted in: 'Mad Max' tears through Cannes with frenetic 'Furiosa' See in context

Saw an interview this week with Anya & Hemsworth. A funny, articulate likeable pair.

And yes - she did much of her driving/riding herself - learning on the job so as to speak, to the point where she can do skillful dangerous acts, but hasn't got a license.

She also said that the stunt men and women were just the greatest, not only for their stunt skills but great people.

I want to see this movie for a variety of reasons but esp to see how Miller has kept the ball rolling on a theme with limited expanse.

If he gets the nod, then he's certainly a genius of the action genre.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Police appeal for help over unsolved 2000 murder of 17-year-old boy See in context

DDK - thanks for posting the link.

This story of a senior police connection has been put out before, but the you tube clip clarifies many small details.

Something rotten in the state of Ibaraki.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: 'Foreign travelers are Japan’s guests' – Governor against charging tourists more than locals See in context

It's called O-MO-TE-NA-SHI.

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

Posted in: Japan city councilor quits over harassment of Australian mayor's daughter See in context

Shadows - the newscasters were noticeably "Geeezzz -".

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: Supporting ‘democracy’ is hard for many who feel government and the economy are failing them See in context

As a casual observer of American politics, one big mystery (failing imo) of the electoral process, is the insane amount of time and money spent on getting elected.

At least the last 2 years of the incumbent govt is spent wooing, promising, raising money and campaigning, while the opposition candidates spend a full 4 years doing so.

Yes - of course they also do some work for their constituencies. but the colossal waste of time, manpower and $billions could never have been imagined by the constitutions framers.

Add to that the Populist, Commercial and Political sideshow event that the election has become - and not just recently - and one wonders if this can be sustained in the foreseeable future.

All democracies play these games - but the US has taken it to dizzying heights.

Why do American citizens need years, months, weeks down to the last day to have full frontal propaganda from all sides stuck in their faces.

Can't the democratic process work with an intense period of informed debate for say, 1 or 2 months out?

Do Americans require being bashed over the head with the same rhetoric again and again and again ad nauseum to be able to make a rational decision?

Just mystifies the hell outa me.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan city councilor quits over harassment of Australian mayor's daughter See in context

News Station covered this a few days back.

Watching the video there is nothing but condemnation for Nagata.

The newscasters were of the same opinion - like wtf.

In all situations the act - as nandakanda stated mike to the crotch - is disgusting, but to foreign dignitaries celebrating a harmonious sister city relationship - well you just gotta shake your head in utter disbelief.

In most other modern democracies this guys public career would have ended that day.

Goodbye, Good riddance with no golden handshake.

To move forward the still lagging Japan companies & Govt agencies just have to sweep clean the deadwood and detritus still clogging up the system.

Lots of keen, bright 21stC thinking young people in Japan. Time for a massive takeover.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

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