Bryan E Hall comments

Posted in: Why you shouldn’t learn Japanese See in context

Wow, at least your bottom line was correct. It is insane to waste that much time for a language you will use for one year and that is assuming you live here, on average. That is one expensive hobby for almost no benefit. The idea that you should learn Japanese to "understand the culture" is intellectually insulting, as a linguist can easily understand the philosophies behind the language better even than the Japanese people themselves. Other than elite students at national universities have ever read Confucius or the Dhammapada much less have they read about Zen with any zeal beyond the ritual practice for show. I have yet to meet one who was capable of discussing Mishima or Kawabata with any depth. And they look at you with a blank stare if you mention the Kyoto School regarding "nothingness". When I ask why a foreigner should learn Japanese, they almost all say, "because you are in Japan" as if this is the only country you will ever work in professionally. They are well aware and embarrassed that you studied Japanese zero years and speak it better than most of them speak English after minimum of 6 years of "dread" studying English.

SO basically, they are saying the only reason to study Japanese is because they refuse to speak English, despite a minimum of 6 years of English study. Good luck with that. Sounds like a cute hobby rather than an actual need for anyone other than foreigners who will marry in Japan and live there immediately after college. Because, you clearly will never need it outside Japan and shouldn't need it inside Japan if the Japanese would truly prepare for the global economy. And even if you marry someone who is Japanese, they likely speak English better than you will ever speak Japanese, and on average will end in divorce within 5 years. But at least you will be able to speak to her mother.

it seems also, that the author (s) have little understanding of how truly bad the English in Japan really is, outside of Tokyo. Face it, in speaking and listening Japan scores the same or worse than Amazonian and African aboriginals, according to the most recent report of TOEFL scores; and those are people who take that test specifically because they want to go abroad for university study. It is an English crisis in Japan for the ability to compete for business allies.

Imagine how many people would come to Japan for hospital care or even general university study if only Doctors and nurses and professors actually spoke the international language they studied on average actually ten years as opposed to the general population. Any Japanese professor who actually does speak English and has taught in an English country can tell you Japanese students just sit there and say nothing by comparison to the enthusiastic gab they saw in American classes for example. And that is in normal subjects. The English classroom is virtually silent.

It was refreshing to at least see one editorial that told the truth, that learning Japanese is a waste, but left the reader with the impression that somehow they will have no problem finding enough English in Japan. They will not. But then again, maybe I and every other long term American resident of Japan are "just anecdotal". Not.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Why are Japanese so bad at English? See in context

Not to be too gloomy; but face it, Japanese people don't change anything until disaster forces it. And even then, they may simply sit in water as it comes to a boil and still not jump out, much like frogs. Their cultural value for accepting even the worst circumstance, is well known.

The Emperor Hirohito even famously replied to a demand for surrender when it was clear Japans defeat was just around the corner, "I will sit and think about it until I understand it" . The Japanese word for surrender supposedly had something to do with sitting on a mountain and doing nothing. That is the royal approach, while the workers approach is, be quiet and hope the Sempai eventually stops yelling at you. And I will at least survive (but they didn't).

People in Japan, who are among the poorest critical thinkers in the world can still get a job paying 50K/yr if they just kill time and show up. At the moment, that does not require English, so it doesn't seem like a necessity, And it never occurs to the individual how the long term macroecon works. By the time it becomes evident they will lose their jobs and high pay, it will be past the tipping point and too late to ever catch up.

Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, INdonesia and Malaysia (not to mention China) are set to expand economically and linguistically and already are preferable trading partners for those who actually want to communicate and be satisfied customers. Face it, too much trouble to deal with Japanese poor English and their laughable social codes. Business looks forward to the first opportunity to replace the Japanese as partners; no such thing as loyalty, when it isn't profitable and no fun to fail at communicating.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Angry scenes as TEPCO shareholders demand end to nuclear power See in context

Zichi, yes, France and Germany responsibly shut down a few reactors of similar design to check for safety problems and to upgrade measures if necessary. Exactly what Japan needed to do. Panic is never productive; people get trampled unnecessarily including a majority of Japanese people who have savings. All of your investments suffer from panic. And it did nothing to increase safety. TEPCO is highly undervalued currently, and frankly its market cap is half what it logically should be.

Instead of emotionally freaking out, why don't we do what experts agree on instead of what a majority of idiots think and FEEL. We do not manage nuclear policy as an extension of democratic vote, and we shouldn't. Some things the people simply don't and never will understand. Or do you actually think your health improves when Japan uses coal instead, or spend tens times the cost per watt for other methods and fails to prevent a single death due to panic reactions to the public outcries. If we reacted similarly to all panics, the speed limit would be 40 kph on highways. Hey, that would save lives. Fact, hundreds per year. Meanwhile, not a single protest group can link any public deaths to radiation. And very few have died who worked directly inside the Fukushima facility. Try logic, it works.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: Angry scenes as TEPCO shareholders demand end to nuclear power See in context

The fact is, Japan has no natural fossil energy resources. And has failed to do what is necessary to gain energy independence, mostly due to US pressures. One, I hope people can be rational and stop the TEPCO bashing when the problem is and always has been much like a basketball game without a referee. Of course, businesses cut corners when they can, all business.

This is why all nukes should be nationalized and yes, used with the highest standard of safety as does France and Germany. The competitive disadvantage it puts Japan at, makes it simply an unacceptable option to immediately eliminate nukes from the mix. But, there should be a clear and definitive plan to do so within 10 years, with commitments to geothermal, wind solar and wave energy. It is just a matter of manhours. The rest is sand, steel and cement. Saying we don't have enough money to do what is necessary, is like saying we don't have enough inches on a yardstick for a meter. It is paper, and the reality is we have the resources and manpower to make it happen and hopefully the patience to deal responsibly with the energy generation mix in the meantime, without sending Japan into an economic death spiral by overreacting.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Posted in: Ever since Tokyo Olympic bid ambassador Christel Takigawa used the word "omotenashi" - a term expressing the spirit of Japanese selfless hospitality - in her speech to the IOC last week, it has become See in context

Personally, I am embarrassed for most Japanese people using supplication as a basis for customer service, rather than a true enjoyment of helping your customers. And frankly, the result of "Omotenashi" is not always good service; but it is streamlined and efficient delivery of above average product/service to people at a reasonable price. It is "maa-maa" Personally, I prefer "Burger King"... Have it your way! Where I can literally put pickles on my french fries if I like. And no one will remind me that it is not available, despite the fact they have tons of pickles and french fries.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: 79 U.S. sailors sue TEPCO over radiation during Operation Tomodachi See in context

Seriously, this is such a stereotypical circumstance for the the litigious US who teaches people to take no responsibility for their own actions. The sailors can't sue the real idiots who went by a nuclear power plant that was known to be damaged at the time without having radiation detection of their own? Radiation may be invisible, but it is detectable and I think a US Navy AC Carrier has at least one such device. Meanwhile, this is a reminder that the Japanese government needs to take responsibility for its negligence in overseeing the plants. They need to isolate Fukushima and form a separate liability Corporation, so TEPCO can move forward.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese firms want Abe to cool it on China See in context

All corporations care about is profit, even at the expense of suffering and unsustainability. Imagine if we are approaching an irreversible destruction of the environment now, what the effect of 800 million American style consumers added to the current economy. Yes, great for corporations, terrible for the rest of us. Someone needs to point out the truth, that China has fed its people a lie in order to make other rich; the "carrot at the end of the stick", except, there is no carrot and cannot be one. It is cruel. Abe sees that Japan must prepare for the future for his nation (not the world) and he sees that Japan has few resources. Japan needs to feel free to develop Senkaku and the ocean bottom assets that will fuel Japans future, and stand firm on preventing China from becoming the dystopian nightmare that will destroy itself and others.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan's tallest building opens in Osaka See in context

Big surprise: another double sideways Kleenex box becomes the tallest building in Japan. Only a committee could think this design was worthy of being built. Congratulations to boring!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: TEPCO says 100 tons of tainted water leaked at Fukushima See in context

OK, just one question: Why would anyone get away with call this a "leak"? That infers water getting out without you knowing. Simply, they chose to release it or they chose to ignore it. Both are criminal actions. What doe it take to put someone in jail?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: China concerned at Japan holding weapons-grade plutonium See in context

Japan has been ready to simply attach warheads to delivery vehicles for years; and their Nuclear stockpiles are much larger than official records would indicate. China should not pretend this is something new, as if they just found out about it. And certainly China should not presume to be warning us when they are far more likely than japan to be a real threat to the world with their looming bubble. I mean, after the bubble, who will have the most incentive to use military instead of the money they no longer have?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: U.S. to jail Japanese auto execs over price-fixing See in context

That is just too sweet! As if that were possible in Japan. Most Japanese actually don't realize they pay more for products made in Japan than Americans do. Price fixing here is shameful and makes Japanese government and corporations look like the Yakuza.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

Posted in: Abe defends dolphin hunting See in context

I have no idea what was in ABe's head. Why weigh in on this at all? Unless he just enjoys rubbing salt in the emotional wounds of those who respect all intelligent beings. But at least, he noticed it, which is more than I can say for most Japanese who say they were not even aware such things happened.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Posted in: ANA apologizes over racial stereotyping in new TV commercial See in context

Perhaps people need to focus on something real, like foreigners being discriminated against for being more qualified than their Japanese supervisors; yet paid less and getting no bonuses or job guarantees. The immaturity of the ad is clear, but I just don't see the racism. It doesn't connect the act in any way to foreigners; and frankly I know several Japanese people who have big noses and blonde hair; it is surreal, people. If you are not Japanese, you just don't get it. Welcome to the world of not understanding native humor. But harm? Please, do you watch American advertizing?

2 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: India, Japan pledge stronger defense ties See in context

Seemingly subtle, this indicates a clear alliance of India and Japan against China in a potential coming war. Such public meetings, statements and associations are never anything less than a loud message as to one's intentions. For the two parties to even mention that China is a purpose for such alliance, is perhaps a new chink in the armor of the BRICS economic alliance. It should be interesting to see if and how, China reacts.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: ANA apologizes over racial stereotyping in new TV commercial See in context

It is absurd to call that a racist commercial. it is silly at worst surreal comedy at best. There is absolutely no mention of foreigners or any a race at all in the ad. If someone is so sensitive as to assume the fat and that was about them, they should probably boycott Japan and leave on the first flight available from of course, a different airline.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: Abe's shrine visit raises risk of conflict, analysts say See in context

I must agree, Abe was well aware of the perceptions; and made no attempt to visit the Shrine privately as he suggested. It was a public statement. Clearly, he and his ilk have decided the time has come to tell China there will never be 1.6 billion Chinese "US style consumers" living the high life. And that Japan, as an island nation, will simply demand the necessary resources to survive and prevent the growth of enemies. It is only natural, and they should simply admit it, and get on with it.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Posted in: Japanese watch Abe's Yasukuni shrine visit with mixed feelings See in context

I will never get the failure of anyone to understand the respect for the dead, war dead or otherwise; and the respect for the honorable intentions of men who died truly believing they were doing the right thing. Is this not a universally noble idea? If we buried the Shrine and never spoke of it again, would the Koreans and Chinese applaud for more than a moment? Or would they insultingly say, "I told you so".

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan eyes revision of U.S.-Japan Status of Forces Agreement See in context

This article is terrible. It says absolutely nothing except they want to change it; not one detail about how they want to change it. Is this news? The comments are more news that the article itself.

Moderator: This is because the Japanese government hasn't said what they want to change.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: 80% of 'black companies' guilty of illegal business practices, survey finds See in context

So, they just investigated the ones "suspected" already, and they found they were right about 80%; so Japanese to only investigate crime when the results will make it look like they did a thorough job, while business in general in Japan does these things and nothing is done about it. Here's a suggestion, ask people confidentially at every major company if they work more than they are paid for. God, I hate Tatemae, how about a little truth for once.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Kerry says U.S. backs Japan's military buildup See in context

Of course, more money for the US Military Industrial Complex ($250 Billion) and why would Kerry bother to read the Japanese constitution?

6 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to buy stealth fighters, drones and submarines See in context

Just a frame of reference: $250 billion is more than 3 years war budget for the US (the biggest military in the world) Does anyone even care that there was massive popular support of Article 9 after WW2 (War Renunciation). It would be too obvious for me to point out the legal issue or even the indication of eminent war it represents. How about this: Is there anything the Japanese people will outright reject or is Abe free to create a new fascist regime without serious opposition?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: Education ministry proposes radical English education reform See in context

Additionally, 2020, who are they kidding? With the current budget redirected to teaching systems that work, we can get results now! Or Japan will already be lightyears behind the global counterparts.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Education ministry proposes radical English education reform See in context

Certainly, this is an improvement; and assuming native teachers are given the necessary autonomy to actually teach instead of pretending to, while the Japanese teacher who often cannot even speak, organizes "one word a day" classes. As a professional educator, I welcome the additional funding for schools, and the additional market pressure for private instruction, but it could just be a huge waste of money if the teachers unions do not allow incompetent teachers to be removed from the English classroom. I'm sure they can find something they can do well. Frankly, knowing what I do of the public schools, I'd prefer the government to provide goals and standards and let the native private schools take over. If I had half the budget of the Japanese classroom for teaching 20-30 kids at a time; I guarantee my students would be able to speak and write English within a year, as my current students do with only one lesson a week for a year. Alas, will common sense prevail. Of course not; Japanese teachers must be Sempai, and as long as that is true, Japan will remain even with Laos in its English proficiency.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan to hike mid-term defense spending by 5% See in context

Just a reminder; Japanese military already far exceeds it constitutional limits, in that it is required that we not have a military sufficient to allow belligerence to be used as a diplomatic tactic. Seriously, we may want a bigger military; we may evern want to go to war, but we also need to respect the law that was approved by a supermajority of our forefathers. Yes, we can change it, legally. Right now, Japan is becoming further militaristic, without any legal basis, and the principle of law is at stake, as is Japan's honour.

CHAPTER II. RENUNCIATION OF WAR 第九条 日本国民は、正義と秩序を基調とする国際平和を誠実に希求し、国権の発動たる戦争と、武力による威嚇又は武力の行使は、国際紛争を解決する手段としては、永久にこれを放棄する。 Article 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. 前項の目的を達するため、陸海空軍その他の戦力は、これを保持しない。国の交戦権は、これを認めない。 In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized. 第三章 国民の権利及び義務

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Cabinet OKs Y5.5 tril stimulus package to cushion impact of sales tax hike See in context

Great, just throw more money at those who are already rich, construction companies, then give 10000 yen per child to normal people. Let them eat 20 pieces of cake? How about this: stop attacking the value of my Yen/Savings by unlimited printing. We all know this is just to pump up stocks without them ever having to actually have good ideas and hard work. This is yet another give away to the rich to look like they are helping the poor; amazing!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Gov't panel calls for stronger military to deal with China See in context

One question. Have you ever read Article 9? If you want a military, change the constitution; don't ignore it. I recommend you leave it alone and run the fascists out of government.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: Abe defends state secret law, but says he could have explained it better See in context

I don't think many people inside or out of Japan realize how precious their democratic constitution is. This law laughs in the face of the freedom of the press and academic freedom, both of which are necessary to prevent tyrants like Abe from becoming the next Hitler. The first two elections were deemed unconstitutional by the Japanese Supreme Court, yet they were ignored. Now, this. It is a constitutional crisis, and you can be sure this power will be used to enrich the 1% and to send the 99% to war, all without you knowing what has happened before it is too late.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Do you think Japan should scrap the war-renouncing Article 9 from its Constitution? See in context

They will never ask you if you want to go to war, but they will ask you if you want a better self defense, and you will say yes, and they will the, go to war. Basic history.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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