chottomatte comments

Posted in: Abe's advisers to propose income tax cuts to spur consumption See in context

One other perspective is 'value for money' - taxes have gone up, and what have we gotten in return? More? Not much more?

Tax cut offers always win votes, and then after the election people are concerned why services are cut. The link isn't that difficult, but as a few commenters have highlighted - tax in Japan is a secondary conversation as to where all that tax (and added borrowing) goes to.

That is the question people should ask. Certainly, there is OECD data and such, but people need to push their questions more of where is this money going?

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Posted in: 5-year-old boy playing in street dies after being run over by car See in context

I don't let my child play in the street, unless one of us is with them, and broadly our neighbours are the same and usually there's a couple of those parents out, and the cars are slow and the kids promptly get out of the road when cars come.

Go just two streets over, usually no parents, kids in the street and when cars approach the kids amble out of the way, often with the 3yr old's last to move, or until an older kid moves them.

There IS more traffic around everywhere nowadays, but a lot of blind bends in Japan (not helped by dumb street parking). Sadly this guy missed something, an now everyone suffers -shows how quickly and seemingly simply bad things happen.

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Posted in: 'Cool Japan' See in context

Tech note: this should've been a PNG, not a JPG, hence it looks a bit crappy on the red.

What happened to "Let's Japan!"?

Yes, another himomaru. There are plenty of good designers in Japan, but I wonder if that red circle is in all the scopes. I've loved living here, but watching the country lurch from tired idea to tired idea to another tired variation on a tired theme is getting to its limit now. I thought the quake might jolt people (so to speak) to re-invigorate themselves, but things like this, one week ministers, and the dropping of setsuden met with the usual waste, justifies those who believe that whilst Japan will move on and up, days of interesting new developments are waning.

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Posted in: Gaijin -- just a word or racial epithet with sinister implications? See in context

Firstly, good choice for a column - guaranteed comments!

I think gaijin is one of those cultural mirrors that people see certain things in which perhaps tell as much about them as the word itself. I always thought 'gaijin' mean't 'non Japanese', and 'outsider', used by Japanese for the weight that such a connotation has to other Japanese - not being in the group - scary, unknown, traitorous!

To non Japanese it's at worst an irritant used because perhaps someone doesn't like you. I can't really work up a negative opinion about it, or a positive one either. If someone yelled "You are not Japanese!" at you, you'd probably laugh, but say to a Japanese person "I don't think you're Japanese' and the response is quite different.

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Posted in: Market cycle See in context

I can't get too interested in the possibility that she's breaking the law, as it's so common here, and despite pretty nasty accidents in front of koban, the police are disinterested. What I would say though is that the 'Picture of the Day' seems to be getting more ... mediocre as a photographic/photojournalism page?

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Posted in: 7-year-old boy dies after being flung out of van in highway accident See in context

As a parent I have some sympathy with the boy's family - especially the guilt if he wasn't strapped in. My own family was in a less severe crash last month - idiot in a Noah ran a light, writing off the family compact car before his Noah tipped over. Thankfully all my family was safe thanks to the child seats and safety belts which my wife and I insist on and which got praise from the police and ambulance team - why? Why is that considered praise worthy?

This reads like a van going too quickly, and if overloaded, someone wasn't wearing a seat belt. Just tragic for the child. I don't understand the no-seatbelt mentality.

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Posted in: Show goes on for Fuji Rock festival See in context

Just FYI, the inaugural FRF on Fuji itself was actually a 2 day event, and yes, the gig was cancelled on the Saturday as the stage began to subside through the Chilis set, and kit malfunctioned from the water, and hilarity ensued. Great event though! I think The Prodigy were due to play on the Sunday and came back the next year when the Event was held in Tokyo, before the move to Naeba.

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Posted in: No. of tainted cattle shipped around Japan nears 1,500 See in context

Whilst the govt. stumbles on, and a national herd like cull seems inevitable, I'm personally more interested in the self serving farmers and wholesalers who pushed this through the system knowing it was likely suspect, but wanting to bring in the cash before they apply for govt. support.

Given the history of Fujiya and Snow Brand though, it seems the Japanese populace are surprisingly tolerant and even forgiving of those happy to risk their children's health by poisoning the food.

As someone who never though about leaving Japan in the aftermath of March 11th it's these stories and the local apathy to them which really makes me want to pack up the family and move out. Sigh.

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Posted in: TEPCO struggling with water treatment system at plant See in context

Did the filter 'fill up' as it didn't absorb as much as they thought it would, or that there were far more particles than expected?

As to why the evil clowns at TEPCO are still 'running' this thing, I have to think that this is actually the JP govt. trying to show people they (TEPCO) are being forced to fix their mess and take some responsibility, given just days after the quake, their CEO said he wanted the SDF and US forces to handle it and Kan was heard loudly berating him at length (this episoide was recounted by several journalists outside the room).

Either way, I hope this begins to move forwards soon; having been on a cleanup team in the tsunami areas, these people need to get back to whatever life they can as soon as possible, and this constant radiation issue is of course slowing that, and piling on the fear.

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Posted in: 2 injured, 1 killed after 81-year-old driver loses control of car See in context

Sounds very much like he fell asleep at the wheel, and woke, over reacted with a left turn.

Tragic, just really tragic.

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Posted in: Signs of the times See in context

All power to them. I hope they thrive and 7-11 helps them out. The more I see of this I wonder whether my home country could cope anywhere near as well.

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Posted in: Memories See in context

Tragic, yet somehow hopeful.

The notional of digital pictures comes to mind, I hope survivors somehow find their PCs/whatever and their family memories.

I've always kept backups of my children's pics back in the UK, but the thought of losing them all is just wrenching.

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Posted in: How would you compare the roles of Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano in terms of showing leadership ability during the crisis of the past five weeks? See in context

Edano was certainly an inspiration to watch, for the whole country. What was it, 105hours without sleep? Edano nero!

That said, I understand from some in the press that Kan was doing a lot behind the scenes, doing the deals which need to be done, and which will never be public but require PM signoff, and so I'm sure he knew his PMship was finished on March 12th.

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Posted in: Japan slowly learning to embrace organ donation See in context

Firstly, in the UK I always carried a donor card, in fact I still had it in my wallet for a few years here, just in case. If I have something go wrong, I want others to have a chance. If it was my child who was ill I would give my own life/body parts for them, no questions (I hope).

"And why should you decide what your kids can receive, etc? " Well, because he/she is their parent - society doesn't get to make the choice and it isn't democratic (by the same token, parents punished for child crimes works for the same reason).

If there are religious reasons why people object, that's fine, we all live with our own conscience and that's theirs.

I think the blood transfusion issue is valid - why is that OK but organs not? I have a Jehova's Witness friend in the UK who needed an operation and had to spend a few months building up a store of his own blood as he is not allowed to have transfusions of other people's blood (sry, I 'm not fully conversant on that belief system). It seems odd to me, but he's prepared to take the 'good' and 'bad'.

Anyway, I think ultimately this for many here comes from fear of what is a new concept relatively (it's only 10 yrs? since the first organ transplant here?). Sure, the non-charity concept and in/out of group feeling play a part, but if that's what's going to save your child, that's a very tough decision.

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Posted in: Japan slowly learning to embrace organ donation See in context

"In many respects, Japan’s health system is world-class, with universal insurance, skilled doctors and a culture of social responsibility."

Yup, lost me. Don't get me wrong, I've met some great doctors here and some really do want to get things better, but that statement just doesn't ring true anywhere near a European nation for example.

If by 'social responsibility' they mean a bit of wa and a lower crime rate, I could support that. If they mean doctors take responsibility and offer openness discussing diagnosis and medication then I might have to decline.

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Posted in: Starbucks customer, told to stop hitting on girls, assaults worker See in context

Oddly I'm impressed the guy asked the other outside, and didn't go for the shoving and accusation of fake brand product route I tend to see on trains. Girl likely not much more impressed after than before.

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Posted in: Woman arrested for selling pornographic images of 4-year-old daughter See in context

Words fail me on this one.

As much as we may want to punish this woman, what would become of the child, who looks after her? What else was she involved with? Who intercepted the photos on the other end? What was the man charged with?

This sort of thing just doesn't seem to end.

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Posted in: Tokyo's catnap culture See in context

It's odd, is it me, or is the author vaguely disapproving of naps? Since I've been here I've quite gotten into the idea, and getting 20mins sleep on the train is quite a decent thing. Almost productive. I'm surprised he/she didn't quote recent surveys that claimed Japanese had the lowest amount of nightly sleep, but this in-the-day napping was noted in that report.

[I tried to put links in here, but the page said they were potentially offensive??]

Moderator: Our spam blocker won't let URLs be posted here.

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Posted in: Mother held for allegedly drowning 12-day-old son in bathtub See in context

Above:

"Then again, maybe her being 41 is an issue though - could be 21 and it may be the same thing sadly."

should be: "Then again, maybe her being 41 isn't an issue though - could be 21 and it may be the same thing sadly."

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Posted in: Mother held for allegedly drowning 12-day-old son in bathtub See in context

So she'd been out of hospital less than a week.

Poor baby, never stood a chance. You want to believe this wasn't out of some malicious intent or hatred, but purely depressed desperation, but with so many stories like this it's difficult to know.

A few Japanese mothers I know in that age group say it's an echo from the bubble era where people want to stay the center of the world and are confronted with both proof that they're not (the child) and declining economic status.

Then again, maybe her being 41 is an issue though - could be 21 and it may be the same thing sadly.

It is true the support for new mothers is pretty much zero, and generally they're left to fend for themselves or seek help from their family (and many stay with parents for the first month) but perhaps that wasn't possible here. Health visitors tend to measure weight of the baby, tell people to only eat Japanese food and breast feed, and leave. I met a couple who hadn't had babies and were bemused by most questions.

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Posted in: 5-yr-old girl dies after falling out of car and being run over in driveway at Tochigi home See in context

So tragic. Probably the fault is the parent not strapping the kid in, and this time the door fell open. It is amazing how many kids are free to walk around cars, and even how many baby seats I see in front passenger seats facing forwards. That all said, I just cant bring myself to be harsh on this mother, she and the family have just been destroyed.

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Posted in: Annoying habits by train commuters, hot trends for 2011 and other survey results See in context

Doing your makeup from start to finish on the train (“If you think nobody’s paying attention, you’re dead wrong.”)

I thought that was the whole point - they want to be looked at?

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Posted in: Japanese biker gets donated motorcycle after theft See in context

Bikers of the world unite!

Sry he got his bike stolen and his kit; as a fellow biker, that's a fear when you're far from home, so good for the locals too.

He made good time to Eastern Europe though! Best of luck Aoki-san!

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