Christopher Bauer comments

Posted in: Man forgets wallet with ¥2.8 million in it on Yamanote line; cleaner who found it nabbed See in context

Two interesting points here. Yes, carrying that amount of cash is not unusual here in Japan. When we bought our house, the bank that loaned us the money gave it to me in cash: I was very nervous, to say the least, until I got to the seller.

Another difference is that news in the United States regularly celebrates those who turn in lost money instead of stealing it. The assumption there seems to be that normal people are criminals and the exceptional are not.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: South Korea calls for ban of 'rising sun' flag at 2020 Olympics See in context

There are a couple of misconceptions here. The flag pictured is the Japanese naval ensign, not a "colonial" flag or "war" flag. Many navies, including South Korea's have ensigns separate from national flags. The British ensign is well-known; it is a white flag with a red cross of Saint George quartered by the Union Jack. What is odd is that Japanese fans would think to carry a navy flag at sporting events in place of the national flag.

The second misconception is that this flag would have been familiar to Koreans not serving in the Japanese Navy during the colonial period. The average Korean certainly would have had occasion to see and resent the Japanese Imperial Army flag, but not the navy's. The army flag was similar, but the sun was centered while the ensign's sun is placed towards the hoist. In short, the Koreans are complaining about the wrong flag.

Having said that, I still that the ensign's use should be restricted to its proper and honorable role on the ships that defend us. In a time when one can no longer depend on the United States, and faced with a bellicose and possibly mentally unstable regime in North Korea as well as a China threatening territorial aggrandizement against weaker nations in the Pacific, unity of purpose between Japan and the Republic of Korea is essential. Rebuilding that unity should not be diverted by pointless squabbles that demean both nations.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Posted in: Take a bite out of the world’s first piranha ramen in Japan See in context

I hope that the fish are safely dead before shipping. We've had enough problems with escapees such as the nutria. Oh yes, Mr. Goode: Minke whale tastes great.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Should Japan send Maritime Self-Defense Force vessels to the Strait of Hormuz to escort tankers bringing oil to Japan? See in context

The question is really camaflage for a larger question: does Japan wish to take sides in a dispute between Saudi Arabia, backed by the US, and Iran? To put it more simply: does Japan wish its policy to be dictated by John Bolton and Donald Trump?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Posted in: Gov't to set up panel on stable imperial succession by year-end See in context

wo only vaguely related points.

The constitutional prescription against female emperors was written by the American occupation forces, as indeed was the entire constitution. It has had only one postitve aspect, that of economy. In Britain, all the members of the royal family, male and female, are supported by the taxpayers, so there is a growing bill - royals, apparently, don't come cheap. In Japan, once a female member marries, she receives a family name, becomes a Japanese citizen and loses the state subsidy, keeping state expenditure on the imperial family relatively small. Obviously, this is no justification for preventing the accession of an empress; it is, however, a problem to be faced.

One contributor brought up the question of the emperor as god - a common interest among westerners who think of a god in the Abrahamic sense. When I suggested that the emperor might not be a god, my wife was rather upset, pointing out that if the emperor is not a god then neither are her parents and neither will she be, or me, for that matter. She also suggested that an old sneaker can be a god and she was not joking.

As for me, I honor all the gods, wherever I am.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Traffic reduction falls far short of target in Tokyo highway test See in context

If the goal is to discourage drivers from driving on certain routes at certain times, the variable toll system will only work if most drivers have the option of driving at different times or on different routes. Unfortunately, this is not the case: emplyers are not going to refigure personel schedules and deliveries still must be made on time. The only way that it could work is for all businesses in the area, from giant corporations to family shops to reschedule their times and coordinate that rescheduling with all other businesses. Oh, and free buses everywhere and at every time would help, too.

Failing that, what you will have is a new transport tax, the cost of which will inevitably be passed along to consumers in Tokyo.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese town celebrates first whale catch of the season See in context

Try Minke fried like chicken - a tempura batter will do - marvelous!

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Posted in: Train comes into contact with drill that pierced tunnel, no injuries See in context

Train crews are prepared for all sorts of incidents but wow, I bet the driver was surprised...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Trump renews criticism of Japan-U.S. alliance before G20 summit See in context

The reality that we have always faced is that, in any thermonuclear exchange that hits China or Russia, wind patterns would guarantee the death of the Japanese people.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: More details emerge over Kawasaki stabbing rampage, killer See in context

Our prayers are for the souls of the victims.

By the way - about the reporting - why is the English translation of the criminal's words written as "I'm gonna kill you," instead of "I'm going to kill you?" Is there some idiomatic Japanese that the reporter wished to convey in English?

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Posted in: Trump says he backs Abe's efforts to talk with Iran See in context

Over and over again Trump attempts to convince the American people that he is somehow part of the imperial transition. That he happens to be the first national leader to visit His Imperial Majesty since the accession to the throne was the decision of the Prime Minister, and not the Emperor. His visit is not something that has not happened for two hundred years; indeed it is an event of minimal importance. Fox News, by the way, is claiming that Trump is the first American to give a trophy for Sumo - am I alone in having fond memories of the Pan Am Cup?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese actor Kenichi Hagiwara dies at 68 See in context

Posted that one one too soon: he looked like the kind of guy you wouldn't mind sitting next to you in a bar.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese actor Kenichi Hagiwara dies at 68 See in context

Fine actor who looked like the kind of guy you wouldn't mind sitting next to in a bar.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Buddhist university woos students in effort to reverse declining enrollment See in context

Surely the university already welcomes those intending to become priests as well as the monks mentioned in the article? Woud it also be possibile to enroll lay people, perhaps internationally, wishing degrees in theology and comparative religion?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: 14-year-old boy driving car crashes into police car after chase See in context

Christ- another! "eventually," not "eventuially."

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: 14-year-old boy driving car crashes into police car after chase See in context

Correction - "permanent," not" permanet." Looks like I'm getting spelling tips from the Donald.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Posted in: 14-year-old boy driving car crashes into police car after chase See in context

Joeintokyo,

I asked a policeman your question once. He told me that they avoided arresting bosozoku because most of them eventuially quit the gangs, get married and go on to normal lives. This would not be possible if they had arrest records. It makes sense; in the United States, at least, there is permanet underclass of people forever burdened by records of offenses committed years before.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Posted in: Man arrested for buying cup meant for ¥100 coffee but pouring ¥150 latte into it See in context

What's the point? The pleasure of coffee is the pleasure of coffee in a nice china cup and saucer as part of morning service at friendly coffee shop.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Posted in: Convenience stores to stop selling adult magazines by end of August See in context

I"ve been here for quite a while and I can't recall any time that women or children seemed reluctant to enter convenience stores.

27 ( +31 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan to pull out of IWC to resume commercial whaling See in context

The purpose of the IWC is to help the whaling business, not Greenpeace. Countries that have no stake in the whaling industry should not belong.

The minke species is not endangered; it is officially graded as "of least concern" in regard to species survival: the same rating as the Norwegian rat, the common cockroach and Homo sapiens.

The threats to the environment are real and deserve our full attention. By mixing boutique issues that are easily shown to be false yet are favored over more complex and serious issues by wealthy and unthreatened dillitantes, Greenpeace risks putting in doubt the reality of the crisis that our planet is facing.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Posted in: Ruling party lawmaker says LGBT couples lack 'productivity' See in context

What? Already fifty-one and only one child? Since, by her own statement, the function of women is to be brood sows for men, her life has not been very "productive," has it?

18 ( +31 / -13 )

Posted in: Trump to meet Queen Elizabeth next week despite chorus of discontent See in context

Surely, at her age, humanity will understand if the world's grandmother is indisposed with the flu or something during the creep's visit.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Do business travelers feel safer using taxis or ride-sharing services? See in context

Either the headline needs changing or the chart needs an explanatory caption. The chart, as read, would be assumed to be an affirmative answer to the headline's rhetorical question and negate the information contained in the story.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Trump and Putin should start small at Helsinki summit See in context

Or, Trump could come in from the cold and return to Russia with Putin.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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