Japan Today

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Posted in: Japan's frugal households offer no respite for BOJ, retailers See in context

“It’s unthinkable for us to raise prices at this stage,” Fast Retailing Co CEO Tadashi Yanai said after the owner of clothing brand Uniqlo reported flat revenue last Thursday. * Yeah keep the same prices but the make the item smaller or not have as many as previously before. I am a big sweets eater here and everything has been downsized to keep the price. I noticed items started change a few years ago. Items started to have fewer cookies 1 or 2) in the package, and/or the size of the cookie got smaller. Then I noticed the chocolate got thinner and smaller. Consumers don't want to pay more so they have to cut some place. Same with Japanese clothing makers like Uniqlo, they have to compete with likes of H &M and Forever 21 (cheap garbage) so quality goes down and can't compete. I used to buy a lot from Uniqlo but lately all I have seen is junk there.

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Posted in: Miyazaki mangoes sell for record Y400,000 at year's first auction See in context

Was shopping the other day and saw an old man pick up one mango for 1950 yen. Didn't even flinch at the cost and I was thinking he could buy a nice steak for that price.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: China's tourism authority urges boycott of APA hotel group See in context


JNTO won't get involved publicly about this matter. What they will do is steer tour operators and agents from using their hotels when it comes to partnering with them. I used to work with for them and we would never get involved in a spat like this. People would contact us about discrimination they experienced but in the long run there isn't much they can do about a private company matter. When it came to working with partners (airlines, hotels, tour operators, etc) stuff like is usually taken into consideration when choosing what partners to work with especially when we have familiarization trips with tour operators and travel agents.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: APA hotel chain under fire over book denying Rape of Nanking See in context

Just had a conversation like this with a lady I teach. She first brought up the statues from Korea and claimed they were from North Korea. She felt that Japanese have morals , everyone were saints during the war and they didn't force any of these women into prostitution. Then I brought up Nanjing and said what about that....wow did her face expression change. She was like, I can't believe you believe in that Chinese propaganda! (In shock) I told her fine, please teach about the "truth" the next time we meet I am curious. I also asked her to lookup the Death Marches if she thinks everyone in the War were saints. I told her about my Aunt's brother (we are related by marriage) was held in one of the camps. To this day, she told me he hates Japanese and will not talk about what had happened.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Posted in: The APA way - Always Pleasant Amenities See in context

This women just came to my company last week pushing her curry. I didn't know who she was and just thought, who was this old lady with not so happy face? I did try the curry, not bad but nothing to write home about. Later my co-worker told she is a super right winger and kind of famous.haha

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan misses out as Australia awards sub contract to France See in context

The Japanese "businessmen" tried to do it the Japanese way and wanted Australia to follow along. However, they weren't having it and went with France. This is the problem with Japan Inc is they don't understand the need for speed and less red tape. For some stupid small decision to get approved you need 10 stamps. If one Exec is out of the office for a week on business then everything is stopped until they get back to provide their stamp of approval.

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Posted in: Iguodala takes NBA championship hardware on tour of Tokyo See in context

And where can we see it?

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Posted in: Genetically altered rice could solve Japan’s pollen allergy problem See in context

Tell me what is worse, taking GM foods or taking medicine for your allergies and dealing with the side effects later on due to long term use? I think I will go with the GM food as the sugi season kills me as it takes medicated eye drops, medicated nasal spray (which is a steroid), and usually the strongest allergy medicine on the market in Japan.

Of course I can leave Japan and go back to Southern California and solve my allergies problem as they will clear up real fast.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: For those of you who work for Japanese companies, what are some of the best or worst things about it? See in context

Best: Not going to get laid off and given a package because some gaishikei isn't fully committed to Japan or ships your job over to India or China. Also pay raises annually although not too much.

Worst: Not being able to lay off the incompetent fools that just sit around and collect a paycheck and could care more about their next smoke break then their work. Pay is not the highest as you everything is packed into my bonus that I get 2 times a year.

Overall it isn't too bad as my company isn't your typical run of the mill Japanese companies.

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Posted in: Does it bother you when Japanese women do their makeup on trains? See in context

I don't really care if it is a touch-up but if a woman goes all out I think it is rude along with being dangerous and chance to get makeup on the person next to you. Most of the ladies I notice doing it seem to not really care at all and tend to not be the most attractive either. I am amazed they can do it but as my wife would say, there are very few girls who can actually do a good job doing their make-up while on a train. I did see one young lady try to do her make-up on a packed train and used the guy's back who was standing in front her as support. I had to say something to her and she was actually quit caught of guard I did say something. Pretty rude if you ask me.

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Posted in: Man arrested for cutting off sleeping woman's underwear See in context

Wow...guess he really wanted a fresh pair instead of buying them out of a vending machine or ordering them online. CRAZY!

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Posted in: Comedian Hard Gay tries professional modeling See in context

I watched a show about this guy and he actually is a decent man. I do believe it when he says he only makes $70 a month. He pretty much is Mister Mom as his wife brings home the bacon and he takes care of the kids.

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Posted in: Tokyo governor admits receiving Y50 mil from scandal-hit Tokushukai See in context

Poor little Napoleon got his hands caught in the cookie jar. I have heard stories about this guy from a Tokyo gov't worker who told me he is probably the worst boss they have ever had. He has no real plan for Tokyo and he doesn't do anything. The only things he wants to do in Tokyo is leave his mark on the Olympics and trying to merge the subway systems, so he devotes all his time to it. A few other things he could careless about the people of Tokyo, and has the shortest temper known to man and isn't afraid to take it out in front of his employees. The worker told me he blew up in front of everyone because no one told him he was going to meet the press that day and he wore the wrong shoes. He has a special pair he wears when he knows there will be media to make him look taller. The worker told me he only cared about one thing and that was his wife and respected her a lot. So my guess he was going to use the money to pay for alternative medical care for his wife.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Lonely or in need of female assistance? Try a rental friend See in context

Umm isn't this what most English teachers here get paid to do? When I taught English half my clients were serious the other half just wanted to talk and me to counsel them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Some students too hard up to even show for job interviews See in context

I am seeing this at my job as I am in-house recruiter for a Japanese IT company. My company lets students that live far away to do the first interview over skype and if they pass, they move onto the final interview which we pay for the train fare, We still have half our group to fill but figure we will fill it up between this month (July) as the article states that only half the students have gotten job offers. Now that most of the big name companies have finished up their recruitment the remaining students will start to fall into place for the small to mid size companies. The only thing now is that the remaining half are not usually the best students.

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Posted in: Van Halen opens first tour of Japan in 15 years See in context

Suzu1, yes David Lee Roth does have an apartment in Tokyo and his girlfriend is Japanese. I ran into him at a Starbucks in Ginza one day.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: University of Tokyo gives up on plan to start academic year in autumn See in context

I work in HR for a Japanese IT company and we will have two start times this year Oct 2013 and April 2014. This will be our first Oct. hire group so it will be intersting to see how it goes. As I attend job fairs and interact with the students many of the international students are pleased we are hiring in Oct and also April as some finish school in May, June and August and even some in September. We started the Oct. hire period so we could get these type of international students and also be able to reach those students both Japanese and International students that graduate from universities abroad.

Also on another note, some Japanese companies are starting to not just ONLY hire Taro but look at Mike because Taro lacks the drive and skills the international students have. As I interview Japanese students and compare them with the international students their drive and maturity level is very different. It is like night and day when you interview them especially the men. The only thing that is killing international students are those who move onto graduate degrees (Masters or Phds) is their age. If you are 27 pushing it but you might be ok to get a job, 28 with no experience...hmmm maybe no 29 or 30..forget it! Also Japanese companies could careless if you have a Masters or Phd. Most companies look this as someone (usually Japanese students) who couldn't find a job during their Junior year, so they went onto grad school. So my advice for international students who want to work in Japan for Japanese companies, be very careful in selecting your major and don't just chase the free money the gov't is throwing at you to get your Phd, it might come back to haunt you when you are looking for work. If you want to teach or do research then go for it!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: China becomes world's fifth largest arms exporter See in context

I wouldn't want to buy any Chinese weapons, probably break after a few uses.

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Posted in: 17 'relaxation' establishments raided; 76 high school girls in custody See in context

Someone forgot to pay their monthly yak dues. Jcops would have no clue unless someone tipped them off.

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Posted in: 5 challenges of working for a major English conversation school See in context

If you want to come to Japan to teach first graduate from Uni and do the JET Program. Make sure that you write down that you want to work in the countryside of Japan and if you do, you probably will get selected. After that you can figure what you want to do in life and can either stay in Japan and keep teaching or head back home. All I got to say is don't teach too long because when you go back home it won't mean much if you go back in your mid 30's. It is career suicide if you don't have any skills or a decent degree to back you up. If don't mind teaching and want to stay in Japan for along time and not worry about a career, go for it and teach English. I would do it but I plan on heading back to US. I miss the flexibility I had while teaching though. Now I get a steady paycheck, paid vacations, bonuses, career advancement, and when I go back home, a chance to get a better job that isn't Entry Level! (I hope)

Here is from my experience,

Interac (Elementary and Junior High) no problems just got tired of being a human cd player. Loved working with the kids. GABA (no serious problems but that was from 03-07) they don't pay for transportation and you got to "belt- up" to get a pay raise and that can be lost with neg evaluations. I refer to my time at GABA as a GABA slave (cheap labor and no real time to take a break between lessons) AEON- (corporate classes at businesses) were the best and the most professional English school I worked for, if I were to get back into teaching I would teach for them any day. Only problem was you had to rely on getting contracts(classes), so I had another part-time job to fill in the gaps. If you were a good teacher they would try to get you another contract before the one ended.

English schools are hit and miss and a lot of trial an error. It all depends on your attitude and work ethic and also school management. I enjoyed meeting people from various backgrounds and professions and learning about them and can say that it was one of the most rewarding parts.


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Posted in: Obama says he had a bad night at debate See in context

Poor Obama didn't have his speech writer or telepromter to tell him what to say.

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Posted in: Wetzel’s Pretzels See in context

Huge in southern California. You will see people lined up to eat them on weekends and can be found in most southern California's malls. So I imagine we will start seeing more of Wetzle's in these type of locations as they don't require a lot of space and don't usually have any place to sit.

Right now Wetzle's is trying to compete with Auntie Anne's Pretzels here in Japan as Auntie Anne's are starting to appear all around Tokyo. Auntie Anne's makes a better tasting Cinnamon pretzel than Wetzle's though. Wetzle's Cinnamon Pretzel is smothered in cinnamon and sugar and you can't really taste the pretzel. When you bite into it you get a mouthful of cinnamon and sugar and can't taste the pretzel. It is ok, but too sweet for Japan and if i were them I would consider doing something about it.

As for the comment made about Cinnabon. This company did something to their cinnabons a few years back because they have no taste when comparing the taste a say 5 years ago. I used to love going there and couldn't stop eating them, but now I don't really even bother.

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Posted in: Japanese women fall behind Hong Kong in longevity See in context

Wipeout nailed it dead on. I also feel half the ladies here have some sort of mental sickness (men as well) Women here also are working more and are more stressed out at their job. There is also a lot of stress from social expectations and pressure to help support the family both financialy and at home. If the government wants to point a finger at something look at the mental health of the country. This is where Japan fails miserably.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: JPMorgan probe highlights culture of insider trading in Japan See in context

oops...I used to work with...sorry getting late =)

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Posted in: JPMorgan probe highlights culture of insider trading in Japan See in context

Knew a guy I used to work who used to talk in "code" with his ex-wife who worked at an investment bank here in Tokyo and got inside information and would use this information to buy and sell stocks and would split the earnings with his ex. Now I can see why she did it, the fine is nothing and likelihood of getting caught is next to nothing.

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Posted in: More part-timers to become eligible for health insurance, pension programs See in context

If I am not mistaken, English companies get around this because most (if not all) part-time teachers are under itaku contracts and are not considered part-time. So regardless of how much you make or how many hours you work, Eikaiwa companies can get around it. If I am wrong, please someone correct me.

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Posted in: So many choices See in context

They actual have the same store in Little Tokyo in LA. The menu is really hard to read though but they do have photos like this. Prices are the same and even have the bikuri don challenge. The taste is decent and the only complaint I have is that they just need a little bit more seafood with the rice.

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Posted in: Bus driver under investigation for fatal crash in Utah See in context

Being from this area, I have traveled this road many times from Las Vegas to St.George which is about 1 1/2-2 hour drive (add 40 min to get to Cedar City). I can tell you the drive is very easy with only a few curves that are found when driving through a small section of Arizona. The drive is very boring though between Las Vegas to Cedar City with only a few cities (St.George and Mesquite, NV) along the way. It is very easy to fall asleep and if the driver had a late night or was overworked and had to get up early, it is a disaster waiting to happen.

There have been so many times I have had to pullover and get out and walk around just to stay awake.

Glad to see the power of Utah help with translating for the tourist though. You can thank the LDS faith for that one (aka Mormons) as they send many missionaries all over the world and a good percentage of the population in Utah speak a 2nd language.RIP and a speedy recovery to the others. Too bad you won't get to see the beauty of Utah and you are left with this bad image.

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Posted in: Building a barrier-free society See in context

All I got to say is thank god for the ADA here in the US. My wife and I just had our first baby and I can only imagine how life would be like if the ADA didn't exist. I can go to a store and know that there will be a ramp to go down if there are stairs where as Japan, I gotta search for the elevator and can't count on ramps like I do here. Of course, here in the US we got a lot of space compared to Japan but that isn't an excuse to ignore people with disabilities and people needing ramps and no step buses.

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Posted in: Ai Iijima's last days shrouded in mystery See in context

However, an autopsy revealed that she had probably been dead for one week before her body was found, but could not pin down the cause of her death.

I smell something fishy here...someone paying the cops to cover up some unwanted press? How can you NOT pin down the cause of the death? Isn't that what they are trained to do? PR people for Ai san doing their job I guess.

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