collegepark30349 comments

Posted in: 'The greatest honor': Osaka lights Olympic cauldron See in context

This reeks of corporate sponsor influence. Think of the money to be made from her lighting the cauldron - the commercials, the posters, the t-shirts. The game will now be a little less way over-budget.

But, what did she do to deserve it? What has she ever done for Japan? If they wanted somebody who is bi-racial, why not Hachimura or Darvish? At least they grew up in Japan and can, you know, speak Japanese. Their Olympic accomplishments are the same as hers - nothing. At tennis player? Why not Sugiyama Ai? She has won grand slams and an Olympic medal in tennis. Matthew (Mashu) Baker? He has a gold medal in Judo. It should have been an accomplished Olympian, maybe in judo since it is from Japan. Or an athlete from Tohoku. Or the children from Tohoku. Not a corporate shill.

43 ( +56 / -13 )

Posted in: Some people are calling Novak Djokovic, who just won his sixth Wimbledon title and his 20th Grand Slam singles title, the greatest tennis player of all time. Is it possible to realistically compare great players (or teams) in any sport, for that matter, with those of prior eras? See in context

If Grand Slam titles are the yardstick, then I'd say there is a three-way tie for GOAT at the moment. However, I feel that titles are just one way to measure. There are other things such as rivals, impact on the game, etc.

As far as comparing across eras, it is a fun exercise and good for bar talk, but ultimately pointless. I agree with kyushubill above - context is needed. Is Serena Williams the GOAT? What if Steffi Graff had not retired at 30? What is Martina Navratilova had Serena's training and equipment? What if Serena had to play with wooden and cat-gut rackets? What if hand-checking was illegal in Michael Jordan's day like it is now? What is Mark Spitz used today's swimsuits? Babe Ruth never had to travel further west than Chicago and south than DC in his day. What if he had to go east coast to west coast and then to Florida and Texas like today's players? Like I said, good fun, but pointless.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Drug recovery facility in Kyoto arouses mixed reactions from local community See in context

I'm always fascinated by the dichotomy and cognitive dissonance here. The kids are taught in school to have a sense of community, inclusiveness and 思いやり心 - to think of others first and be accepting. And the adults have the strongest senses of exclusiveness and NIMBY (not in my backyard) you'll ever find. When and where does it all change? Or, does it even really exist at all? My wife and I are not from Okayama and only people we are really close with in our neighborhood are other people who are not from Okayama. The natives don't really seem to be interested in us and we haven't done anything "wrong" like having addictions (which aren't really "wrong").

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: A few puffs and a bad rule do Richardson in See in context

First of all, I do think the rule silly, but rules are rules. Hopefully this will lead to a reexamining and changing of the rules. However, this headline is really misleading. She herself says she "ingested" cannabis products, not "smoked" them (NBC interview). There is a difference. While smoking might not be a performance enhancer, especially for a sprinter (the effects on the lungs and all), ingesting is a different story. We also don't know when she took it. Cannabis products can be used for pain relief and management; ask anybody who has helped someone suffering with cancer. A competitor with a slight injury - a tight hamstring, a bad foot muscle, a sore rotator cuff - might ingest a cannabis product prior to a race to help with that pain - lift the legs a little more, pump the arms a little more - and perform better. I'm not saying she did, but, yeah, cannabis can be a performance enhancer.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: More than 2,300 companies to vaccinate 11 mil employees, families See in context

As I have mentioned earlier, all of the planning and heavy lifting is being done by the local municipal governments, local civil servants, local politicians and the private sector. And, things are going well. Look carefully at who and what is not at the vaccination sites: no LDP politicians, no national bureaucrats (国家公務員), no Komeito, no national diet members, no national agencies. Yet, when the election rolls around and it is time to take credit, the folks in the previous sentence will be the one claiming "We did it. We got the country vaccinated. We beat corona!" I can see Suga and Kono now, "Thanks to us..." A shame, really.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Posted in: What event did you hate most in elementary school? Survey asks Japanese adults See in context

Just to follow up on my previous post. Talking with teachers, they practice so much because they fear any mistakes by students will reflect poorly on them - that they are not taking the events or teaching seriously. What they don't realize is that most parents don't care and that bloopers and blunders by kids are part of the charm. My high school graduation was for 600 students. We practiced once for about 30 minutes. Practice less, teach more and give the kids and teachers some time off.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: What event did you hate most in elementary school? Survey asks Japanese adults See in context

The events in and of themselves are fine, but the insane amount of time schools put in to preparing and practicing needs to changed. Kids here could go to school for 3 or 4 fewer weeks a year if they used all the practice time for, oh, I don't know, classes. My kids spend 2~3 class periods a day for two weeks for 運動会 practice, and more a few weeks later for 学習発表会. No wonder the school year here is so freaking long.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan's COVID-19 vaccination rollout picks up steam See in context

The sad thing to me is how the central (national) government is trying to take credit for the small successes that have happened so far. The central gov't basically threw the vaccines at the local and municipal gov'ts and said, "Here, you do it." A lot of the local gov'ts have been very creative and efficient in carrying out the vaccination - their work, not the LDP or the Diet or the national bureaucracy.

I saw one place on TV where the doctors, instead of sitting in a small room and waiting for the patients to come in one at a time, were using rolling chairs and giving the shots in the waiting area. Two nurses in front were taking vitals and sterilizing, the doctor gave the shot, and two nurses behind did the clean up. Then they all just scooted on down the line to the next person. Got the whole day's work done before lunch. Another place was setting up a service for folks who can't drive. Small things, but getting the job done.

Unfortunately, Suga and the rest will claim the success was due to their "leadership" and some people will actually believe it.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: Naomi Osaka pulls out of French Open, citing mental health issues See in context

First of all, I'm sorry to hear of her mental health struggles and hope she gets the help she needs.

For me, I'm surprised at how poorly this was handled on her end (not so much by her). She has people - agents, publicists, coaches, trainers, family.... Any one of those people could have approached the tennis authorities or media, explained things and asked for help / leeway. It seems odd to me that she could make such a unilateral decision without any consultation from her people. I'm sure they are aware of her situation and if not, are those really the people she needs surrounding her?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan to boost financial incentives for clinics to give COVID-19 shots See in context

I honestly cannot get over all of the red tape for who can give a shot, when and where. The university I work at has two full-time registered nurses working on campus. Why can't the gov't just drop of a couple of cases of vaccines and syringes and let them take care of al the faculty and staff? They are qualified professionals and could get it done in 2 ~ 3 days. There is a huge Red Cross blood center down the street. Why isn't it being used as a vaccination site? There are doctors and nurses working there, it is a sterile environment and sticking folks with needles is kind of their thing. They do it to me three times a year. Let the people who can give shots, give shots at places that are convenient.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to put 3 more prefectures under state of emergency See in context

Things here in Okayama were fine, just fine - sometimes only 20 cases a day in a city of 1 million, until Golden Week. Roads and parking lots were full of cars with out of prefecture tags that whole week. It seems people thought, "Hey, corona is pretty bad where we are but Okayama has a low rate so let's go there." Now, the kids' 運動会, which were supposed to be next weekend, were postponed till fall, sports teams and tournaments shut down, restaurants closing...Thank you to the rest of Japan.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Posted in: Japanese NBA player Hachimura, brother targeted with racial slurs See in context

It is odd to me how this seems to happen more in sports than in other places. The only time a slur was (openly) used against my son was at a soccer game. A kid on the other team ran up to him and called him "gaijin-me" after the game (my son's team won the game and the kid who said it was my son's mark on defense). The other team's coach quickly dealt with it. And the only time a comment was made about my daughter was at her ice skating lesson - a mother noted that my daughter was not a flexible as the other girls because she is mixed (WTF?). I could actually hear some of the other parents roll their eyes. All other aspects of their life - school, friends, clubs, out in public...nothing has happened. But sports, the seems to bring out the worst in some folks.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Will Smith slavery film 'Emancipation' ditches Georgia over voting law See in context

As a Georgian, let me shed some light with my experiences. Until around 2000, Georgia was a conservative Democrat state. We had Democrat governors from Reconstruction to 2004, and some darn good ones (John Slayton, Jimmy Carter, Zell Miller of HOPE Scholarship fame) and Democrat Senators (Sam Nunn, Richard Russle), the state legislature was majority Dem, and there were a few Republican US Reps (Newt Gingrich, Bob Barr). The state went for Clinton twice. On the whole, things were peachy. Then in 1999 Gov Barnes did the worst thing imaginable - he got rid of the Confederate stars-and-bars from the state flag. After that, Georgia went red as a monkey's butt. (Tells you a lot about the good ole conservative Christians in Georgia). This current shift back to a blue state is basically a return to the previous status quo that the Repubs who took control of the state after 2000 do not want to go back to.

This is what happened to me and voting. Georgia used to be an "open primary" state - you did not have to register as a Repub or Dem. That all changed when Georgia went Red, the rules were changed and people had to register. I registered as a Dem. I had no problem voting absentee until the Bush-Gore election - after the Repubs took control of Georgia. My ballot for that election was rejected for being "late." I sent it in September. Every single absentee ballot I have cast since then has been rejected for one reason or another. This never happened until 1) Georgia went red and 2) I registered as a Dem. This doesn't even include the times, like this last election, when I did not even receive my absentee ballot, or received it after the election. I have basically been shut out of the past 5 presidential elections and a few midterms. So, yes, Georgia has election integrity problems - problems caused by Republicans (my registered county is a Red one). Stacey Abrams, bless her, found a way to LEGALLY make full use of the voting rules to Dem's advantage and now the Repubs want to change the rule.

One example, automatic registration. In Georgia, you were automatically asked if you wanted to register to vote when you got or renewed your driver's license. Repubs loved this because it fed their argument for voter ID requirements not being a burden. Abrams reminded folks of this and thousands used this method to register. Now, the Repubs want to get rid of automatic registration. Why? Not because of fraud, but because that is how most minorities and young folks register. I was first registered to vote in high school by my social studies teacher. Now, the Repubs want to get rid of that. When people wanted election day to be a holiday, the Repubs said "Why? You can vote by mail or dropbox any time a month before election day." Many people did that this time, they lost, so now they want to change it. They want to keep people who will not vote for them from voting. I'm almost ashamed to be a Georgian.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Posted in: Japan pushes stricter enforcement over teacher, student SNS contact See in context

*A sample resume template, modified to include prior criminal punishments and disciplinary action, was also attached to the notice as a measure to prevent other municipalities from hiring potential educators who attempt to hide past dismissals or disciplinary action.*

This blows my mind. After I got my teaching license and started applying for jobs in Georgia, I had to submit a police background check for every position in every district (county, city...) I applied to, including traffic violations. The different BOEs also keep these information on file and share it. I cannot believe that is not done here with the level of micromanagement that is found everywhere.

My sister works for the BOE in Georgia largest district and all communication between students, parents, teachers and administration is to be conducted only through official school email accounts (the school district provides email addresses to all students). Anything else can get your disciplined at least and maybe even fired. I can't understand why school, especially high school, don' t do that here. Then again, I get 8,000 pieces of paper from my kids' schools each week, so I guess I know why.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: It's official: Spectators from abroad will not be allowed at Tokyo Olympics See in context

From what I understand from watching NHK this morning is that this only applies to people who bought "general" tickets available to the public at larger. Tickets given to sponsors, foreign and domestic, will still be honored. So, people working for, say, Coca Cola or Nike who are from overseas will be allowed to attend. This is clearly a performative gesture of "See how serious and careful we are." I feel sorry for the people who paid for tickets.

Being from Atlanta and in college at the time of the Atlanta Olympics, I have been telling folks that no good thing comes from hosting the Olympics.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Posted in: What are some things that you recall hearing or seeing men say or do to women decades ago, which would be considered sexual harassment today, but which were not then (or at least no one spoke up about it then)? See in context

Two I can think of. I remember going on a first date date with a girl in high school - we were both 16 at the time. We had flirted at school and went to see the Olympic figure skaters on tour at the old Omni in Atlanta. During the show I looked over to her and spontaneously gave her a kiss on the cheek. She looked at me wide-eyed for about a second and then smiled. A few seconds after that we were holding hands. I'm afraid that if my son did that now, it would at best be seen as aggressive and at worst non-consensual assault.

The second was at a part-time job. I was in the office counting the till of one of the cashiers. We had worked together for a while and had a very good rapport. I dropped something on the floor and went to pick it up. She crossed her legs and turned sideways.

Me: You don't have to do that. I've seen one before.

Her: You haven't seen mine.

Me: What are we going to do about that?

Her: Ask my husband and see what he says. (He husband was an army sergeant at Ft. Gillem).

Both of us: Ha-ha-ha.

Back then, harmless banter. Nowadays, I'm an aggressive creep? Sexual harassment?

Not that a lot of people don't cross the line, they do. It just seems we have gone too far into hyper-correction.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: When you were a child, what profession did you aspire to? And did you actually join that profession when you became an adult? See in context

Professional wrestler.

Growing up in Atlanta in the late 70's through the 80's, it was like heaven to us kids and they were our gods.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: AI translation company Rozetta bars staff from speaking a foreign language at work See in context

I'm supposed to trust a company that doesn't know the difference between translate and interpret?

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Posted in: From Apu to Aladdin: Why white voices will no longer do See in context

I understand and appreciate the efforts being put forth to increase diversity. It really does matter. Take the Disney princesses. My daughter's favorite is Elena because, in her words, "she has dark hair and dark skin like me." I remember my Black friends going crazy when Ron Simmons won the WCW title the (30349 zip code is in the South).

That being said, I think the Simpsons actors are catching a lot of flack they don't deserve. When the show started out 30 years ago, it was an animated segment on The Tracy Ulman Show with actors from the show doing the voices. When it became its own show, the actors stayed and more characters were added. One actor doing once voice became one actor dong 10 voices. It is basically economics. Why hire and pay 45 actors when you can get it done with 5 doing multiple roles? The name Mel Blanc ring a bell? They intended no harm and have apologized for harm that was done despite intentions. My brother has done voice work (audio books, documentaries) and has had to voice people different from what he is. That is the job. By all means, train and hire mover diverse voice actors. It would be a good thing. But don't take it out on the actors for something that evolved over the past 30 years.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Posted in: Opposition demands resignation of elite female bureaucrat over scandal See in context

I think the real scandal here is that 60% of a civil servant's monthly salary is 705,000 yen, meaning she makes about 1,180,000 yen a month. Waste tax payers' money much?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Super Bowl No. 7 for Tom Brady as Buccaneers beat Chiefs 31-9 See in context

As a former lineman, the O-Line of the Bucs was the MVP of this game. They dominated the Chiefs all night long. And, as a lineman, Anthony Munoz = GOAT.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Posted in: Japanese approval of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine unlikely until May See in context

Takeda hoped to begin clinical trials of the Novavax candidate next month and, upon approval, it would be mass produced at the company's facility in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Imagawa said.

Yamaguchi - Abe's home prefecture. Move along, nothing to see here.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

Posted in: Tokyo, 3 neighboring prefectures urge central gov't to issue state of emergency over virus See in context

last post got cut off. That should be: The earlier state of emergency was basically virtue signaling - Abe was saying he did something without really doing anything at all - "an ounce of appearance outweighs a pound of performance" in Japanese politics.

The first SOE was done during the down time of mid-March to mid-April: schools were winding down (half-days, cleaning, review work) and stopping the last few weeks of the old year and the first few of the new was no big deal; job hunting and recruiting were finished, entrance exams were finished, taxes were done, no major events or holidays, only a few minor ceremonies were cancelled (graduations, entrance ceremonies). The SOE did not really "stop" anything because there was nothing to stop. But, boy did Abe really look like a leader who cared about his people and could make though decision (really just done for political expediency).

Now, however, is entrance exam season for JHS to Uni, the start of the new 共通テスト, job hunting and recruiting season, the start of tax season, companies start deciding transfers and promotion, shareholder meeting...etc. Suga will not do anything to interfere with these. That is too tough a decision for him to want to take responsibility for. Like I said, no decision is better than a bad one (or one that causes 迷惑).

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Tokyo, 3 neighboring prefectures urge central gov't to issue state of emergency over virus See in context

I don't think there will be another state of emergency, unfortunately. In Japanese politics, most politics really, it is better to make no decision than to make a bad one.

The earlier state of emergency was basically virtue signaling - Abe was saying he did something without really doing anything at all (performance

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Posted in: Japan had record 610,000 school bullying cases in FY2019 See in context

As I have mentioned before, this ties directly to the declining birth rate. Who would want to bring a child in to this kind of environment? I'm pretty sure a lot of people of age to have children were victims of bullying, remember it, and that affects their decision to have children. Childhood here is to be endured, not enjoyed. Make a better environment for children.

That being said, the one experience my son had with bullying (public elem. school) was handled very well by the teachers. The only other experience was on his soccer team when a kid from another team, the losing one, ran up to him and shouted "gaijin-me" (my son was the keeper and had a shut out). That kid's coach was on him in less than a second. Maybe things are different here in tiny Okayama.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan considers making promotion of paternity leave mandatory for companies: Nikkei See in context

Another article about another misguided plan to make life easier for the parents. I have yet to see one idea from the government to try to make life better for the children. This is the reason, from talking to many friends and colleagues, why people aren't having children - they don't want to raise children in Japan. Many Japanese people I know did not particularly enjoy their childhood and don't have many fond memories (going to over-crowded run-down schools, rigidity and forced conformity, bullying, overloaded with schoolwork, clubs and naraigoto, hardly seeing their fathers...). Some of them boarder on PTSD from childhood. Nobody wants to bring a child into a system and culture that has not changed for 75 years and probably will not change for 75 more. Find ways to make life better for children and people will want to bring them in to this world.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Human Rights Watch report documents abuse of child athletes in Japan See in context

As a recovering jock (little league to NCAA level) and former coach, few things in this country disturb me more than the way youth sports are handled. The insanely long practices, the lack of true games and seasons, the abuse by coaches, the focus on seniority over ability, the insistence on only one sport all year, the "no pain, no gain" attitude towards injuries ... it is ridiculous and a shame and I can't see why people put up with it. I had very long talks with my son's and daughter's coaches and told a lot of them "Thanks, but no thanks" until I found clubs that I thought put the children above the sport.

But, perhaps the worst part is that many of the kids develop what is akin to Battered Woman Syndrome. From a psychology book (the insertion of "athlete" by me):

With battered woman (athlete) syndrome, a woman (an athlete) may develop a learned helplessness that causes her to believe she deserves the abuse and that she can’t get away from it.

And two of the stages:

Denial: The woman (athlete) is unable to accept that she’s being abused, or she justifies it as “just being that once.”

Guilt: She believes she has caused the abuse.

Youth playing sports should not be developing this.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Posted in: 'The Simpsons' ends white actors voicing characters of color See in context

As a Southerner, all I ask is that we get real Southerners to play and voice Southern characters. No worse sound in the world than a fake Southern accent. That is reason enough to ban GWTW imho.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Posted in: Gov't seeks more inclusion in education for foreign children in Japan See in context

This article is lacking a lot of information. Even the foreign kids that are enrolled in school are not getting properly provided for. I just did a lecture on this for my students who are studying go be social workers:

There are over 40,000 foreign national and 10,000 Japanese national (returnee) K-12 students in public schools that need Japanese language instruction. These students are spread out over 7,700 schools. 74% of these schools (5,700) have five or fewer students that need Japanese help. Only 2% of schools have 30 or more students who need help and can qualify for a full-time Japanese teacher. This is a major problem. I don't see the government hiring 7,700 new teachers even if there were that many available.

My son's school has a rather large foreign population in its district and has Japanese as a second language class. My daughter's school has foreign students, about 6, but does not have a Japanese class or even a teacher. My daughter helps where she can (a returnee from Ireland and a girl from Bangladesh can speak English), but she can do nothing for the Chinese and Brazilian kids. Not that it is even her job to help, but I'm proud that she does.

I proposed the idea of a magnet program to the board of education and they looked at me like I was insane. They could not comprehend the idea of a student going to school out side of their residence's designated school district, even if it was to the benefit of all involved. They also cried poverty for hiring Japanese teachers and made the process for volunteering so complicated and cumbersome that nobody wanted to do it.

Another problem is language. English is probably the least spoken language for foreign students. The top six are Portugese, Tagalog, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese. Good luck finding teachers who can speak most of those.

What does this lead to? For K-12 foreign nations students: high school drop out rate - 10% (1.3% for Japanese), moving on to college / tech school - 42% (72% for Japanese), becoming "irregular" workers - 40% (4.3% for Japaenese) and becoming a NEET - 18% (6% for Japanese). Japan is creating a permanent underclass. I don't know what the solution is, but this is a ticking bomb.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: How COVID-19 might unlock Japan's giving potential See in context

I'm always disappointed with the charities here. I wish at times there were something like the Salvation Army, Easterseals, Boys & Girls clubs, Meals on Wheels...that would accept unwanted but usable items from people and give them to those in need.

I would love to give away my children's old clothes, toys, books and whatnot to people who really need and could use them. Now I give them away to friends, but they are not really in need and it just does not feel right to sell them or throw them away. My folks grew up hard in south Georgia and they both have commented several times that if it were not for the Salvation Army they would not have had shoes or gotten anything for Christmas (my mother still has the teddy bear she got from them in 1944). My mother is 80 and still rings the bell and delivers Meal on Wheels. Sorry, I'm rambling.

I remember right after 3/11 my wife and I took some old baby and children's clothes to a donation center and we were rejected. We were told that they would accept new clothes, but not old ones. These were not in bad condition, mind you. They were simply out grown and we washed, folded and packed them. I still can't wrap my head around it. If I had lost everything, I would not care whether the clothes I got for my children were new or not. Same thing with some toys we tried to give to a children's home. They were not new, so they were rejected. I just don't understand it. Giving money seems to impersonal to me. Plus, you never know if it is actually going where it is supposed to.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

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