collegepark30349 comments

Posted in: Kishida pledges to do utmost to tackle negative impact of price hikes See in context

Next eliminate half of these useless politicians. For example my city has 30 councilors making 7 million plus a year. 30! Our population is only 50k people!?

Amen. Okayama has 43 people on the city council. My hometown of Atlanta - rather larger than Okayama - has 16.

And just in this morning's paper there was an article about the LDP plans to reduce the amount of the income tax deduction for children in high school. It is 320,000 right now, I think, with plans to lower it to 280,000 or so. Technically not a tax "increase," but still...

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Posted in: Shop employee fights off three robbers with polearm in Tokyo's Ueno district See in context

I remember the manager at my first part-time job (cashier at a drug store) in high school telling me, "If someone has a weapon and tells you go give them the money, give it to them. Your life is not worth $200."

That being said, the guy with the pole is pretty darn big and looks like he could have handled the robbers on his own. Shouldn't be too hard for the police to trace the motorbikes if they wern't stolen.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Posted in: If a child talks to a school teacher, their parents may find out and the abuse could get even worse. See in context

This is why teachers here need to be mandatory reporters. Any time a student tells a teacher he or she is being abused, or the teacher even suspects abuse (bruises, etc.), the teacher must be required to report it to authorities - not just their coworkers - with legal penalties if they do not. In Georgia, I would have lost my job if I did not report suspected abuse to the police and DFACS. It should be the same here (quality of Japanese police and DFACS not withstanding...).

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Angels' Ohtani wins historic AL MVP; Braves' Acuna wins NL honor See in context

Ohtani won plenty of games alone through his brilliance.

I'm not saying he is not a great player. I'm just saying he is not as "valuable" as most seem to think.

Angles with Ohtani in 2023 62-73, without Ohtani 11-16. Losing record either way.

Compare that with Aaron Judge of the Yankees, last year's MVP.

With Judge in 2023 57-49, without Judge 25-31.

The Yankees were a better team with him than without. To me, that is "value."

Player of the year? Absolutely. Best player? Sure. Valuable? Not so much.

When I played ball, statistics piled up in a losing effort were often referred to as "fool's gold."

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Posted in: Angels' Ohtani wins historic AL MVP; Braves' Acuna wins NL honor See in context

While I feel he is currently one of the best players in baseball (defense counts), I can't really call him the MVP. The truth is, the Angels had a losing record with him playing before he got hurt and also had a losing record after he got hurt. Not much value there. If they had the best record in baseball and lost after he got hurt, fine. But, the team was bad with and without him. Great? Yes. Valuable? Not really.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Posted in: Kishida says gov't won't hike taxes to boost defense budget See in context

Of course not, they will just raise fees and cut benefits instead.

Reminds me of when the county wants more money in Georgia. They don't raise property taxes, they just re-appraise your property for a lot more and send you a larger bill. My brother's house magically went up $75,000 in value in one year.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Retrial of man accused of 1966 quadruple murder begins See in context

This is such a travesty of justice. As I have said before, there have been numerous Justice Ministers and executions since he was convicted (134 since 1993), with many executions of murderers with fewer victims. If they are 100% sure this man is guilty, why was he not executed long ago? It really is a simple question. If they are so convinced and the evidence is indisputable, why has no one signed off on his execution? The fact that this has not happened makes it obvious that they know they are wrong and executing him would be murder. They are too cowardly to admit they are wrong, and too cowardly to send him to the gallows. I guess if he had just died of natrual causes in prison, that woudl have given them the out they are looking for.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Posted in: Who gets your vote for the greatest movie villain of all time? See in context

Either John Huston as Noah Cross in Chinatown or Orson Welles as Harry Lime in The Third Man. Those characters are just too real; sociopaths with no remorse who justify their actions. You can imagine the things they did happening, or having happened, in the real world. Oh, and the Sackler Family in any fictitious portrayal or documentary appearance.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan school absenteeism at record high of nearly 300,000 in FY2022 See in context

Thanks for the compliment kohakuebisu

Japanese schools are overbearing and still try to force kids into one acceptable box. Children are increasingly rejecting this.

Not just the children, but also their parents. My wife's parents, in their 80s, only know Japan and Japanese school, and that's fine. They went to school because they had to. It was post-War and the country was rebuilding, getting an education was a way up and a way out. They "gamaned" and "shoganaied" a lot of things we consider abusive now. Later generations, I guess what we'd call Boomers and Gen X in the States, also did this to some extent. But, they also began to notice, as they got older, the mental and physical toll it took on their parents and was taking on them - health, family relationships, etc. They also got out to the world and learned how things were done differently in other countries - study abroad, homestays, TV.... Not necessarily "better," but they saw enough to know that things in Japan did not necessarily have to be the way they are. Unfortunately, nothing changed for them. Blame Monkasho.

Now the younger parents see the same thing happening to their children that happened to them, their parents and grandparents and they are not having it. Rightfully so. The "gaman" and "shoganai" to the detriment of oneself and those close to you way of thinking does not mean as much to them. I see this as a positive. They are making the well-being of their kids a priority. Good for them. Monkasho is eveidently not interested in changing anything, so some parents are taking matters into their own hands. Good for them again. They are doing the one responsibility that all parents have - make things better for your children than they were for you. If the school won't, then do it yourself. As stated above, you don't have to go to school to get educated.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan school absenteeism at record high of nearly 300,000 in FY2022 See in context

I wonder if those talking about "draconian measuers" and schools being "prison camps" actually have kids in public schools. Here is Okayama there was little difference between how things were done pre, during and post Corona. The main changes were they had to take their temperature every moring, wear a mask, and wash their hands before entering the school building. The schools were never shutdown other than a week when the pandamic first started (March 2020? 21?) and nobody really knew what was going on.

They had all the normal school activities: 学習発表会・参観日・山の学校・海の学校・修学旅行… Sure, things were scaled down, one parent only at 参観日, etc., but nothing "draconian." They still had their clubs and sports activities as well. There were a few times when a class or entire grade what sent home, but that happens and has happened with the flu and noro virus as well, not outcry for that.

I think the main reason is that the schools (Monkasho) has simply failed to keep up with generational changes in society. A sizable section of parents with young kids today did not particularly enjoy school themselves, for a myriad of reasons. Thus, they have no real problem with letting their kids miss school, especially if the reasons have to do with mental or physical health. School and education are not the center of their universe. The paradigm has shifted from their grandparents' idea of "you have to go because it is school" to the current idea for many of "it's just school, school isn't everything, no sense in going if you are unhappy." Unfortunately, Monkasho is still thinking like the grandparents: "It's school, how can you not love it?"

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan basketball 'on the map' after qualifying for Paris Olympics See in context

This is because Japan doesnt play to the individual, and the individual has to play for the team. Japanese players get infinitely better when they play in the US, rather than here.

I agree with what you are saying, but it is a bit deeper than this. Basketball is a team sport no matter how many great individual stars there are. That being said, no matter how well a team is coached and versed in their system, their are times when individual players, or a couple of them, need to be spontaneous and create on the spot - read and react, not just follow a script. This is what a lot of Japanese sports teams are missing. Very top down from the coach. A player freelances, he winds up out of the game. I was tickled when the manager of the Keio baseball team at Koshien was praised for letting his players make their own decisions when batting. It really should have been like this all along. Hense, the "over coached and under taught" comment.

Things I think Japan needs:

get more players overseas - NCAA, NBA, D-League, Euro-league. Play in Japan and you play against Japanese players with Japanese coaches and Japanese trainers. You become good at playing against Japanese. Go overseas, learn new things - coaching, training...and you get to go against players and coaches from other countries. Look how well the men's soccer team did in the World Cup. Most of their players are now foreign based and bring all that comes with it to the national team. Maybe in a generation things will get better (Coach Hachimura, Coach Watanabe...)

more basketball culture outside of school clubs. I learned as much from playing pickup and streetball as I did from coaches and going camps. I learned different things, of course, but just as useful. School is where you get the fundamentals and knowledge. Outside is where you learn to create and freelance - nobody to tell you what you did was "not the right way." Combine the two, then you've got a player. Unfortunately, the very few outside hoops I see here are empty except for exchange students and resident foreigners. Almost nobody has a hoop in the driveway or a roll-away in the street. And if they do, usually it gets removed for being "meiwaku," at least in my neighborhood. Let the game come to the kids on their own sometimes.

Sorry to be so long winded, but hoops is a passion of mine.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan basketball 'on the map' after qualifying for Paris Olympics See in context

I hate to be "that guy," but as a former NCAA Div 1 player (Georgia State Uni) and h.s. coach, Japan has a long, long way to go. The only thing they are "on the radar" is as an easy win for teams in the group stage of the Olympics.

Watching the games, this has been some of worst quality of "major" basketball I have ever seen - on all levels: play, coaching, officiating, commentators, everything. Japan's offense is too simplistic, basically an elementary version of drive-and-dish and throw up a prayer, which while effective for playground and high school ball, will not work against top tier teams (see the France and Slovenia games). It wouldn't even work against a top NCAA team. Their defense is nothing, which is why they play full-court press even in the first quarter. They hope to get turnovers before they are forced into having to defend in the half-court because they do not have the height or length to do it. And don't forget about the total lack of any rim protection. They have also managed to take advantage of the FIFA two-referee system (NBA has three) and have gotten away with a lot of moving screens and reach-in fouls that a third ref would have noticed (but, no shame in exploiting blind spots).

Most of the teams they have played are bottom feeders. I know Finland was ranked higher, but honestly, they played like a pickup team 5 guys thrown together right before the game. No team cohesion at all. Japan's one saving grace is their teamwork. I figure this is because almost all of their players are in the domestic league and they can meet more often for practice and coaching, where as a lot of other countries have their players spread throughout the NBA and Euro leagues. Harder to get together.

And hold off on the idea that Japan will now become a breeding ground for NBA players. Note that their top three players, while learning their fundamentals in Japan, got their main baller education and experience in the NCAA Div 1: Watanabe (George Washington Uni), Hachimura (Gonzaga Uni) and the 3-point guy (can't think of his name, but Uni of Nebraska); even Hawkinson (Washington State Uni). Japan does not really have the underlying culture for basketball yet. Coaching is also a problem. "Over coached and under taught" is what I have seen at the youth level. They run drills better than anybody I have seen, but don't know why they do it or how to put it all together. When the guys that are on this team become coaches of the people watching them now, then things will take off, I think.

Not saying Japan has not done a good job. They are definitely punching their weight. But, please, temper expectations.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Posted in: How can teachers ascertain if students used ChatGPT to do homework or write essays? See in context

The measure for me: When something is better than it should be. I know my students. I know their abilities and what they are and aren't capable of producing. If something doesn't sit right, it usually isn't (although there have been times when some managed to put it all together).

Another sign: they bring up topics and concepts not covered in class or in the materials. When that happens, I either ask them to explain them to me in their own words or give a quiz made from the information presented in the paper. If they can't answer, I know they didn't do the work.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Homework will 'never be the same,' says ChatGPT founder See in context

All teachers have got to do is flip the classroom. During the pandemic, when my uni was all online, I had to live-stream my higher-level course classes and I recorded them just in case. Now, I have the students watch the videos out of class and do the assignments in class (with no computer aid - only each other and myself for help). I flipped the classroom. Their classwork is much more collaborative and is producing very good results. As for essays and reports, just add a personal aspect to it that AI can't do: "Appy the content learnings of this course to your past / present / future personal or professional circumstances. Support your answer with personal examples and anecdotes." Or, "Which parts of the course do you personally find the most and least useful. Why?" Also, make oral exams. This is for uni, but it can easily be adapted for elementary high school.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: What are some things that you and your friends did for fun when you were teenagers that would not be acceptable today? See in context

I remember buying a single movie ticket and then spending the whole day at the theater watching 3 or 4 movies. Probably wasn't "acceptable" then, but the staff never checked our stubs or ever asked us why we were still there. Today with all of the reserved seating I think it would be impossible. Also hanging out in the parking lot of our part-time jobs after we were done and just, well, hanging out for a few hours until midnight or so.

When I was younger, we also used to scrounge around the house for loose change and then ride our bikes up to the filling station, maybe 2 miles away, and buy a bunch of candy. Mom and Dad were at work and we were left to our own devices. I don't think kids would be allowed to do that today either.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Posted in: Liv Ullmann, cinema royalty and major Cannes draw, looks back See in context

A beautiful person and wondeful actress. When people talk about the great actor - director pairings: Ford - Wayne, Hitchcock - Stewart, DeNiro - Scorsese, Jackosn - Tarentino, Mifune - Kurosawa, Herzog - Kinski, etc., they always seem to leave off Ullmann - Bergman (and often von Sydow - Bergman) and they may just be the best of them all.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Surveys of airline passengers say excess carry-on baggage not only causes delays in getting seated but can also impact both the punctuality of flights and inflight comfort. How can this issue be addressed, especially with so many passengers doing self-check-in at airports? See in context

I agree with JeffLee. Enforce the rules. Measure it a checking (they already have the box there), if it does not fit, they gotta pay or leave it. Do the same at boarding.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Kishida rules out tax hikes to fund more childcare spending See in context

So, this is like in the States when they raise the millage rate but claim they aren't raising property taxes. Or, when I was in Georgia and they didn't raise the automobile tax, but did raise all of the fees related to owning a car - tag, title, license renewal... My personal favorite was when they not only raised the cost of renewing your driver's license, but also shortened the length of the validity - pay more and more often. I don't know if that is cunning or diabolical or both.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: Another ex-member of Johnny's talent agency says he was sexually abused See in context

The courage of these young men is both comendable and admirable. Coming forward and making yourself known as a vicitm of sexual abuse his hard and painful. I imagine it is more so if it is male-to-male sexual abuse. The stigma is pretty intense. I think this is the reason why priests got away with doing it to altar boys for so long. Same with little league coaches and scout leaders.

Watching the news, there is now a third victim. He was not at the meeting, but did send a letter with his real name. His is in his 40s, which shows just how long this has been going on - one each in their 20s, 30s and 40s have now come forward.

On another note, a justice ministry beareaucrat at the meeting was asked about the legal definition of child abuse. According to him, Japanese law defines child abuse as only abuse committed by a parent or legal guardian (保護者 was the word used). Thus, since Johnny Kitagaw did not qualify as a parent or legal guardian to the victims, what he did was not considered child abuse according to the letter of the law. My jaw dropped. This must be some kind of sick "qualified immunity" out cooked up by some sadist so teachers, coaches, senpai ... can all abuse and smack children around and not be charged with abuse because they do not qualify as legal guardians. This is sick and needs to change.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Posted in: Disney Plus sheds subscribers for second straight quarter See in context

I know quite a few people who wait for a good deal of content to be completed (Mandolorian, Bobba Fett, Oni-wan, Andor...), join and binge everything in a month or two and then cancel. Join another streamer for a month or two, cancel. Wash, rinse, repeat.

While I think this is a good idea, I wonder when the streamers will catch on and start making mandatory 6-month or 1-year subscriptions.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Jerry Springer, politician-turned-TV ringmaster, dies at 79 See in context

Just a personal anecdote. My brother had a rather successful business in Atlanta. Back in the '90's when I was working for him while in college, we made a house call to one of his clients - Antonio "LA" Reid, the record producer. I remember being in the living room of his house in the Country Club of the South and there, on the living room table, was a VHS tape of Springer's "Too Hot for Televison." Everybody loves good trash. The man's show reached wide and far. God speed.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: A Japanese government panel is discussing introducing a joint custody system for divorced parents to share custody of their children. But some members remain wary of a joint custody system because of concerns that it could lead to continued domestic violence after divorce. What's your view on this? See in context

I agree with kohakuebisu. The "it could lead to continued domestic violence" is really just an excuse not to do anything. One thing that really frustrates me with this country and its "decision makers" is that it has to be 100% Option A (single custody, no visitation) or 100% Option B (joint custody under any circumstances). There is never any discussion of subtlety or nuance - too hard and time consuming, I guess.

If there is proven domestic violence - physical, emotional, psychological, financial - in a divorce, and "not he-said, she said," then why in the world would joint custody even be considered? There is a whole spectrum of custody solutions ranging from exclusive single custody with a restraining order to limited, supervised visitations. It does not have to be, "Well, joint custody is the rule now, so we have to give joint custody no matter what." That's just lazy.

And by "proven" domestic violence, I mean police consultations, doctor visits, witness testimony....documented abuse. Too easy for many people to cry wolf.

Side note, I've got a bee in my bonnet about this kind of thinking. My son's judo club is trying to decide between no Saturday practice or practice on every Saturday. When I proposed every other Saturday, or every Saturday with two of them being mandatory and two voluntary, everyone looked at me like my hair was on fire. It doesn't only have to be A or B.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Last students graduate: School closures spread in aging Japan See in context

One thing that gets me is that even in the larger cities where student enrollment is getting lower, the schools are unwilling to make lemonade out of lemons.

The number of students at my son's and daughter's elementary school has dropped quite a bit. Used to be they had 4 classes per grade - approx 140 students, about 35 students per class. Now they have around 113 or so per grade. But, instead of having 4 smaller classes of fewer than 30 students each, they just close one class and still have 3 classes with 35 students. Why? What a great opportunity to improve the quality of the learning environment (every single study done on class sizes shows smaller classes = better) and lessen the burden on teachers. But, not. Several classrooms sit empty while the other are over crowded and the teachers are still over worked. Talk about wasting a chance...

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Posted in: Gov't unveils measures to promote marriage, raise birthrate See in context

While it is nice they want to make things better for current and future parents, I have yet to hear anything that would improve life for children. Quite a few people I know aren't interested in having children because they themselves have hangovers from their childhoods here in Japan. I'm not saying they had bad or abusive childhoods or that they don't have any good memories. I'm just saying the negatives outweighed the positives. Examples of negatives:

school: old school buildings with old equipment and facilities, over-crowded classrooms that were scorching hot in summer and freezing in winter. Draconian school rules, overbearing teachers, tons of wasted time (go to school for 3 hours a day the week before spring vacation instead of just starting vacation a week early), tons of homework, extra-curricular activities - no down time

-super long practices for any kind of sport or club, no free time to be a kids

-the pressure cooker juken life

-watching mom go crazy trying to keep up with all of the school / PTA / neighborhood obligations and home life while dad comes home late everynight

-not being able to take a real vacation - only going on vacation when everybody else goes and it is crowded

-knowing that none of this will ever get better or change because society does not like children (just yesterday I saw a group of old folks chasing children, who were there first, out of a park so they can play gateball)

People know life can be better for children. They know how things are in other countries. And they know Japan will never change.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Posted in: Nootbaar's pepper grinder move unwelcome in Japan high school tourney See in context

Just to clarify the nationality issue. The purpose of the WBC is to grow baseball outside of the Americas and east Asia. To do this, they need teams from Europe and other areas. To get these teams, they have very loose nationality requirements. If you have a grandparent from a certain country, you qualify to represent that country. This is how Nootbaar can play for Japan. Team Italy is made up almost entirely of Italian-Americans and not Italian nationals ( ). Same for Israel - mostly Jewish-Americans (think Sandy Koufax, Hank Greenberg). I think it is a good idea to get more people interested worldwide.

Didn't rugby also adopt a very loose nationality policy recently? Something like if you live in a country for two years, you can play for that country's national team? It seems they had the same idea - grow and expand rugby outside of countries other than the traditional power houses.

On a related note. What is Nootbaar's other half. "Lars Nootbaar" makes me think he also has Dutch heritage? Might he be able to play for the Netherlands in the future?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Court orders retrial of 1966 quadruple murder case See in context

The simple fact that this man sat on death row for five decades while dozens of other death sentences were carried out tells the story (134 executions since 1993). The powers to be themselves have never fully believed he was guilty. How many justice ministers have there been since he was convicted? How many execution orders signed? And not a single one of them could get around to signing off on his execution? Why not if they were so sure? Because they were not sure - nobody wanted to execute an innocent man. "shame" is not a strong enough word.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

Posted in: Super Bowl magic: Chiefs beat Eagles 38-35 See in context

I believe the real MVP was whatever was in the syringe when they injected Mahomes's ankle at halftime. He had a high ankle sprain coming it, got it twisted right before the half and had to hop off the filed. 20 minutes later he is running 30 yards without a limp or grimace. Not saying it was not on the up-and-up, but I hope he didn't do more damage to is ankle without even feeling it.

Oh, and it seems the Chiefs will now be getting all the Patriot calls.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Okayama ninja video credited with drastically improving traffic manners See in context

As a 20+ year resident of Okayama, I am stunned to learn that even 10.3% of cars stop for pedestrians. I'd say it is more like 0.3%.

As for manners drastically improving, please tell that to the high school kid that just got hit coming out my neighborhood two weeks ago. At a crosswalk. With the volunteer crossing guard waving his baton to stop cars.

Thankfully the kid it OK, but man, Okayama drivers are terrible.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Posted in: Lloyd Morrisett, who helped launch 'Sesame Street,' dies at 93 See in context

A truly wonderful human. We need more.

“Sesame Street” was designed by education professionals and child psychologists with one goal: to help low-income and minority students aged 2-5 overcome some of the deficiencies they had when entering school. 

And now it is on HBO Max streaming, where you have to pay to get it, keeping out the very children it was originally meant for. "shame" is not a strong enough word.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Public faces ¥1 bil annual maintenance bill for privatized National Stadium See in context

For everything that went wrong with the Atlanta Olympics, and a lot did go wrong, at least they got the stadium right. They built the Olympic Stadium but still kept and used Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium (the Braves home stadium) through the Olympics. After the Olympics, the Olympic stadium was sold to the Braves and converted to their new home stadium - Turner Field - and the old stadium was torn down. The Braves used it for 20 years before building a new stadium in the suburbs but now the Olympic stadium / Turner field has been bought by Georgia State University and is used by their football team as well as for other events. So, almost 30 years of continuous occupancy and use and no debt to the city or state. Why they build the Tokyo Olympic Stadium without a permanent occupant in mind (Giants?) after the Games makes absolutely no sense to me. Hosting a world championship of some sort once every 4 ~ 6 years is not going to do it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

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