collegepark30349 comments

Posted in: Tokyo Games CEO: Official costs will be known early next year See in context

Takes that long to cook the books, I guess.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: New enrollments at 46% of private Japanese universities not filled in 2021 See in context

Something missing from this story is the govt's crackdown that started a few years back on private unis exceeding their quotas. Many private unis would routinely admit more students than they were officially permitted to. For example, a certain dept at a private uni was allowed to admit 100 students a year and would accept 115 or so. Some of this was intentional ("get 'em while you can") and some was not (you really have no idea how many students will accept their admission and how many will go to another uni, so you "best guess" how many will accept - sometimes it is over and sometimes under the official quota).

Anyway, a lot of the bigger private unis were really abusing this and accepting almost double their quota, which led to a lot of bad situations (poor student faculty ratios, overcrowding, etc), the worst of all being fewer students going to public universities, especially local (県立) ones. The govt wanted more students at these schools, so they started to withdraw funding and support for any private unis that exceeded their quotas, even by a single student. My uni started passing fewer students on the entrance exam than the actual quota: dept A's quota is 150 students, so pass only 145, that way we are sure not to go over the quota.

So, now the private universities, which were often 滑り止め for national unis, became harder to get accepted to, which led to fewer people applying (private uni A is harder to get into than local public uni A, so might as well use local public A as my 滑り止め for the national uni), which has helped lead to the current situation. The irony is, now many local public unis are exceeding their quotas with no repercussions while private unis are either losing students or having to go through a tortuous process to raise their quotas. So, mission accomplished?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: 17 U.S. cities make pitch for 2026 World Cup See in context

As a native Atlantan, from being born at Crawford Long to graduating from Georgia State, let me state that there is no worse city to host a major sporting event than Atlanta. I'm stunned at how many times they can sucker people into believing that. And there is no worse stadium owner to receive such a benefit than Arthur "tear down a historic church for my stadium's parking lot" Blank.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Illegal amounts of overtime going on at 37% of Japanese companies in government inspections See in context

Maybe a bit off topic, but maybe not.

I had a student last year who got a job offer for after she graduated. The salary looked fair, but then she did a little more thinking. She looked at the monthly salary and the monthly required hours (regular work hours + "service" overtime hours + "miscellaneous" hours ) and divided the pay by the hours. Her hourly pay came out to be exactly minimum wage for Okayama prefecture - 700 something yen an hour! For a 正社員 position! She then informed me she was already making 980 yen an hour at her Starbucks part-time job. She, rightly, rejected the offer and entered management training at Starbucks. The overtime is just a way to rob people of labor and suppress wages.

20 ( +20 / -0 )

Posted in: Are you or any of your family suffering from coronavirus fatigue? If so, what do you try to do each day to deal with it? See in context

Yes, we are feeling a of fatigue. Try to get outside every day, go to parks, bbq, yardwork, lots of board games inside, arts and crafts projects...but even these things get the feeling of "been there, done that" after almost two years.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Posted in: What ticks off drivers in Japan? New survey reveals top 3 causes of road rage See in context

In Okayama for me :

stopping in front of in-outs - I'm sitting there waiting to turn out of a parking lot and a car will just stop right in front of the in-out and block anybody from, well, getting in or out thus backing up traffic

stopping in the middle of intersection - here in Okayama, folks will jut fill up an intersection going in one direction and when the light changes to green for the other direction, nobody can move

running red lights - here you have to wait 5 seconds or more after the light turns green before you can go because cars keep coming from the other direction after they get the red light (if the intersection isn't blocked - see above). Seen many a wreck this way.

not knowing how to work a 4-way stop (this applies to Japan and the US)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Biden keeps to Kabul Aug 31 deadline despite criticism See in context

It is easy to put this all on Biden since it is happening on his watch, and he certainly does deserve some blame. But, let's not forget the incompetence and lack of planning by Trump and his crew.

Feb 2020 - the former guy signs the deal with the Taliban, troop withdrawal to begin in July 2020 and completed by May 1, 2021 (Biden extends to "before Sept 11, 2021)". The former guy was in office until Jan 2021 - meaning he had almost a full year to plan and at least begin evacuations and relocations. He did not because, well, golf, incompetency....whatever. The current Operation Allies Refuge did not begin until July 2021, which also shows that Biden wasn't doing much. However, Trump set the deal and the timeline and had more time to work, so the majority of this failure is on him.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Posted in: Japan beats Belgium to reach women's basketball semifinals See in context

I really like their brand of small-ball and "money ball" metrics. Sharp, quick passing. Take the open three. Hit the cutter when the defense over extends and the middle is open. Remember, if you take 100 2-point shots and hit 50% and I take 100 three-point shots, I only need to hit 34% to beat you. Play to your strengths, ladies.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Hamada, Wolf add 2 more judo gold for Japan See in context

I was surprised to learn this morning that Hamada is also a gold medalist in Sambo, which helps to explain her boss-level ground technique. It's pretty rare for Japanese athletes to cross-train disciplines and even more rare for it to be approved of (especially by the conservative judo federation). I hope this helps chip away a little at the "one sport all year" mentality over here. Also, 30 years old? Pretty long in the tooth for a female judoka. Good on her.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Posted in: ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill dies at age 72 See in context

Great musician who will be missed. I don't know how else to describe him other than he was just the most "in pocket" bassist I have ever heard.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Posted in: Record-setting super shoes are here to stay, say experts See in context

I really don't like this kind of "technology doping." The swimsuits about a decade ago got completely out of hand. I think at the Sydney Olympics world records in swimming were being broken 4 or 5 times a day. I'm glad the authorities stepped in and tightened the regulations. I read an article the other day about the singlets the Japanese wrestlers will be wearing and how they are made of a material that is harder for opponents to grip. Is that really fair? Also, the price of the technology creates a gap between the athletes and countries that can afford the gear and those that cannot. Of all the sports I have played, doing shot put gave me the most satisfaction because of its honesty - the weight of the shot never changes, the length of a centimeter never changes, no special equipment to help. It was all of me.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

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 )

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