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collegepark30349 comments

Posted in: Japanese players in MLB: Are they overhyped? See in context

rainyday is spot on with the analysis.

Take a look at the drafts in any professional sports. Very few first and second round picks have Hall of Fame careers. Some have solid, All-pro careers, some become journeymen, and some wash out. On the other hand, some late round or undrafted players become All-pro or make it to the Hall of Fame. The same with the Japanese players going to the Majors. I think it will get better as time goes on - less hype, more solid careers. Similar to Europeans in the NBA. They were considered "over hyped" in the late 80s and early 90s. Two years ago three made it to the Hall of Fame (Gasol, Nowitzki, Parker) and this year's All NBA first team was 4/5 foreign born.

Ichiro is a generational talent and would have been great in any league in any era.

Hideki Matsui would have been great if he were not so broken down when he got there and then broke his arm in his third year.

Daisuke Matsuzaka liked beer and fast food to much - look at his body between his rookie year with Boston and his final one.

The guys that impressed me the most were So Taguchi and Shigetoshi Hasegawa. Put their heads down, paid their dues (minors for Taguci), then became role players and eventually had solid careers with All-Star game appearances and a World Series ring for Taguchi.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: More companies in U.S. offer on-site child care, but is it a long-term fix? See in context

I know of two places here in Okayama that do this. Benesse has a day care center inside their headquarters for employees and the people I know that work their have great things to say about it. The other is 国立病院, which has one for the children of doctors and nurses who work at the hospital (neighbor works there). Both seem like worthwhile investments.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan weighs incentivizing childbirth by fully covering expenses See in context


Do all parents get the payment back from the local govt?

Just check with your local ward or city office. When Mrs. College Park and I went to get the 親子手帳 (after the OBGYN confirms your pregnancy and gives you the form), the folks at Okayama city hall gave us a big file full of applications, coupons, vouchers...all the information we'd need. Plus the little tag to put on our car for special parking, seating on the busses and trains and what not. Look on the website of wherever it is you live. Also check with your private insurance company if you have one.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan weighs incentivizing childbirth by fully covering expenses See in context

This seems to be solving a problem that doesn't really exist, at least from my experience. Most municipalities have their own lump-sum payments to cover what insurance, national or private, does not. Here in Okayama, both of my children were delivered at no out-of-pocket cost to me. I have private insurance and what it did not cover, Okayama city did - delivery, hospital stay, pre- and post checkups...etc. In fact, since both of them were c-sections, we actually got money back because a c-section is considered "surgery." I think we got around 300,000 back each time. My insurance also gave us 出産祝い (childbirth gifts) - vouchers for diapers and whatnot and reimbursed me for the car seat. Okayama city gave us two years worth of free garbage bags - we have to buy bags from the city for garbage (300 yen for 10 x 30 liters) - but they gave us two cases.

As others have said, I'd rather see money spent on quality of life measures. But, not for the parents, for the children. Build new kindergarten and school buildings, get new items in the school. Some of the desks in my kids' school are older than me. More teachers, smaller classes...don't just focus on making adults' lives easier. I think one reason a lot of people aren't having children is because they did not particularly enjoy their own childhoods and don't want to visit that experience onto their own children.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan cram school creates AI detection system for university applications See in context

It gets even worse. The uni that I work for started outsourcing the entrance exam writing a few years ago (until the the uni instructors wrote all of them) to "save the professors precious time." The outsourcing company uses AI to make the test materials, questions and answer keys. We now spend more time correcting and editing the outsourced exams than we did writing the originals. What is worse is that the company thinks AI is infallible and often ignores out edits. We have a published playwright on staff yet the company swears the AI dialogs are "natural."

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Medicine doesn’t just have ‘conscientious objectors’ − there are ‘conscientious providers,’ too See in context

They argued that mifepristone might result in complications that would send a woman to an emergency room where, as the only nurse or doctor on duty, they might be forced to take part in terminating a pregnancy.

On the other hand, they might also be "forced" to take part in saving the mother's life. I respect people's religion and right conscientious objection, but if you are the only resource / provider / option for the patient, you need to do what they want and feel is best for them and put your own beliefs aside.

“My Christian beliefs and values and morals informed my decision. … Here’s this person who’s hurting who needs help. Would my God that I believe in and worship want me to turn my back on her and just stand there and judge her instead of help her?”

This. All day this. Bless this person.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: It has gotten difficult to determine which parent would be more appropriate to take care of the child. See in context

No matter what the parents think of each other, children should be allowed to love their parents (abuse excluded, of course).

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Kishida's cabinet support rate edges up to 24.2%: poll See in context

I guess when you don't do anything it's pretty easy not to mess up.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Posted in: Inoue stops Nery in 6th round to defend titles See in context

His promoter is cherry-picking his opponents (mostly nobodys/bums) and only chooses to hold fights in Japan to make sure Inoue wins and looks impressive.

You are quite mistaken here, my friend. Inoue is definitely not one of the Kameda brothers. To date he has had bouts with 13 current or former world champions - 13! - half of his bouts - and has defeated all of them by KO. His opponent last night was a former champ, highly ranked and not a walk over - he came to fight. Inoue is just that good. He has also fought outside of Japan on several occasions. The kid is legit.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: What do you think are the good and bad points of the health insurance system in Japan? See in context

I guess the best part is you are never without coverage. Lose your job the employer insurance? Just slide right into the national program. Working only part-time or on contract? Join the national program. Also, no rejection for preexisting conditions. Like Jack above said, broad access, reasonable cost, reasonable quality.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Posted in: Nearly 30% of municipalities in Japan have no physical bookstores See in context

I wonder how many are also lacking libraries. A book store I can live without. A library is an essential part of civilization.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: What smartphone habits by some people bother you the most? See in context

Using it at the breakfast / lunch / dinner table. It's right up there with wearing a hat to the table.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Mary J. Blige, Cher, Ozzy Osbourne, A Tribe Called Quest and Foreigner get into Rock Hall See in context

I wonder what the issue is with legendary Carol Kaye. She should have been in as a contributor long ago. She's 89 now and not much longer for this world I'm afraid. She deserves so much more than a posthumous induction.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Chinese swimmers failed doping tests ahead of Tokyo Olympics: New York Times See in context

I'm sure the conversation went something like this:

WADA & IOC: Looks like some of your swimmers are doping. We're going to have to ban them from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

China: Our own investigation found it was an accident. Oh, by the way, I don't think we'll be able to host the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Good luck finding a new city.

WADA & IOC: Your investigation seems pretty thorough. We'll accept it. Tell your swimmers to get ready for Tokyo.

China: Good call.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan's lower house passes child care aid bill to tackle falling birthrate See in context

And let's not forget that another way to fund this was to do away with the tax deduction for dependent spouses and children. The amount of the deduction was worth more than the anual amount of the allowance for my two kids. A net loss for me. Do away with the allowance, give me my deduction and let me manage my own money.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Allman Brothers Band co-founder and legendary guitarist Dickey Betts dies at 80 See in context

This one hurts as a Georgian. Not all of the members of the band were from Georgia, but they are very much of Georgia. I wonder if he'll be buried in Macon along with Gregg, Duane, Barry and Butch.

If you haven't, do yourself a favor and listen to Blue Sky. Thirty second of vocals and 5 minutes of guitars - dual solos. Two masters going at it. Duane goes first and Dickey second (Dickey on vocals).


2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Winnie the Pooh becomes a killer: Where is remix culture going? See in context

I've got to say, I am not a fan of this recent trend of taking existing IP in the public domain and re-making / re-imaging / re-doing them. For example:

I just watched a recent TV series. It was set in depression era Los Angeles and was about a down-and-out private investigator. He works for a lawyer who eventually commits suicide and the PI then becomes a lawyer by necessity in order to salvage the case he's working on. (He cheats to pass the bar exam) The PI / lawyer is struggling with his trauma for WWI because he mercy-killed some comrades who were about to die from a poison gas attack which they were too severely wounded to escape. He is also is also an alcoholic, divorced father who is struggling to maintain ownership of his deceased parents' farm. The show features a Black police officer (in 1930's LA - interesting idea) who becomes a PI as well as the PI / lawyer's secretary who is a closeted lesbian (in he 1930's - interesting idea). The name of the show? Perry Mason. It was is "origin story."

I was so disappointed because absolutely nothing in the show had anything to do with Earl Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason books other than the name. In the books, Mason is already a lawyer, is not an alcoholic nor divorced nor a father, and would never, never break the rules. In the show, they actually had him steal evidence! Paul Drake, the police officer, is not Black, and his secretary, Della Street, is not a lesbian, much less a closeted one (DA Hamilton Burger is also not gay and does not help Mason become a lawyer either, like in the series).

If you are going to go through so much trouble and work to create the "origin" story of existing characters and change it so completely, why not just make new characters for a new show? The ideas in the show were great. A mercy-killing WWI vet? Black society in 1930's LA? Closeted gay life in the 1930's? I'd watch that show - if it were called something else. The only people you are going to attract by using the name Perry Mason are Perry Mason fans. And they are going to be turned off because the departure from the source is too radical. That is why the show, which was good, only lasted 16 episodes.

Stop the re-imaging and origins and mash-ups and gender-swaps....just write original stories with original characters.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Trump selling Bibles to encourage supporters to 'Make America Pray Again' See in context

Isn't that the picture where he is holding the Bible upside down?

*"All Americans need a Bible in their home and I have many -- it's my favorite book,"*

I rolled my eyes so hard I saw the back of the inside of my skull.

29 ( +31 / -2 )

Posted in: Ito left out of Japan soccer squad for World Cup qualifier amid sexual assault claim See in context

This is always a tricky situation. We have to accept what she says to be true (not believe, accept), while at the same time giving him the benefit of the doubt. In other words, the presumption of innonce versus the burden of proof. I don't particularly like giving someone accused of sexual assault the benefit of the doubt, but according to the system we have agreed to live by that is what I am obligated to do. I can understand the him being left off the team, though. It would be a distraction in and out of the locker room.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Posted in: Ohtani's wife seen with him in photo on social media See in context

“a normal Japanese woman” 

Welcome to the age of computer translation. Any competent speaker of English would know to say she is "a private citizen" as opposed to her husband who is "a public figure" without even needing a dictionary.

Was she a member of the silver medal winning Olympic team?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Posted in: What do you think of school uniform dress codes in Japan? See in context

I'm of two minds on this. From my experience, it is not that much of a hassle or expense, at least in public schools. The only people who spend a lot of money are those that go for exact fit and have to keep buying new sizes. I've only bought one blazer and two pairs of slacks for my son in JHS. I bought the blazer big and let him grow into it and for the slacks, tucked the waist and hemmed the legs and let them out as necessary. Did the same when both my kids were in elementary school too. Big sizes for their PE clothes. Sure, they are a a little to big when they start and a little too small when they finish, and look a little awkward, but who cares? It also makes it easier to decide on what to wear - there is nothing to decide. Since they only need casual clothes for weekends and breaks, I've saved money on that end too. Most elementary school districts / neighborhoods also have a uniform recycling current that flows through them. My kids have worn several hand-me-downs from other neighborhood kids - gym shorts, warm-ups.... Some of them have had 2 or 3 different last names written and crossed out on the tags. We put them right back in the current when we were done.

As for the other part of my mind,

They reduce the difference between richer and poorer and promote solidarity, which can positively effect student behavior.

I don't think I can agree with this. If it promoted solidarity, the rampant bullying that takes place and formation of cliques in schools would not happen. It does and uniforms do absolutely nothing to prevent that. Kids don't get picked on by kids from other schools. I've also seen the classroom breakdown (学級崩壊) in schools with uniforms. The only solidarity they had was working together to give the teacher a nervous breakdown. Students also know who has money and who doesn't based on where they live, what jobs their parents have... - uniforms can't hide that either.

Also, while they may not be judged within the school, they are judged by society as a whole when they are outside the school when others see their uniform: Oh, that kid goes to XXX high school, she must be smart. That kid is wearing a XXX high school uniform, he must not be to bright. That one is wearing a XXX uniform, she's rich. He has on an XXX uniform, must be a trouble maker.... Then they become just another way to judge somebody without knowing them.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: With Beyoncé’s foray into country music, the genre may finally break free from stereotypes that have long dogged it See in context

Many non-listeners stereotype country music as being white, politically conservative, militantly patriotic and rural.

Many listeners don't know anything about country music. The diversity of the genre - Honky Tonk, Bakersfield sound, Western swing, dark country, Appalachian... Or the diversity of the artist - lots of Latinos - from Freddy Fender to Los Lonely Boys. It is quite a deep genre with many talented artists.

Similarly, the genre has always included a mix of Anglo-American and Black American musical instruments. The banjo, for instance, has African roots and was brought to America by enslaved people.

This is a point that's a bit of a reach and I'm getting a little tired of hearing it. While the ancestor of the banjo may have come from Africa, the music made with it is noting like how is it used in country music. It's like saying jazz has its roots in white music because the saxophone was invented in France by a white man and brought to America later. Just because it has the same instruments doesn't mean it is the same thing.

On a side note, one of the biggest thrills of my life was getting to meet Jerry Reed when I was about 7. He and my daddy went to school together, and while they weren't "friends" later in life, Mr. Reed did recognize him and know his name when we went to one of his shows at Wagon Wheel Willie's. Got a picture of me, my brother, Daddy and Jerry Reed (Snowman from Smokey and the Bandit if you don't know his music).

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Trump pledges to defend Christianity against the left, which he says wants 'to tear down crosses' See in context

Sorry, one more comment:

First he says this, "...every fascist regime has tried to co-opt them (crosses) and control them."

And then this, " “But no one will be touching the cross of Christ under the Trump administration, I swear to you.”

Which means, he is indeed attempting to co-opt and control them. Which is what he says facists do. He is calling himself a facist. I wonder if Mr. Dunning-Kruger is aware of this.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Posted in: Trump pledges to defend Christianity against the left, which he says wants 'to tear down crosses' See in context

I've just finished reading a book titles "A Fever in the Heartland" about a man named D.C. Stephenson and the rise of the KKK in Indiana, and nationally, in the 1920s. The parallels between Stephenson and the Trump / MAGA movement are eerie. Not the ideology - I'm not calling Trump or his followers Klan. But the corruption, coercion and band-wagoning of members of the general public, polticians and officials. The emphasis on "Christian" values and traditional "American" ideals and morals and the danger of "others" not like them (wink, wink) and the damge they have done and will do the America. 100 years later and history does seem to be repeating itself.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan to boost child allowances to tackle falling birthrate See in context

One thing people are missing that was reported in the Japanese press but not here. To fund this the gov't is taking away the dependent child tax deduction. However, for JHS and HS age children the amount of the deduction is more than the amount of the allowance. 10,000 a month for my HS aged son is 120,000 a year. The deduction, if I rememebr correctly, is 260,000. So, I am losing 140,000 a year. It's like a friend asking to borrow $1,000 and then turing around and saying, "Hey, here's $500 to buy something nice." It was my money to begin with and you're keeping half of it.

I with they would give me the option of taking the allowance or taking the deduction. I'd take the latter. Let me manage my own money.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: If you live in Japan, what are some items you always make a point to bring back to Japan after you return from a trip abroad? See in context

Add another to the deodorant gang. I also get the biggest bottles I can find of extra-strength Tylenol and Tums (getting older), and decent sized tooth-brushes.

Dress shirts are a must. I take a 36/37 sleeve, which isn't all that easy a find in the States and unheard of here. Good quality dress shoes (Rockports), size 29. I can find larger sizes here, but only in the cheaper brands that are only slightly better than going barefoot.

If there is room leftover - a bag of grits, black-eyed peas, good cornmeal.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Posted in: Award-winning author's AI use revelation roils Japan's literary world See in context

This is an interesting ethical question. I think author's should have to cite any passages or content that they used AI to write, especially if they copied the passages verbatim, or even revised, or used an idea from AI that was not their own. If I copied a passage word-for-word, paraphrased or took an idea from another source without attribution in one of my research papers, I'd be in some pretty hot water.

*The Hoshi Shinichi Award for sci-fi literature has set out detailed requirements for the use of AI-generated content in submissions, including prohibiting its inclusion as is, without significant additions or revisions to the generated text, as well as keeping records of the process, among other rules.*

I agree. We're not talking "inspiration" here - this painting, song, passage, work, author...inspired me to write this / this way. We are basically talking about a new form of plagarism. Taking credit for someone (something?) else's work.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Billy Idol talks upcoming pre-Super Bowl show, recent Hoover Dam performance, working on a new album See in context

Rebel Yell was probably the first record I bought with my own grass-cutting money as kid (could have been Lionel Richie's Can't Slow Down, it was 40 years ago so the memory is a bit fuzzy). I so wanted to be Billy Idol. I remember going as him for Halloween that year - spiked hair and a vest with no shirt on, just like the video. Billy and Steve Stephens were the be all, end all.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: I’ve had to face barriers that often prevent me from being accepted as Japanese, so I am filled with gratitude to be recognized at this competition as a Japanese person. See in context

What I find funny is that if she played naturalized and played a sport such as baseball (Nootbar), basketball (Hawkinson) rugby, (Rich Michael and a score of others), soccer (Rui Ramos and a score of others), then everyone would consider her "Japanese." I consider her more Japanese than Naomi Osaka. I'm pretty sure this young lady could actually read a newspaper and conduct and interview without an interpreter.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Posted in: What do you think of dating apps? See in context

Dating an app has no appeal to me. I'd rather date a person.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

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