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CruisinJapan comments

Posted in: Brokerage worker loses paternity leave appeal in Japan See in context

@Punctual Plum

Also, I'd be interested to hear from fellow posters that have come to Japan for work think about working there?

I've worked in Japan after being transferred to the Tokyo office of an American company. I did IT consulting work for a number of banks / insurance firms in Japan.

This story of paternity leave brings back memories of how my employer took me off good projects to place me into worthless projects outside my department, simply because I'm a native English speaker. In my experience Japanese managerial style doesn't promote employee growth, and simply pushes talent to where there are gaps. If you stick around long enough and are loyal enough, you may end up getting put on good projects with the best customers. But don't bother taking time-off outside of Golden Week, Obon, or New Years (or when you have a child)

On the positive side, being an expat, I took on a lot of high visibility projects at a young age. I felt like I was important for the company's mission (although underpaid).

On the negative side, we would do an honest assessment of our clients' IT systems, and their leadership usually didn't like our ratings, so they argued with us to give them a higher score. Of course, my Japanese managers allowed us to raise their scores because "okyaku-sama wa kami-sama" or "customer is God".

The sad thing is, we were just there to help them improve. Instead, I feel one bank in particular received our assessment and ignored our recommendations, and pretended like they were already perfect. So what's the point of hiring us?

I also remember going to Europe and America with a Japanese client to visit their subsidiaries, and watching the Tokyo executives fail to understand budgeting cycles and management culture in the Western world. They failed to complete "due diligence" and our team received a lot of angry feedback when telling (not asking) the subsidiaries about unrealistic timelines. I've never felt as much tension in a meeting as I did on this project.

I quit my Japan job within a year. I am paid way more to do the same job back in the USA and not work 10-14 hours a day. It would take a lot to convince me to ever go back to a Japanese firm.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Posted in: Virus breaks the mold for telework in office-bound Japan See in context

Once again caught flat-footed due to their own ability to change with the times, J. Inc. is already contributing to the spread of the pandemic by keeping employees commuting to the office.

Remember last July when the government "encouraged" companies to try telework to prepare for the Olympics and nearly no one tried it?

The only problem is, now that society needs salarymen to stay home, no one really knows how to do it effectively, and the stakes are now life and death.

The world is watching, and if Japan can't keep up with trends like telework and allowing employees to stay home during this pandemic, they're going to have a hard time recruiting international talent going forward.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Australia says no collusion in decision to withdraw from 2020 Games See in context

I would have hoped that teams across the world would come to the same conclusion.

Frankly, I wouldn't even care if they colluded. They made the right call. I hope 2021 happens though because we already paid for tickets!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo records most new coronavirus cases in a day as pressure for lockdown builds See in context

Compare this situation of not testing more people to the prosecutions by the Japanese justice department. They seldom take cases to court that are not slam-dunk convictions.

Japan has this obsession with being certain about something before acting.

They need all the rubber stamps of approval before a deal is made.

They need the meeting notes before a meeting is held.

They need the class print outs before they attend a college lecture.

Yes, it's cultural, and it is a time-honored trait of this country. But it has its time and place!

This time though, I'm so tired of excuses about hospital beds, and I'm really starting to be scared for all of my in-laws as most of them live in metropolitan areas.

What's the right number of confirmed cases before Abe can say "stay home or else!!"

For those of you who think "testing of mild cases is a waste of beds" based on hospital bed count, you fail to realize that in less in a month they're going to be full anyway. BUT, this could have been slowed down!!

Stop defending this administration!!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Posted in: Koike calls for fewer outings; says state of emergency up to PM See in context

The number of infections continues to increase from last week and we are at a crucial moment which will determine whether we can minimize the number of further infections

...determine whether we can minimize...

Dear Japan, yes you CAN minimize infections by ordering people to stay home, not just in the evening and on weekends.


The rest of the world

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Posted in: Nagoya Stadium disinfected See in context

This is beyond hilarious! Look at how many people from the press are there to document something that has no impact! Hopefully they're disinfecting subway cars, buses, and elevators around big cities instead of wasting time in a dugout no one has been in for WEEKS!

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo Olympics rescheduled for July 23-Aug 8 in 2021 See in context

Wow, maybe instead of deciding to publicize the new dates for the Olympics, the leaders in Japan could focus on a massive problem literally at the last opportunity they have to minimize the impact of the pandemic!!

Are you seriously answering this question faster than the questions about quarantining and working from home?!

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Posted in: Tokyo's infection spike after Olympic postponement sparks questions See in context

At this point rather than argue over the missteps up until now (which we can all agree there are many)...

It's time to take real action. No where else in the world crowds trains and subways like Tokyo.

If you think 2 digit daily increases in infections are bad, without REAL measures, it's going to become 3 digits, then maybe even 4, very very soon.

Stay home. It's the single best way to curb the spread.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: 2 Japanese businessmen charged in U.S. over tech hardware price fixing See in context

Hillclimber and Kazuaki,

You're making semantical arguements about my point that it's not compatible with the laws in America, hence why stating American values is necessary for me to do.

If you do business in another country and simply carbon copy your business model from your home country, you're already setting yourself up for failure. Regional laws and cultural values. These things matter, and it would be the same for American businesses abroad.

Frankly, I don't care if we're talking about hard drive components, software, or bubblegum. Your semantics detract from the central point. Price fixing is illegal. The fundamental arguement is that it stifles competition and innovation.

If excessive competition leads to a race to the bottom, that's when competitors who can't make a profit exit the market and do something else, not everyone can go home a winner forever. You can't let businesses collude to arbitrarily set supply and pricing for all industries, or McDonald's and Burger King would just start charging $10 for a burger.

Besides, it's not the only law governing competition. We have tarriffs, quotas, subsidies, anti-trust laws and other measures to protect producers and consumers from unfair business practices.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: 2 Japanese businessmen charged in U.S. over tech hardware price fixing See in context

All in the name of Harmony. They just don't get it. These Japanese companies "fix prices", so that they all survive. It is a humanitarian thing that they do.

Actually, it's called cheating, and it stifles innovation. It makes products and services needlessly more expensive for everyday people when companies price fix.

I've noticed that prices in Japan are "sticky" and Japanese society does whatever it can to prevent price changes. For example, if input costs for a liter of juice go up, the juice sellers use the same package and change the volume to 900 ml to be able to sell it at the same price.

There's also nearly no inflation and extremely low interest rates in Japan, but at the same time no GDP growth.

I think Japanese business men need to realize that these practices aren't compatible with American values where we focus on growth, ecomonies of scal,e and competition. I suppose we'll continue to see a case like this a few times a year involving Japanese firms.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Posted in: Graduating from marriage: The Japanese phenomenon of 'sotsukon' See in context

Japanese men are the world's most notorious "Momma's boys"

They live in a protected state from a young age, where their 365-days-a-year sports team practices take precedence over learning how to do anything domestic. Most of them live at home or company provided dorms until married, never cooking a single meal. Then they get married and expect their wives to pick up where their mothers left off.

Lots of Japanese wives even have to give their husbands a daily cash allowance because apparently budgeting is also a skill men here lack.

I wouldn't want to even be roommates with this kind of person, let alone spend the rest of my days cleaning up after one.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Posted in: Number of foreigners in Japan with new working visa totals 1,621 See in context

What Southeast Asian or Melanasian has time to learn Japanese while becoming a "skilled laborer"?

How many Japanese are willing to move to developing countries to teach Japanese for low wages?

The expectations on applicants is way too high. The average worker targeted for this program doesn't exactly have an opportunity to study Japanese in their home country.

While Japanese language teaching programs do exist in developing countries, they don't seem to be producing the expected results. Even Japanese majors in universities may have a hard time passing JLPT!!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: U.S., Japan, EU seek new global rules limiting subsidies See in context

"No more subsidized industry!" "No TPP!"

Say the Japanese government officials who gain so much support from lobbies like JA, and continue to dish out rice and farm subsidies in the antiquated quota system to buy votes.

If you're against subsidies, I don't think you should get to pick and choose based on what you perceive to be disadvantageous.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Sony, Sharp supply parts to U.S.-blacklisted China security video firm See in context

"Japanese companies' awareness of human rights lags 20 years behind U.S. and European companies," he said.

Awareness of human rights and...

Japanese companies' awareness of the modern workplace, labor laws, technological advancements, is about 20 years behind not just U.S. and European, but ASEAN countries as well

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Revamped cabinet lineup signals Abe's gambit to stay in power See in context

Well, for those who may not see the glaring problem with this picture here's an article published 5 years ago today:

With its aging population and dwindling workforce, Japan more than ever is looking to women like Ms. Suzuki. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has brought the issue to the forefront of his economic-growth policy known as "Abenomics," proclaiming a goal to fill 30% of leadership positions in Japan with women by 2020

It may help, Abe-san, to set the example where you have control.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Posted in: South Korea detains 6 for illegally entering Japan consulate See in context

What is disheartening is that these students didn't live in the era of war and occupation, and probably not even their parents. They seem to have inherited their hate and anger from the aging survivors.

We need to break this chain of handing down prejudice to the next generation and instead focus on how we can move forward constructively.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

Posted in: 50-year-old cyclist dies after being hit by car in tunnel See in context

As a cyclist in Japan, this scares me. There aren't enough wide shoulders, but especially with older tunnels there's no way to change anything.

Please drive carefully and notice cylists

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese firms to offer telework to ease traffic jams during 2020 Games See in context

I'm glad to see the move toward flexible work options in Japan.

I'm disappointed that it's going to be temporary, and only because of the Olympics.

Please let this last more than next summer.

Don't make social changes for international spectators, make social changes because your citizens are working themselves to death in Tokyo skyscrapers every day.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Posted in: Big plastic user Japan fights waste ahead of G20 summit See in context

I've been saying this for years, but why not add water fountains in more public places (and government buildings).

It seems silly to me that when you make your occasional trip to city hall, or a public park, you have to buy a PET bottle of water for 100-120 yen, when all you need is a sip or 2 of water on a hot day.

By the way, what's the first thing sold out on 40 degree summer days?

I think Japan loves its PET bottles because it's easy to make money off thirsty people!

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Posted in: Renting a girlfriend in Japan: Relationship goals or just plain awkward? See in context

Call it what it is, this is an escort service.

It's only a matter of time before a customer with bad intentions takes advantage and tries to coerce these young women.

It only looks cute because they found a non-threatening, normal-looking guy who wouldn't have trouble finding a girlfriend without "renting" one.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: What are some of strangest company rules you've experienced at your workplace Japan? See in context

No matter how long you work for your client each day, never report that you worked more than 7 hours (illegal)

During international business trips, if you eat lunch by yourself (without the client) you cannot claim the meal as a business expense

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Safety steps for foreign drivers introduced amid rise in accidents See in context

Reckless, I found out that if you're from the US and you walk into any AAA service shop, you can purchase an international driver's license that can be used for up to a year.

If you come to Japan as a tourist, you can use the AAA license to rent a car legally in Japan without a knowledge test. I have a permanent driver's license now, but in the past I used the international license to rent a car from Toyota.

The fact that I didn't have to take any kind of test and could still drive legally in Japan was kind of surprising! It's interesting that it's a lot harder to get a license to drive if you have a residency card!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Safety steps for foreign drivers introduced amid rise in accidents See in context

Also causing problems in Japanese roads?

Next to no traffic police enforcing laws

-Illegally parked or stopped vehicles on busy downtown roads

-Mo-peds and scooters weaving and lane splitting

-Drivers watching live streaming television on the navigation unit or smart phones

-Pedestrians and people riding mama-charis on smart phones

-Increasing numbers of unchecked elderly drivers

-Self-important taxi drivers and cowboy bus drivers

-Street cars tracks that are shared by vehicular traffic

And why, oh why, are there no roundabouts?

Where have you lived in Japan that has enough space and government funding available to address this issue? Good idea, but there's some other stuff that could come first, like ENFORCING the LAW.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Posted in: Hulu and Marvel to create 4 animated series See in context


You make a fair point, and certainly informed. I still think Marvel/Disney are over the top right now.

The movies are entertaining, and we've known the characters our whole lives, so there's no need to waste time with too much character development.

Then again, it's painfully obvious that some film projects have put profit and merchandising rights way ahead of a quality story. The stories are formulaic. Good guys bicker and struggle, bad guy seems like they will prevail, good guys work together and / or find previously unknown inner strength, defeat bad guy... for now... until sequel...

Critics whine about whether story is "true to canon" and use of CGI...

Rinse, repeat

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese beauty product prints English backwards on package so women can take better selfies See in context

Finally, a marketing pro who understands me!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Hulu and Marvel to create 4 animated series See in context

I love the people they have involved in the project, but frankly I am getting tired of everything Marvel all the time.

Film studios seem to have run out of new ideas.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Sapporo blast occurred after 120 spray cans were emptied See in context

In light of revelations that Apaman didn't provide a service that customers paid for, it may be a good time for regulators to come take a look at how else they may have scammed customers.

This type of poor decision making starts from the top down, and some large fines should help encourage the removal of incompetent managers from the upper ranks.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Language skills remain major concern for foreign nursing care workers See in context

JLPT is not an indicator of whether someone is at a level with which to meet with clients. Their ability to communicate effectively while speaking in Japanese is what matters. Someone can have passed JLPT and still not be an effective communicator.

I agree! To have the textbook grammar and kanji recognition to pass N1 or N2 starting from zero could take 2-3+ years of dedicated full time study (or having a background in another Far East language). But I've watched many people become conversational in a year when they are immersed. I think they ought to just do away with levels N1 through N5 and make a scale score like the TOIEC does.

Besides, the JLPT doesn't even examine speaking ability! Nurses or care-takers don't need to know the kanji for samurai or how the 10 conjugations of how to say "I must" in order to do their job.

After all, there will still be Japanese supervisors on staff!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Language skills remain major concern for foreign nursing care workers See in context

I was not a caregiver in Japan, but I was an IT consultant. Despite holding JLPT N2, my Japanese employer wouldn't put me on projects with Japanese clients, only with foreign businesses operating in Japan. I guess not even the JLPT 2 is enough for a respectable bank or insurance company.

I tell you what though, if you're foreign and want to work in a restaurant, conbini, or kiosk for 750 yen / hr, the Japanese will snatch you right up even if you've only been in Japan for a week and can't spell konnichi-wa.

I hope the politicians, businessmen, and hospital owners realize the oxymoron they've put themselves in. They want people with a skillset that simple doesn't exist, and can't seem to find a way provide a path to get there!

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Posted in: Wild boar bites off woman's finger See in context

Wild boars are a threat to human safety in mountain communities, and boars are hunted and trapped daily to keep residents safe from attacks. They're not like deer, they don't run away from humans. I encounter boar almost monthly, and I keep my distance when I hear them coming.

This isn't Narnia where all animals are just like humans and can be bargained with.

Ashiya is a wealthy neighborhood with many schools just outside of Kobe where houses back up against the forests of Mt. Rokko.

Not killing the boar could result in more people (not to mention school children) being put at risk.

Sometimes you have to use the tools available in an emergency, and tranquilizing boars is not the protocol for hunters; they kill boars.

Go ahead and feel bad for the way boar was killed, but these people did what they needed to protect the community.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

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