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Cynical_Skeptic comments

Posted in: 'Foreign travelers are Japan’s guests' – Governor against charging tourists more than locals See in context

Citing the costs of things like administrative infrastructure and hospitals, Hashimoto pointed out that Japanese locals pay taxes to support their development

A total red herring to somehow justify stealing from tourists - simple as it gets. First and foremost, the notion that tourists don’t pay their fare share is bogus. Tourists already pay taxes in the form of consumption taxes and hotel taxes, and that doesn’t come with any expectation of being represented by a local or national Japanese government official or the privilege to utilize Japanese government resources or hospitals. If the local government is complaining that the taxes are somehow too low, increase the tax rate. Better yet, if the government coffers are too low, quit wasting taxes on programs that don’t have a return on investment. If government officials are overtly advocating for stealing from tourists, you can guarantee that they will steal covertly from their own constituents.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Posted in: Overall, is a weak yen good for Japan’s economy? See in context

Weak Yen - depends which side of the coin you're talking about if it's a good thing or not, as it's not a binary answer. If the intent to make your economy into an exporting / tourist driven economy, then that's most likely a "yes." However, if you're not exporting enough and/or your prices for what I call mandatory imports (e.g., petroleum products, NLG, raw materials, rare Earth metals, etc.) needed to make those exports are outpacing the ROI on those exports, then that's typically a "no", and typically leads to government budget deficits as people are spending less (due to inflationary effects of higher import costs and a weaker currency).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: TSMC to launch chipmaking plant in Japan, but U.S. plant to face delays See in context

TSMC attributed to a shortage of skilled workers

Labor has complained of TSMCs mismanagement and lack of knowledge of safety standards and TSMCs desire to bring in over 500 Taiwanese workers as a means to bring in cheaper labor and the claims of a skilled labor shortage are bogus. Regardless of who’s in the wrong - US taxpayers are the ones getting the raw deal out of this $53 billion USD boondoggle with only a gigantic unusable factory in the middle of the Arizona desert.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/aug/28/phoenix-microchip-plant-biden-union-tsmc

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: We aim to open outlets in 30 countries and regions by 2030, with bases in the United States and Japan. See in context

Considering galactic contrast between a 7-11 in Japan versus a 7-11 in the States, Isaka better stick to the Japanese tried-and-true version of the store if they want to expand successfully as planned.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan prepares for missile shipments after easing arms export restrictions See in context

Any re-export (of PAC 3 missiles) to third countries would require permission from Tokyo.

That statement is not entirely correct as written. Re-exports of US any military technologies under an existing export agreement absolutely require pre-approval from the US State Department first - then the government of Japan. See US Federal ITAR lay, 22 CFR § 120.51.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Taylor Swift is Spotify’s most-streamed artist of 2023, ending Bad Bunny's 3-year reign See in context

a figure that is determined by adding up how many times music owned or controlled by a particular rights holder is streamed, divided by the total number of streams in the market it is streamed in each month.

Basically its a discombobulated explanation of how Spotify pays about $5 or ¥730 in royalties a month to a artist for their music played on their streaming format. Hope you enjoy that Starbucks Apple Crisp w/oat milk w/no whip Frappuccino courtesy of Spotify.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Five senators ask Biden to impose China travel ban after respiratory illness cases See in context

Senate Intelligence Committee

Isn't that a supposedly a classic contradiction of terms?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: There's too much guesswork in renting an Airbnb; company trying to fix that See in context

The site lets visitors filter searches by all-in pricing, which includes the fees, although it is not the default setting.

So Airbnb is very comfortable with using subterfuge as the default setting for commerce? This might be a large part of that so-called “unpredictability” Chesky needs to eliminate?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Republicans reject Jordan for House speaker on first ballot, but more voting likely See in context

Republicans reject Jordan

Surprise surprise. This coming from the part of ungovernance, where established laws and decorum are just only guidelines, and chaos is a completely underrated philosophical concept that's misunderstood by the unenlightened masses.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Casino industry spurs $329 billion in U.S. economic activity, study shows See in context

Casinos are often the largest employers in a region, with major commitments in terms of wages and benefits

I think someone forgot to tell the workers at MGM Grand and Caesars in Las Vegas that message of how well they are being paid in salary and benefits; otherwise, they wouldn't feel to the need to strike over only working for Nevada state minimum wage plus tips (which tips/gratuities happened to be pooled by shift, so it's quite possible for one shift / group to earn more than another shift / group for the exact same basic task).

https://www.reuters.com/markets/us/thousands-las-vegas-hospitality-workers-picket-mgm-caesars-casinos-2023-10-09/

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Blockbuster movie scares Chinese tourists away from Thailand See in context

Blockbuster movie scares Chinese tourists away from Thailand

Was this supposed to be a negative thing or some type of connotation that I fully didn't understand? Sometimes its best to understand when to not always look a gifted horse in the mouth.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Solomon Islands leader 'appalled' at Japan over Fukushima water release See in context

The leader of Solomon Islands, who has developed close ties with China

Summed up the context of the article.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Why doesn’t the U.S. adopt the metric system? See in context

Why doesn’t the U.S. adopt the metric system?

Not entirely accurate. The Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 required at the federal level by 1992 for most procurement's, grants, and other business transaction. The problem is that participation in the metric system is only voluntary at the state level, and left to the states to adopt it (which we know they stubbornly won't - mostly for spiting the federal government). Oddly, only Arizona has a complete highway route in metric units - the roughly 100Km highway of I-19 that goes from Tucson to Nogales Mexico.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Hokkaido startup aims for the stars with high-altitude balloon trips See in context

This doesn't seem like a well thought out plan at all. Super risky, and doesn't seem to consider several basic things - the amount of breathable air in a small sealed box isn't much (since humans need approximately 250 mls. of oxygen each minute and 21% of air is oxygen), it's VERY cold at those altitudes, real risk of CO2 poisoning, cabin pressure, and the survivability of the pod in the event that an emergency parachute is needed to control descent back to the Earth.

the spectacle of the blue Earth can be observed from the stratosphere at 25 km high, the company said.

Or just from the the screen of your phone or computer without having to spend a king's ransom or nearly getting yourself killed.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Medvedev says Japan's 'militarization' complicates Asia-Pacific See in context

Dmitry Medvedev said Japan's "militarization" complicates the situation in the Asia-Pacific region

Says the person who authorized their own "militarization" back in the 2010's on the Kuril Islands with airstrips long enough to support fighters and bombers, long range supersonic anti-ship missiles (SS-N-26 Strobile), a permanent squadron of mobile missile surface to air launchers (S-300V4's), and several multi-floored barracks large enough for housing a battalion of soliders (approximately 500 - 700).

https://www.csis.org/blogs/new-perspectives-asia/russias-militarization-kuril-islands

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Apple unexpectedly supports Right to Repair Act See in context

Apple supports California's Right to Repair Act so all Californians have even greater access to repairs while also protecting their safety, security, and privacy

Let's be honest, just because you "support" an idea doesn't mean you'll actually endorse and commit to it. Visualizing or voicing solidarity support is a whole lot cheaper than actually being a part of it.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan considering restricting senior citizens’ access to ATMs See in context

Japan considering restricting senior citizens’ access to ATMs

In a word - don't. You're creating a legal nightmare and more than satisfying any fly-by-night ambulance-chasing lawyer's dream. Whoever concocted this idea; while maybe in good intent trying to protect folks from scammers, has absolutely no idea what the Japanese Constitution prohibits. The idea of imposing this only on the elderly (not sure when 65 suddenly became "elderly" BTW) violates SEVERAL articles of their Constitution (nearly a third of the Articles of 14 - 44 that prohibit age-based discrimination).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: United Airlines says it made $1 billion in second quarter and sees strong remainder of 2023 See in context

This article has quite a bit of a summarized omissions (there's a bit more - if you desire to read) from this report:

In late June, United canceled nearly four times as many flights as any other U.S. carrier, according to data from FlightAware. Many of those cancellations occurred at United’s hub in Newark, New Jersey

I can't find out why United is so short-staffed if they've claimed to be in a hiring spree, as United claimed to have hired as many workers who where either terminated or quit during the COVID outbreak, yet they are still having so many problems at the Newark location? Maybe it's it the quality vs quantity of its labor?

Cheaper fuel is also helping.

Maybe, but it's savings in fuel is being more than offset and lost by its higher labor costs to retain/attract talent and skilled labor:

United’s spending on pay and benefits jumped $874 million, or 31%, to $3.71 billion in the latest quarter. Just last weekend, the airline agreed to a $10 billion deal that, if ratified by pilots, will raise their pay by up to 40% over four years.

Somehow ChatGPT will recommend United stock still be a strong buy for those who love to gamble, regardless of any human logic or critical thinking. United's short term profit gains (and US Government bailouts) still won't excuse United from treating its customer base like dirt.

https://www.everythinglubbock.com/news/business/ap-united-airlines-says-it-made-1-billion-in-the-second-quarter-and-sees-strong-remainder-of-2023/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: No more free coffee on your birthday? Companies rein in customer rewards programs — here's why See in context

Starbucks said it “found that the vast majority of were using their birthday reward on their actual birthday.”

As opposed to what other day one might be expected to redeem a birthday gift on? Boxing Day perhaps?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Posted in: China maintains bans on food imports from Japan due to safety reasons See in context

China is simply gaslighting to remove the focus of their continued overfishing and poaching in waters outside of their territorial boundaries. Once Japan starts to dump the cooling water into the ocean, you can practically guarantee China is going to somehow use that as a means to legitimize their past behavior, and continue ad nauseam.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Mint Pepsi for yakisoba is coming to Japan See in context

the brand is now set to blow everyone’s minds again, this time with a new Pepsi designed to be drunk with yakisoba

Not minds being blown away, more like your stomach and intestines if you somehow think mint cola and yakisoba somehow complement each other. Akin to consuming Pop Rocks and soda (won't make your stomach explode, but it doesn't end well either).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Kyoto wants to add extra charges for tourists to use city buses See in context

When asked “Is the goal to obtain more money from tourists?” Kadokawa replied “Not at all.”

Being a little passive-aggressive towards foreigners again?

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Posted in: Musk's Neuralink says it has been cleared for human test of brain implants See in context

Musk's ultimate goal is to ensure that humans are not intellectually overwhelmed by artificial intelligence

So far the human's Musk chooses to associate with aren't "overwhelmed" with either actual intelligence or some fundamental level of critical thinking.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Gifu town’s population doubles as families descend to search for mythical 'tsuchinoko' See in context

Some families even tried to entice the tsuchinoko out of hiding by pouring small amounts of Japanese sake and squid,

They should've played Metal Gear Solid 3 and 5 to learn how and where to catch a tsuchinoko.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: In U.S., 'tip fatigue' raises questions about sacrosanct habit See in context

To solve this tipping dilemma, watch Mr. Pink explain why he doesn't tip the waitress on Reservoir Dogs.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Posted in: Yakuza boss arrested for making supermarket point card See in context

The Way of the Househusband, now fiction becomes reality.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: ANA, JAL see profits soar on travel recovery See in context

ANAs 4 QTR earnings reports for 2022 pretty much confirms what everyone else is writing - long story short - they charged a whole LOT more for seats than they did in 2021. For ANA - they made 501% passenger profit from 2021 despite only having an actual passenger increased load factor of 47.5% from 2021:

https://ssl4.eir-parts.net/doc/9202/tdnet/2229029/00.pdf

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Toyota pushes zero-emission goals by converting old models See in context

Changing old cars to go green, or “conversion,” was a better option

That's a rather noble but dubious claim. To completely remove a combustion engine and retrofit it into an electric / fuel cell engine; while both completely mechanically and electrically doable (it's nothing new), the conversion costs and driving driving range inefficiencies may make this a nonstarter for most non-urban consumers. Also, this conversion process in and of itself isn't without generating a lot of industrial waste that has to be disposed of in some manner. Sure, it's completely doable to convert an older car into what will amount to be a glorified golf cart, but it's only going to satisfy what will be a niche market of consumers who don't primarily use such vehicles as their primary means of transportation.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: The oven won't talk to the fridge: 'Smart' homes struggle See in context

"The hard part is the app model, the data model, the sharing of this, because the human nature of companies is to be very selfish about this," he said.

I wonder if that has anything to do with the financial liability that’s inherently involved with security breaches or exploits that comes with commonality of software code?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: End of Japan COVID curbs triggers surge in visitors to nearly 1 million in November See in context

From a cost perspective, Japan is quite reasonable right now

Not airline tickets to travel to Japan - not even close to being reasonable. I suppose Russi may have a very narrow perspective of how things work?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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