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Posted in: Study: Whooping cough vaccination fades in 3 years See in context

Neversubmit, this is because a virus can change over time, whether you call it mutation or evolution, or simple adaptation, the fact remains that viruses alter to the point where vaccines eventually have to be changed. Never heard of the common cold? There's a huge variety of cold viruses that mutate extremely rapidly which is why there's no vaccine. Flu? Those mutate fast too, which is why when deciding which vaccines to offer those in need each year governments have to take advice (mostly guesswork) from 'experts' as to which variations of the illness might be most common that winter. They're constantly working on these vaccines to try and keep up.

When it comes to Pertussis obviously they felt too certain that it's slow mutation meant they'd never have problems with the effectiveness of the vaccine. More fool them, scientists are often too certain of their own theories to notice the facts.

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Posted in: Gaijin -- just a word or racial epithet with sinister implications? See in context

“My own sense is that some foreign residents of Japan who take offense at any use of the term ‘gaijin’ belong to a well-established phenomenon of foreigners (usually white men) who want to become completely Japanese (culturally, biologically, socially).’ For these Japanophiles, any indication that they’ve not succeeded in becoming Japanese is taken as a personal insult

Spot on. Couldn't have put it better myself. Amusing to see responses from Japanophile white men complaining that it isn't true though ;)

@Foxie / @Humantarget, I was called America-jin repeatedly while I lived in Japan. Perhaps they thought I have no sense of style?


Some foreigners in Japan believe it should be interpreted literally, ‘non-human’

How on earth is that a literal interpretation?

They're using their own standards. That's how they think of certain other nationalities - be it Japanese, or Blacks, or Hispanics or French. If someone thinks even in the most vague way that certain other races are less than human, being pointed out as a foreigner when they're in Japan will automatically hit the panic button. It obviously doesn't help that some Japanese still consider themselves to be some kind of pure-blood race, but if the White Americans could learn to accept Black Americans as human, there's hope for everyone (That is to say, if SOME White Americans could learn to accept Black Americans as human. There's always stragglers clinging to old prejudices.)

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Posted in: Belgian soccer match halted after Fukushima taunts See in context

It doesn't say anything here about him not playing in a professional manner because of the taunts, so why the accusations from people here?

And what's so unusual about soccer players sobbing their pathetic little hearts out? You lot never heard of Gazza?

Quit accusing Japanese people of things a lot of other people do ffs. It makes you look like racist bigots, though far be it from me to suggest that that would be an accurate impression.

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Posted in: Are people hired based on their looks? See in context

azninvasion I think when the article mentioned Korean politicians in particular, it was more of a dig at some of the facially-challenged politicians (and PMs) that Japan has had over the years. Rather than a spiteful remark that Koreans have too much cosmetic surgery, it looked to me like a spiteful remark that Japanese politicians should have a whole lot more of it. Personally I agree. But far be it from me to suggest that anyone is ugly, as that would just upset JTs mods.

And the article is totally true about ugly women only being hired by women who don't have to suck up to a controlling and arrogant boss, regardless of ability. It's also true about beautiful women getting every chance that the rest of the populace can only dream of. It's also true that often those beautiful women cause major embarrassment to their employers with their total incompetence. But the whole world already knew all that, and although it never hurts to be reminded of cold, hard facts I really think this article is too honest for it's own good - it's all too obvious.

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Posted in: 23-year-old man arrested over death of girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter See in context

Laconic, actually you have no reason whatsoever to believe that he was brought up in a

household where this was exactly the kind of discipline that was meted out.

You're just giving him excuses. There's at least a 50% chance that he was brought up in a perfectly normal home, with perfectly decent parent/s, and just lacks that little part of humanity that helps us cope with kids. Why would he lack that? Partly because most young people don't have active, hands-on experience with young children, nor do they have decent advice close at hand (both because families no longer live with the grandparents.) And partly because he's a selfish little *?@! with no consideration for common sense, logic, other people, or even himself.

Social service networks can help a bit, but they have an unfortunate habit of grinding the gears and starting to move after a fatality or other calamity has already happened. You may think the death penalty would be no deterrent, but you surely can't deny that if he dies he can never repeat this act of murder, but if he lives he will get out of jail - and he could well do something similar on at least one future occasion. But perhaps you don't care about the other kids he might slaughter, just as long as he can blame his parents / the government / the media / the alignment of Mars and Jupiter .... etc.

Poor kid. RIP.

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Posted in: E-mail has just about replaced letters and faxes. What do you think will replace e-mail in the future? See in context

When we're all locked up in dungeons 24/7 while the robots rule the world, there'll be no need to worry about any such thing as contacting other human beings ;)

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Posted in: Japan excavating site linked to WWII human experiments by Unit 731 See in context

The 1989 find revealed dozens of fragmented thigh bones and skulls, some with holes drilled in them or sections cut out. Police denied there was any evidence of criminal activity.

Hmmm, do I detect a cover up perhaps?

The ministry concluded that ... the remains were mostly of non-Japanese Asians and were likely from bodies used in “medical education” or brought back from the war zone for analysis at the medical school.

Yes, I think I do.

I don't blame them for trying to find evidence that these remains were not from 731, but it seems they're using even the facts that make it obvious they were from 731 to somehow prove that 731 wasn't involved. I must say that on the face of this article (which, unfortunately, is not fully comprehensive nor legally binding,) it looks like one massive cover-up, and I can only expect more of the same from this new exhumation.

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Posted in: American Airlines, British Airways launch Haneda flights See in context

BA7 and BA8? I used them to and from Narita once or twice in the past. Nice to see them back, they used to stop them off season and then bring them back in the summer I think, now they've moved them to Haneda the only negative point is the departure time, especially from Haneda.

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Posted in: When filmmakers make movies about real people or events, such as "The Social Network," "The King's Speech," "United 93," "Ali," "Nixon," "JFK," "The Alamo," and so on, how much artistic liberty do you See in context

I have no objection to them fabricating fantastic stories to sell tickets, don't get my earlier post wrong by thinking I'm against creativity. But the words based on a true story give the FALSE impression that it's realistic. Perhaps if they changed it to LOOSELY based on a true story or inspired by a true story then altered beyond recognition I would feel happier.

There are Americans who believe the Enigma codes were broken by Americans, for example. I'm sure you Americans won't object to that wild variation from fact, but if someone NOT from America made a movie portraying JFK to be a black pimp, killed in a gun-fight over a white slave prostitute, and made him appear solely responsible for the massacre of entire nations, I'm sure you'd have a slightly different opinion. If something claims to be based on fact, it shouldn't be permitted to deviate from KNOWN fact very much. Certainly not to the point of rewriting history.

If I made a movie based on fact which played up the way America manipulated Japan in the run up to Pearl Harbour, stretching known fact into a blatant lie, you'd soon start whinging. When your country does it to the rest of the world you think it's great, even when they do it to themselves you don't object, which is up to you. But your country does not have the right to create outright lies about other countries or people and pretend it's based on fact. Nor do any other countries, about America or anywhere else.

There are some cases where the whole truth will never be known, so once the people involved are dead it's reasonable to speculate, provided it's made clear that that's what you are doing.

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Posted in: When filmmakers make movies about real people or events, such as "The Social Network," "The King's Speech," "United 93," "Ali," "Nixon," "JFK," "The Alamo," and so on, how much artistic liberty do you See in context

Very little to none at all, depending on how major the event or person was.

Unfortunately the filmmakers don't care what I think, and frequently re-write history shamelessly.

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Posted in: Boy, 14, killed by train in Nikko following school disciplinary warning See in context

@Piglet, Guard at the gate? Not a chance. Never heard of a guard at the front gate of a school. Every other building perhaps, but not a school. Even if there was, he'd be there to stop intruders getting IN, not to stop students getting out after school hours.

One of our lads was in trouble with his teachers in jhs. Over the phone they ranted and raved about how awful he was, how he was vandalising the school with graffiti, how he was repeatedly late in the mornings, etc. Then at the meeting it was all very polite. What a lovely boy, it wasn't him scrawling graffiti, and he was only late 3 times in the whole term. It was a relief of course, but left us wondering what on earth these teachers are on.

Perhaps this boy's trouble was something equally silly, or perhaps not. But it would be out of character for a thuggish bully to top himself. Walk out of school, yes. Feel remorse and fear to the point of suicide, no. So either he wasn't so bad, or he mis-timed his escape from the tracks when the train came. Either way, it's a sad loss. Even a thug has a chance of leading a worthwhile life if he gets the chance to grow up, and there's nothing in this article that suggests he was anything like a thug.

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Posted in: What do you think about the custom in Japan of women giving chocolates to their male co-workers on Valentine’s Day as a form of “obligation,” and then receiving chocolates back from the men on White D See in context

Irritating at best.

I would never give chocolates to random people I happen to work with, what kind of stupid waste of money would that be? Thankfully there's no such silly custom in Britain.

I only give Valentine's chocolate and gifts to my hubby, but me and the younger kids end up eating all the leftover melted chocolate plus any misshapen ones, and my hubby ends up with the few that ended up looking good. Making Valentine's treats is a good way to have fun and put on a few extra pounds.

Obligation shouldn't even begin to enter into the situation. It's just an altered form of a western pig-out after all, no big deal. Pretty much like Christmas.

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Posted in: It's moving to watch down-to-earth young girls who can't sing or dance gradually improve over time by diligently rehearsing. There's nothing like that overseas. See in context

Ignoring the fact that it's more intensive in Korea, and from a far younger age, from what I've seen AKB48 still can't sing or dance. Or is he just hopeful that they'll improve by the time they're 40?

A grotesque form of pseudo-entertainment, loved only by the talentless and tasteless. That's a description of his format, not any particular person.

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Posted in: Assange's Swedish sex crimes file is leaked online See in context

He definitely fits my description of a creep, but the woman who woke up to find him shagging her already knew that before she fell asleep. The fact she didn't even try objecting or stopping him when she awoke means it's her own tough luck in my opinion, and really, to expect a foreigner to know such niggling details of local law as 'it's rape if she's asleep' is pathetic. If she'd told him that when she woke up, told him to stop, then it would be his fault for continuing, but not for starting. She'd already consented to sex with him after all.

The lack of a condom was most definitely his fault alone, but as she didn't even try to stop him going through to the end, when we all know the highest risk of a woman catching HIV is when the most 'bodily fluids' are exchanged, she really has no business complaining now.

I don't think these charges were politically motivated. Although I think that they're now being used politically, I think it was pure greed that made those two women go and 'ask questions' at the police station, which they knew would lead to him being charged even though they didn't make a formal complaint as such. I wonder how much money they might have wanted to withdraw their allegations? Too late now though, once such a thing as this was in the public domain all over the world those two women lost all chance of using this to earn money, unless they write books. Nudge nudge, wink wink.

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Posted in: Why must Tokyo’s railways engage in aural assault? See in context

Just to add, they need those announcements, otherwise how will the commuters know anything? They just walk about with their gaze fixed on their phone, or their book, anything other than the world about them and the people they're shoving through. If you don't tell them about the gap, the low beam, the doors closing, they'll crash into everything and break a leg or something. Not to mention they'll miss their train if you don't tell them it's in front of them.

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Posted in: Why must Tokyo’s railways engage in aural assault? See in context

treacherous chasms between train and platform at many of their stations (Yotsuya, Ichigaya, Iidabashi)? I once saw a toddler almost disappear into such a gap until snatched in midair by his horrified mother

WTF? That's the first time I've heard parental neglect being blamed on train x platform gaps. What was the devoted mother doing while her delightful toddler was boarding the train unassisted I might ask? Keitai? Mascara? General yak to other neglectful mothers nearby?

Perhaps Philip Patrick should quit complaining about SAFETY announcements for a while and look around him. Most of the dangers in such places are caused by the idiocy or thoughtlessness of human beings, and if he really lived in London for such a long time then how come he isn't moaning about Please mind the gap. Please mind the gap. Please mind the gap. Over and over. Or even Please mind the gap between the train and the platform. Please mind the gap between the train and the platform. Please mind the gap between the train and the platform.

I was at Shinjuku station recently, and didn't find the announcements over the top. But then, I'm neither as sensitive as Mozart, nor as delicate as Philip.

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Posted in: Are you going to buy an e-reader or do you already have one? See in context

I have kindle on my iphone (iBooks was unreliable when I tried it out, so I dumped it for kindle) but I only have a few free books on it. I would never buy a dedicated e-book reader because they're way too expensive for what they do.

The worse thing about e-readers is their fragility. Imagine if you drop the blasted thing and the swarms of commuters around you step on it!

The second worse thing is the lack of re-sale-ability or lend-ability.

Yet they cost the same if not more than a paper book in most cases I've checked, what a rip-off.

(As for CDs and someone mentioned that they're obsolete, they're not actually obsolete at all, and again they're often much cheaper than mp3s and just as easy to put on my iPhone, plus I can sell them if I get sick of them.)

Paper books won't become obsolete just yet, and certainly not because of things like Kindle. They may become pretty much obsolete in future, but only if there's a ban on paper from trees (rather than re-cycled cardboard.) Then, when we run out of paper to recycle, you'll be on here lamenting the lack of cheap toilet paper (LOL).

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Posted in: Israeli forest fire kills at least 36 See in context

WilliB, fire spreads like that.

A spark here, a spark there, and you have multiple fires instead of the original one. Stop trying to put the blame on Muslims for everything.

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Posted in: Israeli forest fire kills at least 36 See in context

Very nasty. I pity the people who died such a terrible death.

But I could have sworn ABC news earlier said it was prisoners (or mostly prisoners) who died? At least they gave that impression, and they 100% for certain did not suggest that the dead were all guards trying to rescue Palestinians. I hope this isn't a smoke screen.

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Posted in: What is your view on all the fuss this week about pat-downs as part of security measures at U.S. airports? See in context

american_bengoshi at 01:58 PM JST - 26th November I think the fuss is entirely warranted. The US govt. should use an ounce of commonsense and rely heavily on racial and other types of profiling. It is absoultely stupid to pat down grandmother's genitals. I'm sorry but it is unacceptable.

But perhaps grandmother is a terrorist? Would you exempt a man from suspicion of hostile intent just because he's old? I wouldn't exempt either of them, although 99.9% of the time (or more) they'll be innocent. But then so am I, and I'm not old, or young, or a grandmother. Are grandmothers the only exception? If only they could invent a motive reader, then it would be easy to travel without fear of a terrorist being on board.

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Posted in: What is your view on all the fuss this week about pat-downs as part of security measures at U.S. airports? See in context

I've been patted down, although not in the US. It's not such a big deal, and when approached with humour (they usually search the people WITH the suspect rather than the suspect himself, which means they suspected my hubby lol) it's hard not to laugh at how ludicrous it all is.

Frankly I think those Americans doing all the whining are making a big fuss for nothing, and being totally selfish too as they wanted to cause every US holiday traveler nothing but total chaos. No, it's not nice to be searched, or to be suspected. But it's nothing to being blown to pieces. Priorities people, priorities.

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Posted in: The effects of a frugal Japanese society See in context

vending machines dispensing 10 yen drinks aren’t all that uncommon.

I've never seen one. Has anyone else?

100-yen shops supply the population with basic necessities and beyond. The best part about all this is that quality isn’t sacrificed in the name of price

Sometimes true, other times less so. It might seem like a bargain at the time, but the items you can get in ¥100 stores are often seriously sub-par. Like the Malaysian chocolate bars, some of the xmas decorations, some of the toys, particularly the painted wooden toys.

Sometimes being frugal can be a mistake, better to be a skinflint and keep your money in your pocket. Better than buying dodgy articles anyway.

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Posted in: Apple's iTunes music store starts selling Beatles songs See in context

Until now, to listen to Beatles songs on iPods, you’d have to obtain a CD and “rip” an online version of it—or find someone who already has, legalities aside.

Simply not true.

We've had Beatles music on our iPods for years, copied directly from OUR copies of Beatles CDs onto our iTunes and then our iPods. Nothing illegal about it, no different to recording it to a cassette tape so you could listen to it on a cassette walkman.

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Posted in: Why do you think that Christmas decorations and illumination displays are put up so early in Japan? See in context

I don't think they are put up early here at all. Were there any displays lit up before November? None around my area were. Christmas decorations and displays in public places are for added colour and sales-enhancement. Nothing more, nothing less. And exactly the same applies in Christian-based countries.

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Posted in: How should airlines handle obese passengers? See in context

Just one small question.

Booking seats online is normally a lot cheaper than any other method, but I've never noticed a box to tick for "book me an extra seat to accommodate my fat butt". How do people do it? When you book online you need to enter the details of everyone traveling, so short of paying extra per seat to book over the phone or even more extra to book through a travel agent, how can it be done?

Just wondering, that's all. Seems a valid point considering the topic, because if they don't make it easy for people to ask for an extra seat then how can they efficiently plan seating?

Still I think a few comfort width seats on each plane wouldn't go amiss, at a small extra charge. Say 5 or 10% more than the normal economy seats.

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Posted in: How should airlines handle obese passengers? See in context

lol@ Shinjukuboy's comments. But don't worry, the increasing obesity rates in other parts of the world will balance it out all right! Not to mention the increase in Chinese people, who may not be fat but are just many.

@Tangoll, sorry but they can't slant the rows of seats no matter how much more comfy it might make it. The trouble is that seat rows have to be in a certain configuration so that emergency service personnel can get to them easily, and know which seat is where. They could theoretically have to go into a smoke-filled cabin packed with semi-concious tourists. They need easy access, although it still won't be easy with the economy class travelers.

I've always dreaded having to sit next to a whale, but luckily I've so far managed to avoid it. This year and next year it's just three of us traveling, so it's logical for them to put us in the three seats by the window (although they don't, I have to go to online check-in the second it's open and choose our seats as quickly as possible.)

I approve of a size surcharge, rather than a weight surcharge. After all, some people have a huge lump bulging out in front of them but don't need a larger seat - not to mention pregnant women. I also like the idea of a couple of rows of wide seats designed for obese people, but I thought they already had that and called it first class. ;)

Itsmeagain, Thanks for the tip! If we ever find ourselves in that situation at least we can have the assistance of the armrest to keep the obese person in the next seat off us, then we can perhaps borrow a tray from the service trolley to wedge between the seats to keep the obese person in the next seat off our arms too.

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Posted in: Off the sofa! UK gets tough on welfare See in context

On the whole, I support their ideas.

I was on the dole myself for a couple of years, no available jobs after leaving school. It's really too easy to just get into the habit of drifting about doing very little all day. Listening to music, wafting down the job centre, down the off-license, then move on to the tv. It's not easy to actually DO a job properly when you're in that mind-set, and it's not for lack of trying either. It takes a good few weeks before you can get home after work without having to go straight to bed, but sometimes your lack of energy will get you fired before then.

I really like the notion of giving people the chance to do jobs to keep their payments, I don't think the idea of forcing people should even come into it, they know it's better to get off their butts and experience the world of work so they damn well ought to be grateful. Those that aren't don't want to work, and shouldn't get benefits anyway. Enough said.

The main problem I see is with the single mothers. How can you expect a woman with one or more pre-school age kids to find a job with sensible hours? They say people whose youngest kid is one or more will have to make themselves available for work, and look for it. Are they nuts? I hope they're making plans to help with the childcare costs for such people, because I don't know how else they expect people to manage it. Even with school age kids it's a huge problem with low-paying jobs unless you can land a job IN a school so you get the school holidays off. (And never forget that in Britain it's actually illegal to look after someone else's children unless you're a registered childminder if you are paid or if it's a returned favour, which they consider the same as being paid. ie. 'you mind my kids today, I'll mind yours tomorrow.' So letting granny or the neighbour mind the kids on the cheap could turn out far more expensive if Big Brother finds out.)

But of course,

without work, they won’t work

as we all know. Every single plan for reforming benefits hits the same problem. But the people who take the p**s by having 10 or 20 odd kids on benefits REALLY get my goat, especially if they end up with two two-bedroom council houses knocked into one, so do the people who claim to be disabled in some way and then spend most of their time in Spain or somewhere, flying over to collect their benefits and then flying back to their swimming pool and jacuzzi. Genuine disabled people have to struggle to the door, never mind jetting back and forth several times a year.

It's hard to target these things in a truly accurate way, but I hope they can whittle away at it and get it a bit more practical before it actually comes into practice.

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Posted in: What's happening in Japan is a shocking phenomenon. You hear doctors yelling at expectant mothers and telling them to transfer to another hospital if they can't manage their weight. See in context

I wasn't told to transfer to another hospital, but I was told to go on a diet. Despite the fact the doctor had no idea how much I weighed before becoming pregnant and the fact that I was under orders to take things very easy most of the time, and get lots of bed rest at various other times. (It's not easy to avoid weight gain when you have to lie about resting all the time on doctors orders.) No advice either. No leaflets suggesting healthy pregnancy eating habits, which would surely be cost and time efficient. Not even any leaflets suggesting gentle exercises suitable for those on bed rest.

The situation we have here of low birth-weight babies is mostly the responsibility of idiot obstetricians who only think of the here and now instead of considering the longer-term effects on the baby. They see no reason to do that, they think it's the job of the paediatrician who gets to try to help the baby after it's born.

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Posted in: If you could meet U.S. President Barack Obama while he is in Japan this week, but only had time for one question, what would you ask him? See in context

"Why don't you have G W Bush arrested and sent to the international courts? Many people throughout the world believe he's a war criminal, and surely it's in the best interests of the public to give justice a chance to say yes or no?"

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Posted in: Soup of the day See in context

Almost all the 'western' style soups in Japan are corn based. Corn this, corn that, corn the other. I hate corn soups, they're just so grotty and unpleasant. (Although I like corn as a vegetable very much.) Why don't they make some more interesting flavours? French onion soup isn't much of a substitute either.

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