Japan Today

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Posted in: Drinkable Hi-Chew coming to a Japanese convenience store near you See in context

This should be called "No-Chew".

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Posted in: 5 fun facts about the flag of Japan See in context

The Rising Sun flag was still in use at my daughter's Japanese School graduation ceremony in California a dozen years ago. What a last-minute surprise that was.

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Posted in: Husbands who take active role in family life have more loving wives: study See in context

Wow, this article really strikes home – for me it’s not a “puff piece” at all. It’s real, and it means a lot just to see the reality of this stated boldy – that, along with the comments.

I got married to a great J-gal at a time when I was a young guy still building my career, and she hers – although being a few years older than me, we didn’t have the luxury of putting off kids as long as I would have liked. We went down the pregnancy path several times before one was successful; the change of personality came not from those attempts, but after the successful one. For a couple years, the fun of being a new dad was enough to make one not notice the difference – but eventually the reality sets in. That’s when you realize that your glowing wife has put down roots So Deep, and So Possessive towards the child that anything that gets in the way of that (which means you, Sodai Gomi) makes you the Enemy. Why? Because from that point on, you simply Do Not Matter. And even if you talk this out beforehand, anticipating change - her promises not to forget you are, alas, soon forgotten.

It really gives you a new sympathy for the men who take on mistresses. That’s one less burden for the wife, no? And if your J-wife is of the practical “I packed some condoms for your business trip, Honey” type there’s a lot of pressure just to roll with that and do as others do. But if you had a real connection (and we Westerners can be so foolishly romantic) it’s shallow comfort indeed.

I have to say that we stuck it out all the way through college largely because in the end she was loyal and patterned herself after her parents, which meant sticking it out for the long term. Eventually, as our daughter grew up and began to find a bit of her own independence, I watched in slow-motion as Mommy was forced to let go and guess what – you’re there to fill that void. But you’ve both endured a lot of relationship scars by this point – the relationship future looks a bit brighter, but do you still want it to be?

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Posted in: Is it time to declare victory over al-Qaida? See in context

Obama's read the tea leaves and has decided the future of American force is best applied towards intimidating China. Hence, the best thing to do is just declare victory and leave the Middle East, not that we should have been there in the first place.

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Posted in: Did FDR conceal Pearl Harbor intelligence about Japanese attack? See in context

March 15th, 2000: I was in Asheville, NC attending the 100th birthday of a dear old family friend, Buford S. "Bud" Craig, who was working as a columnist at the San Jose Mercury-Herald (today the Mercury News) during the war. He had indeed predicted that the Japanese were going to bomb us well before it actually happened in an article that made the front page of the Merc. Neither my "Uncle" Bud nor his son Don could recall the exact publishing date, probably around November of ’41 - but it would be an amazing keepsake if microfiche could be found. Among all the many friends and relatives gathered, only his son had heard this story before - and a few days later, he was gone. Bud Craig, R.I.P., 1990-2000.

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Posted in: Scientist unveils 'thinking' robot in a world first See in context

+1 for Kurzweil's Singularity

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Posted in: Solar backpack See in context

Note the slight curvature in the panel; looks like thin film, probably very light.

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Posted in: Superman’s not coming; U.S. schools need Iron Man See in context

Here in California, as in most counties around the US, public schools in upper-class districts seem to do just fine. And the private schools? Those aren't po folks packing 'em in. The Adam Smithees use this point to divert public tax dollars into private school vouchers, but when that happens the private schools raise their rates accordingly (free markets!) and it's back to Exclusivity 101 - only this time, with a taxpayer subsidy.

Now, some people would regard this as a good thing. And if you agree, then you too are a Plutocrat. Poor education = a large underclass and cheaper labor for your rich kids' endeavours. Similarly, if you believe the Earth was created in the last 5000 years your influence is useful - as a tool for the GOP. Tea Party tax cutters? There's space in the GOP's tool rack for you, too.

A rising tide lifts all boats - and currently the tide in America is very low indeed.

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Posted in: Two arrested for running members-only prostitution website See in context

We wouldn't even be talking about this if it wasn't for post-WWII MacArthur enforcing American puritanism in the same way that Christian missionaries forced native Hawaiians to cover up. Left to their own devices Japanese have few moral qualms about prostitution, so the Prime Directive should have been followed here.

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