DoctorTofu comments

Posted in: Green tea ice cream from Häagen-Dazs See in context

What? New? I've been addicted to these a while ago - at least 2 years ago and possibly more. Sure, they disappeared from the stores for a while, but it's definitely not new - glad to see it back though, I love the stuff.

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Posted in: 15-year-old boy arrested for beating ex-classmate to death in Gunma See in context

And now, the Japanese Powers That Be are faced with a very difficult and important decision: what do we ban to solve this problem? No weapon was used, so Houston, we have a problem! Shall we ban unsupervised meetings between young people? Sudden movements of arms and legs? Or maybe we shall institute a new law requiring everyone to be shackled when outside?

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Posted in: Does violence in movies and video games contribute to violence in society? See in context

Yup, it sure does - it (possibly) brings the real violence down: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080514213432.htm

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Posted in: Microsoft cuts Xbox 360 model price See in context

skipthesong - I believe all PS3 games (to date) are region-free, but many X360 ones aren't. You can usually work around it by buying an Asian (as in sold in Hong Kong) version online (Google PlayAsia) - most of the time they'll be left in the original English version, but they'll run on Japanese Xboxes and the only difference is that the title on the box might be in Chinese - the manuals (at least for all the games I got and I have most big titles) are bilingual English and Chinese.

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Posted in: Britain, Ireland lowest in Europe in quality of life: study See in context

whoops, submitted too soon - the last sentence should read "Because a study shows that 47,326% of people are morons, and will believe any outrageous claim if it's preceded by "a study shows" without any fact checking or research whatsoever."

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Posted in: Britain, Ireland lowest in Europe in quality of life: study See in context

Too bad the article does not provide a link to the study in question - I'd like to see all the criteria, the complete list of countries and all that. Oh well, I guess it's Google time!

On a related note - I think it should be mandated by law that articles on the Internet speaking about "a study" or "studies" always provide a link to it. Why? Because a study shows that 47,326% of people are morons, and will believe any outrageous claim if it's preceded by "a study shows"

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Posted in: Spurned women wreak vengeance See in context

“It’s just that… I don’t know, she was always so quiet…”

Only tangentially related to this article, but have you noticed how almost always it's the quiet types that cause trouble in the end? How many times do you hear "Oh, he/she was such an extrovert, always loud and energetic!" when neighbors of another psychotic murderer are interviewed on TV? It makes me think - maybe we should get rid of some assumptions, and actually change the belief that the silent, meek people are "good" and the loud, boisterous ones are "bad"? Just something to consider, and I'm not even sure what to think about it myself...

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Posted in: Osaka postman fights to keep mustache See in context

Zen Builder - good point. The ridiculous trend of control-freakism (yeah, I just made that up) is spreading all over the world. We seem to have more and more rules every time I look. I'm not sure about other countries (hell, even my own - it's been a while since I graduated), but in Japan it seems to start in schools - all the rules about the length and color of hair, which buttons can be unfastened on a warm day, what sort of jewelery you can or cannot wear... I had a (very) brief stint as an English teacher in public elementary and junior high schools, and the list of rules regarding appearance for a schoolchild in each and every one of them was literally longer than my job contract! And I just mean the text part - obviously my contract had no pictures with helpful scales to tell me what is the tolerance for tie length and how far my hair can reach below my shirt collar.

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Posted in: Osaka postman fights to keep mustache See in context

Sure, companies can change the rules and their employees have a choice to conform or get the hell out, but where do we draw a line between reasonable rules and insane ones? What if a company changed the rules to say that all employees have to dye their eyebrows purple? Or if they changed the rules to say all male employees have to get circumcised? Or that being black or asian is against the rules now?

A small caveat here, I am against dress/appearance codes in principal. I believe that as long as elementary rules of hygiene (e.g. no offensive body odor, mud on your face, rotting food in your beard, etc.) are kept, people should really care less about the appearance, and more about the quality of work. That's my personal opinion of course - I am one of these people that don't really care if a bank clerk has a pink mohawk, facial tattoo and is wearing a sex pistols t-shirt, as long as he processes my check quickly and without errors, while being polite and helpful. AS long as his appearance does not break the law (indecent exposure and all that), I'm basically fine with it and care only about the quality of his work.

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Posted in: What drink do you recommend to help cope with hot, humid days? See in context

I'm more of a cold oolong tea fan, but mugi-cha works too. This, and of course plain water - in Tochigi even tap water tastes good enough - no need to buy bottled water.

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Posted in: Should world leaders attend the Beijing Olympic opening ceremony? See in context

Too bad there's no "I don't really care" option to vote for...

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Posted in: Labor bureau rules that Toyota engineer died from overwork See in context

thepro - amen, brother (sister?). It's the しょうがない attitude of so many Japanese that bothers me. Too many of them with go along with anything. Oh, I'm expected to work 20 hour days? Shouganai na... I'm not getting paid extra for it? Well, what can you do - shouganai... My boss wants me to repeatedly sodomize myself with this here splintery broomstick? Shou [ouch!] ga [owwww!] nai [ugh!] na...

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Posted in: How green was my G-8 summit? See in context

I have something even better. Yesterday, in a store I saw a summit commemorative bottled water from Hokkaido, with a blue label featuring flags of the G-8 countries.

Bottled water. In a plastic bottle. With a plastic label. Brought all the way here to Tochigi from Hokkaido, probably in a big friggin' truck. To commemorate the summit that was supposed to be the most eco-friendly one ever. I wonder, if I buy 10 bottles of Hokkaido water, will I also get a commemorative "F%$k the planet" T-shirt made from synthetic fibers and dyed with toxic inks? Pretty please?

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Posted in: Softbank Mobile's 'Oto-san' dog to release DVD See in context

Haha, I might actually get that one. Softbank commercials with that dog are the only ones I unmute (I developed a reflex of hitting the "mute" button on my remote as soon as the commercials come up. Watching TV is fun again). More o-toosan is always good ;)

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Posted in: Do you think curtailing convenience store hours would be good for the environment? See in context

Well, the wave of unemployment caused by that move would certainly cause some suicides, thus reducing the CO2 that all those newly unemployed and freshly deceased people would emit to the atmosphere if they lived longer. Executing some government members would decrease CO2 emissions even further.

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Posted in: Tokyo public lukewarm on bid for 2016 Summer Olympics See in context

RepublicofTexas - not to sound too harsh, but how exactly do you imagine Olympics could address the problem of aging population? People won't start having babies en masse just because there's a big sporting event in the vicinity...

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Posted in: Watermelon yields Viagra-like effects See in context

Well damn, I guess soon I'll start receiving offers for "orriginaal cheapp watremelons" in my spam box together with offers from Nigerian princes and ads for cheap Rolex replicas...

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Posted in: No soy sauce! Japanese athletes forced to adapt to Olympic menus See in context

Right. As we all know, Chinese don't use chopsticks - in fact, I haven't seen a pair of chopsticks once when I was in China - everyone was eating their Thai rice with a plastic fork and knife.

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Posted in: Why don't Japanese speak English better than they do? See in context

Zen Builder - agree. Also, because their approach to teaching English closely resembles one for teaching math or kanji - memorization, memorization, memorization. This simply doesn't work for languages. This, and the fear of making mistakes - many people will not speak unless they're ABSOLUTELY sure that what they are going to say is correct, and since you can never be sure... well, there you go.

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Posted in: Serial child killer Tsutomu Miyazaki, 2 others executed See in context

Tatanka - good point, although it doesn't prove anything. On the contrary - it shows that people overwhelmed by strong emotions should not create or even influence laws. I'm pretty sure if my loved ones were killed by, say, a freak lawn-mover accident, I'd want the maker of that lawn mover and probably also the store clerk who sold it to me drawn and quartered - should such law be created?.

I am not comparing brutal murderers to lawn-movers - I am just giving the most ridiculous example I can think of (air conditioning was switched off in my office to conserve energy - it's really the best I can come up with right now) to show that strong emotions, especially grief and the desire for vengeance, are never good advisers when matters of law are concerned.

Personally I am still not sure if death penalty is a good way to go - my animal instincts tell me it is, but logically thinking about it, there is no conclusive data on death penalty being a crime deterrent and killing criminals doesn't really change much - it doesn't bring murder victims back to life. Of course there's still the question of what to do with all these murderers, but honestly I have no answer to this one - it's too complicated for me to comprehend and that's why I'm very glad I'm not responsible for law creation in any country.

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Posted in: Stereotypes ’R’ Us See in context

Havent been near an Eikawa for years, actually. My main contact with foreign men is at the school gates, or having the misfortune to be railroaded by them at the supermarket. Central Tokyo, quiet family suburb, there are a few at the school, picking up or dropping off at the same time as me. Apart from one notable exception, who appeared to be pretty decent, these are absolute creeps.

My sincere condolences, then. And no sarcasm there - it has to really, really suck to be surrounded by creeps... Then again, forgive me if it's REALLY hard to believe. I accept that you feel that way, but is there a possibility of you assuming that every westerner is a creep and thus being selectively blind to any positive qualities they might have, while at the same time greatly amplifying their shortcomings? I don't know your situation, the place you live in or anything about you, so hearing such a pessimistic story just makes me wonder.

Please tell me where you see all these western women with children I dont meet another western mother from month to month, unless Im in costco.

I didn't say anything about seeing western women with children - that must have been someone else. Where I live (Tochigi) it's also not a common sight. And we don't even have Costco :) And I really don't understand the comment about pregnant, barefoot woman chained to the kitchen sink - what is that all about? Hating "charisma men" is your right, but such comments seem a bit too much...

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Posted in: Stereotypes ’R’ Us See in context

pinga - it seems your experience is based solely on hanging around eikaiwa teachers (in an unfortunate neighborhood too, it would seem - everyone you meet is a wanker? Dear god!). I'm not a teacher AND I don't live in Tokyo, but my experience is very different from yours. Sure, there are idiots everywhere, but I find most non-Japanese people I hang around are quite sensible and, well, normal - by both western and Japanese standards. Some of them are married (happily), some of them have girlfriends/boyfriends and some of them are single, but honestly, I don't see that many "charisma men" - actually, I almost don't see them at all.

There's another thing too - the process of "recruitment" (quotes intentional) for most eikaiwas is ridiculous - the requirements are as close to non-existent as they can be, there seems to be very little screening of applicants and (here I rely on what my American friends tell me - I don't come from an English speaking country, so I have no firsthand experience here) jobs here are marketed as basically a cool adventure with a lots of parties, no responsibility whatsoever and requirements less stringent than the ones to work in McDonalds'. I think this is the reason you get a lot of "bad apples" here - people who not only have no idea how to teach, but even how to speak their own language properly, people with no manners, "charisma men" and all that... Of course there's always the question of whether all those eikaiwas could find any proper teachers for the pay they're offering - how they say, if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys...

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Posted in: Stereotypes ’R’ Us See in context

Expats in Tokyo seem to believe that Japanese culture has few redeeming qualities.

Yeah, nothing like a sweeping generalization to start the day, and it only gets better further on... What exactly is the point of this article though? What I see here is oh-so-popular recently "on one hand X, on the other hand Y and my own opinion is not important" style of writing - what exactly does the author want to convey? What does she want to accomplish with this piece? I don't know - does she?

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Posted in: Akihabara rampage foretold but lost among myriad messages on Internet site See in context

What if all damaging material was removed from the net? Would your reaction be sorrow or praise?

There we have it. That's the main problem. How do we define "damaging material"? Damaging to whom? Where do we draw the line? Do we even need to draw the line? In my opinion we don't. It has been proven and proven again, that people will find a way to access or publish any information they want on the net. Just like the fact that criminals sometimes use cars is not a reason to start performing full background checks on everyone who wants to buy or rent a car, the fact that psychos use the internet is not the reason to police it for everyone...

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Posted in: Akihabara rampage foretold but lost among myriad messages on Internet site See in context

Zenigata2 - so are you saying that there is such a need in any country? You are not bothered by all the false positives the American system is generating? You think that raiding a teenager's home and seizing his computer for a joke post is "maybe a tad extreme"? Do elaborate, because I can't believe my eyes...

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Posted in: 'Pedestrian paradise' to be suspended in Akihabara See in context

It's a partial repost, but maybe here someone will be able to explain this decision to me.

Following last Sunday's stabbing spree, I will refrain from wearing red underwear on Saturdays and I will place the accent on the last syllable of "Akihabara" on every 3rd, 20th and 28th of all even months. It's about as logical as the decision to open the street to cars as a reaction to the killings.

Also, would anyone care to explain how exactly will the magic power of traffic combat the sexually explicit photo events? Are photographers allergic to exhaust fumes? Do aspiring porn stars' heads explode when they hear car horns, just like martians' heads in "Mars Attack" in reaction to music?

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Posted in: United joins American in charging $15 for first checked bag See in context

aww crap, Brillinat=Brilliant of course.

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Posted in: United joins American in charging $15 for first checked bag See in context

tailoring our products and services around what our customers value most and are willing to pay for

Great, so in plain speak this means "Let's see what our passengers consider important, don't want to give up and then charge the bastards for it! Brillinat! Toilet use and/or breathing fees anyone?

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Posted in: Violent game launch canceled after Akihabara rampage; gov't discusses regulations on knives See in context

APismoClam - Amen. I really couldn't have said it any better. Great post!

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Posted in: Scanners that see through clothing installed in U.S. airports See in context

I'm not going to repeat myself, there's enough said on the topic already, but the thing is these measures do not provide security. I repeat: they do not provide security. People are told they do, but it's at best a misstatement and at worst an outright lie. What they provide is illusion of security. You can't accept anything with "it's for security!" label on it. If someone told you that anal cavity searches will be mandatory FOR SECURITY - "We have to check if you're not harboring dangerous Islamic terrorist behind your sphincter. Or bombs! Or child pornography! It's for your protection! And think of the children!" - would you submit to it?

Anyway, please, just think logically and try, just try not to let emotions cloud your judgment... Over and out.

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