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Posted in: 3-year-old girl starves to death after mother leaves country See in context

Are we sure there was any food left in the house? The 14 year old may have done everything she could and been hours or days away from starving herself.

Okinawamike, that's a good point - the article says that she left food and spending money, but also that over a week passed. From the information given there's no way to know, of course. All we commenters can do is speculate and conclude.

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Posted in: 3-year-old girl starves to death after mother leaves country See in context

In additon to Mom's negligence, there's another thing that really bothers me about this story that I'd like to bring up:

How could a 14 year old possibly let her 3 year old little sister starve to death? Is that a complete lack of education or a complete lack of compassion? They were left with food. A 3-year-old would be able to communicate that she's hungry. Regardless of this being unquestionably irresponsible of their mother, a 14-year-old while still a child is far from helpless, and should have been able to at least provide minimal care for her sister. Enough to keep her alive.

Even in a really awful situation like this, I just do not understand how the toddler could get to that point - I just can't wrap my mind around it. Not too long ago, kids of 13 or 14 were paid to babysit younger children, toddlers, even babies. Unless there is something else going on here, behind the assertion that they "suspect she may have starved to death," it's heartbreaking to me that a 14-year-old should be so unprepared for an emergency situation.

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Posted in: Coke, Pepsi make changes to avoid cancer warning See in context

I agree completely that we should really be minimizing the amount of synthetic and non-food chemicals we ingest -- and even the amount we expose ourselves to in cleaning and daily life. But I have to say, the argument that something is dangerous because it causes cancer in lab rats is at least a little misleading. I have a pair of pet rats and I read up on them, and these news articles give me a chuckle ever since.

EVERYTHING causes cancer in rats. They are notoriously sensitive and are often used to "prove" something is carcinogenic. Citrus fruit can give rats cancer -- honestly, that's one you can expect not to hear on the news headlines. "Orange juice found to cause cancer in lab rats! Are our children safe?" They have very different physiology from humans. Sure they're naturally scavengers who can eat anything, but that's why they only live about 2-3 years.

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Posted in: Try cooking a Big Mac in rice cooker See in context

It's good to see Japanese developing such a fondness for traditional Western foods!

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Posted in: Working toward gender equality in language and society See in context

If those mothers saw themselves as 'sitting at home all day' I'm not surprised they fell into depression. The most important job they'll ever do in their lives, and they see it as just sitting around in limbo? Such people are of course better off out of the house working, and their babies are better off looked after by someone who wants to look after them, even if it's only for the money. But let's not pretend that it's normal or desirable to want to leave your baby.

Cleo, I'm not disputing that raising a child is an important and worthwhile job, but it can also be very demanding especially for a first-time mother, and just because you are the mom and dad is the dad doesn't mean it isn't inhumane to have to sit at home all day, every day with no one to talk to but an infant child. Few new parents have the extended family or social support they need, and mothers suffer especially because dads continue to be expected not to be as invested in the care of their children. It is emotionally and physically draining, and I don't see why it's such a horrible thing to expect dad to take some time off to actually bond with his child too - and give Mom a few hours or a day off here and there. I refuse to pretend that it's abnormal for a mother who absolutely loves her child, and even misses him/her when they have to be apart for any length of time, to still need some time to be her own person as well. Parental leave is designed to last for the first few months after a child is born, and I agree that someone should be home with the baby for at least the first year. But if daycare is undesirable, and one can't afford preschool - which on a single income is likely - then that means someone has to be home all the time with the kid until he's what, 5? And they're weaned by what, 2? I'm glad you didn't personally have any problems with sometimes feeling trapped or unable to get enough help, but what was your arrangement for those intervening years?

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Posted in: Working toward gender equality in language and society See in context

Throughout the animal kingdom, its the females that tend to do the rearing.

Not the best analogy. By and large, females also do the hunting. With dogs, once the pups are on their feet, mom is out of the den and everyone pulls equal weight. Birds are egalitarian, taking turns nest-sitting and setting out to find food for the chicks. With cats, all the males do is fight and copulate. Primate moms take sole care of their slower-to-mature, more needy young, but the males don't exactly bring home the bacon - they just look out for themselves. Male seahorses carry their young to term. Some fish will eat their own babies if they don't escape quickly enough, whether male or female.

So if we should emulate the animal kingdom, there are some serious mixed signals.

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Posted in: Working toward gender equality in language and society See in context

I'm not saying that all women should go out and wear shoulder pads and pound on conference room tables, either. I just want everyone to see and acknowledge that there is a divide between the ideas we have for people and what people may be capable of. Here in the US we're all about individual freedoms, often overly so. Yet even we are fantastically bad at raising children to their full potential as individuals without all these subtle gender stereotypes. I've seen several comments on here asking why it is that women naturally gravitate towards window-shopping or gaggling about with their girlfriends. It's because that's what they see women doing, because that's what those women saw. Because once, women weren't considered able to follow more serious pursuits, and generations of them were mentally and physically stunted by men who thought that their wives and daughters were weak and needed to be "kept" and "cared for." We generally consider all this to be unacceptable rubbish today, but yet there are still stereotypes that women are stupid or shallow and men are somehow less able to care or nurture and should avoid it. Even male nurses are prized for their strength, and not for their kindness or ability to give comfort to their patients.

So why shouldn't we scrape the slate clean, do our best to get rid of the gender stereotypes that are still kicking around (as "PC" as that may seem), and see what really lies underneath? Those people who decry any attempts, claiming that it's an attempt to erase gender entirely - what are they afraid of, really? The world isn't going to collapse if it doesn't work out. So is it that they way they were raised might be determined not to be the absolute best way? That's pretty shallow.

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Posted in: Working toward gender equality in language and society See in context

I don't get this 'going out to work is better than nurturing your baby' thing. It's going out to work that's the 'lower or less important career' - it's just doing what other people want in order to get money. (Not that money isn't necessary for keeping a family). Looking after your babies trumps any high-flyin' career.

But again, this stance assumes that women have nothing more important to contribute to the whole of society than staying at home and cranking out babies. Some women want to be, say, doctors, and consider saving lives to be a more important calling than personally contributing to the population. We generally consider that OK today, for a minority of women, but still there's that society-wide stigma of "oh, but you're unfeminine for not wanting to have children" and then "oh, but if you have children you're shortchanging them by not giving up your job."

Heavy lifting?

Women aren't that much more delicate than men by nature, you know. We're all animals and we all have muscular systems capable of improvement. If they're weak it's from being taught that it's cool for girls to hate gym class and whine at any physical activity and not pursue activities that challenge them, and from men being taught that it's masculine to do everything for women that requires any strength. I don't think that men who pursue careers as nurses are generally the strength-training musclehead crowd either - so is the difference so much that male nurses should be valued more? How often in nursing do you have to bench-press 200 pounds, or do more than lift, say, 50-pound equipment or roll someone over?

Men can't breastfeed. Putting baby on the bottle just so's Mum can go back to work and Dad can do the feeding is shortchanging the kid.

They make breast pumps for a reason. I've watched people fall into severe bouts of depression and do serious emotional harm to themselves from having to sit at home alone with their infant/toddler all day, every day while hubby gets to go to work and interact with actual adults and be a functioning member of society. It gets to the point where they NEED to get out and work, even if it's just a little, even if it means putting the kid in daycare or finding a babysitter, just so Mom can stay sane and connected with reality. It's not good for the mother nor the child, to be cooped up like that without any choice, just because "that's what women ought to do." That's why the equal-time parental leave that for example the Scandinavian countries offer is such a good idea - women might be doing good for society by raising their children well, but they also need a chance to be a functioning part of that society and develop physically and mentally. Otherwise you end up with hysterical, uneducated, bored women and men who are incapable of understanding or empathizing with their wives or their children. Which sounds like the last several hundred years of Western history.

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Posted in: Working toward gender equality in language and society See in context


I think your 2 examples, that of a woman boss and a stay at home dad are unbalanced. A woman boss is totally understandable, but it is only in certain circumstances that a father can stay at home.

It seems like you're saying that even though women can have all the same jobs as men, a woman's career is somehow allowed to stop and start while a man's is not, regardless of how important her job is. Does that really make sense to you? Yes, I'm sure that after childbirth a woman needs some time off to physically heal (although I haven't done it myself yet), but after that, both parents are on pretty equal footing as far as caring for the kid. So it comes down to whose job more easily lets them take time off. In more progressive countries, both parents get a certain amount of time off by law, for them to divide up as they see fit. If you're implying that a woman's career is somehow disposable while a man's career can't afford the time off, simply because one is a woman and the other is a man, then you must assume that the woman should naturally be in a lower or less important career, which is totally at odds with what you said about women bosses being "understandable."

It's that kind of thinking that keeps women in lower positions. The argument that women and men have natural differences may be valid, but who defines what those differences are, and why should we apply them to everyone? If men are generally thought to be stronger and more aggressive, and women generally weaker and more nurturing, then you get teachers encouraging boys to be good at sports and pursue high-stakes careers, and encouraging girls to play with babies and care for the boys and not challenge themselves physically or mentally. And then when they grow up, people tell them they can be whatever they want, and of course they mostly do what they know. So people say a woman can be a boss or a president, but point to how few women are in those roles as proof that it's not as "natural" as having a man in the role. And the cycle begins again.

They [male nurses] were both highly valued in that role compared to a female nurse, because of what their gender could handle a lot better in that role.

This is interesting. Nursing is traditionally a female-dominated position. What could male nurses handle better that makes them even more highly valued than women in that role? I wonder why it was a female-dominated profession to begin with, then?

Countries like Sweden aren't trying to eliminate gender, and they're certainly not trying to eliminate sex. It seems like what they're doing is trying to dust away all the old social constructs and stereotypes and give individuals a clean slate from the very beginning to decide themselves what they're capable of. I, for one, am all for it - if there are natural differences between the genders, I'd like to see what they are without any of the baggage of bygone societies weighing either side down. I bet the differences are less than we think they are, and that's not a bad thing.

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Posted in: Japanese prefer nonsense songs to message songs. It’s a hassle to think about the future, or about society. People want entertainment, not a message. See in context

Not to disparage his work, as I've never heard it, but I could only imagine that an anti-nuclear reggae artist would be complaining about rejection by mainstream media. I don't think that's unique to Japan at all. Songs about "heavy" topics might be more common on Top 40 stations in the US, but I think that political protest songs only really get any airtime if they are by bands that already have some celebrity status.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Pumpkin knife See in context

That's a cute knife! Still, while I agree that it is a mission, I'm a woman and cutting apart Japanese pumpkins never struck me as such a hardship that I'd go out and buy specialized equipment for it. That said, I'm sure there are lots of women who don't appreciate the extra elbow grease involved.

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Posted in: Obama: Al-Qaida would use nuclear weapons if it could See in context

The thing that really blows my mind about all this is, when we talk about "reducing nuclear arsenals," what exactly are we doing with the weapons? Right now there are an estimated 9,400 active and reserve nuclear weapons in the US. Even if we "got rid of" all but 1,500, you don't just get rid of nuclear material. Sure, we can't blow each other to bits with it anymore, but it has to go somewhere. Are we just sticking it in the ground and pretending it doesn't exist anymore, like all our other garbage, or what?

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Posted in: Bridal jewellery princesses See in context

It doesn't look like they're even wearing any jewelry. Unless the point is that the women are just a pretty accessory to go with the dresses?

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Posted in: Post-it dispenser See in context

But it has a pen holder!!

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Posted in: Fitness swimwear See in context

Finally, people are getting away from those ubiquitous swimsuits that were bizarrely high cut, leaving hips and thighs hanging out for all to see and flattering no one. I like where this is going.

Still, all we can see here is that this newest swimsuit does work fantastically well on already-slim people.

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Posted in: City girls hit rice paddies, in style See in context

I am guessing they grew up petting cows and hugging chickens in Harvest Moon games. How hard could farming be?

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Posted in: Court bans sale of Word; Microsoft has fix ready See in context

Microsoft said it has “put the wheels in motion to remove this little-used feature”

Haha... wow, nice save there, Microsoft.

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Posted in: Should freedom of expression include the right to offend others? See in context

Every opinion you have, every belief and trait and mannerism that makes you who you are, is considered deeply offensive by someone somewhere. The question is, if we formed a consensus that it was not acceptable to say things that offended others, who would ultimately decide what is offensive? What would be left to say? The people who are most easily offended and who complain the loudest are always the ones to set the rules, and have everyone tiptoeing around them.

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Posted in: For dry-eye syndrome See in context

I'm guessing that this is mostly designed for those times when you're hunkered down alone in your (possibly kerosene-heated) room/cubicle for 12 hours straight doing work/schoolwork/playing games, and no one has to see you.

I'm constantly amazed at the clever little ways we come up with to make our unhealthy, antisocial behavior more comfortable, rather than having to try to minimize the need for it!

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Posted in: Man arrested for punching 6-yr-old girl on Hyogo street See in context

Unfortunately, since Japan is such a safe place, there is no education on danger like there is in other countries. When my kids were in the UK or the US, the schools would have a "stranger danger" program where they would educate kids on how to react if a stranger approaches them in the street....

Short of advanced martial arts, I don't know what kind of training could help a first-grader if a grown man suddenly decided to assault him or her.

I know the torches have been lit and the posse has saddled up, but I'd like to remind everyone that "arrested" and "convicted" aren't synonyms....

I take your point. There are no details as to how this guy was caught - was it an eye witness who saw the assault? Or did someone find the kid on the ground and they arrested the nearest Suspicious Guy? Whether it was him or not, though, this is a pretty freaky crime. I understand that the overall crime rate in Japan might be low, but when crimes do occur, they seem disturbingly random and severe.

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Posted in: Woman arrested for selling 1-yr-old daughter to man for obscene acts See in context

Somehow, these things always end with someone posting the pictures on the Internet and getting caught. Honestly, why don't people realize by now that that's a surefire way to get busted? If they'd just kept it to themselves, they might both still be free to continue being pervy scumbags another day.

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Posted in: Airhead female fans can't get enough of 'cool' accused killer Ichihashi See in context

Some posters even go so far as to fantasize having sex with him.

I wonder if their fantasy goes so far as the part where they end up out on his veranda? Evidently not.

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Posted in: Supersize me See in context

And of course that seat can't be pulled up to a table... but who needs one, when you can just eat off your shelf of stomach fat?

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Posted in: Kumamoto man arrested after fatally stabbing his daughter’s 38-year-old boyfriend See in context

I'm confused. Does Japan not have statutory rape laws like the United States does? I'm pretty sure that if that happened here, the guy would pretty much be thrown in jail if he so much as touched her, even if it was consensual. And the legal age of adulthood there is even older than here... can anyone clarify?

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Posted in: Rockabilly See in context

Admittedly, if they were comedians I wouldn't be surprised if they used the usual crotch grabbing and butt smacking to get a laugh. But something tells me these guys take themselves very seriously, so I really doubt it...

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Posted in: Rockabilly See in context

I haven't been reading JapanToday for all that long, so these guys are new to me! A publication has to have some middle ground between pleasing its veteran readers and not expecting that the new ones already know everything.

Seriously though, I didn't know people did that with their hair outside of cartoons.... yikes!

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Posted in: 17-year-old boy drowns while trying to cross river in Saitama See in context

An unfortunate accident, the kind that every parent fears as their child gets older. Bravado inevitably claims more than a few lives.

Especially when the river is named Arakawa (or "wild river"), it's generally not a good idea to try to cross it when it's visibly swollen by heavy rain.

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Posted in: Japan explores using cell phones to stop pandemics See in context

I don't like they way they're confusing warning systems with prevention. A cell phone can't diagnose a disease, nor can it make you go to the doctor. It can't determine who's infected and who's not unless someone inputs that information. So what is the point of having a cell phone that supposedly alerts you if your child comes in contact with an infected person?

It's a nice little experiment, but as far as flu prevention goes, this is a glaring case of false advertising and pandering to people's fears to sell them unnecessary gimmicks.

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Posted in: Boycott of violent Japanese video game urged in U.S. See in context

I'm a woman and I have played GTA - I think that baseball-batting a hooker to death to get your money back is pretty funny, not because I think it's acceptable in real life, but for the same reason the creators probably made the game: it's so outrageously and obviously wrong that it's hilarious. Though a sick sense of humor, I do however recognize that it's not something I should do on the street, which is a reason a lot of games are restricted from children under a certain age.

I admit that titles like "Battle Raper" do make me a bit uncomfortable, but considering that in the US it's acceptable to actually murder any number of fellow human beings in a video game, I do find it strange that what is in reality a lesser crime should cause so much more of a furor.

Maybe the problem is that we think of it as a game, when what it really is is pornography. We still associate anything called a "game" with children and to an extent with innocence, but games are increasingly being made solely for adults. I've seen stranger and more violent themes than this in domestic (Western) adult material and I don't see such publicized protests about it, but the fact that it is being called a "game" makes people look at it from the wrong angle. That I can understand.

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Posted in: We are not led by the big stars. We don't have Barack Obama, we don't have Michael Jordan. But again I have to state that the Olympics is not staged by the person, it is won and staged by a team. We a See in context

But they have that guy who puts on blackface and impersonates Barack Obama! ...what? Not the same thing?

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