escape_artist comments

Posted in: Gov't trying to confirm report of Japanese man held in Syria See in context

In addition to liking the right-wing Tamogami, the LDP, and conservative journalist Yoshiko Sakurai, his Facebook page also shows he likes Justin Bieber. The beginning of the fall...

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Posted in: AKB48 singer recruits for SDF as Abe boosts military See in context

@FizzBit... The Japanese version of History, Discovery, even sometimes NatGeo channel all have increased their military- and weapons-related, with lots on the jieitai, as well as more macho-type shows over the past 2-3 years. And lots of Hitler stuff, too. Abe and company have been working on this a while, though since Abe's recent dictatorial move, these shows have been really ramped up.

People are slowly & unknowingly being pushed into accepting a militarized mindset as "normal". Just like in the US, it's all no doubt to help make it easier to draft young men (and maybe women) later for cannon fodder.

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Posted in: TOKYO 2020 appoints Dentsu as its marketing agency See in context

Well, duh. Did any expect anything different when there's so much money to be made?

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Posted in: Machine automatically fills cups with beer See in context

Beer with 1/3 foam is obscene, a crime against nature. With fake beers (happoshu) and all too, it's all in the presentation, I guess.

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Posted in: Researchers fret over high cholesterol in U.S. kids See in context

I doubt that all US kids are necessarily like kids in Texas. That's a pretty bold jump from testing a rather small sample of kids in one state to saying that those affected are "a third of U.S. children". A third of some US children, perhaps.

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Posted in: Japan confirms $1.5 billion aid offer to Ukraine See in context

I wonder how many nuclear plants Abe is hoping to sell & have Japanese companies build in Ukraine? Or just about any other business too for that matter, like ensuring access to resources Japan might need. I can't think of any foreign aid -- loans or grants, doesn't matter -- that Japan has given that was done without expectations of getting future business in return, Myanmar just being one recent example. And sure, other countries' companies play this game too, it's the capitalist way in a globalized world, but Japan seems a lot more immersed in it than most.

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Posted in: Interesting things will happen for consumers at midnight March 31 See in context

How exactly will ordering something on the internet using a credit card, like from Amazon -- where usually the money is taken from your card immediately, on purchase -- result in the higher tax if bought before April 1st (Japan time)? For items paid on credit, so what if the item is delivered after April 1; isn't the purchase price, which includes all taxes, determined at the time of purchase? What do the authorities intend to do, make delivery companies charge an extra fee if your March order happens to get delayed, not handing it to you unless you pay up? (And what's stopping online retailers from delaying COD shipments so that you do have to pay the extra tax, even if they could very well deliver it before April 1st?)

I think this writer is painting with too wide a brush in the last paragraph since it seems only items paid on delivery would be affected. Some more details about this so-called "national tax office stipulation" that the Rakuten person speaks of would be nice.

In any case, I can't see how this new blanket tax -- at every step of every process (not just the end sale), and on everything including food -- is going to help regular folks in Japan. Only those collecting the tax and the big corporations stand to gain, as usual.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: McDonald’s Japan to serve 'American Vintage' burgers See in context

"American Vintage" prices would be nice, too.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Mizuho CEO set to survive gang loan scandal See in context

Surprise, surprise! Has there ever been an OB corporate executive in Japan who's been punished, I mean really punished, not some slap on the hand like a 10% pay dock for 2 months or the ubiquitous suspended sentence? The mega corporations and all their yak connections run the show in Japan (as elsewhere, alas), with democracy and honest business dealing simply the thin pretty washi wrapping covering up the hard truths within.

With so many glitzy distractions to choose from in cool Japan, though, people here for the most part don't really care, meaning the same old OB system will continue as the young corporate slaves there now yearn to get to the top too.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Fishing operations resume off coast of Fukushima See in context

The fishermen here are testing probably just as much as Japan's whalers are testing. Whatever research fits.

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Posted in: TEPCO apologizes for getting Abe's name wrong during his visit to Fukushima See in context

Why does he need such a thing anyway? There's too much focus on bells & whistles and surface image.

Maybe newly anointed nuclear expert Mr. Abe can now tell the people in Japan, and around the world, what the heck is going on and how to fix it (yeah, right). Otherwise this was just a publicity stunt.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Posted in: M5.3 quake rocks Fukushima; Tokyo feels shake See in context

CrazyJoeSep. 20, 2013 - 07:01AM JST

It's an aftershock of 311 according to NHK.

FWIW, Asahi TV news at 11:30 later in the morning interviewed a Tokyo professor who said it was not an aftershock of 3.11. Other stations at the same time parroted what NHK said above.

Fuel rod removal from Unit 4 supposedly begins in November. Let's all hope for no quakes while that's going on.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: U.S. says differences remain after TPP-linked talks with Japan See in context

Like most misnamed "free trade agreements", TPP is not about "free trade" but rather the US shoving its corporate demands on other nations. Japan would be well-served to stay out of it if it wants to retain any sense of national sovereignty.

Most of TPP's text -- from what is allowed to be known of it since public transparency is rather nil -- is not about trade at all but about secret "investor-state dispute provisions", essentially giving foreign investors, namely big corporations, tremendous rights & privileges over local laws and cultural norms. Under the proposed rules, which again apparently make up most of TPP's text, foreign investors/corporations would be able to bypass a country's (like Japan's) domestic courts and laws, and sue governments directly before secret tribunals, not accountable to the public, of three private sector lawyers operating under World Bank and UN rules to demand taxpayer compensation for any domestic (i.e. Japanese) law that investors believe will diminish their "expected future profits."

This could jeopardize a whole range of laws & institutions in Japan that people in Japan have come to expect and depend on, from reliable national health insurance and reasonably-priced pharmaceuticals to environmental, health & safety laws (like banning products, seeds, etc. with GMOs), to major industries like cars, farming, and intellectual property rights. Under TPP, Japan's national laws wouldn't be erased but many could prompt foreign (read, major US) corporations to sue and thereby drain Japan's already dwindling national coffers. For Japan's long-term survival and sovereignty, it would be short-sighted to join such a one-sided and overly corporate entity like TPP.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Posted in: Man in wheelchair struck, killed by train at railway crossing in Kobe See in context

Thank you, mods, for providing the train company & line. I would've written here sooner but for some reason have been unable for the last few weeks to post or rate comments from my work machine.

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Posted in: Man in wheelchair struck, killed by train at railway crossing in Kobe See in context

What train company was this? The article should have stated this, as well as which line it was on.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Strong corporate support for Tokyo Olympic bid See in context

Well, since the Olympics benefit mainly corporations, the more the bigger, this article shouldn't be all that surprising.

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Posted in: Lonely Planet to release 13th edition of Japan Country Guide See in context

too much focus on Kyoto

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: McDonald's Japan to sell premium burgers for first time See in context

Well, at least they're admitting that their other burgers have been, to be nice, less than "premium".

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Posted in: Abe to step up nuclear technology export drive See in context

Japan's corporate & govt overlords... if they can't develop death & destruction at home, for the love of money, export it! 21st technologies with a neanderthal mindset.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Newly released sardines disappear after 2 days in Kobe aquarium See in context

When I first saw the headline my first thought was that maybe some customers or workers stole them to take home for dinner, given that common utterances I've heard in aquariums I've been to in Japan when people are looking at fish are"Kawaii!!" followed quickly by "Oishisooo...!!".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Some nuclear reactors may be restarted in fall, Motegi says See in context

Restarting any reactors in Japan now is simply national suicide, and any so-called leaders who continue their blind insistence to restart any while none of the major issues (e.g. where to put the tremendously growing amount of radioactive waste, or the equally dangerously growing supply of plutonium, or how to guarantee safety in earthquakes) have been resolved from the ongoing Fukushima disaster and previous nuclear accidents in Japan should be charged with something, like endangering public welfare & peace of mind (not to mention food and water and air), or crimes against humanity, or even treason. Who's in control here anyway, the people, like in a true democracy? or the corporations?

Well, now that was a rhetorical question, wasn't it?...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Scientists say they can 'read' dreams See in context

Here are some links to the UC Berkeley research from 2011...




Reconstructing Visual Experiences from Brain Activity Evoked by Natural Movies

Current Biology, Volume 21, Issue 19, 1641-1646, 22 September 2011

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Posted in: Filmmaker Regge Life honors American tsunami victim See in context

Regge Life's previous films are worth checking out too. Here are more info and links about him for those interested...

Reel Life & Real Life -- Filmmaker Regge Life on intercultural identity

An interview by Stewart Wachs (from KJ#40, 1999)

Regge Life's bio


Struggle and Success: The African-American Experience in Japan (1993)


Doubles: Japan and America's Intercultural Children (1995)


After America . . . After Japan (1999)


A Good Return: Making the most of coming home (2000)


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Posted in: Saitama man dies after hospitals reject him 36 times See in context

Amazingly sad and irresponsible tangled web of a system, and RIP to the man who got caught in it. The Japanese government somehow continually keeps pulling out oodles of money from its magic hat to give every other "less developed" country, like Burma and Kazakhstan (in other words, wherever Japanese businesses want to profit off the local people), yet... yet... they can't find enough money to fund basic services in Japan itself. Something is VERY very wrong here. As with any country, Japan needs to focus and clean up its own house before trying to take care of other countries. This kind of thing should never be allowed to happen if any country wants to call themselves "developed" or "advanced".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Man arrested for having his kids work on his newspaper delivery route See in context

How are kids going to learn important work & life skills unless they take on jobs such as this when young? Except maybe because of the early time, I think calling this "child labor" as if it's some kind of punishment or detrimental to them in some way is going too far, much like the idiotic zero tolerance mindset has in the States. There's too much control of every little aspect of people's lives these days.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: WHO: Small cancer risk after Fukushima accident See in context

Regardless of what the data from this WHO report show, it's exactly the result to be expected by an organization that has made such a subservient pro-nuclear agreement with the IAEA. Data alone cannot change human behavior to obfuscate, lie, and corrupt when there's power and money to be had. To all the apologists for nuclear power, let's hope you never have to be anywhere near when a nuclear accident occurs, because there will surely be more, or the growing piles of nuclear waste with nowhere to go, a despicable and humongous problem selfishly being left for future generations.

The only reason nuclear power keeps getting shoved down everyone's throats, and its inherent dangers continually masked by propaganda of how "clean", "safe", and "inexpensive" it is -- none of which has ever been true -- is that it can be controlled at a high level and it makes oodles of money for those in control.

Nuclear power has always been, and will always be -- regardless of the specific technology used -- the wrong technology in Japan for boiling water to make electricity. There are just too many earthquakes and the threat of tsunami to ever make Japan viable for nuclear power or nuclear waste storage, neither of which humans continually prove cannot be safely handled or its problems resolved. Those who conspired and continue conspiring to bring such a deadly technology to Japan -- be they in Japan, the US, France, or elsewhere -- never truly have had the good of Japan or her people at heart, only their own pocketbooks and oversized egos.

Nuclear power might be viable elsewhere without earthquakes, that is if its true believers can ever come up with a safe way of storing its waste for tens of thousands of years or more, but in Japan it's just plain suicide. The nuclear technophiles among us need to look beyond their noses and try to take a long-range view. Scale down, develop & use energy sources that work better locally, and make things livable again. That's the best way forward.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: WHO: Small cancer risk after Fukushima accident See in context

And @No Miso, what actually is the problem with re-evaluating the risks of radioactive pollution? That sounds pretty sensible to me, no? If that's "bias" as you say, then yeah, I guess I'm biased. Toward more sustainable life and health.

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Posted in: WHO: Small cancer risk after Fukushima accident See in context

@No Miso, instead of focusing solely on one website, try researching and you'll see the facts as they are, stated in the following two sites I listed. It's not living a life of fear as you condescendingly imply, but rather just an objective look at what's likely to be believable and what's not. We've still basically got the fox in charge of the henhouse here, including in the additional snippet from the IAEA Statute you provide. Do you actually feel safe with that situation in control?

And why the fixation on deaths by those like yourself eager to keep on supporting nuclear power? Radiation has far subtler and more long-term effects too, like the damage to the overall environment. We humans are just one small part of that, yet depend on it for everything we know and have. We're all being bamboozled by pro-nuclear folks into believing that we have to have nuclear, or else. THAT sounds like living a life of (institutionalized) fear, wouldn't you say?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: WHO: Small cancer risk after Fukushima accident See in context

How can anything the WHO says related to nuclear or radiation effects be trustworthy considering the agreement they signed in 1959 with the IAEA that essentially gives the IAEA veto power over any research WHO does into the effects of radiation?

It's in the IAEA's charter to support and promote the use of nuclear power (in their Statute (, ARTICLE II: Objectives... "to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world"), so their 1959 agreement with the WHO sounds like a huge conflict of interest. I would much rather rely on independent sources of info and data, if these can be found.

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Posted in: Nuclear reactor makers must share accident costs: Greenpeace See in context

Asking those who cause a problem to at least help pay for the damages it unleashes upon others (and continues to unleash) seems like such a no-brainer. The fact that it's even debatable in most societies today shows how uncivilized and bereft of any common sense or justice we all are.

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