Fouxdefa comments

Posted in: What are some of the weirdest examples of English used for product, brand or company names that you have seen in Japan? See in context

Titty & Co. women's clothing retailer.

To Be White toothpaste (the TV commercials are also gold).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: AI robots may lend hand in Japan's English classes See in context

Any subject in Japanese education could be taught by robots, or through an online course from home. English is no exception. National math scores and literacy are high because the methods of rote memorization lend themselves well to the myriad of Japanese kanji and mathematical formulas.

Kids end up memorizing vocabulary (pronunciation transcribed in katakana) and the grammatical rules of English but little else. That's all that's required to pass tests. It is very similar to way I was made to study Latin as a kid. Can I hold a conversation in Latin? No. That wasn't the purpose. And it's not the purpose of Japanese English education either. You can't expect a result different from the purpose of the education. My study of Japanese was worlds different from my study of Latin back in the day. Can I hold a conversation in Japanese? Yes! Because my study methods were ones proven to result in that goal.

Learning to communicate in a foreign language is a big time commitment but that's all. It's not a terrifying task only achieved by a talented few. Very sad that is what Japanese society makes languages out to be: "I studied English in school since 3rd grade and now as an adult I can't even give directions to the tourist on the street. This is an impossible language!" No, your study method was simply the wrong one for the purpose.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Posted in: Letters from Japan: 'My Japanese boyfriend wants a break — What should I do?' See in context

Aw honey.

Don't waste time on someone who doesn't want to be with you. It's a red flag to me that he doesn't know himself or respect you enough to make a clear decision. I'll sound like my mother, but would you want a partner hemming and hawing like this when it comes time down the road to make bigger decisions: long distance, marriage, kids, inlaws, jobs, house purchase etc....?

He's trying to keep you on the back burner for whatever reason. I'd say you're worth more than someone's back burner and break up. And don't take him back if he "changed his mind" and comes slinking around again. Ten to one you'll have to experience it all over again. In the wise words of Sweet Brown, ain't nobody got time for that!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese TV show 'Densha Otoko' to be remade in U.S. See in context

I really enjoyed the feature film. But I think as a story it works better in Japanese culture.

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Posted in: Ladies & the Law: The case that recognized hostile workplace sexual harassment See in context


Maybe I should have been clearer. Of course what is on TV is consensual (I hope) since it's all scripted and even members of the public that appear have been briefed on and agree to what's going to happen.

But it's just not always presented that way. It's the way the sexual comments, comments about marital status, etc. come out even in the discussion of unrelated topics and programming--it's that reinforcement of a stereotype that's unhelpful.

The stereotype I mean is that women (no matter the original conversation topic, no matter their role on the program) are automatically objects for men to look at in a sexual manner and judge accordingly ("pretty" characters get flirty comments, "ugly" characters get sarcastic ones; no female character goes without some kind of comment about her looks), and that their marital status is a much more important part of their identity than it is for a man, and that men may verbalize/tease/act on all these things without opprobrium.

Is TV an influence or a barometer of social mores? Either way, it is not challenging these stereotypes ripe for abuse that are alive and well in the minds of too many Tarous, but rather encourages them.

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Posted in: What do you think are the root causes of the data falsification scandals that have plagued corporate Japan in recent years? See in context

Corporate greed. No way is this a new thing or limited to Japan.

But I do think there are some elements of Japanese corporate culture that discourage whistle blowers and make it easier to hide for years and years without a whiff.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Ladies & the Law: The case that recognized hostile workplace sexual harassment See in context

Just turn on the TV, the variety shows are full of it. What bra size do you wear? that's a nice tight shirt you have on, I want a pair of your panties etc. etc. as funny moments or as compliments, and the female celebs on TV with them are shown enjoying it, so maybe Tarou at the office thinks that's normal way to communicate with women and all women enjoy it even if they protest and act shy, that's cute too, blah blah blah...the pop culture is also miles away from being helpful.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Posted in: When you were younger, did you enjoy visits to zoos, aquariums and circuses? Or as an adult, have you even taken your children to such places? See in context

I went to all as a kid, now as an adult I only enjoy some aquariums I know of that don't have large mammals. Maybe it's prejudice on my part but it seems fish are a bit like insects, not really aware of how big/small a tank is.

But zoos depress me with animals pacing around worn paths in their enclosures. A possible exception is Woodland Park zoo in Seattle, many enclosures are so large you might not get to see the animals at all, or just as tiny specks far away on a hillside. But that's not every enclosure and there are still pacing animals there too.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: SpaceX says billionaire Maezawa to be 1st passenger on rocket trip around moon See in context

I will never be an astronaut nor do I want to be one but man, can you imagine looking at the Earth from space? I would cry! I think it's amazing people who aren't astronauts can now experience that. Maybe. If the project really goes forward I sure hope it's safe!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Know what to say when postpartum depression hits a loved one See in context

Right from when pregnancy begins, the brain is bathed in hormones to prep the mother's body to grow the fetus, the cocktail of hormones fluctuating in step with the baby's developmental needs and in preparation for events like birth and lactation. It is many big changes, like the monumental changes of puberty. PPD is probably a symptom of the brain/body's struggle to adapt to it all. It has nothing to do with being a weak or deficient or bad mother. All the best to Serena.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: End of an era: Emperor's abdication to reset Japan calendar See in context

I was born in Heisei 1, so the last year of Heisei here is also the last year of my 20s. It does feel like the end of an era.

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Posted in: Body found in house of man arrested for watermelon theft See in context

Well that escalated quickly.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Are more doors opening to tattooed visitors? See in context

Ah summer in Kyoto: crowds of foreigners showing off tatted-up arms and legs. I think most Japanese know, even if they'd never want to get one themselves, that tattoos on foreigners are nothing to worry about. They know the thinking about tattoos is different and that it's normal and mainstream to get tattoos in many countries. But it is true culture in Japan is still more conservative, and in the past tattoos were not for self-expression but for initiation into the crime syndicate, so in Japan getting a tattoo as a Japanese person begs the fearful question "what other laws and social norms are you going to throw out the window?"

The only thing that bugs me about banning tattoos in pools and onsen is the failure to mention piercings. At a super sento in Osaka I once saw a punky oniisan with both ears and lips covered in spikey piercings. I just shuddered to imagine one of them falling out on the pool bottom and someone stepping on it with their bare feet! I would never go in with earrings in for that reason so I've always wondered why piercings aren't banned even though they are definitely a physical safety risk.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Have you ever experienced discrimination when trying to rent an apartment in Japan? If yes, what were the circumstances? See in context


In Kyoto, through a small local Kyoto-only agency. There were 4 places we looked at but the agent said clearly, "I'm going to call the landlords to make sure they're ok with foreigners" For all the calls he made, he mentioned I'm employed, with an employed Japanese husband (kon-in todoke all done proper) plus his dad as our guarantor, and a visa valid for a longer term than an initial renter's contract, but nope, three landlords said no outright and the reasons they cited were that foreigners=noise and trash. Then when we finally found a place to look at where the landlord was open to foreigners, my husband said we were going to wear our business clothes and speak only Japanese. I don't know if that helped or not but were finally able to get that room.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: AI robots to help teach English in 500 classrooms next year See in context

Finally the officials up top are acknowledging that Japanese education is so lifeless even a robot can teach it as well as a human. Why not put it all online and students can all do their rote memorization test passing from home/wherever on their own time? Oh wait then we couldn't inculcate them to be salarymen already used to pointless tasks and unpaid overtime.

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Posted in: Foreign casino operators go all in as they vie for Osaka license See in context

The mass media going on about gambling addiction concerns made me bust up laughing. Japan already has gambling venues at major sports and and let's not forget the pachinko junkies. It sounds like a weak excuse by someone in power who does not want casinos because they will lose a slice of the pie.

At least where I'm from in the U.S., casinos are like resorts--they have spas and restaurants, shows, and they cater to an entirely different (wealthier) clientele than pachinko. They're careful about security so it's not like public safety goes bad around a casino, perhaps the opposite actually.

Personally I'm not a gambling person but these flimsy excuses make me suspicious.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: In your experience, which country's airport immigration offices have been the rudest or most difficult to deal with? See in context

The U.S. They are more brusque to my (non-U.S. citizen) Japanese husband than Japanese officials are to me (a non-Japanese citizen).

It goes for most customer service in the U.S. but you'll get a cheerful, helpful attitude if that individual person's personality and MOOD happen to be cheerful and helpful that day. Most often you'll probably get grunts or glares only. If that makes the line move faster, I don't mind, but it is a far cry from Japanese standards of using full sentences and not letting their individual mood interfere.

The weirdest experience was in the U.S., the officer looked at me and said "You look like Heidi." I was in a zombie-like state from 24hrs of travel and just stared blankly so he continued "you know, like from the Alps." it was still not computing with me so I said nothing and he just gave up and said "well here's your passport"

I had never before nor since been told I look like Heidi from the Alps. It wasn't rude but just bizarre!

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Posted in: More than 1,000 Google workers protest censored China search See in context

Money integrity

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Travelers flood train stations, clog roads in holiday exodus See in context

Staggering company or national holidays doesn't have much to do with the weekend before Obon. It's interesting to note this happens even though these aren't national holidays and many companies do stagger Obon holidays (or leave it up to employees to use paid leave at this time if they want to). It's because Obon is very cultural and historically it was a time to return to ancestral home/graves and welcome back deceased ancestors.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: It is a fact that many female doctors quit to give birth and raise a child, so I understand that hospitals don’t want to hire too many female doctors. See in context

I bet this scandal will drop Japan a few more ranks down in that gender equality ranking by the World Economic Forum for this year.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Smoking-linked losses in Japan estimated at over ¥2 trillion See in context

If people want to risk their health by smoking- that’s their problem not anyone else’s.

Except it is also the problem of anyone who inhales their smoke. Because of a smoking couple in the apartment below us my roommate with asthma sometimes had to use her inhaler in her own home when they smoked on their veranda. Asthma attacks can be triggered by tobacco smoke and they can be fatal. It's just not fair.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Police step up search for missing French woman in Nikko See in context

So far it doesn't sound like foul play or suicide, but there are many trails leading into the mountains around the tourist sites so I wonder if she got lost in the woods. I once went to Nikko by myself and spent a pleasant day wandering around the hillsides behind Toshogu on a trail I found near there. At the time there was snow on the ground so my reasoning was "if I get unsure of the path I'll just follow my footprints back" but in a maze of trails--old, new, and animal-made--it's easy to get disoriented even in small mountains near urban areas.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Nagasaki marks 73rd anniversary of U.S. atomic bombing See in context

*So it is you vs Emperor Hirohito's own speech citing the nukes as the reason for surrender but *never mentioned the Soviet declaration of war against Japan.

It is not "me" , these are facts about the nature and timeline events happened (summer 1945 fireboming and extent of damage, public statements and propaganda from Tokyo revealing attitude towards citizens' lives, Hiroshima bomb dropped, Soviets declare war, Supreme Council convenes, Nagasaki bomb dropped, etc.) all of which are verifiable, even in just the Wikipedia articles on the war and surrender of Japan.

The Emperor said what he said. But it is worth considering what he left unsaid. Why he left it unsaid is of course up to speculation, but even the facts (the timeline of events) show Nagasaki at least was not part of the Supreme Council debate on surrender on August 9th.

Those are the facts. The paragraph below is my opinion:

The Japanese were not and aren't dumb. The Emperor's speech was very well-calculated. It was and is politically expedient to leave the Soviets out of the reason for ending the war. It set the tone for the U.S.-Japan relationship that continues to this day--the speech gave Tokyo a way to deflect attention from and avoid explaining government failures.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Nagasaki marks 73rd anniversary of U.S. atomic bombing See in context

 in order to end the war ASAP by any means necessary

This is a common story but it doesn't hold water in light of the timing of key events in the surrender process.

The Supreme Council of the Japanese government met to discuss unconditional surrender on August 9th, three full days after Hiroshima (and after declining a request to convene to discuss Hiroshima soon after it happened) at 10:30 am, before Nagasaki bomb was dropped at 11am.

Tokyo had been unmoved by the extreme fireboming (in the spring/summer of 1945, 66 cities of pop. 30,000 or more had been 50% or more destroyed by time Hiroshima happened) , "moderate" minister Shidehara: “the people would gradually get used to being bombed daily. In time their unity and resolve would grow stronger.” 

There were two options: inflict heavy causalities in a U.S. invasion of the mainland in hopes of getting better surrender terms, or get Stalin (still neutral at the time) to help mediate better terms. But then the Soviets declared war on Japan in the evening of August 8th, poised to invade Japan from Hokkaido in the north. With the Soviets there and the U.S. attacking from the South Pacific, and the person they'd hoped could mediate for them now an enemy, all Japan's options evaporated in one moment. And it had little to do with either nuclear bomb.

But the nukes as the decisive factor in the story remain convenient for both Japan and the U.S.--for the U.S. to minimize Soviet influence and justify guilt over using such terrible weapons, and for Japanese government to avoid having to take responsibility for having prolonged/lost the war after all they put their citizens through.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Posted in: Watermelons eaten by bear in Fukushima Prefecture See in context

Animals can always tell by the smell when stuff is just ready for eating. I swear they hang around until it's just ripe then show up the day before the farmer to take one nice big bite out of each fruit.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo Medical University also manipulated male applicants' scores: sources See in context

I have a feeling this newest revelation is just the tip of an iceberg. Talk about tanking your trustworthy reputation.

And despite research that female doctors have a slightly but significantly lower patient mortality rate than male ones:

But of course this is not about patient outcomes nor is it really about this, I'll venture:

The medical college believed female doctors often resign or take long leave after getting married or giving birth, leading to potential shortfalls, sources said earlier.

I think that's an excuse. It has to be about preserving that sexist male-female ratio "same as it's always been"

Even if this statement is honest, it's a lazy crude way to deal with the problem of the work demands being too hard on working moms. Why not work towards making it more reasonable for everyone regardless of sex? Too hard to do that I guess, so the easy corrupt way around was taken. Begs the questions, how many other institutions and companies are doing this with their entrance exams?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Classmates of missing boy help mother search for him after landslide in Hiroshima See in context

If the worst has happened I really hope it isn't one of his young classmates who finds him :(

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan's population declines at fastest pace yet to 125.2 mil See in context

It might be true a lower population would fit Japan's limited landmass better, but you have to remember the population decline is NOT happening evenly, neither geographically nor demographically--countryside and farming towns are depopulating much faster than cities and suburbs, and the number of young people of working age is shrinking more quickly than the retiree population.

Socially and culturally, I think most Japanese expect to keep the same high standards of living, amenities, services, high-quality goods, convenience, Japan-grown rice and produce, etc. but not many people seem to be thinking about WHO is going to continue to provide all these things when countryside villages are becoming ghost towns and there are fewer and fewer young people to work to produce goods (and taxes!).

Robots? Foreign "trainees"? The latter seems to be slowly and quietly gaining momentum.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Victim of 3.11 to people who have never suffered a disaster: Don’t send origami cranes to shelters See in context

Do research and send money to appropriate places, if you must "send a crane" why not make your amount a numerical pun like they do for catchy phone numbers in Japanese: orizuru could be 1126 (forget the o at the beginning, it's "zero") then ri looks like 11 in katakana, then 2 like katakana pronunciation of "two" then 6 for ru. You could send 1,126 yen if budget is tight or add as many zeroes on the end as you can afford to give.

Of course if that caught on and everyone was sending money like that they might run into different unforeseen problems.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Why have record rains been so deadly in Japan? See in context

Government not keeping up maintenance of dams and levees? If these rains are going to become an annual thing, measures will have to be stepped up.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

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