Japan Today

Frederick Stimson Harriman comments

Posted in: Two halves of a whole: Japan’s habitual ‘labeling’ of bicultural kids See in context

I learned a long time ago that there are no races, and everyone's a racist. This is a problem ALL humans have - like being able to see, yet reality is always different from what we can see. Japanese expect homogeneity. It's best to get used to that. "Half" is not a nice term, but there are worse used by non-Japanese with no sense of guilt. Work with the problem person to person, day by day.

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Posted in: Japan takes step toward having a 'normal' military See in context

I often hear "...a constitution imposed by a victorious United States after World War II..." "Imposed" is a charged word. Can we ask Mr. Moritsugu why the circumstances of the adoption of the Constitution warrant its use? Not that I myself know about the matter. But I have heard opinions to the contrary - that the Constitution was very much a Japanese document, although drafted under the eyes of the Occupational Forces. Can you refer us to any specific history or bibliography to help us understand better whether the Constitution is a US-imposed document or not?

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Posted in: Asia News Weekly - What to look for in the upcoming East Asia Summit See in context

Thanks to JT for these great sources!

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Posted in: Studies show Japanese people drinking less than ever See in context

Way back when, there was a lot of "going drinking" without actually drinking what was in front of you. Common practice was that you often went to a bar for its atmosphere, because you hoped to see a certain pretty lady, or simply because you had some kind of social obligation to go - either to the people you went with, or to the establishment because of some special relationship with the owner. In those days, a pretty lady would rush to fill your glass or cup, and even throw out what was left in your glass so as to make you feel special by going through the motions of making you a fresh mizu-wari. If the Boss was paying, this was often the sort of place you would end up. It was astounding to see how much liquor was either thrown out or left on the table when we struck out to another bar for a change of mood. No one did this with the booze they paid for out of their own pocket, of course. But it was the norm if someone else was paying, and that was quite often.

It stands to reason that people and organizations are more frugal with their drinking now, after having gone through economic contractions, and generation changes. Even if no one may notice a decline in socializing over drinking, I'll wager that patronage of Bars is less forgiving of the old, profligate model, and the drink itself is being optimized. I am a sort of Rip VanWinkle every time I return to Japan, because I still have the image of the Bubble Years in my mind, and sections of town that were packed with Bars are now half empty. It makes sense to me that there has been a contraction in the volume of booze sold too - but maybe the actual per capita amount consumed has not really changed very much.

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Posted in: Obama signs trade bill into law See in context

It's called globalization. Get used to it. Obama pledged to revise NAFTA, and Canada and Mexico will be in the TPP. If all sign on to the TPP, the looser rules of NAFTA will get tighter. It's not realistic for the US to be protectionist while countries like China set up bilateral trade agreements that get them the privileges they want without ever having to follow rules that advanced countries have to follow. US/Japan/etc. must take the initiative. If unions want to survive they need to take their heads out of the sand and be part of this process.

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Posted in: 'Haafu' to represent Japan at Miss Universe 2015 See in context

"Daburu" has been proposed, instead of "Haafu." A good proposal. I have always liked: "Boosu" ("Both").

In any event, this is truly significant. Hang in there, all you open-minded Japanese. Things do change!!

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Posted in: The fuzzy logic behind Japanese attachment to kanji See in context

Anyone who is versed in Japanese at the most basic level understands that kanji needs to be maintained. I am very disappointed that the Japan Times publicized the over-rationalized arguments that appear in this article.

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Posted in: Japan upset by S Korean 'comfort women' exhibit at French comic book festival See in context

I suggest that anyone who is earnestly concerned with this issue look at Human Trafficking as it exists Today. Women who are at risk can find themselves coerced into prostitution no matter what country they live in, and men from all countries pay for sex and for worse things. I would ask that anyone who spends time on this particular part of the history between the ROK and Japan take at least half the time they spend on it, and learn about what can be done now to prevent similar situations that persist in all countries. http://www.humantrafficking.org

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Posted in: Japanese women list their foreign husbands’ odd behavior See in context

I like the Hawaiian guy who is worried about Nobita-kun.

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Posted in: Joggers warned to mind their manners as they run around Imperial Palace See in context

Thanks to El Buda Mexicano for the practical advice to improve daily life in Japan. ¡Arriba los Budas Mexicanos!

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Posted in: Yoshinoya to grow rice and vegetables in Fukushima See in context

I will eat at a Yoshinoya at the first opportunity I have. Appare Yoshinoya!!

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Posted in: Overcoming loneliness through judo See in context

Judo is Japanese and it is the world's. I have made friends in Chihuahua Mexico and other places through Judo. As you practice in Iwate, others are practicing all over the globe. Even Putin practices Judo ; ) Keep it up, and know that you are not alone if you practice Judo!!

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Posted in: Japan halts some U.S. imports after modified wheat found See in context

Iowan: Great information. Everyone else, mind your manners.

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Posted in: Noda tells of nights of hard drinking with Geithner, Cameron See in context

As a schoolmate of Mr. Geithner, I am not shocked. Grow up, everyone!!

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Posted in: Sex counselor seeks explanations for waning co-ed promiscuity See in context

I wonder if any of these girls, or if any Japanese girls think to talk to their mothers, and their aunts about sex. I think that it's the parents and the older generations in Japan that bear a great deal of responsibility for this kind of trend. If your parent's relationship seems strange and alien to you, and you cannot envision yourself married or relating to the opposite sex the way your parents relate to each other, you won't consider marriage, and an affectionate, intimate relationship with the opposite sex will seem unreal. That's where a lot of the turn-offs are for young people. Young people should be able to act safely on their urges as soon as they have them. And to do this, parents have to be standing by to help them sort out their feelings, find people of the opposite sex that are attractive to them, and experience intimacy without being irresponsible about it. I think that Japan has never quite figured out what kind of mores it really wants when it comes to young love. They just want to ignore it all and hope people will somehow come out OK.

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Posted in: For Ang Lee, all movies are a leap of faith See in context

"Ride with the Devil" is a must-see for American History buffs. Better than anything Spielberg has done. I wish there were more Directors in American Cinema that made movies as honestly as he does.

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Posted in: How will American fast food affect Japanese culture? See in context

All right, MacD started in 1971, and MOS Burger in 1972. Still, MOS Burger is no imitation of MacD. It has always had a distinctive menu, and it has always had a different mood and flow to the eating experience. MOS Burger "developed on its on."

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Posted in: How will American fast food affect Japanese culture? See in context

Fast Food existed in Japan way before any American franchise chains arrived. Edo-mae sushi is an example. Food has always been sold from street carts, and the basic elements of Fast Food are covered when you have to make the dish all by yourself for a crowd of people at a time of peak demand. And even when it comes to American fare such as hamburgers, the MOS Burger chain developed on its own here in Japan before MacD arrived. The Japanese do not need anyone to explain to them what Fast Food is, and how to do it. In fact, it is the Japanese who are able to take any dish and make it fast food. I have not seen any places in the US that can turn out 20 different types of curry & rice in less than 2 minutes. And it's good, and the menu will include variety and many vegetables. If you wish that a certain dish could be available as Fast Food, hand it over to the Japanese and they will come up with a manual to do it.

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Posted in: Japan's indifference to 'Gangnam Style' riles S Korea See in context

I was in El Paso Texas 3 weeks ago, and I heard Gangnam Style on a radio station originating in Ciudad Juarez Mexico. So it's popular internationally, OK? Who knows why? Why is it so important if Japanese like it or not? That's a question for anthropologists and sociologists. Many Japanese stopped worrying about whether their own popular music was popular in the US, or anywhere else a long time ago. Good stuff and bad stuff comes out of Japan, same as anywhere else. I'm sure mature Koreans can understand it's the same when it comes to Korean popular culture. Stop printing unimportant news that a few idiots think is important.

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