Japan Today

GBR48 comments

Posted in: Sunak, Starmer face televised grilling by unhappy voters See in context

None of the campaign promises will be realised, by either party. They never are. The media just ignore all the broken promises of the past and carry on with the show. If the last batch of promises had been honoured, we would be living in Utopia, our finances boosted by Brexit bonuses. Things should be better, but nothing actually works any more. The whole farce is just a contrived act of lies, hypocrisy and theatre that the media collude with. If you have any residual faith in humanity, watching this circus should remove it from you.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Elderly woman dies after her neck gets caught under Tokyo store's escalator rail See in context

Horrific, but perhaps some signs would help, advising customers to take the lift if they are not so mobile.

Emergency stop/hold-to-reverse buttons might also be a plan.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Visa's Mark Nelsen wants to make your plastic credit card obsolete See in context

On a PC you will need to enter a number. You can't tap it on your keyboard.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Apple partners with OpenAI as it unveils 'Apple Intelligence' See in context

Not a problem if you can turn it off. If it is baked into the OS and you cannot turn it off, avoid it. Use something else.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Facebook owner Meta seeks to train AI model on European data as it faces privacy concerns See in context

The quality of AI depends in great part upon its source material. Social media is probably not the best of resources to mine for data. Perhaps they want to ensure that their chatbots embrace national prejudices before they unleash them on each of Europe's tribes.

The EU would happily get rid of all US tech, especially social media and messaging, after levying as many fines as they can on it, for free cash. I'm sure AI will give them some excellent opportunities to grab some loot before they ban it all.

Will the AI bubble burst in 2025 or 2026? Maybe I should ask ChatGTP. Is that like Googling 'Google'?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: UK PM woos voters with tax cuts and home ownership See in context

quote: We are the party of Margaret Thatcher.

Total BS. Thatcher won the UK a heap of concessions from the EU that placed it in an economic sweet spot. The current Tory halfwits binned them all, destroyed Sterling and hammered the economy. Thatcher would be spinning in her grave to be name-checked by today's incompetent Tory party.

quote: the party of the property-owning democracy.

More BS. They broke Sterling creating an inflationary spiral and then drove a knife into the middle classes by increasing interest rates, pretending that it was a joystick to reduce inflation.

quote: halve record levels of immigration.

Idiotic. UK industry and services are starved of workers. Farmers are setting aside land as meadows because they can no longer hire workers to harvest crops. The current immigration levels are boosted by people escaping Ukraine and HK. Stirring up race hatred by demonising the relatively small number coming across from France just shovels votes to Farage.

quote: He accused Labour of wanting to increase the tax burden on households.

They could not possibly increase taxes by more than the Tories have done. And taking Sterling down 25% at Brexit made everyone in the UK 25% poorer.

Nobody expects much from Labour, and very few of any of the policies offered in recent weeks will actually happen. Offers of thousands of dental/GP appointments, child care, health care or anything else is impossible as the UK doesn't have the staff any more. We just want to get the grossly incompetent Tories out before they do any more damage. If there is actually anything left for them to break.

Nothing will improve in the UK for a decade, perhaps for the foreseeable future. We just don't want it to get even worse.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: 'Sports should be inclusive': Activists slam France hijab ban See in context

Petty state-promoted Islamophobia targeting women whilst pretending to offer Liberté, égalité, fraternité. They shouldn't have been allowed to even bid for the Olympics with such a ban.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Posted in: Far-right parties make big gains in European Parliament elections See in context

Unfortunately, incumbent politicians are likely to panic and pander to right wing, tribal policies. When these fail, they will lose even more votes.

If they want people to return to them, they should ignore the right wing policies, which are based on prejudice, xenophobia, ignorance and racism, and just improve the day to day lives of their citizens. Happy people who aren't feeling poor will vote for a stable, mainstream party.

If they adopt the Brexit-style policies of the right wing populists, their economies will be damaged, they will have spiralling inflation, staff shortages, services will fracture and citizens will get angrier with them, as the ruling regime, as has happened in the UK.

Populist policies fail and lose you votes when you are in power. They only work for parties that are in opposition and are using them to garner votes from angry, disillusioned people.

It's not the policies, 'it's the economy, stupid'. Fix that and you get happy people.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

Posted in: Laundry in Japan: Detergent, bleach and tips See in context

This seems to rather overcomplicate things. I put washing powder in my washing machine. Nothing else. It dries on a clothes horse in a couple of days.

As a child I would sit in the local coin-op whilst the family bedding was washing and drying. The air there was always warm, damp and fragrant. Lovely places.

If you suffer from hayfever, replace your pillowcases frequently in the summer and do not dry your washing outside. It just gets covered in pollen.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: In Kyoto and other heavily visited cities, some residents grumble about being priced out of hotel rooms or crowded out of buses and restaurants. Do you think this is a valid complaint? See in context

Tourist areas have always been like that. It's not new. It's just part of the deal of living there.

All urban public transport in Japan is crowded, especially during the commutes, when tourists largely avoid it.

If you already live somewhere, why would you want to stay in a hotel room there?

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Posted in: UK's Conservatives promise 12 billion-pound sickness benefit savings See in context

Benefits in the UK are miserly. Nobody chooses to live on them. But vulnerable people have always been an easy target for the Tories.

There is an issue in schools. There has been a huge increase in SEND cases (special needs) for kids that would previously have had to tough it out without additional costly provision. This has been down to fine tuning of the diagnosis - look hard enough and you will find conditions that now have names. The education system was never designed or funded to offer such a tailored approach to personal needs, and it is breaking already stretched education finances. And of course, post-Brexit, there aren't enough staff.

In general practice, something similar may be happening, but it is compounded by years of Tory underfunding. Now add the strikes in response to Brexit-originated inflation, and the post-Brexit staff shortages. The waiting lists for treatment are enormous, so people get worse. GPs vanished during the pandemic: it was almost impossible to get a face-to-face appointment. Not sure how they diagnosed mental illness over the phone.

No surprise there is so much mental illness here. 14 years of Tory government with multiple lockdowns as the icing on the cake are enough to make anyone clinically depressed at the state their nation and their finances have been reduced to.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Fuel shortage in Japan hinders flight increases amid tourism surge See in context

Yrral makes a good point. The Russian airspace ban increases fuel use from Europe. But pointing out the downside of sanctions (bumping up the price of fuel, allowing the Russians to earn a sack of cash) is frowned upon.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: AI 'gold rush' for chatbot training data could run out of human-written text See in context

quote: between 2026 and 2032.

Oh, way sooner than that.

The quality of 'AI' stuff is largely dependent upon the source material. Most news archives are unreliable and (along with pre-2000 books and magazine articles) non-PC/woke. Web 2.0 data (social media, 4chan) should perhaps be avoided. Meta are planning on plumbing the depths of their Web 2.0 content, but I'm not sure anyone is going to want to buy anything built on it.

Even canonical literature fails the woke litmus (not enough PoC in Austen, Eliot or Dickens).

Wikipedia is generally OK, plus a selection of text books and of course the pearls of wisdom to be found in the JT comments section. Aside from that, almost everything you can pay for or covertly trawl online, will build you an AI model that will get you into (expensive, legal, reputational) trouble at some point.

2026 is being mooted for the AI bubble bursting (by richer, better connected people than me). That sounds about right. I hope no sensitive bots read that. Daisy, Daisy... etc.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Life as a teen without social media isn't easy. These families are navigating adolescence offline See in context

quote: More than ever, teenagers live in a seamless digital and non-digital world in ways that most adults don’t recognize or understand.

Teenagers have adapted to it.

Their parents, governments and activists are all still in moral panic mode.

Saying social media is toxic is a bit like a bishop in the late 15th century saying that cheap printed books are toxic or a parents telling their 1950s kids that pop music is toxic.

Kids are learning to navigate the good stuff like booktok and avoid the bad stuff, as with the other media around them.

Generally, making your kids stand out, living a completely different life from everyone else in their class, does not end well.

Internet is good for wellbeing despite social media fears, scientists find. Researchers undertake by far the biggest study yet on how internet use affects our wellbeing, involving 2.4 million people in 168 countries. https://inews.co.uk/news/science/internet-good-wellbeing-despite-social-media-fears-scientists-find-3052436#:~:text=Using%20the%20internet%20is%20good,study%20from%20University%20of%20Oxford.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Fuel shortage in Japan hinders flight increases amid tourism surge See in context

quote: They cannot suddenly increase production as they have been consolidating facilities in anticipation of a medium- to long-term decline in demand for petroleum products.

Well fire the bright spark who was responsible for that and consolidate when demand does actually drop.

If countries plan to block migrant labour they will have to follow the Brexit model and use their military/SDF to fill in the gaps in basic services.

-6 ( +13 / -19 )

Posted in: A year of elections in democracies around the world is revealing deep dissatisfaction among voters See in context

I guess voters have finally realised that they are being scammed. Most have a 'choice' between two incompetence, self-serving parties who will screw them over in similar ways, before failing and being kicked out. The only alternative being a lying populist who will wreck more, faster, and then start a war. And they wonder why we are disillusioned.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Posted in: Are you a collector of anything? If so, what? See in context

@Mie Fox. If you scan them, you may see quite a bit more detail on them. Postcard (and photo) collecting is a great hobby as the variety is so wide, but the costs are quite low. I collect early fashion, the area I grew up in, 1970s/1980s shopping centres and Japanese photos (mainly for the fashions).

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Harry Potter offers magical boost to UK tourism See in context

quote: It's only gotten busier and busier and crazier and crazier.

Time to put up a few screens! :)

@BertieWooster. The media loves angry activists. Happiness doesn't generate clicks. And JKR certainly made a lot of people happy.

Whenever politicians prioritise STEM subjects over the humanities I always point out the enormous wedge of revenue generated by the Potter books and films. Particularly as tech companies have been offloading staff for a couple of years now. I find it bizarre and a bit weird that people feel unable to enjoy an author's books as much because they don't agree with their politics.

Note that other fantasy novels are available. Including mine.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Are you a collector of anything? If so, what? See in context

Stamps, plants (I have about two dozen species of palms in my lounge), CDs (JP/SK), DVDs, 70s/80s stuff. I used to collect early computers, Japanese books and CRT TVs but ran out of space and donated them to institutions. If you do collect stuff, choose something that doesn't cost much and set yourself strict limits. You will have a lot of fun without impacting your finances.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to build anti-tourist fence at another Mount Fuji viewpoint See in context

Is this Japan's version of 'stopping the small boats'? Remember always reading the line 'from here, on a clear day, you can see Mt. Fuji' (applied to almost anywhere within 200km of it)? They will be replacing it with: 'you absolutely must not attempt to see Mt. Fuji from here'.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Posted in: Netherlands to kick off 4 days of European Union elections across 27 nations See in context

Incompetence, lack of talent and general mismanagement by EU regimes has led to this, although none of them will take the whipping at the polls that the Tories will get in the UK.

The green transition is likely to be downgraded and pushed into the long grass. Migrants, particularly muslim ones will take the role that the Jews held the last time Europe wrecked itself with fascism.

quote: no mention of a so-called Nexit.

The electorate are presumed to be gullible enough to vote for a populist but not complete idiots.

Given the geopolitics, war is inevitable. Get out and go somewhere nice if you can.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Big Mac battle: McDonald's loses burger trademark for EU in battle with Irish rival See in context

It really isn't worth going to court against a foreign tribe's company on their turf. You are just wasting your cash.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Divisions among world's powerful nations undermining U.N. efforts to end crises See in context

It's intentional. The major powers want division, a cold war, and then WWIII. Nothing builds borders, silences dissent at home and reinforces the tribal mentality quite like a really big war.

Humanity never learns from the past and most people are gullible enough to be led by their politicians.

So we cycle through periods of peace when we trade with each other, and periods of war when we kill each other. The post-WWII period of peace that saw the UN function as a peacekeeper saw the power of nation state regimes eroded by the consumer economy, multinational corporations, globalised supply chains, international agreements and the internet. All of these can be trashed and flushed by war. So that is what we will have next.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: In testy debate, Britain's Sunak, Starmer go head to head on the economy See in context

Most of these problems were caused by Brexit and by reducing immigration.

The Tories have been in power for 14 years and have destroyed the place.

The UK is broken and neither party has any chance, ability or intent of fixing it. Further persistent decline is inevitable.

The national service policy is an amusing joke that would never work. The armed forces don't have the capability of babysitting disaffected teens and forcing kids to do community work (without committing a crime first, as is traditional) would just alienate people who haven't even voted yet.

quote: everyone's taxes up by 2,000 pounds.

The Tories have cost us all way more than that with their half-baked incompetence.

quote: immigration, which has become a prominent concern among voters.

Not me. I want more migrant labourers. So do farmers. So do NHS administrators. So do people who want to see a dentist or a GP. So do people who want their bus to come on time and food to be cheaper.

This anti-immigration BS is wearing thin but is still lazily trotted out by the media.

The Tories are going to get hammered in the election, but the UK is over. Emigrate somewhere nice if you can.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan to replace cedars with low-pollen trees to tackle hay fever See in context

Good. Progressively replace a high pollen monoculture with a mixed planting of lower pollen, climate resilient species capable of coping with the weather Japan will have in the coming decades.

Labour will be their biggest problem. If they block migrant labour like the UK is doing, it just won't happen.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Amazon Japan makes payment policy change See in context

Doesn't Japan have 'debit cards'? If you have a bank account, you normally get one of those automatically, surely?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: Sighing repeatedly along with things like face-making and lip-smacking could be considered mood harassment, in which emotional distress is inflicted on the other person through your moody facial expression, demeanor and other nonverbal cues. See in context

Poker face and zero emotion from the moment you enter the office to the moment you leave. Avoid all small talk, jokes, humming and non-essential interactions with other humans. Speak only when spoken to and in a measured monotone. Do not smile, as your happiness may offend others.

3 ( +19 / -16 )

Posted in: China says MI6 recruited state workers to spy for UK See in context

I have good news for China. The UK government are curtailing foreign students, hammering UK uni finances that depend upon them to subsidise domestic students. Courses are being cut, academics are being fired and departments are closing. So MI6, if it does recruit in this manner, will find it much harder in future.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: 46% in Japan have issues interacting with foreign co-workers: survey See in context

This is always going to be a problem, particularly for Westerners. Japanese is rarely taught at school in Europe (and it helps to learn languages when you are young). The moment a language doesn't use Roman characters, it becomes a lot harder for Roman character language speakers to learn. Highly skilled people spend a lot of time working on what they are skilled at. They are unlikely to have a lot of spare time to learn a difficult language as well. And not everyone has the ability to learn a difficult second language to any great degree, even if they are gifted in another field. As an investment, you would have to be happy to commit to staying in Japan long term to make it viable. Ex-pat forums may be enough to put most people off doing that. And nationalists in Japan know that the Japanese language is key to keeping as many foreigners out as they can. So don't expect much to change. One of the incidental benefits of once being part of someone else's Empire, is the language legacy.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Toyota admits to improper vehicle testing as quality scandal widens See in context

quote: it plans to search their offices.

Always good to have advance warning on this sort of thing. Very sporting and gentlemanly. None of that gauche dawn raid stuff.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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