Japan Today

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Posted in: Toyota unveils high-tech concept car See in context

Because of the shaken system, used cars in Japan are almost always in good nick. And because they aren't the latest fad, they are much cheaper than used cars in other countries. I never pay more than 200,000 yen for a good used car here, so why borrow money to buy a new one that loses its value the minute you drive it out of the showroom?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Some rice farmers see TPP as window of opportunity See in context

Export Japanese rice? A difficult proposition post-Fukushima, isn't it?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Posted in: Kissinger, Nakasone, Schweisgut to appear on BS Fuji Prime News See in context

Maybe they will both talk about all the suffering and misgovernance each brought the world.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Kobe Illuminage See in context

And with this going oN, I'm supposed to shiver with "warm biz" because we need to save electricity? No bloody way!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Lawmaker drinks decontaminated water from Fukushima plant See in context

All politicians should drink a bottle of this every day. The world would be a nicer place

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan's public debt to hit record Y1,024 trillion See in context

It's important to note that the vast majority of this debt is owed to Japanese people. This makes the Japanese situation different from the USA and Greece, who owe most of their massive debts to foreigners.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Apple's tongue-tied Siri faces 'Singlish' rival See in context

Also can, a? Good lah!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Probable WWII Japanese submarine found off Papua New Guinea See in context

To respond to a couple previous posts since that's my part of the planet--- yes, you cn dive there. This is the island of New Britain, which, together with neighbouring New Ireland, has some of the best dive sites in the Pacific for WWII wrecks. No, the sub will not, and should not, be removed to Canberra. Papua New Guinea has a law that states that all WWII artefacts are the property of the PNG government and cannot ordinarily be removed. Fair enough, too. No one asked the Papua New Guineans if the Japanese, Americans, and Australians could use their islands for war games. A WWI sub? Unlikely. There was virtually no fighting when the Australians invaded and took over the territory from the Germans at the beginning of WWI, so it is unlikely that the Germans would have lost any ships. WWII, on the othe hand, saw massive bombing by the Americans and a huge buildup of war toys by the Japanese. Lots of damaged ships and equipment everywhere.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan pledges support for Libya's nation building See in context

Oil?!? I'm so naive-- I thought the altruistic Americans and Europeans helped the revolution because they wanted to spread peace and democracy throughout the world. I had no idea it was just so they could grab Africans' oil more easily. Live and learn....

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Rugby team in Japan suspended over quake taunt See in context

Yes, the team from Kamaishi should be strong enough to ignore taunts like this. But the effects of taunts like this go far beyond the playing field and can hurt a lot of people dealing with severe emotional issues that most is willmthankfully never have to face. So it was correct to penalise the offenders with the big mouths. No one in Japan should be so thoughtless as to make remarks like this

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan eyes simpler immigration procedures, including automatic gate See in context

I'm all for an automated system, having used the one at Heathrow for EU citizens for the first time this summer. No humans. I just put my passport down on a reader, looked into a camera, everything must have looked ok, and in less than a minute, the gate opened and I was on my way. Fastest airport immigration I've ever been through.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: China slams U.S. after Senate passes currency bill See in context

This is as much a result of the US dollar sinking in value as it is of a undervalued Chinese yuan. The US peso, I mean dollar, has dropped against almost every currency in the world, from the yen to the yuan to the euro and even the Papua New Guinea kina.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Hosono asks 43 prefectures to take debris from Tohoku See in context

Where can we find out which localities and/or prefectures have been asked? I live in a cash-strapped rural area and am sure the offer would look attractive to some bureaucrats in city hall here. If our area even considers such a daft idea, I want to publicise this in the newspapers of the various overseas sister cities that regularly send student groups here. That kind of foreign pressure and shame would (sadly) be more important to these guys than the opinions of the people who live and vote here.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: KDDI to sell new iPhone in Japan, ending Softbank's domination See in context

RE locked iPhones-- When I was in the UK over the summer, there were places everywhere advertising to unlock iPhones. I had mine unlocked, and put in a UK SIM card right away to use it there. Came back here and put in my Softbank SIM with no problems at all. A colleague did the same on her trip to Australia. It's one way to get around this locked iPhone monopoly game the companies try to pull here.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Heatwave kills four, sends 900 to hospital throughout Japan See in context

I'm reading this in Singapore, where the temperature is always like Japanese august. But as I walk around, I'm almost never in the sun. There are trees and canopies everywhere and from the air, it looks like a jungle with skyscrapers. Japanese have few trees, and the ones the do have are savagely pruned. People don't plant big trees in their gardens, just skimpy little trees that don't cover the road or houses with shade. No wonder the cement is so hot! Plant green stuff and the temperature goes down. Lucky Singaporeans to have the British set up such a nice shady and green city. Japanese urban planners could learn a lot.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan to continue nuclear plant exports See in context

Japan is the perfect place for Turkey to buy nuke plants. Turkey is just as earthquake prone as Japan, and so they can learn how to place plants precisely on top of fault lines so as to have the maximum damage. A pity Turkey doesn't have tsunamis like Japan though. But I guess Viet Nam can make up for that. I hope the Vietnamese learn from the Japanese how important it is to place plants right on the coast and not inland where tsunamis won't affect them. And, of course, they must learn how to make seawalls that are low enough to allow maximum destruction.

I see one major problem though--how will they educate Turks and Vietnamese to be sufficiently passive when the plants blow up?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: 3 Japanese lawmakers give up and return home from Seoul See in context

It's so interesting to compare modern Germany's role in Europe with "modern" Japan's role in Asia. Germany lost a quarter of its prewar territory in the war, with millions of its citizens expelled from lands that had been German for centuries. Today there are no territorial disputes and it has joined with its former enemies in what is basically a borderless Europe. It acknowledges the crimes it committed and pays large sums of money annually to the Holocaust survivors. In contrast, Japan has territorial disputes over tiny rocks with three of its four neighbours (the fourth, the USA/Saipan having dropped two atomic bombs on it). It refuses even to acknowledge crimes committed in WWII, much less pay compensation. And the thought that Japan could lead the way to an Asian Union like Germany has to a European Union is unthinkable. Germany is an example to the world of redemption. Japan is an example to the world of, uh,.......

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Posted in: Radiation concerns for Japan's beef supply intensify See in context

Oh yeah, and they sell only imported Thai and Brazilian rice.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Radiation concerns for Japan's beef supply intensify See in context

I'm lucky that in my area, far from Fukushima, there are Brazilian supermarkets where all the beef is Australian and all the fruit juice South American. And I can buy eggs and veggies directly from local farmers.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: 3-year-old boy drowns in kindergarten pool See in context

A few people here have asked how to check if a kindergarten has adequate supervision or not. One thing I did was visit the head teacher unannounced at a time when there were classes in session, saying, of course, that I understood s/he was busy, and that I could either wait or make an appointment for later. What I wanted to see was whether the children were starved for attention or not. In some places I visited, the kids were so hungry for adult attention that they swarmed around me, holding on to my hand and trying to follow me to the office. In other places the kids would look up, maybe say hello, and then go back to the more absorbing task of pouring sand into a bucket or chasing their best friend. The former places got ticked off my list. The latter places stayed on because those kids obviously had enough TLC and supervision from their teachers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Nokia abandons Japanese market See in context

I spend a lot of time back home in a remote area in a Third World country. The Nokias they sell there are simple, have strong antennas for weak signsl areas, and great battery life The features they have there are the ones Third World people need, like a bright built-in flashlight (our village has no power supply). And those phones are super affordable. No one there could or would buy an expensive iphone with its relative complexity (for illiterate villagers), poor antenna power and short battery life. But for Japan? People have money, strong signals, and power to charge their phones. Not to mention being techno-savvy. Nokia can't compete here with iPhones and Androids.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: William, Kate marry as 2 billion tune in across globe See in context

Well, every theme park needs an icon couple. Disneyland has Mickey and Minnie and now we Brits will have Willie and Katie to lead our theme park. Just a pity we're just a theme park and not a real country any more.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: How to make money on property in Tokyo See in context

The writer is right about houses in the country being cheap and about doing the opposite of what Salaryman-san, or more likely his Mrs, wants to do (= expensive, new apt on top of a downtown train station). I bought a house 45 min expressway drive from downtown Nagoya on a 10 year mortgage that had monthly payments about the same as rent. Now I own the place, no landlord to deal with, relatively clean air, and folks in the country are really friendly. Older farmhouses in this village are now going for as low as 7 million yen. But this is only a good option if you're going to be here 5 years +.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: What do you think of the banking system in Japan? What are the pros and cons? See in context

Re mortgages to gaijins: when I went, I took a very on-the-ball Japanese colleague to help with language. The bank manager said they were worried because I might leave the country before the mortgage was paid up and they would be stuck with a bad loan. She said, "Well, I am Japanese working at the same place with the same contract, and you would give me a loan with no hesitation. But I have a masters degree from a good American university and could up and leave anytime for a job in the US. These gaijins who come here to teach English are losers and can never get a job in their home countries. This guy's stuck here for life." I got my mortgage and the two of us have had great laughs over the incident ever since.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Navigating the intricacies of Japan’s gift-giving protocol See in context

My biggest surprise with Japanese gifts was when a typhoon knocked a tile off my neighbour's roof into my garden. I didn't kow if she knew there had been damage, so I returned it to her. She came back the next day with cookies "for the inconvenience". As if she'd caused the typhoon!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Australia gets its 1st female prime minister as Rudd ousted See in context

Both Hatoyama's and Rudd's parties were elected into power by people who believed in their campaign promises. When they reneged on those promises and became a liability, the party bosses correctly got rid of them. Take note, Mr Obama?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Talking trash See in context

Do what Japanese people do-- be a trash tourist. I live in a rural area and am amazed at the amount of garbage people from the city throw away here. everything from plastic bags with the family's bentos to TV sets and refrigerators. This is such a beautiful country; it's just a shame that the people are so dirty.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Bureaucrats dig in for fight to the finish with anti-digital TV diehards See in context

TV in Japan is typically Japanese-- great on hardware, but lousy on software (=brains).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: What do you think of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's decision to kick SDP leader Mizuho Fukushima out of the cabinet because she disagreed with his plan to relocate the U.S. Marine base at Futenma wit See in context

If Fukushima were PM (highly unlikely), she would also have to agree with the Americans. No Japanese leader is allowed to go against his Uncle Sam. Japanese can talk and have demonstrations, but no government is allowed to make a decision that goes against the Americans. After all, this country is still occupied by a very large number of very capable American soldiers and the US is a nuclear power. So in the end, this is a good way to blow steam, but in real political terms it is a fight that begins and ends with words, not true action. Japanese who think they can make their own political decisions in such matters are deluding themselves.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: How long to learn Japanese? See in context

One important point missing in the discussion here is that these nurses are Filipinas, that is, already bi- or trilingual and used to working in another language. This, together with the financial pressure of coming from a Third World nation, means that one can expect that on average, they will learn Japanese faster than the average American or British person coming here, who has usually grown up in a monolingual environment and who can usually return to life in a rich country (s/he doesn't need to support a large family back home on her/his yen income). Given this, the programme's failture rate is especially catastrophoic. Obviously, thee nurses need proper training and support, and obviously, through no fault of their own, they are not getting it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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