hampton comments

Posted in: Wake-up to diversity reality: How can new law help working women? See in context

Abe has done nothing at all to help women in the work place. His new law only asks companies to set targets, which will mean even more paperwork, projects and meetings for the male-dominated workforce to waste its time on. The law Japan needs is one that says women must be re-employed by the same company in the same conditions they left in the event of child birth, and that bans gender discrimination with regard to pay and promotion completely. Abe has no interest in this type of law. He doesn't care about women and he doesn't want them to compete with men, he just wants them to do crappy jobs on awful pay so that Japan won't need more unskilled immigrants.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: No. of flu patients nationwide tops 1.7 million See in context

The problem with masks is the talismanic effect. Japanese people appear to think that if they wear a cheap bit of gauze, they can continue to work with influenza and not spread it. This is (of course) total rubbish. The country is full of people who go to work knowing they are sick and deliberately spread their illnesses. Without the mask, they would probably not do this, making the mask one of the main causes of the annual epidemics. Posters can say masks are better than nothing, and all things being equal they might be. But when you understand that Japanese culture thrives on appearances and that turning up to work sick as a dog wearing a silly bit of gauze is seen as being a good thing, this epidemic will happen every year. The proof that masks are basically useless is the fact that despite their prevalence, there is a flu epidemic every year. You can blame the user, incorrect use etc., but it doesn't change the fact that there is always a flu epidemic despite the hefty mask use. Government advice should be that everyone who feels sick should stay home and that companies should supply paid sick days. They don't though, so sick people want to go to work or they lose their limited annual leave. The policy is therefore "wear a mask", which does little to stop the spread and helps encourage sick people to go out into public places, making the advice utterly stupid.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Posted in: Junior high teacher burns student's hair with lighter See in context

Maybe someone should kick him in the bollocks really hard, just for a joke. He probably learns this type of humour from Japanese TV shows, which are about as funny as a massive kick in the bollocks.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Becky loses sponsors, regular TV appearances over affair scandal See in context

The problem for Becky is that she is really only famous because she is a Japanese girl who speaks Japanese and does the cutesy Japanese bit to the billionth degree without looking entirely Japanese. She's being hung out to dry because she is a tarento/idol, not a talentless rock star. Her image is cutesy, Japanised ha-fu good girl, not girl having affair with extremely ugly married musician. She shattered her own image through this affair, but he didn't. So the whole spin is on her, not him, although he's the one who had the affair and betrayed his wife. It's pathetic, but it's how these two industries work. It's unfortunate for Becky, but she should have known the score after so many years in the industry. She's the victim here, but this is what happens to idols who lose their image in this country. It's sad that this affair has left her depressed and sick, which I have no doubt is the truth. She must be devastated by this, even if she isn't entirely surprised. I personally don't like her cutesy, pure image, but I feel very sorry for her. I hope she gets over this soon and we should wish her all the best.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Posted in: 10 reasons why Kuroneko Yamato is probably the best delivery service in the world See in context

I find all Japanese takkyubin services magnificent. There are areas one can easily fault Japan, but the takkyubin system is not one of them. Kuroneko is cheap, fast and convenient. I doubt there is a better delivery service anywhere in the world.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Recruitment: International companies are screaming See in context

The useless old men at the tops of these piles earn a fortune, high salaries and huge bonuses, but they resent the idea of paying a decent wage to someone who knows what they are doing. Welcome to Japan's labour market.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: IOC asks for transcripts suggesting 2020 Olympic bid bribery See in context

Well, back in the day Ishihara said he would account for the spending on the first Olympic bid. This never happened and he was never challenged. The media was predictably compliant then and is even more so now. We all know the way Japan functions. There is an extremely honest and well-behaved population, but a very dishonest business culture bordering on corrupt and an enormous bureaucracy that spends our money freely with no accountability. Japan probably bought lots of votes for the Olympics in various ways, just like Japan buys votes to support its whaling. The corruption is widespread and the incompetence on display is staggering. There are way too many greedy old men here and they are unaccountable to anyone. It's not only Japan or the IOC though. FIFA is just as bad, if not worse.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: 5 life-altering mistakes foreigners make when living in Japan See in context

5petals, I was really addressing rut number 5, and the article is about mistakes made by westerners, which is what they mean when they say "foreigners" on English language websites. I didn't thumb you down, I think you make a lot of valid points. I do think there is an onus on an immigrant to skill-up, learn the local language and have a bit of spark. Of course some people spend money on education and find it doesn't work for them, but I think this is when older people attempt it and study non-marketable things. After the age of 40 there is probably no point trying the education route because the society is so ageist. That age may even be 32-33 in many industries. Treading water for too long in a semi-skilled job that feels okay at 25 but will be a disaster by 45 is a mistake though, and it is not Japan's fault that so many westerners do this. It is not about respect and I don't care about "acceptance". Most Japanese people view me as a foreigner in Japan and they always will. I don't have a problem with that.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: 5 life-altering mistakes foreigners make when living in Japan See in context

For the western English teacher, Japan is great at 25, okay at 35, a problem at 45, a struggle at 55 and a disaster at 65 with no pension, no property and minimal savings. This is because incomes don't increase to match expenses and people should leave earlier or improve themselves and get better jobs.I hear them complaining that they don't get pay rises etc. This is because they are in part-time jobs in a foreign country and are genuinely not worth more than they get paid. They just don't like the market rate and they end up very bitter and often spitting venom. It's not Japan's fault that someone aged 50 with no relevant qualification and the dubious skill of only speaking his own language is not worth anymore money than a 25 year old in the same position.

The classic error for many westerners here is to not understand their real worth and to do nothing to improve themselves beyond an undergraduate degree. Immigrants everywhere need to fight a bit to prosper. They need to be smarter, they need to be qualified and they need to take a bit of stick. They also usually need to speak the local language well and be able to read and write it. If you're 35 and already feeling the pinch in Japan, skill-up or get the hell out. Even if you learn Japanese pretty well, most Japanese jobs will remain closed to you unless you read and write kanji like a native. If you are like me, and are an upper-intermediate level Japanese speaker who can work out the gist of most announcements and read nearly all the Tokyo train stations in kanji as well as a menu or three, all jobs that require true Japanese ability are closed to you. You need to improve your education, start your own business or get lucky. I did the third one, but most won't get lucky. Trying to raise a family as an English teacher with weak Japanese ability and 4 million yen a year doesn't work out too well, but it's not Japan's fault. Many unskilled Japanese have it tough too. The average salary here is only 37,000 US dollars a year and most of the poor are Japanese. Younger foreigners here need to think about this while they have time to change things, not become the disillusioned 50 year-old with no skills and a whole load of grievances that we all meet from time to time.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Posted in: Abe urges higher wages; businesses give muted support See in context

Businesses don't really even give muted support. We are now supposed to believe that no businesses ever raised wages until the supreme leader started urging them to. Demographic changes and labour shortages should start to force businesses to increase wages if the hoards of part-time workers see better choices elsewhere, but this is down to demographics and basic supply/demand theory. If all your workers start leaving, you need to improve conditions, but if you are a domestic company screwed all over by Abe and you have no money, you can't improve conditions. The PM screws up your business by increasing your import costs, favouring exporters and taking money away from your customers and clients domestically, then urges you to try going bust through wage increases so that he can further screw up your business with more of the same. Abe was hopeless in 2007 and even worse now. What a terrible shame for this country that there is no opposition to such a hopeless government.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: New Zealanders choose silver fern design as possible new flag See in context

That's horrible. If the 4 stars were silver and the entire background were black, that would look pretty cool. The NZ passports look really cool, they should copy those.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Abe vows to make Japan world's safest country See in context

Well, Japanese citizens are at risk from terrorism if they get caught by jihadists in areas of the world controlled by Islamic State, but not if they stay at home and avoid such places. Japan is a very safe country, all terrorist acts here have been committed by Japanese people and they already have stricter immigration than almost anywhere on earth and fewer refugees. Japan is not at high risk of an Islamic terrorist assault, but should remain vigilant of course.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: New Zealand, Australia lead Japan whaling protest See in context

tina, exactly, which shows those 33 governments don't really care much about the whales, just some of their voters do and they want to pander to them. If they wanted to extend sanctions over this, they would bring Tokyo to its knees in seconds, but the governments care far more about business as usual than they do about the lives of whales. QED by the lack of any real action and the lodging of meaningless statements and protests. Japan can carry on whaling and ignore any protests.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Posted in: New Zealand, Australia lead Japan whaling protest See in context

These countries should all agree to ban the sale of Japanese motor vehicles during any whaling seasons. That would end whaling pretty dam quick. But of course they don't really care, they only pretend they care to appease their home audiences.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Posted in: Kan's defamation suit against Abe over Fukushima crisis thrown out See in context

We all know Abe and the LDP own the courts. If they didn't, the wonky election system that always favours the LDP would be declared illegal.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Posted in: 9 ways Tokyo could become more foreigner-friendly in time for 2020 Olympics See in context

Most visitor will already be able to read enough Japanese to survive because they will be from China, Taiwan and South Korea. Most others will read English/Romaji, so will be able to get around. Hotels need to make sure they all have meishi with clear Japanese directions (to be shown to taxi drivers) so that people can get back to their hotels. That's easily done.

The airports need to offer visitors a special suica for the trains. It should cost 10,000 yen, should come with instructions for recharging the card and there should be simple refund machines in the airports for when tourists leave again. The transport does not have to be a problem.

In tourist areas, more picture menus would be helpful. No one really needs to learn much Japanese to visit Japan. Most people can't learn anything beyond the basics unless they study for months and tourists who come here once only for a week or so cannot be expected to make the effort. And yeah, for the love of God ban smoking in restaurants. It's disgusting and many people like me no longer go out and spend money because it is so unpleasant to be smoked at all evening. I don't mind this so much in real drinking establishments, but in places designed for eating, smoking needs to be banned.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Weak data latest bad news for Abenomics See in context

kickboard, Japan now has no average compensity to save. In the 80s the average family saved around 25% of income, but now the average family is spending its savings:


The problem is that the Japanese government hasn't worked out that we're now in the 21st century and the Prime Minister and his semi-feudal government only care about their own special interests. One of these is the rural electorate that chooses the government. He taxes the crap put of the cities and hands the money to construction companies and farmers who in turn re-elect him through the unconstitutional electoral system. Abe is a hopeless case of useless and only got elected because his grandfather was Kishi and the LDP supports feudalism over meritocracy.

ThonTaddeo, thumbs up, again. I am yet to find a single post of yours that I do not wholeheartedly agree with.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Posted in: Cameron pledges to outline strategy against IS this week See in context

Porky Dave has no idea what he is doing. Two years ago, clueless men like David Cameron and Barack Obama wanted to bomb Assad in Syria, which would have been of benefit to ISIS. As we Brits clearly have no idea what we are doing, what side we are on, or even what the sides really are, the best thing to do is to not join in the bombing. To defeat IS we need to form a full coalition involving countries like US, UK, China, Russia, France, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Egypt and Syria and achieve a consensus on what actions to take. Western powers bombing the crap out of the Middle East for the last decade without support from major Islamic nations has got us nowhere. The removal of men like Saddam Hussein has led to the arrival of groups like IS in the vacuums we left behind. Our failed strategy is now very clear to all of us and should not be compounded by yet more bombing by Dave's depleted military.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Record 16.3 mil foreigners visited Japan as of Oct 31 See in context

kurisupisu, true, but plenty of Chinese is written everywhere eh.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Cup noodles and chocolates keep Abenomics' pulse beating See in context

ThonTaddeo, yep, great post. Cherry-picking sales of a selected price range of a specific product to try and show that Abe is a genius after all. It really is clutching at straws to try and say that people eating cheap instant crap in higher numbers in a specific price range is somehow proof of things being good.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Posted in: 10 factors that make Japan a safe country See in context

Huge generalizations and all, but Japanese people are mainly raised from an early age to follow the structures of the society. Because Japan is quite wealthy and the people are unambitious, there is little envy. Younger people are essentially happy with their lot and are satisfied with having the latest brand bag and a new phone whilst living in a 1K apartment or with mummy and daddy into their forties. There is a huge lack of motivation among the populace and a huge acceptance of their place in their semi-feudal society. The "shouganai" expression reigns supreme. People who are mainly united, mainly the same sort-of class, mainly the same ethnic background and with mainly the same lack of aspiration will commit few crimes. It really is a form of feudalism, but it works quite well and creates a homogenous and safe society.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan slips back into recession in July-Sept quarter See in context

Abe doesn't care about these figures anyway. He only cares about supporting the 10% of the country that benefits from his reverse Robin Hood economic policies. Japan's feudal rotten borough election system will re-elect the LDP regardless as Abe buys the necessary votes with our money. There will likely be some growth next quarter, then more decline, particularly with more sales tax increases on the way. The normal people here will have a harder time with less money, but that will be partly balanced by more Chinese tourists and more mindless construction. As the yen weakens and taxes increase, we'll have even less money to spend, but the demographic time bomb continues to tick and the debt is increasingly out of control. We all saw this happening three years ago, with about 5 exceptions. What a total disaster Abe has been (again), both politically and economically.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Posted in: Gov't looking for new catchphrase to replace 'omotenashi' for Olympics See in context

How about, "My Olympic"? That should do it.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: At least 120 killed in six Paris terror attacks; police hunt for accomplices See in context

European governments have actively encouraged the mass immigration of people who believe in a God we don't believe in and an ideology we consider backward. A very small percentage are extremists, but a significant minority tacitly support the kind of events unfolding in Paris. Too many muslims have grown up learning to despise us and this is what we get. We must ban faith schools as they are deliberately divisive and we must stop allowing our cities to be taken over by the zealots of any faith. It's not too late to eradicate this problem, but it will all get worse before it gets better. If we do nothing other than re-state Islam as the religion of peace and the need for more counter-narratives, we are finished. Extremists are not interested in our counter narratives. Those who leave our shores to go to madrasas or join extremist groups should never be allowed back into our countries. Jihadi John is not British. He was born in Kuwait and was raised a muslim. He then went off and joined a terrorist group that murders innocent civilians. Unfortunately there are now plenty like him in France, UK and elsewhere and we need to stop importing and nurturing this type of person or we will see attacks like this one on a regular basis.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Posted in: Indonesia's Aceh to start caning gays caught having sex See in context

Some of them will probably enjoy that.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Posted in: 56% of hotels in Japan bar visitors with tattoos from bathing facilities See in context

It's probably the same old guy who complains about tattoos who then goes and ruins people's meals by blowing smoke all over them. This country has a wonderful culture in many respects, but this antiquated way of thinking does Japan no credit. It should be illegal to discriminate over body art, but it's still not illegal to discriminate over race, so we're a long way off seeing this happen.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Posted in: 56% of hotels in Japan bar visitors with tattoos from bathing facilities See in context

I hate tattoos (and onsens) but you shouldn't ban paying customers for body art. Complaining about people blowing smoke all over you and ruining your meal, as well as possibly causing you cancer doesn't get you anywhere, so why should moaning about people with body art be a reason for banning tattoos in onsens? What a very strange place this is.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Posted in: Abe hails new trade era; hopes China will join pact See in context

It's clearly not a free trade area or there would be more free trade in it. Japanese consumers are screaming out for cheaper produce, but won't get any, at least not for a minimum of 5 years. Meanwhile, Japan's legions of bureaucrats will get to work on new obfuscation techniques to prevent the imports arriving. The Japanese consumer is the biggest loser as the huge tariffs and taxes on imported foods remain in place, alongside all the invisible barriers that the Japanese economy is so well known for. As usual it looks like Japan gets more access to other markets and other countries get no additional access to theirs. Meanwhile the US cajoles other countries to agree to this non-deal because it is so concerned that China will takeover as the number one superpower and will do anything at all to anyone to delay that unhappy moment by an additional year or two. No surprise at all that Japan's sensitive food products include everything we all want to eat but struggle to afford thanks to Japanese ridiculous protectionism of its own inefficient industries. Bag o shite for the consumers here, just as we all expected.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Muslim U.S. flight attendant says she was wrongly suspended for not serving alcohol See in context

Sorry, but if you suddenly decide to change your religion and the changes you make cause trouble in your job, that's your problem.

Ossan, when she took the job she was not a Muslim. She converted. That's the problem. Having converted, she thinks she has the right to refuse parts of the job her new religion is at odds with. You and I don't agree with her on that, but at the time of her hiring, she was able and willing.

She should quit working in an environment that serves alcohol if she takes her faith that seriously. If she won't fulfill the role she is employed to do because she changed her religion, I don't see why she can't be relieved of her duties.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

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