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harkins comments

Posted in: 15-year-old girl killed by train while running across tracks in Osaka See in context

Very tragic. But this site never fails to amaze me - I'm not sure what is more stupid; chancing everything by running across railway tracks or some people believing that this kind of incident is somehow uniquely Japanese.

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Posted in: Cleanup See in context

They really are a pain and it's about time they were clamped down on. But what I can't understand is; how they are there. I wouldn't be allowed to live in Japan due to not having a degree nor a specialised proffesion. So how do they get in? Or can you get bachelor degrees in pestering people in Nigeria and take a TNFL course?

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Posted in: Father, two daughters found dead in suspected murder-suicide See in context

In Japan, what age are elementary children? If they're say about 10 I'd imagine that they might have been woken by a generator running and at that age have taken some persuading that it was normal, nothing to worry about and they should go back to sleep.

My heart goes out to their mother too. Can't imagine coming home from work to discover that scene.

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Posted in: Over 300 school uniforms from around the country found in man's apartment See in context

From the outside looking in (ie don’t live in Japan and not a paedo) it seems to me that it might help if the sailor uniform was phased out. As far as I can make out it’s this uniform that seems to add to the appeal of Japanese schoolgirls. Most kids in UK schools now wear trousers and embroidered sweatshirts, regardless of gender. Not particularly smart but certainly unremarkable.

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Posted in: Osaka tennis coach arrested for indecent behavior with high school girl See in context

VA2Tokyo - What 'IF' he is innocent? And what IF it was your father being accussed? As much as there are a lot of perverts out there, it strikes me that there are just as many people prepared to make false accusations these days.

Are there any repercussions in Japanese law for falsely making these types of accusations?

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Posted in: Toyota to suspend production for 11 days in Japan See in context

I'm supposed to be taking the Toyota factory tour at the end of March. If they are manufacturing again by then and still running the tours it might feel a bit uncomfortable. A bit like touring a hospital or something?

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Posted in: 10-year-old schoolgirl suffers head injury after diving into pool in Yamagata See in context

I can’t see a problem with 90cm deep pools. As she was apparently training for a competition to be held on Thursday I assume that she could already swim. And as she’s only 10 years old I guess she isn’t very tall or heavy. If anything, the only concern could be about the level of instruction given for performing shallow entry race dives. But even then, sometimes people make mistakes, which she might have done. If Japan has to stop podium diving for youngsters or stop using shallow pools, they’ll need more than state of the art Speedo swimming suits to be competitive in international competition in the future.

But, I hope she makes a speedy recovery and gets back in the water soon.

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Posted in: English graffiti 'Hack' grounds bullet train See in context

Cancelling a train does seem a bit dramatic but by reacting so strongly, I guess it helps make what many people in the west consider ‘trivial’ vandalism remain a serious matter. And by doing that, hopefully Japan won’t find the majority of it’s rail stock covered (inside and out) with the crappy and inane scribbling of some so-called ‘artists’.

And in response to an earlier post saying that Shinkansen stink – I’ve never ridden one that was anything other than clean and fresh. Although putting the smoking carriage in the middle of the five unreserved cars is odd as the smoke does drift into the neighbouring cars.

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Posted in: Why don't Japanese speak English better than they do? See in context

As a tourist visiting Japan, I found that the level of spoken English was pretty good. In fact I was quite surprised because I’d been led to believe that spoken English was very rare and very poor in Japan.

I found that the Japanese were far more surprised by my Japanese abilities. And that wasn’t always done in that legendary ‘patronising the foreigner’ fashion I often read about.

Two things that did stand out from the times we communicated with school kids was that the younger ones loved saying ‘hello’ and that the older kids had an oddly polite and slightly old fashioned style of speech – for example; “how do you do?” Perhaps that second example backs up the theory that the English taught in schools is not very flexible.

Finally, I quite admire the fact that the Japanese nation doesn’t need to be fluent in English as a whole. In Britain, we don’t need foreign languages to get by and by god, have we made great efforts not to learn any!

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