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Posted in: SoftBank Corp to help call center workers by 'softening' angry customer calls with AI See in context

I'm not sure how it's going to work, but I think it might be a relief for the support workers. I can't imagine taking call after call frustrated customers' calls. I try to remember that when I am having a problem with some device and call the support number--when I can find one that is.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan to introduce online booking for Mount Fuji trail See in context


However, pre-booking the most popular trail may divert unprepared hikers to more difficult trails that are not up to them.

Yeah, can you imagine slogging up Gotemba not realizing how lonnnnng it is? It's torturous even going down!

Anyone hoping to climb, I don't recommend doing it in the first couple weeks of the season. My second climb I did it July 1st and there were very few huts open to take a break in and it was seriously cold at the top, even with a mountaineering coat and proper baselayers. I spent 10 minutes at the top and that was enough. Not a good experience. Go in August when everything is open and warmer. It's a circus, but fun, if you know this going into it.

BTW, my first climb was 11 years ago and there wasn't a single scrap of trash along the Subashiri route and the upper half of the Yoshida route nor along the entire Gotemba route going down. That year, the foreign tourists were mostly scared away due to the Fukushima disaster. Sooo, not sure who drops the trash everyone talks about and when and where it occurs. Perhaps things have changed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: 3 killed in accident involving 7 vehicles on expressway in Saitama See in context

How can you drive a truck while unconscious?


I am guessing that he fell asleep at the wheel, as they put it in the US.

Driving on expressways can be terrifying, especially when driving next to one of those huge trucks in a passenger car. And I can't imagine having to drive as much as they have to. I'm always exhausted after just a couple hours of driving.

RIP to the victims.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to introduce online booking for Mount Fuji trail See in context

There’s always the less traveled Subashiri route. We rested in a hut just below the junction with the Yoshida trail and that is when the crowds began for us. That part of the climb was mostly done in the dark, so the sheer number of people didn’t bother me. I was focused on my breathing anyway.

Yeah, the top was crowded, but the collective reaction to the sunrise was truly magical. Even the monk’s shaky singing of the national anthem was charming. The hut we “rested” in packed us a small lunch, so we didn't need to wait for any noodles at the top.  

Not everyone hikes the 1 hour rim trail around the crater, so that is a way to experience the summit without crowds. The pyramidal shadow receding away from the top and towering views down upon the Alps made the slog worth it. There was a brief time that we were even in short sleeves and saw a bride quickly change into her wedding dress for photos in the “warmth”.  

I thought the climb was good. It’s not a beautiful mountain when you’re on it. But it was an experience I will always remember.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Posted in: Three 18-year-old men killed after car goes off road into rice field in Tokushima Prefecture See in context

Really sad news. I have an 18 year old. I can't imagine what the families are feeling.

We had a K-car until our kids were in elementary school. It was terrifying to drive on the expressways, great on neighborhood streets tho. My guess is that the car flipped and rolled end over end to sustain all that damage.


6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo Tsukiji fish market site to be redeveloped with 50,000-seat stadium, hotel, shopping center See in context


Thought that what the Tokyo 2020 infrastructure was for.

The big new Japan National Stadium is for soccer, track and field and rugby. It's not really set up for baseball.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo Tsukiji fish market site to be redeveloped with 50,000-seat stadium, hotel, shopping center See in context


A big beautiful park is never considered

Hamarikyu Park is right next door and if you play the video the concept shows a significant part of the land is green space. Yes, it would be nice if the green could continue north along the Sumida River.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo Tsukiji fish market site to be redeveloped with 50,000-seat stadium, hotel, shopping center See in context

Interesting. I like how the design carries the green over from Hamarikyu and how the stadium seems to spill out into the river. Tokyo Dome looks cool from the outside, but really needs an upgrade inside, imo.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: U.S. sterilizations spiked after national right to abortion overturned: study See in context

The Catholic Church and Evangelical churches consider sterilization serious a sin, so I wonder if this procedure will become a target via the Supreme Court?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Posted in: Woman arrested for stealing customer’s pouch with ¥790,000 in it at supermarket See in context

Oops typos in my comment: "make" and "would ride".

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Woman arrested for stealing customer’s pouch with ¥790,000 in it at supermarket See in context


I wonder why she was walking around with so much cash?

Unless I am blind, I don't think the article mentions the gender of the original owner of the cash.

But it might be someone like my wife, who used to always made me nervous when she rode her bike to deposit our school's tuition fee money. She said it was safe. But, back in the day they use to fly helicopters overhead to warn our ward's population to be wary of bag snatchers.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Posted in: Teacher fined over 2019 deaths of Japanese teens in Australia See in context

I learned in a pool with a deep end, but no one taught me about unseen drop-offs under water. I had to learn about it in the news. I never was attracted to swimming in the wild, tho. I doubt a strong swimmer could recover from suddenly losing footing and sucking in a bunch of water. This is probably a good reminder for me to talk about it with my kids who are the age of those who lost their lives.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Teacher fined over 2019 deaths of Japanese teens in Australia See in context

Where does it say that the kids couldn't swim or weren't strong swimmers?

Elementary through junior high school students in Tokyo and probably the rest of Japan have swimming class during summer months at school. I never had that in the US and probably wouldn't know how to swim if my parents hadn't enrolled me in a private swimming classes.

How horrible to lose kids you are responsible for. I can't imagine.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: Hello Kitty theme park in Tokyo closed over 'terrorist' security alert See in context

Isn't that usually called a 'bomb threat'? How sad. I hope it's not a trend. It's such a cool campy place. Really fun to go to when our kids were young.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Frightening video shows Japan’s stop-and-listen-for-trains driving rule maybe isn’t so silly after all See in context

Wow, great to know. I always trusted those gates to much.

Just south of Kita Senju station in Tokyo, there's a place you have to cross 7 tracks, with 2 sets of gates really close together, but the traffic gets stalled by pedestrians crossing the street and I often see cars stopped right on the tracks. Luckily the express trains all stop at this station, so they aren't going at full speed at this point, but still, a disaster waiting to happen.

Just up the rails a few stops at Takenotsuka station, they just finished raising the tracks after a horrible accident killed several pedestrians over 10 years ago.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Charges dropped against group that allegedly broke into vending machine after Noto earthquake See in context

Does anyone else think there should be a law that vending machines are a source of emergency drinks?

In situations where there is wide-spread catastrophic damage to infrastructure, I mean.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Man believed to be fugitive 1970s terrorist bomber dies in hospital See in context

Oh geez. Forget my comment above. I read the article, but somehow missed the key words "dies in hospital." Will he rest in peace? I don't know. What a terrible past this guy had. RIP to his victims.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Man believed to be fugitive 1970s terrorist bomber dies in hospital See in context


Lucky guy. If he’s arrested and indicted, the government will foot his entire medical bills.

I doubt hey will reimburse him for all his medical bills he has been paying over the years and who knows if they will give his cancer the same attention he might have gotten as a free man.

How could this guy could live with his conscience all these years with knowing he killed 8 people and hurt so many more.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Posted in: Japan says SLIM moon probe achieved 'pinpoint' landing See in context


Does it matter? Moon is not that small anyway.

With pinpoint landing capabilities they can search for water in the hilly regions of the poles where they hope to find water hidden in the shadows. Otherwise they'd have to stay in the flat boring plains.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Woman arrested after bodies of missing couple found under Tokyo home See in context


I still don't buy it. Security footage?

Well, CCTV or security cameras from a neighbors' homes or nearby businesses? Police often check for cameras nearby. You can collect footage and follow a suspect to or from a crime scene with still scenes or video. The cameras have time and date stamps on the footage.

What's the mystery?

Yeah, I live in Adachi as well. Sigh.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Prosecutors make first arrest in LDP political funding scandal See in context

@Simon Foston

Rather than waste taxpayers' money keeping people like this in prison, I'd like to see them getting fined so much they can barely afford cup noodles.

But then he'll be on welfare and probably figure out a way to bilk the system there too.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Dogs, antennas and honey for Japan's big bear problem See in context

Bear 1 Human 0. The next rubber, humans will be out to even the score.


The score in deaths is actually Humans 212, Bears 6,287. Humans are up 30x.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Dogs, antennas and honey for Japan's big bear problem See in context

Look at the size of the paws on that bear they have tranquilized. And it's not such a big bear, as bears go. Yikes.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan's flu cases surge to warning level at fastest pace in 10 years See in context


This story just may be a little late. The flu has come and gone in many school where many classes have been shut down last week and now returning this week.

At the elementary school my wife works at there were many kids absent THIS week.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Court rules Japan's dual nationality ban constitutional See in context

I think 20 is too young to figure out which citizenship to retain. At least they should raise the age to 28 or something.

These "halfs" have parents of two different nationalities and sometimes the parents divorce or one parent passes away and the other moves back to their original country. When they get old, perhaps the kids might go back to that country and help out.

If this happened in reverse and they returned to Japan, the child would have to be sponsored if they no longer have Japanese citizenship. What if the parent were not mentally with it as in Alzheimers or in a coma or can't travel with the child to immigration it would make this difficult. Sure they could enter on a tourist visa, but if they were here long term, they would need to work.

We all know how immigration can be a pain. There are a multitude of situations where dual citizenships are almost a must. Having current roots set in 2 countries is difficult.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Man arrested for stealing at least 50 air conditioner units in Gunma See in context

I've heard that there is no AC in Japanese Prisons. Kind of ironic.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Man dies after being attacked by bear in Nagano Prefecture See in context

Checking traps at night,...


Unless I read the article wrong, it doesn't say that he was checking the traps at night, just that his friend called the police at night. Perhaps he was gone all day and when he didn't return in the evening, his friend called the police.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Swarms of tourists causing crisis for Mount Fuji See in context

I climbed Fujisan twice. The first time there were practically no tourists but still plenty of people. Our hut was packed. It was 2011 after the Fukushima reactor drove everyone away. I took a trash bag with me, but didn't see a single scrap of trash. Not sure what that says.

I also saw plenty of people lightly dressed for the climb, but most had the right gear.

To avoid crowds, I recommend going in mid July, but I would dress warmer than you would for going skiing in the winter lower down. Freaking cold at the top! Especially if you go on July 1, like I did.

Not so bad when I climbed in August and was actually in short sleeves for an hour at the top.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Posted in: Stay fresh for longer with Cool Worker See in context

Is it disposable? Not sure I'd get it then. Also, those white plastic ice rings the article mentions last about 5 minutes in the heat.

I usually roll a couple of those tiny gel ice packs that cake shops give you in a tenugui and tie it around my neck. It's enough to keep me from sweating on my way to the station.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: South Korean protesters call for government action on Fukushima water See in context

It is confusing what is going on.

However, I found this link helpful. Seems like it is possible to remove large doses of tritium from water, but not the low levels remaining in the filtered water, and it seems like it will be at naturally occurring levels. One hopes at least:


4 ( +7 / -3 )

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