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Howardtheduck comments

Posted in: U.S. consumers pushing beyond sake to Japanese whiskies See in context

The Yamazaki 12 year is pretty good, I quite like it. I first had it when I toured the distillery between Kyoto & Osaka about a month ago. The problem is the price; it isn"t worth the 7000 yen (or so) bottle. It's funny, I found a bottle of it in a liquor store in NYC last week...about $40, way cheaper than you can get it in Japan.

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Posted in: Valentine says he won't be back with Marines See in context

The Mets have already started cleaning out their front office. Next stop for Bobby: Citi Field.

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Posted in: The cheering gets nasty at a pro baseball game See in context

The lady slapping a kid is insane. That's awful, but I don't think it has anything to do with baseball fans in Japan. My view is that if she is at the game all alone, at an opposing stadium, she probably few, if any social contacts, and has a few screws loose.

As for the atmosphere at baseball games, the cheering is nothing compared to Boston, NY, or Philly. I've been to many games in the bleachers at Fenway Park & the old Yankee Stadium. The actions of the creatures that inhabited those seats (yes it goes both ways, I'm a die hard Red Sox fan, and I am embarrassed by some of the denizens of "Friendly Fenway") would put the Japanese cheering section fan in tears. I've seen fights, the most memorable being two kids getting in a fist fight, one while wearing a cast on his arm. The kid with the cast was using it as a weapon to punch the other kid.

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Posted in: Japan business leaders hoping for GM revival after bankruptcy See in context

If I were a Japanese car exec., I would view the GM & Chrysler bankruptcies as the canaries in the coal mine (the coal mine being American's appetite for cars). Does anyone think Americans are going to return to their free-spending ways after this downturn is over? With Chrysler & GM shedding legacy costs, slimming down, they can possibly become nimble enough to navigate the new reality that is the American car market. Japanese companies were certainly nimble back in the '70's and '80's, but, like many things about Japan after the Lost Decade, sclerosis has set in, and it remains to be seen if they can adapt to the new reality.

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Posted in: Foreign minister says Indiana Jones movie trivializes nuke threat See in context

Nice one, Nakasone! Making a ridiculous point about a movie from last year is surely a great way for a foreign minister to pass the time. Nope, no big problems in the world right now, Indy Jones' nuke scene trumps it all. The sheer buffoonery of the Aso administration continues to astound me. He must have borrowed some cough medicine from Nakagawa.

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Posted in: Japanese teach Parisiens about street tidiness See in context

Japan has to be one of the cleanest countries in the world.

You've got to be kidding. Yes, in general, the cities are cleaner, but have you ever visited the rural areas or the beaches? It's absolutely disgraceful the amount of junk in these areas. The beaches look like garbage dumps, and the forests are filled with abandoned cars, appliances, etc. Of course, the beach pollution is blamed on Japan's neighbors (China, Korea, etc), but I never knew that the Chinese liked Sapporo beer that much, or that the Koreans drank so much Aquarius. Really, the Japanese should clean up their own beaches and forests before they worry about cleaning Paris.

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Posted in: More Japanese shunning the outside world See in context

2 points: 1st, the Hollywood analogy is terrible. Considering the fecal matter that comes out of Hollywood these days, I shun these movies too.

2nd, the Japanese shunning the outside world, who cares? The Japanese need the outside world more than the outside world needs the Japanese. If they want to continue being inward focused, more power to them. In the business world, less Japanese speaking foreign languages + more foreigners speaking Japanese = profit for the foreigners. Personally, I say let them focus on the next talento or an onsen in the inaka. When they are too shy/linguistically challenged to deal with the branch office in the States, I'll gladly help you out, for a nominal fee of course.

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Posted in: Strong yen drawing Japanese women to S Korea for plastic surgery See in context

So...the problems arise when they go against doctor's orders, and shoot that gunk in their own face, right? It's not the doctors' fault she took matters in her own hands. It seems had she left it alone after the first surgery, she would have been fine. She choose to inject herself; it has nothing to do with the quality or lack thereof of the Korean plastic surgeons. Chalk up yet another shoddy tabloid story.

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Posted in: Strong yen drawing Japanese women to S Korea for plastic surgery See in context

What does a Korean woman self-injecting soybean oil in her face have to do with Japanese women going to SK for plastic surgery?

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Posted in: Some teed off by Japanese media swarming over Ishikawa See in context

Many critics say the media should back off and give Ishikawa a chance to develop his game and not cover his private life at all.

Most sensible thing I've heard in quite some time.

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Posted in: Japan turns to 'work-sharing' to avoid layoffs See in context

Many Japanese companies maintain the tradition of lifetime employment so work-sharing is a way to avoid firing regular workers. So far, most of the layoffs have involved contract workers, whose use became legal in recent years to skirt the regulations protecting full-time, salaried workers.

So, firing/not renewing contracts of temp. workers, throwing them out of their company apartments (making them unemployed and homeless) doesn't equal layoffs, just because they aren't 'real' employees of the company? Am I missing something here?

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Posted in: Mariners seek to end infighting over Ichiro See in context

The problem is Seattle is a basketcase after years of poor personel decisions. How many millions of dollars did Jeff Weaver and Richie Sexson underperform for? Beltre has been a big dissapointment. Now they sign an ageing, injury prone Ken Griffey Jr. for probable the final year of his career. What is Ichiro to do? In this kind of environment, I would probable be selfish too and look to pad my stats. Seattle isn't going anywhere fast, they have a good start in Putz and King Felix, and a superstar in Ichiro, but the rest of the team is mediocre at best.

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Posted in: Panasonic orders 10,000 employees to buy its products by July See in context

Can you buy something, show bucho your receipt, and return it the next week?

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Posted in: Uehara finalizes $10 mil contract with Orioles See in context

I feel bad for the guy. The Orioles are barely an MLB team these days. Only the Royals are more of a dysfunctional embarrassment.

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Posted in: Passenger prescreening to improve in U.S. in 2009 See in context

The Aussies did it first. And it costs $25.

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Posted in: Rays beat Boston to advance to World Series See in context

Gotta disagree with you, Timor. I'm a dyed in the wool Sox fan too, but the reality is they never should have beat the Angels. The Sox were a flawed team entering the playoffs. The 2007 WS MVP (Lowell) and the 2007 ALCS MVP (Beckett) were hurt going into the playoffs. Papi was hurt. Manny was gone. Father Time caught up with Varitek this year. Bay is a good player, but this year was a learning experience for him. Heck, when you have guys like Sean Casey and Mark Kotsay having regular playing time in the playoffs, you know things aren't looking good. All in all, I'm happy with they way the season turned out. It looks like this is the Rays' year, and nothing can stop destiny.

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Posted in: New Pearl Harbor museum scheduled for 2010 See in context

I wonder how many young Japanese go visit this thing and think; "Why would they make a memorial based on a bad Hollywood movie?

Unfortunately, a lot of young Americans are probably thinking the same thing.

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Posted in: Hawaiian Airlines urges travelers to U.S. to be aware of new immigration measures See in context

This just copies Australia's system, except that you don't have to pay $25 for it.

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Posted in: Iriomote Island: Go trekking through primeval forest — without leaving Japan See in context

I agree! I went to Iriomote in April, and had a blast. Highly recemmond it to people needing to escape the uptight, concrete society of the mainland.

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Posted in: Yakuza 'misunderstood' by foreign media See in context

Nihonjinron garbage. The Yaks are greedy, brutal thugs; there is no 'misunderstanding' there. Every time something is written that is embarrassing to Japan, the cultural 'misunderstanding' or 'confusion' card is played. We foreigners obviously can't see the purpose the Yaks serve. Mainly, lining the pockets of corrupt politicians, and depixelizing Japanese adult movies.

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Posted in: Does the U.S. need to have military bases anywhere in Japan? See in context

I think we (the US) needs some bases in Japan, but at a reduced level, and in different areas. Okinawa, while strategic, is a Cold War relic. China is growing stronger by the day, and if the US military is stretched fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, than it certainly is not prepared for China re-taking Taiwan by force (one of the reasons often cited for keeping a base in Okinawa was to protect Taiwan). The Soviet Union is dead and gone, and really, the only country in the area that would start a war (where the US could beat it) is North Korea. I think the US should withdraw a lot of the personnel to Guam, and make a new base in the Tohoku region of Honshu, say in Akita ken. Heck, the towns up there are dying out, so a military base could be economically beneficial to the area.

Before people shout off about Okinawa's strategic importance, remember, on paper, China's got the US by the b@#$s. The economic ties are too important now with China to risk a war. Like it or not, China is in the driver's seat for unification with Taiwan. It's a matter of time before China gets the political or military clout to unify the island with the mainland.

In Tohoku, however, there is more space for a base (Okinawa is cramped), it is closer to the Dear Leader's Socialist Paradise (obvious sarcasm), and, if the need arose, Russia. The US would still be maintaining it's security pacts with Japan and South Korea, and we could finally be rid of the festering, money-bleeding problem that is Okinawa.

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Posted in: New U.S. online travel security screening measure goes online Aug 1 See in context

Yeah, it sucks, but this is actually one thing the Americans didn't start. The Aussies have been using the same system for quite some time (and $25 a pop, too). Eventually, we'll all have to give credit reports, DNA samples, etc. just to visit another country.

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