Japan Today

icanthinkofone comments

Posted in: New Bond film titled 'Skyfall' to star Craig, Fiennes, Bardem, Finney See in context

How about a Bond with thick hair and some height. Not some short balding dude.

While you took a beating with the downvotes ...

I don't know. Not really a fan of Bond. I always saw him as the "charming and sophisticated secret agent" who has an air of elegance around him but can still kick ass if the need arises.

Craig ... he can rough it out with the best of them, he is probably the most physically capable of all the actors who played the role, but he isn't doing all that well in the charm and class department. He is kind of too much of a brute.

I don't know, maybe Bond was like this in the original books. But it isn't the image I (and probably many others) have in my (our) heads.

And for most part, IMO Bond has kind of out stayed his welcome. He is a character for a different age in a way. He has more or less been displaced by newer "secret agents" like Jason Bourne.

My 2c.

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Posted in: Yakuza pundit: New laws unlikely to eradicate gangs See in context

The Japanese politicians were 'puppets' or 'speakers' of organised crime criminals! The entire so-called Japanese democracies was nothing but 'money laundering'! All politicians need money for their electioon campaigns, only those yakuzas willing to make 'generous' donations! In return laws were made suitable to gurantee the interest of yakuza shall goes unharmed! This is their dirty deal and thats why all counter-organised crime measures were just symbolic instead of real power to sanction crimes! Those japanese rightists driving vans or trucks mounting with loud speakers on top yelling xenophobic slogans were also the political wing of yakuzas, these openly made verbal threats on the street were tolerated by politicians was because they know who their bosss was and where their 'milk' was from! Japan was nothing a 'lawful' or a 'democratic country but an entire loudsy show! Their politicians were spineless and despisable for the sake of political donantions or 'dirty money'!

So just like American politicians and corporations?

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Posted in: How to win an argument – Japanese style See in context

i don't see how you can win an argunment with this rule. "Avoid direct arguing. Japanese will often avoid retorting or discussing a point, even when they know its right."

The emphasis is on the "direct" part.

Direct confrontations are frown upon, it causes people (the losing party anyway) to lose face, resulting in the burning of bridges - bad idea in the "social harmony" loving Japan.

You are suppose to solve things "quietly" and without "incident".

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Posted in: If you had a baby with an AKB48 member, what would your child look like? See in context

icanthinkofone. Social Darwinism is a much depraved and disreputable set of values that can be used to justify nearly any behavior. While it is a good topic for debate over beer, it is certainly not a good model for how to run a society. And you know it.

I'm not advocating any sort of values. I just saying there isn't a universal "fixed" set. Every culture has their own rules set and values.

If any rule that can be considered universal, it would be Darwin's "survival of the fittest", as when you come down to it that's how mother nature operates. **

** Fittest can be measure in a lot of ways BTW, including getting along with other members of your species by obeying whatever set of rules the specific society you are in imposes.

Im afraid you are wrong there, screwing little boys IS absolutely, one hundred percent intrinsically WRONG, no doubt at all there. Sometimes I worry about some posters on here, and hold my children that little bit closer when Im out and about with them.

No you consider it wrong - and so do I for the matter.

But the ancient greeks didn't.

Slavery is nowadays considered wrong. But American's in the early days consider it perfectly fine.

Values change and shift with time and location.

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Posted in: If you had a baby with an AKB48 member, what would your child look like? See in context

LOL. Now while this more or less registers as "WTF" in my head, I can't say I'm surprised. This is Japan after all. Things like this, I notice, are par for the course for them.

As for those of you who say this is immoral, blah blah blah. Morality is relative. The Greeks used to screw little boys you know.

Nothing is really intrinsically "right" or "wrong". While there is a general "consensus" what is "right" or "wrong" among a group of people at a specific period of time, it's not universal - heck every aspect of said "consensus" might not even apply to the whole group.

In a Darwinian sense, the only things that you can say is "right" (for an individual) are actions that allow him/her to survive and reproduce, if it's prevents him/her from doing so then it is "wrong".

IMO when it comes to entertainment, I say do whatever you want - as long as no one is being harmed. No matter what you do, someone or another is going to get offended. But of course please exercise some care as to who you market to - I mean why offend people un-necessarily by flashing stuff they don't like in their faces?

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Posted in: Adopting English as workplace language in Japan has its downside See in context

"Try to pretend that you are an actor in a movie speaking English."

He did, and his English pronunciation was excellent. Close to natural. I complimented him, proud in my way that I could help him achieve his goal so readily.

His reaction? A look of distaste on his face and the words, "I don't want to do that."

He wanted to pronounce English well. He was given a way to do it, but rejected that way. Because it was more important for him to hold on totally to a Japanese identity? Was taking on a non-Japanese approach (in language) so anathema to him? Doesn't this speak to the difficulties in getting Japanese people to actually communicate in a foreign language? Their deep-seated xenophobia disallows them to consider non-Japanese options even when trying to learn a foreign language where taking on an alternative world view is imperative.

Maybe you are reading too much into it ...

He could just be uncomfortable, it probably feels weird to him to speak like that.

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Posted in: Japan intervenes in currency market to weaken yen See in context

I'm kind of ignorant on this, but can't Japan just spend shit loads buying stuff (raw materials, foreign land and business) to make the yen go down?

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Posted in: Sony seeks to pull out of Samsung LCD venture See in context

No point rolling your own when you can buy cheaper from outside suppliers.

To be honest they should just get out of the TV market, it's a race to the bottom if it hasn't already hit rock bottom already.

Japan is too expensive, they do not have competitive advantage anymore when it comes to the TV market - it doesn't help that there is a major over-supply and the margins are razor thin.

They need to come up with new products and attack new markets where they can do well. In short pull an Apple.

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Posted in: Samsung passes Apple in smartphones See in context

Is Samsung astrosurfing this site ?

Even neutral comments that are not praising Samsung get downvoted.

Many apple fans buy iphones not because of the technology in it but because of the status symbol it brings.

I buy it because it works relatively problem free.

I had a Samsung Galaxy S once. It got a broken pixel after a few days - had to bring it down for an exchange. Then stupid thing started lagging after a while for no reason. The upgrade to froyo made it worse (WTF?!), so much that it was practically unusable - also had to bring it down again to do the upgrade because the OTA upgrade install KO itself. Apps would auto-shut for no reason and it takes seconds to do much of anything.

Got ridden of it for an iPhone 4. Never been happier. I'm not going to make myself miserable over a phone. Never buying a Samsung of anything again. Never.

What apple worshipers fail to realize is that Apple is not much of a hardware developer. They don't develop the screens, computer processors, casing, memory and other tech components that goes into the I-phone. Companies like Samsung do.

It's call having suppliers and Apple is dropping Samsung as one of them - Samsung profits are going to take a hammering given how big a customer Apple was.

Apple is a system integrator, not a component manufacturer BTW. And from my experience the finish products they produce work damn well. I don't care who created what as long as the end product that reaches me works. Something I can't say for Samsung.

The A5 computer processor that runs the I-phone 4 and 4S was developed and sold to apple by Samsung.

Nope. Intrinsity which design the A4 with Samsung got bought out by Apple. It is they and one other company Apple bought that design the A5. Samsung has nothing to do with it.

The yet to be released I-phone 5 is going to use the A6 processor which is yet again developed by Samsung. As impressive as the A6 processor is going to be, Samsung is going to keep the best tech for itself.

Nope, again. Apple doesn't need Samsung for ARM processors anymore. Not for design, not for manufacturing - TSMC is getting another huge customer very soon.

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Posted in: Adopting English as workplace language in Japan has its downside See in context

Shukan Gendai collects some amusing stories about companies learning the hard way that linguistic proficiency and professional proficiency are not necessarily linked


If you are worried about his professional proficiency, than you should be looking at the scores related to that, not his English scores.

and may in fact be incompatible, since learning English takes time away from learning other skills.

This is true in some sense.

And why would Japan have to fear losing its language? This is precisely the kind of -- and I'll be nice here --misinformed viewpoint regarding the acquisition of foreign languages that has left Japan lingering at the back of the line among Asian nations proficiency.

Sillygirl is correct. A number of Europen nations raise and educate populations that are billingual or trilingual without any threat of the mother language going the way of the dodo bird. There's no rational basis for the fear that learning a second language will destroy the first one.

Actually being bilingual can affect proficiency in the mother tongue ... I'm living proof. :p

I'm Chinese, but I speak better English than Mandarin. I can understand conversation Mandarin, along as you don't use "difficult" words/phrases, can speak it alright but can't read nor write worth a damn - the written form of the language is a PITA, the amount of memory work is crazy and the visual presentation of the words have no connection with how they sound.

But then again maybe it's just me - my language skills suck in general. I'm one of those people that never paid much attention in language classes, more or less learned them "on the fly", learning just enough to get by. Language is a tool, as long as it gets the job done. Who cares, right? :p

Nevertheless people only have so much time to learn things. So yes, there will be trade offs.

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Posted in: Nozomi Sasaki's beauty secret - living without stress See in context

Nozomi Sasaki's beauty secret:

Drum roll...


Ask her this same question after she's lived a little...

And plastic surgery.

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Posted in: Commodore Perry & the legacy of American imperialism See in context

A provocative article, sure to result in a lot of comments - and views to Japan Today's delight.

It seems people are "taking" the article in different ways. For most part I personally I agree with Johnnygogogo's interpretation.

Actions it seems tend to have unintended and unforeseeable consequences. Even today people argue over this and that, all acting like they have complete grasp of the situation and the consequences of the course of action they are proposing.

Some try to simplify things by proposing that we follow "principles" and all would be fine. Of course that is complete rubbish, a part from the laws of Physics (which are really vague approximation of reality that undergo constant revision in face of new evidence) it doubtful you will fine "rules" that are universally applicable in all circumstances.

Like most things in life, I believe there is no resolution to this "topic". The human race will just continue to bumble along like we always did - until the day comes where technological advancement makes us all geniuses, and increases our information gathering capabilities, leading to a new edge of enlightenment or the day we go extinct.

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Posted in: Why Japanese values and morality confound us so See in context

cleo - terrible logic jumping from reincarnation must mean that's a higher power.

Err ... HumanTarget was the one who bought it up.

Cleo was rebutting him/her. Thus has the same position you do.

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Posted in: Protesters in Tokyo join 24-hour global 'Occupy Wall Street' movement See in context

I can the reasoning for that, but I would hope not. I would hope that people are smart enough to realize that the financial collapse was just a warning call -- and that returning to business as usual is not going to suffice, as it would just be biding time until the next disaster.

A "fact of life" is the world is large and complicated. It's unreasonable to expect, and impossible for, a person to "know it all".

People are in general completely ignorant of things outside their field of specialization. It can't be helped.

Sure they might know bits and pieces of subjects outside of their field, but when it comes to complicated subjects "bits and pieces" just don't cut it in drawing factually correct conclusions - and this "little bit of knowledge" can be quite dangerous if combined with an obliviousness to the fact that they do not have the whole picture.

Hence, even in a Democracy, people have to exercise a certain amount of blind faith in their leaders and the authorities in general in order for society to function smoothly - and IMO "backseat driving" is not a good idea, especially when the backseat drivers have never set foot in driving school.

Right now the amount of faith the people have in their governments has drop considerably due to economic crisis.

The way we humans select our leaders is not a logical rigorous process. The leader who gets elected and maintains power, is the one that can commands the greatest amount of the people's (blind) faith - and more or less just that. Hence the results are pretty much hit and miss. The current economical meltdown is one of those misses.

Thus unless someone finds some way to increase the intelligence and information processing capacity of the human brain, this limitation of our "political system" is here to stay. So you can pretty much expect more "disasters" to come.

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Posted in: Protesters in Tokyo join 24-hour global 'Occupy Wall Street' movement See in context

This movement will collapse in on itself once it starts to identify it's goals.

Interesting hypothesis. I suppose it's easy to gather people to support vaguely defined goals - politicians do it all the time; they can talk for hours while saying nothing in particular.

Once the details come out ... I won't be surprise if the OWS movement splinters into opposing factions.

This is the problem with the world. A lot of people have opinions, differing opinions. How to resolve such a situation?

Democracy? Let the masses decide? But when it comes to more complicated subjects, only a small handful knows what they are talking about. Voting in this case doesn't seem like such a good idea.


Anyway the only solution to all these protests IMHO, is not to listen to the protesters, but to fix the economy. Once the economy is back on track, the protests will automatically stop. The majority of people only bother to whine, complain and offer "solutions" when things aren't going well, but are otherwise apathy to how things are run in their countries.

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Posted in: China enjoys 'bubble' while Japan languishes on sidelines See in context

Well, if it's going to pop let hope it pops later.

With the EU in it's screwed up state now, the world really can't take another "shock". If China implodes now, a worldwide recession is guaranteed.

When they do manufacture products in a great many cases they sell those products below profit margins that is to say selling them at a price lower then the total it took to manufacture them.

Nah. I believe they are making money. What would anyone sell at a loss?

Water, food, pollution

The later is severely compromising the former two, and when things hit the Chinese have shown they wont react with restraint, again I wudnt wanna be there when the you know what hits the fan & besides the food & water etc are ALREADY a crap shoot in China, no thanks

Ya, saw a documentary once on one of their villages.

Kids were suffering from deformities due to something messed up the soil. I don't know if that area is ever going to recover. Don't know how many such villages exist.

I know China has a lot of land, but damn what a waste of good land. They should take better care of it, land isn't being "manufactured" anymore you know.

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Posted in: Global protests held against Japan's dolphin hunt See in context


Who made you the authority on morality?

I guess it's time for the white man to civilize these barbarians. It's after all his burden.

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Posted in: Global protests held against Japan's dolphin hunt See in context

Big brain does NOT equal greater intelligence.

Elephants have bigger brains than humans, don't see them solving differential equations ...

peaceful protest is hardly bullying. Also I don't think people are protesting because others are eating toxic food. The mention of the toxicity just goes to show how stubborn or uneducated is the mindset of those that support dolphin as a food source..

Ever heard of Sea Shepard? The fact is, the way all of them have gone about it more or less harassment. If all they did was hand out pamphlets (once in a while) and just made information available without being asses about it, I would have no complains.

I wonder what the West would think if Indians constantly held protests and harass your citizens over the slaughter and consumption of cows. Cows are scared there and illegal to kill in most of India.

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Posted in: Boy jumps to death after telling teacher, police he was bullied See in context

I have read that the teachers and principal are effectively powerless in the schools ...

This is sad. If they had some kind of leverage, they might be able to actually enforce some "discipline" and shit like this wouldn't have happened.

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Posted in: Global protests held against Japan's dolphin hunt See in context

And then tell us how they are different from other freaks that make a cause/any the whole purpose of their lives.

You know there is probably some truth to what you say.

I bet there are some people who just can't stop protesting, even if doing nothing is the better way to go about it - to just let the industry slowly fade away (most Japanese don't eat whale and dolphin meat much anymore according to surveys) -, this whole "crusade" defines their lives, gives meaning to their mundane existence, and they must have the catharsis that is "victory". They must feel they have achieved something.

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Posted in: Global protests held against Japan's dolphin hunt See in context

Nobody is trying to "force" anything on Japan.

Yes you are. You holding protests to force your own governments into pressuring Japan. You have a ships harassing their whaling fleets.

Have no doubt, they see your actions as "force".

And by pressuring them into stopping, will only make them resist more. You can't bullying people into changing their minds.

Some might even continue to support the hunt, even if they don't eat much dolphin and whale meat anymore, just to spite you protesters, as an act of rebellion.

All this no doubt brings back the days of the "black ships".

You talk of the toxicity, but even if they weren't toxic there would still protest against them.

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Posted in: WikiLeaks site crashes in apparent cyberattack See in context

What I'm going to say isn't going to be popular...

If only diplomacy was as simple as some people here think. Lies are sometimes told to keep the peace, because the chaos cause by riots and the like can be very damaging to a country. An orderly imperfect society where not everyone gets what they want is better than a chaotic one where nothing gets done.

The masses are a mob, half the time poorly informed, and are "guided" more by emotions like fear and anger than logic.

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." - Winston Churchill

He was one of the few politicians with the guts to say it as it is.

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Posted in: Karina, AKB48's Yuko Oshima to costar in drama See in context

Why no dating allowed? Don't they get lonely?

It's like this for some groups outside of Japan too. I think Westlife the boy band has that clause in their contracts too.

It's to prevent any "problems" from screwing things up.

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Posted in: Noda's election sparks wariness in China See in context

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

It's better to focus on the future, the past can't be changed, the future that has yet to be set is what is important.

I'm saying this as a citizen of a SEA country that got invaded by Japan during WWII. It was a horrible and tragic event, but what is done is done. You want revenge? How much is enough? They already ate 2 nukes.

It was over half a century ago. Do you really want your children and children's children to pull a Cpt Ahab and wasting their time and energy pursuing this grudge?

Everyone makes mistakes. That's life. The best that can be hoped for is to not repeat the same mistakes.

And frankly, China is in no position to talk. coughTibetcough

PS: I noticed something, most of the time such revenged-based anger is actually anger with oneself, one's weakness. I say this as someone who has lost quite a few brawls in his life.

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Posted in: Obama congratulates Noda, looks forward to working with him See in context

So this is the 3rd Japanese PM Obama congratulated during his still on going tenure as PotUS ...

I wonder if he is getting tired of doing this.

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Posted in: Do you see any hope for politics in Japan? See in context

IMHO the only way things would get better is if some very smart and very politically suave politician appears and manages to pull everything together. Unite his party (doesn't matter which one) and "subdues" the opposition, so shit can get done.

Not the overhaul of the political system some here might want, but it is more "realistic". Changing a social/political system normally brings with it a great amount of chaos before things settle down - assuming they ever settle down. Don't know if the majority really wants such "change".

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Posted in: Honey, do you mind going back to work? See in context

I dont think actually that many women do feel it is their "duty" in some way. I know I didnt. I am working part time because I know I am the type of person that will spiral down into a depression if I am entirely at home with the children and doing nothing else. That wouldnt be good for any of us. I have the highest respect for stay at home Mothers because I actually cant do it. If that makes me a terrible person, it is just something I will have to live with, but the indications so far are that my kids are doing fine.

It is your "duty", you brought them into this world, I suggest you damn hell make the effort to take care of them.

Hard or not, you should do it. Nothing else to do at home, then find something.

Other women I know who are working Mothers are working because they have invested a lot of time and energy in their careers (doctors, teachers and lawyers, some nurses I know, for example) and want to be able to keep a "foot in the door" of their profession, so to speak. Most I know are working reduced hours. Then I know a few women here and back in the UK who have a stay at home Dad arrangement. For example, one who is a successful graphic designer, whose husband worked in a warehouse. He earned a fraction of her salary, with little career prospects and it made no sense for her to give up work, especially given that she was happy to continue.

If you put your career over your kids, I would have to say you are one screwed up person. You should have chosen to not have kids in the first place.

Sorry if I sound bitter here. My parents divorced, my father was a useless bum, my mother worked full time to bring up me and my sister.

But neither of them were really there for us when growing up, with my mother being too tired and burned out from work to help handle our "growing up" issues, and as I mentioned my father was a bum. Me and my sister basically wondered through life blind as bats bumping into walls. And my god did I bump into a lot of walls.

My mother didn't have much of a choice, that I understand, but growing up like that nonetheless severely impacted lives of my sister and myself to this day.

If you have a choice and placed priority of your career over your kids, you shouldn't have had kids in the first place.

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Posted in: Honey, do you mind going back to work? See in context

@ soundandthefury

I don't care about the PC debate about this, but there is a practical point and that is to say that women often make better workers than men, and men can be great care givers. So it is arbitrary as to who does what.

No objections to men staying at home.[1]

But that said, society as a whole might not take it too well. Women still (partially) judge men on their earning capability.

[1]Whether women is more suited to it than men is another debate. Women do tend to have been eyesight and instincts when it come to judging the "state" of another human being while men have better spatial vision and sense.

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Posted in: Honey, do you mind going back to work? See in context


Steve might have a point though.

If both parents are working themselves to death, who is taking care of the kids? You might say, they split the child rearing duty, but work is draining, stressful and "distracting", the kids will still be getting less from such an arrangement than say having a dedicated parent taking care of them.

The benefit to having women work in the industries is increase in productivity as there are more hands to do work, but I wonder if it's worth the cost.

It's also a self perpetuating system. Having more available labour drives wages down, a family having a solo bread winner won't be able to "paid the bills" resulting in the other spouse having to take a job too to make ends meet.

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Posted in: Japanese TV show invokes Hitler as motivator See in context

Of all people to use as an example ...

I mean they could have used Obama or Steve Jobs and it would have been a non-issue.

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