Japan Today

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Posted in: New magazine SAMURAI.JP launches in search of Japan’s lost values See in context

I'm sorry but I always find it slightly amusing how any old Japanese guy feels they have the "samurai spirit" when in fact the overwhelming chances are that their ancestors were planting rice in the field and would get their oshiri whipped if they even dared to so much as raise their eyes to a samurai.

I see this nationalistic "samurai fetish" develop among a lot of Japanese guys as they get older. It's an observable phenomenon. It's as if they have failed to develop their own character and values and are just grasping at straws...

I wonder how people would react if I started touting my "English knight spirit"... I can hear the laughter already...

But anyway, the sad fact is that this magazine will fold within a year or two. Foreign interest in Japan is disappearing fast. Maybe 25 years ago it might have found a niche market but those days have long since passed. The world has moved on.

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Posted in: Protest See in context

It's sad to see the comments here denigrating the protesters.

I think these comments are mainly from Americans, many of whom seem to have forgotten the value of demonstrations and protests as a part of the checks and balances that make a democracy healthy.

Perhaps they have been brainwashed during Bush years by all the nonsense about the "war on terror". I get the impression that as a result of this brainwashing many Americans now equate demonstrations with subversiveness or even regard any kind of demonstrator as a traitor or terrorist.

I say, well done protesters! You have got out there in the bad weather and made your point... much better than us armchair pundits here at JT.

Please remember people (especially Tea Party type Americans) that protests and demonstrations help energize a democracy, whether you agree with them or not.

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Posted in: Inspection See in context

The guy nearest the camera has just minimized the solitaire window

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Posted in: Taxi break See in context

A very well-executed comb-over.

Well done.

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Posted in: Dog days See in context

"Pin-chan"... they've gotta stop thinking up such original names... it's just too interesting... something a bit more predictable would be better...

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Posted in: A backpack for mom See in context

If I got a Japanese woman this for Mother's Day I think she would throw it in the bin.

A Louis Vuitton bag on the other hand...

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Posted in: Watching, a stone’s throw away in Iwate See in context

Colin seems like a very nice man doing his best under difficult circumstances.

It was very sad to hear that he felt cut off from his Japanese friends in the aftermath of the quake and tsunami. Although of course we can understand the feelings of those Japanese who wish to be with their families at this time.

All I can say is, hang in there Colin! Your humanity and kindness will be much appreciated in the long run, even if it isn't obvious.

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Posted in: What did you think of the British royal wedding on Friday? See in context

It was a magnificent, colourful, exciting, historic and moving occasion.

They are a lovely young couple... best of luck to them.

All the anti-monarchists seem so mean and miserly.

They evidently prefer a middle-aged, boring, drab bunch of grey suits on the news.

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Posted in: William, Kate marry as 2 billion tune in across globe See in context

Watching the wedding made me feel sorry for republics.

Their ceremonies are limited to gatherings of middle-aged men in suits (with a smattering of equally plain and unmemorable women).

The Royal Wedding was colourful, vibrant, majestic and historic.

Well done Wills and Kate and best of luck to the both of you!

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Posted in: iPad2 arrives See in context

Mac's so boring these days.

Android is much cooler...

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Posted in: Gigantic concrete pumps from U.S. to help in Japan's nuclear crisis See in context

Pumps from Germany, planes from Russia... whatever happened to American engineering.

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Posted in: Taking precautions See in context

I'm surprised at how non-cute these disaster prevention hoods are.

Why aren't there blue ones for boys and pink ones for girls?

Why aren't there Kitty-chan variations?

This elementary school has failed big time.

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Posted in: Fukushima No. 3 reactor's container feared damaged See in context

Am I the only getting pissed off about how the media is constantly using the most "dramatic" descriptions possible?

Yes, I think it's only you.

To be honest, I think you are directing your anger in the wrong direction.

Tepco and the government have given as little information as possible and it's leading to confusion. Save your frustration for them, not the media.

We are all media-savvy these days so dramatic headlines are no problem.

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Posted in: Birdie See in context

A bit of research leads me to think it might be kawazu-zakura (Cerasu speciosa)... an early blooming cherry tree.

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Posted in: Birdie See in context

I think these are cherry blossoms. They seem to be growing in bunches on stems away from the branch which is typical for cherry blossoms . Also the petals have a little notch in the top. Early-blooming cherry blossoms? Correct me if I'm wrong.

Beautiful pic. Can any good person identify the bird?

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Posted in: What do you think of love hotels? See in context

the Meguro Emperor has long been renamed into something else... seems your last visit was a long time ago

I'm afraid you're wrong. You probably don't have any chance to go to love hotels in person so just check the home page: google emperor meguro to find it.

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Posted in: What do you think of love hotels? See in context

@ papasmurf

haha brilliant lmao

What love hotel is your membership card for? I've got one for the Hotel Emperor in Meguro (short walk from Meguro station)... very nice love hotel which I can recommend

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Posted in: What do you think of love hotels? See in context

If you have the opportunity, certainly do spend a whole day at a love hotel. During the daytime they have payment plans usually called "free time" or "service time" or something like that. For a charge of 4000 to 5000 yen you can spend all day in the room, from morning to about 5:00 or 6:00pm.

Meet your partner at 9:00am in Starbucks, then head over to a nice love hotel. Bring some wine, snacks, sandwiches, chocolates, etc. Also bring a DVD of a good recent movie and you are all set up for a wonderful day of love, fun and relaxation, at very reasonable cost.

One thing I have learned is... never ever mention the words "love hotel" to a Japanese lady with whom you're trying to persuade to accompany you to one. Always use euphemisms such as "somewhere where we can spend a private time together" or "somewhere where we can relax together". This seems to be much more acceptable and brings better results. This is particularly true for women in their 30s ~ 40s.

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Posted in: What do you think of love hotels? See in context

Whenever I walk past a love hotel I think:

"Damn! There are people in there having a much better time than me."

It's a thought that encourages me to use them as often as possible with an attractive Japanese lady... and such visits are about the most fun I've ever had.

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Posted in: Costco reshapes wholesale industry See in context

Kaldi is good for Mexican stuff I think.

Costco and Kaldi... my two favorite shops in Japan. Oh wait, Tokyu Hands is equally favorite.

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Posted in: Hayabusa shinkansen offers first class speed and service See in context

It's always interesting to hear tight-fisted foreigners complaining about the cost of the shinkansen.

I sometimes get the impression that these kind of people are just happy with the slowest and shoddiest service, as long as it's cheap.

They seem to have no concept of paying a little more for a fast and comfortable journey.

I think the shinkansen is great and I always enjoy catching one in Japan.

Looking at the shoddy rail services in other countries (UK, US) the shinkansen service is something that Japan can be very proud of and is something we should learn from.

Can't wait to catch the Hayabusa some day...

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Posted in: Costco reshapes wholesale industry See in context

I'm a big Costco fan. Have to admit I always enjoy going there. I can cycle to the Tama-sakai (Machida) branch in a few minutes so often pop in to browse around and see what's new. The kids love the hotdogs and pizza and I love the price so sometimes just go there for a junk-food dinner.

Usually I buy coffee and wine. The Kirkland/Starbucks coffee beans in the red or green bags are great tasting and great value imho. Nice selection of wines too at various price points.

Seasonal stuff is great and always pick up a big real pumpkin around Halloween.

But what they should really do is have one or two late evenings a week when the store closes at 10:00pm. That would be very welcome to avoid the weekend crowds and be able to get there after work.

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Posted in: In protest See in context

Why do all of their cars have to be black? Why not have one in, say, red mica metallic or even silky beige?

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Posted in: Who are (or were) some of your favorite comic book characters? See in context

Dennis the Menace (Beano), Union Jack Jackson (Warlord), Lord Peter Flint (Codename: Warlord, Warlord), the Jocks and the Geordies (Dandy), the Modern Parents (Viz), Victorian Dad (Viz)

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Posted in: Saitama woman held for murder after setting fire to husband See in context

This must have been a wake-up call for her husband that something was wrong with their relationship.

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Posted in: Qatar and Russia World Cups make sense See in context

I've been to Qatar for a business trip.

Everyday, on my hosts' advice, I took the taxi from my hotel to the company. It took precisely 2 minutes.

One day I thought I'd be adventurous and walk.

It only took about 10 minutes but was the most uncomfortable walk I had every had.

I arrived at work drenched in sweat, gasping for breath and almost unable to move for 30 minutes.

Ridiculous climate!

Air-con stadiums? It's an outrage on all levels... environmental, sporting, cost...

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Posted in: Which of Tokyo's commuter rail lines have the best babes and worst habits? See in context

I've come to think that in Tokyo there will be at least one hot babe in the car, whatever line and whatever time. Usually more than one. Often much more.

Compared to the London Underground, it's an absolutely fantastic train system.

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Posted in: Happy birthday See in context

Under the little chap's sweater is no doubt a Kamen Riders OOOs Henshin Belt (DX OOOs Driver).

It's a pretty cool item.

OOOs is pronounced oh-zu, if you need to ask for one at Toys-R-Us.

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Posted in: What is your view on all the fuss this week about pat-downs as part of security measures at U.S. airports? See in context

Perhaps we could have the miniskirt police doing similar pat-downs when we enter Japan...

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Posted in: Why do you think that Christmas decorations and illumination displays are put up so early in Japan? See in context


Awesome post. You completely hit the nail on the head. I wish you a very Merry Christmas this year with your nice family.

I can't believe the Scrooges posting here. The Christmas lights in japan are really nice... go and enjoy them with family, friends or bf/gf! If they start in November that's all the more time to enjoy them.

What kind of person would start scowling when they see something as harmless as Christmas lights??!!

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