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Posted in: Japanese adults top in reading, math skills: OECD study See in context

A key reason is probably the amount of time spent studying in Japan rather than some naturally higher or gifted intelligence. Don't get me wrong, not bashing. My children are J/UK, go to a Japanese school, and they do longer school hours and get much more homework than they would in the UK. Through to 6th grade their homework also had to be reviewed and signed off by a parent...every day.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: 1 in 3 Japanese women want to be housewives: poll See in context

I'm a married guy with a stay at home J-wife/mum for 15 years. I/we have been fortunate to earn a salary that supports this. It is difficult to articulate but I feel my wife serves as an anchor or secure and reliable point for the children and even myself. I work/commute the typical 12 hour days but my wife works equally hard to ensure the home and family is taken care of. In fact, when she has been sick and I have had to take over, I found it much tougher than my own (but also more rewarding re: time with children). I sincerely appreciate her hard work and never consider her lazy or a leech. And I think our children have enjoyed a happier, closer, more secure childhood because of her always being there for them.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Man jumps onto train tracks to save woman See in context

The guy who saved this woman is a hero. And a quick thinking one at that.

30 ( +30 / -0 )

Posted in: JR Central: 8 shinkansen drivers used cell phones while on duty See in context

The point of this article is unclear but it seems to be that the drivers used their mobile phones for non work reasons....not (like most comments imply) that using a mobile phone whilst operating (driving?) a train is dangerous.

For those who have not worked for Japanese firms in Japan, doing anything personal during work hours is a major no-no. Email. Phone calls. But I think it is even more than that. One time I had a business trip to my home country so I asked to travel on the Friday evening (10pm) so I could spend the weekend with my family but management (and J-worker friends) was absolutely shocked that I would even suggest such a thing and refused. But then they required me to travel on the Sunday so I would be at work for the Monday morning. Go figure!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Yamagata university student arrested for murder of fellow student in May See in context

But at 19 years old he is only a child in the eyes of Japan's legal system. Poor thing didn't understand the knife would hurt anyone.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: Few married women interested in having an affair: survey See in context

As a generalization, I think a woman's reason for an affair is love and affection....to feel special and appreciated. And they feel they have more to lose than men because, in Japan, they are probably stay at home mothers.

6 ( +14 / -8 )

Posted in: Abe may sweeten sales tax hike with corporate tax cut See in context

It seems many posters here spout the low brow rhetoric of unions and left leaning politics. Saying how the corporate tax will help the decrease rich and the sales tax increase will hit the poor (or middle) class.

A sales tax hike will impact everyone and the more you consume, the more it will impact you. Therefore one can reasonably assume that those with the highest incomes (extravagant lives) will pay substantially more sales tax than lower income earners. This tax goes to the government to be spent on services for all (or pay down the massive debt created for historical funding). It would be interesting to see statistic to show just how much the sales tax income from higher income earners subsidises the poorer masses.

And lowered corporate tax rates help the company accounts. No necessarily any specific rich person in the company. Assuming a company is profitable for the year, a corporate tax decrease will immediately leave more profit in the company, not in a person's pocket. Now, that company is likely to use that extra profit to reduce debt, purchase or upgrade assets, expand the business, pay a bigger bonus, increase salaries or hire new staff. Yes, the top managers could write themselves big cheques but in the vast majority of companies, they will use profit sensibly to maintain and build the business.

So my view is that Japan has to increase the sales tax and those that spend (consume) more will be the biggest contributors. And reducing corporate tax will have a positive impact on jobs, wages and business expansion.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Posted in: Lipstick company conducts survey on first kisses See in context

Tessa, (I've inferred you are a teacher from your post) whilst your story sounds charming to me, I could see how such actions in Japan could be viewed as immature for a teacher or police or doctor....all being viewed as positions of authority and responsibility here. The provactive angle was a surprise.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: People like me have tried to write something, put something out there - the questions, the sovereignty and the tyranny of the United States. But we feel sometimes very weak and helpless, with no chanc See in context

If he released a hard hitting movie about current US actions, e.g. collateral civilian deaths from drone strikes, he may get more reaction than from dramatic portrayals of historic events. However, I think most American's would still believe that the US fights the good causes of freedom and democracy and in doing so, has to sometimes make difficult decisions for the greater good. Like Jack Nicholson's character in A Few Good Men said, "You can't handle the truth!" (That to protect freedom & democracy and keep a nation safe often requires the nation to do things that Joe Public would rather not think/know about).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: 6 men given suspended sentences over Roppongi club attack See in context

10 'men' armed with baseball bats to beat down one (assuming) unarmed man. What a bunch of cowardly thugs. These conspirators should have gotten some jail time. And the 2 year jail//300,000 yen fine maximum, even for those who did the beating, is a joke.

The article doesn't speculate on the reason for the attack. It suggests possible mistaken identity but nothing to say what the motivation for the attack was.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Posted in: Lay judges to be informed in advance of grisly crime photos at trials See in context

The article makes it sond like they are introducing these measures out of concern for the prospective lay judges but I'm sure it is just to avoid being sued again.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Snowden walks free in Russia; Obama-Putin summit in doubt See in context

@afanofjapan - I think those standing up for the US Government think about it like this:

1) What Snowden disclosed should come as no great surprise; most Americans and plenty of others had a good idea that the NSA is watching/reading/listening to all communications. Just look at the movies like Enemy of the State.

2) However, for Snowden to make public specific details of the how & what the NSA does....this is not only embarassing but will probably limit the effectiveness of the program and by doing so help 'the bad guys' (terrorists, foreign states, domestic criminals etc).

3) He held trusted positions at government agencies and had probably agreed in writing never to disclose information he had access to.

For these reasons they argue he is a traitor, helping (maybe misguidedly) enemies of the US and their allies.

Bass4funk, please correct me if I'm wrong?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Posted in: Whistleblower says Olympus ignoring court order See in context

In most other countries, the corporation, government and judiciary would all want to move fast and decisively (for different reasons) with tough action (huge fines, executives fired, whistleblower rewarded) to make this embarassment go away and give the impression of zero-tolerance for bad guys and rewards for whistleblowers. Olympus & J-Gov must not care how ridiculous this makes Japan Inc look. Abe should be concerned as a key part of his structural reforms are attracting foreign investment. How many US or UK firms would want to partnwr or invest with Japan corporations when they've watched this Olympus circus playing out for years?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Man arrested over fatal hit-and-run in Ibaraki See in context

Immediately call an ambulance for the person then see if you can get your passport, park deep in long term car park at Narita and be gone before you're caught. That's if you are completely sure it was the other person's fault. If you are the one who ran a red light or something clearly putting you in the wrong, then pull over, give whatever help you can, call an ambulance and wait to take responsibility for your actions.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Woman hit from behind on Tokyo street; attacker gets away See in context

Who is betting the reason he gives when caught is something like "I was feeling stressed and wanted to hurt someone"?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Antics of 3 students at Universal Studios Japan result in charges See in context

CrisGerSan - you summed it up perfectly in terms of the linkage between student actions and their universities. Also, not calling for them to be thrown out but given a punishment that lets them know not to do that stuff again. For their own safety and others as pranks like that may lead to competition to see who can do more & more crazy/risky things.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: New immigration laws hinder some married expats returning to UK See in context

Wipeout, I have a feeling that a large percentage of Brits abroad would be net contributors to where they go. For Spain perhaps many are retirees buying property, spending savings and shifting UK pension payouts to the Spanish economy. Others might open pubs or fish & chip shops etc. I'm sure there are also criminal or yob-types but generally speaking a poorer, unskilled, low wage earning Brit is probably better off staying in the UK with its welfare entitlements than they are going to another EU location? But Britain has attracted too many people who are not net contributors from poorer EU countries.

I'm not sure if this view is accurate, but it's the impression I have.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: New immigration laws hinder some married expats returning to UK See in context

Just to add to my earlier comment, I think the visa being referred to in the story is a Settlement Visa. I guess this is similar to a permanent visa in Japan. Is this different to a Green Card for USA?

And when I recently enquired about a settlement visa for my foreign wife, I was told that even though I own a property in England (our intended residence), this would not result any discount to the required £18,600 wages noted in the article.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: New immigration laws hinder some married expats returning to UK See in context

My take on this is that the british government wants to drastically reduce immigration but their hands are tied when it comes to the EU countries so they decided to take a draconian approach to non-EU countries. Come 2015 they will be able to appeal to potential UKIP voters by saying how much they have cut immigration. People like me and others in this story/thread are simply collateral damage. This will not change until EU membership terms are renegotiated or Britain exits the EU, i do not think there are sufficient numbers of people (voters) affected to create a lobby group with any impact.

The previous labour government's lax welfare and immigration policies, on top of the EU membership constraints have turned the UK into what it is today. Conservatives are trying to sort out the welfare system but are somewhat held back my the LibDems. Immigration will take decades to sort out, even with tough, reformist policies because so many people that should not be in the country (taking but not contributing) have made it through.

This is just my personal view based on watching UK news from overseas during the past 20 years.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: New apps do heavy lifting during job search See in context

Wow! You can search for a job "based on location, current title, preferences, seniority, areas of expertise, industry and salary goals"......that would be newsworthy in the 90's! What kind of dinosaur reporting is this?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Girl made up false knife attack story to worry parents, police say See in context

Agree with you Kimu. I wonder if the family will use this as a catalyst for change or put all the blame on the girl?

Telling the lie on Friday then coming clean on Saturday is a quick response to her own mistake. Hope she gets the love and attention she seems to need.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan warns Britain to stay in EU or suffer job losses See in context

I'm from the UK but haven't lived there for over 20 years so my views are largely based on news (Sky, BBC, flipboard of various UK newspaper sites). From this I get the impression that the mass general public have an extremely negative view on EU immigration issues (eg thousands of Eastern europeans pouring in, taking jobs and/or leeching off welfare) and the EU court of human rights permitting the multi-year, multi-million pound (tax payer funded) farce of deporting the terrorist, hate speaker Abu Qatada (who was also living on welfare benefits whilst espousing hate language against the UK government.

Because of EU membership, the government is seen to have no power to deport a foreigner who gives street sermons about killing British in jihad and cannot properly control the mass inflows of unskilled, potentially criminal people from other member countries.

When they hold an in-out referendum I think many many people will be thinking of these negatives and not considering higher-brow economic reasons.

Personally I think we should remain as part of the EU, as the positives far outweigh the negatives. But try to negotiate more favourable terms whilst reforming immigration and welfare.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: 81-year-old woman dies after being assaulted by granddaughter See in context

Scott, LFRA, apologies. On re-reading, there was no suggestion that she should get off free. And I appreciate the responses. I find it interesting that there seems to more empathy for the attacker if it is at home with a family member versus in public with a stranger. For example, if an elderly lady approached the young girl to chastise her for doing make up on the train or talking on a phone....they argue and then the girl pushes the woman who dies, would you still feel as sorry for the girl? I guess my upbringing makes a physical attack on my parents or (especially) grandparents completely unthinkable, no matter how angry or aggrieved I am. Hence why I was surprised how there wasnt more shock/outrage at the girl. Not to lynch her or spend life in prison. But more than 'its probably a sad accident, these things happen' kind of thing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Gov't announces ban on parking bicycles around Tokyo Station See in context

The massive sense of entitlement of many JT cyclists is annoying to read. Just look at the one before this by 25psot to see a good example. Just because you make a personal choice to ride a bicycle doesn't mean you should get free parking everywhere and dedicated parking lanes. Moped riders have to pay to get and maintain a current license, pay state and local tax, pay road tax, pay insurance, pay tax in evey fuel top-up but they don't get (or expect) dedicated traffic lanes or free parking.

Cyclists on the other hand just buy a bike and off they go for free, disrupting foot paths when riding and blocking entrances and narrow roads. And like Mikihouse says, the enforcement and punishments are pathetic for inconsiderate bike parking. In my experience, many cyclists ignore proper parking facilities because they don't want to pay or because they are too lazy and inconsiderate and so prefer to leave their bike right near the entrance of where they're going (knowing that enforcement is unlikely). No doubt many in the suburbs decide to buy/rent in a cheaper, inconvenient location, where walking or biking a long distance to the tain or bus is their only option, then refuse to pay to park and park illegally instead. Thinking how bad the government is for not subsidising their personal choices.

You only have to look at how many bicycles are illigally and inconsiderately parked, to see that cyclists are largely rude freeloaders, not environmental advocates.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Posted in: Lifelong sex? Men say yes; women not so sure See in context

I read an interesting book on the differences between men and women, where the authors looked to academic research to explain well known generalisations about men and women. For example, men often can't find something in the fridge or draw but then the wife comes and finds it immediately. Or how woman are generally less good at map reading & reverse parkng a car than men. The differences between men & women regarding sex and love were tested in an experiment where various images are shown depicting porn/sexy situation and loving/romantic situations. The test subjects are in an MRI machine, which shows what parts of their brains 'light up' in response to each image. Women's brains lit up in the same area no matter what image they looked at but for men, whilst the romantic images lit up the same area as the women, the sexy images lit up a completely different part of the brain, one that never lit up in the women. The authors argued that this provided some support for men who say "but it was just sex!" and supports the generalisation that women equate love & sex more closely than men. Yes, complete generalisation. The book also discusses medical evidence for why women & men can range from frilly/alpha to butch/effeminite and conclude that the amount of testosterone delivered at conception will hardwire you for this. A lot of testerone and a boy will grow into a caveman type, hardly any and they will grow into a k-pop/j-pop boy band star!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Alcohol checker for iPhone 5 See in context

When I was young, some pubs in the UK had breathalyser machines on the wall which you had to pay to use. Rather than serving their intended purpose, they were usually used in drinking competitions to seevwho could get the highest reading (score). No doubt the same will be done by people who get this device for their phones.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: 81-year-old woman dies after being assaulted by granddaughter See in context

I'm a bit surprised by the sympathetic comments. I've seen my share of teenage tantrums and family fights but I've never seen an 80 year old grandmother physically attacked (shoved, pushed, punched, slapped). If the story was of a 17 year old girl who killed an 81 year old woman at a train station because the girl got angry and shoved the old lady, I think JT posters would be calling for serious jail time, but as it's her own grandmother people think she should get off free?!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Posted in: Abe says LDP election victory will bring stability See in context

Surely a landslide victory, resulting in power to push through policies without resistance, will by design result in more & faster change and thus less stability.

But as I said in another thread, I think this is better than a gridlocked political system. Let the democratically elected government pursue their mandate with vigor and then let the people decide next election if they like what they see and want more.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: 94% of Japanese women don’t feel confident in a swimsuit, survey reveals See in context

In my experience, Japanese women often don't trim/wax 'downstairs' and worry about how this looks in bikini bottoms, often covering up with a sarong or shorts-style bottoms.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Posted in: 3 unacquainted men arrested for molesting schoolgirl on train See in context

I'm not sure I understand the 'honey trap' in this context. Are people saying that a girl will expressly ask a man to grope her on a train and then scream for help and try to get money? Or is it a girl who dresses/acts in a way that attracts would-be gropers to her on purpose and if one takes the bait, she tries to get money?

Train gropers should be publicly shamed. Names and photos put up at all stations for 6 months. Not only would this shame them but when the stations run out of wall space due to the number of photos, the public might be spurred into action an it might get the attention of the idiot politicians.

Not to detract from the seriousness of this, but the headline saying 'school girl' seems engineered for extra attention. At 17', 'high school student' might have been more accurate.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

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