Japan Today

Ishiwara comments

Posted in: Mother, 6-year-old daughter killed in car crash See in context

@ Martin Blank

"Japan is still one of the safest countries to drive in. The USA with all it's "huge" cars has over twice the fatalities per capita as that of Japan..."

-- this is calculated in terms of accidents per capita, and in the USA many more people rely on cars and drive much more than in Japan, so that skews the numbers a bit.

Still, I'd rather drive a car in Japan than in the USA.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Posted in: Do you think there is a role for monarchies in this day and age? See in context

Yes. Like it or not, monarchies in Europe, Japan, Thailand, Buthan, are alive and well and many people draw meaning from it, identify with it, and they play symbolic roles.

There is an argument for having a unifying symbol of a nation that is not part of the political game. Look at what can happen without it: in the United States, first one half of the people say "this is not my president (Obama)" and after elections, the other half (Trump), both saying "he does not represent me or my country."

In Japan, the monarchy of course had an influence on the war, but the current emperor has worked tirelessly to make relations with neighboring countries better and apologize for the war.

On the other hand, it may not be such a good thing to have your national symbol drowned in gold and money, living in extravagant palaces, as in Saudi Arabia.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are hurling insults at each other on an almost daily basis. Which of the two do you think is the biggest threat to peace and security in the Northeast Asian region? See in context

Trump. Kim just wants to keep his regime in power. He knows that North Korea cannot destroy the U.S., but that the U.S. can destroy North Korea.

The biggest danger is that Trump wants to start a war in North Korea because :

1) he does not know any other way out, has no foreign policy experience, and has no state department officials to help him (because he did not appoint people to critical posts)

2) to save his ego

3) to deflect attention away from his failed presidency and the Russia investigation

or a combination of the above. There is nothing like a war to rally people around the flag and the leader.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Posted in: Trump defends decision to pardon Arizona's Arpaio; insists Mexico will pay for wall See in context

"Mexico will pay for the wall."

Why anybody takes that idea seriously is beyond me. When has any country paid for infrastructure in another country, unless it is development aid? Does the U.S. need development aid from Mexico?

Why anybody elects a presidential candidate promising this is also beyond me.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Trump fires FBI Director James Comey See in context

@ Wolfpack

Awesome news. Either Chris Christie or Rudy Giuliani as new FBI Director. I love watching the Left flip out - it's so entertaining.

If you think this is about left and right, imagine for a second that President Hillary Clinton would have fired the FBI director while under investigation for espionage. How would you have reacted then?

21 ( +26 / -5 )

Posted in: Trump fires FBI Director James Comey See in context

I see. Firing the policeman that is investigating you for espionage and collusion with the enemy. Effective. Not very subtle.

17 ( +25 / -8 )

Posted in: Foreigners in Japan face significant levels of discrimination, survey shows See in context


Ishiwara... What Japanese person in 2017 has never seen a foreigner.. (some old hermit in the middle of nowhere aside)

Plenty of people in Japan outside of Tokyo have never seen a foreigner, or a foreigner up close. Let alone talked to them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Foreigners in Japan face significant levels of discrimination, survey shows See in context


I think it would be more realistic to assume that someone who has been here for more than two decades can use chopsticks, yes (even if they refuse to acknowledge Japan is not the only nation that uses them), and that you have at some point picked up some basic greetings in that time. I mean an, "Yeah, I figured you'd be able to use chopsticks," or shock at not being able to (or make simple greetings), but knowing someone's been there for that long and saying, "Oh! You can use chopsticks?" or just asking, is a form of micro-aggression to help the person try and normalize the who's the nihon-jin in the situation and who's not.

I agree with all that. But how can you tell someone is here for 20 years? Surely not if you just happen to walk into a restaurant. For all they know you are a tourist.

I believe it is not often not even about assumptions, it is about automatic reflexes. The other day I talked to an Eki-in in Japanese through the intercom, and when he came out, he changed to incomprehensible English. It is just the foreign face = English association that kicks in and overrules conscious reasoning.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Foreigners in Japan face significant levels of discrimination, survey shows See in context

Housing discrimination is the only form of discrimination I have met. I have been shown a sheet of an apartment saying, "prostitutes, pets, and foreigners not allowed." Well, at least that was honest.

I have also been refused apartments despite having a large salary (at the time), a guarantor, etc.

I don't buy the "micro-agression" story of discrimination. What can you expect from people born in Japan who have never seen a foreigner? That they assume you speak Japanese fluently, can eat with chopsticks, and know all the little rules? The little things are annoying, but you have to be realistic.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: China pledges firm response if Japan interferes in South China Sea See in context

Japan does not have to explain to anyone why its ships are sailing through international waters. Least of all to the CCP.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Posted in: Two halves of a whole: Japan’s habitual ‘labeling’ of bicultural kids See in context

I don't like the term "hafu" but plenty of hafu actually do. Or at least accept them. Ariana Miyamoto for example thought it gave them an identity, making it easier to explain to "normal" Japanese people. Having a word for it does make it easier for hafu to have their place in Japanese society.

Of course, ideally we should not have to label people, but this is not an ideal world.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: When you drink coffee or tea in Japan, do you prefer the chains like Starbucks, Tully’s, Doutor, etc, or do you prefer the traditional “kissaten?” See in context

Japan has a huge coffee-scene of independent coffeeshops with fantastic coffee, often free internet, and are smoke free. Japan is probably one of the best countries in the world to drink coffee, provided you are in one of the big cities.

One thing about some traditional kissa: in Nagoya and some other places, in the morning, you'll get toast and eggs with coffee for 500 yen, that is nice.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Night of champions See in context

Let's put it this way: I did not click on this to see these kids.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: Some women find escape from poverty in sex trade See in context

For everybody saying that "prostitution is illegal" in Japan, here some facts:

Prostitution in the sense of sexual intercourse is illegal. This means everything else, BJ's, massages, etc (use your imagination here) is legal. The girls in this article work for “delivery health” (which is misleadingly translated as "outcall sex service"), and which is basically BJ-delivery service.

I am not saying this is a great system, or taking a stance in the discussion points raised, but these are the facts.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: By 2030, there will be no full-time employees, report speculates See in context

A-san, at 55, lost her full-time job to an AI-robot. Not having enough money to pay for re-schooling, she tried to come by with several part-time jobs, some at night-shifts. Until those were replaced AI-robots or outsourced to Chinese migrants. She also has no right to a pension, since she did not work till the mandatory retirement age of 75. Meanwhile, her husband, who was laid off years ago is succumbing to a disease that healthcare does not cover. Since they cannot pay for their apartment anymore, they are considering moving to the immigrant slum on the edge of the city.

How funny.

There, fixed that for you.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Supporters defend Trump in wake of tax revelations See in context

I understand that under America's bizarre tax-system you can not pay any taxes if you loose a billion dollars.

What I don't understand is that you can loose a billion dollars, loose so much you don't have to pay taxes, AND STILL BE RICH?

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Posted in: Do you think automatic translation technology will get good enough one day so that we won't need human interpreters or translators? See in context


Technology will be able to translate technical manuals and instructions for how to use an airport and so on, but will not be able to translate, let's say poetry, teen-ager slang that is changing every month, irony, etc.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: What do you think of the various foreigners who appear on Japanese TV? Do any of them make you cringe? Are there any whom you think do a good job? See in context

Well, plenty of the Japanese folk on Japanese television make me cringe as well.

On the other hand, there are also several good news and debate programs with serious foreigners, experts, businessmen, academics and so appearing and speaking in Japanese.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Don't eat these foods together and avoid possible intestinal distress See in context

Don't have kimchi and orange juice together. It is bad for you.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Half-Indian elephant trainer crowned Miss Japan See in context

I abhor racists who complain that she or Ariana cannot represent Japan because they are not "Japanese."

On the other hand, I am going to throw this out: I do see the argument that Miss contests are dominated by a kind of Western beauty standard, and that Japanese (and other people) have a problem with that. Black women are not well represented for example. In Japan, the Miss contests are not very popular and are largely ignored, partly because of the slightly different beauty standards.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: China signals growth, not political disputes, should dominate G20 See in context

Well, China's artificial naval- and airbases in the South China Sea, and its fleet of mercenar....sorry, fishermen in the East China Sea, not to mention their jingoistic press, "signal" a quite different message.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: No. of children on waiting list for nurseries in Tokyo tops 8,000 See in context

What does it take? Well, first you need to find a location where the local oldies won't object to a daycare due to the noise. Then, you have to get local council approval with a few brown paper bags of cash and heaps of legitimate payments. Then, you have to pay overpriced and undereskilled builders to build your establishment. Then, after you have all that y have to charge the bear minimum for childcare and employ little old ladies who will work for under minimum wage just so you can afford to keep the lights on. After you have achieved all that you have to determine whether you are running a kindergarten or a preschool and deal with all the mothers that want their children educated for elementary school entrance exams. I left out all the fire and safety inspections and certificates, which also cost a small fortune. And, don't expect any tax breaks or benefits from the Abe government. They only support large corporations. Are you still keen?>


1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Do you think democracy is the best form of government? See in context

"Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others humankind has tried out."

Winston Churchill

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: 820 treated with heatstroke symptoms, one dead See in context

Every year the same story. For older people in the countryside, there is sometimes little that can be done about it I guess, but for Christ's sake, cancel sporting events!

BTW, coffee is not a diuretic. That is an old myth.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: 3 reasons Japanese movies today suck, according to distributor and producer Adam Torel See in context

Japanese cinema has become rather self-referential: many movies are movie adaptations of manga, and there are lots of movies that don't make sense if you have not seen the TV-drama, or you don't know the actors and their characters.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: McDonald's Japan wonders where its customers went See in context

My McDonald's is also a McCafe, and that's the attraction for me. I am a coffee addict. McCafe has yummy coffee more reasonably priced than Starbucks. It's my coffee hangout.

Mac coffee is cheap, but "yummy"? You should check out the amazing coffee scene this country has to offer! And I am not talking about smoky kissaten with bad coffee.

Here, for starters:http://lifeandthyme.com/coffee/art-coffee-culture-tokyo/

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Bond girl See in context

Technically, Miss Moneypenny is not a "Bond girl." Miss Moneypenny is Miss Moneypenny, and the dangerous girls that Bond conquers on his missions are "bond girls." Miss Moneypenny is jealous of all the Bond girls.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Should Russia return the four disputed islands off Hokkaido to Japan? See in context

Yes (although this is probably not going to happen).

It is true that Japan "got of lightly" (if we put aside the death toll for 2 nuclear bombs and a year of conventional bombing), But, for reminders: Japan did not invade the Soviet Union in WW2, it had a non-aggression pact until 1945, when the SU declared war on Japan and invaded Japanese territory.

The U.S. occupied Okinawa, returning it only in 1972 (mainland Japanese had to show a passport when they went there). Russia should also return the Kuriles.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Nobel Literature prize again eludes Japan's hope, Haruki Murakami See in context

Murakami Haruki:

I got home from work and cooked spaghetti for myself. Outside the window I saw the roof of the neighbour's house. A light was burning. In the background, the TV blurred some news about this year's nobel prize winners. I did the dishes.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

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