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Posted in: Is Japan really racist? See in context

Japan, the country, is definitely extremely racist and very unwelcoming to outsiders.There are the myriad of establishments, from ryokans, to sentos, to apartment buildings which are "Japanese only", not to mention the regular pronouncements from authority figures about the Koreans, Chinese, or "foreign rapists" who descended upon Japan for the World Cup back in 2002 (to cite one example. Governor Ishihara deserves his own thread...) Individual Japanese however, are far more complex, and like everywhere else, there's a wide variety.

No doubt, one does encounter a lot of very "casually" racist statements borne out of generalizations about themselves, and other races/cultures that are pervasive throughout society. But in my nearly decade there, I experienced some of the most genuinely kind and welcoming people, who invited me into their lives, families and many of them I'm still friends with.

It's a simple question with both an extremely simple, and incredibly complex answer.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Toronto mayor says he won't step down over crack video See in context

@zaldaus: A typical fact-free rant from a Rob Ford supporter. He is not a "fine man". He is a buffoon and a bully, who has disgraced his office and city on the international stage.

He consorts with known criminals (including murderers and wife beaters - look it up), lies with every breath he takes, and these "fabricated accusations" have now been confirmed by the chief of police. He promised that he would not raise taxes or cut services, and he has done both. Just like he swore there was no video. Not to mention that he also undermined a fully-funded transit plan in order to build an unnecessary subway line, through a low-density suburb, which has put the taxpayers of Toronto on the hook for at least a billion dollars, which will necessitate even more tax increases. There is also the fact that the line will not even have the ridership to make it economically viable.

He appeals to low-information voters who believe his slogans and catch-phrases, but are too preoccupied resenting the "downtown elitists" to realize that this so-called "everyman" is nothing more than a spoiled rich kid who has completely pulled the wool over your eyes.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Top 5 worst places to visit in Japan See in context

Tokyo is one of the greatest cities on Earth. I understand why someone might not want to live there, since not everybody is a city person. But to list it as one of the "top 5 worst places in Japan to VISIT" is stupid, quite frankly.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Foreign visitors to Comiket 82: What they like and don't like about Japan See in context

I lived in Japan for nearly a decade, and while I have very fond memories of it, there is nothing more cringeworthy than fresh-off-the-boat foreigners gushing about the place. I would be more interested to hear what they have to say after a year, once they've been told they can't rent an apartment because "it would upset the neighbours" or have to commute every day on some of the Tokyo trains. Don't get me wrong, I love the place, and enjoyed nearly every second I spent there, but interviews like these just serve to make everyone look silly.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Chinese mob ravages Japanese restaurant during protest; later finds out it is Chinese-owned See in context

The Chinese government has always given tacit approval to these types of aggressive displays of nationalism. This is a country that is ALWAYS seeking to prevent spontaneous demonstrations, so there is no way that the authorities didn't let this happen. They understand very well that if the mobs are angry at Japan, then their attention won't be focused on the people who are actually screwing them over, namely the Chinese Communist Party.

As this story demonstrates however, angry mobs are tough to control, and while they only destroyed a Chinese-owned shop this time, one day, they may well bring down the entire government.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: China complains to Japan over Nagoya mayor's Nanjing massacre denial See in context

East Asia is never going to get over WWII. And that's in large part because many members of the dynastic Japanese political class are descended from the same men that committed war crimes during that period, and seem to honestly believe that nothing bad actually happened, coupled with the fact that China has too much to gain from constantly playing the victim card. If the Chinese people are always angry at, and distracted by Japan's crimes of 7+ decades ago, then it is easier for them to ignore the crimes their own government has perpetrated against them since. Still, Japanese politicians need to smarten up. Did the Rape of Nanking happen? I'm pretty sure it did. Did 300 000 people die? Probably not, but that hardly makes it a trivial incident. And to all the Nagoya bashers upthread, take it easy. Ultra-nationalist morons are hardly limited to Aichi-ken.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Boxer 'Smokin' Joe Frazier dies of cancer at 67 See in context

I grew up with the myth of Muhammed Ali, and while I respect what he did in the ring, as well as the stand he took against the Vietnam war, I'm still hard-pressed to find anything in his life story that completely explains the level of adoration that he continues to enjoy, especially in contrast to some of the other great fighters of his era. Foreman reinvented himself as a smiling, friendly pitchman after his loss to Ali, but it always seemed as though Frazier wasn't able to completely get over not only losing to Ali, but being insulted and humiliated by him. Everything I ever saw and read about him indicated that he was a good man, but one that history had overlooked somewhat. I hope that he was able to find peace in his last years, and forgive Ali for his disgusting behaviour before, during and after their classic bouts, and that people might come to realize his real greatness.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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

I used to work at a US based pharmaceutical company located in Japan. Since the Japanese researchers, support staff and managers worked on global projects, they would often have to read, write, and in many cases speak English with their colleagues and counterparts overseas. Site management decided to make English a priority, but stopped short of making it an "official language". We set up a training group focused not only on language skills, but also exposing them to western business practices and cross-cultural communication. The progress that was made in a few short years was amazing. Many of the issues which had for so long resulted in wasted time and effort were reduced or eliminated, and the Japanese staff really started to feel as though they belonged to the global organization, as opposed to being an isolated outpost. There were times in which "English only" meetings were held, but rarely for anything of huge importance, and the emphasis was to just make them more comfortable using English at work. In fact, when people, and especially Japanese, are taken out of their linguistic comfort zone, communication often becomes clearer and more direct. Japanese is notorious for its ambiguity, but in English, many people simply didn't have the tools to mask their true meaning in flowery, or overly formal language which didn't really mean anything. The English meetings were short and sweet, and often straight to the point.

It's important to remember that these were Japanese employees in an American firm, so for many of the scientists and managers, promotions and career-advancement did depend on being able to function in an international, and often multi-cultural environment. In cases like that, I am all for senior management pushing English, while providing adequate support for those that genuinely want to improve. But in a domestic company, where employees only ever interact with other Japanese, there's really no point.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Apple's tongue-tied Siri faces 'Singlish' rival See in context

@Ted Barrera,

Exactly what article were you reading? The application was designed by SingTel, and will be available on both the Apple and Android platforms. I'm no Apple "fanboy", but for the past few weeks, the Apple haters have been out in full force, foaming at the mouth, taking each and every opportunity to get a dig in at Apple and Steve Jobs, and anyone that's ever purchased one of their products. It's boring, and ironically, much more annoying then the "fanboys" and "sheep" that they're always railing against. PLEASE give it a rest.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Apple says pre-orders for iPhone 4S break record See in context

I still don't understand why so many people were "disappointed" that they announced the 4S instead of the iPhone 5. A guy at my local phone store told me last spring that they would release a "4GS" later this year, and the 5 in 2012. How is it that a guy making a couple bucks more than minimum wage was better informed than all of these fancy analysts and industry watchers? This pattern is completely in line with Apple's previous release strategies. I've been waiting for a new phone for a couple of months, and this is the one I was waiting for. Every new Apple release brings all of the haters out of the woodwork. I've had other smartphones, and am just coming off a Blackberry, and the iPhone 4 is the best that I've seen yet - so I've pre-ordered mine, and will give it a try. If I don't like it, then I'll get something different next time around. To all of the people that spend their time constantly predicting the end of Apple's dominance, and calling anyone that opts to purchase one of their well-designed and functional products, "sheep" - get over yourselves and relax.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Take two tablets See in context

I work in an IT company where PCs are the standard. But for the past 6 years I've use Macs as my personal machines, so I have a lot of experience with both platforms. I don't understand a lot of the anti-Apple vitriol that gets spewed on these types of threads, nor do I have a lot of time for the Apple fanboys that think they're somehow superior because they paid a bit more for their laptop. All devices have strengths and weaknesses, and a person's decision to purchase a particular machine should be based on what their needs are.

The iPad is currently the clear leader in this market, but that doesn't mean that they can't be challenged. Especially since it does still suffer from several well-known issues.

I haven't had the chance to see one in person yet, but the early reviews on the new Sony tablet have ranged from very good to excellent. Sony may not have come up with a game-changer here, but why not give them a bit of time to see what they can do? Not too long ago Sony was one of the top consumer products companies in the world, and Apple was almost bankrupt, and barely hanging on. Things can change very quickly in this industry.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Huckabee denies criticizing Portman's pregnancy See in context

"Portman is sick to deny her child a male parent "

In pretty typical fashion, why bother to let a few troublesome facts get in the way of a good rant? Natalie Portman is having a child with her fiancee. They're engaged to be married, so the child isn't being denied anything. Perhaps reading the article prior to making hysterical posts might help in the future.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: U.S. wasted billions in rebuilding Iraq: auditors See in context

Damned Socialists! Spending all of our childrens' money. I want my country back! Wait, did you say Iraq? Oops, never mind.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Growing number of Americans incorrectly call Obama Muslim See in context

I wonder if Rome was as embarrassing to watch during its decline as America has been? The economy is in tatters, they're in the process of losing a war in the "Graveyard of Empires", their overall level of educational attainment has dropped to among the lowest of all industrialized nations, yet what concerns them is the fear that the President might be a secret Muslim (He's not, but who cares?). Way to keep your eye on the ball guys. They must be laughing out loud in Beijing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Married life for Ebi-chan is 'sweet' See in context

Why is Japan so afraid of mature women? I'll never understand the need to constantly infantilize grown adults.

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Posted in: Anvil: Yes, they’ve quit their day jobs See in context

My friends live right across the street from "Lips", and they didn't know until they saw the movie.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Somali Islamists ban songs on radio See in context

No wonder it's so easy for them to find volunteers for "martyrdom". Everything even remotely enjoyable is prohibited, so heaven's got to seem like more fun.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Get smart See in context


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Posted in: Alt-rock slackers Pavement prove disciplined enough for worldwide comeback See in context

@Shinhiyata: Even by the lofty standards set by the Japan Today posters, that's a ridiculous comment. Pavement were/are a great band, and the fact that you referred to them as "shoegaze", only goes to prove that you don't know what you're talking about. If you don't like them, then just stay away, and let the fans enjoy their first chance to see these guys in a decade. I've already got tickets to see them on the North American leg of the tour.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: H&M opening See in context

I like H&M a lot. I think they've got a lot of good stuff I can wear both at work, and in more casual situations, and I shop there probably more than any other clothing store. Having said that, nothing inside your typical H&M justifies standing in line outside in the rain.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: GOP: Response to Reid remark shows double standard See in context

Harry Reid chose the wrong words to express something that is completely true. Black people know it, white people know it, everyone knows it. Obama is black enough that white people can feel good and "progressive" for voting for him, but not black enough to scare them. It's the same reason everyone was so big on Colin Powell a few years ago. This faux Republican outrage would be laughable, if it were not so nakedly cynical. Reid's voting record over the years with regards to expanding and protecting civil rights speaks for itself. Trent Lott was rightly brought down for voicing support for a segregationist. Reid was speaking in support of a black candidate. The GOP have used race as an electoral weapon for decades now. While the words and images they use keep changing ("Welfare Queens", "Willie Horton", "Socialists", "Real Americans") there is never any doubt behind the intent. Nixon's southern strategy is alive and well in 2010. How do Michael Steele or any of the rest of them sleep at night?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Anti-whaling boat sinks off Antarctica See in context

This story has no good guy. Both sides make me pretty sick.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Should freedom of expression include the right to offend others? See in context

This is a bit of a silly question innit? Someone taking offence can't be avoided when expressing opinions; but defamation, slander and abuse are entirely separate issues.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Last train blues See in context

"I'm sorry, but I missed my last train. Can I stay at your place?"

That question was the start of many a good night back-in-the-day. If the trains start running all night, they're going to ruin one of the J-girls' best excuses for sleeping over.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan needs to welcome foreign investment, UK minister says See in context

The problem with Japan welcoming more direct foreign investment is that it often comes along with actual foreigners. They can't go messing up the "wa" now can they?

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Posted in: Ishihara blames Tokyo 2016 failure on behind-the-scenes deals See in context

I am no fan of this clown, but given the IOC's track record, he's probably right. Still, it's pretty hilarious that a Japanese politician, and a member of the LDP at that, would complain about backroom deals. Irony truly is wasted on Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo 2016 See in context

Japan has proven that they're not quite ready yet for these types of large international events. I remember during the World Cup in '02, some politician warned that Japan should brace for a surge in the number of unwanted babies caused by "foreigners who come here and rape our women". There were the usual stories of ryokans that wouldn't admit foreigners during the Nagano games, and the entire city of Osaka nearly shut down during the England v. Nigeria match during the same World Cup for fear of the "fooligans". Although, I don't like it, Japan is allowed to be as xenophobic as it wants. However, that should preclude the Empire from hosting events such as the Olympics. Why don't they understand that if they invite the rest of the world, that they might actually show up? And that's the last thing most Japanese people actually want.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Chanel No. 2 See in context

Wow. Vive la France!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Ozawa's comeback as DPJ secretary-general worries some See in context

I'm not sure if it's possible for Japanese politics to become any more depressing. Good luck Japan, you're going to need it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Fuji Rock Fest See in context

I've been to Fuji Rock 5 times and it's easily one of the best music festivals on the planet. I'd love to be there right now.

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