J_rock comments

Posted in: Only a miracle can save LDP now See in context

Good one Sarge. A Republican party in full-meltdown mode is certainly a better choice than the Social - oops, I mean Democrats. Get a clue.

The LDP certainly deserve to be thrown out on their butts, but there is also the fact that the DPJ is wholly unfit to govern. They have essentially become a party of permanent opposition. They're the Washington Generals to the LDP's Globetrotters. I'm not sure that things would improve at all if they were in charge. What bold policy initiatives have they announced? What is their vision for Japan? How do they plan to steer the country through the recession? They simply don't have any answers either. As cynical as it sounds, this election is pretty much a lose-lose scenario.

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Posted in: US church creates stir with gay exorcism video See in context

I don't believe that homosexuality is genetic either, nobody has come up with the "gay gene" yet now have they? People make choices, and I see the "Gay gene" as an excuse to try to force people to agree with their lifestyle choices. It appears to be more psychological than anything.

That's ridiculous. Has anyone isolated the "straight gene" yet? Homosexual behaviour can be observed in several species in the animal kingdom and studies of twins reared apart reveal correlations which suggest very strongly that there is a significant genetic component. Why would anyone choose something that would make them a target for hate, violence and discrimination? Did you "choose" to be straight? Because I didn't. And if I lived in a society which said that heterosexuality was wrong, there wouldn't be anything I could do about my "condition".

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Posted in: Emperor, empress to participate in wreath-laying ceremony in Hawaii See in context

Aren't "preemptive" attacks okay now? I thought the previous US administration retroactively legitimized the attack on Pearl Harbor through their own offensive against another country with whom no war had yet been declared? Or does it only count when it happens to America? Who will represent the US during its wreath-laying ceremony in Baghdad?

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Posted in: Few Japanese benefit from living their 'Shanghai dream' See in context

Japan makes no allowance for those who dare to leave the hive. Japanese children who go to school overseas while their parents are stationed abroad have a notoriously hard time reintegrating. A Japanese friend once told me that her school had a special section for these kids because there were so many of them due to the fact that she lived in an area with a large number of Toyota employeees. In her words, they had to "be taught how to be Japanese". Same with anyone who works for a foreign company abroad. They're inevitably viewed with suspicion. I recently returned home after 7 years in Japan, and was able to land a good job in my field. While I was interviewing for positions, my overseas experience was generally viewed as a positive by various hiring managers. One of them even kept me 30 minutes after the interview just to chat about it. In my new position, they've already made use of my experience with Japanese business culture since the company is considering partnerships over there in the future. It needn't be viewed as a bad thing.

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Posted in: Even if it works, U.S. shouldn't use torture See in context

This is a ridiculous debate. It was considered torture when done to Americans in WWII and all of a sudden it's okay? If the democratic nations of the developed west cede the moral high ground to those that seek to do it harm, then it renders all of the lofty talk of "democracy" and "civility" null and void, and plays into the hands of the propagandists on the other side. I also find it amusing that Sean Hannity and all of the other conservative blowhards are trying to characterize waterboarding as nothing more than just a "little water in the face". And yet, Senator McCain, a man who has actually been tortured is dead set against it. I thought that the era of the chicken hawk conservatives had passed with the election last November. Apparently not yet.

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Posted in: Why do Asian pop stars have a hard time succeeding in the U.S. market? See in context

The Western pop market is already saturated with pre-fabricated no talents, so what would be the point in importing more? There are also cultural factors at work. While Western popular culture is certainly very (overly?) sexualized, it's generally based around a more "mature" sexuality, and by that I mean it's not typically sexed up 15 year-olds or 25 year-old "women" trying to look 15. While "ero-kawaii" works in Japan, it's just creepy in some other places.

There are a lot of great Japanese bands who acquire small, but dedicated followings all over the world. The Zoobombs, Mono, Supercar (rip), the 5-6-7-8s, Cibo Matto, Shonen Knife, The Boredoms, Buffalo Daughter, Cornelius, not to mention DJs like Towa Tei, and Satoshi Tomiie who is easily one of the biggest DJs on the planet.

It's no big loss that the vapid, high-pitched J-pop stars don't cross over, but a lot of good Japanese music is getting through. A lot of the western bands I like don't ever achieve a great deal of commercial success either - but that shouldn't ever be the (sole) measure of an artist or group. If making good music that people really care about is used as the measuring stick, then a lot of J-bands and artists are already quite successful.

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Posted in: Masatoshi Nakamura sheds tears over son's drug arrest See in context

What does 0.3g of pot even look like? That sounds like the crumbs people used to sweep off the coffee table after a party in college. It would appear as though the perspective fairy skipped Japan on her last trip.

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Posted in: More women enjoying a night out alone See in context

I don't think that enjoying time alone with yourself necessarily makes people "weird" or "socially immature" or whatever else some posters are saying. If someone ALWAYS wants to be alone, or can't be with other people, then there might be a problem, but every once-in-a-while could even be considered healthy. I love spending time with my girlfriend, friends and even my crazy family, but I've been traveling on my own before, for decent periods of time, and I absolutely loved it. Back when I used to live by myself, I loved nothing better than going home after work to read in peace or to turn up the stereo and play along on my guitar. I've even been out to clubs by myself before, and while you may run into someone you know, or meet a stranger, it's not necessary to still have a good time.

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Posted in: Handcuffed man escapes police after molesting woman in Aichi See in context

While Japan is in many ways significantly safer than other industrialized countries, the idea of "Safety Japan" is a complete and total myth. Unfortunately, it is one that is embraced by both the locals and foreigners alike, and is rarely challenged. A LOT of crimes, especially those of a sexual nature against women, go unreported. Ask any of your Japanese female friends whether they have ever been touched, or flashed or harassed by either a stranger or someone they know. The chances are that they have, and that they did nothing about it. That's called assault in a lot of other places. In Japan, that's simply known as taking the train to school. There is also an allowance for a lot of other things which would be prosecuted in other countries. The Yakuza are allowed to operate freely in cities and towns all over Japan, and not only do the police know where their headquarters are, but they also have membership lists. Child pornography, human trafficking, prostitution and gambling all occur pretty much in the open, with the tacit approval of the authorities.

I spent a long time in Japan, and while I always felt safe there, I know people who were swarmed on the street for no reason, robbed, beat up and groped. A man even got shot at a train station near my old apartment in Nagoya (I don't think he died though). Bad things DO happen in Japan, and the police need to be better equipped to handle them when they do.

Stories like this one, or the one from a few years ago when police in Tokyo were caught on tape running away from a suspect, or the very famous naked Spanish man are good for a laugh while I peruse the Japanese papers each morning. But when you think about the fact that these are the people responsible for ensuring the safety of the population, it becomes a lot less funny. And in cases like the Ichihashi debacle, when he escaped the police, BAREFOOT - it becomes downright tragic.

I also know from just speaking to Japanese friends that the police are not held in particularly high esteem. Much like the political classes in Japan, they are simply another institution whose ineptitude is merely accepted as most people feel that it's simply the way it is and feel powerless to do anything about it. When the tape of the J-Cops in Tokyo running from that speed freak a few years back was being played all over the world, more than a few people I know expressed both embarrassment and resignation.

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Posted in: Mie high school student commits suicide, leaving names of seven classmates in note See in context

Not to sound cynical, but bullying in Japan will NEVER cease. It's an important and "necessary" part of the socialization process. In a country that still places such a high value on conformity, both the victims and those who observe it are "taught" about what happens to anyone who dares (or just happens) to be different in any way. That's why nothing is ever done about it by teachers or administrators, and why in some cases it even receives tacit (and occasionally overt) support from those who should be protecting students from this type of abuse.

I used to date a very beautiful young woman who took a lot of heat for being "too tall" when she was in school. I told that where I was from, we called tall, pretty girls, models. In Japan, it was just something to set her apart from her peers. It's absolutely ridiculous.

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Posted in: Mariners seek to end infighting over Ichiro See in context

Ichiro is just like Vince Carter in the NBA. An incredibly gifted athlete who will never lead a team anywhere, because he's just too selfish. True stars make those around them better, will carry a team on their backs when necessary, and on some nights win games that they shouldn't through sheer force of will. These two clowns are obsessed with their own stats and fat contracts.

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Posted in: Maquillage campaign See in context

Read: only beautiful women should be celebrities, right?

We got you, J_rock.

Yeah, because cosmetics companies, especially Japanese ones, hire spokesmodels only for their personalities. And since most "tarento" don't actually have any discernable talents, they are mostly famous for the fact that they are supposedly "kawaii". At least your screen name is accurate.

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Posted in: Maquillage campaign See in context

I've always wondered, why in a country with so many beautiful women just walking down the street, are Japanese celebrities so consistently underwhelming? You could throw a rock in Omotesando and hit 5 much more attractive women. Maybe not Shinohara, but that's a terrible picture of her.

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Posted in: Ai Iijima's last days shrouded in mystery See in context

The woman was the true icon/epitome of modern Japanese womanhood. Empty, shallow, devoid of the desire for personnal empowerment, materialistically obsessed and immoral.

What a load of bitter, misogynistic garbage. It does a great disservice to millions of women, and doesn't reflect all that well on yourself either.

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Posted in: Obama lookalike comedian Nocchi hones his routine See in context

At least he's not in blackface. As far as Japanese comedians go, I'd consider that progress.

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Posted in: Tokyo Game Show See in context

Sure beats the beefy gaijin she-males you get over here.

I wonder if some people never get tired of fetishsizing Japanese women at the expense of all others. I spent several years in Japan, and yes there are a lot of beautiful women there, but it's not the only place that can say that. Calling all non-Japanese women names is not only insulting, but it's also dumb.

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Posted in: Jury system poster See in context

I'm not sure that most Japanese are ready for this. In my experience, it was often hard enough to solicit opinions in business meetings, in which everyone was an expert and should have had something to say. In addition, I can't imagine a lone juror holding out against all the others, even if they believe themselves to be correct. I'm skeptical about the prospects of a jury system in a society in which consensus and blind deference to authority are so prominent.

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Posted in: McCain suspends campaigning over financial crisis; Obama rejects call for debate delay See in context

Suspending his campaign was a blatant attempt by McCain to score political points during a time of crisis. It is an act of desperation by a man who is watching his poll numbers fall, and the prize he's lusted after for all these decades slip away - again. It's absolutely ridiculous, and the majority of people in America, and beyond, think he should take his whipping in the debate on Friday as scheduled. Obama looked and sounded more Presidential yesterday, and it wasn't lost on the public at large.

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Posted in: Aso See in context

This can't possibly end well. The endless parade of sexagenarian leaders who all serve 1 - 1 1/2 year long terms doesn't seem to have helped Japan all that much over the past couple of decades, and yet the pattern continues. Aso is a real piece of work, and certainly not what the country needs right now. Maybe one day Japanese people will actually get to vote for a leader, instead of having everything decided in smoky back rooms. I'm not saying that's not what happens in other countries, but Japan is just so blatant about it.

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Posted in: YOSHIKI See in context

A lot of people who post here are straight up player haters. Slagging off a rock star because he's "a show off"? Isn't that part of the job description? Saying he looks like a woman doesn't change the fact that he probably gets more action than everyone on this board. And every pretty girl not talking to you isn't a hooker. And who cares if they are? They look expensive and he appears to be able to afford it. Good for you son.

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Posted in: Ainu rise up from the margins of Japanese society See in context

TPOJ,

One of the better posts I've seen on JT in quite some time. Well done.

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Posted in: Countdown to the collapse of the LDP See in context

The LDP are not going anywhere. isthistheend summed up several of the reasons rather nicely. People in Japan are conditioned to just accept things as being the way they are. How often do you hear Japanese people say "Shouganai", and just resign themselves to whatever unpleasantness is being heaped upon them? I used to work at a Japanese company where the staff were mostly very well-educated professionals. The vast majority of them were completely indifferent to politics. They had no interest, and didn't think that politics had any impact on their daily lives. They couldn't figure out why the handful of foreigners onsite knew, or cared, so much about domestic politics. For those reasons, as well as the fact that the opposition are wholly unsuited to govern, the LDP will remain in power for the foreseeable future.

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Posted in: Sunflowers See in context

This is a nice change from tired western celebrities sleepwalking through a press conference, or the local "Talento" which often make the picture of the day. If anyone can look at that picture and not smile, then they have no soul. Beautiful.

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Posted in: Young women’s summer fashions show too much, poll reveals See in context

I can't believe that I'm actually saying this, but back when I lived in Japan, there were times during summers when it actually got to be a little much. When I first arrived in 2001, fishnet stockings were all the rage. Where I come from, only a certain type of woman, in a certain type of job would even consider leaving the house in those. A significant number of Japanese girls dress like actual prostitutes. That's not me trying to have a go at them, but it's just the simple truth. Maybe I'm just getting old, but a lot of what makes a woman sexy is revealing a little, but not all. Young Japanese girls/women sometimes take it too far, and just come off looking cheap. I remember being surprised on my first trip to France by how well the women were dressed, and how good they all looked, even though they were mostly covered. French women exude a mature confidence, whereas a lot of Japanese girls look as though they were just let loose in their mothers' lingerie closets and are playing dress-up. "Ero-kawaii" is not about being "confident about one's body". It's just an annoying trend which teaches young women, and little girls for that matter, that "trashy" is a synonym for "sexy".

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Posted in: Beijing shrouded in thick fog of pollution ahead of athletes' arrival for Olympics See in context

For numerous, and rather obvious reasons, Toronto should have won the 2008 games instead of Beijing. While I was annoyed by the IOC's choice for a long time, it seems as though both they and China are now getting what they deserve. Was the air quality not taken into account during the decision making process? Certainly human rights and the rule of law were not. While I can't help but indulge in a little bit of schadenfreude, I hope that none of the events have to be postponed/canceled, and that no athlete suffers any adverse effects from the toxic stew that hangs over that place.

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Posted in: Fuji Rock Festival See in context

Best festival in the world. It's one of the things I miss most about Japan. It used to be closer to Mt.Fuji, but they moved it years ago. The location at Naeba is spectacular, and they should definitely keep it up there.

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Posted in: High-level skills abroad don't guarantee job in Japan See in context

The comments here are overwhelmingly negative, and I would really like to disagree with them, but after working for 6+ years in the Japanese branch of an American pharmaceutical company, I can say that the above posters are completely correct.

Where you will live is something that a couple should decide on prior to getting married and/or having children. I only recently left Japan after many years, and although I enjoyed it very much, and retain a great deal of affection for it, I would never choose to spend my entire life or career, let alone raise a family there.

A salary of $200 000 (I'm assuming in North America), is more than enough to take the family on annual trips to see grandma and grandpa. Or you could always fly the old people over for a few weeks each year. The Japanese corporate world has no interest in your talents, skills and/or abilities, and any western employee/executive who has risen to a level where they are making the kind of money mentioned in this article will have a very difficult time playing by the "rules". Regular Japanese employees, as well as returnees have a hard enough time, let alone someone who looks, thinks and acts differently.

Of course, and as mentioned in this article, the situation is somewhat different for internal transfers, but they are literally provided with, at the very least, a bilingual assistant/cultural liaison, and in some cases, a small staff of people whose job it is to take care of all the unpleasantness that the average Joe will undoubtedly face. My advice is stay where you are. Explain to your spouse exactly what type of drop it may represent in your standard of living, and hope that the math will convince them. From having seen friends go through it though, I know it's hard to persuade a Japanese spouse who has set their minds on either going, or staying at, home.

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Posted in: Crown prince See in context

The imperial family is not going to do a PDA for the sake of the cameras. Royal families all over the world tend to be a pretty stiff lot.

Exactly! There's an old clip I remember seeing on TV of Queen Elizabeth returning from a trip overseas. As she got off the plane upon her return to the UK, Charles, who was only a toddler at the time ran to greet her, and she bent down and shook his hand.

I really feel sorry for Masako though. She is so smart and talented and could have become anything she wanted. Instead, she exists as the prisoner of the Imperial Household Agency. The Crown Prince does seem genuinely fond of her though, and I like that he goes to bat for her publicly.

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Posted in: Stereotypes ’R’ Us See in context

Since we're on the topic of stereotypes, not all (western) expats in Japan are caucasians.

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Posted in: A punching bag on the Odakyu line See in context

How typical that some posters called the writer names and blamed him for the incident in spite of the fact that he was the one assaulted. There's a particular type of long-term resident who in their attempt to become "more Japanese than the Japanese" will always suspect the foreigner regardless of what actually occurred. This piece is not an attack on Japan or Japanese people. It's simply an account of a disgusting and cowardly act which should never have taken place. Although "six accidental run-ins with violence" in three years does sound like a lot, I know first hand that this type of stuff does happen, and that as a foreign resident, you have very little recourse, legal or otherwise, when it does.

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