jcapan comments

Posted in: What do you think are the best foods you can find in Kyoto? See in context

Matcha anything but warabimochi are a big hit in my family.

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Posted in: There are no parts of a tree that can be thrown away. We can use fallen trees as energy sources without wasting any parts. See in context

Agree this is pretty garbled, and as is often the case, stripped clean of the necessary context to say much of anything.

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Posted in: Japan treats its foreign workers like Kleenex. They have a use-it, toss-it mentality. See in context

The US guys at the office say that there is a saying among foreign achievers: "Those who can, do. Those who can't blame racism, xenophobia, etc etc etc" for their own failure.

Yeah, I think I heard a Nepalese guy carrying cinder blocks at a black company saying exactly this to his colleagues the other day. Oh wait, that can't be right, I was sitting in my office on a pretty college campus that day. In fact, I don't have any contact with that other kind of foreigner, those malcontents and whingers. I think they exaggerate the trouble they face. They should just pull themselves up by their own bootstraps!

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Posted in: British PM May survives party confidence vote but Brexit deal still teetering See in context

I don’t doubt stupid, xenophobic and politically uninformed people voted Brexit, but certainly not all.

And politics being the art of persuasion, I've never understood the wisdom of insulting entire voting blocs, who it rarely turns out are as uniform in their motivations as we'd like to think. That particular moron tossing word salad all over your screen, sure, call him what you like. But I imagine there will be future elections and I suspect that if you treat your perceived opponents as persuadable or worthy of your respect, as a group at least, you'd be surprised at how many are willing to hear you out.

Ditto those who insult 60 million Trump voters just b/c the most vocal and enthusiastic seem like garish pod people.

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Posted in: Town in Niseko ski resort area to tax lodgers See in context

I was last in Kutchan in 1999. After hiking Yotei-zan, I hitchhiked back to the town and stumbled across a darn good pizza shop. I can only imagine how much development has occurred since.

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Posted in: Japan treats its foreign workers like Kleenex. They have a use-it, toss-it mentality. See in context

Jcapan) expecting government to step in and bat for workers just ain’t going to happen. Period. Thing is though if companies put some of their wealth of resources into research and development of what real productivity looks like they wouldn’t need the government breathing down their necks to force them to do anything.

This government!? Of course not. A ruling party whose quest to achieve a proper work-life balance ended up empowering industry to do what they've always done, working their prize resources like slaves. "Only 99 hours a month of OT--look we've improved things enormously!" Now go out and procreate.

I agree that a truly competitive environment would lead to changes from within industry, that better conditions would make them more attractive to prospective employees, but Japan has gone along like this for a long time and I can't imagine any real change on the horizon. If foreign firms and practices had ever gained a real foothold here, a la Hong Kong, Singapore or Dubai, perhaps things would have evolved.

Which is why we few, we lucky few are about the only professionals who are going to come here and work for J-institutions and companies. As you said, it's fun to watch, for a time at least.

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Posted in: Ninjas 'sneak' into Abe's office to ask for tourism promotion See in context

I've been to Iga and the surrounding area numerous times and always find plenty of other things to do.

> Go to Iga just to do other things? It is an extremely boring city that is no different than any other city in Japan. I have been to the Ninja area which was ok for a one time visit but I only stop in Iga for a toilet break on the way to Nagoya or elsewhere in Mie.

Did I say I go to Iga "just to do other things"? Did I not mention "and the surrounding area"? It's a charming area. I have good friends who live nearby in Nabari. And most of the people I hang out with would much prefer that area to Nagoya. To each his own--which, of course, is not what the internet is about.

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Posted in: Japan treats its foreign workers like Kleenex. They have a use-it, toss-it mentality. See in context

Just the way the treat each other

I suspect this why there is so little interest in protecting the rights of workers who will only be allowed to stay a few years anyway. Your average Taro isn't happy about how the company or school or factory is treating him either. Why should he concern himself with foreigners when there seem so few tools available to change his own condition. In my experience, most full-time workers here are pretty beaten down and unhappy with their lot, no matter how well compensated or secure their positions. Naturally, they're not going to be founts of sympathy for outsiders.

Now, a proper government would protect workers regardless of what their passport says. Limiting overtime for our native Japanese and forcing industries to treat employees fairly. Japan Inc. however is given free reign by the ruling party to squeeze labor out like a sponge. If they die or quit or leave the country, too bad. This is why I expect no improvement for guest workers. It's 2018 and Japan still can't treat their own decently.

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Posted in: What are some suggestions to avoid overeating or getting too drunk during the Christmas-New Year party season? See in context

Just keep your hands to yourself and don't vomit noodles all over the place.

This! Does everyone planning to puke on the sidewalk on the way home choose to eat yakisoba first? Is it like a rule?

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Posted in: 9 more med schools involved in misconduct after another admits exam rigging See in context

-National Medical Practitioners Qualifying Examination (NMPQE) pass rate: average for universities over 90%

A good deal of this is about having a rich daddy-doctor. You either get a legacy admission to a weak private school or your family can pay enough (meritocracy!) to assure your selection. So no matter how dumb junior is he too can become a medical practitioner and inherit your family hospital or clinic. When I first arrived here people were always talking about being sure you knew where a doctor or dentist went to school before you visited a clinic. Ask your average Japanese about where Dr. so and so graduated from and they all know the answer. Coming from the US, where it's just generally assumed that doctors are competent and properly educated, whether they went to a state school or Johns Hopkins, I thought it sounded extremely snobby. Now I know it's a sound approach to gaining competent medical care.

Which is why this scandal is so maddening. These young women busted their rump and should have gained admission but the institutions involved, as well as the medical industry writ large (of course with some exceptions) would prefer men in white jackets to women, regardless of their qualifications.

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Posted in: 9 more med schools involved in misconduct after another admits exam rigging See in context

So what you're basically saying is that exam rigging is okay?

I'm happy someone understands his point. How it speaks to the issue at hand is beyond me.

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Posted in: Trump ex-lawyer Cohen given 3 years in prison; blames 'blind loyalty' See in context

In the Manhattan courtroom, Cohen told U.S. District Judge William Pauley that "blind loyalty" led him to cover up for Trump's "dirty deeds."

Sure, it had nothing to do with the hundreds of thousands of dollars he paid you during the 12 years you worked for him, not to mention the generous income you received from Russian moguls. You defended a man who said there are bad people on both sides after Charlottesville. You, a Jew, worked for a white nationalist scumbag who refused to condemn anti-semitism. Have fun in prison.

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Posted in: 9 more med schools involved in misconduct after another admits exam rigging See in context

Marking down ronin should not be treated lightly because it biases Japan towards an infantile society where you get one chance at 18 and that's it.

I'd say it starts much earlier than 18. Go to the wrong JHS and your prospects from the age of 12 on are pretty much shot. I know professors in the US who got their PhD in their 40s and work at top ranking universities. In Japan, if mommy and daddy can't afford to send you to a top juku from the 4th grade of elementary school, you are by and large viewed as an educational misfit, on the wrong track and destined for a life of pitied mediocrity.

Again, that these kids go through this absurd, childhood-killing experience for nearly a decade only to be robbed in the end....

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Posted in: 9 more med schools involved in misconduct after another admits exam rigging See in context

Thank god my daughter will be going to university abroad, bypassing the stupid exam culture entirely. Even if it weren't rigged, it's such a warped approach to education.

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Posted in: Japan treats its foreign workers like Kleenex. They have a use-it, toss-it mentality. See in context

Kingston is always spot on.

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Posted in: MSDF punishes senior official who paid for sex with 30 minors See in context

Reading this right after the article about additional med schools rigging exams to bar qualified female candidates seems fitting.

That he doesn't see jail time is astonishing enough. That he'll be back in uniform after a year is just, well, OIJ.

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Posted in: Ninjas 'sneak' into Abe's office to ask for tourism promotion See in context

Sorry, but I find this recent ninja stuff a bit cheesy.

I've always felt the same way. I think it's fine for kids or families but adults who are into ninja-tourism!? I've been to Iga and the surrounding area numerous times and always find plenty of other things to do. But I suppose they have to stand out from the pack somehow, and this region is a bit distant from Ise, Mie's main draw. Plus, they're right in the shadow of Nara and Kyoto, which obviously skim off the overwhelming majority of tourists.

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Posted in: Man arrested over vocational school student’s death See in context

The poor girl and god, how her parents must feel.

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Posted in: Trump says he is not concerned about being impeached; defends payments to women See in context

"I'm not concerned, no. I think that the people would revolt if that happened," he said.

Not that you'd personally fan the flames or incite it, right? And let's all be honest, this is the same type of language we'll hear from our aspiring despot when he loses in 2020 (if he makes it that far). I was robbed, maybe my people should be paying visits to polling stations, armed if necessary etc.

While revolt would be tragic for any innocents affected, it would be interesting to see the full force of our police state brought to bear on the goons he's enabled for the past few years.

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Posted in: Rakuten and Walmart open first Walmart e-commerce store in Japan See in context

More like Walmart's expertise in peddling cheap made in China crap.

Hardly unique to Walmart. Have you ever entered a Daiso or Ko-nan?

Rakuten Inc and Walmart Inc officially opened the first Walmart e-commerce store in Japan, the Walmart Rakuten Ichiba Store, on the Rakuten Ichiba internet shopping mall. The flagship store combines Walmart’s international expertise in delivering high-quality U.S. brand products at great prices and Rakuten’s strengths in online commerce to bring exciting new shopping experiences to Japanese consumers.

Sure reads like a scripted press release. Anyway, what MarkX said, which would mean same as it ever was. Last week I was looking for a door sweep for under my antique wood front door. I went to two different home centers, including a Ko-nan Pro and the best they had was an adhesive clear plastic thing--effective but tacky. So I searched Google and see several better and affordable products available on Amazon.com, but of course when I look for the same item on Amazon.jp or Rakuten either a) they don't sell it or b) if they do, the price magically quadruples before your eyes.

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Posted in: Exploitation, overwork a scourge in seedy world of 'chika idols' See in context

When the only set of skills you offer is looking pretty and dancing, a company can pretty much offer you whatever they want because they know you have no other choice. Call it exploitation, but at the end of the day it's smart business.

Not merely defending cretins but full of admiration for them as well.

Just like English Teaching in Japan, being an 'idol' is an easily replaceable skillset. There will always be people eager to take your place.

Yes, exactly the same. White collar professionals with college degrees coming here by choice for a year or two, and free to leave anytime vs. young women, many of them minors, without a good education, prospects or advocates. You've struck upon the perfect analogy.

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Posted in: Exploitation, overwork a scourge in seedy world of 'chika idols' See in context

Every once in awhile, some unknown girl idol group (not the same one every time) will give a performance in a park in Hachioji. It sickens me to watch (as I pass) not only the bad choreography and karaoke-grade singing, but also the otaku who pay to line up to get a picture, with and maybe a hug from them. When it's all said and done, the groups usually leave with a guy in a cheap suit who is likely the manager.

My favorite are the festivals where the small kids are dancing to hip hop, which by itself is rather cute. But all their families looking on proudly while x-rated rap lyrics blare out always gives me pause.

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Posted in: In rare on-camera clash, Trump, top Democrats argue about border wall See in context

With SOME Americans, a lot of Americans want that wall

Some, a lot, it all sounds so scientific. According to a NPR/Marist poll:

By a 21-point margin — 57 percent to 36 percent — Americans think the president should compromise on the wall to avoid a government shutdown, rather than stand firm. About two-thirds of Republicans say the opposite, and the president has been focused on maintaining his base.

> But not only do most Americans oppose risking a government shutdown over a wall, but more than two-thirds (69 percent) do not believe building a wall should even be an immediate priority for Congress. That includes half who do not believe it should be a priority at all.

I know, like Wikipedia, NPR is probably socialist in your eyes.

https://www.npr.org/2018/12/11/675334306/poll-americans-want-trump-to-compromise-on-border-wall-amid-possible-shutdown

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Posted in: In rare on-camera clash, Trump, top Democrats argue about border wall See in context

The Democrats need to get rid of their elderly leadership. Nancy can't keep up with the conversation. Nancy and Chuck were part of the team that stole the election from Bernie. They need to go !!

You sound just like Dango Bong, suspiciously absent from these here threads of late. Same lame trollery. He too was a Trump fanboy who liked to pretend he was sympathetic to Bernie.

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Posted in: Exploitation, overwork a scourge in seedy world of 'chika idols' See in context

Seems pretty commensurate with what these girls contribute to society ; )

Look, the whole entertainment industry in Japan is an exploitative, open, festering sore and needs to be thoroughly reformed, no doubt, but these girls should take some of the blame: do something else! There are plenty of jobs in Japan right now. These girls thought they would just slack off in high school (if they even graduated) and then make it big because they practiced their tired dance routines down at the station or at the park every night and had a semi cute face. Get a job down at the convenience store like all the non-self-delusional foreigners do in Tokyo.

I'm surprised it took so long for a comment like this to appear. A 1/2 sentence acknowledging the wrongs of a powerful industry before a full paragraph ridiculing vulnerable young women. No doubt most of whom come from broken or disadvantaged families. The only difference between the girl studying at Kyoto University or an idol being exploited by disgusting men is how well off their family is. I can imagine blaming a girl's parents for letting such things happen, but odds are they're not in the picture or capable of doing any such thing. Young girls left to fend for themselves b/c of some myth, like only if they'd pulling themselves up by their own legwarmers is ridiculous.

There are have nots and vulnerable young people living on the edge in any culture, but Japan is unique in how young women in particular are preyed upon by merciless industries, often, as Gogogo alludes, with deeply shady ties. Such contracts would not stand for a single day in the West. But I suppose we should respect our host nation, however venal some of its practices.

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Posted in: In rare on-camera clash, Trump, top Democrats argue about border wall See in context

Pelosi, who told reporters she thought the Democrats had left things "in a pretty good place," said she had prayed with Trump during the private portion of the meeting, recounting the biblical story of King Solomon asking God for wisdom.

This nearly made me vomit up my eggs.

I'm happy he's willing to take ownership of the shutdown. That should go over really well with Americans, especially when it's so clear who is to blame for closed offices and National Parks. Egoists are never able to grasp it when people tire of them. Nor can they see the looming fall.

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Posted in: Panel proposes mass evacuation of coastal areas if mega quake hits See in context

How in the world is the government going to safely see the evacuation of what, roughly 40 million people, which includes Tokyo?

They're not. It took a couple days just to evacuate KIX after a moderately strong typhoon. 40 mil in the hour or so you'd have before a massive wave arrives--the stuff of a bad Hollywood film. My family lives high on the hills in Kobe and we feel pretty safe, but I sure think about them every time I'm at sea level far from the mtns.

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Posted in: Republicans beginning to worry about Trump re-election See in context

So here we go and once again the liberal AP spreading that garbage again. Funny how JT always like to use a lot of liberal sites, but hey...

As the saying goes, reality has a well-known liberal bias.

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Posted in: Republicans beginning to worry about Trump re-election See in context

I wonder. If they switch to someone else, I don't see them being able to win, as Trumpets seem to hate the Republicans, and I don't see them voting for anyone the GOP picked alternatively. If they stick with Trump, they'll get the votes of the Trumpets.

Yes and no. True, many would sit the election out, especially if they perceived the party pushed him aside. But you have to remember how many alienated GOP voters sat things out or crossed party lines in 2016. Some of them in my own family. I know several lifelong republicans, mostly women, who would still vote for a Romney or a McCain (i.e. someone with generally the same destructive policies but "Gosh they don't use that nasty language").

I could do without terms like Trumpets though. Some of these people voted for Obama (roughly 10 percent). Some of them might respond to a candidate like Sanders or Warren, who want to move the Democratic Party back to its roots, which would eat into his midwest/rustbelt support. Trump's most vocal defenders are not representative of 60 million voters. Many of them can be won back. I'm sure this is harder to fathom if your oly regular only contact with Americans or republicans is online.

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Posted in: To quell unrest, France's Macron speeds up tax cuts but vows no U-turn See in context

What CrazyJoe said

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