Jennifer Richardson comments

Posted in: Brits go nuts over squirrel burgers See in context

I eat squirrel all the time (barbecued, fried, or in stew), but I've never tried squirrel burgers. Might have to give it a shot. I find the grocery store stressful, so I frequently pop off a squirrel from the yard or nearby woods with my .22 and cook it up. Way less hassle than bigger game or a trip into town, and I find the flavor quite appealing, not gamey. Especially in places where they're pests, it seems great to put them to use. Sensible management and harvesting of wild game is far less environmentally destructive and more sustainable than the vast majority of livestock farming, particularly when you're talking about invasive species. Here in Texas, invasive feral hogs are a big problem (displacing native wildlife, damaging riparian areas, detrimentally affecting the ecology, and causing billions of dollars of damage to crops and pasture lands) and their population is rapidly expanding despite hunters taking large numbers of them every year. There's a program, I think in Houston, to trap large numbers of them, process them, and serve them at the local food bank, which I think is great. I take one or two every year myself for sausage, but they are a bit of a pain to hunt because they're nocturnal and quite wary, and they no longer come into small traps, only large pen traps.

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Posted in: I think manga is depriving young people of the pleasure of reading real literature. I hope people would return to the written world and the beauty of the past. And get rid of katakana. Katakana should See in context

@JTDanMan

I don't read a lot of manga, but I would say フルーツバスケット (Fruits Basket) has literary merit. The author has a very nuanced emotional intelligence, in my opinion, and the manga deals deftly with important themes such as loss, identity, self-sacrifice, how our connections with others can lead to both healing and self-abnegation...

I also thought Fullmetal Alchemist had interesting things to say about war, imperialism, compassion, etc.

These are both very popular manga (as I said, I don't read a lot of it, so I'm not familiar with the more esoteric stuff); I would imagine that there are more "literary" manga out there that are less mainstream. I don't mean to hold these up as the pinnacle of literary achievement or anything, but they stayed with me, and I found them thought-provoking.

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Posted in: I think manga is depriving young people of the pleasure of reading real literature. I hope people would return to the written world and the beauty of the past. And get rid of katakana. Katakana should See in context

People used to say the same things about those low-brow, trashy books that got so popular in the 18th century...oh, what were they called?...novels.

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Posted in: What’s wrong with English education in Japan? Pull up a chair See in context

@ Fox Sora Winters

The fact that you would ask this on a Japanese news website that's written in English is quite frankly disturbing. As the author pointed out, much of the internet is presented in English. With people using the internet heavily for multiple purposes, it becomes increasingly important to speak English.

Allow me to elaborate. I don't question the utility of learning English, nor the value of being multilingual; I think it's very valuable, and can be very rewarding. However, I know many Japanese who would prefer to learn another Asian language or a Romance language instead. I'm not saying that anyone should be forbidden to learn English, obviously. But it seems fairly obvious to me that if you've got a bunch of students who are apathetic and who get most of their exposure to English from terrible classroom experiences (rather than, you know, actually interacting with or in English on the internet, where it's so pervasive, or via media) that at least part of their lack of motivation and competence might stem from the fact that they don't actually want or need to learn English. Trust me, you can live and work perfectly well in Japan and consume all the media and internet you want without being able to speak English. Also, come on--do you really think Japanese people need to read Japan Today in English or they'll miss out? This site is obviously for native English speakers. Its existence is more or less completely irrelevant.

Anecdotally, I grew up in Texas, and we were forced to learn Spanish (my town was small, and we had no other options); Spanish was obviously the most practical choice, and there's a far better chance of interacting with a Spanish speaker in Texas than there is a fluent or native English speaker in Japan. I did the bare minimum to pass my classes, and can stumble through a painful bit of conversation in Spanish if I want to. This is despite studying abroad in Mexico and having multiple opportunities to practice Spanish everyday in normal life, if I wanted to. On the other hand, I never had the opportunity to formally study Japanese (a much, much more difficult language than Spanish, at least for the vast majority of native English speakers), but I chose it for myself, and I was extremely motivated, learned very quickly, and continue to derive great pleasure and value from Japanese.

Frankly, I find it a little disturbing that you seem to view English as the only possible foreign language of value to Japanese people, and assume that I am some sort of bizarre crusader against multiculturalism or multilingualism because I don't believe every single Japanese person should be forced to learn English whether or not they are interested or good at it, and despite the fact that other languages may be more fulfilling for them personally or professionally.

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Posted in: What’s wrong with English education in Japan? Pull up a chair See in context

@ Fox Sora Winters

The fact that you would ask this on a Japanese news website that's written in English is quite frankly disturbing. As the author pointed out, much of the internet is presented in English. With people using the internet heavily for multiple purposes, it becomes increasingly important to speak English.

Allow me to elaborate. I don't question the utility of learning English, nor the value of being multilingual; I think it's very valuable, and can be very rewarding. However, I know many Japanese who would prefer to learn another Asian language or a Romance language instead. I'm not saying that anyone should be forbidden to learn English, obviously. But it seems fairly obvious to me that if you've got a bunch of students who are apathetic and who get most of their exposure to English from terrible classroom experiences (rather than, you know, actually interacting with or in English on the internet, where it's so pervasive, or via media) that at least part of their lack of motivation and competence might stem from the fact that they don't actually want or need to learn English. Trust me, you can live and work perfectly well in Japan and consume all the media and internet you want without being able to speak English. Also, come on--do you really think Japanese people need to read Japan Today in English or they'll miss out? This site is obviously for native English speakers. Its existence is more or less completely irrelevant.

Anecdotally, I grew up in Texas, and we were forced to learn Spanish (my town was small, and we had no other options); Spanish was obviously the most practical choice, and there's a far better chance of interacting with a Spanish speaker in Texas than there is a fluent or native English speaker in Japan. I did the bare minimum to pass my classes, and can stumble through a painful bit of conversation in Spanish if I want to. This is despite studying abroad in Mexico and having multiple opportunities to practice Spanish everyday in normal life, if I wanted to. On the other hand, I never had the opportunity to formally study Japanese (a much, much more difficult language than Spanish, at least for the vast majority of native English speakers), but I chose it for myself, and I was extremely motivated, learned very quickly, and continue to derive great pleasure and value from Japanese.

Frankly, I find it a little disturbing that you seem to view English as the only possible foreign language of value to Japanese people, and assume that I am some sort of bizarre crusader against multiculturalism or multilingualism because I don't believe every single Japanese person should be forced to learn English whether or not they are interested or good at it, and despite the fact that other languages may be more fulfilling for them personally or professionally.

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Posted in: What’s wrong with English education in Japan? Pull up a chair See in context

I don't see why they must all be forced to learn English in the first place.

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Posted in: Across 3 continents, Ebola makes its way to U.S. See in context

Now many more cases of Ebola are found in U.S.

Source? As far as I know, Duncan is the only confirmed case to develop in the US so far.

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Posted in: Texas tracks 50 exposed to Ebola; 10 'high risk' See in context

Yeah, well, you'd be smarter to depend on the CDC, modern medicine and functioning public health system.

Eh, well, belief in a benevolent higher power tends to lower stress levels and increase positive affect, which should boost immune function. She probably needs all the help she can get.

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Posted in: As midterm elections loom, Obama touts economic gains See in context

I agree that many have racist motivations for despising Obama, but choosing to tout the marginal and highly unequal economic "recovery" seems politically tone-deaf, if not pathetic. Is there anyone on either side of the aisle who trusts the derivation of the economic indicators he's citing or believes that any of the underlying causes or the most repugnant excesses of the 2008 crisis or the recession have actually been addressed? I think a lot of Obama's shortcomings are a function of timing; he became President right when the public had reached a tipping point of lost faith in almost all our institutions--in the soundness of our democratic process, in endless debt-based growth, in America's role as global arbiters of peace and democracy, in the trustworthiness of our law enforcement, military, and intelligence agencies and personnel, in the two-party system, in the viability of social security and other social safety net programs, in the criminal justice system, etc. Politics and politicians are corrupt, polarized, authoritarian, out of touch, and downright farcical most of the time--and speeches like this fall firmly into the "farcical" category, to my mind.

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Posted in: Grande hug See in context

Wow, I live in the US (under a rock, apparently) and I've never heard of her.

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Posted in: What do you think of smartwatches? Would you wear one? See in context

I really like my Fitbit, so maybe, although I'm not generally a gadget person. The smart watch seems like it has too many features for me to be comfortable with, though...kind of overwhelming. Plus expensive.

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Posted in: Evil not so banal, says disturbing new probe See in context

Okay, but a lethal dose? This still baffles me, no matter how many times I read about these experiments. I might have shocked some poor sucker in the name of science for a while, as long as he seemed like a willing participant, but as soon as he starts to resist...I just don't get it. And killing him off? I mean, what sane person could really believe that Yale was authorized (or willing) to administer lethal doses of electricity as part of their experiments? Did the participants think these "learners" were death row inmates or something? It defies belief.

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Posted in: Ehime’s new women’s prison decorated powder pink 'to relieve feelings of oppression' See in context

Female guards & access to gynecological services, etc. are sensible and decent measures, but the pink seems a bit ridiculous and kind of a waste of money. On the other hand, maybe a more pleasant/less institutional environment helps prevent conflict between prisoners and with guards, etc.? And reduced psychological stress probably reduces spending on medical services, if it improves people's mood, I suppose. I find that sort of coddling a bit distasteful, but maybe it serves its purpose.

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Posted in: 'Legroom war' rages as planes grow more cramped See in context

Wow, everyone I've ever flown next to, behind, or in front of has been incredibly polite, kind, and friendly, and none of them has ever impinged on my personal space or minded if I reclined my seat slightly for comfort. I always think everyone's really nice on planes...

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Posted in: Japan rolls out campaign to stockpile toilet paper See in context

Wait, wait...expiration date? For toilet paper?

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Posted in: U.S. gun tourism grows in popularity See in context

their job is to protect and serve. They have strict rules around the usage of their firearms, and firearms are necessary for their line of work. None of these are true for private citizens

But usually in a violent situation, it's not like a cop can get there till after the fact. I've had to defend myself twice with a gun, and it is my belief (of course no way to verify) that I would have been seriously harmed, maybe killed, in both cases if I'd not had a weapon. All a cop could have done is maybe investigate afterward and possibly apprehend whoever did it. So I can't really agree that a cop has more of a mandate to protect him/herself or others than a private citizen does. I'd also say that a cop's job is not so much to protect and serve as to control & enforce, but that's another story.

Strict rules for using firearms--true in principle, but how often are cops held accountable? The cop who pointed a rifle in Ferguson & declared, "I'll ***ing kill you"--an outright death threat with a deadly weapon--was threatening journalists & was caught on tape* and has he been charged with a crime? I'm surprised he was even suspended, honestly--probably only because of all the hoopla & publicity the department already had going on.

I'm a rancher & use firearms regularly in managing my property--without them, I'd likely be out of business due to destructive invasive species, so I'd say they're necessary to my job. Would you be okay with people like me having them?

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Posted in: U.S. gun tourism grows in popularity See in context

@ Strangerland

Gun ownership by the public is by definition irresponsible

I'm curious about your thoughts on this. Since you specify "by the public," do you then believe that it's responsible/acceptable for people such as, say, cops or soldiers to own guns, or are you against guns qua guns no matter in whose hands? If not, why them and not private citizens? Have cops or the military proven themselves particularly worthy or accountable in your eyes, that it seems like a good idea to further concentrate power and deadly force in their hands? Would your feelings change if private citizens underwent equal training to what a cop or soldier undergoes before they were allowed to own guns?

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Posted in: U.S. gun tourism grows in popularity See in context

@ Jimizo

Ah, sorry, I misunderstood what you were saying. I agree that that documentary sounds disturbing. I find the glorification of guns kind of creepy, too, and whatever would compel parents to gleefully videotape their nine-year-old shooting full-auto is repugnant to me. That kind of thing is obviously performative, too, making a point or almost a joke with the juxtaposition of a little girl and a big, deadly gun. You see it with adult women, too, but often more sexualized--posing with guns like it's sexy or shocking or funny (I guess because guns are still seen as a guy thing, mostly). And of course there's a lot of machismo, too, with men using their love of powerful guns as shorthand for how tough they are. It's contemptible, somewhere between pathetic and disturbing. And these sorts of gun tourist places play on the worst of all that, of course.

Honestly, my feelings about guns for self-defense are pretty much along the lines of, "Well, everybody else here has a gun, so I am not going to be the only one without one." Also, being a woman of average size and lacking any sort of improbable martial arts skills or what-have-you, I have found that guns even the odds when I'm threatened with physical or sexual violence, and so I'm reluctant to give them up for that reason.

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Posted in: U.S. gun tourism grows in popularity See in context

@badsey

Yeah, I just shelled out for .22LR from bulkammo.com and have been weeping over my pocketbook ever since. You can't get any in the stores near me, and it's soooo expensive online compared to what I used to be able to get it for. Is the lack really because of hoarders? Why haven't manufacturers increased supply to meet that demand--is it to keep prices high? Or just lack of capacity?

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Posted in: U.S. gun tourism grows in popularity See in context

@ Jimizo

I am curious why you think self-defense is a smokescreen? Data is mixed on the effectiveness of guns for self-defense, but I know many people who own them sincerely for that reason. It's one of my two main reasons, along with hunting, for owning guns. For my part, I don't "love" guns, they're simply an efficient & effective means to an end. I find the idea of loving a gun a little incomprehensible, like loving a car or any other piece of machinery. I know some people do, but it seems a little silly to me. But to each their own, of course, as long as one is responsible about it.

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Posted in: U.S. gun tourism grows in popularity See in context

Not sure if I will ever understand the fanatic gun hobby of conservative Americans. It's a primitive tool which only purpose is to kill or harm. A very questionable hobby indeed.

Well, Uzi tourism is one thing, but guns in general are another. I'm far (faaaaar) from conservative, but I own guns & use them often for hunting as well as for self-defense. Not only can I provide myself & my family with healthy, sustainable, delicious, seasonally varied food, I also provide a substantial amount for older and poorer people in town, and help control destructive invasive species in the process. Used to be that our whole county farm (the place where old people with no money or families went when they couldn't take care of themselves) was fed this way, from hunting, fishing, and people's gardens. Much healthier than the processed slop nursing home residents are fed now in our town--and they're paying $3,000+ a month for the privilege. You may call it a "primitive tool," but some people lack the privilege or the desire to divorce themselves from "primitive" needs like food and physical security.

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Posted in: U.S. gun tourism grows in popularity See in context

It's crazy to let someone that small & inexperienced shoot full-auto. Just completely senseless.

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Posted in: Gov't advises citizens to stockpile toilet paper See in context

Honestly not having enough toilet paper during a disaster really sucks and can exacerbate sanitation issues. Obviously things like potable water should take priority, but if you have room, stockpiling it makes sense. I grew up in hurricane country & we certainly never regretted having it on hand.

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Posted in: Guide dog stabbed while walking with owner See in context

Despicable. Objectively, I know that there are many worse crimes occurring, but that is just really low.

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Posted in: Police kill TV crew member while filming reality show 'Cops' See in context

Oh my god. Not a good month for US cops. Also, dude's concern should be less that his officers are taking it hard, and more that they, y'know, pointlessly, recklessly shot an innocent bystander.

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Posted in: Special English zones proposed as part of Cool Japan tourism initiative See in context

"Cool Japan" is such a painfully uncool tagline that I always find it hard to get past the cringe in order to evaluate their initiatives on their own merit...

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Posted in: Fresh violence in riot-hit Missouri town; new autopsy ordered See in context

So wait, the did woman get shot by cops, or by whom?

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Posted in: The fuzzy logic behind Japanese attachment to kanji See in context

I found kanji difficult at first, but now when I read things all in kana (even something simple, like children's books) it's a nightmare. Kanji definitely seem more efficient and easier to parse in long texts, and they usually make compounds easier to decipher. They are also beautiful and meaningful in their own right. Much of the beauty and intricacy of language would not exist if we sought to excise all but its most efficient and logical aspects. Japanese poetry without any kanji? Japanese classical texts all translated into pure kana or romaji because no one can read kanji anymore? I think it would be a great loss. Japanese is one of the most beautiful and fascinating languages I have ever studied. And I don't see why Japanese people should have to justify their language to anyone, on logical grounds or elsewise.

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Posted in: Texas boy, 7, shoots 8-year-old cousin See in context

@ Frungy

Thanks for your well-considered answer. Your comments have changed my perspective on this issue. And that Chris Rock vid was funny!

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Posted in: Lowest number of elementary and junior high school students ever as birthrate continue to decline See in context

I understand the economic reasons for wanting to increase the birthrate, but it does seem like, considering the strain on global natural resources and ecosystems, etc. and the very high rate of resource consumption per capita in highly developed countries like Japan, that birthrates at or below the rate of replacement are in many ways desirable in the long-term.

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