jonswan comments

Posted in: Qatar and Russia World Cups make sense See in context

The choices were certainly intriguing, but bonkers too - Russia is totally corrupt from end to end and will need massive infrastructure development seeing as the games may be thousands of miles apart - sounds like a logistical nightmare. Qatar doesn't even have enough space for the stadiums - is the whole country as big as Tokyo? And the 50-degree summer heat? They say they'll build huge air conditioning systems for the stadiums, which sounds environmentally ruinous. I think at least one of 2018 or 2022 should've gone to Spain - they won it!

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Posted in: 70,000 commuters delayed by quarrel over cell phone on train in Chiba See in context

Perhaps the true cause was being on the train to work on Monday morning at 6:40. That would annoy the hell out of me - bad manners would tip me over the edge.... I think we should be grateful that this doesn't happen much more often. The blame does not lie with JR in this particular case - that's nonsense.

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Posted in: Retailer Don Quijote pulls Nazi outfit after complaint See in context

Because the Nazis were one of modern history's biggest (black) jokes I don't think this is serious - I mean, come on, lighten up. They were culturally, artistically, historically, physically and militarily ultimately a useless, pitiful joke and I think it's ok to laugh like hell at them. I wouldn't buy it myself though...

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Posted in: Jack Bauer will always be having a bad day See in context

I stopped watching it at series 4 when it became obvious that it was being used as a tool to allow the USA to use torture - indeed, it was a favourite program for soldiers in Iraq where widespread torture of Iraqis became the norm. Shame really as the first few series were great. And even weirder; Keifer S is a Democrat.

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Posted in: Crowe and arrows See in context

It's a pretty good film but it's seriously compromised by his wandering accent - he goes from Northern to Irish to Geordie to Liverpudlian - I'm just amazed that it wasn't pointed out to him on a largely English film set.

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Posted in: What do you think of Wikipedia? See in context

As a person who delves into history a lot, I have to say Wikipedia is wonderful, though not flawless. It is an incredible source of information - I just wish it was around when I was at university because it essentially means that, armed with a computer or smart phone, answers to so many questions are right next to you.

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Posted in: Why do you think that Christmas decorations and illumination displays are put up so early in Japan? See in context

There's one reason and one reason alone - to encourage people to spend money. But it doesn't work - this is Japan, remember; people don't spend money, they save it.

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Posted in: The effects of a frugal Japanese society See in context

Most of the Japanese I know - and that includes couples who both work and one of which is a high level manager - would crawl across broken glass to save 500 yen. It came as quite a surprise to know so many people who were going mental for the recent 'eco points' deal on TVs. It's strange to think that the Japanese save a high proportion of their salaries in return for essentially zero percent interest in return. It defies logic. And if I tell them that I bought something like a camera or a Mac, Japanese friends make that 'shocked beyond belief' face and go "eeeeeeeee?" as if I've just broken into Fort Knox and spent all the money therein. I don't know how they got so pathological about spending money - non of them spending money results in .... deflation, so non of them benefit.

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Posted in: Man who 'fished' underwear from balcony arrested in Kobe See in context

Yeah, exactly how bad do you need those panties to construct a fishing line scenario out on the balcony - to have come up with that would've taken me days! By then, my ardour would've probably subsided....

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Posted in: Man who 'fished' underwear from balcony arrested in Kobe See in context

Absolutely hilarious and kind of pitiful at the same time - I mean, if you were a real pervert you'd want to get hold of those panties before they got cleaned, right? I mean, you might as well go buy them from a store? Imagine the indignity? Imagine if it was your father/brother/son? That's cheered me up anyway - no matter how low you go, there's always someone prepared to go lower....

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Posted in: Make way for the Butt Police See in context

They are fighting the symptoms and the disease by also putting up the price, finally. Getting smoke in my face is worse than someone farting in my face - it's carcinogenic and I don't want to be anywhere near it. Toughen up? Don't be ridiculous.

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Posted in: Mother arrested for selling porn images of 4-year-old daughter See in context

Never mind the karma - this woman deserves major jail time, to show her how much of a stinking repulsive human being she is.

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Posted in: Do you agree with Japan's decision to release the captain of a Chinese fishing boat that collided with a Japanese patrol boat that was pursuing it near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea? See in context

Gurukun:

The news said that the Japanese coast guard admitted that no ramming happened intentionally - you going out and intentionally ramming a coast guard vessel would be different, no?

And the area is disputed among China, Japan and Taiwan, and is directly in the middle of all three. Guilt in this case is more difficult to ascertain that going out ramming.

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Posted in: Do you agree with Japan's decision to release the captain of a Chinese fishing boat that collided with a Japanese patrol boat that was pursuing it near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea? See in context

Should have been? But he was arrested and detained. And he should've been released earlier to stop antagonising Japan's biggest trading partner. Japan's behaviour was rather arrogant over the whole incident. Besides, the Japanese announced that he hadn't intentionally rammed their patrol boats. He was there fishing. The only way these disputed islands can be less disputed is having a grown up dialogue with the Chinese and Taiwanese because war over this would be insane. Sharing the islands and the mineral wealth beneath would make most sense.

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Posted in: How the iPad won over an unbeliever See in context

The iPad's been such a phenomenal success that it must be doing a lot of things right. For me, I'm waiting for version 2, which should be faster and have a camera for Skype calls. If you find yourself saying how bad the iPad is and want something else, please go ahead and buy something else, but stop complaining about the iPad. Seems reasonable to me.

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Posted in: No train trip would be complete without an ekiben boxed lunch See in context

Overlooked? Never. Ekibens are works of art.

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Posted in: Tokyo experiences coldest mid-April day in nearly 50 years See in context

Climate and weather are two different things - the planet is warming up, but that doesn't mean we won't get unusual weather like this; why is that so hard to understand? If you think global warming is a joke then stick around a while because I don't think lame humour will get us out of the mess we're going to find ourselves increasingly in.

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Posted in: Right-wingers vow to block release of 'The Cove' in Japan See in context

The fact that they are so up in arms about The Cove shows how much they have to hide.

I downloaded in on iTunes and the way the fishermen go about the slaughter is revolting and grotesque - no wonder they don't want it being seen. Dolphins are seriously intelligent creatures that they're just corralling and harpooning them without pity. And the fact that they also tried to pass off dolphin meat as other fish despite its massively unhealthy levels of mercury just defies belief. It is right that the film be shown - why shouldn't it be?

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Posted in: Anti-smoking 'monsters' have smokers on the run See in context

I find smoking particularly revolting, but then I'm an ex-smoker. The fact that 60% of people don't smoke and yet non smokers get a tiny part of a bar to crouch in while the smokers get 90% of it is a little unfair. To have to work in constant smoky conditions for non smoking bar staff must be rotten. Going back to the UK to drink in a pub without going home with the stench of other people's smoke is rather nice. Changing the law here wouldn't necessarily lead to other draconian laws - that's just silly and using the Niemoller quote is misguided. Nobody's going to take away free speech - but even if they did it's not like most people in Japan would notice it in such a rigidly controlled society. One thing the J-government could do is start putting up the taxes on cigarettes more in line with other developed country - it would certainly help bring down the titanic national debt or pay for a few pensions..

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Posted in: Bare statistics mask human cost of Japan’s high suicide rate See in context

It's great to read so many smart posts on here - a lot of good thinking going on. Lots of truths, some of which may be painful to Japanese;

the bushido/samurai thing is silly and people should move beyond it the gambare culture is often the wrong choice shyness can cripple society is rigidly controlled, almost as if the nation was at war and social control was vital a lack of sleep is a serious factor in levels of depression and bad health (try it; it's real) the work/life balance is warped beyond belief in favour of work; it's fundamentally insane Smiling in Japan seems to be illegal; looking miserable is a grotesque national habit debt is a major factor ditto the idea of shame so much of modern 'culture' seems staggeringly superficial the 'work comes first' culture here is difficult for westerners to understand. Rarely would we subjugate our entire lives to make other people rich; it defies logic. Not in Japan.

And my own personal views on the matter; I've felt suicidal at times in my life; what's kept me back are: embarrassment, an ability to see beyond the short term, a fundamental interest in life - even the bad bits, my imagination, my mother's possible reaction to it, the stupidity of the act itself, and the fact that you've got the rest of eternity to be dead; suicide is the ultimate stupidity, the ultimate lack of imagination. The Japanese don't show much imagination - hence suicide can seem a plausible alternative to an unfulfilled and difficult life. It's not an easy situation to resolve.

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Posted in: The Japanese media and its Orwellian nature See in context

I agree - nice but rather obvious. I gave away my TV a long time ago - the standard and content of J-TV tends to be extremely poor, lowbrow and nonsensical. I couldn't call it entertainment. Time for a shake up of the media perhaps? However, these things come in cycles, so let's hope that kids of the future don't mindlessly follow mindless media bores. Media, government and schools need to promote reading - it's better brain work than TV and magazines. Kawaii and sugoi - yes, I wish they'd find another adjectives. A point: the title 1984 is widely known to have been 1948 twisted around, so in fact it's not true that it is overlooked by most.

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Posted in: Here's hoping Formula One gets even more boring See in context

Formula 1 should be banned very soon - a finite resource (oil) going up in smoke as very similar cars drive round and round a track for entertainment, not forgetting all the oil they need to cart their F1 circus from country to country. In 20-30 years time, when oil is truly running out, we will all shake our heads in disbelief at our complete stupidity. Without oil, we will be heading back toward the stone age, for more or less everything we use in our lives needs it.

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Posted in: What can be done to stem the suicide rate in Japan, which surpasses 30,000 each year? See in context

Government should implement a lower maximum of working hours and enforce strictly Make taking holidays an essential prerequisite for a healthier life More support for mental health issues rather than sweeping the whole thing under a destructive self-defeating carpet of ignorance and fear Get rid of this foolish idea of shame that pervades everything

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Posted in: Do you believe in life after death? See in context

The idea that a huge number of people on earth believe in life after death is truly disturbing. It is an utterly fallacious and desperately self-obsessive, self-indulgent childish fantasy. The idea that a god (or gods) created the universe billions of years ago just so that you can drink beer, drive a Prius, mess about on the internet, fall in love, marry, get broken hearted, cheat, lie, spread joy and pain and all the other complicated things that people do is the silliest possible thing you could ever imagine. The central question would be: why? It's not like we are a brilliant race; only a dominant one, and one that finds it desperately hard to appreciate each other, manage our environment and our time. We are a small minded, mostly insular race of limited intelligence. If there was a supreme being, he'd probably have come up with something far better. The God squad also have another problem; they have no evidence. Not a scrap. And if you think being part of a church is the right answer then you need only look to the colossal heap of immorality that is the Catholic church to see that answer leads nowhere. And if you think a loving God presides over us, what about the tsunami that killed 300,000 people a few years back in Indonesia? God is a simplistic answer, but it is the wrong answer. The answer is to appreciate your life, even the bad bits, and spread a little joy, and if you can't do that, try to be good and fill your life with interest. And try to veer away from the 'life is no accident, we're off to heaven' crowd of obsessive fantasists. Life is for living now, so get on with it.

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Posted in: Do you support a ban on the trade of bluefin tuna? See in context

Anyone who doesn't support the ban is bordering on the clinically insane; tuna stocks have been totally decimated by 20-30 years of overfishing (80% of which is due to Japan) to the point where a few more years and they'll be totally gone. They need a chance to replenish themselves. This is a test case to gauge human stupidity. Oishi? Yes, but it's more complicated than that. The idiocy defies belief.

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Posted in: Some wives wish their husbands would hurry up and drop dead. See in context

Pretty funny story - in a black comedy sort of way. I'm sure there are a certain numbers of men and women in all societies who wouldn't mind if their husband/boy/girlfriend vanished or went up in smoke. It's a sad fact that society and personal circumstances force some people to stay together when they don't want to be. Financial independence (i.e. your own part time job) would in many cases even here in Japan result in the far safer and less demonic choice of divorce compared to staying where you are and feeling imprisoned. Still, bringing up one child, cooking the occasional bento for the absent husband, farming out the kid to the grandparents, spending the day at the gym or with friends - gosh, that sounds like a nightmare life to me....

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Posted in: I’m shut out of my daughter’s life See in context

It seems unbearably sad that a father can't get access to his daughter due to the legal system here in Japan; whether you think it's racist or not, it certainly seems draconian and outdated, and does not serve the interests of the children. I would hate to think that the woman in question will bring up their child hating the father; it just isn't right and will lead to damaging the child. Therefore, the woman, if she truly cared for her daughter's welfare and mental health, would grow up and give the father decent access. There is a coldness here in Japan which frightens me; it's almost as if the woman (and the courts) do not see the father as a person with feelings and concerns. He has my sympathies.

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Posted in: Professor charged in fatal shooting on Alabama campus See in context

The old adage that 'people kill not guns' is foolish semantic-quibbling garbage; people with guns kill people a lot - and civilians tend to do it a lot in the USA. When will they ever learn? I already know the answer: never. Why? Because guns are a desperate cockeyed passion, and they can't seem to grow up and grow out of it. Fences round campuses would help, as would security screening - it might create a lot of jobs too.

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Posted in: Japan, China still at odds over 'Rape of Nanking' See in context

The fact that Japanese historians and professors are still arguing that 'only' up to 200,000 were killed in Nanking whereas the Chinese state it was nearer 300,000 speaks volumes. I mean, the horrendous violence was still there; civilians slaughtered en masse for sport as the Japanese went on a demented rampage. Imagine if the Germans were still arguing over figures of how many the Nazis killed? In fact, some old Nazi sympathisers do still argue over holocaust figures but these people are nutjobs who do not represent what every German school child is taught, openly. Nanking was an utter disgrace to Japan, as was much of what they did in Asia from 1930s-45 and the fact that historians still feel they need to argue over the exact figures makes me seriously uncomfortable. Japan needs to come clean about what it did, teach it openly, make sure it isn't twisted for nationalistic ends, then move on. Growing up hurts, I know, but there is no alternative.

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Posted in: Toyota is in the soup and doesn't seem to know it See in context

It's not unique to Japan but the idea of sticking your head in the sand and simply denying a problem exists happens here a lot. In Japan though, it's the shame thing, but look where it's got them? That parts of the Japanese media are calling it an anti-Japanese invention are equally delusional. I had thought about a Toyota on returning to Britain next year, but this issue has made that possibility now less than zero. When some of your customers are crashing and dying due your faulty products just about the most heinous, deceitful and disgraceful thing you could possibly do is pretend that no problem exists. The least the whole board of directors at Toyota could do is resign en masse. This is going to take a bit more than a few bows and mumbles of regret.

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