jpn_guy comments

Posted in: Weather watchers record 30 C at 6 a.m. at marathon starting point See in context

Interesting to see all the people logging on (many who are presumably Americans?) to call the Japanese organizers morons, either unaware or just not remembering that one major whole reason the Olympics have to be held in August is to satisfy the demand to maximize advertising revenue by holding the Olympics when it does not clash with the NBA, MLB and NFL (as well as EPL, UEFA and other competitions admittedly).

The IOC is a big driver of this but I would imagine the US broadcasters lobby quite heavily not to have the Olympics in the fall as it would hit them in their pockets too.

So while it is true that Japan lied in the bid about Tokyo's pleasant summer climate (or whatever the wording was), they are hamstrung with the August dates which are dictated by the IOC / broadcasters due to circumstances outside their control.

I might add that, whatever Japan claimed in the bid, it should not have been too hard for the bid committee to spend five seconds Googling Tokyo's actual climate.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: We need to establish new qualifications for Japanese language teachers, ensure Japanese language classes are available in all parts of the country, and that there is cooperation between universities and companies to create and utilize educational programs for foreign students. See in context

He wanted to build a theory of SLA based upon first language acquisition, which language researchers now realize is both inappropriate and simply wrong.

Yet we do not learn a new language unconsciously—the basis of Krashen’s personal theory.

This is too simplistic a rejection. Clearly an adult looking up a word in a dictionary is performing a conscious act. But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Simple observation tells us that language usage is underpinned by unconscious processes.

If you summarize an hour long speech in your native language, do you remember the original speech word for word. Of course not! But can you summarize it? Of course you can. Do you have completely conscious awareness of how your brain has distilled the stream of speech you can not longer remember into ideas you can summarize? Is that process really conscious?

Why can an expert in a field learn a new word related to that field after hearing it once? Why does a native speaker with no conceptual network in the same field fail to "hold on" to the same word and repeatedly forget it? What is governing this association between semantic networks and phonological memory? Is that relationship conscious?

When you are in full flow at a dinner party in your native language, are you consciously recalling grammar points and usage rules as you speak? Is the control of your delivery conscious?

Since any truly proficient second language speaker can do all of the above iIt follows then that they must also be employing unconscious processes in their L2 usage.

The question (which I am sure you have already thought of) then becomes, to what extent are all the processes that allow us to employ the above unconscious processes themselves also unconscious?

I guess this is where the disagreement creeps in.

What do we require to do to kick the above unconscious processes into gear? Clearly, in the case of an adult, some of the work, like the above example of looking up words in a dictionary and learning basic grammar rules to even begin comprehending a text, is conscious. Attending and focusing on input is also conscious. But the end result of these conscious processes is an unconsciously controlled performance competence, as per the above examples.

Do conscious leargnig directly produce the unconscious competence?

Given the number of people who fail terribly in attempts to acquire a second language, I would argue not. There seems to be some interface in between.

I think that there must be unconscious neural reorganization processes preparing the way for the unconscious performance competence. Whether any given individual succeeds in achieving unconscious performance competence depends on whether their language learning method does or does not successfully provoke this reorganization.

Individuals who employ mass input methods appear very successful in provoking this reorganization (see Matt vs Japan as one anecdotal example)

Those who harness masses of comprehensive input can kick start the "language engine" that leads to the ability to perform the task above.

More importantly, masses of comprehensible input is the only input that feeds the unconscious brain reorganization processes required to produce the unconscious competence. That is why people who learn using inferior methods only achieve true competence after moving to and immersing in the target language. The methods they have initially used are not sufficient to start the engine running.

I don't think you can deny that learning a second language is a matter of acquiring unconsciously controlled performance competence, since no-one can speak while explicitly recalling all the rules.

Again simply observation tells us that language acquisition is, by definition, a process or "rewiring" the brain".

Krashen is correct to identify the 1) sequence masses of comprehensible input 2) provoking unconscious acquisition processes 3) leading to unconscious performance competence.

This applies to both L1 and L2 learners so I would argue that your blanket statement that "L2 acquisition is not the same as L1 acquisition" is not true, at least not at this level of abstraction.

You quote Schmidt's model as if it negates Krashen, but this is a misunderstanding. Schmit's model of attention and noticing is simply a prescriptive model of what you need to do to build and feed in comprehensive input in the first place. I don't think Krashen says that there is no need to even pay attention to the stimulus. That of course is a given. Suggesting that the comprehensible input theory means you do not have to interact with the input is a misunderstanding based on the theories association with unconscious learning. This happens later in the sequence.

For a child, the comprehensive input is situational and context driven. An adult, particularly learning alone or in isolation from the target language community, needs other means to build the comprehensible input (which must be audio if we are learn to speak).

As adults learn to read faster than they learn to listen and understand, bootstrapping listening ability from text you can already read (by looking up words and making sure you understand a text completely before listenig to it repeatedly) offers and accelerated way to generate the comprehensible input.

Clearly, this is qualitatively different from who children build their input, but once the input is in place and being fed into the engine, the way the brain reorganizes and labels the internal mental map of concepts using the information provided is substantially the same in the case of both children and adults.

This is the approach employed by lingq.

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Posted in: We need to establish new qualifications for Japanese language teachers, ensure Japanese language classes are available in all parts of the country, and that there is cooperation between universities and companies to create and utilize educational programs for foreign students. See in context

@Byte Carp

If you can read a lot of Japanese already, but struggle with listening, you want transcripts with audio, lots of them. Go through the transcript to make sure you understand it all. Then listen while reading. Then remove the text. You can do this with multiple texts over months. There is no rush as the ability to comprehend the audio without the text takes a long time to take root. This method, as you can see, harnesses the principle of comprehensible listening, so you are never listening to what you don't understand. It works for all ages accept the under 12-13 age bracket, since of course kids of that age cannot learn to read faster than they can learn to interpret audio. However, anyone of any age (right into retirement age ) who can learn to read and interpret new vocabulary faster than they would be able learn and remember it purely by ear can benefit from the above "bootstrapping method".

The website lingq (which has a lot of extraneous features, like coins and avatars to appeal to kids - you can safely ignore these features) has reams of transcripts with accompanying audio for just the above kind of controlled "listen to what you can already read" listening immersion. It is based on principle of comprehensive input, so in that sense is a direct child of Dr. Krashen. There are texts (with parallel audio) for all levels of learner.

I've not used it for Japanese, but Japanese is one of the options. You need to pay for it though ( I won' write anymore in case this gets removed on suspicion of being an ad. I am not connected with the site).

Good luck then.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: We need to establish new qualifications for Japanese language teachers, ensure Japanese language classes are available in all parts of the country, and that there is cooperation between universities and companies to create and utilize educational programs for foreign students. See in context

The downvotes on the above comment are interesting.

Who really thinks it is actually a good idea to give children, who are already confused about the structure and usage of a language, multiple choice tests so that they spend a lot of time reading sentences that are grammatically incorrect (or incomplete in the case of fill in the blank type exercises).

(As I mentioned, let's hope this is not actually what will happen with the foreign kids learning Japanese. Maybe someone from the Ministry is reading this page and will heed this advice?)

Well, I guess since it is common practice in language education in Japan to perform all manner of tests using incomplete linguistic fragments, and these are techniques that have been used down the years to force millions of children to waste millions of hours, someone somewhere must think it is a good idea.

I've never heard anyone explain why though....

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: We need to establish new qualifications for Japanese language teachers, ensure Japanese language classes are available in all parts of the country, and that there is cooperation between universities and companies to create and utilize educational programs for foreign students. See in context

--although they can spout the elements of the Natural Order hypothesis, they simultaneously espouse the value of multiple-choice grammar questions that target, for example, the third-person singular 's' in the early years of L2 English learning

This is a very important point. Multiple choice questions by definition introduce children to (or at least encourage children to look at ) grammatically incorrect answers, "scrambling their input" as it were. They are numerous variations on this, such as reordering incorrectly ordered sentences and the like. There is so much to be gained from simply eliminating all such exercises and making sure a child only ever sees pure, unadulterated correct sentences.

Maybe the Ministry won't be testing foreign language learners of Japanese like this.

Maybe the above worries are completely unfounded and an institution that has absolutely no idea how to teach foreign language to its own citizens will suddenly start employing effective techniques when teaching its own language to foreign students.

With apologies for piggybacking on this post, seeing kids with an incomplete model of English struggle through testing that further confuses, rather than clarifies their internal model of the language is one of the reasons why I claim the Ministry of Education is in no position to be teaching language to anyone and has no idea what they are doing.

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Posted in: We need to establish new qualifications for Japanese language teachers, ensure Japanese language classes are available in all parts of the country, and that there is cooperation between universities and companies to create and utilize educational programs for foreign students. See in context

If the above response is TLDR - here is the short version.

The above comment on the ministry's lack of understanding of language learning issues very much applies to late teenagers arriving with their parents and no Japanese ability.

They will have their confidence and ability absolutely destroyed by, for example, Japanese teachers trying to teach them detailed Japanese grammar points in bad Portuguese / Spanish / Chinese.

Perhaps I am completely wrong and that is not their approach.

But if the Ministry had knowledge on how to implement good monolingual instruction to older children, why would they no be applying that knowledge to the disastrous state of English teaching.

That is why the evidence suggests they are lacking in that knowledge.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: We need to establish new qualifications for Japanese language teachers, ensure Japanese language classes are available in all parts of the country, and that there is cooperation between universities and companies to create and utilize educational programs for foreign students. See in context

Speaking three foreign languages, I often get animated on this topic, so it is a shame that one poster reads a long (and what I thinks¥ is a well though out) contribution and their first response is to point out a single spelling mistake which I have corrected underneath anyway. (we could do with an edit function JT? )

Anyway, the above contribution is long, but everyone of these points applies to teaching Japanese to foreign kids in Japan, at least those over a certain age. I can imagine 14 to 15 year olds with no Japanese turning up with their parents, struggling, and the Ministry deciding they need, for example more grammatical explanation in their own language not less, as this is the approach they take with English.

I have not seen the details of this program, but if the training of teachers includes supplying more teachers who are proficient in the children's native language, then we will have a double-edged problem as the teachers will likely be terrible at the language they think they can use to help the kids, due to the above structural problems in the teaching of all foreign languages to Japanese people.

The basic experience of the Ministry of Education is grounded in teaching English. They have much more experience, in terms of years and numbers of students, than they do in teaching Japanese to foreigners. And they are making a complete mess of it.

It stands to reason they will have no idea what they are doing teaching Japanese (at least to older children) as the principles are the same. Why would a body that is so poor at guiding the teaching English suddenly start teaching foreign languages effectively just because the language has changed?

If the teaching is provided all in Japanese and targeting younger children who will learn a lot from non-structured immersion anyway, then perhaps some progress might get made (perhaps despite rather than because of the Ministry who I would not trust to oversees a decent curriculum, even one aimed at younger kids).

However, all evidence suggests that children, particularly older children, particularly those arriving with no Japanese ability in high school, will not be well served by Japan's bureaucrats.

If you doubt the deep structural problems of English language education in Japan are transferable to other language learning settings, see, for example, how much verbal Chinese ability the university students studying Chinese have.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: We need to establish new qualifications for Japanese language teachers, ensure Japanese language classes are available in all parts of the country, and that there is cooperation between universities and companies to create and utilize educational programs for foreign students. See in context

As shonanbb, say, the work of Dr. Krashan is the way forward. Sadly, his influence is lacking in Japan.

The education ministry in Japan are the very last people in the world who can speak with any authority on language learning.

Language education in Japan is atrocious, focused on the study of rules (often arcane and complex) to the exclusion of large volumes of natural input. If you have smart people who cannot speak after 12+ years of study, clearly your method is wrong (I know we all know this).

Massive input based learning (as advocated by Dr. Krashan) is indeed the most effective way to learn a foreign language as a non-native non-child speaker.

The text books and lessons have way too much Japanese explanation. Each grammatical point is explained to death rather than acquired in context. Students go on to study more complex grammar before they can effectively use and combine the points they have already "learned". All this results in a discreet selection of unconnected explicit knowledge, which is of little use to anyone in the context of a normal conversation with a native speaker. The network of unconscious associations required to speak fluently simply does not kick into gear with the grammar translation method.

When students in Japan are taught a grammar point (often in isolation, and years after they have learned related points, meaning they have already forgotten then and therefore cannot combine the old and new, they learn with too few examples - there is not enough meat in the sandwich, through recombination and repetition, for students to get their teeth into.

Separately, people still spent too much time translating. To translate something, you need to understand it. If you already understand it, then translating it is wasting your time (it may provide a useful means for the teacher to check progress, but does not help the learner).

Further, no attempts are made to gradually contextualize listening. For example, you can start with something easy you can read, at first listen while reading at the same time, and only when you can go that gradually remove the text. Only as you learn to listen and understand with no effort and not text what you also read without effort should you then gradually move into "cold" listening. By cold listening, I mean where you are just hearing something for the first time and trying to figure it out. Too much cold listening is soul destroying. If you don't understand something, you can listen again and again. You won't magically understand it unless you work your way into the text as described above.

Almost as bad as the failure to avoid going straight to "cold" listening is the failure to do much listening at all.

Without listening practice, you might learn to say a few phrases, but you certainly won't understand the unscripted reply.

That is where the massive input comes in.

In short, everything that could be wrong with foreign language education in Japan is wrong (at least re: teaching English) and if the same lack of knowledge is applied to teaching Japanese, the result will be failure.

If you are interested in learning how to learn a language, go on you tube / search online for anti-moon ( a site by Polish people who became fluent in English), AJATT (All Japanese all the Time), Matt vs. Japan (which expands on AJATT), and Steve Kauffman (who runs the site lingq).

All of the above will help you far more with language learning than the Rosetta Stones, Duolingos and Berlitz's of this world. They will hopefully in years to come be regarded as pioneers in the development and expansion of Krashen's work.

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Posted in: Traffic reduction falls far short of target in Tokyo highway test See in context

This is planning that should have been done before the bid, surely.

Weren't the IOC sold on how compact and efficient everything was going to be?

And while we are on the subject of the bid's honesty, I seem to remember that there was a little something in there about “many days of mild and sunny weather,” providing “an ideal climate for athletes to perform at their best.”

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Posted in: What is your understanding of the expression 'cultural appropriation?' See in context

Interesting that all the responses so far are negative. The left bear some responsibility for this by taking the concept to extremes and applying it to absolutely everything, like complaining about a white girl enjoying wearing a kimono, which is just silly.

But in the middle of all this I think we have lost sight of a genuine problem.

People who complain about genuine issues with cultural appropriation usually do so alongside a problem with lack of representation, lack of financial support and lack of market access.

Let me give you an example. A minority in, say, the UK or US wants to set up a restaurant using an "ethnic" family recipe. As newcomers to the country, they have few connections or capital. Banks may be reluctant to loan to minorities, fearing they will leave with unpaid loans. They may have trouble setting up the business due to trouble renting property from racist landlords. There are obstacles in the way of minorities that the majority may not have to deal with.

Now imagine some rich, well know chef, who is a member of the minority, and employs hardly any minority staff, now starts hawking his version of this "ethnic" cuisine, whatever it might be. He uses he capital, status and profile to make a fortune of this recipe.

This is one fictional example, but I think it is situations like this, be it in movies, novels, fashion, cuisine, or any other creative field, where the complaints of cultural appropriation arose. They arose hand in hand with feelings of discrimination, exclusion and difficulty catching a break, feeling which are then amplified when a member of the minority group uses a privileged position to make money on the back on the minority's cultural capital.

Of course, this is simply one example of how people who are doing well do better, and people struggling without connections and exposure may continue to struggle. It is a subset of wider class problems. But this is where the roots of the cultural appropriate debate lie. You might still think it is silly, and I would agree with you to a degree. A free country cannot very well ban people of a certain ethnicity from selling a certain type of food for example.

But if minorities thought they had a fair shake when going for bank loans, trying to rent real estate, or going for employment, the frustration that gave rise to the "oi, stop stealing our culture" calls would be significantly diminished.

Given the discrimination foreigners in Japan face in exactly these fields of finance, real estate and employment, it is a shame that more posters who are (minority) residents of Japan are not more willing to lend a sympathetic ear to minorities in their own country.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: Anime studio boss at loss for words as he mourns bright, young staff See in context


I would be very surprised if the boss if trying to boast about his generosity here. I does not seem like that to me. Culturally, a lot of bosses of small firms are quite paternalistic, considering employees like family. In Japan, receiving your first ever salary or bonus is also considered something of a life event, marking one of the final milestones in your journey to adulthood. The boss gives with pride and expectation, the employee receives with a mixture of pride and humility. Presumably the president has been through this ritual many times over the years. I am not trying to read his mind, but as the first bonus is a key landmark at the start of the career journey as part of his "family", it is not surprising that his mind turns to the payment of these bonuses when he thinks of their potential cut short.

I think until quite recently, many companies made a big show of paying first salaries and bonuses in cash to show appreciation and build loyalty. Even if most payments these days are bank transfers, I would read these comments in the light of that tradition. Although you are quite right that in a, say, European cultural context, these remarks would seem very off-color, there really is nothing sinister or unnatural about it.

RIP to these young people.

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Posted in: Local residents may be accustomed to seeing bears, but people from countries with few bears who know next to nothing about the animals could encounter them while taking strolls in unexpected areas. See in context

This smacks of the typical "We Japanese are this, you foreigners are that" type Nihonjinron-powered exceptionalism we see everywhere.

Every single topic, all the time. It is so depressing and one of the reasons why spending years learning Japanese to talk to Japanese people is not such a great idea. Large portions of the analysis brought to every conceivable situation are based on nothing more than complete hogwash.

Of course, Westerners have their peculiar beliefs too, but there is not quite an exact parallel as it is not as possible to insert nutty Western religious notions into every conceivable topic in quite the same way as Japanese people will insert the "religion" of Japanese uniqueness into whatever is being discussed, with virtually no exceptions, as we can see here.

The point about urban Japanese is well made. The point about being familiar with bears not meaning that you are exempt from danger is well made also. The bear cannot read the country on your passport or your address.

Simply put, it is exhausting living in a country where people bring spurious bad science and nonsense related to nationality into almost every conversation they have with or about overseas people.

Some people have argued many Japanese people see themselves as separate humanity too distinct sub-species, Japanese and the rest. They are not wrong. Before you move here, it is worth knowing this and considering whether it is a mindset you want to deal with on a daily basis.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Hot-spring resorts tackle tattoo debate ahead of Rugby World Cup See in context

What's wrong with abiding by the traditions and customs of the host country? If you do not agree with it then do not go there.

There are many reasons for objecting to this statement, but sticking solely to the context of the Rugby World Cup and Olympics, you do realize that Japan did not have to bid to host these events, don't you?

You do realize that Japan voluntarily put a huge amount of time and effort into volunteering to hold two international tournaments contested by a large number athletes (and watched by a large number of spectators) with tattoos? In other words, the Japanese government has gone out of its way to invite thousands of tattooed people to Japan.

So it is the Japanese side that is saying "we welcome you" but "we don't welcome you".

I notice this a lot. It is not dissimilar to how the government goes out of its way to encourage tourists, but people complain about tourists. Or how people how "bash Japan" are told to go home, even though many of us came here on Japanese government invitations, because our abilities/opinions were sought.

Overall, there is a contradiction in the sense that the Japanese government wants the country to be seen as a fully-paid up and respected member of the international community, but there are large segments of Japanese society who want to reject all outside influence and just do their own thing.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Disney live-action 'Little Mermaid' to star a black Ariel See in context

Yes, but how does she suit the part?

How is the race of the fictional mermaid core to her identity and the development of the story?

And it is incredible that the first post here describes casting a black women in a fictional white role as a "scummy tactic".

You have no evidence that Disney are trying to spark a "race war" or a "controversy". All you have is the evidence that Disney selected a black actress. So by that logic, it is like every time a black actor is selected for a role that is not traditionally black, is it automatically a "scummy" thing to do?

It is analogous to the way people scream "golddigger" every time a rich man finds a partner, simply on the basis that the rich man has found a partner, with no further evidence. It suggests that every such instances is and has to be and incidence of gold-digging.

While this is perhaps a silly analogy, it is with this kind of daft logic that you are saying every non-traditional black casting is "scummy". Not because the actress can sing maybe? Because she can dance? Because she is good at her job? No, it she has obviously (rolls eyes) been cast solely as a race-baiting tactic.

Can you expand on why you think this? It seems that you just think this because you think this, as in the golddigging example above.

These opinions all amount to bad logic and poor thinking, to be honest.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan's 'gentleman' equestrian at heart of Olympics corruption probe See in context

@ganbare Japan

It is interesting that even the most ardent supporters of all and everything Japanese do not deny that a payment was made.

I am convinced the $2 Million paid by the JOC to voting members of IOC was simply for legitimate gifts.

You don't tell us why you are convinced. What is your evidence? That the payment was made by Japanese people and Japanese people never do anything criminal or wrong?

This seems to be the major thrust of the arguments in support. The party concerned is Japanese, Japanese are good people, therefore there is nothing to see and we should move on.

You should not be surprised when non-Japanese people do not accept this as a convincing line of thought.

You use the phrase "legitimate" gifts. I have previously heard the JOC defend it as "legitimate consulting services".

The fact remains that Black Tidings, the recipients of the payment, are known to have links with influential people in the bidding process.

No-one defending this payment has stepped forward with a comprehensive and convincing breakdown of what the money is for.

Like you, they seem to prefer to offer alternative innocent explanations with absolutely nothing to back them up.

Of course all countries favor their own, but we may note that there are striking differences in the way Japanese and non-Japanese people under suspicion in Japan are treated.

These incidents may also go some way towards explaining why no-one in power is in a hurry to make critical thinking a more significant part of the Japanese education system.

Do please post again with a better explanation of why you are so confident to declare

Japan won the 2020 Olympics on its own merit

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Posted in: U.S. catches heat for Women's World Cup goal celebrations See in context

For me, it is a matter of logic more than a matter of etiquette.

You celebrate hard if you score the first goal to break a 0-0 deadlock as you have achieved something difficult and challenging. The celebration is a release of the tension resulting from the close game, and the recognition that you have done something worth celebrating by using your superior sporting skills to take the lead against the opposition.

If you have already scored 10 times, then surely you have already logically established that scoring against that opponent at that particular point in time is not that difficult or challenging, and does not require such an advanced level of sporting skill.

So while t is difficult to decide the issue of whether it is worse, from the opponent's point of view, to keep celebrating or more patronizing to stop celebrating (when you are being hammered it is a horrible experience, so either way it will be bad for you), if we consider the issue solely from point of view of the goal scorers themselves and leave out the etiquette question, it seems clear that celebrating goal number 13 in exactly the same way as goal number one, complete with screams and shouts, suggests you think that the 13th goal is just as skillful/difficult/challenging/valuable as the first goal, and since this is obviously not the case you just end up, man or woman, appearing as if you misunderstand the essence of sporting competition and looking utterly ridiculous.

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Posted in: Do you consider dress codes forcing women to wear high heels at work power harassment? See in context

Don't like the dress code? Don't take the job.

Well what happens when a huge percentage of jobs have the same illogical rules drastically reducing your freedom to chose your occupation and your pursuit of happiness?

This is the sort of illogical argument people make to defend all sorts of corporate bullying and interference in the lives of their workers (and also against the minimum wage).

The "don't like it, don't sign up" mantra is a uniquely stupid point of view since iIt ignores reality by completely removing from the equation the obvious power imbalance between the employers and the employee based on the fact that everyone has to earn a living, and sometimes, if you let them, a huge proportion of companies will make the same unreasonable demands, leaving the worker with no choice but to comply against their better judgement unless they want to struggle.

It is a position that suggests a company is justified in wanting anything from their workers just by virtue of the fact that that is what they want. There are people who are so blind to this power balance it is almost as if they cannot imagine that a demand can be objectively "unreasonable" - it is as if they don't know the words unreasonable, unnecessary, illogical and onerous are even in the dictionary.

This is the same mindset that thinks it reasonable to order an employee to the other end of the country just after he has bought a new house and his wife has given birth, as in the recent Kaneka case.

Don't trust anyone who uses the "don't like it, go somewhere else" argument to defend poor corporate behavior since those who cannot see the unequal power relationships that govern and shape society are failing to see a huge and critical factor that impacts human social structure and decision making.

This myopic stance (either through ignorance, or on purpose, in cases where it is to the advantage of those in power to subscribe to this positions themselves) is the source of a great deal of human misery (and the foundation of traditional right wing political philosophy).

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Posted in: No. of newborns in Japan hits record low in 2018 See in context

@ganbare Japan

"AI, Robots, Drones and cheap imported labor from Asia"

How revealing that you include three types of machinery and then tack some human beings on to the end of your list ,as if they are merely just another device to help you achieve your goals, rather than actual human beings with the same emotions and ambitions to live a full and free life.

Your rhetoric is similar to that recent debate in the Diet where all discussion of human beings from the content used the word 'jinzai' 'jinzai' over and over again with no regard to their humanity.

In any case, Japan seems to be shooting for the Middle Eastern model of having a three tier social system, the locals, the privileged expats, and then the "Untermenschen" who are expected to provide services to the majority while putting up and shutting up, before returning home at a time of the hosts convenience.

Once someone enters a society, they become a full constituent part of that society with all the responsibilities and rights, yes rights, that entails.

The Japanese government show no sign of understanding the psychological stress and hardship they are lining up for new immigrants, by "welcoming" them based on an exclusionary mindset that they are here to do the dirty work before leaving again.

The current Technical Trainee system is an example of this abuse. If Japan is intent on having people from other countries come to make up for the population and labor shortfall, a massive rethink is required in terms of commitment to inclusion, opportunity, and paths to citizenship.

Otherwise, people will get wise to the scam, stop coming (as is already the case with the South American Japanese, who have started to realize all that glitters is not gold), and Japan will be back to square one with fewer arrivals and ridiculous expectations that robots and drones (did you really mean to emphasize drones as one of four key drivers to overcome the upside down population pyramid???) will solve Japan's social ills.

Robots, drones and Asians. Robots, drones and Asians.

What a despicable mindset.

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Posted in: Abe becomes 3rd equal longest-serving PM with 2,720 days in office See in context

@ganbare Japan

I have no doubt that your love for Japan and the PM is genuine, but I do wonder if you realize that your boundless enthusiasm for anything and everything Japanese is starting to look very close to a parody account. Your writing is starting to look as if trying to satirize the account of someone who was so one-sided and myopic that they could not even admit the most obvious problems.

For example, the economy may be booming and the stock market doing well, but what of the huge volume of workers on temporary or rolling contracts who cannot plan for their future, get married, think about raising kids or by a home. Of course this trend towards unstable employment dates back to the reforms of Koizumi. It is also something of a regrettable necessity, given that companies hampered by very strict labor laws are then not nimble enough to adapt their workforce to the economic climate, and can be saddled with too much personnel related expenditure that they cannot afford. Of course everyone knows these reasons, but is does not alter the reality on the ground that there are a great many people struggling, particularly young people, and wondering what their life holds for them without regular employment.

And the 'haken rodo' economy and its knock-on effects is not even close to the full picture of the issues Japan has to face and Mr. Abe has to lead us through Others include the continuing undermining of women's rights (despite well-publicized campaigns to the contrary), issues integrating laborers from other countries who are being told they can come hear, give the best years of their young working life, and then clear right off again, problems with the rising divorce rate, child custody, poverty among working mothers, the likely future collapse of the pension system and financial struggles among senior citizens, the list goes on.

That is why is say your account looks like satire. Nowhere in your voluminous posts to this website to you show any in sign of understanding the complex social realities facing Japan, preferring just to cheerlead with simplistic viewpoints. We love Abe, We Love Japan (and in some of your other posts, We Love Trump).

So if yours is not a satirical account and you genuinely do want to convince readers that Japan is going places and is a wonderful country with a great future then, sure, that is your right, but failing to engage or even mention with any negative viewpoint or problems just completely undermines your position and your credibility.

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

Posted in: The manual cautions members about public speeches, saying words may be taken out of context by the media. It warns lawmakers to be careful when commenting on matters of historical understanding and political ideology. See in context

I read some of this summarized online.

It contains advice such as

"Don't forget even in private meetings with supporters, journalists might get in" and

"Always remember someone near you might have a recording device".

It is revealing that the majority of the advice is about making sure no-one hears the LDP members' offensive views rather than educating themselves so that they do not hold offensive views in the first place.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Would former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn's arrest be a factor in whether or not you decide to buy a Nissan car in the future? See in context

I don't think he's as innocent as he claims and Ghosn wasn't designing the cars, so why would his situation have any effect on my decision to buy a Nissan?

It is not about "Ghosn's situation". It is about Nissan's (and the prosecutors') actions.

Ghosn is receiving harsher treatment that he would do if he were not Japanese. This is clear because the heads of certain companies responsible for fraud with much larger sums of money, or even in some cases fatalities, have not been humiliated in this way (I am not saying Ghosn is not guilty, I have no information so I don't know. But I can see how he is being treated based on public information and perform a compare and contrast with what usually happens when Japanese executives are rather naughty). The timing with the proposed Renault merger is too coincidental. Clearly, Nissan does not like the idea of being subservient to a foreign company.

Some people will any of the actions here are motivated by nationality. But, ladies and gentlemen, you just have to start drawing the dots to complete the picture.

If you speak Japanese on a daily basis, it is quite clear that philosophical, culturally and ethically, ideas which are commonly shared in other democratic nations are rejected in Japan.

It is clear that the Japanese world view is very much "Japanese+rest of humanity=human race". This is of course true, logically speaking, but that is not really the point wish to make.

The point is that this division, this searching for division between Japan and everyone else and then commenting on it, is driven home again and again in education, in the media, in casual conversation. It would be absolutely remarkable if this way of framing the world, which the Japanese speaker in Japan encounters all the time just as part of the basic preface to most interactions, had absolutely no bearing on Nissan's decision-making.

Anyone who has ever had any dealing with the police will know the first thing they do is ask your nationality, even if you are the victim of the crime. You may be referred to in the crime report as "the foreigner". We can even see this framework at play in the reporting, currently published on JT, about the Australian fool spraying Japan with graffiti who is often, in headlines, not 'named individual' or even 'Australian individual' but simply 'foreigner', a way of labeling that negatively affects every foreign resident of Japan by associating them with criminality they have nothing to do with.

And coming back to the Nissan case, is it not preposterous that the only other person arrested for wrongdoing in this whole mess is also not Japanese? Is stretches credulity to believe that there are not issues of national pride, bias and identity at stake here.

I want not part of that, so they will never have my money. Quite simple really, whether Ghosn is innocent or not.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Petition launched to stop forcible hair dyeing from natural color to black in schools See in context

In a country that was closed for 250ish years and is nearly monoethnic? How is that backwards. In the past it would be a natural line of thought to bring everyone in line for their own sake, so they can be one of the group. Now that it’s the 21st century, people are realizing the problem and talking about it.

I'm sorry, but I cannot stand this line of argument. Japan opened up to the world in 1868. Nearly 30 million people visit from overseas every year. A huge percentage of Japanese have been abroad, millions have family members overseas.

Since 1868, Japan has gained and lost an empire, become one of the world's foremost economic powers, seen drastic social change, and extended its cultural influence around the globe.

It is utterly silly to suggest that we should not call out nonsense when we see it because of spurious historical reasons or perhaps some sort of perceived reluctance to engage in "cultural imperialism".

Some ideas are worse that others. Something ideas are unambiguously stupid. Certain bad practices can and should be stopped overnight.

This, 'oh, Japan is an island nation', 'oo Japan has no contact with the outside world', 'ah, we have our own way of doing things and can only adapt slowly' sounds might have flown in 1899, or even 1969.

But honestly, look at the millions of Japanese people traveling backwards and forward between their own and other countries who know full well that some of the practices here are indefensible in the modern age and have already been indefensible for quite some time.

No kid gloves! No pass! No racism!

19 ( +19 / -0 )

Posted in: Report reveals alleged labor issues at 2020 Tokyo Olympic building sites See in context

No one could have predicted that the country of forced unpaid overtime, toothless labor regulators, complicit politicians, frequent work place suicide, and personnel dispatch companies permanently creaming off more than their half workers' salaries for doing exactly nothing would also be the country of terrible conditions for Olympic construction workers.

(with apologies to@itsJeffTiedrich)

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Regional bank in Japan battles ultra-low rates with wine bar, sea urchins See in context

What is wrong with the take a number and wait system?

I think there are many problems with banks (not least the mass panic that occurs at a regional bank when a foreign customer requests help anything out of the ordinary), but the number system is not a problem is it?

It seems like a good way of dealing with a queue, rather than leaving people, including elderly people, standing in a line as happens in my home country. Quite the opposite from your comment, I have wanted to suggest introducing the Japanese system over there when seeing people left standing in a line waiting for ages for an open window. The same applies to the post office.

In Japan, you get to sit down, if you have a while before you number comes up you can use the ATM or whatever you need to do while you wait.

If it is absolutely rammed with people, and your number is way down the list, you can even leave the bank altogether and pop to the shop next door!

What's not to like?

In all seriousness though, what is stupid about the number system? Perhaps I am missing something! Please enlighten me!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Broadcaster apologizes over program insensitive to gender privacy See in context

The above video was just the controversial segment.

Here is the guest calling out the broadcaster's morals live on their show.

The comments below this video almost unanimous in lauding Wakaichi's actions.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Posted in: Delays and long waits as Japan residents rush to buy Tokyo Olympic tickets See in context

Buyers overseas will pay more for ticket because resellers - appointed by national Olympic committees - can tack on a 20% handling charge.


Scalping tickets is always a problem at the Olympics. Japan recently passed a law that bans selling tickets at above the original prices. Violators face fines of up to 1 million yen ($9,100), or a one-year jail term - or both.

Sometimes the comments write themselves.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Half of foreigners in Tokyo have experienced discrimination: survey See in context

@the long termer.

I hope you keep posting on this site and fighting the "Japan is not racist" narrative. As well as the "Japan is racist, but everywhere is racist so stop complaining" narrative.

I have been in Japan on and off for 20 years. I speak Japanese well enough to enjoy Japanese movies, read Japanese novels without giving myself a headache, and run a business with Japanese clients. But I have few Japanese friends who have not lived overseas or have non-Japanese family.

The reality of being viewed through a stereotypical lens and being expected to behave in a certain way every time you meet new people can be harsh. As can being denied credit cards and housing, which are two examples of discrimination you cannot just forget about and get on with your day.

As you say, you need to recognize it is not on you and that those people saying "speak Japanese, learn the culture, you will fit in" are just basically gaslighting and refusing to recognize the source of the problem. Interestingly, it is often the people who have made the most effort to learn Japanese and fit in who end up feeling most alienated (and then have to put up with people who have made less effort to integrate denying that there are any issues, mainly because they cannot understand what is going on around them and are happy to be feted as a perrenial guest).

A large section Japanese society (I will add the obligatory "not everyone" here..., don't want to be accused of hypocrisy... ) has massive issues with pigeon-holing, generalizations, people believing rumors at face value and widespread acceptance of unscientific nonsense when it comes to sociology, anthropology and culture.

I agree with your posts. It is not us. We must not be gaslighted. We must not internalize blame. We must stand up for our right to observe the obvious.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: NHK reporter laughed at for asking black hole team for more on Japan’s contributions See in context

Fair point - trying to describe a confusing and contradictory place produces much confusion and contradiction!

Thanks for reading.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

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