jpn_guy comments

Posted in: JRFU rules certain Japan passport holders will be regarded as non-Japanes See in context

Thier motivations were probably more on the whole competition side of things.

Maybe, maybe not. But we need to rank concepts in order of importance.

International rugby is one thing. Human rights is another.

The law says their is only one type of citizen, no-subclasses allowed. Historically, there are good reasons for not subdividing citizens at all (and keeping discrimination against non-citizens to the bare necessary minimum).

Standing firm to say that a given organization cannot suddenly wake up one day and say "you may be a citizen but you are not a citizen" is too important a concept to start making exceptions.

Whatever the personal histories of the gentlemen involved, and whatever motivations other people may decide they had for naturalizing, Japan Rugby are absolutely and unequivocally breaking the law here.

If you try to argue this with many local people they may respond "but they are foreign so it can't be helped". This attitude in itself is at the route of many of Japan's problems, and Japan Rugby behaving in this way is not helping.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Coming to a cinema near you: the life of UK's Captain Tom See in context

I fully expect this film to provide an in-depth explanation and impartial analysis of the British Army presence in Southeast Asia. As we know, the good British people never discuss the war against Japan without full awareness of the morality and justice underlying their own country's actions.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Posted in: JRFU rules certain Japan passport holders will be regarded as non-Japanes See in context

removing the strict limits on non-Japanese players (and now some newly minted citizens who've played abroad) would lead to teams replacing more Japanese players with international players

This sentence does not make logical sense. What do you mean by replacing "more Japanese players?". The newly minted citizes are "Japanese players". That's the whole point. When you naturalize, you are Japanese. That is not my opinion. That is the law of Japan which the Japanese people made themselves. Do you think the law is wrong?

So in your above sentence, you are replacing "Japanese players" with... "Japanese players". This is the problem with the stance of the Rugby Association. It encourages divisive thinking and a "them and us" mentality that is to the detriment of society as a whole.

These individuals have given up their old citizenship, demonstrated commitment to Japan, moved across the world and made sacrifices...and this is how you reward them? You are not "really" Japanese because you don't look right. We can't let you play because you are too big and strong. It's ridiculous.

But think of the children you say!!

In order to grow rugby as a sport in Japan they need to hook young Japanese fans to attend the games, idolize their favourite players, and buy the shirts. This becomes increasingly difficult if all the top scoring stars don't look like the fans, don't speak their language well, have unpronounceable names, and a backstory which is completely unrelatable for any Japanese person.

Wait, now you are actually arguing that Japanese people don't like or want to associate with foreign, or foreign-looking people? Are you saying that young ethnic Japanese don't like people who don't look like them? That they can't relate to people who grew up overseas? This seems to be quite a dangerous game to play and rather at odds with the usual rhetoric we here about how there is "no racism" in Japan.

Besides which, there is also no evidence for this besides what you have invented.

Some kids want to be Spiderman, don't they? Kid's don't really care. I think you should give them more credit.

Kids love Hollywood movies and actors. The only reason the music industry here is dominated by local faces is because of vested interests and what is pushed on the public. The most successful soccer league in the world, the English Premier league, is based in England but welcomes allcomers, including "top scoring stars who don't look like the fans, players who don't speak their language well, and player who have unpronounceable names".

None of what you say stands up to scrutiny.

Rugby maybe struggling in Japan. There are many reasons for this, not least of which is the reluctance of parents to let their children play a game in which they think they might be injured. Then there is the lack of clubs which produces a chicken and egg problem. The fact that the leadership of most Japanese sports organizations are more senior people who are not in touch with modern methods of advertising and PR probably does not help either. Then, in the specific case of rugby, there is the shambles with the top league and the Sunwolves. I am sure there are other problems.

"Children don't want to play because the top Japanese players are not the right type of Japanese".

Is that really the one obstacle you have identified to the future development of rugby in Japan?

Play by the rules Japan.

No pass. No kid gloves. No racism.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: JRFU rules certain Japan passport holders will be regarded as non-Japanes See in context

M3M3M3 -

Think very carefully about what you are saying here.

Firstly, shall we agree to leave aside arguments above quotas for women or physically disabled people since this is a question of race and ethnicity.

Let's focus on that and on your comparison with affirmative action in the US.

How can you draw equivalence here?

Which groups of people in Japan is denied are housing? Which groups of people are denied credit cards even when earning double the average salary? Who is automatically deemed to be at fault when two races fight in the street? I'll give you a clue. It is not local-born people of the majority ethnicity people. Who benefits from majority privilege in Japan? It is not the foreign born.

Which groups were recently denied the ability to return to their place of habitual residence during the COVID crisis? I think you know the answer. Shall we go on?

Think about your argument. Do you not realize that you are equating the following two things:

measures designed to protect minorities (affirmative action to give opportunities to Black people)

measures designed to disadvantage minorities (restrictions on the employment of foreign-born Japanese, who are in this case also all ethnic minorities).

The principle is fundamentally the same.

Is it though?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: JRFU rules certain Japan passport holders will be regarded as non-Japanes See in context

How Japanese is that?

How illegal is that?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: JRFU rules certain Japan passport holders will be regarded as non-Japanes See in context

Well, there are arguments back and forth about sporting illegibility.

However, the legal and constitutional argument is clear and the precedent is extremely dangerous.

Those of you guys posting above in support of this are thinking too narrowly. Think beyond rugby and what this implies. An organization can create sub-classes of citizens and treat one subclass worse.

I doubt the players will read this, but they should sue. There is no way this can stand up in court. In Japan, despite what people may say about your ethnicity and belonging, if you are a citizen, you are a citizen.

This incidentally, is one of the reasons the government does not collect data on mixed-race Japanese and therefore has no evidence one way or the other on whether they face discrimination in the job market or housing market. etc.

Japan Today - do you employ journalists? Please ask a member of the ruling party why they don't collect data on discrimination against mixed race Japanese. They will no doubt reply "because Japan is a free and fair democratic country. All of its citizens are equal before the law and subclasses citizen would go against the constitution". Then ask then about this rugby question and watch them about face.

It is sad that these illegal and hypocritical actions are allowed to go unchallenged.

I believe that the sumo association also has similar unconstitutional rules. Perhaps a lawyer could get on this pro bono.

And fellow JT posters - in your desire to diss Japan's rugby team, have another think about what you are actually supporting here. Shall we get some ID cards for the Japanese citizens who are not quite "Japanese" enough maybe?

This is blatant discrimination. Call it out. How just Japan get to demand to be a member of the global community and then refuse to play by the rules?

Japan should not get a pass.

No pass. No kid gloves. No racism.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Posted in: If you are currently teleworking, to what extent do you miss interacting with your work colleagues, having lunch with them, deskside chats and the energy of the workplace? See in context

However, I do miss meeting gaijin friends from other companies for lunch or after work for beers.

Interesting that you specific "gaijin friends". Do you have Japanese colleagues and friends that you hang out with or who encourage you join in their circle?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan confirms 1,512 new coronavirus infections See in context

But if he jogged in an open uncrowded riverside, how does he know that the parks are fully packed?

I am not sure you are writing this as if it proves some major point.

People can use their eyes to see into the distance, and look at other places.

How hard is it to imagine someone jogging in a huge park, keeping away from everyone else, and observing a crowd of people close together in another part of the park?

I keep seeing versions of this comment as some kind of "gotcha" response every time someone makes a comment about being outside and seeing other people not social distancing.

The flaw in the logic of these comments seems obvious. It is possible to observe a crowd without being in it.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese government to urge more teleworking as coronavirus cases surge See in context

Zichi wrote "Bahamas are offering a one year visa to teleworkers"

This is actually incorrect mate. It is Barbados, which is a separate country.

Here is the article showing it is Barbados not the Bahamas.

(I corrected this before and the moderator bizarrely removed it as "off topic". In an article entitled "Japanese government to urge more teleworking" how can you be more on topic than mentioning a country offering a new teleworking visa?).

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Posted in: 'The Simpsons' ends white actors voicing characters of color See in context

To claim that only a black actor can do a 'black' voice, only an Asian actor can do an 'Asian' voice - isn't that in itself pandering to racial stereotypes and therefore racist?

The issue is complicated. Basically, I agree that saying only Black people can play Black people actually highlights racial differences and goes against what Dr. King said about struggling until the importance of skin color is of no more importance than eye color. So yes, in an ideal world, where no-one cared about race, there are lots of ethical, practical and strategic reasons to say that everyone should be able to play everybody.

The problem, as some posters either don't seem to know, or do know but are willfully ignoring, is that this is not how the history of the arts has played out. In many fields, both artistic and non-artistic, ethnic minorities have been frequently been shut out of work due to discrimination.

(As an aside, this is might be why the Williams sisters, Lewis Hamilton and Tiger Woods dominated their respective sports, despite being among the first minorities (in Hamilton's case the very first individual) to enter the elite level of their respective fields. What are the statistical chances of that happening? It just goes to show that in many fields, to even get a chance, minorities have had to be very, very good. The massive success achieved by these pioneers as soon as they could take part is testament to all the other talent that went by the wayside and never got a chance).

So how does this relate to the entertainment industry? Well, chances and opportunities for minority actors, directors and producers have been few and far between down the years. Of course, this is changing now, certainly. There is much more representation and a more even playing field than in days gone by. But, up until now, minorities have been shut out of many roles.

Here is just one example. Brits and Australians may remember, for example the soap operas Home and Away and Neighbors. Starting in the 80s (I think) and watched by millions, they became staples of the TV schedule, particularly in the UK. Despite the mixed racial makeup of Australia, these shows were almost 100% white. I know white people are the majority in Australia, but not to this extent. If you were an ethnic minority actor in Australia and wanted a part in a popular Australian soap opera, well, it would not have mattered how good your acting skills were because there were no roles for you to begin with.

There are thousands of examples like this. You can probably think of some yourself. Surely this is the context that led to people complaining about white actors taking roles written for ethnic minority characters or voicing ethnic minority cartoon characters.

The complaint was this - 'we are being shut out of the mainstream, it is hard to find roles, or to find funding for our own projects, and now you are not even going to give us the "ethnic" roles either?? Are you kidding me? Do you just want us to disappear altogether?'

The claim

isn't it racist to say that only a black actor can do a 'black' voice?

is rather different since a white actor in a Western country who might what to do a "black voice" is unlikely to be a marginalized figure struggling for mainstream work despite having the talent, and is unlikely to be short of work for reasons related their race.

So in an ideal world, yes, everyone would play everyone, and no-one would care. I agree that, in the long-run, this is not a great road to go down - it highlights racial difference and makes everyone hyper-sensitive. But it is worth considering how and why we got to this point.

One ongoing problem is that many people shouting that this is "PC gone mad" are denying the real histories of discriminatory treatment while simplifying the issue to claim that the whole thing is absurd.

And unfortunately a subset of these people shouting "PC gone mad" would in fact be quite happy to reverse the clock a few years to keep ethnic minority actors permanently on the sidelines.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Posted in: Naomi Osaka called racist after posting meme in response to COVID-19 cases See in context

There isnt a week that goes by where I dont hear somebody in a restaurant or event kitchen, when yours truly arrives on scene, and while sitting while being gaijin, all sorts of "gaijin blah blah" suddenly are heard

I hear you. Keep you head up. I'm going to guess that you have near native Japanese listening skills after long years here and can understand random quiet comments from across a room even when someone is not speaking to you directly, so you hear stuff all the time.

It can be a problem, can't it? It is one of the reasons why people who don't speak much Japanese are sometimes a little blind to the ubiquity of the "them" and "us" distinction that is raised frequently in the most irrelevant of places. It can be hard to deal with when it goes on and on. Each little incident is minor, but they have a cumulative weight. It can be hard constantly being told, or hearing indirectly, "you are not one of us" day after day after day, even after doing your best to integrate. And since these little incidents are inevitably minor when considered in isolation, you may get people trying to tell you there is no issue which is doubly wearying.

Anyway, just recently I was in a store and the person I was speaking to had to call another colleague on her little walkie-talkie to get him to come and deal with my request. I am not in this situation often, but when I am the relayed request often (not always of course) starts "there is a foreign customer here and he..." as if it is rude to the colleague to summon them without first telling them the person they will have to speak to is not (or does not appear to be) Japanese. But this time, there was no mention of my race just "a customer wants..." as she would have said for anyone else.

I nearly found myself saying thank you for just passing on my request like I am a regular person, but in the end I thought if she isn't mentioning it, it kind of defeats the object mentioning it myself. If the guy was surprised when he turned up, he also managed to hide it, showing that the usual "warning" is not necessary. But I was grateful to these two people, who kindly helped me find what I need without asking me where I am from, complementing my Japanese, asking why I could speak Japanese etc. We just did quick business, no fuss. This is progress of a sort.

Before coming to Japan, I could never have even imagined myself noticing and being grateful for what is by global standards very normal behavior.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Many Japanese defy appeals to stay home to curb virus See in context

@Burning Bush

"The individual choice, liberty and freedom path is the right one.Let people make their own choices.

People who want to stay at home because they fear the virus are absolutely free to do so".

I have seen you and other like you make versions of this argument in various articles on JT. "Let people have their choice". "Go out if you want". "Stay in if you want".

But there is a hole in this argument, is there not? Some people go out because they are medical workers. Some people go out because they are doing other essentials tasks. Some people go out because they need to feed themselves. If those who could simply stay in work from home and get by economically simply decide they are going to go out "because it is their right" then they are putting at greater risk all those who go out because they have not choice.

Was it you who posted elsewhere that if you want to have a party in the park with your friends you will? I can't remember. One posters was saying said that no-one should be able to stop you going out to party/picnic and that if others did not like it, well the others were free not to participate and stay in, just the same as the participants are free to go out.

Well, that's a bit dumb isn't? What if one of the party and passes it to his friend who then goes back home and give it to his family. What if that family member is a doctor or nurse?. Well now they've got it, haven't they, thanks to your party. People are now at risk of dying because of your "rights". Let's hope they find out they have it before they spread it among their colleagues and further reduce the number of available healthy medical staff.

Honestly, what kind of person thinks their right to go out and do what they like comes before the rights of other people not to have callous individuals get them infected with a deadly disease?

Your decision to prioritize your "rights" and do whatever you want directly affects others, sometimes fatally. I don't understand what is hard to understand about this.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Posted in: Guide to reduce virus risks issued for schools before reopening See in context

"The guidelines also request that students and staff avoid conversing with others at close quarters".

How is this possible in a classroom when the desks are about 50 cm apart.

I know Japanese teachers do a lot of teaching from the front of the room, but if the teacher wants to move among the class and check on the kids' work is she going to levitate?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Answering the tricky 'Where are you from?' question in Japan See in context

It provides a frame of reference in finding something out about other people.

If the above is TLDR, consider this. Why can the frame of reference not be that I have been a regular, honest, hard-working member of your society, just like you, for the past quarter of a century?

Why does your reference need to be a place I left decades ago and do not have a life in?

My life is here, can you not make that your reference point?

Again, the question itself is innocuous, but it often comes from a place of doubting certain people's qualifications as a paid up member of society.

Of course, it goes without saying that this is not the same for everyone.

But you cannot deny that there exist those who, on hearing your home country, reference everything back to that and have seemingly little interest in treating you as a regular member of the community (particularly the free English lesson seekers)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Answering the tricky 'Where are you from?' question in Japan See in context

"If someone says 'hey where are you from', and you get weird about it, you're the weird one here. Not the person asking".


The idea that "Where are you from?" is a tricky question seems almost ridiculous to me. Particularly in Japan.

Zones to Surf

These are interesting quotes. I agree to a point. The question is very innocuous and it is crazy to fly off the handle when asked it. I do think your responses lack a little nuanced understanding, though, for why the situation is not so simple.

I have found that answering with my home country, which I left more than 20 years ago and rarely visit, leads to people talking about that country and their experiences on holiday there or having met its people. Sometimes this talking points are based stereotypes, sometimes we might have an interesting conversation.

So I am not rejecting out of hand going down this conversational road.

The main problem, though, is what we miss out on in this situation. If the conversation can be steered on to other ground, which it often can, again, all is well and good.

However, I am sure that many non-Japanese people in Japan have experienced people who are determined to put non-Japanese people in a box, and want to talk about "foreigner" and "foreign" things, almost in denial that the person they are talking to has been an active member of the community in Japan for decades.

When our lives, both personal and professional, are based here, why are we constantly required to refer to ourselves in the context of a place we no longer live in in a way that denies our connection to the society we are currently part of?

People who are determined to press on in bad English. People who express ridiculous surprise when a non-Japanese looking face tries to discuss anything Japanese-related in any detail. People who cannot just relax and let a non-Japanese person join in whatever they are taking about without making a deal over their "foreigness".

Now "where are you from?" is clearly a simple question that should not be reacted to with vitriol or a "chip on your shoulder". Sometimes, though, after you've been asked, you just know where the conversation is going and what little box you are going to be categorized into.

I think it is this attitude, which is extremely widespread in Japan, that causes the backlash, rather than the innocent question itself.

Good luck integrating everybody (because if you can't it's clearly your fault for not doing it properly and absolutely nothing to do with the hurdles placed in your way by the attitude of many local people....)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Subway manners See in context

This is why context is everything.

By itself, it looks like only a serial complainer could find something wrong with this poster. But if you live in Japan, you will have noticed a trend that has emerged in recent years. Information on products is only sometimes, and not often, available in store in other languages. Likewise information on membership schemes, discounts, special offers, promotions, local events, coupons, or numerous schemes of various varieties that can make life more comfortable. Of course, this is Japan and we should learn Japanese, so the above is I guess not necessary.

But do you have advice on how to behave properly? A lesson in manners? A security notice telling people not to steal things? A notification that security cameras are watching you? Then, for some reason, the text is most often available in every language under the sun. I have seen the "shoplifting will be prosecuted" warning in everything from Vietnamese to Russian in the depths of the countryside where, by contrast, there is absolutlye no helpful information that could actually assist the non-Japanese speaker.

"Non-Japanese are immoral. Non-Japanese are not to be trusted. Non-Japanese are to be looked down on."

Of course, Japan is full of great people and not everyone thinks like this, but that message - the message that we not not customers or clients, but rather bothersome interlopers who need to be told how to behave - it comes across extremely clearly if you look at what kind of information is, and is not, rendered in foreign languages in public in Japan.

I notice this trend becoming more pronounced too. I wonder if any other readers agree with this? I would be happy to be told I have got this all wrong.

(Note that I am not saying there is never any helpful foreign language information ever, it is a matter of degree).

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: Department store reviews plan for staff to wear menstruation badges after outcry See in context

Thanks Dervish. Brevity not my strong point, unfortunately. It is a bit of a problem...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Department store reviews plan for staff to wear menstruation badges after outcry See in context


So let's set this straight, shall we?

As has been pointed out above by hiragino4410, this sentence in Japanese is 100% unambiguous and means that (the company is claiming) a young woman proposed the plan.

As far as the grammar of this sentence goes the 生理に対する理解を深めたい」と... part of the sentence can be translated as "in order to promote deeper understanding over [employees who have to work while suffering discomfort due to their] period"...

“と” , in this usage, links a reason with an action by a designated party, in this case the proposal.

The first part of the sentence before the “と” is complete and self-contained, setting out the reason for the proposal. When we get to 若手女性社員から提案され, the question of what is being proposed (the 提案)can only logically refer back to the original plan, and the sentence cannot be interpreted as an unrelated woman (who was not the proposer) simply making a comment about the system.

Consider the example sentence;

JPN: 若い人にもっと運動してもらうと、新しい体育館の建設が市から提案された。

ENG: In order to encourage young people to do more exercise, the city authorities proposed the construction of a new sports hall.

Now imagine that the entire topic of conversation is the new sports hall and everyone involves in the discussion shares that awareness. Then you can simply write


Even though the reference to the sports hall has been removed from the sentence, the English translation does not change.  Assuming we are still discussing the sports hall, the sentence has not become ambiguous nor is another interpretation is possible, even though the subject has gone completely.

If subjectless sentences like these are completely unambiguous, why do we see people complaining that subjectless sentences lead to ambiguity in Japanese?

To explain this, we can look at an example of where an ambiguity could actually occur using a subjectless construction when discussing a proposal. For example, if you had a sub proposal within a larger proposal, so you are literally discussing both in the same context, there would be room for confusion, depending on the details.

JPN: 新しい区画整理がはじまり、その一環として体育館の建設もすすめられている。


ENG: A new urban renewal program has begun including the construction of a sports hall.

The city came up with the idea [to build the sports hall] to promote exercise among young people.

The above is unambiguous.


JPN: 新しい区画整理がはじまり、その一環として公園の建設もすすめられている。


ENG: A new urban renewal program has begun including the construction of a park.

The city came up with the idea [of the urban renewal? of the park?} to improve the appeal of the city.

This one is a little more ambiguous (forgive the strained example, it is a little hard to think of these kind of sentences on the fly. Even here, the most natural interpretation probably leans towards the park as the subject).

Despite the slight potential for confusion when discussing nested topics, these constructions are a regular feature of written Japanese.

In complex topics and technical writing (such as patent applications) it is not a great idea to use constructions like this as they can be deliberately misread by people with malevolent intent.

However, where there is only one relatively simply topic, the

( [reason for action] と [details of action left out] [party taking action] [verb describing action] )

construction works quite nicely.

So, to return to the topic, a grammatical analysis reveals there is no potential whatsoever for ambiguity and the badge was (it is claimed) proposed by female staff.

Thanks if you made it this far!

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Posted in: Use of private English tests for university exams delayed after gaffe See in context

Japanese students of English (or any other foreign language) can't speak well because they possess a woefully inadequate vocabulary (yep, they don't read). It's a no brainer that people who are able to express their thoughts in writing will have no problem expressing themselves verbally.

This is exactly true. Many times, I have heard people saying Japan needs English conversation schools because, although people can read and write, they can't speak.

This is not true at all.

Sure, after six years of English, many Japanese people read and write better than they speak, but that is simply because they read poorly, write even worse, and can't speak at all.

So the "eikaiwa" approach is the wrong solution. As pointed out above, producing language in speech or writing has much in common. Someone who cannot produce original, grammatical written sentences fluidly, without taking 10 mins to write a very short paragraph, will struggle to speak. The reverse is also true. While speaking involves articulation and writing involves spelling, both skills have in common the requirement to combine, at speed, and without stopping to think explicitly about grammatical rules, smaller building blocks into larger units in order to express more complex thought. At least, that is the case is you want to speak or write like an adult.

Although we frequently here "Japanese people can read and write but not speak", how many people here with atrocious spoken English can put pen to paper and produce any sensible volume of text with at a sensible rate of production? Very few.

Again, as pointed out above, people don't read. Not magazines, not novels, not newspapers. They don't because they can't.

They cant' because the volume reading through junior high and high school, that should be preparing them to read by themselves, is miniscule. The vocabulary is artificially limited (in a misguided attempt to help), and, looking at the educational materials, the majority of the textbooks are devoted to explanations provided in Japanese and crazy exercises that destroy the integrity of the English flow; i.e sentences with blanks that need to be filled in, sentences in the wrong order that need to be reordered, paragraphs with a mixture of correct and incorrect grammar encouraging students to identify which is which, etc.. It just goes on and on in its ineffective glory.

There is almost anything but large volumes of intermediate (not advanced or deliberately complicated / deliberately confusing) text on relatable topics simply combining and recombing the simple basic structures that the students are trying to learn.

If you explain everything in Japanese, break up the flow of the English text, visually mix English and Japanese on the page, fail to provide enough English to get your teeth in to, fail to provide audio to listen to the English, and commit the myriad other mistakes English teaching in Japan suffers from, you will, as evidence down the years has shown, continue, year after year, to produce confused students with no listening ability or output capacity.

Advanced university level output can only be build on a foundation of massive intermediate input, combining various structures until they become second nature. One key element of practice is moving from basic through to intermediate conversation, just trying to use what you know without worrying too much about accuracy, until your listening ability reaches a point where you can imitate and rework what you here and can refine accuracy yourself by referring to what you can hear other people saying, rather than desperately trying mid conversation to recall grammatical rules.

Due to the terrible preparation they receive, 95% of people in Japan never reach this stage of self-monitoring and correction on the basis of listening to what native speakers are saying, and are forever stuck being unable to understand and imitate native speakers, producing either nothing at all, or very slow and painful production based on the above crazy strategy of trying to remember and use grammatical rules mid-conversation.

To prepare for and provide material for intermediate conversation, textbooks should feature masses of intermediate input combinations, repeating and combining the basic building blocks, not Japanese explanations of the same surrounded by short piecemeal text with blanks, bits missing, and pointless drills.

The whole approach to teaching English in Japan is ineffective. It does everything that is bad and nothing that is good. The result is generation after generation of people wasting their time.

The only people who emerge from the Japanese education system (and I include "eikaiwa" in that) with anything resembling the capacity for professional quality output (written or spoken) are all those who learned their English elsewhere.

And yet nothing changes. A ridiculous state of affairs.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: World Rugby to decide on Sunday games 'as soon as possible' after typhoon See in context

Yes, the typhoon cannot be helped.

Yes, maybe even the day after the typhoon their may be disruption and it may be unsafe for spectators to be wandering about. Ganbare Japan also makes a good point about police and emergency services being exhausted having worked through the night.

So just fly the teams down to Kyushu and play behind closed doors in the stadium they used today for the Ireland game. That could be organized in a New York minute, surely?

World Rugby, (not that you will be reading) why exactly can you not do this?

"Because they signed an agreement...."

That doesn't necessarily mean it is a good agreement though does it?

You are being ridiculous.

I would love Japan to win the whole tournament, but If Scotland are removed due to a 0-0 draw against a team they have never lost against in their history, then it puts a massive asterisk against the rest of the competition.

It makes it meaningless really. Why tune in to watch a competition when one of the teams have been randomly removed for non-sporting reasons?

If by some miracle, Japan then went all the way, it would also tarnish their achieved meant.

People saying that it is fair because Japan beat Ireland and Scotland did not are also not making sense. The issue is whether Japan can beat Scotland, surely. Four years ago, Japan threw everything at South Africa and won. We loved it. But did they have enough in the tank to repeat the performance and get through? They did not. History is repeating itself here. Japan threw everything at Ireland. Have they got enough gas left? You can't just let them breeze on through without stopping to find out. It is simply unsporting.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: World Rugby slams Scotland legal threat over typhoon-hit game See in context

Scotland did sign up to this 0-0 for 2 points rule before the WC, if they didn’t like it, why did they sign?

Because if they did not sign, they could not have played in the World Cup at all?

It is the textbook example of being forced to agree to something unreasonable under duress (rather like how the Olympics demand host countries change their laws to forbid all and any taxing of Olympic profits).

This does not make it right.

As other have pointed out, the typhoon has been known about for days. And everyone has also known since time immemorial that the whole of Japan cannot be hit be a typhoon at once. When the conditions are unplayable in Tokyo, there will be no typhoon in Kyushu and vice-versa. This knowledge should surely have been at the heart of the contingency plan.

these threats of legal action at this time kind of turn me off Scotland.

That is rather mean-spirited, I think.

The World Cup is every four years. For some players who were not picked four years ago and will not be picked in four years time, this tournament is the highlight of their professional lives.

Can you imagine that? The single biggest event of your career cancelled because someone could not be bothered to make proper arrangements?

And then you also have to deal criticizing you for complaining about massive damage to your sporting career?

Leaving aside the fans who will be inconvenienced no matter what is done (although to be fair a postponement of a few days rather than outright cancellations would at least allows some of them to make it), think about the players.

Is it really too hard to imagine that they would be absolutely bereft if they were sent home in circumstances like this? Think of your own professional life. Put yourself in their shoes. How would you react to similar sabotage of your professional opportunities?

(Also, saying this is the biggest typhoon for decades etc. etc. is just camouflage, since it looks this was the contingency plan, even for a much smaller typhoon).

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Posted in: Fans frustrated as typhoon disrupts World Cup See in context

What do you say to people who flew in (domestic or from abroad) or came in on Shinkansen to see the match, and have fixed tickets? Will the Rugby organisers pay their transport and hotel fees for extra days?

I agree it is not a perfect solution. But at least some of the people planning to see the match would have been able to watch i.e. those that were planning to be around anyway a few days after the game.

Canceling means no-one gets to see the game. So while, as you rightly point out, a postponement is not perfect, a cancellation is surely even worse.

Don't get me wrong, I like Japan and want them to win. I also think a little a little massaging of the schedule to help the home team is fine.

The tournament benefits from having the hosts in the later stages.

So I don't object to Japan getting a long rest between each scheduled fixture (tournament schedules always favor the host, it is natural). However, if you have already employed differential rest periods, it makes no sense to then use differential rest periods as an argument against rescheduling these typhoon-affected matches.

You can't use a certain strategy for one goal (maximizing host participation in the tournament) and then claim it is not fair the week after.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Fans frustrated as typhoon disrupts World Cup See in context

The inability to hold the games is scheduled cannot be helped, of course, given the danger.

But Japan is a very organized place - usually the day (or at least two days) after a typhoon the sun is shining, the trains are running and everyone is going about their business.

Can they not postpone a day or two?

Everyone knew it would be typhoon season.

We were told there were contingency plans.

This is the contingency plan?

Simply canceling games?

Maybe a straight cancellation fits the dictionary definition of "contingency plan", but I don't think this is what fans understood when they heard contingencies for typhoons would be in place.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Posted in: It's all Greek to Japan star Tamura at Rugby World Cup See in context

While this is an entertaining and light-hearted article, the idea that Leitch and Tamura cannot communicate is not true, surely?

Michael Leitch is a 31 year old Japanese man who has been living in Japan for 16 years since the age of 15.

While not a native born Japanese, he is Japanese none the less. His spoken Japanese is impeccable (as you would expect after going to school and spending half his life here).

He is regularly interviewed on live television in Japanese. I think he has spoken with the Prime Minister in Japanese numerous occasions. Why would he be speaking English to someone who does not understand it?

To write a headline "it's all Greek" and follow it with an article about two Japanese men who can obviously speak to each other in Japanese plays on the trope that non-Asian looking people can and never will understand Japanese, and by implication, don't really belong in a society that revolves around the language.

Labuschagné is a different matter, having taken advantage of the three year residency rule to represent Japan. As a thirty year old South African, who arrived three years ago, it would be surprising if he spoke great Japanese. This is nothing to do with non-Asians struggling to learn Japanese specifically, and everything to do with people in their late 20s struggling to pick up a new language anywhere.

Labuschagné and Leitch have completely different life stories. Please don't throw them in the same box non-Japanese speaking box just because they both look "foreign".

This is not to disparage Labuschagné either. He is just following the opportunities presented by the rules and it is great to have him on board.

In any case, the initial interview with Tamura in Japanese was referring to trouble speaking to Labuschagné specifically.

日本は主将のリーチマイケル(Michael Leitch)の他に、アイルランド戦とサモア戦はピーター・ラブスカフニ(Pieter Labuschagne)がゲームキャプテンを務め、PGの前に田村と長く話し込むことがあったが、田村本人が7日、その内幕を明かした。

I can see why one could get confused here by the roundabout sentence structure and lack of a subject before 話し込む (hanashikomu; speak to at length) but the above Japanese translates as follows:

"While Japan's squad captain (主将)Michael Leitch, Pieter Labuschagne was on-field captain(ゲームキャプテン) against Samoa and Ireland. He [Labuschagne] had long discussions with Tamura prior to penalties. On October 7th, Tamura revealed what went down".

So let's please avoid contributing to the "only native born Japanese can ever truly understand the language" myth and give Leitch his due. Thank you.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Posted in: Supermarket throws away bench because of sales tax hike See in context

@fxgai -

You misunderstand this.

When kurisupisu writes "it is a most punitive tax on the poor", they are not saying "let's have no taxes because it hurts the poor" or whatever else you are trying to say in your comment.

The point is a problem with the consumption tax specifically.

Clearly, the poorer you are, the larger the percentage of your income goes on daily necessities like food, toothpaste and toilet paper, you know, the things all of us have to buy just to live, irrespective of our financial status.

A flat tax on daily necessities means that poorer people then pay a comparatively larger proportion of their income in tax. That is what is meant by "punitive tax on the poor". No-one is saying, as you seem to claim, "let's stop the government from collecting tax!"

It's clear if you think about it. A billionaire probably spends a fraction of 1% of their income on food (I mean the food needed for sustenance, not the luxury meals and champagne that they don't have to buy if they don't want to).

However, a quick Google shows that a poor family can spend anything up to 40% of their income on food. The percentage spent on food obviously rises because the total income is smaller. But we all need to eat to survive so the poor family cannot avoid these purchases (without stealing or receiving charity).

Clearly then, if there is a flat tax rate on daily necessities, the tax paid by poorer people (as a percentage of total income) rises too. As a result, the poor are being forced to give a larger proportion of their assets to the government than the rich.

This is the exact opposite of how we should organize society and taxation.

Think about income tax. The more you earn, the higher percentage you pay, as you move into a higher tax bracket. While there is argument over what the top rate should be, most sensible people agree that the system of progressively higher rates is fair (and necessary).

The above logic is why in the UK, Canada, and other more progressive nations, there is O% sales tax on food and other necessities, which is how it should be.

The LDP presumably feels guilty about this too which is why they are messing around with this 8% or 10% nonsense with complicated exemptions.

But even with the exemption, the 8% is still 8% more than it should be.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Users tell us they don't want their children to see tattoos. We don't want Japanese customers to leave us. See in context

Welcome to Japan!

Please spend your money, do exactly what we tell you, praise us for our politeness, and then go home.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation!

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Posted in: Court rejects damages suit over same-surname after marriage rule See in context

A number of posters mention last name issues for children of international marriages.

As a non-Japanese guy, there is a genuine argument for swallowing your pride over keeping your family name going and giving your children your wife's Japanese surname.

While in certain circumstances (assumed) English ability and international experience are advantageous, if you think that two resumes, one with a katakana surname and one with a kanji surname , get treated exactly the same in all lines of work and all places of business, you are not paying attention mate.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan fans explode with joy after Ireland upset See in context

I was cheering the Japanese team with my Japanese family and nearly shouted the house down on the interception at the end when Japan looked like running in a breakaway try. But my delight at Japan's victory does not mean I have to suspend my observations of reality.

Ganbare Japan writes "Rugby is extremely popular in Japan, especially at high school and University level', responding to a poster questioning the sport's popularity here.

This reply shows a lack of perspective. Yes, it is true that, within Japan, high school and university rugby make up a large proportion of the rugby played. But the overall pie is small and, from another perspective, the relative popularity of high school and university rugby is simply an indication of a failure to develop widespread adult popularity. The number of amateur rugby clubs (especially away from Tokyo) is absolutely tiny. As far as I know, there are exactly zero amateur rugby clubs for adults anywhere within around 50 or 60 miles of my town. This situation is replicated across the country. So to claim "rugby is extremely popular in Japan" is not actually true. Top league attendance figures are also way way below soccer and baseball.

In fact, in complete opposition to what Ganbare Japan writes, the Japan rugby authorities have been reflecting on their failure to galvanize support for the sport following the prior win over the Springboks four years ago. That is not my opinion, that is simply what the rugby association themselves are saying; they did not harness the momentum from that win to generate grassroots interest.

We can be delighted that Japan won without making up facts, surely?

It is also true that, before the tournament started and no-one knew how Japan would get on, the coverage in the media was nothing like what you would expect for an international event of this magnitude. Japanese TV shows, particularly the daytime magazine shows, are famous for given blanket, minutely detailed coverage to certain selected issues. The rugby world cup was not ignored, of course, but it did not, in advance, get this blanket media treatment at all. In fact, this was something else that the rugby authorities themselves were complaining about. In fact, in the run up to the opening ceremony, news of the event was scant, with one leading news item instead reporting on the keying of two dozen parked cars in a car park!

So it is not poor taste, I would say, to note that there is a significant component of "bandwagon jumping" going on here, as observed by one of the above posters. Of course it is natural that everyone gets excited at a surprise win, so it is not really a criticism to say that people are bandwagonning, simply an observation that before Japan won, lots of people were not paying attention to this event at all.

Would you not say that we can a better understanding of news and events when we do not simply cheerlead relentlessly irrespective of the facts? One of the problems with a mindset like that is that you can never look at anything objectively and think about possible solutions if you are, for whatever reason, ignoring reality in the first place.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Posted in: Stand and be delivered: Japan's evolving escalator etiquette See in context

Interesting that a sub-argument has developed over whether people say excuse me when trying to leave crowded trains or just push there way out, with one poster even going as far as to say that those who don't here "sumimasen" can't understand Japanese properly.

I have been here more than 20 years, use Japanese professionally every day, and can tell you that I have been pushed/shoved/elbowed in complete silence on trains in Tokyo on way more occasions that I can count.

Obviously, as some lines are ridiculously crowded, it is exhausting trying to say "sumimasen" to everyone, but it is bizarre to read some posters deny that this behavior happens at all.

Some people just have to jump on and deny anything that is even slightly critical of anything that happens in Japan. This is very odd.

Anyway, the silent pushing and shoving is certainly way ruder than you could get away with in many other countries.

This is the route of the escalator problem. Sometimes people, who are accustomed to silently pushing to get of trains, just try to push their way past someone on the "wrong side" of the escalator. That could be potentially fatal for someone who can only grip the handrail with one or other hand.

These are potentially serious incidents, but are infrequent. It seems like taking a mallet to crack a nut to get everyone to stop walking because of this. How about just telling people to stop silently pushing?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Financial watchdog probes Japan Post Insurance over fraudulent sales of insurance policies See in context

As other posters have suggested, the comparison between this case and Nissan is revealing. Admittedly, the title of this piece does correctly use the word "fraudulent", but look at the article where blatant criminal activity is described using as "mis-selling" "mismanagement" and "improper sales".

These are deliberate and egregious criminal acts designed to illegally boost profit at the expense of the victims of the scam. Why does the whole tone of the piece act like this is some sort of administrative error?

If you speak Japanese, you will know how the Japanese language coverage is even more evasive.

The contrast between media coverage of alleged crimes committed by those with establishment connections and alleged crimes committed by non-Japanese could not be greater.

All of this plays in to the myth that Japanese people are inherently morally superior to foreigners, contributing to the default assumption that, should trouble arise between a Japanese and a non-Japanese, the former is in the right and the later is in the wrong automatically, absent absolutely obvious, damning and unavoidable evidence.

In fact, even when such evidence is visible, the foreign may still be vilified as in the case of the former Olympus Chair Michael Woodford who was criticised for revealing wrongdoing by others.

People looking at Japan and its safe society from afar often wonder why so many foreigners who become fluent in Japanese appear to have sizable chips on their shoulder re: certain aspects of Japan.

They may wonder why some people on this board deny obvious truths like "Tokyo is a comparatively safe city".

The answer is that they are fed up to the back teeth with being told the world is divided into Japanese people and non-Japanese people, and the former are, as a matter of course, of nature and of DNA, more moral and upstanding than the later.

When you here this over and over again for decades, and see the media support that notion through loaded reporting such as the above, it eventually starts to grate, let's be honest.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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