I saw Easy Rider in San Francisco nearly a half century ago. In front of me was an older woman who was rocking back and forth with the music like a spaced-out hippie...As I remember it, the movie begins with the protagonists selling white stuff to a young and rich Middle-Easterner in a limo. The two take the money, toss their wristwatches, and head off on their motorcycles for adventure. I suppose that for almost everyone in that Bay Area audience, there was nothing immoral about peddling drugs. (Morallity? Nah, just be cool!) At the end, which I did not expect, the woman in front of me was weeping in rage and grief...Yeah, ya know, like, uh, total redneck fascism, man, total redneck fascism! I later heard that in the demonized South there was applause at the end, as though two Orcs had been dispatched...Even back then America was polarized. I was then a foolish man of the left. Now I'm an old man of the right--grateful to have spent most of my life in Japan.
5 ( +5 / -0 )
Pres. Trump is either "playing" Kim or doing what his predecessors have done: kick the can down the road. Kim knows (or thinks he knows) that his enemies regard war as unthinkable and that he can thus do almost anything and get away with it. Sanctions? China will cheat. So will South Korea, whose (misguided) strategy is to buy off the Kim regime.
Kim is an evil, ruthless dictator, concerned only about himself and his clan. But he's not insane. He'll hang on to his nukes and his missiles as an insurance policy; that is, he's telling the rest of the world: "Help me stay in power, because who knows what I'll do if I start to fall!"
It's all quite appalling...But there appears to be no alternative.
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A boy is holding up a sign that says in hangul: Uri-nun ki-eok handa 'we remember'...Just what does he "remember"? All the fake history he learned in school? South Korea imitates Japan of old in peddling mythology as historical fact...When Japanese politicians and pseudo-intellectuals resort to Yamato-minzoku-ism, they have been rightly criticized. But all of that is quite mild when compared to the rabid ethno-nationalism of South Koreans. (And, of course, in the north, total insanity reigns.) Japan's only reasonable option is to deal with irrationality, hypocrisy, and sheer childishness by ignoring it all with a shrug of the shoulders.
3 ( +3 / -0 )
once lived in South Korea, albeit many years ago, when the country was still emerging from poverty. There is much that is admirable and even charming about the Korean people--and much that is exasperating. Half a century ago, those Koreans who were adults during the era of Japanese rule had ambivalent feelings about Ilbon-saram. Ostensibly, they were anti-Japanese, but there was also a sometimes not-well-hidden nostalgia, especially among those who were given a good Japanese education...Japan is the one country that Koreans love to hate, even as they relentlessly imitate it...Of course, they're not terribly fond of any country besides their own, and if the peninsula is ever reunited, the Americans will surely be placed as #2 on the demon list...I've come to find it remarkable that there is not more anti-Korean sentiment in Japan. Instead, there seems to be ho-hum indifference, with only virtue-signaling intellectual types wallowing in guilt over the thirty-six years that Koreans (supposedly) languished under Japanese rule and only a few ultra-nationalist nutcases expressing strong antipathy...I wish the two countries could get along better, but when one side goes on recycling the same old grudges, decade after decade, all the other side can do is act with patience and restraint.
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If what I am is simply what I want to be, what can be done to prevent discrimination against those who deny that they are human? I think of one dear friend who insists that she is really a tanuki. Another is from a planet several hundred light years from earth. Still another is the spirit of a wood-block print artist from the Edo period who has regular run-ins with city officials who object to his claiming that he was born in 1723. He and I often drink together, though, as he tends to become invisible from time to time, I sometimes get odd looks from other customers, who seem to think that I am talking to myself.
-5 ( +0 / -5 )
It can be argued that capital punishment encourages statism, and the secretive way in which executions are carried out in Japan is indeed disturbing. But there's an irony here: If the government were to announce an indefinite moratorium in the carrying out of death sentences, it would be defying the will of nation's majority...Europeans, smugly proud of the fact that they have abolished capital punishment (having spent much of the 20th century slaughtering each other), rail against it in large part as an excuse to dump on, yes, the Americans, whom well-heeled snobs already tend to regard as barbarians. By way of reaction, such inclines me to support, albeit reluctantly, the practice of putting murderers to death. But there is something quite grotesque about it all, especially when some vicious kid commits homicide and then languishes in prison for thirty years, while his lawyers invent outlandish excuses for sparing his (or, rarely, her) life. My guess is that eventually both the Japanese and the Americans will weary of hangings and lethal injections--and leave state-approved executions to the Chinese, the North Koreans, the Saudis, the Iranians, and other non-role-models for humanity.
-1 ( +0 / -1 )
A year or so ago, my wife, then about 70, was driving out of our condominium complex to go shopping. Having been up in the wee hours, she fell asleep at the wheel, the car crashing against a wall. She escaped injury, but the vehicle had to be scrapped. She took that as a sign that our driving days should be declared over. I initially balked at that but then accepted her judgment. In all my years of driving, I was involved in only one accident--when a drunk driver crashed into my car from behind, causing me great inconvenience but no injury. I was, however, never a terribly skillful driver and may even have been a stereotypical example of noro-noro unten. And it's a relief not to have the responsibility of being behind the wheel...Still, I have mixed feelings, especially as the media seem to have taken up elderly-driver-bashing as a trendy cause and as an opportunity for virtue-signaling.
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Pres. Trump's response ("she's not my type") is indeed cringe-worthy, but the fact remains that the media will systematically cover for "their" favorites, especially Bill Clinton, while trumpeting any and every anti-Trump story...It's encouraging to see dissenting voices here, even though, predictably, the yahoo ex-pat crowd will respond with thumbs-down.
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I have two grown sons and two grown daughters. The latter make significantly more money than the former. My elder son was very cleverly exploited by a mentally unbalanced, alcoholic, adulterous woman, following in the footsteps of her equally mad mother. Thanks to Japan's corrupt family court system, she was able to walk off with their daughter, whom he is now unable to see...He suffers from depression and is on leave from his elite company. His aged parents lend him money.
Unamused and Wolfpack hit the nail on the head!
How often do we read articles in the "liberal" media presenting the other side on these issues? Almost never...Formulaic "stories" such as this might as well be produced by Google Left-wing Translate.
-3 ( +1 / -4 )
I wish I knew the average age of the commentators here. gokai wo maneku gets a lot of thumbs-down, but he has a thumbs-up from me....And I belong to the ancient generation of those who thought that smoking dope was so cool, so daring, so sophisticated. Yeah, like, uh, we were, uh, fightin' against war and injustice and, uh, all that ungroovy stuff by, uh, puffing away...It's true that marijuana isn't as physically addictive as other drugs, but it can nonetheless be psychologically addictive--as escape...(Yes, alcohol is similar, but the world already has enough problems with that!) Today, in America, it's not the spoiled college kids who get strung out of weed; it's the despairing, unemployed, very unsophisticated "lower" classes...I confess that I might be more "open-minded" on the subject (if only to reflect on the sins of my generation), if I did not suspect that criticizing "square" Japan for its no-tolerance of marijuana ties in with a general Japan-bashing mentality.
-1 ( +2 / -3 )
I have never understood the appeal of spectator sports, though for a few minutes I'll watch an important (?) tennis match on the tele...I wouldn't travel into Tokyo for the scam that is the Olympics if I were paid to do so! Madness, media-hyped madness!
1 ( +5 / -4 )
As a translator of journalistic Japanese many years ago, I once brashly announced, being conversant with both Korean and Chinese, that I would henceforth follow the general East Asian practice of surname first. That, by the way, is taken for granted by scholars, to whose group I also belong. I was sternly told that such would be very much contrary to policy...Mr. Kono is not, contrary to the snarky comments made by some here, simply nitpicking...When East Asian names are reversed, there is an unnecessary distortion in the intonation. The Japanese accentual pattern will, of course, be altered according to foreign pronunciation, but not so severely if the Japanese order is observed...A further complication is the fact that pre-Meiji names are already given in Japanese order. It's Utagawa Toyoharu, not *Toyoharu Utagawa.
I agree with "Nic": The tendency to refer to Occidentals by their personal names can be irritating, and it's not just a matter of confusion regarding the order of names. Part of it may reflect the notion that all "foreigners" are Americans and that Americans call everyone by their personal names--something that, when I was young, was in much of Europe unthinkable. But then there may be the feeling that foreigners don't have (modern) honseki and therefore might as well be Edo-period peasants...And then there are those pseudo-Westernized Japanese who meet, let us say, Prof. George Smith, a veteran Japanologist, fluent in Japanese, and then, though knowing who the person is, nonetheless say: "Hi, George...My name is Toshiyuki Yamamoto. But you probably can't pronounce my name, so just call me Tosh." (Sure, anything you say, Tush...)
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Dumping on Japan is common in the English-speaking community here, so I was somewhat surprised at the negative reaction here. That is, I would have thought that the usual suspects would be sympathizing with the litigant and screaming their usual nonsense about xenophobia and, yes, "embedded racism"...Unfortunately, we do not know the details of this case. If the young man is (a) reasonably well educated, (b) able to speak Japanese, and (c) religiously tolerant, he could join those de-facto "immigrants" who are contributing to Japan's future. We should remember that though Saddam Hussein was a murderous monster, his regime was not Islamist and that, even such aside, there are many from Islamic nations who loathe all that "Allahu Akbar" stuff as much as we do.
-1 ( +2 / -3 )
I have lived in Japan most of my life (and I am old). I am also a Japanese citizen...I remember when the entire topic of "discrimination" was either incomprehensible ("racism is a white people's problem") or taboo. Japan is vastly open and tolerant than it was years ago...But that's not an interesting or satisfying story, especially if one heeds to appeal to non-Japanese readers. So...Report on some survey of highly dubious scientific validity, clearly intended to "prove" what its compilers already want to believe.
I could claim that I've suffered "discrimination" in every country in which I have lived--and I have quite a list. So what?
It's encouraging, I must say on the other hand, to read posts reminding us that Japan is, on the whole, a lovely country in which to live.
-1 ( +5 / -6 )
It is naively utopian to think that everyone can have everything. Children are not allowed to vote or drive a car. Retired professors cannot get teaching jobs after a certain age. As much as one may wish to have five wives or a dozen husbands, such is not permitted...Marriage is a special union, related to reproduction and the rearing of children. Homosexual relationships are simply not the same, as anyone with observational skills and a modicum of common sense will know. If Taro wishes to leave all of his property to Kenjiro, he should be allowed to do so. And as ambivalent as one's view of their relationship may be, the police should stay out of their bedroom. But the state should likewise not be in the business of overturning centuries of tradition simply to satisfy Alice-in-Wonderland liberals and intellectoids...Hang tough, Japan! Just because the West has lost its way doesn't mean that the rest of us must follow suit!
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It is a matter of modernist dogma that separating sex from procreation is an absolutely good thing and that Margaret Sanger is thus a secular saint. Well, she wasn't. She was not primarily concerned with making women's lives easier (or more fun). She was first and foremost focused on eugenics, and though the term "racist" has come to be used much too carelessly, the label clearly applies to her. Today's "liberals" consistently whitewash--as it were--MS...
-2 ( +0 / -2 )
Sensei258 is either Japanese or a long-time resident who knows Japan very well...What he says reflects my immediate reaction when I saw the story. But lest anyone think that Japan is "unique" and/weird in this regard, it might not be so different elsewhere.
2 ( +2 / -0 )
Most of the comments here are inane: mindless pseudo-liberalism. I'm old enough to remember when Barbra Streisand, whose talent far exceeds her intelligence and education, was young. She has learned nothing, though I do like her rendition of Hatikvah.
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As a professor at a Japanese university, with several friends at Chuo, I am horrified by the murder of this gentle scholar. Social and cultural generalizations are and will be quite meaningless - at least until the circumstances are clarified...There's a lot wrong with higher education in most parts of the world, including Japan, where passivity, it seems to me, is the long-standing problem, along with a "hierarchy" obsession. (I teach in an elite institution, so this is not sour grapes.) But for now let us grieve - and wait...
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