It's "voyeuristic"...Literacy is clearly on the decline in this computer age...
On the other hand...
More than half a century ago I was teaching in a school in a land across the sea. There a pretty librarian/secretary would come into the all-male teachers room to serve tea. On more than one occasion, someone would try to pull her dress up. She would giggle and deftly slip away...Years later I taught in a university, in which the general affairs section office displayed calendars with nude female photos. The section chief would made lewd remarks to the young married woman at the bottom of the totem pole...I had a colleague who claimed that he knew a chikan and that the man regarded what he was doing as a service to sexually frustrated women...Yes, of course, utterly insane!
The world remains an imperfect place, but anyone with a reasonably long memory can say that in this regard things are much better.
Kohakuebisu gets it just right...
I have two sons and two daughters. The younger of the my daughters was coming home one night, when some chikan made a move on her. Big mistake on the chikan's part, as my daughter is no one to mess with. She chased him until she caught him. He begged for mercy...
-1 ( +2 / -3 )
When I was young, smoking appealed to the young as an excitingly forbidden pleasure. It was also a sign of the rush to grow up. I smoked, not heavily, for ten years--in five different countries. I was particularly fond of Gauloises and of pipes...I quit the day I got married, some 50 years ago: wife's orders. For a while I got my jollies by joining in the anti-tobacco chorus, loudly complaining about what I saw as lax enforcement of restrictions. I would sit in coffee shops and guess which stylish early middle-aged woman would reach into her fancy handbag and pull out a pack of cigs--and quietly despise and resent her...But then I met the true zealots, those who would spend half an hour going from restaurant to restaurant, asking whether they were kin-en or not and angrily protesting when they were told they were not. Among some foreigners it became a kind of Japan-bashing. I suspect that many of them are somewhat disappointed that an anti-smoking consensus has formed. What else can they now feel morally superior about?
-8 ( +3 / -11 )
Robert Cikki writes:
"So although I agree with what he said and it coincides with what I say. it's not good for him in the future. I suspect he will now have a bit of a problem with book publishers."
No, au contraire...My guess is that you haven't been in Japan long enough...
Dumping on the government is almost a sine qua non for Japan's pseudo-intellectual class, to which Murakami belongs. In this case, I'll concede, he makes some valid points, and I speak as a voter who consistently supports the LDP. (The whole Olympics scam constitutes a pseudo-religion, which the government should have resisted.)
I've spent most of my life in Japanese academia, in which sticking up for conservative principles is far more hazardous than doing what Murakami has just done.
-3 ( +0 / -3 )
I too have family and property connections to 常夏のハワイ and have long assumed that I, along with my equally aging wife, would be getting back there for a longish stay. Ah but oh 無常! Yesterday I talked to a longtime resident of Honolulu, now here in Japan, who says that he doesn't think he and his wife will ever get back there, adding that he's actually happier here. For one thing, he says, noting the obvious, it's safer in Tokyo. Honolulu has a lower violent crime rate than the US national average (for what that's worth!) but a higher property crime rate. (I speak as a burglary victim.) Recently, there has been an increase in gun violence. And then there are the druggies--lots of 'em...The last time we were in Honolulu, we saw a semi-elderly local woman quarreling with a semi-elderly homeless woman, clearly from the mainland, her belongings hung from a (stolen) shopping cart. They were hurling racial epithets at each other. (Let's just say that neither was white.) There's a lot to be said for "chilling" in Japan...
7 ( +7 / -0 )
I would urge everyone to read O'Brien's comment, which is very funny and which also has the ring of truth...I am somewhat bi-dialectal in English and can thus claim neutrality. What I dislike is chauvinism from whichever quarter. ..It should not be forgotten that there are dialects within both British English and American English, especially the former. I have a good friend who, though of Irish origin, speaks "standard" Southern British English. When she lived in Japan and taught English, she was falsely regarded as a snob by colleagues who spoke with northern accents...I loathe English-speaking contests, though years ago I was pressured into attending a few and even once served as a judge in one...One young lady came to me with a speech written in dreadful English, all about how sad it is that foreign words have polluted the Japanese language. (That's another standard topic.) I corrected the grammar and spelling and tried to change the more idiotic claims. Later I was castigated by a student, the young lady's senpai. He told me that I had dared to alter one of the club's oldest and most sacred speeches. The silly girl hadn't even come up with her own silly ideas. After that, I had nothing further to do with any of that utter absurdity.
0 ( +0 / -0 )
My father-in-law managed to survive a Soviet labor camp, though he suffered from a lung ailment as a result and died well before he was my current age. He rarely spoke of his experiences, but I know that many of his comrades did not return...I clicked on this article just to see how many young (?) non-Japanese would make disparaging remarks. It's part of a pattern: One comes as a brash Occidental to the most prosperous, democratic, and stable nation in East Asia, makes an easier living than one could in one's home country, and then self-righteously dumps on it, generalizing from a long-ago era about which one knows little to judge the present.
2 ( +5 / -3 )
nishikat writes: "They are trying. Normal people are looking forward to it. Trump people say the vaccine makes people sick and they get all their health news from Tucker. They are antivax and thank God we don't have have Polio now."
nishikat obviously doesn't watch "Tucker" or doesn't understand what he is saying...Tucker is no anti-vaxxer, but he does point out the ever shifting, Orwellian "down-the-memory" hole "logic" of the Bidenistas.
ulysses calls those who decline to be vaccinated "selfish idiots." I have already received the first injection, but my wife of nearly fifty years has postponed her appointment, worried about a possible reaction (she has allergies) and skeptical about the double-talk, even here in Japan. I don't argue with her...It's fascinating (and infuriating) to note how the same people who are "pro-choice" on all the politically correct issues become rigid authoritarians when it comes to the pseudo-religion that seems to have infected, as it were, all discussion of vaccinations.
-2 ( +3 / -5 )
Years ago I had a student from a predominantly Muslim country who was quite a wit and quickly learned various taboo words in Japanese. My guess is that he was not terribly concerned about what is "halal" in regard to the ladies...One evening there was an "international" gathering, at which the fare was carefully distinguished. There were large signs that warned in English: PORK...BEER. As I sipped on my forbidden drink and he on his orange juice, I asked him in English, which he spoke quite well: "Suppose a devout Muslim accidentally ate pork. Might he be forgiven?" "Allah the All Merciful," he replied, "would no doubt consider the matter with compassion. I believe, though, of course, I cannot know His Will for certain, that the poor man might be given a second chance." "Ah," I went on, "but suppose someone became so cross-culturally curious that he deliberately allowed a small morsel of pork to go down his gullet..." "Well, in that case," my student responded with a very serious expression, "he would be in very, very deep ****!" (I belong to another religious tradition, one with its own rather strict rules, which I generally support, but I nonetheless somehow hope that the young man was putting me on.")
0 ( +0 / -0 )
theFu writes: --The IOC should change the rules and live through the mainland CCP-Chinese govt's tantrum. Then it will all go away and the world will call Taiwan, "Taiwan".--
Yes, "should"...But it won't. Because the IOC is as corrupt as it is devoid of any principle beyond promoting its dishonorable game.
0 ( +0 / -0 )
"The article doesn't even touch on the fact that men in their 70's in Japan are of the generation that was coddled their entire lives by women, and treated with deference by their juniors at work and younger people...."
Are you a sociologist? Were you here when these "men in their 70's" were being coddled? Somehow I don't think so.
There are arrogant bullies in every generation, and some of them are women, both old and young. In my younger days I dealt with the generation that gone through the war and helped to rebuild Japan, while hardly living the life of Americans in the suburbs. There were the jerks that every foreign woman loves to rant and rave about. But there were also wise and even saintly sorts. And now they're almost all gone. Those my age, some of whom made my life miserable, are now old and tired. I've met some who now very much regret the way they behaved in their brash, ambitious days. Hey, how about cutting us some slack!
0 ( +2 / -2 )
Years ago my family and I watched television daily. In the morning there was the NHK 15-minute drama, and in the evening there was often Ginga-terebi-shousetsu--along with various quiz shows. On the commercial networks, there were, of course, other programs to choose from...My wife and I are old enough to remember, with nostalgia, the "hoomu-dorama," which, at their best, were quite well done. (I wonder how many readers here would recognize the name of Takewaki Muga or Morishige Hisaya. Ah, those were the day!) And, of course, "everybody" watched 紅白...
No more...We are now in our seventies, and my rather media-addicted spouse sticks to her iPad, watching podcasts that reinforce the politically and culturally conservative views that, to varying degrees, we both espouse. My wife in particular views NHK with great suspicion.
Is there greater "diversity," greater freedom? Or is it all a matter of cultural fragmentation?
0 ( +0 / -0 )
I'm in my late seventies and am thus all the more grateful for the neighbourhood convenience store, something one doesn't find, for example, in northern Europe...I'm amazed at how well trained, efficient, and patient the clerks are. I make a point of responding by trying not to hold up the queue and to express my thanks when the transaction is completed...For all I know there are people my age who treat clerks rudely, but I can honestly say that I've never seen it.
In San Francisco these days there are not a few younger "shoppers" who aren't rude to the clerks in retail outlets, as they don't need to interact with them: they simply walk out with whatever they want, and with no consequences. They then "fence" their loot...Let's be grateful that we live in Japan!
6 ( +9 / -3 )
Itsonlyrocknroll has the right idea:
"Ok, what if you are a Japanese passport holder but also a foreigner, I suppose you get to choose.
It is the inconvenience and headache working out the protocol.
I am half, so maybe I should go for the J only.
Hang on, the other half is English/Welsh maybe I should plumb for the foreigner option.
No wait I have a Japanese passport. I know go indigenous hold the passport in the air.
No that's loony.
Humm, i got it find move to another hotel."
I too am a Japanese citizen, but can't quite pass for a Yamada Yoshi. Yes, it's all quite silly, but it's also just one hotel. Americans in particular (not all, of course) seem very much to enjoy ranting and raving about "racism" in Japan, not realizing either how much better conditions have become here or how ugly things have become in their own country, where more than fifty-three years after the death of Martin Luther King, the term "whiteness" is being tossed around as a snarl. My guess is that "senior" staff members in the hotel came up with the idea and that their underlings lacked both the good sense and the courage to resist them. One can hope that the foolishness of it all will be understood--without anyone being sued or without anyone burning down six buildings in protest.
-3 ( +2 / -5 )
The late Roy Andrew Miller, author of The Japanese Language and more than a bit of a curmudgeon, declares (I paraphrase) that Japan has two seasons: unbearably hot and unbearably cold...Amusing but, of course, quite unfair...For northern Europeans, the sun sets a bit too early in summer (I am speaking of the Kanto area), but then it doesn't set so depressingly early in winter. Autumn is a delight...I remember the days before air conditioning--and the magic sound of the wind bell (風鈴).
0 ( +1 / -1 )
If this were an article about how men are temporarily liberated from pesky wives or girlfriends, there would be massive protest. Well, no, the article wouldn't be published.
-1 ( +1 / -2 )
I'll admit that I'm biased, as I have long regarded the Olympics as a pseudo-religion. But I wince at the obvious Japan bashing on the part of some commentators. My wife and I consistently vote for Suga's party but are disappointed by the current combination of obstinacy and wishy-washiness.
0 ( +1 / -1 )
I was living in Ibaraki before, I would wager, anyone posting here was born...The people there are quite nice, and one grows fond of the sing-song dialect...And now someone there has done more than a few JT readers the enormous favour of giving them thing to feel indignant and morally superior about...There's been so much rubbish spouted about COVID, not a small amount of it advertised as "science," that one more idiotic remark shouldn't make that much difference. There are those who want very much to (a) believe that Japan is "racist" and "xenophobic" and (bI to go on living here--and complaining.
1 ( +1 / -0 )
What exactly does "Free Palestine" mean? Uh, let me guess: Destruction of the State of Israel and killing or expelling all Jews.
It is encouraging to see that there are many commentators who are not deceived by the biased media and recognize terrorism for what it is...Israel is a prosperous, democratic state that only wishes to be recognized and tolerated by its neighbors. The sad reality is, however, that the tyrannical, hate-obsessed "leaders" of, for example, the people of Gaza would rather perpetuate violence and misery.
-1 ( +4 / -5 )
This article is vile. It's sick.
-9 ( +0 / -9 )
The ignorance displayed by some commentators here is breathtaking. Worse, they tend to get thumbs-up...Israel is not an "apartheid state"--though I've been hearing that big lie for more than fifty years...The notion that the Israel is mooching off U.S. aid is also false. As Kevin D. Williamson puts it, "Aid to Israel isn’t aid to Israel. It is corporate welfare for U.S.-based military contractors."
How many readers are aware of Hamas's bloodthirsty agenda, its stated (!) agenda?
Here's a joke I heard long ago from an Israeli friend:
How can one sum up the significance of all Jewish holidays? Well, there were these people. They tried to kill us. They failed. We survived. Let's eat! (No, that's not really the meaning, but the joke makes a good point.)
-6 ( +5 / -11 )
Without the slightest (positive) interest in the Olympics, regarding it all as a grotesque scam, I admit that I'm not well-informed. But I've heard that if Japan unilaterally cancels the event, it will be subject to heavy fines. Is this true? Please, those who are 詳しい might inform us...
1 ( +1 / -0 )
I once lived in South Korea, still know the language, and am interested in the history and culture of the country...I remember when the ROK was a dictatorship, very much caught up in the Cold War. Schoolgirls would compete to see who could weep and scream and tear her clothes the most dramatically in ferocious speeches denouncing Communism. Of course, hostility to the evil regime in the North was quite understandable, but there was, of course, no freedom of speech, and one had to be very circumspect...There was also intense ethnicism, mixed with a chip-on-the-shoulder mentality. With democracy and affluence, some of that has changed over the years--but unevenly. Hatred of the North has yielded to naïveté toward the North, while loathing of Japan has only intensified, turned into a national myth...Are there Japanese who are insufficiently aware of Japan's dark militarist past? Yes. But there are surely also many Japanese who have concluded, not unreasonably, that wallowing in collective guilt has proved to be worse than useless.
6 ( +8 / -2 )
I used to say: "I just want enough money that I don't have to think about money anymore." But then someone told me: "Uh, that's what everyone says, naively thinking the statement to be true. The trouble is that for most people there's never 'enough'!"
That same person told me recently: "Part of getting your money's worth out of a business-class airline ticket is the fun of sipping champagne as one eyes those with backpacks heading toward cramped economic-class seats." It's a very gloomy but, I fear, realistic observation...Too many "equality" advocates are armchair socialists who would love to become government bureaucrats--with special privileges, including business-class, no, first-class, tickets. That's how the old Communist systems worked--or didn't work.
-6 ( +3 / -9 )
Peter Neil: "There are foreigners who can't function in their own society, but can struggle out a meager existence in Japan."
One can say that about all who live outside of their home country. I've heard that about "foreigners" for over fifty years. It's not an entirely unfair claim, though it's often made with mean intent...
I remember Japan when even non-native speakers of English with little education and certainly no professional qualifications could get eikaiwa jobs--and with no proper visa. They didn't bother to learn Japanese and shamelessly took advantage of the Japanese tendency to let foreigners get away with bad behavior....I remember one con artist, with atrocious English, who spent his days hanging around Tokyo coffee shops, soliciting gullible Japanese females.
But that was then...
-2 ( +3 / -5 )
I'm a Japanese citizen; I've lived here in Japan most of my life. But I have never understood the impulse to do what one thinks everyone else is doing, all at the same time. Even before COVID, my idea of a pleasant GW was to stay close to home...That having been said, I must add that I also don't understand those who can't say a good word about Suga (or any other LDP politician) and then turn around and call for authoritarian measures to keep people in line...I am old and out of shape and venture forth only when necessary, and yet I am also skeptical about much of what we're told. The fact is that elsewhere, particularly in America, "big-government" types are clearly taking advantage of the COVID crisis (if that is what it is) in order to promote their paternalistic/control-freak agenda. More people have died of drug overdoses in the disaster area that is San Francisco than of COVID. What is the government doing about the mentally ill sleeping on the streets, with their needles and human waste? Worse than nothing...Its stock response to every question: Blame Trump and wear a mask--forever...I'm not terribly confident in Japanese politicians, especially when I think about the ongoing Olympics scam. But 日本はまだいいほうですよ。
1 ( +1 / -0 )
Predictable propaganda piece...
-6 ( +2 / -8 )
I don't often agree with many of the commentators here, and when I post my own comment, I typically get a lot of thumbs-down, so I am pleased to be "on the side" of most in this case. Even though I am old and not in the best of health, I don't worry very much about COVID on a personal level, but a couple of days ago I went into Tokyo for the first time in about a year and found it all rather sobering...The last thing the capital or the nation needs at this moment is all the complications from the Olympic Games. How stubborn, stupid, and greedy can these people be?
10 ( +10 / -0 )
GW is quite right, and it's encouraging to see that he's received quite a few thumbs-up....I'm an old, overweight male and find it annoying that in otherwise tolerant and thoughtful Japan, making remarks about obesity is all too common. But the ultra-politically correct really ought to--as it were--lighten up....I confess that I gloated a bit when I read about this latest "scandal," as I heartily loathe the Olympics as a wasteful scam.
0 ( +0 / -0 )
Unlike, I would surmise, most commentators here, I remember when Mori-san was the prime minister. The sharpest knife in the drawer he was not even then, but he was and is (it seems) good at playing dumb...
Sexism bad. Ageism good...I was all for women until I started getting badgered. I was all for getting rid of dinosaurs, until I became one myself.
I have no dog in this fight, as I regard the entire Olympics endeavour as a scam. e)
3 ( +3 / -0 )
"That Biden will have to continue fighting pro-authoritarian, anti-democracy politicians like Cruz, Hawley, Gaetz, Jordan and so many other insurrectionist Republicans means the challenges to right the office will continue. I've never been a fan of Biden, but I'm an anti-authoritarian who believes in democracy so wish him good luck."
I'd be curious to know why PTownsend has "never been a fan of Biden." Because he is corrupt? (He is.) Because he isn't "radical" enough? (We'll see.) Trump is no "authoritarian." And Ted Cruz, a brilliant legal mind, is no "insurrectionist." This is simply regurgitated propaganda. For four years Donald Trump was relentlessly attacked. Celebrities and politicians openly wished his demise. He was treated far worse than Biden has been by his opponents. Vice-president-elect Harris supported real insurrection. Nancy Pelosi shrugged.
-6 ( +2 / -8 )