kohakuebisu comments

Posted in: Is it the end of Japan’s conveyor belt sushi as we know it? See in context

Is it the end of Japan’s conveyor belt sushi as we know it?

Perhaps yes, but only as the last nail in the coffin. Most conveyor sushi shut off the conveyor during Covid, so even folks who didn't order off the touch screen before now do so. It makes little sense to take something off the conveyor when you can order the same thing fresh off a touch screen, as many have been doing for years.

The problem with this kid is that you could have copycat licking etc. at any buffet restaurant, drink bar, etc. If you are going to stop going to restaurants because of it, you should include family restaurants and breakfast buffets at hotels. That risk is not limited to sushi places.

The kid is a major p i t a and should be heavily sued.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Why are Japanese homes so poorly insulated? See in context

For a dwelling in Japan having 100 square meters, the volume of kerosene required for heating over one year is seven times that of Germany. And the majority of existing homes in Japan don't even clear the country's own standards." 

This is laughably false. The average German house uses 160kWh per square meter for heating (see link). For 100 square meters, that would be 1600 litres of kero per winter. Seven times that would be over 10,000, meaning the average Japanese would be paying 10000x110 yen per litre, or 1.1 million yen to heat their house. This is clearly false. Germany does have some very high standard houses, such as Passivhaus standard, but they are a tiny percentage of the total.

I remember reading somewhere that average household use in Hokkaido is around 2000 litres. 2000 is not seven times 1600, and Hokkaido is far colder than Germany.

European houses have been warm in the past few decades due to central heating using huge amounts of cheap natural gas. Now gas is expensive, comparable to what we pay in Japan, people are rationing its usage and their houses will not be as warm as your memories of them may be. I'm sure Japanese houses would be warm if natural gas was 2-3 yen a unit.


-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Posted in: Excess savings not helping consumers in Japan as inflation rises See in context

Wages in First World countries no longer keep up with productivity gains like they used to. What this means is that it is increasingly difficult for folks to save like previous generations. In Anglo countries in particular, there is also the now crushing cost of real estate.

So big picture for Japan, people cannot earn like they used to relative to the cost of living, and therefore should not be expected to save in the same way. While Japan is an aging society, the absolute number of old people has pretty much plateau-ed already, they are increasing in % of the total population but not so much in simple numbers. Most wealth in Japan is owned by old people, and as their time comes, there will be a hitherto unseen level of wealth transfer in Japanese society. That is, a larger number of people who on average are wealthier leaving inheritances. Rather than one poor parent leaving assets to four kids and eight grandkids there will be a wealther parent leaving assets to two children and one grandkid. This should be remembered when people make "Japan is finished" type predictions. A lot of wealth is going to be freed up in the coming 25 years or so.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Ex-UK leader Truss to urge tougher China stance in Tokyo meeting See in context

Given how disastrous she was, you have to wonder who is downvoting comments that mock Liz Truss.

She must have bought a bot farm with her payout.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Posted in: Construction costs are considerably higher for properties that will be put on the market this year. It’s quite possible that prices will surge even higher. See in context

Yep, whatever may be happening in many parts of the country, free houses in inaka etc., real estate in Tokyo and other niche markets has been going up for a long time and is likely to continue going up. Not least because build costs are going up.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: An American world champion freestyle skier and an Austrian man died, while several other skiers were injured after being hit by an avalanche while backcountry skiing in Nagano Prefecture last weekend. What makes the backcountry so appealing to skiers and snowboarders despite the danger? See in context

In good snow, its a fantastic floaty feeling. In places like Hakuba there is alpine terrain, so you are above tree line and so surrounded by dramatic scenery.

It must be said though that going into the backcountry is also fantastically trendy. It is seen as a rite of passage as a skier/snowboarder, almost to the point where some people cannot get out of the resort fast enough to show that they have made it. Easy access backcountry that is close to ski lifts is now full of beginners. The people killed this week were experts, Nagano Prefecture had partially subsidized their trip, but the vast majority of people in the backcountry are not.

As it happens, lots of Japanese have headed into the backcountry for years. This is referred to as "yama ski". People go in spring because the avalanche risk is far lower, so you get the scenery, the fresh air, etc. with next to no "despite the danger". The snow isn't as good, but that's only one aspect to a mountain trip.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Groper arrested in Nikko insists he did not grab both breasts, but just one See in context

SoraNews’ style doesn’t come across very well when “reporting” crimes.

It's all fun and games till it's your daughter on the receiving end.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Hotel-shopping complex opens at Tokyo's Haneda airport See in context

Any interesting restaurants? I'm not interested in shopping.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Millennium-old Japanese temple offering funeral service for broken record player needles See in context

Spirituality for inanimate objects....no thanks. It belittles geniune spirituality.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: Over 500 women in Japan used overseas sperm bank as demand grows See in context

Hiromi Ito, who heads Cryos International's Japan operations, has expressed her willingness to begin recruiting donors in Japan, saying that "women who want children will not give up and will turn to person-to-person transactions, which involve risks such as infectious diseases."

According to Wiki, some Danish donors have up to 200 kids worldwide due to commercial use of their sperm. That is a far bigger problem that the risk of infectious diseases.


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Contracts in Tokyo Olympics bid rigging case totaled ¥40 bil, sources say See in context

Here's the corruption perception index, just released today.


2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: World champion halfpipe skier Smaine dies in avalanche in Japan See in context


The top 10cm or so of snow sliding on you is called sluff. It usually won't bury you, but it can sweep you along, possibly into some rocks or trees where all sorts of injuries can happen. So yes, its still dangerous. In the Travis Rice in Hakuba video, one of his group was sluffed out on the well-known super steep rocky line they rode and was lucky to not be injured.

If people want to ride the backcountry, that's fine, but you shouldn't think it automatically makes you cool. If you have dependents, adjust your risk profile accordingly. Most kids would rather have a dad that tall tales of how cool their missing dad was.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Net population influx into Tokyo accelerates for 1st time in 3 years See in context

In my experience, Japan is very good at collecting data that doesn't include everything, so the number here could be increasing, it could be flatlining, or it could be decreasing slightly. I would not trust any data that is marginally one side of 50% or zero to be conclusive proof of a trend being in one direction and not the other.

What is clear is that Tokyo's population is not in clear decline as it is in most parts of the country. The cost of living is higher in Tokyo, real estate in particular, but its still luring people in. Some of it is wealthy old folks leaving a house in a dying suburb or bed town to live in a zero-maintenance apartment in the city with all services nearby and no need to drive. So its not all young people, which would be the most concerning.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: We’re living in the age of being connected or reachable 24 hours a day by one device or another. Is this a good thing? See in context

Folks working in hospitality and folks working for unsympathetic bosses may not have the option of turning a device off.

If I were staying in an AIrBnB I would expect the host to be reachable 24/7 in case of emergencies. For me, that is basic hospitality I would expect even at the cheapest backpackers lodge. The problem is when others contact the same person at 3:30am with "we're coming tomorrow for one night only, and since it's last minute, give us 50% off" type messages. In that situation, I have every sympathy with the host. Such messages deserve to be blocked or ignored. An AirBnb owner has the option of having two phones, one which gets switched off, but some people working in regular jobs can't do this. Their bosses and companies expect them to answer emails at all hours. Not doing so is a sackable offence.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: World champion halfpipe skier Smaine dies in avalanche in Japan See in context

RIP. On hearing the initial news, I thought they must have been hit skinning up, but it sounds like they were hit in a thought-to-be safe area at the bottom. It was immediately obvious from the scant details that they were not skiing at the time. The Japan Avalanche Network will publish a full report in a couple of weeks, but I guess they were at the flat marshy (in summer) area, Tenguppara itself, which proved to be in a run-out zone.

On a scale of poor judgement (0) to unlucky (10), this sounds like a strong 8 or 9 on the unlucky side. It is impossible to eradicate all risk, so being unlucky will always remain as a possibility. The crown height was reported as "2m", and most slabs will not go that deep. Even if you dug a pit that deep, many would not view an ice layer down there as a major threat. If the weight of 2m of snow won't trigger a slope, it's unlikely an 80 kg human will. The avalanche here was triggered by another another (smaller) avalanche on an adjacent slope. If I remember correctly, its very similar to how legendary snowboarder Craig Kelly was killed. His group were traversing at the bottom of Slope B, which was triggered by an avy on nearby Slope A.

Backcountry skiing is fantastically trendy at the moment, meaning lots of inexperienced people who can barely ski or snowboard (that's even before they put on a 10kg backpack) can be found in easy access backcountry. Unlike Semaine and his group, most backcountry skiers and snowboarders are not "experts". Once again RIP.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: We’re living in the age of being connected or reachable 24 hours a day by one device or another. Is this a good thing? See in context

But today no one checks messaging, text, email, voice call over messaging services any hours of the day any day of the week and they often get upset if you do not reply immediately.

People have lost simple courtesy.

This is very true if you work in customer services. You will get one e-mail at 11:30pm Japan time and then a angry followup at 8am asking why you've not replied. Maybe that's okay in mission-critical financial services or something, but not for a reservation for something that costs a few thousand yen and is being made weeks in advance. Sometimes its not possible to respond immediately to prospective customers because we are providing the actual service to actual customers.

We get messages like that off a request form that specifically says "we are a two-man company and cannot respond immediately". We had to take the phone number and WhatsApp off our website because people's expectations were ridiculous. Many of our requests and enquiries include questions that are answered in full on our website, if people took the time to read it instead of typing out questions.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: 2 skiers caught in avalanche found; showing no vital signs See in context

The report said the avalanche hit 13 people in three groups on the east side of Hakuba Norikura-dake, about 1:30 to 2 hours hike above Tsugaike Ski Resort. There is a ropeway above the resort that goes part of the way, but it does not run in January.

Normally a climbing path called a "skin track" gets put in on the east face of Norikura. The path will zigzag because its a steep slope, about 35 to 40 degrees. That's a very common gradient for avalanches to occur. For three groups to be hit by the same avalanche, I suspect it must have hit the skin track and swept away people climbing up it. It is backcountry common sense for skiers to ski one at a time, so 13 skiing at the same time on the same steep slope is unlikely. They must have been climbing or waiting at what they thought was a safe zone. If someone human triggered an avy above a skin track, by traversing for example, that would be highly irresponsible. Let's wait though to hear what the trigger was. Its a popular area and there will be witnesses.

No vital signs means almost always means death, so RIP.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Liverpool's FA Cup title defense over See in context

Mitoma should get the headline, in Japan at least. Great goal! Liverpool should have had two red cards, a last man dogso foul and a studs up lunge into the achilles that sent the victim off injured. Terrible refereeing.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Tokyo’s Monster Grill serves up gigantic beefy challenges for meat lovers See in context

This looks a Hummer SUV in food form. What terrible sides too.

There are loads of better ways to spend your money.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Holocaust survivors use AI imagery to keep stories alive See in context

While I certainly support recording interviews as interviews, I do not think we need AI images. Even if the AI is very good, such images will be fake. They are being produced by a computer.

It's seven hours, but I'd recommend the documentary Shoah by Claude Lanzmann. It was made in 1985 so many of adult age during the war were still alive to bear witness to what happened.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: We raised lift ticket prices by 200 yen per adult but we can't suddenly increase it by 1,000 or 2,000 yen. We can't cover all the fuel and power bill cost increases so it’s difficult. See in context

If people want to ski, they'll pay.

Yeah, the average skier is decked out in 250,000 yen plus of gear. "Backcountry" types can easily go over 500,000 yen, 200,000 just for the jacket and pants. Some will give Oakley 25,000 just for goggles. If you can afford all that, any "OMG lift tickets have gone up 500 yen!" type moans from you should fall on deaf ears.

I still do it, on a mishmash of gear of various vintage, mostly bought off Mercari and Yahoo Auctions. Goggles and gloves are the cheap Costco ones.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Foreign entries into Japan surge 12-fold in 2022 See in context

Is it possible to be a "short term visitor" without being a tourist?

fwiw, I am actually grateful for the story including "short term visitors" in the middle paragraph. Most stories only talk about foreign entrants like the first paragraph here. This is a meaningless number which also includes foreign residents temporarily leaving the country. I seem to remember Abe having a target of 40 million tourists. 27 million in 2019 (short term visitors) is much further off that than 31 million (the headline but meaningless "all foreigners" number the press usually quotes).

fwiw2, aside from the Mickey Mouse accompanied tours held in autumn, the border only opened around October 15, so the number is for about 1/5 of the year. 2.86 x 5 is about 14.3 million pace, so back up to half, though some of it will be pent up demand from people wishing to meet friends and family in Japan.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Posted in: Apartments with no bath or shower rising in popularity among young Tokyoites, report says See in context

A low cost apartment in Tokyo will not have a bathroom as spacious as the bottom photo. That's from an old house in the countryside.

The classic format for these stories is dubious theory based on next to no evidence. Given where we are in 2023 though, the obvious reason to rent a no-bath apartment would now be because you are near a 24 hour gym (a recent development) that you would be joining and paying for anyway as a monthly membership. If you can get a free shower five minutes away anytime you like, you might as well go there and save on your gas or water bill. I bet some people in no-bath apartments never go to the sento.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Posted in: Magazine warns Japanese society on verge of becoming an 'income-based caste system' See in context

This survey sounds highly flawed. They only asked people within commuting distance of Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka?

 In the case of the former middle class, average annual household income declined from ¥7.508 million in 2019 to ¥6.455 million in 2021, a fall of 12.8%, resulting in 20.6% of these households falling below the poverty line.

That is the fourth lowest out of their fifth classes.

Japanese median household income, i.e., the number below which half earn less, is 4.4 million.


Below these are 14.5 million households headed by executives, specialsts and professionals who make up the "new middle class,"

So nearly one in four Japanese households includes an "executive, specialist and professional" who is above a regular salaryman or city hall employee, their third category. That is utter nonsense.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese power firms seek price hikes, adding to household burden See in context

Working out the real cost of electricity is easy.

Yes, but why should you have to "work it out"? It should be transparent and obvious. The companies have the right to change the price every month with a "renewable energy subsidy" and a "fuel surcharge". Most people will only know with hindsight how much they will have to pay. They have better things to do than keep looking up how much electricity is going to be in the weeks ahead.

Anyway, its a complete joke to say inflation is 4% when electricity is up 30%.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese power firms seek price hikes, adding to household burden See in context

Hokkaido Electric Power Co said Thursday that it has requested an average hike of 32.17 percent in June, which will increase the monthly bill for an average household by 2,838 yen.

Please note that this mythical "average household" does not exist and is being used by the power company to hide behind how much they are actually charging.

The increase in your bill will only be 2,838 yen if you live in a 2DK apartment in Sapporo with two exterior walls, heat with kerosene, and cook and heat your hot water with gas.

If you live in a house with four exterior walls, no neighbours above and below, cook with electricity (IH induction), heat water with an Eco Cute boiler, and use some electric heating too, an air con or storage heaters, your bill will go up way way more. Most new builds have an Eco Cute and IH hob. Instead of hiding behind this "average bill", the power company should tell us what the price per unit of electricity is after this 32.17% rise. Our bill went up thirty odd percent in Jan (actually December usage) for us using 20% less power. This happened because of a "fuel adjustment" fee and a "renewable energy" subsidy being applied to every kWh we used. The cost of these extras (12.5 + 6 yen) was more than what we used to pay per kWh for overnight power. We heat with electricity and do so because thats what the power company convinced us to do (and because air cons are efficient). The worrying thing is that the price will be going up 30% and the electric company will still add this "fuel adjustment" fee and "renewable energy" subsidy on the top.

As mentioned in a comment above, if electricity is expensive, Japan is screwed. You cannot have an internationally competitive economy with super expensive electricity. If "international factors" are raising the price, then the government should work toward removing those "international factors" as soon as possible. It should not making moves likely to ensure that they continue into 2024 and beyond.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Japanese salted plum industry in dire straits, according to umeboshi company’s tweet See in context

This is clever marketing by the company. The reality is that people's tastes are moving away from Japanese things, but if you point it out to them, they will become defensive and buy them, some of it out of pride or guilt. Sometimes Japanese people need to be reminded that they are Japanese.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Ex-PM Mori casts doubt on Japan's excessive support for Ukraine See in context

Mori has no authority as an individual that supports crime and corruption and the misuse of public funds

Yes. However, that doesn't mean he is wrong here. Because he isn't. There is no upside for Japan in this war. The reward will be poorer international relations, higher prices on vital resources, and emptier public coffers.

-10 ( +11 / -21 )

Posted in: Device transmits radio waves with almost no power – without violating the laws of physics See in context

This sounds like the receiver sucking the signal from the transmitter. The analogy used is a heat pump, and they effective suck heat from the source and dump it where needed, they do not create heat (i.e., convert a different form of energy to heat).

Touch credit cards do not have a power source. They send information using energy harvested from the electromagnetic field produced by the reader device.

Anyway, all very interesting if you're a tech nerd.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Dystopian Japan doomed to impotent stagnation if not ultimate extinction, says magazine See in context

Women, like men, want to have options in how they live their lives. A lot of women want a fulfilling career, where they can contribute and further develop themselves as people.

I understand the sentiment here, but few men actually have "options in how they live their lives". Many of those most likely to marry and have a family are company employees who are unable to leave due to the huge drop in income and status they would suffer as a result. They are stuck to that company for life.

The lack of career flexiblity in Japan affects both men and women. A man who leaves a career job for a few years for personal development or to become a 24hr carer for an elderly parent will fare little better than a woman who does the same for childbirth. Starting again often means starting near the bottom. The system as is benefits men, but only certain types of men who are happy to put their company before everything. Women who want that kind of husband also benefit. Everyone else suffers.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

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