kohakuebisu comments

Posted in: Idol singer from Keyakizaka46 says she’s now working as a Tokyo bar hostess See in context

The JP entertainment industry isn't a walk in the park, and employment in Japan has always been tougher for young women. I guess this is a logical extension from the handshake events for her.

It's really not an easy job.

No one is claiming either job is easy. The thing people are attacking are the Establishment, here promoters/managers of idol goups who will dump performers like Shida at a certain age because they see group members as disposable. This does not have to happen. There are plenty of (non-idol) Japanese female pop stars in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond.

As for Ginza clubs, yes the women work hard. They are still pretty seedy places, frequented by leading members of the LDP like Mori and Aso and folks from well-connected Japanese companies wining and dining officials in return for a deal on the Tokyo Olympics or whatever. We little people do not need to cheer such enterprises on. Would people be as supportive of Shida's new direction if she had said "I want to be an LDP politician!" like that ex-member of Speed? That would be another way to make a living.

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Posted in: Idol singer from Keyakizaka46 says she’s now working as a Tokyo bar hostess See in context

Thanks for that Antiquesaving. Good luck to your son.

Yes, the entertainment industry in Japan is a closed shop with practices akin to organized crime, to which some actual links still remain. It is ironic in Japan that the word "talento" gets used for performers, because talent is not allowed to shine. All performers are essentially disposable and must operate within the rigid rules of the system.

The lady in the article sounds like she is washed up as a performer at 25ish. Maybe the "former idol" tagline will work well for her as a hostess, another highly looks-dependent job, but only so long as folks know or remember the group she was in. Or she has the smarts/personality to do the hostess thing well of course. In terms of career earnings, I wonder if she'll work out ahead of a woman who went to college, got a professional qualification, say accounting or real estate, and worked using that. I wouldn't be surprised if a person doing that came out ahead in the long term.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Posted in: What are the pros and cons of owning an EV (electric vehicle)? See in context

a top speed of 40km/h

Presumably Toshihiro is in North America and not Japan, because that would be illegal as a bicycle in Japan. Over 25kph and its a motorcycle and you need a number plate.

It comes down to usage, but 25kph can be high enough/too high or too low.

For bikes carrying young children illegally ridden on the pavement and weaving between pedestrians, a typical e-bike situation in Japan, 25kph is already unsafe.

On a road bike-style bike ridden on the road by someone paying attention and following the rules of the road (unlike a Uber Eats person you may have seen), it is too low. Its very easy to exceed 25 kph on the flat on a road bike by pedalling, which limits the value of electrification to hilly places only. If road e bikes could go 40kph, I think they could replace two stroke scooters (gentsuki) in the city. They would be really good for commuting. You could go fast enough for a quick commute without sweating so much that you'd need a shower on arrival.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Complete list of WWII U.S. internees of Japanese descent unveiled See in context

Internment is an interesting slice of history and worthy of study. Part of the interest lies in why Japanese and Japanese Americans were interned and German and Italian Americans were not. The difference in treatment could not have been clearer. Just for context, wartime America still had Jim Crow in the south, so the motivation behind treating Asians one way and Europeans another should not need much explaining.

It also seems that Japanese on the West Coast suffered much worse than those in New York, who were not forcibly resettled. The artist/designer Osamu Noguchi, yes, he of the "AkarI" paper light shades, was living in New York and actually volunteered to go into the camps because he naively thought he would be able to art classes and improve the conditions there. You can see him talk a little about his experience in the UK "The World At War" documentary series from the 1970s.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Posted in: Tokyo Olympics bribery arrests widens to third Japan sponsor See in context

The Sapporo winter Games bid is dead and buried. 

Can I have this in official writing please? While its good to see (a few of) those who acted nefariously over Tokyo be taken down, the most important thing is just for this fascination with the Olympics to stop. Enough already.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Our purchase costs for ingredients, boxes and other items have increased, so it was necessary to take the decision to raise prices. See in context

Fair enough for the price rise. Osechi is not an "essential" by any stretch of the imagination, so this isn't important.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese ski resorts luring crowd-averse 'glampers' See in context

The above comment hints at it, but basically there are two types of camping, one where you carry everything on your back and the other where you just fill up the car with as much consumerism-driven, comfort-giving stuff as possible. Glamping is the logical extension of car camping. Why buy a HiAce van and lots of camping gear to fill it, if there are camp sites with the stuff already there?

This is not to say outdoor sports, including camping out of a rucksack, aren't driven by consumerism, because they are too. The important thing about being in nature is being in nature, not being in nature with a Garmin watch, North Face rucksack, Patagonia shirt, Timberland boots, etc. etc.

The other hint we have in the story about what is going on here is that the ski resort originally made a campsite with a grand total of four glamping tents. A campsite for four groups is for rich people only. Thanks to its success, they have increased it to eighteen, still smaller than the number of pitches most regular car camping sites in Japan. This stands as another example of hollowing out of the economy where the only families left doing leisure activities are rich ones.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Two plead guilty over death of 5-year-old boy left on bus See in context

This happened again a few weeks ago.

I know the temptation is to severely punish these people, but the important thing is to introduce safeguards to ensure it doesn't keep happening. I don't really care whether these people go to prison, only that they are banned from looking after children because they have failed the "let's rely on workers' common sense/duty of care" test.

If strict safeguards are introduced, we can then punish people severely for actively endangering children, not doing so through ineptitude.

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Posted in: Buying a home in Japan: What you should consider See in context

In a country with literally millions of empty properties, you should be choosy as a buyer.

My other advice is do not assume all buildings in Japan have no insulation and rubbish windows. Yes, there are many old houses like that, and some not so old ones, but unless you are heavily budget constrained, no-one is forcing you to live in one. The government through Flat35 will lend you money at 0.5% to build an extremely warm house if you want one. There are many builders who will do it for you.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: More kids showing signs of premature aging See in context

Japanese lockdowns weren't that strict. Just our own experience, but the kids were still allowed to go outside and to go to school and do PE. Sports played outside continued pretty much as normal, and was only indoor ones like my son's volleyball that got affected with (public run) sports halls closing.

Video games have been around for 40 years, so any "screens" component will be smartphones. I think the big change here is diet. Japanese now eat way more meat, not fish and vegetables which are increasingly unaffordable. My guesstimate is that fish has almost doubled in past twenty years. Meat is up too, but only 30% or so. In that time, wages have gone from 900 yen an hour to 1000 yen an hour.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Young women in Japan want only one child or none at all: survey See in context

I don't mind folks not getting married or not having kids or whatever. There are many roads to happiness.

But I don't think the "parasite single" livestyle, living with your parents as an adult and still getting your mother to cook, and wash clothes, and pay for stuff, that's not good. You should get out and live your own life, and it is a step backwards if working young people cannot afford to do so.

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Posted in: Japan beats lackluster U.S. 2-0 in World Cup warmup See in context

I didn't see the game but have seen Mitoma play for Brighton and he looks a real talent.

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Posted in: Rare footage of Beatles' 1966 visit to Japan to be screened in censored form See in context

This is the best "Japan is crazy" story I've read in a while, but it is crazy in a depressing way, not in a funny or interesting one.

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Posted in: Young women in Japan want only one child or none at all: survey See in context

We live in inaka and almost all our kids' friends have brothers and sisters. It'll be over 90%.

Rewind 20 years and would their mothers have said "I want at least two kids" before even meeting their husbands? When asked, many young Japanese women famously say things like "I want my husband to earn at least six million yen", something the vast majority of men under 35 do not do. There is a big gap between what people say they want and what they end up doing. While it is important for the government to understand social changes, I'd measure them with the focus on what people do, not want people (especially the young and inexperienced) say they want in their imaginary future.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan to launch domestic travel subsidy program on Oct 11 See in context

This is for folks living in Japan isn't it, not foreign tourists? How are they going to check?

fwiw, I thought they were going to run Go To before opening the border, partly as a way to get people in (insert conservative place) used to outsiders coming, but there you go.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Micronesia denounces Japan's plan to release Fukushima water into Pacific See in context

I didn't know there is a country called "Micronesia". Its actually the "Federal States of Micronesia", and covers only part of the region called Micronesia.

Like many in Japan, I've been to Guam and Saipan, which are in Micronesia the region. There are many "Micronesia" named businesses and parks there, but those two islands are not in Micronesia the country. It's all a bit confusing. Guam has three US bases.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Kishida says Japan will ease COVID border controls from Oct 11 See in context

People working in tourism, myself included, are delighted at this news. If a tiny percentage of people won't get vaccinated or take a PCR test, so be it. We don't need them. There are many hurdles in coming to Japan, no spare cash, no time to plan before this announcement (most working folks book time off months in advance), and high airfares/lack of good flights are the biggest ones. A PCR test before departure is a tiny hurdle in comparison.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Posted in: Airbnb hosts are sick of Airbnb, too See in context

AirBnB is just a travel agent middleman.

It got its original kudos from offering people's actual houses when they were vacant. This is very nice and interesting, alternative, and kind of romantic, but that model, was soon superceded by mass-market, fully commercial holiday lets, increasingly owned by businesses with multiple properties. No more bohemians' houses, just lots of cheaply converted flats full of Ikea furniture run by businesspeople with spreadsheets. This kind of accom may still work for you better than a hotel, I fully get that, but as a business model there is nothing remotely "disruptive" about it. In going from C2C to B2C as described in the story, Airbnb sold out all the people who gave the site its original appeal.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Central banks worldwide tighten policies to cool inflation See in context

I don't know about the USA, but this strikes me as an OTT response in Europe. A big chunk of the inflation there is cost push from food and energy. It is not the "too much money chasing too few goods" overheating fallacy of old. European countries are staring at recession, so it makes little sense to make borrowing more expensive. The futures market already expects the price of energy to fall.

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Posted in: Kishida says Japan will ease COVID border controls from Oct 11 See in context

Great news! In time for the ski season too.

With a global recession, no Chinese, and high airfares, the country is not going to be "overrun" and overtourism won't be an issue for some time. The important thing is to get the country open again and some money coming in for all the people that used to serve the 3 million a month tourists Japan was getting right up to February 2020. That was lots of people's incomes, and lots of investment had gone into it. No visas also make it much easier for those with friends and family in Japan to visit. Don't let fears of overtourism or antivaxxers ruin what should be a moment of celebration.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan to ask foreign guests to wear face masks at Abe state funeral See in context

Just provide them Abenomasks, a big inventory.

A perfect tribute to the man, you would have thought.

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Posted in: Japan oil giant Eneos says misconduct against woman led to CEO resignation See in context

Its nice to see that no-one is expecting the victim to brush off sexual abuse because she is a hostess. Anything a woman does not consent to is sexual assault. It doesn't matter what her job is.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan weighs plan for ban on hotel guests without masks: report See in context

The first thing to say here is that some kind of mask exit strategy is needed. I don't know what the absolute best one is, but something needs to be done. A road back to normality is needed because it's not going to happen on its own.

Allowing hotels that want to refuse the unmasked refuse them would at least create some refuges for people who are mask-obsessed. As an example scenario, the Hilton hotel could allow in everyone and APA Hotel (who put fascist books on the bedside table) could refuse unmasked people. In that scenario, anyone who doesn't want to wear a mask (some foreign tourists included) can stay at the Hilton and the "urgh dirty foreigners" people can stay at the APA hotel with their masks on. Note that they are talking about hotels here, not public transport, or museums, or amusement parks, or anywhere else that is likely to curtail your liberty. Refusing unmasked people on them would be a far bigger issue. With hotels, it's easy, just go to a different one.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan's average residential land price rises for 1st time in 31 years See in context

The average price of residential land in Japan as of July 1 rose 0.1 percent from the previous year, increasing for the first time in 31 years

This is one example of a stat where we need to see the standard deviation. There will be Tokyo, certain Tokyo surroundings, and Okinawa where land is going up, and lots of places where it's going down. In others, it may have simply fallen so far already that it cannot fall any more.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan's average residential land price rises for 1st time in 31 years See in context

Housing loans locked at 0.04%.

I think you might have too many zeros there. Under 1% is common, but 0.04% won't even cover the admin fees. If its locked, it won't be for very long.

I have a Covid relief business loan off a government entity that was offered as "interest free", but it's actually 1.21% discounted by 0.9% to 0.31% for three years. Since its a ten year loan, the first three is when most interest would be due anyway.

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Posted in: Truss, Kishida to work on countering China See in context

Financial Times just declared the UK is a "poor country with some very rich people".

That's the article that talked about the UK shortly falling below Slovenia and below Poland by 2030, isn't it? One of the driving factors behind Brexit was resentment at Polish workers coming to the UK and supposedly feasting on its benefit system. My parents mentioned it dozens of times, so it must have been in the papers they read dozens of times.

fwiw, the FT is owned by Nikkei and pulls no punches to help the Tories.

As for China, it's Japan's number one trading partner. The UK is the perfect example of what you shouldn't do with your number one trading partner, and I hope Kishida takes note. If the US wants to poke a stick at China, there is no need for Japan to get involved.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan saw fewer than 400,000 births in Jan-June period See in context

By first world standards, childcare isn't expensive in Japan. The average in the UK is about a thousand pounds a month, so more like 150,000 yen. The problem is wages are low, not things are expensive. In countries where childcare is state covered, there is a stronger social contract and taxes are far higher than Japan.

We have three kids and we need about 350,000 a month for our expenses plus our mortgage. Our eldest is in an SHS dorm, but its cheaper than her being at home, feeding her, and her commuting to school, which would be 45km each way.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: 2-year-old boy dies after being hit by runaway go-kart in Hokkaido See in context

What a tragedy for the parents and for the girl driver who is likely to be traumatized. RIP.

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Posted in: The Japanese government plans to launch a nationwide travel discount program in October to support the hotel, restaurant and transportation industries hard hit by the pandemic. Do you think this is a good idea? See in context

I don't know about now, but wasn't the plan before to do a GoTo Travel first and then open the border to international tourists after? I'm pretty sure that is what was said earlier in the year. I suppose part of the idea will be to get Japanese outsiders going to places first, before gaijin outsiders start going there.

If having GoTo delays the opening of the border, I'm not in favour of it. Note that all they've actually announced is that the border will be opening. No date has been given. "possibly as early as" and expressions like that.

If they do have a GoTo, I'll take my family to Disneyland and get that out of the way as cheaply as possible. My principles do not extend to missing out on things I do not agree with but am paying for through taxation.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: How the strong U.S. dollar can affect everyone See in context

People in the US are thoroughly over-leveraged with their real estate debts, car debts, student loan debts, credit card debts, etc.

Comparably, Japan is rather stable. People don't really work up a lot of debt.

I agree with that. This viewpoint doesn't get much attention because of the braindead (actually ideologically-driven) comparisons between a country and a household.

If a household is in debt, like the US, this is an external debt. It must be repaid and the household must reduce consumption to do it. Household debt can also result in your home or car being taken away, further limiting your ability to be healthy, active and productive.

Japan has little household (private) debt, but massive public debt. Unlike a household, the government has a money printer and can print money to cover the debt. This is huge difference, like night and day. If the debt is external and denominated in foreign currency, yes, it can blow up when other countries demand payment in dollars or gold. That's what happens to developing countries every so often. Japan's public debt is not external or denominated in dollars. Japan also has huge foreign currency reserves.

People who compare a country with its own currency to a household are doing so because they want to stop government spending on poor people. I say poor people because austerity programs never hit the military-industrial complex and other vested interests. The line of thinking is always "we have to cut welfare due to the debt/deficit".

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

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