kohakuebisu comments

Posted in: No. of foreign visitors to Japan in July hits new monthly record See in context

I hope they didn't get too wet. It rained most days in July at my place.

Given the composition of the tourists, it would be nice to see the TV people taking to Chinese and Koreans sometimes. If you were an old person in inaka with the tv on, you would think most of the tourists were Westerners, because they're what you see on the screen.

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Posted in: Rebirth of vinyl propelled by diversification of music platforms See in context

Something that probably doesn't apply to the player in the picture above, which looks less like a real player and more like a machine for buggering up records.

It looks like a Numark USB one designed to convert records to MP3 files. So indeed, "buggering up records".

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Posted in: 'Outing' by teachers puts LGBT students at risk in Japan See in context

In one case, a student with gender identity disorder who was registered male at birth told a supervising teacher of wanting to be included in the female group for a school trip.

But before the student realized it, the teacher had told the classmates of the situation. A number of the classmates' parents later complained to the school.

I have sympathy with the story and would imagine that new teaching guidelines are required for teachers to deal with gender issues sensitively. When stories give anecdotal evidence like the above though, I wish they would do it with enough information to understand the point being made. From the above, It is not clear what included in the female group entails and whether it would be possible or realistic for the teacher to accept the request without informing the other students. Some parents complain about anything, so that in itself proves nothing.

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Posted in: It’s still very difficult for women to reenter the country’s workforce following the birth of a child. If you are a married woman over 35 in Japan, it’s hard to find even a temporary job. Prime Minister Abe’s government is far from serious about creating work-life balance for working mothers. See in context

There are huge society-wide problems preventing working mothers from getting on. They include long working hours and few actual holidays for full-timers, lack of childcare, caregiving responsibilities for the elderly, overbearing and unavoidable school/PTA commitments, other unavoidable commitments from neighbourhood associations and club activities, and, of course, traditional men not doing housework. Changing one factor, like employers' attitudes, will not change very much with the other problems still in place.

I also think there is a lack of solidarity from women who do not work. Schools and neighbourhoods could operate with fewer demands on parents (mothers), but there is insufficient pressure for them to change.

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Posted in: Japanese women asked what they would do if they had a man’s body for one day in survey See in context

This sounds like a "feed em the answer" tick a box survey, not one that accepts open answers with no suggestions.

I've been to the beach a fair bit since becoming a father and most Japanese mothers I've seen completely cover up at the beach and pool. Almost everyone wears a rash guard and what look like running tights are common too. In general, Japanese people don't get sunburn as easily as Western people, and many of them are in better shape, so there is less need for modesty. They could expose a bit more skin and feel the breeze if that were actually important to them. From their behaviour, I suspect it isn't.

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Posted in: Tech-savvy farmers a new hope for Japan's shrinking agriculture sector See in context

The strawberry guy is so high end that he's not representative of anything that can be significantly scaled up.

The rice grower is representative though. Japan has lots of tiny farms using mechanization (factory farming) without the scale required to make it economic. So you have a farmer with three fields and a four million yen combine harvester that gets used for twelve hours a year. The same goes for his planter. His tractor might get used for seven days. We are all paying for it.

One of the biggest stories in Japan in the past week or so is a large independent melon grower who has been sabotaged by someone who initially messed with his equipment but eventually then went the whole hog and killed his crops with herbicide. From the initial shock at this happening, the focus on social media (yes I know) has shifted to the growing suspicion that this is the work of another farmer or farming insider angry at the grower leaving JA and selling his melons direct to customers. Apparently there have been comments along the lines of "what do you expect if you don't go along with the group" that indicate some people think the farmer brought it on himself.

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Posted in: Kyoto eyes introducing lodging tax amid increasing tourist numbers See in context

I lived in Osaka for ten years and I knew a lot of Osakans who had a negative image of Kyoto people in spite of them still being from Kansai.

The "in Japan" version of common sense says this tax will only be 200 yen or so, so it's hardly "gouging". Presumably it will be on AirBnBs too, unless they want the town to come and shut them down. Two seconds of Google found me an example of a city that already has a hotel tax, yep Osaka, 40 minutes (not shink) away from Kyoto. It's zero for people paying under 10,000 a night, then goes up to 100 yen and then 200 yen depending on the price of the accom.

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Posted in: Here’s a handy cycling hack: Pump up your tires for free at any police box See in context

I guess the cops will have a mama chari, so you are looking at what Japanese call a "British style" valve on the tyres. It's a should-be-antiquated design where a replaceable rubber tube is sandwiched between the inner and outer parts. Most pumps for "British" valves sold in Japan do not fit other tyres, so a police box may not be able to inflate a decent or better bike's tyres.

Road bikes and tubeless mtb use Presta valves, the thin ones with an end you unscrew. Other mtb use Schrader valves, the same as car tyres, so these can be inflated as gasoline stands.

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Posted in: Okinawan in hot water after charging Chinese tourists 10 times more for beach parasol set rental See in context

The beach I take my kids to sometimes has a car park that is advertised as 1000 yen, or more if you use the beach hut next to it. However, every time I go there in my car with an "out of prefecture" number plate and my gaijin face, the kid collecting the money tells me the price is "1500 yen". They accept 1000 yen when you say that's what's written on the Internet.

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Posted in: Kyoto eyes introducing lodging tax amid increasing tourist numbers See in context

It doesn't matter who is running the bus to Kinkakuji or Ohara at autumn leaves time if the road is completely jammed. Tourists may spend money on small purchases that are not tax free, but all the consumption tax goes to the national government. It gets redistributed back as "kofuzei", but I don't know how much of that takes tourist spending into account. Every little town in inaka tries to grab as much as possible from the "kuni", to say nothing of huge projects like the Olympics, the 15m tsunami wall in Tohoku, and that white elephant of a maglev, so who knows how much is left in the pot. My guess is that Kyoto doesn't get all the tourist taxes back.

Hugely expensive projects like burying power cables, to make the city more attractive to tourists, would ideally be partially funded by tourists themselves. Nobody knows how long Japan will remain the trendy tourist destination it is now, so the sensible thing would be to raise and spend revenue now to make Japan more attractive to make sure this demand can be sustainable.

fwiw, "travel" and "hotels" are two of the five lowest salary sectors of the Japanese economy. Workers in them will not be "enriched" or paying much if any tax. For a typical tourism economy, see Greece or Thailand.

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Posted in: Kyoto eyes introducing lodging tax amid increasing tourist numbers See in context

Sounds good to me. Japan needs to focus more on getting money out of tourists, not just the headline number of tourists coming. This lack of attention on the bottom line is why Tokyo is hosting the Olympics.

Kyoto has had big problems with congestion for years, so Uber won't help them - it would make things worse. Charging tourists and spending the money on bus and/or cycle lanes and burying power cables would improve the city. Kyoto's subway is rubbish and loses lots of money, so money from tourists could be used to make it into something more useful.

This tax will probably only be a couple of hundred yen like the taxes onsen towns have, so most people won't even notice.

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Posted in: Wonder Woman promoted in Japan with idol song 'A Woman Can’t Sleep Alone,' angering some fans See in context

Speaking of those lyrics, which Akimoto wrote himself, 

So a woman isn't even allowed to write the theme to "Wonder Woman". Female empowerment, Japan style.

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Posted in: Survey reveals Japanese women’s ideal husband is surprisingly ordinary See in context

Fully employed (seiki) public workers (komuin) in Japan are well paid but few in number by international standards. The same applies to men employed by a "Major trading firm / manufacturing company".

According to the article's own numbers, 92% want their husband to earn 5 million or more, and 45% want 7 million or more. Surveys like this tend to use 4 million as one of the brackets, and apparently one in ten single men under forty earns this much. So nine in ten will be currently earning well below what these ladies want.

So it is a huge jump in logic for the headline and article to judge that a satisfactory prospective husband is "surprisingly ordinary". In terms of job security and income, such men are members of the elite. If the author thinks 5 million yen is not a lot to get by on, all I can say is welcome to the world of ordinary people in Japan.

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Posted in: Female lawmakers in Japan still face 'maternity harassment' See in context

Good luck to the lady.

(aside about her probably being in politics through connections to her famously corrupt father)

It appears though that the story is about comments on a blog or Facebook or graffiti on posters. If you ever read "2ch", you will see anonymous Japanese individuals are capable of posting all manner of offensive rants via their computers. Xenophobic, racist, sexist, ... the whole nine yards. Like comments about Obama being non-American or Muslim, I suspect such material is best off being ignored. Focus on "mata hara" in its institutionalized form, not the rantings of random individuals.

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Posted in: Abe sticks to plan to hike consumption tax in October 2019 See in context

This won't make that much money off the Olympics because lots of tourist spending is tax free. Instead of just luxury stores like days gone by, there are now "tax free" signs all over Uniqlo. Tourists can even get the tax back for 5000 yen of groceries. That's four bentos, some snacks and a six pack of beer. At 10%, those items will cost residents 500 yen more. Its a ludicrous situation.

With food spending such a high % of household income in Japan, the consumption tax has to be taken off produce. I think it is outrageous. Tax people for eating out by all means, but don't charge them for shopping in the supermarket. Japan's restrictive policies and support of the stubbornly inefficient agricultural sector cost ordinary people enough already for their food bill.

I think taxes in Japan are generally low and the rules on offtakes like depreciation are generous. Many self-employed people get away with paying very little if they know what they are doing. This leaves consumption tax as an easy way for the government to get money in to pay for services. Without it, the national debt will only skyrocket further. Consumption tax is naturally regressive though, hitting the poor hardest because they spend their entire income. This makes it necessary to exempt essentials to keep the system fair.

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Posted in: Businesses look to attract more foreign tourists to rural Japan See in context

A bit of a mish-mash of an article. Okayama is a city, not "rural", but stuff like foreign language information and the ability to use (non Japanese!) credit cards is important and isn't expensive to implement.

A lot of (most?) Asian tourists are coming on packages, which means that they can travel on charter buses and actually make it around parts of rural Japan much easier than independent travellers who rely on infrequent, slow, and expensive inaka buses and trains. Onsen resorts in inaka are already quite popular with Asian tourists. As the other commenters say though, many places in inaka have little appeal to foreign tourists, and the taxpayer should not be conned into funding schemes aimed at getting foreigners to go there.

As a cyclist, I love riding through inaka, but that's more about the journey than the destination.

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Posted in: 3-year-old boy left in car dies from heatstroke See in context

I didn't read the story properly so this was the grandmother, not the mother. As you get older, absent-mindedness definitely increases.

However, I still think it is very likely that the grandmother forgot about the child in the car because she (knowingly) left him in it when she ran the errand, something which is very common practice in Japan. The more often children are left alone in cars, the more likely it is that they will end up being stuck there longer than intended due to unforeseen circumstances. "Unforeseen" circumstances may include the post office or doctors being busy, not having the right hanko, meeting someone you know who wants to chat, the cash point having no money in it, etc. etc.

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Posted in: 3-year-old boy left in car dies from heatstroke See in context

Poor kid. RIP.

This is absent-minded/distracted negligence, not the totally irresponsible "I'll just play a bit of pachinko" selfish type.

However, the mother probably forgot the boy was in the car and came home without going to the kindy because she ran the errand with the boy left in the car. For all but very short errands, that's irresponsible for a child that young.

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Posted in: Aso says Tokyo to discuss frozen beef import tariffs in talks with U.S. See in context

The TPP comment from Aso is just petty blame shifting. The TPP would have had plenty of exemptions for agriculture. That's why it took so long to negotiate.

I hope the Japanese government understands that the beef industry in the US is run by agricultural corporations with far more money to spend on lobbying than farmers with twenty or fewer cows in Japan. Farmers in Japan may have a disproportionate amount of political power in Japan, but so do the ones in the US, mainly in states that supported Trump.

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Posted in: Robotics injects new life into Japan's aging agricultural workforce See in context

I think you'll find the majority of Japan's "aging" farmers have small plots where use of mechanization is uneconomical. So while automation is great and the way forward, it will turn these aging farmers into landlords who lease their land to a farming business who can achieve the economies of scale required to afford this cutting edge technology. This already happening, and more tech will just speed it up.

My point here is that unless some very cheap, small scale technology can be introduced, Japan's "aging farmers" are doomed anyway. The government or general population should not be concerned with finding young people to take over two or three hectare-sized farms (very common in Japan) from their elderly operators because farms of that scale are unsustainable. They have only made it this far thanks to subsidies and the urban poor paying high prices for produce.

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Posted in: Counseling via SNS for bullied school kids to start in FY2018 See in context

"SNS" is a Japanese expression which many English speakers do not understand. It is also easily confused with "SMS" which are one kind of text message sent to a cell phone number. The correct English for what Japanese call "SNS" is "social media", which includes Facebook and Twitter, but for Japan probably means LINE which is more prevalent, especially for school children.

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Posted in: A century’s worth of Japanese beauty trends, from silver screen chic to puffy-eyed catharsis See in context

I came to Japan in 1990 and the classic look for women then was long hair but with a fringe wrapped in a single curler and manically hairsprayed to sit on above the forehead. It was an era-defining look.

I like Japanese cinema, and you can see the 20s to 60s looks in films of those periods. The 1960s one looks straight out of Branded to Kill. Seijun Suzuki RIP.

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Posted in: Kochi businesses fail to cash in on cruise ship visits See in context

Maybe people are starting to learn that it's not about the number of tourists, but the revenue you make off them. The Japanese news seems to love the headline "in-bound" number of foreign tourists but a lot of them will be Asian tourists being bussed around on short package tours with narrow margins. If you believed the Japanese media, you'd think every tourist was a bakugai Chinese or a Westerner in Mega Donki or a 100 yen shop gushing about how amazing it is.

I've not been on a cruise, but I'd imagine passengers are glad of a different place to eat, drink, relax, and walk around after a few days on the same ship. There is definitely a business opportunity there.

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Posted in: 'Spamusement park' combining bathing and rides opens in Beppu See in context

So they promised that they would make a spa amusement park for one million likes, got them, and then just knock up some simplified version for three days only. This whole thing wss sipposed to be for tourist promotion. So all that fuss for three days is going to make a difference? smh

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Posted in: Labor union withdraws support for white-collar overtime exemption See in context

The expression "performance-related pay" sounds good and in a genuine form is what Japan needs, but exempting managers from overtime limits just means more and more workers stuck in offices until late because bucho hasn't gone home.

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Posted in: Japanese 2nd in world life expectancy See in context

There are a lot of things to criticize Japan for, but basic physical health is not one of them.

I have three kids and I don't see many overweight classmates, in spite of any changes in the modern Japanese diet. Monbusho tests point to today's kids getting weaker on average in athletic ability, but they don't seem to be getting much fatter. That is a huge issue in the West.

I read that life expectancy is actually falling for middle-aged working class men in the USA. For a country with high GDP per capita, that should be scandalous.

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Posted in: New Kit Kat factory opens in Japan to meet exotic flavor demand See in context

Why the obsession with Kit Kats? A most boring choc bar.

I agree, I mean it's not even very good chocolate. However, I guess it's not boring to people when they have Japan-only flavours. People like little twists on familiar things.

But, you know what they put on French fries in Holland instead of ketchup?



God damn!

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Posted in: 10 ice cream and popsicle brands to try when you’re in Japan See in context

For any tourists out there wanting something more memorable than that cup of plain vanilla ice cream at number 2. after approximately thirty seconds of thought, I recommend.

  1. Matcha ice cream

The most distinctive Japanese flavour, surely.

  1. Yukimi Daifuku

Ice cream in mochi. Apparently versions of this are popular in Japanese restaurants overseas, but in Japan itself, it's something you buy for 100 yen in the supermarket or convenience store.

  1. Old school ice cream desserts

French style crepes including ice cream, ice cream sundaes (Japanese call them "parfaits"), cola and melon soda floats, ... Japan does lots of old fashioned things with ice cream that may have disappeared from your country, but can still hit the spot

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Posted in: Bullying probe panels face backlash from victims' families See in context

My kids like that "sukatto suru" ("What a relief!"?) TV program cucashopboy mentions so I see it a lot. My impression is that the stories depicted are mostly exaggerations or simple fantasies invented by viewers for a small fee or by the producers themselves. As cucashopboy says, every story is about a bully imposing on the goodwill of (meek) others and getting their comeuppance through embarrassing comments made by accompanying family members or by some kind bystander who magically appears to save the day.

I agree that it is telling that Japan has a "that bully got their just desserts" TV program, i.e., this is what people want to see, and that the solution it presents is simply hang in there with gaman until the white knight comes along. As with the "we asked 100 30 year-old men" quizzes, I tell my kids that the producers are probably making the whole show up and that it has nothing to do with real life.

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Posted in: Woman arrested for destroying 54 violins owned by ex-husband See in context

Midori Kawamiya, a 34-year-old music instrument seller

I don't detect a lot of love for the merchandise. Pete Townshend and Jimi Hendrix only did it as part of the act.

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