kohakuebisu comments

Posted in: Typhoon death toll rises to 40 as search-and-rescue operations continue See in context

nadakanamanda says it but the frightening question is about the changing climate. If stronger storms are on the way, how high are the levees going to have to be rebuilt?

Due to historic flooding of Tokyo by the rivers like the Edo and the Tone, Japan already has a "super levee" project for levees backed with vast earthworks. They will take decades if not centuries to complete.

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E9%AB%98%E8%A6%8F%E6%A0%BC%E5%A0%A4%E9%98%B2

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Posted in: Nursery for disabled children helps moms return to work See in context

Perhaps this might be better framed as giving parents of special needs children the extra assistance they need, rather than helping "moms return to work". It sounds like the children and their families would benefit from specialized expert help even if the mother does not return to work. Giving the child extra socialization and time with someone who knows appropriate developmental activities is more important than whether the mother is working. A working mother is not a sign of a successful (or unsuccessful) family.

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Posted in: The decline in births is happening faster than official projections had envisioned, due to a shrinking pool of women of childbearing age. The children of baby-boomers are reaching their late 40s, which is causing a radical drop in births. See in context

Japan IS funding those programs, with no economic repercussions. Because it can. It borrows its own money, which it pays back to itself. That's the prerogative of an issuer of the world's safe-haven currency amid low inflation. The consumption tax hike was a political decision, not an economic one, made by people who don't understand how public finance works in a fiat-currency world.

That's exactly right. It is foolish and mendacious to compare a national debt in the country's own currency to a household debt. They are completely unrelated. That said, there is only so much money printing you can do. Japan is already pushing its luck. The interest on the debt is already a big chunk of tax revenue.

many men with families just don't seem to want to go home after work

This is a common phenomenon and there are many reasons for it. It is not just men being poor husbands/fathers or living it large with money they may appear to have. Many men sadly do not feel welcome or comfortable in their own home. Half of Japanese married couples are famously sexless, and for some it won't be the only problem with their marriage.

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Posted in: 1st hotel near World Heritage Horyuji temple looks to foreign guests See in context

For extended stays, the location is a bigger problem than the cost. It's a single-attraction destination so they'll have to create demand to hang around there.

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Posted in: Human pyramids continue in Kobe schools as injuries mount to 51; mayor’s pleas to stop unanswered See in context

The story says schools have been allowed to voluntarily stop and twenty have done so. This means that there cannot be insurmountable top-down pressure from the BoE enforcing military-style education. What we are looking at is problems at individual schools, either the principal/vice-principal or the PTA.

The story is correct to mention that kumi taiso has supporters and that people are excited to watch it. I'm sure there will be schools who want to stop it, no-injuries safety-first can be a path of least hassle, but the PTA won't let them. This could even be down to an individual PTA head, someone probably pressganged into the role, not wanting to get a reputation from monster parents in established local families as "Tanaka, him that killed kumi taiso and made sports day boring". Never underestimate how petty small town politics can be.

I think my kids overtrain at their clubs, but there are still parents who moan about the kids not doing as much as another school rumoured to do more. You can't just blame the coaches.

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Posted in: The decline in births is happening faster than official projections had envisioned, due to a shrinking pool of women of childbearing age. The children of baby-boomers are reaching their late 40s, which is causing a radical drop in births. See in context

The decline in births is happening faster than official projections had envisioned,

Faster or actually significantly faster? The projections were already for a fast decline. This site will show projections on a local government level. (the numbers are probably only kokumin (=Japanese citizens)

https://ecitizen.jp/

The reason I say this is "we couldn't see this coming" is a classic government excuse for anything. The gentleman continues "The children of baby-boomers are reaching their late 40s, which is causing a radical drop in births". This, a population spike ageing, was entirely predictable forty years ago.

In the bigger picture, a low or falling birthrate is a First World staple now. This means that the focus really needs to be on Japan-specific problems, my favourite being PTA and the prevailing cult of the housewife, which limits household earnings and significantly disadvantages mothers who do work. If Germany, classic modern First World, and South Korea, similar conservative Asian, can both have lower birthrates than Japan, then it is unrealistic and possibly foolish to expect Japan to do fantastically better. Perhaps the real issue is Japan's failure to fund retirement and healthcare for the elderly without needing a constant stream of young people newly paying taxes and insurance premiums.

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Posted in: Human pyramids continue in Kobe schools as injuries mount to 51; mayor’s pleas to stop unanswered See in context

I suppose the thing to realize here is that they are doing it at sports day. They are not just doing kumitaiso for the sake or benefits of kumitaiso. They may exist, but the real reason is to entertain parents and grandparents at what is always hyped as the biggest day of the school year. Gramps and dad have heard the hype and they want to be entertained. The bigger the pyramid, the greater the entertainment. It's also a chance to get one up on the school down the road if you build one level higher than them.

My kids' school only did a three level pyramid, but its been stopped. I am pleased about this, but it is clear it has left a big hole in the sports day schedule. The school has tried various things as replacements, but they do not draw the same gasps that kumi taiso did. That's what any school trying to get rid of it will be up against.

For skim readers, I will repeat that I am against kumi taiso. I am also against fathers working every day minus sports day, mothers helicopter parenting, and kids being seen as performing monkeys.

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Posted in: 33 dead, 19 missing, over 100 injured after typhoon rips through Japan See in context

Widespread flooding in Nagano now. Very heavy rain throughout yesterday, Karuizawa got over 310mm!

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Posted in: Stir crazy - coffee for one for Japan captain Leitch See in context

Second most popular person in Japan, after PM Abe

Our resident parody account finally posts something funny, well done.

For a while, Goromaru was the highest earning rugby player in the world, so go for it big Michael!

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Posted in: Thief steals $840,000 watch from Japanese man's wrist in Paris See in context

and instantly recognisable to thieves

Thieves within about five meters, that is.

I shall never have this dilemma, but is the correct way to wear an expensive watch not to cover it with a jacket or shirt sleeve? Should it be on display at all times?

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Posted in: Schoolteacher incited students to create chaos: principal See in context

My wife HATES teachers as a result of having had some truly horrible teachers growing up in rural Japan. She said so many of her teachers were either strange, mentally unstable, or just downright mean and cruel. She said this incident doesn't surprise her at all.

I think the "world of their own" nature of Japanese schools attracts the wrong kind of people. So many teachers and kids have little to no life outside school, so they lose all perspective.

Many teachers will make silly comments, sometimes to be down with the kids, so this "rebel" comment may not deserve much attention. Rubbing curry into someones' eyes is a serious assault though, and should result in dismissal, preferably followed by the principal standing in front of school and saying "thank god we're rid of those pr*cks". No "but they were good teachers...." type sentiment from "strict-is-good" parents or kids who were teachers' pet should be allowed to linger.

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Posted in: What’s the best part of Tokyo to live in, and why? Survey gives the top six picks See in context

Just saying, but even within cities, there are large disparities in air pollution. They are now linking it to cognitive impairment and dementia, to not just respiratory and other health conditions. Don't live close to main roads if you can. I don't know if Tokyo has one, but London's pollution map has hotspots along all of the busy roads.

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Posted in: It's all Greek to Japan star Tamura at Rugby World Cup See in context

Leitch is assimilated and speaks Japanese well. It's probably not Tamura's intention and he may be the victim of leading questions, but comments like this leave Leitch exposed to the "them foreigners just don't get it" prejudices of people. Given the team's makeup, Tamura should be more sensitive.

A popular comedy song of recent times, "ashita ga aru", about getting on with it in difficult circumstances had working with a foreigner as verse two. "Foreigners must be trouble" is a common prejudice. It did not have a verse about working for a black company with an abusive Japanese boss.

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Posted in: Japan labor body to step up support for foreigners, freelancers See in context

Someone who goes to the same company every day and works alongside people on regular contracts but on worse conditions than the regular employees is not a "freelancer". They are "casual labour".

According to wiki, a freelancer is "self-employed".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freelancer

A "self-employed" person handles their own tax affairs. It is not a meaningless arbitrary expression. The money they are paid by a client is a fee, not a salary. If the client is subtracting the 10% gensenzei income tax, by definition that sum of money must be a salary and worker is not being treated as someone self-employed. The salary of someone genuinely self-employed is what they pay themself after expenses, with such expenses being tax-deductible. If you are genuinely self-employed, the reduction in tax exposure through expenses can mean a higher standard of living relative to the money you bring in as fees. The causally employed do not get this. They are taxed as regular workers.

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Posted in: Man arrested for allegedly molesting young girl in car See in context

Hope the girl is not too traumatized. As timeon points out, the girl is in the first half of elementary, so 7 to 9 years old.

https://www.asahi.com/articles/ASMB642FTMB6UTIL005.html

We have a seven-year-old girl who walks to school, sometimes on her own. It's the school's fault, sending the kids back out at different times. I think its good for my daughter to walk, but stories like this are concerning.

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Posted in: Nowadays, for fear of child predators, it is no longer considered safe in many countries to let young children go by themselves to and from school, to a friend's house, play in parks or at the beach, go to shops and so on. What was it like when you were growing up? See in context

I grew up in UK suburbia in the 1970s and pretty much went off when I felt like it.

I have three kids now in pretty deep Japanese countryside. My kids walk to school and cycle to their friends' houses. I wouldn't let them go "to the beach" alone due to drowning concerns. Due to club, my daughter sometimes comes home from school at dusk, but she takes a different route that is more lit. Her coming home on her own will have some risk, but I couldn't tell you how great it is. All I can say is that what she does is not remotely exceptional. Everyone else's kids do it. The question talks of "fear of child predators" and some of it is fear and some of it is actual risk. Spend too long thinking about it and it will do your head in.

I grew up with lots of other kids around me, so my situation was completely different to my own children's. They have very little opportunity for the spontaneous stuff we did, knocking on people's doors and asking if they could come out to play.

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Posted in: Kyoto Animation will use no donations for business recovery; all of it for arson victims, families See in context

Good on them. The story on here back in August talked about the government having a hand in promoting donations for business recovery.

https://japantoday.com/category/national/gov%27t-mulls-tax-breaks-for-donations-to-kyoto-animation

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Posted in: Supermarket throws away bench because of sales tax hike See in context

Supermarkets are much cheaper than convenience stores, so they are a good place to eat. I sometimes go when I'm out on my bike.

Removing the benches strikes me as an OTT, blame-shifting solution. A sign at the tills saying "please declare any eat-in items" would have sufficed.

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Posted in: Former education minister makes waves by linking same-sex marriage to revising constitution See in context

David Cameron, the former UK Prime Minister, claims gay marriage as his biggest triumph.

Not that that gay marriage is a problem, far from it, just real-world evidence that very nasty politicians will use gay marriage to whitewash or divert attention from bigger and nastier policies they are pursuing.

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Posted in: Scorsese slams Marvel films as 'not cinema' See in context

I fully understand what he is saying. However, superhero flicks employ lots of movie people and fill movie theaters, and anything that keeps movie theaters open must be good for cinema.

I think this contrasts with low-brow versions of other things. In electronic music for example, I don't think house or techno particularly gain anything from the popularity of EDM. I don't think there are any examples of people making money off EDM and using it to finance more artistically satisfying pursuits. The more money actors and movie technicians make off Superman, the less money they can charge for any arthouse movie they do.

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Posted in: Uber Eats delivery staff in Japan form labor union See in context

glorified mcdonalds delivery people need insurance?

Yes, because they might cause a traffic accident. The more kms you do and the more you are in a hurry, the more likely it's going to be. In an increasing number of places in Japan, liability insurance is now mandatory for cyclists. As advice, check your home fire (kasai) insurance because that might cover your family already.

btw, I only mentioned that lots of folks get McDonalds from Uber Eats because their adverts usually show shiny happy people ordering in gourmet food. People are free to get what they want of course, but it strikes me as poor value compared to just having in some convenience foods, or staples like pesto, for times when you can't be bothered cooking.

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Posted in: Uber Eats delivery staff in Japan form labor union See in context

While I dislike the hype around companies like this who use tech gobbledygook like workers as "platformers", and also am not interested in paying restaurant prices for something cooked thirty minutes ago, I do like riding a bike and have met people who've worked as cycle couriers. I can think of many worse jobs to do.

It costs way less to personally buy and maintain a bike than a taxi, so this strikes me as far less exploitative than the Uber taxi thing.

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Posted in: Man says he stole 159 bicycle seats after someone took his See in context

Imagine if his victims had each gone onto steal 159 seats.

As a paid-up cyclist, my bikes have saddles.

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Posted in: Uber Eats delivery staff in Japan form labor union See in context

It's shameful that they had to organize for the firm to provide insurance.

fwiw, it sounds like the most popular restaurant on Uber Eats is McDonalds.

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Posted in: Shun nuisance 'obligations' and do what you want to do See in context

Shukan Gendai is recommending that retired people become selfish, misanthropic a-holes.

The focus on retirees also means they are talking about people who can refuse "obligations" with little or no consequences. The inverted commas are because some of them are not even obligations. Having family at Obon is not an obligation. Japan already has millions of abandoned graves, so millions of people have already been liberated from that one.

We have lots of obligations but they mostly come from our kids and their schools and activities. My wife and I could say eff it, we're not being on the baseball team committee or the PTA or going to cut the weeds at 5am, but that would just lead to social stigma and someone else having to more. The task itself does not disappear. I think there is also a very high chance of our children being ostracized for what would be the sins of their parents. I would have zero trust in Japanese teachers, sports coaches, etc. fairly treating the offspring of "problem" parents. No trust at all.

If you want to be free, my advice is to not wait for retirement. Don't have kids, the main cause of financial and social obligations, and just do your own thing, scraping together whatever income you need to support your interests.

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Posted in: UK offers EU last-minute Brexit deal See in context

fwiw, the UK government has already formulated its official response to the EU rejecting this offer. It is official policy for senior Cabinet members to call the EU "crazy".

https://www.buzzfeed.com/alexwickham/eu-crazy-leaked-tory-memo

With expressions like "if the EU ends negotiations by rejecting this last chance for a fair and reasonable compromise", it is clear that the offer is just a PR exercise to enable the government, the right wing press, and probably the BBC shift the blame. Brexit could happen with a deal instantly if Britain simply accepted the backstop that was negotiated together with the EU. That has been the EU position for over a year.

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Posted in: Int'l labor union wants Tokyo Olympic venue inspection, worker interviews See in context

It would have been better to do this in the heat of July and August, but still, better late than never.

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Posted in: Japan to pardon 600,000 to mark emperor's enthronement: media See in context

Will that Morning Musume woman get her driving license back? She did not get a custodial sentence, but that was not a petty crime.

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Posted in: UK offers EU last-minute Brexit deal See in context

I just love the wording of the headline:

"UK offers EU last-minute Brexit deal"

Are "they" really and still in a position to "offer" something?

Don't think so!

A fair observation. Johnson is gunning for No Deal and this "offer" is just a PR act aimed at presenting the UK as compromisers so that No Deal can be blamed on the EU. The wording of the headline plays straight into this. The EU are not stupid however, and have said they will consider the offer, even though it many commentators have called it dead on arrival due to all of the promises and rules it breaks.

As for Yubaru's original question, I suspect Brexit may not happen. Brexiteer politicians are overplaying their hand, pushing for too hard a Brexit for which there is no consensus and now trying to use legal moves and brinksmanship. It's the Icarus situation, going too hard for something and losing everything through hubris and narcissism.

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Posted in: Gov't to require mobile carriers to lift SIM locks immediately See in context

The SIM locks are designed to reduce the risk that customers would flee without paying installments for handsets.

The handsets are sold on a hire-purchase type contract. If people don't pay the installments, there will be the same mechanisms protecting people selling other stuff, cars, washing machines, etc. on HP. It does not justify SIM locking.

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