kohakuebisu comments

Posted in: The perfect baked potato begins with russets See in context

Pretty much the same advice as this article, oil, a bit of salt, an hour at about 180C was given on the Treehugger blog a few weeks ago.

I recommend making your own bacon in Japan. I used to make it without nitrites, but it comes out best with them, cancer scare or no cancer scare. The one you want is called Prague #1 powder. If you make bacon without it, it won't be pink and the texture will be more porky than bacon. Make your own bacon and you can slice it as thick as you like.

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Posted in: Foreign tourists spend record ¥4.8 tril in Japan in 2019 See in context

Skiing is expensive. Focusing on the cost of it destroys the stoke, so many people try to deny it, especially ski bum types. I live local, use blagged and second hand gear, and ride on a season pass and it still costs me a fortune when I write it all down. If you enjoy it, there is no need for any other justification. Its your money and you are free to do what you like. Just don't pretend people out there looking at a few temples or wandering around Harajuku are spending the same amount of money as skiers. They are not.

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Posted in: Foreign tourists spend record ¥4.8 tril in Japan in 2019 See in context

The Australians will be spending the most due to the high proportion of skiers. One day of skiing is way more expensive than one day of sightseeing.

To avoid overtourism, the focus needs to be on spending and dare I say it profits, not on the simple number of tourists.

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Posted in: Warm winter bad news for Japan's ski resorts See in context

Won't be long before snow in Japan is just memory. The people in the industry should get out now.

Err, I don't think it's quite as bad as that. However, it's kind of ironic that the Japanese government has just identified ski resorts as a way to expand inbound tourism and is looking at providing funding for updating what are pretty old ski lifts and other facilities. This is at least 20 years after things starting happening in Niseko and 15 years after Hakuba in Nagano followed suit. In investment, there is the concept of a "contrarian indicator", which usually means ordinary people buying a niche investment such as tech stocks, precious metals, crypocurrency etc. as bandwagon jumpers. This usually indicates that a market is overheated and is about to fail. It would be typical for the Japanese government to start supporting skiing just as the great snow machine above the Japan Sea stops working.

Most of the marketing of skiing in Japan has been based on heavy snowfall. It's not based on modern facilities or skier needs like halal or gluten free or babysitting or 30cm sized rental boots or activities for non-skiing family members. It should be remembered that skiers buy into Japanese culture much less than people here to look at temples. Some of them won't want lots of Japanese food like the culture vultures. If poor snowfall like this year is going to be the new norm, skiing in Japan becomes a much harder sell.

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Posted in: Koizumi, wife have baby boy See in context

Congrats to them and I'm all for paternity leave, but I wonder if the Finance Minister would be allowed to take two weeks off. Koizumi is only in charge of the environment, and as we all know, there's nothing happening and no crisis there. It's been a warm winter, so give him two weeks off and then he can come back and order some more coal.

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Posted in: Warm winter bad news for Japan's ski resorts See in context

Yep, lots and lots of westerlies this time bringing warm and wet from China. Not the classic winter pattern which is a high above Siberia spinning clockwise and a low above Hokkaido spinning anticlockwise, combining to pull lots of cold air across the Japan Sea for huge lake-effect snow. Many central Japan resorts are yet to have a "ma-fuyubi", a day when it stays sub-zero all day. You can compare recent temps against averages on this (Japanese) map.


It's a personal gripe, but stuff that comes out of a snow machine is not "artificial powder". It will be closer to shaved ice. Lots of people marketing skiing in Japan keep shouting "Powder!" because it has been an easy sell to Australians. I don't think Asians, the real long-term growth market for skiing in Japan, are that bothered about deep snow. What they want are better facilities, not the tired ones in many Japanese ski resorts.

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Posted in: Questions of racism linger as Harry, Meghan step back See in context

I dunno and have little interest in the Royal Family in itself. However, the following does interest me

Meghan was criticized for everything from eating avocados — which the Daily Mail claimed fuel “human rights abuses, drought and murder” — to wearing dark nail polish, apparently an etiquette faux pas.

This shows the pathetic level certain voices are willing to go to brainwash people. This greatly saddens me, but they do it because it works. Rather than just royalty and their little circus, anyone trying to change the world in a way that challenges vested interests will get it the same way with both barrels.

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Posted in: Kagawa politicians want to set daily limit on how much time kids can spend playing video games See in context

I would rather my son play Minecraft than watch Japanese tv and assume everything on it is normal.

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Posted in: Estranged Australian husband freed after trespassing to find his children See in context

Probably the two worst things in Japan coming together here, the practices regarding custody of children and the justice system. Why on earth was someone locked up for simply getting through an autolock entrance on a mansion building? That was this man's "crime".

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Posted in: Environment minister Koizumi to take 2 weeks paternity leave See in context

Will this be sexy paternity leave like his environmental policies?

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Posted in: Adult Cream Pie coming to McDonald’s Japan See in context

I assume none of the people behind this searched the web for "adult" and "cream pie" without parental filters.

I hope they have the humility to accept any comments about this and don't go all passive-aggressive like the people behind "Fukuppi" did.

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Posted in: Yamaha tweet on instrument case after Ghosn escape goes viral See in context

I'm disappointed the cases are not cello-shaped. They look more like flight cases for amplifiers, not "musical instruments" as was reported.

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Posted in: Coming-of-Age Day ceremonies held across Japan See in context

Snowy parts of Japan celebrate this in summer. They also have the girls and boys festivals later following winter.

Good to see no tales of drunken lads storming the stage at a ceremony while the mayor is droning on at them. That happens most years. I don't blame the lads, it's just that it usually leads to some tiresome "look at the youth of today" noise on the tv.

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Posted in: Japanese billionaire Maezawa seeks girlfriend for SpaceX voyage See in context

My biggest hero is Marvin Gaye, so I'm all for anyone who want to "get down.... on a space bed!".


I hope she puts a glide in her stride and a dip in her hip and comes on over to the Mothership.


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Posted in: Fukui dinosaur museum to get ¥9.4 bil facelift See in context

With the floor space expanded by 5,700 sq meters, the renovated facility is planned to open in the summer of 2023 following the start of the Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train serves to Fukui in the spring of that year.

I guess I wasn't paying attention and missed them taking the decision to extend the line beyond Kanazawa. It doesn't make sense unless the line goes all the way to Osaka and gets Osaka to Kanazawa passengers. There is fundamentally not enough demand to extend the line otherwise.

Note that places like Myoko along the extension past Nagano City have reported disappointing numbers of passengers since the line was extended. Tokyo-Kanazawa aside, I don't think there is much new demand for anywhere else. Note also that Osaka-Kanazawa etc. will also be covered about an hour slower by existing express trains that will continue as heavy loss-making zombie lines once the Shinkansen is built. Such lines can't be shut down because local people use them. Local people cannot pay 2000 yen in each direction to go one stop on the Shinkansen.

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Posted in: Soaring SUV sales keep carmakers on collision course with climate policy See in context

SUVs are not necessarily safer due to body roll during cornering. They are also way more dangerous for pedestrians who get pushed under, not flipped over as with cars with a lower front. A broken leg is much better than being pushed under and crushed to death.

Despite all the hype, most SUVs are crossovers, rugged looking bodywork on a standard chassis that is not actually offroad capable. Many crossovers in Japan will be 2WD.

For all the moaning above, I am actually a crossover owner. We have a CX-5, the turbodiesel one with leather seats. Its a beautiful car, the styling is much more Audi or BMW than JDM, and it really shifts. Its got something like 180hp. We get 13.5 km/l off 120 yen diesel, so it's cheaper per km to drive than most 4wd compact cars, like a Honda Fit that'll get 15km/l off 145 yen regular gasoline. Mazda have been producing some cool cars in the last ten years, a minor success story. Go Hiroshima!

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Posted in: Automakers display 800 modified cars at Tokyo Auto Salon See in context

"I'm pleased we've made all components of the sport-type vehicle by ourselves, unlike our 86 and Supra sport vehicle models" that were co-developed with another automaker, Toyota President Akio Toyoda told reporters.

The 86 was a collaboration with Subaru and the Supra with BMW(?). Toyota own something like 10% of Subaru stock as a cross holding. I bet Toyoda's words sounded better in Japanese and I doubt a dig at Subaru is intended.

The hot hatch in the photo looks pretty good and will be a really fun car. In Japan, it's aimed at an ever-shrinking demographic, so they'll have their work cut out selling it. I like cars, but I think its time we moved away from moving single people short distances in big two-ton boxes.

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Posted in: 6 of the healthiest Japanese snacks for your kids and you See in context

A fine article, much better than a certain sensationalist Japan blog/news site I could mention.

The roasted soybeans are really good and yes, 100 yen shops like Daiso are the best supply outside setsubun season. I think they are the same stuff as the kinako powder that is great on mochi or ice cream.

Conversely, the article mentions konnyaku as healthy, but those little jellies are full of sugar and little different to jellies made with gelatine. Gelatine is actually about 95% protein, so it is not unhealthy. I cycle a lot and actually like sugary things like gummis as fuel, but they will make you fat when you are inactive, and will rot your teeth (konnyaku jellies too due to the sugar) regardless of how active you are. Athletes who neck loads of glucose gels have to really watch their teeth.

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Posted in: No. of foreign visitors to Japan hits record high in 2019 See in context

Good and bad news.

The bad news is about the South Koreans. Since SK is very close, many visitors from there will be repeaters, meaning they will go to other parts of Japan, not just the already crowded places which many Koreans will have seen already. Rather than just the simple number of tourists, the composition of them is very important in terms of who benefits (or suffers) from increased tourism.

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Posted in: Warm winter means lack of snow for famous Sapporo festival See in context

It'll be no consolation, but it's worse at the ski resorts in central Japan. Very few have all of their courses open yet.

The classic winter weather pattern in Japan is a low to the north east and a big high to the west, which combine to suck cold air across the Japan Sea for massive lake-effect snow. This has not happened once in any notable form this year. It's tempting to think "global warming" will just be the same climate patterns but warmer, but I reckon there is all kinds of non-linear stuff going on, and a real risk of completely different weather happening.

Still plenty of time for more snow to fall, so fingers crossed for better skiing and boarding for the rest of the season.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: An Olympic first: Cardboard beds for Tokyo Athletes Village See in context

I agree with savethegaijin. This is eco window dressing, which will have been produced with lots of tasty insider enrichment.

Personally, to make an eco bed, I would design something out of wood with interlocking pieces that were not longer than say 45cm. The point here is that the bed frame could then fit in a cardboard box and be inexpensively transported or sent by courier mail to the next owner, or a disaster zone even. Oversized items are very expensive to transport and send. It means they often get thrown out instead of being passed onto someone.

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Posted in: We are having to apologize to customers because we just can't make enough. See in context

This sounds good, but there won't be that much money in making components. The money will be in making the complete phones, something Sony (as a group) increasingly won't be doing.

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Posted in: Toyota to build prototype city of the future in Japan See in context

As David Varnes says, it's going to be compact enough to not particularly need transportation. However, since it is located between the Tomei and Shin Tomei expressways, the residents will still get to enjoy the sounds and air quality produced by Toyota and their rivals' conventional and not-so-smart vehicles.

One major pollutant from cars is from tyre wear, so you don't want to be right next to a road even if every car on it is electric or hydrogen powered.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Toyota to build prototype city of the future in Japan See in context

It'll be interesting to see what they do.

The site of the factory where they are building this is a square kilometer mostly in a triangle where the Tomei expressway splits into the Tomei and Shin Tomei in Susuno, about 10km south east of Mount Fuji. There's a factory, various other buildings, and a Toyota test track there now. With the highway so close, it's not quite the rural idyll in the artist's impression.

Japan already has a large problem with vacant and abandoned buildings and depopulation-driven decline (called "kasoka" in Japanese). Would this smart city be to house 2000 people who've abandoned somewhere else to go there?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Inside the rogue 7-Eleven, a convenience store completely cut off by its company See in context

Good luck to him. I doubt being a 7-11 gets him cheap drinks, which are a large portion of convenience store sales. He'll know the factory where the onigiri and bento are made for that area, so he could just order something similar from them. It will not be a 7-11 factory.

If you are not kicking up commissions to the franchise, there are things that could be done better than 7-11. If you have about 5000 USD, you can buy the one-push coffee machines actual Starbucks branches use. Starbucks coffee isn't perfect, but its way better than convenience store coffee. Sell it at convenience store prices and you'll get lots of extra customers coming in and also buying chocolate, snacks etc.

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Posted in: More details emerge on Ghosn's escape from Japan See in context

I like the way some reports about this are referring to KIX as a "regional airport", an expression usually used for pokey little places with a short runway and three flights a day. KIX is a major international airport, and this is a huge security breach to have happened there.

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Posted in: Plain Japanese key to inclusive, multicultural Japan See in context

Japanese staff will be trained to say expressions like "shou shou o-machi kudasai" (for "just a moment please") and may even have practice this before a store opens. This happens at the place where I have a side job so I have seen it happen at morning meetings. The staff practice saying it because using less polite Japanese would have plenty of potential for irking more demanding customers.

The same staff could be trained to speak in simpler language to non-Japanese customers and indeed, this should happen in businesses with lots of foreign customers. However, they will still need to have "shou shou o-machi kudasai" as the default before switching to simpler language. There are too many Japanese people out there who will turn their nose up if spoken to in anything less than keigo.

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Posted in: Near-death experience gives Naomi Osaka perspective See in context

And that was a near death experience?????

It reminds me of Sir Walter Raleigh and the "I was nearly eaten by a shark" anecdote he tells Queenie in probably the best ever Blackadder episode. It's that one or the "Ploppy" one where they become the executioner at the Tower of London.

The odd sportsperson is a good storyteller, but most of them aren't and they don't need to be. Their sporting prowess is sufficient for us to admire. Here's wishing Naomi a successful 2020.

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Posted in: 61% believe women should continue to work after giving birth: survey See in context

This is good news. Thirty years ago, 80% of people didn't think women should work, meaning the ones who did would be vilified and not given any support. This attitude can be seen even today with parental rotas and PTA meetings during office hours. The reason I say this is that it is not simply an individual decision for each mother. If housewives get free healthcare, a free pension, and a free to attend afternoon meetings, any woman wanting to work will have to give those things up. The system is biased for her to be a housewife if her husband can support her.

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Posted in: Eateries face a heavy burden when trying to retrieve cancellation charges on their own. The presence of a lawyer makes customers realize that restaurants are serious about recovering their losses resulting from a no-show. See in context

If they are buying in sashimi for a o-makase course meal, it may go to waste. They can't just serve it the next day without lowering standards. Chefs at high end Japanese restaurants buy fish in every day.

Everyone who runs a service industry will know that there is such a thing as bad customers. The more you let them cost you money, drain your energy, and/or waste your time, the worse the service your good customers will get.

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