kominka comments

Posted in: Hitachi suspected of conducting improper inspections on chip products See in context

"We hear about these sub-standard products passing inspection, but has there ever been a report of actual damages or disasters caused by these products? "

Faulty Takata airbags have caused 24 deaths and over 300 injuries to date. Apparently Takata was aware of the danger for many years before the recall.

Here is an article published four years ago:


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Posted in: Art of flower arranging meets holiday decor See in context

"Nothing in the natural world is symmetrical." What? Ever seen a snowflake? Look at the red camellia in the photo...

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Posted in: Who gets your vote for the greatest songwriter of the last 100 years? See in context

Hard to pick just one. My favorites: Jimmy Webb, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Paul Simon, Carole King, Elvis Costello.

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Posted in: If you could invite any three people in the world to have dinner with you, who would you choose? See in context

George Eliot, Alexsandrovich Sholokhov, Sergei Rachmaninoff

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Posted in: If you could go back in a time machine to observe any three events in history, which three would you choose? See in context

Eruption of Mount Vesuvius

Completion of the Sistine Chapel's ceiling by Michelangelo


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Posted in: 6-year-old boy drowns after falling into irrigation ditch in Saitama See in context

Please teach your kids how to swim! If you can't swim, take swimming lessons with them. This happens far too often. So tragic.

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Posted in: Man arrested for dumping body of dead mother in suitcase See in context

Our beloved Lab died last May. Cost 3.000 yen to have his body cremated at our local crematorium. A neighbor, who is a retired city office employee, told us the cost to cremate a human corpse is also 3.000 yen. In fact, the same crematorium is used for both pets and people. The cost is subsidized by our city. Cremation costs can be low. Funeral costs, I would imagine, are high.

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Posted in: Canned volcanic ash for sale See in context

@TSRnow- Back in 1980, after Mount St. Helens blew, volcanic ash soap was available for purchase. My sister still has a bar! She was a student at WSU in Pullman, Washington. The area suffered heavy ash fallout.

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Posted in: Maki Horikita plays pilot in new drama See in context

Wonder if her salary will be 30% less than the male pilots holding similar experience and qualifications....

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Posted in: Abe pledges to seek to eliminate nuclear weapons See in context

My grandfather was an engineer working for the central phone company in Hiroshima. He did not go into work the morning of 8/6/45 as the day was the 10 year anniversary of his father's death and a priest was to come to the house that morning to offer prayers. After the blast, he rode a bicycle into the city (from Jigozen) to check on his coworkers only to find his company building in shambles. He dug with his bare hands through the rubble hoping to find someone still living. My grandfather died a painful death of radiation poisoning 5 months later. Peace to him and all the victims of war.

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Posted in: What do you do at those times when you and your partner get on each other's nerves? See in context

Thumb wrestle.

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Posted in: Despairing correctly about Japanese agriculture See in context

Fresh in-season produce should not be a luxury. That domestic 300 yen, perfect looking apple is most likely shared by the family, instead of being an after school snack for a kid to ward off hunger until dinner time. And the 3000 yen "gift melon"... you know, the boxed melon no one seems worthy of eating, the one that gets passed around to at least 5 others, only to be way past its prime by the time someone finally decides its too gushy to pass on ...What a bunch of nonsense. Why are many people brainwashed into thinking that only Japanese farmers can grow good produce? A peach in-season should not cost 400 yen, period. Something here is very wrong. Join TPP, let the rich continue to buy the perfect looking produce, and the rest of us will be happy to eat an entire peach while standing over the kitchen sink.

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Posted in: Forget fad diets - cutting down on fat will keep you slim See in context

Congrats to you, Ranger, for eating only healthy food and for working out often. We all know that your method is the best way, it sounds easy to follow, but few of us are able to sustain the effort over long periods of time. Good for you!

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Posted in: People worldwide living longer, but sicker See in context

I have had very good basic medical care here in Japan. In America, to see a specialist, I had to visit my primary care doctor, get a referral, and wait at least three weeks for an appointment. Then after consulting with the specialist, I'd have to go to another clinic to have my blood test. A week to ten days later, the results of my blood test would be sent to the specialist. I'd have to go to the specialist again in person to consult with him and get a prescription for medication. Finally, I'd take the prescription to an offsite pharmacy, wait at least an hour for my prescription to be filled. I had health insurance, but still had to pay at least $800 out of pocket for three office visits, blood test, and medication. In Japan, I did not need a referral to see a specialist. I walked into the hospital, said I didn't have an appointment, stated my health problem, filled out forms, waited an hour, saw a great doctor, went to another floor for an ultrasound and blood test. Within an hour the results of my tests were on my doctor's computer screen, he went over them with me, gave me a prescription. Went to the ground level of hospital, payed my bill, which included my prescription. Took the receipt to the in house pharmacy and received my medication. Total time: about 3 hours. Cost: 8,000 yen.

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Posted in: Sock thief on the loose in Chiba See in context

And I thought stealing undergarments off balconies was weird. Catch this guy!

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Posted in: Defects found at 670 points in Sasago tunnel See in context

Does anyone find it odd that the government ordered NEXCO to inspect tunnels NEXCO themselves operate? 9 fatalities! Shouldn't the government have its own inspectors, or at least ordered a company not connected to NEXCO perform the "emergency inspection"?

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Posted in: Forget fad diets - cutting down on fat will keep you slim See in context

@Ranger_Miffy2 My weight is just fine, thanks, at 5'4" and 110 lbs, I'm lean enough. Mom is Japanese, asking her to give up white rice forever would not go over too well. Dieting for one week, three times a year, works for my mom. How do you keep your weight in check?

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Posted in: Forget fad diets - cutting down on fat will keep you slim See in context

My mom is 77, in great shape, is 5 ft tall and lives with my husband and me. Her secret to maintaining a healthy weight is not allowing herself to weigh over 115 lbs. I cook most of our meals here at home and she will eat plenty of whatever I prepare, but once her weight hits 115, I eliminate bread, white rice, sweets, juices, milk, and we eat only oatmeal, brown rice, lean meats, low fat yogurt, fruits and .veggies for a week. Mom loses 3 lbs, and we go back to eating our fairly healthy, usual diet. We only have to repeat this eating cycle once every 4 months or so. Pretty painless. My husband has never noticed a "dieting" week, just as long as you feed him, he's happy.

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Posted in: Forget fad diets - cutting down on fat will keep you slim See in context

@JapanGal I do not follow your meaning about someone coming up with a thyroid medication as an excuse... I take an anti-thyroid medication as I am usually hyperthyroid. If I become hypothyroid, I need to switch to taking thyroid hormone. Taking excess thyroid hormone will make you lose weight, but can increase your heart rate, body temperature, anxiety levels, cause tremors, damage your heart, and can lead to shock and death.

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Posted in: Food viruses can be spread by kitchen knives - scientists See in context

Sit at the counter of a restaurant here in Japan and look into the kitchen. Chances are you will be able to spot at least a few Food Handling 101 mistakes. Having cooked at a small restaurant in the US while attending college, I can vouch for the fact that inspectors showed up fairly often and performed rather extensive inspections at the place where I worked. Are restaurants here inspected? For cleaning your cutting boards, a diluted bleach solution works great.

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Posted in: Experts give tips for repelling a random slasher See in context

I asked my local policeman his thoughts on carrying pepper spray, and he advised against it. According to him, some women have been made to pay money for causing permanent eye impairment to their alleged attackers. Of course, if attacked, most of us would not hesitate to break out the spray.... He also said only women may legally carry pepper spray. He did recommend carrying a loud alarm device and my daughter and I both do so, in addition to the spray! The spray is kept handy in a jacket pocket, and the alarm dangles at the end of a small chain attached to the handbag. My dad, a former Marine, taught my sisters and I some basic methods of self defense, but seriously, I am not confident I could follow through with them in a real situation. He said the knee is easy to damage, kick hard, sideways...the heel of your hand is strong, punch up hard at the attacker's nose....use the thumb to stab an eye...The goal is to quickly disable the attacker and run to safety. Okay, now I've freaked myself out, I need a cup of tea.

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Posted in: Jazz great Dave Brubeck dies at 92 See in context

Will play some Brubeck on my piano tonight in tribute to the greatest jazz pianist/composer of all time. My dad, a darn good jazz piano player, turned me on to Brubeck many years ago. My daughter also loves to play him. "Time Further Out" is my favorite album of all time, closely followed "Dave Digs Disney". Had the pleasure of hearing him live in Chattanooga in 1990. I sat just two rows back and I can tell you he had enormous hands with the longest fingers....Loved him!

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Posted in: Norovirus outbreak in Osaka infects 48, claiming 2 lives See in context

Last Sunday, my daughter was vomiting, had chills and diarrhea. Monday morning she went to her local clinic and doc there said she had norovirus. He loaded her up on meds, as they seem to do here, and by Tuesday morning, she felt fine. She lives in Kobe. The doctor said he has seen many case there. Beware and be healthy.

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Posted in: Japanese husband and Nissan go all out to give wife anniversary surprise of a lifetime See in context

My husband got me a crock pot...

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Posted in: Newborn boy left on pavement in Mie See in context


I find your last sentence really strange...Why not teach her about birth control methods in stead of "where and how to properly abandon her baby"?

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Posted in: People used to have negative attitudes toward old houses. That view has changed over the past years. See in context


Thank you very much for sharing your helpful tips, really appreciate the help! OK, understood, will stop using a sealant on the walls. Fortunately, we used it sparingly, ( just enough to stop most of the sand from brushing off) due to its high cost! We did lay thick plastic sheeting over the dirt under the floors. We have removed tatami and put down hardwood floors in 2 of the downstairs rooms so far. Your tip on covering the plastic sheeting with sand is timely, as we will put another floor down over the 3 day holiday. One of the rooms we've already floored is next to the room we'll do this weekend, so I guess it might have to be me in that crawlspace spreading sand, as I'm small and my husband's biggest fear is of enclosed spaces. We will also try your dampened newspaper ball trick as well as the chewing gum gem. As for your earth wall recipe, we will try that on the interior walls of the doma. Any suggestions on what to use on the exterior earth/chopped straw walls which are in wood framed segments? Some of the segments have cracks and are of a brownish yellowy color, we'd like them to be white.. Thanks again for your kind help. I will check out the country living Gaijinpot forum volland linked for us in his post.

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Posted in: People used to have negative attitudes toward old houses. That view has changed over the past years. See in context


Thanks for the great tips on ways to reduce the dust. You are so right about the roka area....will ball up some newspaper this weekend and give it a try. Regarding the yucky stuff over the plastered walls, yikes, ours seem to be made of fiber/sand/crushed shells and layered over with 100 years of dust. We had to lightly spray with water and scrape down to the rough plaster. We then thinned out joint compound, brushed a coat on, let it dry, then mixed a bit less watered down batch of joint compound and rolled it on...The result was pure white, rustic looking, textured walls. Really sets off the wood. We also have some sand walls, gritty and rough. These were painted an awful avocado green, so we sprayed on a sealer, then painted them with a low VOC diatom.earth white paint. Looks great, no fumes from the paint and no sand comes off while brushing against the wall. Still haven't figured out what to do with the earthen walls....Your art studio must be a nice getaway. Your prior building experience and electrical expertise must have served you well in that project! My husband and I are fairly new to the do-it-yourself thing, but we have found a positive can-do attitude goes a long way. That, and remembering it's called home improvement, not home perfecting. Again, thanks for the tips.

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Posted in: People used to have negative attitudes toward old houses. That view has changed over the past years. See in context


I consider myself to be an "average person"..My husband and I are of somewhat limited financial means, my elderly mother lives with us, my daughter is working and supports herself, we have two dogs and two cats. We drive a 12 year old kei van. The vast majority of our meals are cooked at home. I'm not a big shopper. The old home we purchased ( see my post above), cost 2,000,000 yen. That's less than most new cars. I imagine that's less than the average down payment for a housing loan. We use my husband's twice yearly bonus to buy the materials we need to reform our house. Except for the rewiring, we have done all the work ourselves. We did not take out a loan to reform the house. The house is located " reasonably within distance of facilities"-I think the countryside, old home option is viable for many "average" families.

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Posted in: People used to have negative attitudes toward old houses. That view has changed over the past years. See in context


Thanks for your kind words. Hope you continue to enjoy your life in the fully reformed old house! Does your place get really dusty, or is our house just dusty due to all the work we're doing? I seem to spend half my time cleaning, I swear.

I never thought of dismantling a traditional house and moving it to a more desirable location. Neat idea!

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Posted in: People used to have negative attitudes toward old houses. That view has changed over the past years. See in context

My husband and I purchased a 136 year old traditional Japanese farmhouse a little over a year ago. House is 2800 sq ft with an additional 1500 sq ft of storage. The garden is fantastic, old style, complete with stone lanterns and water basins. House is well built and quite solid. Most rooms are large, some with high ceilings showing huge hand planed beams. We have been working weekends to restore the house, replacing the tatami with wood flooring, scraping and re-plastering walls, etc. The house is a 3 minute walk to a JR platform, 8 minute ride into a town of 50,000. Shink station about a 15 minute train ride away. So, for us at least, we don't feel isolated. Oh, and the beach is a 15 minute walk. Neighbors are shockingly friendly, they love to come over to inspect our work on the house, and of course, offer their advice. They share loads of home grown veggies with us, nice! If you interested in purchasing an old house, don't be put off by naysayers. Our house was under 2,000,000 yen and at purchase, was fully habitable with a working toilet, kitchen and bath. We bought the house to retire in, not as an investment. Nice to not have a mortgage. Anyway, thought I'd give a bit of encouragement to those of you considering life in the inaka.

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