kp123 comments

Posted in: Growing number of men have no close friends See in context

Interesting article. I remember similar themes coming from a few Japanese friends many years ago about having close friends was next to impossible. I believe it could be a reflection of Japanese being taught not to become obligated to anyone outside their immediate family, if they can help it. You can make many good friends but very few close friends no matter in what country. I wouldn't want to put this to the test.

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Posted in: Religious leader 'speaks' as late Matsushita founder See in context

Matsushita-san was certainly the titan of Japan's industry. The others were Kiichiro Toyoda and Akio Morita of Sony. He would certainly disapprove of these shannigans going on. He was generous as well. Annecdotes: he donated annually to a animal kennel my mother volunteered at in Osaka in the 60's after she approached him for a donation at a hotel. His former employee married his sister and they founded Sanyo Electric which merged with Panasonic last year. He could be compared to Andrew Carnegie of Japan.

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Posted in: How to get the best seat on the plane and hold it See in context

In the final analysis, the trick is, fly a lot and become a Gold Star member. These tips though some helpful won't help you if you only travel every so often. You don't have the leverage. I still have 1/2 million miles left over with UA's FQ, but doubt it would help now since I haven't flown with them in about 3 years. I fly according to destination now on 1-stop airlines.

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Posted in: Some wives wish their husbands would hurry up and drop dead. See in context

Japanese culture, let's face it, isn't conducive to spousal romance. Both of them literally live separate lives before retirement. The romance has long disappeared by that time. However, if they live outside Japan such as the US it's entirely a different story. I remember I was invited to an afternoon party in Chicago where several Japanese husbands and wives were invited. As we left, my Japanese friend of a large Japanese corporation and his wife were following me in their car. At a stop sign, I looked in the rear view mirror and was pleasantly surprised to see them kissing and hugging each other. They were a happy couple with children to boot.

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Posted in: ANA to offer women-only lavatories on international routes See in context

Great for men too because women for not fault of their own but for mother nature take a lot more time in the lavatory than men do. I noticed women have it rough when they wait in longer lines at public lavatories in a stadium or theater than the men. Forward thinking by ANA and just may be this idea was developed by the male management in line with my thinking but afraid to say it.

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Posted in: Mexican drug gangs taking over U.S. public lands See in context

Penalties for drug dealing are too tame and the consequences far too lenient in the U.S. I doubt we can change that under the 8th Amendment protecting us against cruel and unusual punishment, although I don't agree that it should be applied to these cases. I learned that the about quarter of the incarcerated foreigners in Japan are in for possession of illegal drugs. There is no bail system in Japan and they keep them in jail for an indeterminate amount of time before a trial. No such thing as a writ of habeas corpus in Japan, equivalent to the detainees stashed away at Gitmo.

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Posted in: Obama seeks money, interventions to stem high school dropouts See in context

Just a small comment. In my immediate neighborhood, the school campuses from primary to high school education are ultra-modern and too large. Yet, we have one of the lowest national achievement ratings from our students. I did well in my primary and secondary education days not because I was smart but because I grew up under the "little red school house" concept at the time where we combined two classes in one room. In effect, I was exposed to next year's subjects every other year. The most concern I initially had then was parsing and drawing maps that the upper-classmen ahead of me were learning. It was double osmosis, so to speak. It was very effective but realize it is no longer realistic by today's standards and requirements.

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Posted in: Chile quake death toll hits 708; soldiers quell looting See in context

The cruel reality is, poorer the country, the more casualties there are during natural disasters. By this measurement compared to Haiti, it's a miracle that Chile did not incur higher number of casualties.

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Posted in: Japan won 5 medals at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. How would you assess the results? See in context

I might be slightly facetious but it could have some half-truths : too much juku.

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Posted in: Alexander Haig, former U.S. secretary of state, dies at 85 See in context

The article fails to mention (but Romeo did bring it to our attention in the above) that Gen. Haig served in Japan at SCAP (Supreme Commander Allied Powers) under Gen. MacArthur. I didn't know that he was an aide de camp for the General then. My dad worked at SCAP at the Daichi Insurance Building also and as an army brat would visit him to watch Gen. MacArthur exit the building at a prescribed time. I too am a veteran and respect Gen. Haig as a patriot and warrior for which he deserves America's thanks. RIP to a man for his outstanding public service from a by-gone era that sadly must come to an nostalgic end.

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Posted in: Japan hopes Toyoda can clear image, cool friction in Washington See in context

I believe "Japan Today" carried an article last year in June or July when Mr. Toyoda assumed the CEO position and said that the company needed to return to the basics that made Toyota the car company it is today. He was very critical about the high-falutin high-tech luxury oriented Toyota cars that were mostly over priced and beyond the reach of the average consumer. He wanted to do a couple of things : first, make more cars that were economically priced and affordable that made Toyota successful; and second, reduce Toyota's size to the level that is more manageable and efficient. He had a keen and prescient sense about what he feared most about the direction that Toyota was taking. His arrival to head Toyota couldn't have come at a more worse time for him as he was a couple of years too late to save Toyota from the seeds of its own downfall. Those fortune tellers in Japan must have told him privately about the bad karma that would befall upon him after his succesion to lead Toyota.

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Posted in: Man saves woman from train after she falls onto tracks See in context

The young man is definitely a hero. I don't know if Japan has a kunsho for heroism, but believe the fire department is doing a very good thing about it. It probably is impractical, but I like the Shinkansen boarding gate system where it is sealed until the train pulls in.

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Posted in: Unpaid overtime is killing McDonald's managers See in context

From my personal experience and observation, overtime at Japanese companies are rarely recognized. The Japanese company I was associated with began work at 8am and ended at 5pm. Men lingered on until 6 to 7pm and the women left at about 5:30pm. Although Japan imposed a 5 day work week, smaller companies ignored it and worked on Saturdays until noon. However, many lingered until about 3pm. So technically the employees at this company earned 22hrs/week in overtime or about 1100 hours each year without being paid overtime. When transferred back to the States, employees started at 8am and left at 4:30pm sharp. There were no lingerers. The work ethic is different between the two countries. I remembered an incident when employees of a U.S. company I was with left en masse when the 5pm bell rang throughout the building. I had Japanese business visitors then and they asked me if it was a fire. I said, no and we continued our discussions.

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Posted in: What do you think about the custom in Japan of women giving chocolates to their male co-workers on Valentine’s Day as a form of “obligation,” and then receive chocolates back from the men on White Day See in context

I just marvel how everything in Japan is just the opposite from the U.S. or vice versa. I won't go into detail here, but just think about all the other customs and habits that are just the opposite from ours; especially directed at those living in Japan.

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Posted in: Iran boosts nuclear enrichment, drawing warnings See in context

Need China to hop on board too since they can block any sanctions in the Security Council at the UN. Those supporting it may have to work outside the UN, if China decides to veto the idea. China has an invested interest in keeping Iran at bay since it has the 17th largest Muslim population, numbering about 22 million in and around Tibet and Xinjiang provinces. Iran may be tempted to support those Muslims seeking independence from China in an untoward and deadly way. Tibet and Xinjiang provinces experienced civil unrest in the past year or so and may be emboldened to do more than that with Iran's backing.

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Posted in: Saints beat Colts 31-17 to win Super Bowl See in context

Great to hear that the New Sanno Hotel opened their bar at 6am for the SB. Betting was a record in Vegas broaching near the $100 million mark. One fellow lost $2 million betting on the Colts.

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Posted in: Japanese media criticize Toyota chief for slow response See in context

Question for those living in Japan : How much press coverage was there before Toyoda's press conference today? I read here in the States that the coverage was minimal. Reason : newspapers did not want to offend Toyota because it was an important client for advertising in their papers. WSJ cited this. It appears once the news conference ended, the media pulled all the stops out.

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Posted in: Toyota's president apologizes for massive global recalls See in context

I'm not promoting Nissan here, but a couple of years while in Vegas I asked a valet man at a prominent resort what car did he consider the best engineered and quality since he handled so many models in his line of work. Without a doubt, he said, it was Nissan's Infiniti. He considered it over and above any standard automobile made in the U.S., Japan and Europe. He couldn't comment on the Bugattis, Ferraris, and RR's since he didn't drive any of them yet.

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Posted in: Ritz-Carlton Tokyo offers Valentine's Day, White Day packages See in context

Valentine's Day in Japan is great for men. Women buy the chocolates for the men. Something we should teach our women to do in the States. Japan is truly a man's country on the surface, if nothing else. I doubt the women would pay for the room rates at the Ritz-Carlton. On second thought, if the women were the wives, they would since wives control the purse strings in Japan. Poor guys..we won't teach our women that.

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Posted in: Toyota considering Prius recall in Japan, U.S. over brake problems See in context

I have nothing constructive to say but will mention that it seems that old saying, "everything happens in threes" has a certain ring of truth to it based on how you look at it : Toyota, JAL and Honda or Accelerator, Brakes and Window Switches.

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Posted in: The state of the language school industry See in context

An inciteful article about the state of the foreign language industry in Japan. I was always curious about it. I was often bemused about how the Japanese had a passion for English ever since I can remember. Their interest is sincere and try their best at it. Even though I speak fluent Japanese, they insist using English in business and socially. On rare occasions do they resort to Japanese with me. Teaching English is difficult and applaud those who teach it. One thought I might add from a business angle is approaching universities to carry out some of their English programs under contract.

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Posted in: Skepticism over Toyota's fixes grows as probe widens to Prius See in context

Wow..and just a few days ago I thought this problem was superficial pertaining to an oversized accelerator pedal and floor mat. If it is electronically connected, I'd be interested in the source of these electronic parts. I hope it wasn't China. U.S. automotive companies better be on the up and up checking their systems as well and not be complacent about these problems either.

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Posted in: Ginza's hostesses feel the economic pinch See in context

The high-end Ginza bars in the days I found them flourishing during the mid-80's required introductions from their regular customers or they'd turn you away. But once in, they'd treat you like a king. They are reluctant or turn away foreigners not because they are racist, but because they fear the foreigners will make a stink about the high bar bills and misunderstand the nuances connected with the hostesses. I usually went to Roppongi for personal drinking and Ginza for business.

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Posted in: Toyota U.S. sales halt deals blow to image, earnings See in context

Thanks wanderlust and lostrune2 .... sounds like an electronic govenor of some sort ...

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Posted in: Toyota U.S. sales halt deals blow to image, earnings See in context

I can't figure out the problem as to why it's serious. Looking at the photos of the problem, it shows that the pedal can get wedged into the side of the floor mat when fully depressed. Why not just get rid of the floor mat and have Toyota replace it with a newly designed one? Am I missing something here? They plan to shorten the gas pedal instead. Japanese logic or what? My experience with Japan has it that they generally do it the hard way. Refer to Google's images search engine section or just go to http://www.autoblog.com/2009/11/19/report-toyota-may-shorten-gas-pedals-to-fix-unintended-accele/ for the illustration.

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Posted in: Asashoryu to be warned for drunken incident See in context

I saw him at a Las Vegas exhibition bout couple of years ago in which he won the tournament. Great talent. I will say this: had he been a Japanese national fans wouldn't be so forgiving. Annecdote: I was on my way back to my city of residence on JAL some years ago and was wedged between two sumo wrestlers enroute to their next tournament. Although I was squeezed somewhat, it was okay by me. Noticing my discomfort, one of them turned to me and said, "Domo sumimasen, ne?".

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Posted in: John Edwards admits paternity See in context

This John Edwards thing is damn scary; he might have become our 44th president instead of Obama. Can't imagine the repercussions he would have had on U.S. politics as crucial as they are today. It would've paralyzed his agenda as it did to Bill Clinton at the tail-end of his term. The Democrats really know how to pick them. Of course, this infidelity would've come out during the campaign and lead the Dems toward their defeat in the end had he been nominated, I suppose.

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Posted in: Asia the prize, not JAL, in Delta-American fight See in context

If either AMR or Delta become the equity partner of JAL, I wonder if they'll be changing the logo's on the airplanes. I was in Fukuoka Airport some years ago and noticed that Qantas and JAL had joint logos affixed to the plane on the Australian-Japanese route from there. Forget it. It's a bad idea; it costs money to repaint the planes which both airlines can ill-afford.

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Posted in: New York Times to charge for web access in 2011 See in context

My take on web subscriptions is far more positive than the comments made here. Subscriptions through the web is far more economical than having it delivered or purchasing it from the newstand. If memory serves me correctly, WSJ and USA Today runs about 700 yen ($7.00) at the newstands in Japan. I am now a subscriber to the WSJ at $2.80 per week which is far more reasonable than buying it from the newstand for $2.00 here in the U.S. Businessweek and The Economist run for 1200 yen or $12.00 in Japan as well. If I were an ex-pat living in Japan, I would subscribe to all the U.S. media (WSJ and Businessweek) on the web I would want to read ASAP. That $7.00 and $12.00 per issue in Japan is totally ridiculous.

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Posted in: Marine's widow, baby return to Japan but visa problem with U.S. unresolved See in context

I definitely agree that this situation is quite tragic. Bringing your foreign spouse into the U.S. on a permanent visa takes a lot of paper work for civilians while in Michael Ferschke's case as a military man he didn't have this luxury. Ultimately, the DOHS and DOD have to be on the same on this one. For civilians, paperwork is processed through the Department of State and funnelled down to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy of the spouse's country for an interview afterwhich the foreign spouse receives her permanent visa. She can later apply for a greencard and prepare for U.S. citizenship if the spouse so desires. Instinctively, I believe this specific case will be resolved in due time.

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