Laertidean comments

Posted in: In Japan, the customer is not king See in context

Absolutely, da5id. It's all about inflexibility--probably the single most frustrating trait of our fine host nationals. Some years ago I was having a complaint-fest about something with a fellow gaijin, and I said something about "what are they thinking?!?" To which he replied: "they don't think -- they're Japanese!"

Absurdly harsh, of course, and meant mainly as a joke--and insofar as there's any truth to it, it would be about a choice made not to think, not an inability. But too often it seems that is the choice that's made in the service industry -- and that's what makes it so frustrating. I think the author has put it very well, and quite gently. Even my Japanese wife laughs about this one, knowing full well what the annoyance is that we were referring to...

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Posted in: Too much katakana contributing to Japan's malaise See in context

da5id --

Some valid points, and well expressed, but here's my suggestion for "the easy answer", from Jonah Goldberg in National Review:

"Japan’s economic rise coincided with a small government sector, and its economic fall has coincided with the growth of government. In 1984, in terms of spending and taxing, Japan had just about the smallest government of the top 23 developed countries. Since the early 1990s, when its “lost decade” began, it has pursued a massive Keynesian spending spree and the government has grown to European levels."

I think that pretty much explains it.

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Posted in: Forest Adventure offers swinging good time See in context

Mittsu -- I went there this summer and found it delightfully low-key and easygoing in approach, and no queues at all. Of course, this was midweek, not a weekend.

Your comment about safety harnesses is insane, though. Everyone wears one standard climbing-type harness, and there is an absolutely essential and easy-to-use double clip-in system once you're up in the trees. If anything, the higher I got, the more I wished for more automation in the safety systems--being responsible for two 10-year-olds with me, it became quite nerve-wracking.

Very exhilirating, but not easy. Unless you're an accomplished climber, I wouldn't take this too lightly.

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