LBW2010 comments

Posted in: Missouri governor declares state of emergency ahead of ruling on Ferguson shooting See in context

Man, the U.S. is just a classy country.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Posted in: What Japan's recession means for the country See in context

Totalitarian collectivism is bad, but a bit of collectivism is better than the anarcho-capitalism than you see in the U.S.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Posted in: What Japan's recession means for the country See in context

These are dark days, but I sincerely believe Japan is going to be okay. It will still be Japan. There is still a remarkably low crime rate and a sense of social cohesion and collectivism that you will never see in the West. Infrastructure spending remains high and the amount of truly inhuman poverty remains (correct me if I'm wrong here) low.

Metrics like net GDP and even per-capita GDP are not everything. Just look at China--it has a gigantic GDP and is still essentially a second-world country.

Wages are down in Japan and people are putting in a lot of working hours and seeing very little for it. But they go home on clean, safe streets and have stable healthcare. The airports look better than they do in most of the U.S. The trains are the envy of the world.

GDP isn't everything.

11 ( +21 / -10 )

Posted in: Japan's economy contracts 1.6% in July-Sept quarter See in context

Any bets on how long before the Abe administration gets on NHK and massively spins this into a positive thing?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Man arrested for breaking into woman’s hotel room, spanking her with shoehorn See in context


-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan's dated, smoky cafes unfazed by Starbucks success See in context

I honestly always felt like I could relax more at Starbucks or at Dotour, as opposed to a kissaten. The kissaten are just too quiet, and the regulars always stare at you when you come in. And, when you yourself become a regular, then you have to make lame bar-style small talk with the owner when you just want to get some work done.

Don't get me wrong, I love kissaten. They're atmospheric and moody and fun. But I would never go there to work or study.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: 40.3% of Japanese youth depend on parents for income: survey See in context

We need a detailed breakdown. On the surface, this data is laughably unremarkable.

Of course 15- and 18-year-olds are dependent on their parents.

And I wouldn't be surprised if most, if not all, middle and upper class college students (ages 19 to 22) are also dependent on their parents.

Add some graduate school to that or some job searching years, and you basically have a survey that says "high school and college students rely on their parents for financial support."

Forgive me for not having my mind blown...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: As Abenomics falters, problems fester See in context

The structural problems have not been addressed.

Japanese businesses are no longer as internationally competitive as they used to be. Prices are mismatched with wages. The aging population is a huge issue. Overcrowded cities with overly high rents and property values are another. If the younger generations can't get off the ground and reach cruising altitude, everything's going to keep falling apart.

It's not a function of QE and it's not a function of currency manipulation. It may not even be a function of the consumption tax. It's purely structural--and the structure is not looking good.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Posted in: Men list top four reasons why they dumped their past girlfriends See in context

Had one who threatened suicide. (Terrifying.)

Had one who was completely, utterly, totally asexual. (Depressing.)

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Solo wedding service for single women who want to be brides for a day See in context

Holy God this is sad and weird.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: Fright night See in context

Love those goofy Japanese babes.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Recovering crown princess attends 1st imperial banquet in 11 years See in context

The nail that sticks up...

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Posted in: Recovering crown princess attends 1st imperial banquet in 11 years See in context

What a Household. What a country. What a culture.

Splendid of them to take such a brilliant, happy person full of so much promise and force her into an unwanted marriage and a life of suffocating imprisonment.


22 ( +29 / -7 )

Posted in: Japan’s PR battle for U.S. hearts and minds See in context

NHK really is a joke. That hapless organization's opinions and policies shouldn't bother anybody.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Posted in: Convenience stores vie for coffee market crown See in context

Coffee in Japan is okay, but it's a little over-packaged and the serving sizes are a little small.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Posted in: Man arrested for pouring urine from PET bottle on girl See in context


1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Film fans See in context

Abe is just...a smarmy little fellow.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: For 3rd day in a row, media expecting Obuchi to resign See in context


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Nobody at subway station in Tokyo for first train after two staff oversleep See in context

34 5 AM commuters? More like 34 5 AM weeknight alkies who missed their last train!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Passenger arrested for sexual assault on Hawaii-Japan flight See in context

Depressed people USUALLY don't scream out incoherently. Nor do anxious people, even if they're having a panic attack. (Unless, maybe, it's their first one?)

My guess is schizophrenia. That would explain the multiple medications and the sedatives best, I believe.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Posted in: Dozens of lawmakers expected to visit Yasukuni Shrine on Friday See in context

God, these articles are always such comment-bait. (Not that I'm helping.)

For an ostensibly non-religious nation, people sure do get a bee in their bonnet about "enshrining" dead people.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan's sozzled salarymen: the lost tribe in a modern pickle See in context

Most Japanese contracts will look something like this: Working hours 9 AM to 6 PM with one hour for lunch, plus 40 hours of "included overtime" each month. That basically puts you at 9 to 7 PM for a normal day. The overtime days would range from an 8 PM to a 9 PM finish, I'd say. And that puts you at home around 8 or 9 PM each night, on average.

Tokyo trains get busy at 7, sure. I can buy that. But they don't get really busy until 8,9,10.

I don't see people leaving at 6 PM. Ever.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Passenger arrested for sexual assault on Hawaii-Japan flight See in context

Bizarre. And horrifying for the young lady. Hope she's doing okay.

I'm honestly surprised MORE stuff like this doesn't happen on those long flights. An airplane is a pretty bad place to come unglued...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: 10 types of Japanese men, according to Japanese women See in context

Japanese women can indeed be...bizarre. On a variety of levels.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan's sozzled salarymen: the lost tribe in a modern pickle See in context


"The average Japanese business person goes home at or around knockoff time. That is why there is a peak hour at 6pm in Tokyo. " -Are you kidding me? Have you ever even lived in Tokyo? There is no 6 PM peak hour AT ALL.

"It is called a bonus but is fixed based on salary and may be negotiated by unions (yes unions are actually very common here)." -Unions are impotent in Japan; any cursory examination of scholarly material on the topic will tell you that.

"You can not define western work environments by Google and Facebook." -We're not defining it by Google and Facebook; we're defining it by very real policy matters and very real statistics that, again, can be found at any number of sources on the Internet. Western companies treat employees better than Japanese companies do.

"There can be great rewards for being in a large Japanese company. And not just financial. The average businessman in a good company makes good money. Equivalent to six figure job in the west." -Now, this is just flat-out untrue.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Saitama policeman fired, charged for riding motorbike after drinking alcohol See in context

Tough luck.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan's sozzled salarymen: the lost tribe in a modern pickle See in context

When I lived in Tokyo, my apartment was next to a big office building that housed a number of communications companies.

The lights were always on past midnight, and in the mornings I would walk by haggard looking men slumped on benches and smoking cigarettes. I always got bad vibes from it. Maybe it was one of those "black companies."

Either way, the salariman is in many ways a symptom of a larger societal woe--the sort of general passivity of all Japanese that has allowed for the creation of an abusive workplace culture. And those in positions of true power wouldn't have it any other way.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Why does Japan have so many overhead power lines? See in context

I'm not sure what to believe about the safety of above-ground power lines during earthquakes. My gut reaction, especially when I was in downtown Tokyo for 3/11, is to be terrified of them. They look like they could fall at any moment and electrocute people. But I hear remarkably few stories about this happening. It seems that it would take a particularly violent earthquake to cause the power lines to fall. Not that that is out of the question.

In terms of the aesthetics, it is rather fascinating. Japan might not be great at "planning" cities in the Western sense (but is the West even good at it anymore, with all the urban sprawl?). However, Japan is remarkable for its cleanliness, efficient public transportation, and generally well-maintained urban spaces. Against that background, the ubiquity of above-ground power lines is incongruous. It probably is just because it's cheaper. And also because Japanese cities are so dense and so built up that it would be very difficult, logistically, to bury them all.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: 47-year-old man arrested after body parts of missing 6-year-old Kobe girl found See in context

Really dark.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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