Japan Today

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Posted in: Family of Prince demands Trump stop using his music See in context

He wore a strawberry toupee...

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Posted in: Woody Harrelson joins 'Stars Wars' galaxy See in context

To be honest, the way he licked his lips in True Detective did remind me a little of Jabba the Hutt...

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Posted in: Woman dies after being pinned between car and concrete block See in context

Eerily similar to how Anton Yelchin died. May you both rest in peace.

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Posted in: Blue Jays beat Orioles 5-1 in AL wild-card showdown See in context

As usual, the AL East is coming down to the wire. Very nerve-wracking for this Toronto fan. More than the Orioles, the Jays deserve a playoff spot. Like last year, they're a great team. Bautista, Encarnacion, Tulo, Martin, Pillar, Sanchez, Osuna. Third-baseman Josh Donaldson deserves a gold glove and an MVP award, while Happ deserves a Cy Young.

And I never thought I'd say this, but hats off to the Red Sox. A very impressive September so far. But still, I'm cheering for the Yankees over the next few days...

Still lamenting the loss of Munenori Kawasaki to the Cubs, but he did all right in that trade. He'll definitely see some playoff action this year.

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Posted in: Man found dead with head in plastic bag, face mutilated See in context

Shades of Yoshitoshi's 28 Murders in Verse--the murder of Naosuke Gombei.

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Posted in: 'X-Files' makes its TV comeback, after 13-year absence See in context

Their careers never took off after X-files ended, so they are back to try to make some more money.

And Gillian Anderson was excellent as the star of The Fall, a very good British police procedural drama series. Realistic and suspenseful. Highly recommended.

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Posted in: Subway sandwich chain co-founder DeLuca dead at 67 See in context

Not to take anything away from Mr DeLuca's lifetime achievements, I do find it curious that even with a net worth of 3.5 billion dollars, he was in 2015 only the 259th richest person in the United States. That there are 258 individuals with even more in assets, in the US alone, is both amazing and somewhat disheartening.

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Posted in: You’d never guess this strange bubble house village is located in Japan See in context

Ah, the Dome House. Yes, they are made in Komatsu, Ishikawa. I only know this because I did the English editing and narration for the company's PR video a number of years ago. Quite spacious inside, apparently, and they can go up in a day once the foundation is ready. I actually considered buying one for my English school as they were relatively inexpensive and energy efficient. The major drawback, however, was that even with interior dividers, voices would undoubtedly reverberate. Was never sure about how long they would last, either.

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Posted in: 73-year-old man drives car on train tracks for 1.3 kms See in context

I used to live a ten-second walk from Sozenji Station. Quite a desolate place. On the other side of the tracks is a sewage processing plant. Yum. Didn't know that when the apartment was found for me.

Sozenji is a local stop, but express and limited express trains barrel through there all the time. It's lucky the man wasn't killed.

I'd lay a wager he was drinking at one of the many izakaya near Higashi-Nakajima-Minami-kata Station (or even Juso) and thought he could just sneak home without anyone finding out.

(By the way, I think the ward is actually Higashi-Yodogawa-ku.)

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Posted in: 74-year-old apple grower killed by bear See in context

Ah_so and quercetum... Thank you; you are too kind.

Just a post-script to the story: I later learned that the Asiatic Black Bear doesn't have particularly good hearing compared to other species of bear, especially when it's chewing, and can thus become startled relatively easily. As a defense mechanism, the bear tends to charge whatever animal that has (suddenly) gotten too close. This is doubly so for a mother with a cub.

I have two school-age children. In the autumn and spring, they do not leave the house without brass bear-bells fastened to their bags or belt-loops. The best defense here is a jangly offense.

Condolences to the family of Harada-san.

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Posted in: 74-year-old apple grower killed by bear See in context

I live in Kanazawa, Ishikawa, across from a fair-sized apple orchard. Every year around this time, the bears come down from the hills to snack on the apples. Some years are worse than others; it depends how much of their normal diet has been available throughout the summer and how much they need to make up in fat to properly hibernate. Last year was particularly bad.

One November night four years ago, I heard voices and music coming from the orchard. It was after eleven, but I let it go. When the music and voices continued the next night, however, I could ignore it no longer since I am a light sleeper. Under the light of the full moon, I snuck into the orchard. I found the source of the music and voices soon enough. It was a transistor radio hanging from a tree. The volume had been turned up quite loud, but at least the mystery was solved. I left it on, of course, and turned for home.

Just then, I saw it: Sitting on its haunches, its back up against an apple tree, was a large Asiatic Black Bear, munching I assume happily on an apple. The Canadian in me froze for a moment, then backed up slowly as I was taught to do many years ago. Thankfully, the bear was thoroughly absorbed and didn't see me. When I was a safe distance away, I turned and walked quickly to my front door across the street. It was only after I locked my door did I realize that my heart was pounding.

I didn't phone the police, as so many here in Japan are quick to do.

The next morning, I went across the street to relate my story to the old ladies who tend to the apples. They listened, then chuckled like it was no big thing. They said the bears come almost every night, clawing the bark off trees, pulling down branches, and leaving their droppings everywhere. I asked them why the radio was left on on all night: They said it was to keep the bears away!

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Posted in: Bus driver in fatal crash suffered from sleep apnea See in context

The 48-year-old male passenger, Yoshihiro Ono, was apparently a teacher at one of the high schools here in Kanazawa. A recent transplant from Tohoku, he came to work here after the earthquake, tsunami, etc. His family still in Sendai, he was on his way back home to see his 18-year-old son graduate from high school.

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Posted in: Body of missing Ibaraki woman found in river; co-worker missing See in context

...or the victim, for that matter.

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Posted in: Man found stranded since March 11 in empty town inside evacuation zone See in context

If this gentleman's wife cannot be located, I think he should be presented with that dog who was stranded at sea. They seem made for each other.

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Posted in: Wishing well boom attracts legions of ladies—and commercial opportunism See in context

All the lonely sheeple

Where do they all come from...

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Posted in: Man arrested over wife's murder in Hokkaido See in context

This article left me slightly confused until I realized there was a mistranslation/poor choice of words. The word 'dumping' is misleading, seeing as the bodies never left the premises. 'Abandonment' is the more legal term, as it implies that the suspect abandoned his legal responsibility to report the deaths to the proper authorities (for a reason to be explained later). Dumping would include the concept of abandonment, but implies improper disposal of things, in this case a corpse or two, especially off one's property. Since the bodies were found on the second floor and in the garage, abandonment off a corpse is the safer, more descriptive choice.

Irregardless of my quibbling, shades of Norman Bates here. He didn't happen to run an inn, did he?

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Posted in: 48 killed, 150 injured as allies launch airstrikes in Libya See in context

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought China abstained from the UN Security Council resolution on Libya, along with other G20 players Brazil and India. Not exactly a green light, but not a veto, either. Sometimes a complex situation requires one to do nothing for the time being.

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Posted in: Japan posts first trade deficit in 22 months See in context

Are they imported?

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Posted in: Acquaintance of missing woman attempts suicide in Kanazawa See in context

What's missing from this article is the fact that this woman was already married and was having an affair with the NHK cameraman for the several years mentioned above.

Her car was found in a supermarket parking lot soon after her disappearance was reported, with her purse and cell phone inside. The police have suspected foul play from the beginning but have had little to go on. Now they have even less with their prime suspect in a coma.

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Posted in: Arizona shooting once again ignites gun control debate See in context

Well, one of the persons killed was a federal judge appointed by GW Bush. I would venture that he was on the conservative side. Besides, Giffords herself is a Blue Dog Democrat, or DINO as some have said. Both the judge and the congresswoman sound like sensible people, so overly politicizing this shooting goes nowhere, IMO.

The real tragedy is the 9-year-old Miss Greene: Born on 9/11, 2001, shot dead by a mentally unstable man with a handgun, purchased and registered by him only two months previous. I sincerely hope some good comes out of this. But, cynical me, the misdirected megaphone-toters on both sides will be back at work in no time and all will be forgotten. Miss Greene will have died for less than nothing in today's America: An honest interest in civic duty.

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Posted in: Starbucks gives logo a new look See in context

Still one of the weirder logos out there. Way up there with Proctor and Gamble's moon guy thingee.

That said, I like Starbucks; i just can't bring myself to pay the premiums more than once a month or so. Local company Doutor is the one that gets my business: More than twice a week sometimes. Plus they belong to the T-Point system. Those add up.

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Posted in: What China and Japan mean to the overseas investor See in context

Immediate 7-8% ROI is about average, providing there are current, paying tenants. But the occupancy ratio outside of a few popular core areas is not climbing. This country, I believe, still has a couple more years of ground-level recession in it.

Lots of empty commercial properties here in Japan, too. The difference from China is that the vast majority of empty commercial space here is over twenty years old, not newly built developments.

It goes without saying that even moderate capital gains in asset-flipping are a looong way away. Chinese investing here are definitely in it for the long term, methinks. Must pray their economy holds up, or there will be a mass selloff when they need their money back.

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Posted in: Ehime man secretly films over 1,000 women with collection of hidden cameras See in context

Inspect'er Gadget.

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Posted in: Which item is on your must-buy list for this year? See in context

5000 more shares of MizuhoFG before it hits 185.

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Posted in: Groom kills bride, best man, then himself at wedding in Brazil See in context

From cold feet to cold-blooded murder?

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Posted in: Bone-chilling cold grips U.S. Northeast See in context

The Blue Mountain Ski Resort is just outside Collingwood, about two hours' drive north of Toronto. Like Sarnia, it's firmly in southern Ontario. Northern Ontario begins much much further north, say Sault Ste. Marie or Sudbury, both a day's drive from T.O.

Glad I'm not there, though. That's a lot of snow, eh?

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Posted in: After 50 days adrift, 3 teens rescued in S Pacific See in context

After the tragedy of the NZ mine disaster, some good news of people surviving as if by miracle. Fifty days adrift at sea beggars belief. I now have an old Far Side cartoon in my head, though. The one with the two men, the dog, and the short straw...

Survival note: When there is no fresh water, both seawater and urine can be absorbed by the body through rectal tissue.

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Posted in: In malt we trust See in context

Great article. (And, yes, Lemur is a beer snob.)

koriyamaboy: I hear you!

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Posted in: Sarah Palin: Serious 2012 contender or pretender? See in context

Republican Sen. Susan Collins recently told the Kennebec Journal in Maine: “I think she likes being a celebrity commentator for Fox, and a speaker.... It’s a lot easier to charge people up than to actually govern.”

Well said. But such is 21st century America, when so much power, real or imaginary, has shifted to the fifth estate. Screaming for change from the outside. And not change for change's sake: Screaming for screaming's sake.

Barbara Bush—wife of Republican former President George H Bush and mother of former President George W Bush—said Palin seems happy in Alaska and “I hope she’ll stay there.”

Love this snippety snippet. A Republican matriarch takes aim at the golden girl of the hijacking upstarts. Feel the love.

American politics is my new entertainment.

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Posted in: Sarah Palin: Serious 2012 contender or pretender? See in context

A load of cash and a bully pulpit on one hand, and a real job on the other. That's basically her choice.

Rush L. rakes in $58 million a year while Glenn B. makes over $22 million. Sarah Palin has the skill set to attain and maintain that level, such is her fan base. Why give up such a rewarding position where you get to vocalize other people's anger, never really be held accountable for it, and never have to work toward real solutions for real problems. Indeed, why go for a job that requires patience, resolve, compromise, and statesmanship, not too mention knowing when not to speak? Methinks these are out of her skill set at the moment. (And sometimes Obama's, too...)

Common sense aside, I think she'll actually go for the world's ultimate popularity contest. Too irresistable for a lifelong attention-seeker like her. The hard landing ain't gonna be pretty, though.

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