Letsbengoshi comments

Posted in: No ill health effects seen in residents near Fukushima plant yet: researcher See in context

I think many are missing the forest for the trees here. To me Greenpeace's response was much less harsh than I expected. In other words, Greenpeace, while critical of the overall attitude and position of the Government, didn't dismiss or challenge the report's factual findings (yet). So I actually take some comfort in Greenpeace (whom I, all in all, respect) not challenging the facts of this (or any environmental) report. That doesn't make me trust the GOJ, but I won't out of hand dismiss the report's findings, either.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Sapporo restaurant fines customers who don’t finish every last bite See in context

"The Elbow Room" in Vancouver was doing this 20 (or more) years ago: "Service is our name. Abuse is our game." Famous for its ginormous breakfasts. After any given table was done and asked for the check, one of the owners would come up to the table and find some bit that hadn't been eaten, chew out the diner(s), hold out a plastic tub and say something like, "Cough up some money!" The proceeds went to a local AIDS Outreach (or similar such organization). Of course the customers were all in on it and happy to donate and part of the fun was seeing how much abuse one could get out of the owners. A great place. Good people. I haven't thought about that in years.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Bruce Willis says he's against new gun controls See in context

Because he's an "action hero" tool who's played with pretend guns for 30 years and has never had a child or other loved one massacred by a real live gun-wielding maniac -- and, importantly, because he doesn't care one whit about those who have had such tragedies plow into their lives.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan cast as villain in global currency war drama See in context

I don't mind Japanese officials, from Abe on down, goosing the Yen to weaken it some. I do mind that they're so shamelessly lying about it.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: AKB48 singer's YouTube apology still stirring debate See in context

What she did -- the extreme, over-the-top, public penitence -- sounds like something a North Korean would do to avoid 15 years in a work camp. I'm not making fun of her, I'm feeling very sorry for her.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Don’t forget your towel - experiencing mixed public bathing for first time See in context

Years ago I mused to a Japanese colleague (I'm American) about going to one of these. He warned me not to: he said they were just places where Obaa-chans lurked, only their eyes and tops of their heads showing above the water, like alligators, staring at the young men. That image decided me on passing on the idea.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: 5 most common Japanese surnames are Sato, Suzuki, Takahashi, Tanaka and Watanabe See in context

And yet in virtually all the Japanese 101 and 102 books, it's "Tanaka-san" who rules Japan.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Energized by debate, Obama knocks Romney on women's issues See in context

Mea culpa: 2 errors on my part. After double checking I see that President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law on January 29, 2009, about eight days after when I said he did in my just-posted comment. Also, it was Goodyear, not Goodrich. This makes no substantive difference, but I like to be accurate.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Energized by debate, Obama knocks Romney on women's issues See in context

A point missed: Romney dodged the question of whether he would've supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Completely dodged it.

Here's what happened. Ms. Ledbetter had worked at a B.F. Goodrich tire plant for years and had risen to a supervisory role. After said years of employment she discovered that she was getting paid less than similarly situated male employees. When confronted about it, Goodrich effectively shrugged its corporate shoulders. A lawsuit ensued. Ms. Ledbetter won the case and a jury awarded her backpay. Goodrich appealed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and it reversed the jury's decision. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the 11th Circuit reversal. The grounds for reversal (in sum): even though there was no doubt that Ms. Ledbetter had been discriminated against for years, and even though she didn't even know about the pay disparity for years and years (American employees don't discuss their salaries as openly as Japanese do), the 11th Circuit and Supreme Courts held that she had to file her lawsuit within 180 days from the date of the first act of discrimination (which was years before), not from the date of discovery of the pay discrimination. A cynical, anti-employee, anti-woman ruling if ever there was one.

This happened during George W. Bush's Administration. Congress passed a bill that would effectively reverse the Supreme Court and make it clear law (too late for Lilly, of course) that the "window" to file an equal pay lawsuit first opens on the date of discovering the discrimination, not from the date of the first act of discrimination (which, like in Lilly's case, could go on for years undetected). Bush refused to sign the bill into law.

Within 24 hours of being sworn into office (maybe the same day, I'd have to double check), President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law, righting a great injustice perpetrated by the U.S. Supreme Court against virtually every American (particularly women) who receives a paycheck.

So, the question to Romney: do you support / would you have supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act? Romney ducked the question and went off on his weird and creepy "binders full of women" tangent.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: 3 junior high school students drown in Aichi river See in context

This is so very tragic for me: I'm a former JET AET (in a Middle School), a former lifeguard (in the U.S.), and I've a long time friend who lives in Aichi-ken. It's more than knowing how to swim, which these boys seemed to know how to do. . . at least in a "passable way." It's knowing (1) what situations to avoid (like this river) and (2) how to handle yourself if you get in trouble (which can happen to anybody). Good swimming lessons don't just teach kids how to swim, they -- just as importantly -- teach kids (and adults) how to avoid dangerous situations and increase one's chances of survival in an emergency. One of the "iron sayings" in basic lifeguarding courses is that the leading cause of drowning is "panic." That's no trite or merely pithy saying, it reminds one that keeping one's head and knowing various steps/techniques/actions/options is most often the key to surviving.

My heart goes out to these boys families and friends.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

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