livvy comments

Posted in: When you drink coffee or tea in Japan, do you prefer the chains like Starbucks, Tully’s, Doutor, etc, or do you prefer the traditional “kissaten?” See in context

Besides the smoke-free environment, I prefer the furniture at the more recent chain shops. I never appreciated Starbucks and similar others' so much in the past, but tiny tables, odd plastic chairs or really low sofas in Kissatens really opened my eyes to the value of stable, heavier and well-designed furniture!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Do young Japanese women want to be housewives? See in context

Saying that housekeeping "with every possible convenience" is pure laziness is absolutely ridiculous and shows the writer never helps out at home. Do we say say office work of all kinds has become pure laziness because of computers and printers and copy machines? Misogyny means looking down on some activity and some people just because they are women or women's typical activities. Don't be a misogynistic!

Anyway, not every family can afford all those conveniences. Many homes don't have enough space for a clothes dryer, for example, let alone a dishwasher. Except in the most recently built homes, stoves have just two burners ... the list goes on and on. A housewife is a problem-solver, someone who figures out solutions to common problems and is available to conduct family business during daytime hours. Not all women are so clever, nor do all husbands hand over all their paychecks to their wives every month. That is a myth. It depends on the husband. Not all women are cut out to be housewives, and everyone should pitch in with housework and child rearing.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: M5 quake jolts Kanto region See in context

Not at all fun to experience on the 10th floor of a small, new building near the station in Ikebukuro! It was stomach-churning, really.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Police believe murdered girl, missing boy were taken near train station See in context

It is incorrect to say, Japanese parents ... Clearly some Japanese parents don't mind letting children run around freely around shopping areas during the day and early evening, but in Japan too, kids don't have unlimited permission to be away from home for three days! Something is clearly wrong in these kids' families. No Japanese families I know give their kids permission to be out past 8pm. On the contrary, I find the amount of scheduling of the kids' lives to be incredibly tight and suffocating, even.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Security bill debate masks deeper divide over pacifist constitution See in context

This is a top-down power grab, pure and simple. By weakening the Pacifist Constitution, not only do PM Abe and his supporters in industry and the shrine business gain business opportunities to produce war armaments, but simultaneously he weakens all political groups who are organised around pacifism and promotion of humaniste rights. I think he even strengthens his wing of the LDP! So as far as a political calculation this one is All Systems Go-go-go! There is no morality here, he is potentially Machiavelli's Dark Prince. It remains to be seen how much criminal activity this group is willing to engage in to achieve their aims. We have only to look back at the end of Taisho Democracy to see how far into lawlessness Japan can stray by activation of the same sentimentality and duty-fed behavior that seems to be guiding Abe and cohorts. May cooler and wiser heads prevail.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Naked nationalist stirs up election campaign See in context

I remember that the artist who produced a canoe in the shape of her vagina is now embroiled in the legal system on charges of obscenity. How about this guy?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan's whaling plans come under scrutiny at IWC meeting See in context

Unfortunately, it's not just "saving face" that motivates the LDP to do whatever they can for whalers. The whaling program is a symbol of the LDP's pork barrel politics. By persisting against the international opinion, the LDP seeks to consolidate its power with the many powerful regional interests that comprise Japan, saying to them in effect, "Vote LDP because the LDP will see you through the toughest of times." It's a loyalty issue for them. Local and regional interest must prevail over Japan's international obligations.

But please keep in mind: the LDP is not (all of) Japan. Far from it!

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Posted in: China, S Korea urge Japan to reflect on wartime aggression See in context

It's actually really twisted to say that the war dead are the foundation of modern Japan.

Obviously, as war dead, they did not do the huge work of rebuilding Tokyo and major cities of Japan that were bombed and burned until the aggressions stopped. They were removed from their daily productive lifes as farmers and merchants, fathers and sons, and they were ground up by the cruel war machine.

PM Abe is lying, a really big lie, if he insists that the sacrifice of the lives of soldiers that is commemorated at Yasukuni Shrine is at the foundation of modern Japan, since the dead were absent from the post-war rebuilding effort and their contributions to Japanese society were limited by their call to duty. I believe what PM Abe is really trying to say is: Japan today rose from the ashes of defeat, please rejoice for your country (as ghosts) and forgive the government for sending you to your deaths -- which had very little to do with the prosperity Japan enjoys now!

What PM Abe is showing me, at least, is that State Shinto is alive and well, within his political party at least, despite the law of the land, that is, the Japanese Constitution which explicitly made the Emperor a "symbol" of Japan, stopping the Emperor from continuing on in his capacity of the Meiji Era as the chief Shinto Priest. In this sense, I believe neighboring countries of Japan are right to call "Foul"! Japanese people need to see through the LDP politics and respond to the concerns of other countries about the resurgence of State Shinto in whatever way they can. It is an urgent matter for world peace.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: China, S Korea urge Japan to reflect on wartime aggression See in context

If I understand the Japanese ancestor-worship and angry kami/ghost placating system correctly, the practice of "honoring the war dead" is actually a defensive one, from a Japanese cultural point of view. Rather than elevating the memory of the deceased and holding them up as models to the living, as might be the case in another culture, if I understand the culture correctly, the Japanese are concerned with preventing angry ghosts from rising up and chasing them in today's world. Perhaps PM Abe is particularly concerned that angry ghosts might go after his family if he doesn't take the proper measures to placate them. What we might have here is a totally non-modern government which has an overt religious purpose component needed (in their eyes) to keep modern Japan safe -- this is unknown in any other democratic country, I think.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Posted in: Russia detains Japanese whaling research vessel See in context

Nightmare. The sea north of Hokkaido, especially Kuril Islands chain area, is teeming with fish and they should NOT be disturbed by stupid military exercises. This is the disturbing news to me here.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Abe's new plan to beat deflation: more baseball teams See in context

This is smart politics, straddling economics and the all-important "cultural" aspect. Japanese will understand this, and get behind it, and it will boost Abe's popularity. Smart move!

Now if he can get broadcasters to give more TV time to show not only the most important games, that will be a big help. TV coverage has shrunk markedly for baseball since the busting of the Japanese economic bubble, and interest has flagged. Also, stations are such schedule fanatics, if a game runs long, they stop broadcasting no matter how many people are tuned in. It's not the most baseball- friendly culture.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Taxi driver held for drugging women with diuretics See in context

Does anyone know which taxi company this guy is associated with?

In the Japanese social system, Japanese workers are never viewed as individuals. This guy completely abused his company. Be this as it may, since a company car was used, in Japanese society the company is obligated to be up front and apologize publicly for the "TORABURU" (trouble) that the member has inflicted on a member of the public. There is far too much that is not being reported in this "news" article. I wouldn't even call this journalism. It's more like "quickie daily transcription service" of the police's (?) routine announcements. I'm really tired of such low-quality "news". Where are the interviews that would provide more detail, such as how long the victims were held against their will, and whether or not they were dropped off at the location they originally ordered, or some other place?

Even If the cab is independently owned and operated, still the driver has besmirched his association's name and must really hate them. The public derserve to be informed what kind of relationship this driver has/had with his company and how much responsibility they accept for accepting this pervert into their organization.

I guess it's up to the police I decide how many minutes of trapping a customer in a taxi constitutes kidnapping. Clearly this driver entrapped a customer with the intention of inflicting humiliation, if not actually torment them. The intention to cause pain and videotape it (?) clearly makes this a crime of somesort, not just lewd behavior.

In fact, the detail that the victims are female are not particularly relevant -- I have to wonder if this detail is provided to help the newspapers get readers for this article. If deliberately using the pain and suffering of the victims to help sell newspapers, there should be charges filed against the news organization, it seems to me.

6 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Aso says Obama powerless to get U.S. Congress behind TPP See in context

Slowing down passage of TPP in the US is actually a good thing, in my opinion, especially if it means Congress can review the details of the agreement. Just asserting that TPP is in the US national interest does not make it so. Japan may actually be doing the US a favor here.

Also, as one of my students pointed out to me, the national government of Japan is not in a position to dictate policy to each ministry, but must go through a tedious consensus-building process -- the Japanese form of democracy is actually more "bottom-up" than "top-down", and the massive bureaucracy cannot be conveniently disregarded in favor of a quick "Fast-track" agreement.

As I am not at all convinced that TPP is wholly in the interest of US voters, especially since the public lacks access to the details, I think Japan is doing the US a favor, in this case.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Record number of foreign visitors come to Japan in March See in context

I'm very glad the government's tourism program "Youkoso Japan" is working! The economic and cultural exchange benefits are greatly needed to help support the Japanese economy right now. There are zero negatives for Japan from this program.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: The Japanese government remains cautious about addressing the population decline and labor shortage by accepting immigrants. What do you think are the pros and cons of Japan accepting more immigrants? See in context

I think the Japanese can and will eventually organize groups of laborers for precisely defined projects that have a beginning and an end, where truly bilingual people are in a supervisor's position, and where the Japanese labor laws are fully upheld. A key point will be to supply housing and cafeteria services that suit the needs of the laborers. The Japanese actually have lots of experience operating such facilities. Think of the giant construction projects in the Middle East and even Algeria (the natural gas plant way out in the desert that was attacked by terrorists, for example). The key is sufficient funding and well-designed facilities.

I think what the Japanese fear is a lot of foreigners moving in and sitting down to eat lunch/dinner with them in low cost restaurants, riding public transportation, and making demands for services from city halls. If some pilot programs are well set up and run as the Japanese know fully well how to run them -- and with no kickbacks and no cheating by shady operators -- then I think the Japanese public will see the light and permit such well-focused and well-managed temporary immigration.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: How do you think the taste of Japanese rice compares with rice produced in other countries? See in context

Japanese rice is delicious, but I was raised on brown rice in California and I much prefer Japanese rice that is NOT polished completely. Fortunately my husband, who is Japanese, also prefers not completely polished rice! We buy 5x polished rice at an organic foods store, the "gobuzuki" rice. It tastes nuttier, and has better health benefits because the rice germ is not removed. Recently we have taken to adding red and purple artisan grains of rice, which further adds taste and (I think) vitamins, and makes the rice purple!

Of course I thoroughly enjoy eating basmati and California short and long-grain rice whenever I can! If I knew where to find it in Tokyo, I would also buy the "wild rice" that we can find in California. Haven't see it here. The more rice varieties, the merrier! Having said this, I agree with Japanese who say their rice dishes are not what they expect when another country's rice is used in their dishes. I disagree that it tastes BAD, but I agree the taste and texture is different.

Of course I prefer to eat basmati rice with Indian food in a restaurant, and disapprove of restaurants catering to the tastes of Japanese customers. I'm a purist, you see.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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