maxjapank comments

Posted in: Yoshinoya refused to let 'foreign' student attend recruitment event See in context

So your family register here is in your wifes maiden name?

That it is. It happened as sort of a mistake at the time. But we just continued having separate last names. But when deciding a first name, we specifically chose kanji. Of course, kanji is cool. And we did think about the sound and meaning of the name. But one of the reasons was to make her invisible / blend in when others were just looking at paperwork.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Yoshinoya refused to let 'foreign' student attend recruitment event See in context

It sounds a bit discouraging. But one of the reasons my wife and I gave our child a name in kanji was so they would always appear Japanese on any paperwork. Of course, she is Japanese. But we didn't want any school or business to discriminate in advance by knowing she was "half."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Record 54% of Japanese students not eager to study due to COVID: survey See in context

It's been a rough couple of years. My school has had school closure a few times. Clubs have been cancelled at times as well. Even mid-terms have been cancelled. It's just hard overall to envision a society like it once was, where everyone could mingle without worry about catching an illness. I also don't usually like to compare countries, but I do occasionally remind my students that given the hardships, they have many things to be thankful for here in Japan.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to scrap licenses for electric scooters See in context

@Mat I agree with you completely about how they can be a good thing, but I disagree with the "few bad apples" thing. I would estimate that 5% of cyclists in my areas follow the rules. Pretty much every cyclist seen is breaking some law, either too fast, wrong way, using phone, holding umbrella etc etc. It's not "a few bad apples", it's almost everyone.

I don't see that being any different with unlicensed electric scooters on the sidewalk. How could it be? Break a "law" and still be allowed to continue to ride.

I do share your concern. I guess it partly depends on where you live as to how many follow the rules. I cycle nearly everyday. I wear a helmet. Travel on the correct side of the rode. And I am very careful about pedestrians. Most of the cyclists I see are also very courteous.

Much time is spent in junior high and high schools enforcing the rules when commuting to school. Unfortunately, we still have kids who do not. But it just means that adequate punishments should be put in place and more media attention should be given to help relay the message of safety. Even confiscating the bicycle or scooter would quickly crack down on rule breakers.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to scrap licenses for electric scooters See in context

This is great. Enabling people to use other means of transportation that is more eco-friendly should be encouraged. Sure, we are all concerned about those who ignore safety. And they should be fined and punished. But don't let the few bad apples ruin what is overall a good thing.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Ukraine evacuees to get up to ¥2,400 a day as living allowance in Japan See in context

So we are paying for them through our taxes?

If I had more control over where my taxes went, helping those in need would be one of them. I also agree with @Rivera, though. Our taxes should also go to help those already in Japan who are struggling day by day.

17 ( +20 / -3 )

Posted in: At least 2 shooters kill 6, wound 12 in Sacramento See in context

Guns kill. But let's make any other argument to distract from that fact.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: Germany to face Spain, Japan at World Cup; Iran and U.S. in same group See in context

Tough group, but I've never thought that we should be excited about having an easier group. The goal is to win the World Cup. Not make it to the quarter-finals. I want Japan and its supporters to have this attitude.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Posted in: Will Smith, Chris Rock confrontation shocks Oscar audience; 'CODA' wins best picture See in context

Will Smith was way out of line. I hope Chris Rock eventually presses charges. People are commenting on that his joke was out of line considering Jada's struggle with Alopecia and hair loss. But she is smiling and cheerful in her latest video just two months ago. And she definitely looks like GI Jane in the video. Will and her could've talked directly to Chris after the awards, and I'm sure he would've apologized. Chris Rock didn't mean any ill will. He's a comedian. Comedians make jokes. And yes, they sometimes miss. But again, Jada was smiling and cheerful about her just recently.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Posted in: Black hair, white shoelaces: Japan's school rules under fire See in context

My daughter has naturally brown hair. She wears it in a tidy cut, nothing outlandish.

When she started JHS, some jumped-up martinet tried to humiliate her and demand she dye her hair black. "You are in Japan now! You must respect Japanese customs!"

My daughter was born in Japan and raised in Japan. She's on the Koseki Tohon. She is Japanese. But she has naturally brown hair.

She came home from school in tears.

The next day, I went to school with her and explained to the 5'6" Small Man Syndrome teacher who'd given her the grief the day before that she was not going to be dying her hair, and if he spoke to my daughter like that again, there would be an issue between us.

There were no further problems regarding my daughter's hair.

I'm embarrassed to share this. But during my child's last year in high school ( at my high school no less ) a couple of the teachers were giving my child similar problems. It was ridiculous. And as they wouldn't budge, my wife intervened and talked directly to the head third year teacher. But even after that, it happened again. So she went to the Vice-principal, who's known my child since she was five. And he took care of it.

You'd think that I'd have some sort of pull. But unfortunately, even after working here for over 20 years, there are multiple occasions where some teachers are never able to see me as equal.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Posted in: Black hair, white shoelaces: Japan's school rules under fire See in context

Japan has been traditionally slow to change, but unfortunately Junior and Senior High rules are outdated when comparing to Japan's society today. Though many companies still require some form of uniform and dress standards, there is more freedom with hair color, makeup, and style than in the past. Furthermore, the old thinking that "students should be focused on studying and worrying about appearance will interfere with that" is just not true. Some of my most diligent students are the ones who get in trouble for appearance. lol.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese Youth Conference petitions government to end compulsory after-school club activities See in context

Being at a private high school, I have met many students who have no desire to join a club after their junior high school experience. It was often too much for them, both in time and expectations. I often encourage them, though, that if they have no specific hobbies, to at least consider a culture club that might only meet 2 -3 times a week. Clubs do give students opportunities to make friends. But it is their choice in my mind.

Unfortunately, many clubs are just another example of Japan's insistence of quantity over quality in my opinion. They are often way too long, and there is a lot of wasted time in the process. Also while some students may wish to play a sport seven days a week, mandatory practices shouldn't be so.

14 ( +21 / -7 )

Posted in: Services open doors for minorities in Japan looking for housing See in context

One of my first experiences in Japan was taking over for a foreigner who was leaving for another country. Two days before his departure, he handed me his apartment keys and said he was staying with a friend the next two nights. I felt strange, and so I went over to his place. He was gone and the place was a trash heap. I, along with the help of my wife, spent hours cleaning the place up. I know. Not my responsibility. But my wife being Japanese just couldn't let the apartment stay that way. I'm glad she insisted.

It always those bad apples that make things difficult for the rest of us.

26 ( +30 / -4 )

Posted in: Americans in Japanese prison for helping Ghosn escape seek to go home See in context

As much as I have praised and defended Japan, their justice and criminal system is lacking and seems quite corrupt.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Posted in: Students in Fukushima get free point on entrance exam because of typo See in context

I make many university tests. It's hard to keep them mistake-free.

It's the same for private high school entrance tests. You make a correction. Then the teacher in charge must retype that correction. Then it is sent to a business that creates the booklets for the test, and as their software is different, they must also retype the correction. Things get retyped incorrectly along the way.

By the way, many readers may not know this, but high school entrance tests for English may not use a word that doesn't appear in a junior high school textbook. What makes this difficult is that when a prefecture uses multiple junior high textbooks, the amount of words available becomes even less. For example, several books uses the word "culture", but one of the textbooks doesn't use it. So that means you cannot use the word "culture" unless you provide a Japanese translation at the bottom. It also means that word cannot be part of the answer.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: NATO rules out policing no-fly zone over war-hit Ukraine See in context

I support a no-fly zone. There is only speculation about how the war would escalate. But what isn't speculation is an immediate reduction in innocent lives lost.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Posted in: Burger King releases King Yeti in Japan See in context

Looks good. But the Caesar sauce ruins it for me. It reminds me of the time I first ate a Baconator from Wendy's. It was so dang good, I ended up eating two of them. Can't really do that anymore as simply inhaling food puts weight on me these days.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Most of Japan's embassy staff in Ukraine to leave as tensions grow See in context

Been a lot of "right-leaning" conspiracy nuts posting about Biden and the Dems "lying" or "wanting a war." Think the last thing anyone wants is a war. Best wishes to the people of Ukraine.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan's border policy keeping hundreds of thousands of foreigners in limbo See in context

they have to quarantine in official government centers. That is 500,000 specially prepared hotel rooms, room service meals, security guards, PPE wearing staff, contact tracing and PCR tests at ¥8000 a pop. Who pays all that? Developing country students? Jobless Aussies?

When my child came back to Japan after studying abroad, they had to stay in a specially approved hotel room near Narita. Who payed? I did. Cost a little over 100,000 yen for the hotel and all the meals were extra.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan's border policy keeping hundreds of thousands of foreigners in limbo See in context

As long as foreign students, teachers, workers follow the same quarantine measures, there is really no reason to keep them from being here.

24 ( +31 / -7 )

Posted in: Public schools in Japan short of over 2,500 teachers last year See in context

There are changes being made to the workload of teachers. Some schools do not have classes on Saturday. Some schools are limiting the hours that clubs can meet after school. Some schools are even forcing teachers who do have clubs on the weekends to take a mandatory day off during the week as well.

It's hard, though, because there has always been this pressure in Japanese culture to work long hours. Even if nothing is getting done, the appearance is necessary or some people will think your lazy. So for these changes to take place, it has required those in "power" positions to mandate these changes. I work in a private high school, so I have seen these changes happening. Good stuff, but more needs to be done.

It's my opinion, that the main thing that needs change are all of the unnecessary meetings. I can usually read through what I need to know in 30 minutes, but someone is still expected to read through the documents, as if we cannot read it for ourselves.

Also, it wouldn't hurt to hold parents accountable for the actions of their kids when they are not in uniform and not at school. Why teachers should be responsible for students 24/7 is an outdated practice.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Posted in: Osaka plummets to 85th in WTA singles ranking See in context

Wish you the best, Naomi, in whatever you do. Such an inspiration on and off court!

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Posted in: Justice minister orders probe of Vietnamese intern abuse case See in context

I just watched the video on Youtube and it infuriates me to no end. I hope that these worthless excuse for human beings get punished and jailed for the abuse they caused this Vietnamese guy.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Posted in: New law in France bars unvaccinated from restaurants, sports arenas and other venues See in context

It's your choice to be vaccinated or not. But live with your choice. If you choose to be unvaccinated, then don't go to public places and put others at risk. Stay in your own home with your own friends and live happily.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

Posted in: Border restrictions force 300 foreigners to decline Japan teacher jobs See in context

@Attila

It's hard to say much about the costs. I think it depends on how the schools are utilizing their JET participant. If you were to calculate the costs of students and teachers going to an English Conversation school outside, then it might be more cost effective having a JET who is there, present at the school. Being physically present also cuts the need to commute to conversation schools and the time to do so outside school hours.

I have been doing this for over 20 years now in a private high. And I have met many different Japanese teachers, and they are hired for a variety of reasons - but the most important is what they can offer to the school beyond teaching their subject matter. If the school can find a soccer coach who also has a teacher's license in English, then they will hire them because it fills the roles they need. Admittedly, some teachers only became teachers to become coaches. But overall, my JTEs do enjoy English and greatly appreciate having my presence so that they can maintain or improve their English ability.

My duties are so much more than what a participant on the JET program is expected to do. And I find that to be the fault of the schools themselves. Japanese schools would benefit more if they didn't view the foreign teachers as guests and actually took the effort to train JETs about how to do things. And I don't mean English education here, but all events and daily routines. There are many things that can be done even with limited experience and Japanese ability.

I know that we have gone off topic a bit. Nevertheless I appreciate the civil discussion. Best wishes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Border restrictions force 300 foreigners to decline Japan teacher jobs See in context

@Attila I agree 100% on the negative impact of term limits. Skilled teachers should be allowed to remain and schools should be allowed to keep them. But being able to spend time with a native English teacher / person far outweighs being unable to. Again, foreign teachers seem to forget that using English with the Japanese teachers is very important to improving the overall English education because it continues even when the native teacher is not present. The biggest dilemma has always been entrance tests, not the training of the JTE. And I'd also argue that other dilemma is the belief that "I'm Japanese. I don't need English." And while that belief is overall true, to foster a feeling of "I'm Japanese. But it's okay to speak English, too." is probably the greatest challenge we face here. There has to be a reason to use English and that is what participants in the JET program do offer.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Border restrictions force 300 foreigners to decline Japan teacher jobs See in context

Sorry that make me laugh. That would presuppose Japanese teachers understand how to teach English to begin with, are then saddled with an English speaker who can't explain anything, resulting in a worse outcome.

There's been zero attempts to take feedback and iterate improvements since JET started. You want to look at real leaders in language education, go to Finland. Teachers has Master's degrees or PhD's.

Please note that every other neighbour to Japan can teach English better. Every single one.

That's a very naive opinion. While I agree that many things need improving, I have met many Japanese teachers who are highly educated and talented.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Posted in: Border restrictions force 300 foreigners to decline Japan teacher jobs See in context

Please don't make the mistake of thinking that the JET programme has anything to do with teaching or education. Complaining about the lack of qualifications of JET participants is pointless, as they are not and will not be teachers. Just read about the program in Japanese, the word 'teaching' does not appear. They are called 'Youth Exchange' participants. The purpose is not educating young Japanese, that is why the budget for the program comes from MOFA and MIC primarily. The purpose is for young people to come to Japan for a few years, have fun, drink a bit, and go home with a favorable impression of the country. Then, later in their lives when they are more mature and have more power, they will favor Japan and Japanese companies in whatever endeavor they choose. Basically, it is a PR campaign for Japan Inc.

While there is some truth about Japan hoping participants will leave with a favorable image of this country, you are mistaken about the overall purpose of of the program. The purpose is to assist in language education, and that can be either utilized well or not so much. Spending time with students, sharing your culture, and giving them an opportunity to use English does make a difference. It may not to the majority, but for some, it really does. I think what many foreign teachers forget, though, is that you are also there for the Japanese English teachers to improve their speaking capability. Helping them to feel confident and encouraging them to use English in the classroom will have a greater impact overall. Even speaking English with teachers who are not English teachers can create a positive environment.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Posted in: Teenager 1st to use hospital's 'confidential birth' system See in context

I have known about this hospital for a long time now. They are a true inspiration. Best wishes to them. Best wishes to this newborn baby. And best wishes to the teenager.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

Posted in: Nearly all Japan's school boards scrap gender field on applications See in context

Applications are one thing, what are they going to do when they a "girl" come in a boys uniform and vice versa?

There are a few schools now that allow girls to wear pants. I suspect this will happen more in the future. What's interesting is that there has also been a push to phase out using "chan" for girls and "kun" for boys. Teachers are being instructed to refer to all students as "san."

4 ( +13 / -9 )

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