mikeylikesit comments

Posted in: What's your favorite convenience store brand in Japan? See in context

No Seicomart? Outrage!

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Posted in: Man claiming to be 'a woman inside' arrested for entering female bath at resort See in context

Pretty soon, every pervert in Japan is going to identify as “a woman on the inside.” Not very long after, every women-only train car is going to be populated by “women-inside” men. Women’s onsen baths will only be frequented by “women-inside” men, who will ultimately stop coming for the lack of actual women to ogle, likely causing most establishments to close for lack of business. The only public bathrooms that women use will be individual ones that lock out all other people.

But, hey, at least society will be able to pat itself on the back for a towering achievement in gender equality!

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Posted in: No ex-Johnny's singers in NHK year-end show 'Kohaku Uta Gassen' after sex scandal See in context

NHK is punishing the victims.

Those performers are still under contract by Johnny’s/Smile Up. NHK would contract with Smile Up for any performer’s appearance.

Performers wanted the fame that Johnny’s would give them. Have any tried to quit the agency over the scandal? If performers are going to stick with Johnny’s despite it all, how sorry should we feel for them?

I’d have more sympathy for someone who left or was pushed out of Johnny’s and was then blackballed in the industry.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: No ex-Johnny's singers in NHK year-end show 'Kohaku Uta Gassen' after sex scandal See in context

Oddly, the lineup is arguably better quality. Too often in the past, producers just lazily slotted in Johnny’s group after Johnny’s group.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Posted in: How one small town in Yamanashi manages to have high birthrate See in context

there are many of women who will marry regardless if only there's a well-paid man but actually I dare to suspect they are not in majority now.

You’re probably correct in this. What percent want to marry a highly paid man? What percent seek a partner with whom to share more equal responsibilities financially and in the home? What percent don’t want to marry at all?

Women have a lot more options in societies with economic prosperity. Many of those new options result in lower birth rates. That’s not likely to change.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Posted in: How one small town in Yamanashi manages to have high birthrate See in context

@virusrex, read the article again:

There’s no economic need for wives to work, and by and large they don’t. They bear and raise children instead.

The company’s highly paid researchers are overwhelmingly male. Their 12.5 million yen average salaries attract women who then don’t work, but raise children.

There is nothing in the article to indicate that equality in pay for the sexes would have any positive effect whatsoever. For Oshino, per the article, men get high pay, and women don’t work and have more kids as a result. You can try to argue the politics of your viewpoint favoring higher pay for women with other sources, but this source directly contradicts you.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Posted in: How one small town in Yamanashi manages to have high birthrate See in context

Maybe if the rates of employment were more balanced and women were also getting good salaries, and family friendly policies were in place you could see families with more children…

The article says quite the opposite. The key in Oshino is men paid very high salaries so that women don’t have to hold jobs at all and can instead focus on raising families.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Posted in: The fate of Johnny and Associates may play out according to the yakuza model See in context

Let those that have any talent be free to find work by themselves or with the help of agencies that did not support sexual abuse.

Are there any agencies that aren’t rife with abuses? Johnny’s seems a lot like the Harvey Weinstein or Jimmy Savile scandals. Within the industry, everybody knew. Nobody said a thing because there was money to be made, or because there was fame to be won, or because they were doing the same kind of thing.

Is it cynical to assume that every agency and producer is a scumbag? On some level, it’s probably true because they’ve all kept quiet. If I were a parent of a child wanting to get into that performance world, taking the cynical view is probably the only way to keep a child safe.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: According to Japan's Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, 106,000 people left their jobs to care for their families last year. Noticeable were those in their 40s and 50s. What can be done to address this issue? See in context

Caring for family is one of the highest, most respectable, and vital functions in any society.

Is the problem that only 106,000 people left their jobs to do so? Would that it were more. Sadly, however, wages are such that one-income families are increasingly rare.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: The Israel-Hamas war: No matter who loses, Iran wins See in context

Of course, Israel could target Iran alongside Hamas and draw America into the war with Iran long wanted by neocons. It’s entirely possible that Israel and America lose in this scenario, but Iran ends up bombed into oblivion.

In this scenario, Saudi Arabia, who likes neither Israel nor Iran, comes out the regional winner by virtue of not getting involved and letting enemies destroy each other.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Is buying a house in Japan a good financial investment? See in context

A house? No. Houses lose value and are basically disposable. After 20 or 30 years, a house has zero value and even technically has negative value because of the expense of tearing it down.

The land underneath the house will hold its value. Whether it will appreciate in value is another question. That depends greatly on where the land is.

Buying a house and land saves on rent, and so you might come out ahead long-term. If you are looking for returns on an investment, however, a house in Japan isn’t going to give you that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to postpone plan to extend Hokkaido shinkansen line by 2031 See in context

This project strikes me as something of a vanity project on the part of the government and Hokkaido. Who is actually going to ride it?

Business people can currently catch an early a.m. flight to Sapporo, do a couple meetings, and be back in Tokyo or Osaka by late evening. At most, they need to stay one night. A Shinkansen will require at least a half day or travel or overnight travel. The same one-day trip is at least two, possibly three days. How does that help productivity or cut expenses?

Japanese tourists frequently take short, two-day or three-day vacations. On Honshu, the Shinkansen makes that possible. To Hokkaido, much of the vacation is eaten up on the train.

Tokyo to Hakodate is 4 hours on a good day. Sapporo is farther, and the line is through some harsh areas in winter. Winter usage on Hokkaido trains is appallingly low for good reason. JR already has to slow the Shinkansen a lot to accommodate the many freight trains using that line, so the trains won’t zip along like people in Tokyo and Osaka are used to. This seems like it could prove a bigger boondoggle than the Yamagata Shinkansen was.

And while flying is usually more polluting on a single trip, we have to count the environmental costs of construction, too. A big percent of the world’s CO2 emissions is from concrete. How much exactly does tunneling to Hokkaido, laying all new train lines, and building new train stations cost?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: We need as many charging stations as there are gas stations. See in context

Actually more. It takes less than 5 minutes to fill a tank. How long to charge a battery?

And how many kilometers does that tank last versus one charge?

Yes, you can put charging stations at homes and other places, but you’ll need a lot more of them overall.

Which means that you’re going to have to dramatically increase electricity production, too. So-called renewables aren’t actually renewable—they take lots of rare earth metals and other resources to make. Adding electrical capacity through coal isn’t going to help air pollution problems one bit. So unless Japan has plans in the works for a dozen new nuclear plants, electric vehicles are going nowhere fast.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: What is the best way to discourage people from calling ambulances and using hospital outpatient services when they are not in need of urgent treatment? See in context

The insurance system highly incentivizes people to call an ambulance. If you need to see a doctor at a major hospital, such as in a day when local clinics are closed, calling an ambulance is the cheapest option. Any visit in an ambulance counts automatically as an emergency from a billing perspective. Any visit on your own automatically counts as a non-emergency, and a major hospital charges extra for not first having a referral. Insurance picks up the cost of the ambulance, with no hospital surcharge. No ambulance means an out-of-pocket surcharge. Of course people use ambulances.

It’s an absurd rule. You could get hit by a car in front of a hospital. If you stumble in under your own power, or even if bystanders carry you in, it’s a non-emergency and costs you more. Financially, you’re better off laying on the pavement bleeding for five or ten minutes waiting for an ambulance.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Gov't considers support for low-income earners in new economic package See in context

However, the hourly rate of workers here is terrible, and screwing them out of health and pension by putting them at 29 hours a week is horrible.

We’ve had many workers at my company explicitly request to be under 29 hours. In many cases, it’s a housewife who’s on her husband’s insurance. She wants to work, but she doesn’t want to get bumped to her own insurance because that would be more expensive for the family overall. Legions of married women in Japan stick with part-time jobs for this reason.

The others who topically want to stay part-time are often young and single. It’s often far cheaper overall to pay into the national insurance system than it is to have the 14.1% deducted every month (plus the employer pays an equal amount).

It’s not always the employer who is screwing over people. Sometimes the government writes laws in ways that incentivize people to work less, thereby taking home slightly more.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Gov't considers support for low-income earners in new economic package See in context

Inflation is on the rise because of profligate government spending and loose monetary policy.

Government: Let’s spend even more to combat the inflation that we created!

LOL…you can’t make this stuff up.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Posted in: Behind all speechmaking at U.N. lies a basic, unspoken question: Is the world governable? See in context

As Martinson said in the article, minimally.

The more that the UN tries to pass binding resolutions and treaties, the more its toothlessness is exposed. Governing is only practical and feasible locally. Globally, interests are far too diverse.

America since the early 1990s has come closer than any empire in history at enforcing a global order. It’s done so with a powerful currency that the rest of the world desperately needs and a massive military to keep in line anyone who challenges the dollar or the political order.

But even America can’t govern other nations. Even with tens of thousands of troops policing Iraq and Afghanistan, those nations made themselves ungovernable. Loose influence—lots of carrots and light use of the stick—that’s all America has globally. The UN cannot achieve even that.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Behind all speechmaking at U.N. lies a basic, unspoken question: Is the world governable? See in context

An even better solution to discouraging Russia’s warmongering behavior is to take the $300 million in hard currency reserves frozen in US accounts and unilaterally transfer it to the central bank of Ukraine a down payment on rebuilding the damage done by Russia in its unprovoked aggression.

And that action would solidify global opinion that the U.S. is an untrustworthy steward to handle a global reserve currency. Want to destabilize the dollar, drive more nations toward BRICS, and lead even more to arrange bilateral exchanges independent of the dollar? Seizing billions is the way to do it. If there is even a small chance of falling afoul U.S. foreign policy, no nation is going to put reserves in the dollar in the future on the risk of losing it all.

The Swiss understood this and maintained neutrality in the 20th century. It turned Switzerland from landlocked pastures into a global financial powerhouse. Even the Nazi threat wasn’t enough to make the Swiss abandon economic neutrality. America bartered and won financial supremacy at Breton Woods. Is America dumb enough to throw that all away over Ukraine?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: I wonder who is making these calls and for what purpose. See in context

Small-scale, easy way to fight back:

Start talking with the person about negative, seditious comments toward the Chinese government. “The Chinese government released more nuclear-contaminated water last month than all other countries combined. Since it’s an environmental emergency, let’s overthrow the Chinese government with mass protests. Let’s coordinate an international environmental revolution!”

If they are calling from China, they know the government is listening. A few keywords picked up by the algorithm, and the person’s social credit score is trashed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Information and stimuli bombard us at a rate never seen before, and it can be overwhelming. How do you maintain a sense of calm and inner peace? See in context

I don’t look at JT for a week or more.

Anonymous wins it. Just turn the signal off.

Most of what we bombard ourselves with is newstainment. We don’t change anything in our lives with the information in any meaningful ways. We’re just giving ourselves artificial hits of fear, excitement, and euphoria. Turn off the addiction.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Summer soup See in context


Imoni is an autumn tradition in Yamagata. Get it right!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Summer 2023 was hottest on record; yes, it's climate change, but don't call it 'the new normal' See in context

Ctrl-F for “Tonga” comes up with nothing in the article. A climate scientist talking about this year’s climate and not mentioning the biggest climate event since atmospheric measurements have been taken?

The Tonga eruption spewed so much water into the stratosphere that it’s increased atmospheric water vapor by 5 percent. That’s huge. No other eruption in recorded history even comes close to this. The caldera depth below the ocean surface was just perfect for vaporizing water. We’ll be feeling the heating effects of Tonga for many years.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: Takahama No. 2 nuclear reactor restarted after 12-year halt See in context

3/11 will happen again. I'll be here to tell you I told you so.

You’ll be here? The 3/11 quake was a once-in-800-years event if we go by geological records. Unless you have some elixir of life, I highly doubt you’ll be anywhere.

Were there mistakes at Fukushima that we can learn from? Yes. But even with the Fukushima accident, nuclear power remains the least environmentally damaging power source that we have.

Japan’s decision to shutter nuclear plants for a time led to more coal, which costs vastly more lives in pollution, lung disease, and cancer. The so-called “renewables” aren’t—they rely on rare earth metals and various toxic chemicals that aren’t recycled and leave horrible scars on the landscape.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Surge in Japanese online dialogue propagating 'good Nazi' myth See in context

Russia liberated the Nazi in Poland during ww2 let us not white wash history.

The Soviet Union helped start WWII in Europe by partnering with Hitler to invade Poland. Germany took about a third of the land; Stalin took the rest.

Tell a Pole that the Soviets “liberated” them, and you’re liable to get punched in the nose!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: More female lawmakers key to elevating women to leadership in Japan See in context

More women in leadership means more women receive opportunities for leadership?

Not so fast. What does the data say? In companies, it is often the opposite. Women are typically less likely to promote other women beneath them.

Cramming a bunch of women, especially old women, into top slots for optics isn’t going to foster lower-level leadership opportunities. Raising the next generation of leaders requires a separate effort.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Surge in Japanese online dialogue propagating 'good Nazi' myth See in context

The American approach of moving the Nazis to America, not calling them Nazis any more, and relying on them to build America’s missile and space programs, among other technologies, on the other hand…totally acceptable!

Learning from the Nazis, even outright hiring them to do the work, is perfectly fine. The trick is simply not to call them Nazis any more.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Posted in: Are the Japanese really ‘safety drivers’? See in context

Are comparisons to the U.S. all that meaningful? Look closer at the contexts.

Japan doesn’t grant licenses until 18. Even then, many don’t get licenses until later in their 20s or even beyond. Driving school is expensive. Cars are expensive to keep. People in cities can mostly get around without them.

America, in contrast, grants licenses at 16. In some places, kids can drive even as young as 14. Most kids get learner permits at 15 and licenses at 16. Young drivers have a lot of accidents. Japan avoids young, risky driving behavior by setting a higher age.

For drunk driving, too, Japan has been crazy strict since long before 2007. Rules in 2007 didn’t tighten that much. Before then, if you got caught with even a tiny drop of alcohol in your system, you were in huge trouble (license suspended for a long time, huge fines, possible job loss).

America is more obsessed with safety than Japan in some areas (e.g., kids in car seats), but these areas tend to save only a few dozen lives a year. Meanwhile, youth driving and drunk driving combined account for more than the difference in accidents and fatalities between the two countries.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Are the Japanese really ‘safety drivers’? See in context

One never quite understands why many Japanese drivers drive the way that they do until one has gone through Japanese driving school or taken the Japanese driving test.

Many drivers are overly cautious to the point of causing accidents (e.g., braking mid-turn in an intersection for no apparent reason, stopping at a green light because the crosswalk light for pedestrians turned red, and so on). The exam encourages many bad habits.

What is weird is that a lot of these “cautious” drivers are also brake first, signal later types, which makes no sense. They are craning their necks mid-turn in intersections to squeeze in a sixth or eighth safety check to their sides and rears because “safety number one,” but they can’t remember to flip on their turn signals before starting the same turn.

The better Japanese drivers ignore a lot of what they were taught, hold onto the bits that were valuable, and use common sense.

A lot are simply inattentive. They are looking at their phones or watching the TV on their car navi screens.

The letter-of-the-law types can be insanely dangerous sometimes. Almost daily, I see someone stopped, car half on the road in busy traffic, just so that the driver can talk on a cell phone without technically breaking the law. Stopping on the road in heavy traffic, forcing other cars into the opposite lane to pass is safer?

And then there are some other categories of Japanese drivers. There are the hyper aggressive, who will speed up an extra 30kph just to avoid getting passed. There are those who realize the nonsense of the driving instruction, and so they throw out everything and drive like maniacs. There are bikers who cut between cars. These nuts are less than 10 percent of drivers in Japan, but they stick out.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan has five women in new cabinet but still misses G7 average See in context

Should it really matter?

The better question is “Are any of these new cabinet members competent?”

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: The system is intended to ‘visualize’ what children are doing, not to monitor them, and help teachers improve their teaching skills. See in context

For many classes the inattentive ones are going to be close to 100%. This system is much like psychiatry in that it can identify the problem but is totally incapable of doing anything about it.

Good teaching methods can absolutely reduce inattentiveness. The idea that teachers and schools can’t do anything about it is nonsense.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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