MissingJapan comments

Posted in: Stocking up See in context

@kwatt and others: the Japanese show a consideration of others even in circumstances like these that is amazing (to use your word) only to people who haven't lived there....

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Posted in: Rise in number of empty houses a growing problem for Tokyo See in context

We have a similar problem in my city. Neighbors will often clean up obvious fire hazards and cut the grass to keep up neighborhood appearances, but they do technically violate the law in doing so. (The city is understanding about that, however, if you pre-coordinate the effort.) Here, we can get such places declared nuisances and force a sale ... apparently that isn't a viable option in Tokyo?

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Posted in: Mystery solved in death of legendary Japanese dog Hachiko See in context

@LostinNagoya: well said!

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Posted in: Ichihashi's book goes on sale; says he hopes to give royalties to Hawker family See in context

@KaptainKichigai - So it's "disgusting" to point out that everyone enjoys the rights of due process? Attitudes like that render one unfit for jury duty here in the US, because you'd be unlikely to carefully apply the law (as the judge gives it to you) to the facts (which would be your responsibility to ascertain). If you're not a big fan of due process you might feel more comfortable living in Russia, or Iran. Their governments aren't big fans of due process either.

We online commenters can say he's guilty, but he won't BE guilty UNDER LAW until a court says so. Until then, he's officially considered a "suspect" and, once charged, the "accused."

As other readers have pointed out, "guilty of what" is an open question. He admitted killing her but didn't say whether it was accidental, done in a rage, or deliberate. Different circumstances usually mean different offenses such as manslaughter, negligent homicide, or premeditated murder (to use some US terms). Different offenses warrant different punishments. Those are distinctions for the court to make, and so we need a trial (at which he may plead guilty, or not). In any event, as appealing as simplistic reasoning and trite expressions are to some JT readers, they won't be of much help at trial.

I wonder how much comfort the book will be to the Hawker family. It may have done him good to write it and his claim to have felt remorse and his apology may well be as sincere as he claims. But there may not BE an effective way to ease the pain of that family. Only time will tell. My hope is that the book doesn't make their pain worse.

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Posted in: Does J-pop really suck? See in context

Not sure that a guy who has only learned a "fair bit of Japanese" is the best person to write a commentary on J-pop. IMO, today's stuff isn't as good as the stuff that predominated in the 90's. Then, the lyrics were often like poetry, and the typical sound was closer to US-UK pop.

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Posted in: Anti-China protests held in Tokyo See in context

@limboinjapan You're making sense to me.

The double-standard is alive and well, and can easily flourish anywhere that people are neither encouraged nor expected to think critically. Being told what to think comes as a big relief to many, because critical thinking is hard work for many otherwise intelligent people. I don't know how easy it is in China to get access to competing sources of information, but I've heard that it can be difficult when that information runs counter to version of the truth favored by the Govt.

A similar dynamic is alive and well here in the US, but here it's entirely self-imposed at the level of the individual. Faux News finds a very large audience of people who prefer to get all their "news" directly from the Faux Network, apparently unaware that receiving information does not necessarily make one informed. But to them it's such a big relief not to have to think for themselves. They will believe just about anything if they are told it's true often enough. Some will say that I'm being overly harsh, but on the contrary I know whereof I speak. My "thinking" used to be very much in accord with the stuff peddled today by Faux.

Regardless of how someone comes to be mis-informed, once in that condition it's easy to accept a double-standard, especially one that touches on national pride. The Chinese will protest anything that appears to be an affront to their national pride, regardless of context. Recall the Spring 2001 collision of a US reconnaisance aircraft flying just outside Chinese airspace, that was forced down onto Chinese soil after a Chinese fighter collided with it. The US aircraft was damaged, the Chinese aircraft lost. The demonstrations in China were huge and lasted for days. It didn't matter to the demonstrators that the Chinese aircraft flew far too close to the US aircraft for safety by any standard, and that the margin of safety left by the Chinese pilot was insufficient for his own skills. Even though a Chinese pilot caused the accident, and even though the US plane was operating legally, the Chinese people were enraged. Kind of similar to the Senkaku ship collision incident, no?

National pride can be a dangerous thing, when the population isn't encouraged to think for themselves.

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Posted in: Jero tries a new look for latest song See in context

Whatever the style of dress, he's a very good singer and his singing appeals to me.

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Posted in: Palin tells tea party rally: 'We're not going to sit down, shut up' See in context

No one's asking you to sit down and shut up, Sarah honey....but we would like to encourage you to start MAKING SENSE...

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Posted in: The Heart of Aikido See in context

By many of us, WilliB. :-)

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Posted in: Growing number of men have no close friends See in context

@ space monkey: your comments certainly are thought-provoking, and insightful, at least as to the Japanese you've met. My experience has been different. But I will say, that your description of the narcissistic aspects increasingly fits my fellow Americans here in the States. That's very troubling.

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Posted in: U.S. Embassy Community Action Program promotes volunteerism See in context

Sounds like a great program. The various US bases have been doing similar things for years on their own. With coordination and leadership from the Embassy, this could really have a big positive impact.

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Posted in: Growing number of men have no close friends See in context

@ dolphingirl: re making gay friends: "Plus no worries about your husband having any jealous feelings." In the States that also would be true, unless your husband is a conservative Republican, or a Christian minister. Then you might find that you've got a rival... :-)

Not to change the course of discussion, though...

I think tkoind2 is right. There does not seem to be an established norm of how to form deep friendships and maintain them, let alone have a balanced life. Without that norm, or ready examples, people tend to drift along.

@kronos: what you said is probably more correct for Tokyo than other places, but even in Tokyo I can't agree that people are actually cold or without deep feelings, on the inside, or that they "can't have close friends." Certainly it's not true of the many Japanese friends I've had. Japanese habits of social interaction, however, reflect the distance and ambivalence that cultural habits instill. There's no fundamental reason that Japanese can't -- from the Western perspective -- "loosen up" and make friends more easily. The feelings are there, inside. But societal expectations don't encourage reaching out, and norms and ready examples in that direction simply aren't there. This is one reason why volunteerism has been very slow to take hold in Japan, I think.

But I treasure my close Japanese friends. Few are "Westernized" though; I purposely made friends who spoke little or no English, to force myself to learn Japanese more quickly.

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Posted in: Jero to make U.S. West Coast singing debut See in context

I'd see him. He's good.

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Posted in: Cultures collide with Toyoda testimony See in context

christa879: It's probably as simple as this: Congress doesn't want to be blamed for having chronically underfunded ALL regulatory agencies for the last 10 years (SEC, FDA, NHTSA, FAA, you name it...). More robust regulation wouldn't have prevented the problem, but it would have forced a resolution earlier, before so many died. The deaths of these victims is as much on Congress' hands as on Toyota's. But, Congress was more concerned with giving huge tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans at every opportunity than with properly funding the government. After all, you see, "Government is the problem" -- "the free market will regulate itself," and all that.... THAT's why they've got to make so much noise about Toyota -- to keep the attention focused there, and not on themselves...

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Posted in: 4-year-old girl dies after fall from 9th-floor balcony in Osaka town See in context

Will all the authors of harsh comments about the parents please take a moment and realize that you are talking about real people? The parents must be feeling an unbearable pain right now that will probably never completely leave them. Would you say these things right to their faces? Hopefully they don't read this website, so they won't see your ugly comments...

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Posted in: Two-year-old boy found dead in puddle in Ibaraki See in context

Will all the authors of harsh comments please take a moment and realize that you are talking about real people? The mother no doubt is experiencing the worst pain of her life, which will probably not abate much. At least she's unlikely to read your ugly comments...

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