Nichikolohe comments

Posted in: Stocks close 0.97% lower See in context

"A stronger yen dents the profitability of Japanese exporters...."

It irritates me when I read dangling prepositions like this! Why not finish the sentence?

"...while it improves the other 83% of the domestic and import economy by making energy, food, raw materials, etc. costs stable/down!"

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Posted in: Obama ate only half the sushi course: media See in context

It brings to mind one other past president (and father to another past president) who chose to barf up the portion he couldn't keep down.

I imagine not forcing the issue was a smarter option... most definitely!

As for Abe-san eating away... He was raised right! Never waste a $ 300 dinner - even on a Japanese politician's paycheck!

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Posted in: Sales tax goes up for first time in 17 years See in context

After working very closely to promote the outbound tourism industry from Japan (i.e. exporting bodies with wallets) for thirty years, I got transferred to Indonesia (Bali and Jakarta) just as the Asian Contagion started (from Thailand, they say triggered by none other than Mr. G. Soros), and spread throughout the region affecting the globe ultimately.

It devastated Indonesia's economy, where the rupiah fell from a pegged 2800 per USD to almost 14,000 per USD eventually settling around 10,000 (like the Korean won)... What's the point, you ask?

Well, it seems stuff like this tax increase (or the one in 1997) is being conveniently used as a smokescreen to conceal the reality that the central government is fiscally inept and has to boost tax revenue to support their own self-serving and avaricious goals. They would have us believe for the past 17 years that the blame lies with consumers who have "snapped their wallets shut" - it's the consumers who are being poor economists who don't understand you have to spend to create/sustain wealth.

Wouldn't consumers be happy to spend if their bosses would only give them raises now and then? Wouldn't companies be willing to do so if Japan didn't have such onerous taxes already? No, blame the consumer and conceal their own self-serving policies.

Of course, they could owe up to their own fiscal mismanagement and avariciousness. "Oh, those weren't political contributions, they were personal loans! " "I'd already forgotten about it..." Or, "I bought a fortuitous rake."

No, I think urban Japan is fine not being among the most expensive cities in the world. Let Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris and New York all have that higher cost of living. It's a sobriquet that testifies to all of those places diminishing quality of life, and alarming chasms between the have's and have-not's. We don't need that here... not in Japan,... not where we can still see (more or less) each individuals contribution to the community and society-at-large... where poverty has not rooted in endemically...

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Posted in: Ex-sumo wrestler arrested for fake marriage to S Korean bar hostess See in context

Come on folks! It's very simple... the guy did it for the money. He was having cashflow problems and sold his "singleness" for a million yen. It's a scam that's been going on since the Korean War.

The woman gets here legal status. The guy loses a pair of old shoes and some used clothes for the masquerade in the closet but gets the money to pay his obligations - gambling, drinking, whatever! It happens everywhere...

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Posted in: Half of professionals in Japan doubtful of progression prospects: survey See in context

Just having bilingual (or even multi-lingual) skills has never been a "free-ride" to success.

I remember doing a sales call on a senior executive at Toyota Corporations Tokyo office in Iidabashi. His personal driver was fluent in English - but talked to much. He had to show off. When I complimented the executive at having such competency at a driver's level, his response was "Yes, thank you... such a pity!"

I never forgot that comment. I'm absolutely bilingual in Japanese and English. I also speak a little French and Bahasa Indonesia. But, to be president and CEO of the company I work for now, language is only "benri" (convenient). I never forgot the advice I learned nearly twenty-five years ago. True "professionalism" is not about language skills.

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Posted in: Summer bonuses up by 4.99% among major companies See in context

Ooo-h-h-h,... I like the way Japan Today included: The last time bonuses increased by this much was just before the bubble economy burst in 1991.

Sounds ominous...

The difference this time is that there's nothing else to "burst" anymore... except maybe the dams holding back the radioactively "enriched" runoff in Fukushima...

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Posted in: Gov't pledges to slash public spending by Y8 tril over 2 years See in context

Too bad I don't know how to post a "like" icon... Hats off to both Bertie and Alejandro's comments above! Reminds me of the five blind wise men in search of the elephant tale... All right and all wrong...

Still, wouldn't it be a hoot if in retrospect Kuroda gets all the credit for "authoring" the plan of "three arrows" (despite Abe's ownership)? Think about it, Kuroda steps in and announces, "Okay, now that arrows one and two are firmly implanted (including the tax increase), we'll launch arrow three - government austerity (so consumers will feel the government is "sharing the burden."

All of a sudden, Japanese traditional values will chime in with "Gaman," "Shinbo," "Kodomo No Tame Ni," and other Yamatodamashi rallies. I can see it now...

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Posted in: Suji's managing partner thrives on uncertainty of restaurant business See in context

Hey Chah-san, I like your style! I didn't "see" this side of your personality when I first visited Suji's... (Or, for that matter on my second visit either!); but you come across loud and clear here! Bravo and Imua! I like!

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Posted in: Japan's temples, universities, hospitals haunted by economic crisis See in context

Wow! This article really raises images of "The Conspiracy Theory" (Mel Gibson) doesn't it?

The yen's fall since Abe took office has eased the pain for investors but many still have unrealised losses since the dollar has not recovered to its levels of 2006 and 2007 when it traded above 110 yen.

So in light of so many universities, hospitals, and temples (shrines, too I imagine) in Japan stuck with paper losses; do they have Abe's "ear" such that engineering a weaker yen mitigates those "losses" and eases the exit strategies for both banks and non-profits?

It sticks the rest of us with real losses too...

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Posted in: Abe has chance to show true colors after big election win See in context

Oh, oh, oh!!! I got a new one!

Formula for Disaster: Abenomics = Abegeddon X Abecolypse = Total Abehilation

Bye-bye Japan...

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Posted in: S Korea's travel industry smarting from sharp drop-off of Japanese visitors See in context

As I read this article and all the comments thereunder, I was reminded of Robert Frost's thoughts;

Some say the world will end in "Fire;" Others say with "Ice;"

From what I've tasted of Desire, I would side with those who favor Fire...

Yet from what I've seen of Hate; I think that for destruction, Ice is also great and will suffice... *

Oh, and as a third-generation, half-Korean/half-Japanese, local yokel grown up in Waianae; Nasakenai!

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Posted in: Japan top U.S. at World Cup of Softball See in context

I wish there were more articles and features on obscure, arcane athletes/competition like this... Does the Japan team ever play games here in Japan? If so, when? Where?

I'd love to cheer the team as they put their annual season together!

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Posted in: NHK’s 'Giant Squid' airs on BBC See in context

This is fantabulous! I just saw "Pirates of the Caribbean" on television here in Japan two nights ago and wondered about the Krakken... Then this! It exists! Long live the Krakken! IMUA!!!

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Posted in: Health ministry warns of rubella vaccine shortage due to outbreak See in context

Since no one seems to have had first-hand experience, let me contribute my two cents...

My daughter (19) is at home recovering from "fuushin." She's American and moved to Japan during her elementary years AFTER getting all the standard immunization shots the typical adolescents receive in America INCLUDING MMR/Rubella. I checked after I heard the diagnosis from the physicians here since I kept all her medical records since birth. Sure enough, she'd been vaccinated.

So the point is, it may not matter! You can still contract this version of measles even with the typical U.S. precautions.

Wash your hands and gargle regularly. Take frequent showers during this hot season, do your laundry and practice common sense hygienic procedures. And even despite your best efforts, if you're susceptible and contract it; stay home, out of direct sunlight, and keep yourself from spreading the virus,... 'kay?

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Posted in: Last two Japan nuclear reactors can stay online See in context

Yippee! Maybe now we can get some relief on our electricity bills and even use our air conditioners on those really impossible days when more people die of heat stroke than radiation... (smirk, smirk)

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Posted in: Survey asks: How often do you wash your bath towel? See in context

How big is the towel? Is it the Onsen-sized wash towel? If so, then I can understand the "majority" quoted here...

Wonder if they'd all do the same for a Four Seasons' sized bath towel?

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Posted in: 'Abenomics' hitting consumers from all sides See in context

"Abe-geddon" coming by next April... Kiss your pretty little ( )*( ) "Goodbye...."

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Posted in: Gov't cautious over yen's spike but says no need to panic See in context

Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh! I got a new one from a good friend at the bank... "Abe-geddon!"

The Four Horsemen - Abe, Aso, Kuroda, and Amari... Apocalypse imminent!

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Posted in: Abe says he won't flinch at volatile stock market See in context

The problem I have when articles like this say,"Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said the Abe administration was determined to boost corporate investment by 10% over the next three years."

Or, "Keidanren chairman Hiromasa Yonekura said the business sector has great expectations." (note all bold words are synonyms for "export businesses." that they are still chiefly referring to the segment of businesses (not import, not domestic industries, or businesses focused on domestic consumption) that contribute little to direct population welfare or security. In other words, the focus is on the 17% of commerce that is manipulable and dependent of government largesse, support, or trade backing... Great for self-interests, campaign/party fund-raising, fringe benefits, and amakudari later on...

I just can't "buy into it."

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Posted in: 14 electricity, gas companies to hike rates in July See in context

Hey, what the heck! Why not just turn back on a couple of them nuclear reactors... That ought to bring prices back down again... right? Uh,... or it that just plain DPJ gamesmanship? LIke I said, Abe's Bubble Eco-nomics (ABE-nomics)...

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Posted in: Sony books first annual net profit in five years See in context

This is a testament that all things (technology, cutting edge design, brand appeal, consumer whims, etc.) considered "equal," the customer still shops price. The weaker yen makes the Japanese product as competitive as Samsung and Apple. That's when other considerations like those listed here come back into play. It's not just consumer electronics but automobiles, white goods, and clothing, too.

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Posted in: ADB flags danger of Asia 'asset bubbles' See in context

Abe's Bubble Economy... ABE

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Posted in: Stocks close 0.60% higher See in context

"Tokyo shares rose 0.60% on Thursday as investors bet on Japan’s economic recovery while looking ahead to a central bank policy meeting to see if it will announce any more stimulus measures."

This statement is a bit misleading as "investors" are actually betting on their investments (most likely in exporter companies equities) to recover/gain. It has nothing to do directly with "Japan's economic recovery." Let's remember that only 17% of Japan's economy is export-driven... the other 87% suffer variously when the yen is artificially weakened (including all the Mrs. Watanabe's, too)...

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Posted in: Toshiba eyes nuclear power alliance See in context

Toshiba (and other technology/equipment providers) would do well to launch a communications program to educate the public (you and I) on the world-class advancements and improved security/safety features of the components they provide for nuclear power companies. It's one of Japan's most lucrative exports (along with high-speed rail) and sought-after "expertise" up to and including the experiences at Fukushima.

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Posted in: Japan Inc's ritual hiring past sell-by date See in context

Companies like Rakuten were not around "in the post-war era" as the article infers. The fact that even new Japanese juggernaut companies like Rakuten, Uniqlo, H.I.S. and others all still adopt and practice the "Spring Offensive" for hiring reinforces there are merits (and demerits) to the process.

As both a university instructor AND a senior corporate director I know it is wrong to single out and blame "the system" or the few for the failings of us all for allowing mediocrity and inertia to entrench itself in Japan's society. We've had the good life from the seventies through the early 90's and just can't face up to the "New Normal" as McKinsey coined as far back as in 2009. We all have to wake up and smell the roses... Sitting back and enjoying easy street ain't going to solve anything!

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Posted in: Woman kills three children and herself in charcoal-burning murder-suicide See in context

I always enjoy reading the comments to thought-provoking articles here. This one is a recurring yet increasingly problematic societal issue. Japan has always had a long tradition of infanticide, matricide, patricide, and yes suicide.

If you are infirm, unstable, unemployable, no-longer productive or able to contribute to this inter-connected and collaborative society then by all means, exit! Excuse yourself. Make some onigiri or omusibi and go for a long, one-way stroll into the forests of no return - places like the Japan Alps or aogihara.

Period movies and moral tales all celebrate the stoicism and determination of men and women who realize the future is hopeless, their lives are ruined, they are burdens on society, hopeless, useless, rejected, and ignored. Sadly, the rest of society here "understand" and even in their sympathy often see the act as noble and appropriate. "Sick?" Oh yeah! But only in the eyes of the beholder... it happens everywhere but only so visibly here in Japan... Isn't that how Tunisia started the Arab Spring?

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Posted in: Okinawa marks 40 years since return to Japan See in context

I was born at the start of the Korean War and raised in Hawaii attending elementary, intermediate, high, and university there. I lived in Aiea below Camp Smith and worked at a 24-hour service station on Kam Highway very close to Pearl Harbor. To go to school I passed Hickam Airforce base and gazed at Tripler Memorial hospital reflecting "pinkly" above Fort Shafter.

I hated the military presence growing up but came to love and appreciate all the benefits their presence brought to Hawaii's economy throughout the second half of the last century. Take a look at the infrastructure and economies of the neighbor islands even now and you can see how big a difference having national coffers available for infrastructural and logistics improvements are.

Today, you can hardly tell the military presence. Tourism has become the top earning industry there. But, there remains huge areas on Oahu where the military (and national expeditures) continue to sustain local economies - the North Shore, Wahiawa/Haleiwa/Leilehua/Kaneohe/Waianae among them.

My vote is to find that "separate peace" and to shoot for the mutually agreeable "soft landing." The U.S. needs a friendly and supportive base of operations, Okinawa needs the economies of detente. This is not a black and white issue. Hawaii continues to rely on Federal financial support despite world-class tourism success.

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Posted in: Woman bites off bag snatcher's finger in Sapporo See in context

Gives new meaning to yubitsume doesn't it?

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Posted in: Marubeni warns of false offers of employment See in context

Marubeni is trying to do the right thing but, it raises the specter of their scandal in 2008 with Lehman Brothers where folks were able to access Marubeni company hanko and even use office space in their headquarter building to host meetings with Lehman representatives.

Marubeni sounds like they need to tighten up in-house security and compliance policies. They're being targeted but at the same time, are probably so lax on their employee confidentiality practices that this kind of stuff occurs.

I have friends who work for Marubeni and even think it's not a bad company. I just think they're much to lax and porous about stuff like this...

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Posted in: TEPCO submits restructuring plan to gov't See in context

I got a great idea! Let's just turn on a few of the idled nuclear energy generating plants... You wouldn't have to raise rates and we could all keep using our air conditioners! Ginza, Shibuya, Akihabara, Shinjuku, and all those other garish places could keep the lights on for the rest of us, too! Wouldn't that be great?

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