Nicky Washida comments

Posted in: Gov't gives preliminary OK to restart 2 reactors at Oi plant See in context

The nuclear accident at Fukushima has not just affected local residents of Fukushima but the whole world. In Japan many more prefectures than Fukushima have been affected. There are other options than nunclear power in a crowded earthquake and typhoon prone country.

Kurisupisu - I have sometimes thought your comments about the nuclear situation were a little OTT, but I have to tell you - the comment you made about travelling on a train and seeing swathes of rooves without solar panels, and your theory that this is discouraged because of the cosy relationship between the power companies and government is quite the most insightful comment I have ever seen on here. VERY good point. Thumbs up from me.

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Posted in: British PM Cameron in Japan to discuss defense weaponry trade See in context

Funny. My husband and I were just discussing defense weaponry trade in our little Anglo-Japanese empire here yesterday...

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Posted in: Concerns grow over children using tablet computers See in context

Hey quit picking on my Angry Birds before I start launching them at your glass houses, lol.

Hee hee! Actually, I love angry birds, but our house is ruled very much by the old "Do as I say, not as I do"!

@Godan: you could be right! I always thought he was the creative one, and I was the geek. May have to rethink the boundaries over here a little!

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Posted in: Concerns grow over children using tablet computers See in context

@tmarie: gotta love duct tape! ;)

I agree with you that I see (and sometimes rescue!) toddlers walking down (or in!) the street while Mum or Dad 20 meters ahead have their noses buried in their cellphones.

I didnt know it wasnt common for Japanese to read to their kids! Is that true? I have never even asked because I just assumed it was normal like in our household. (Just as an aside for anyone raising kids outside the technological world - Oxford Reading Tree is fantastic!) At kindergarten and some hoikuen, they give you a book on a monthly basis and sometimes in kindergarten also have reading days, where you have to sit down with the children and read the books with them.

I limit the kids ipad and wii use to 30 minutes per day, plus "credits" which they have to "earn" (tidying up toys, doing homework etc). But I personally think they are pretty good (if they are used for educational purposes, not angry birds!) but I have to hold up my hand and admit to using it as a babysitter once or twice when i am desperate - like today! (up 6 times in the night again!) I can teach my 2 year old his ABCs, but he seems to get a kick out of doing it himself.

I remember being 10 and getting my first cassette recorder! It tooks me hours to figure out how to use it. My 2 year old pops his own DVD in the player and hitd the right buttons to get it into English and start it off, while my 5 year old sets up the wii! WTF is that all about???!

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Posted in: 4-year-old boy dies in tractor accident See in context

Tragic. And the poor great grandfather must be feeling terrible. Not a consolation at all, but I hope he was probably having the time of his life when it happened. imagine being a 4 year old boy riding a tractor - most little boys can only dream of that. Very very sad.

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Posted in: Gov't gives preliminary OK to restart 2 reactors at Oi plant See in context

More or less??! Does that mean if we all "more or less" meet the standard we can all have permanent residency? Or the right to vote? Or....(fill in the blank). Since when have this government ever agreed to do anything based on "more or less"?

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Posted in: Policeman in schoolgirl uniform arrested for flashing See in context

I hope this girl will be able to laugh about this incident eventually as she was only visually assaulted.

"Visually assaulted" - great expression! It would be nice if she could laugh about it, but I suspect she was probably absolutely terrified. She was in an enclosed space with this lunatic, and yes, all he did was flash, but there must have been a moment where she was terrified what was coming next, poor girl. I suspect it will be a while before she can laugh about it. I was flashed about a month ago - it was a horrible experience and I am still not laughing about it yet.

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Posted in: Ishinomaki teacher looks back on 3/11 See in context

Good luck to you and your lovely family Peter.

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Posted in: Golfer Ryo Ishikawa to marry high school sweetheart See in context

It may last, it may not, but who cares quite honestly. Right now, two people are happy, in love, and looking forward to possibly spending the rest of their lives together. how many of us can say that? Agree with no-more-war - life is change.

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Posted in: Gov't rebukes Hatoyama over Iran visit, criticizing IAEA See in context

Hardly a private visit when he publically met with the President! I mean, who holidays in Iran anyway??!

But yes, I agree, at least he had the stones to go and see, rather than voicing opinions from the comfort of Nagatacho.

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Posted in: Concerns grow over children using tablet computers See in context

What ever happened to reading a book or playing with your kids??

I am assuming you are making this as a general statement and it is not directed at me??!

I never said ipads should take over from good old fashioned parenting. Just that they have a very good place in modern society. I dont like seeing groups of boys sitting in the park individually with handheld games consoles - thats crazy. But kids using ipads to do alphabet games and suchlike while Mum has a cup of coffee - well, yes, sorry, no problem with that. Mums arent superhuman. Did it myself today with my 2 year old after being up 6 times in the night with him. 30 minutes on the ipad doing puzzles while I took a much needed slurp of caffeine was much needed. So sue me.

After that we went out and spent 12,000 yen on books for the older two - real books. Will be sitting down with them in about an hour from now to give them 20 minutes each of individual cuddle-up-and-read time. Balance and moderation in all things I say. (Except chocolate and beer!)

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Posted in: Concerns grow over children using tablet computers See in context

Didnt they say the same thing about TV 30 years ago?

My 2 year old loves the animal jigsaw puzzles and the farmyard games. My 5 year old is teaching himself to read and is thrilled with himself for being able to do it. My 8 year old was struggling with her maths and was really upset about it until she found a kids maths app that has now helped her to figure it all out and she went off to start her new school year just this morning with renewed confidence.

I dont see the value if kids spend too much time just shooting sh$t, but these things have huge educational value, and they are here to stay - just like the telly when I was their age. So I say the experts suck it up and make some sensible recommendations instead of trying to tell us how bad everything is all the time.

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Posted in: North Korea rocket installed on launch pad See in context

Going by the map above I dont really understand why the Japanese are freaking out. I would be more concerned if I was in the Phillipines.

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Posted in: Local governments work out plans to prevent isolated deaths See in context

I completely agree with tmarie, and am getting more and more irritated over the years as Japanese repeatedly tell me how much they care about family and neighbours, unlike the "selfish" and "individualistic" west. My experience in the west (28 years in UK, America, South Africa and Australia): I knew all my neighbours and we all got on well and watched out for each other. Mum is here from the UK for a few months right now and while she is away she is in regular contact with her neighbours by email, who are bringing in her post, keeping things dusted for her and running her car around once a week or so, keeping an eye on the gardens, etc.

One particular case in my old neighbourhood in the UK an elderly woman living alone had a dog who died. She was devastated but knew she couldnt look after another dog anyway. The neighbours got together (about 6 households in the street) and got her a new dog but take responsibility for it - sharing walks, costs of medical and food bills etc, but the dog stays with the old lady for company. The kids are thrilled because they get a dog to play with anytime they want. The old lady is thrilled because the house is always full of children and neighbours helping out or just hanging out.

Here in Japan: 10 years experience in Kawasaki and Tokyo. Barely know my neighbours, and the current ones: I greet every time I see them but they dont even answer - just look down at the floor. My husband NEVER speaks to his family and they never call him. I call them once a week and catch up on things and tell HIM what is going on with his family! I am told by Japanese that family only contact each other if there is a problem, and if they never hear from them, they assume everything is ok. What a sad way to live. There are other neighbours who I will exchange greetings and smiles with, but we know nothing about each others lives and if anyone needs help or not. I think this is a very lonely place.

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Posted in: U.S. Coast Guard cannons sink tsunami ship after 4 hours See in context

Wonder why they did not put a boarding party on it? Perhaps they could of gotten it underway. Not knowing the condition makes it hard. Once they got someone on board it should of been easy to tow. I think the US government sunk it out of meanness.

I thik the US sunk it afetr waiting weeks for the Japanese government and/or owner to do something about it - which they didnt.

Japan was more than welcome to come get their ship back if they wanted it. Im sure the US and Canada would have been delighted if they had.

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Posted in: Gov't sets new safety standards for nuclear plants See in context

Two big things jump out at me from this article:

The guidelines did not set deadlines for the steps to be finished.

Theres your get out of trouble free card the next time a crisis happens

Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said the government can order utilities to restart reactors regardless of local opposition, because obtaining residents’ consent is not legally required.

i was wondering up to this point why the government suddenly give a crap what the public think anyway - now I understand. It is all for show, and they are going to restart anyway, on the basis that no one should worry because they will be implementing the 30 NISA recommendations. Eventually....

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Posted in: 73-year-old man arrested for attempting to steal police car in Kanagawa See in context

Nicky, I am surprised you think this is funny. He could have killed someone.

Yes you are right of course, but the fact is, he didnt and you know what - sometimes, screw it - you just have to laugh!

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Posted in: U.S. Coast Guard cannons sink tsunami ship after 4 hours See in context

I have to admit, I do have an image of the crew on the coastguard ship jumping up and down and asking "Can we shoot it Captain??! Can we??!! Can we??! Pleeeease!!!!"

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Posted in: 73-year-old man arrested for attempting to steal police car in Kanagawa See in context

Ishikawa - sorry

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Posted in: 73-year-old man arrested for attempting to steal police car in Kanagawa See in context

Can someone provide details for how we can get in contact wih Mr Ishihara? I want to buy him a drink!

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Posted in: Smelt in Gunma lake four times over new legal radiation limit See in context

Very good point Tossov (great name BTW!) - you can bet that the suits in charge of this mess can afford only the very finest in imported foods, delivered directly to their holiday homes far far away from the mess they have caused.

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Posted in: Smelt in Gunma lake four times over new legal radiation limit See in context

Does that mean the contamination is so widely spread and is hushed?

I dont know about hushed, but I think the problem with the contamination is that it is not in a neat concentric circle. So you cant take this lake in Gunma, move the same distance around the diameter with dai-ichi as the pivot point, and get the same contamination levels somewhere else. There seems to be a generally north west-going plume and then "spots" over a huge wide area - of which this lake is probably one. In addition, certain products absorp radiation more than others. Then you also have naturally irradiated foods like mushrooms and bananas - but it is the isotope itself and its RBE that is the question, not the becquerel level itself (within reasonable levels obviously).

This is why I feel sorry for some of these prefectures like Gunma, Tochigi and Iberaki - they will have produce in our local supermarket that is probably fine, but because it is simply labelled with "Gunma" (for example) - I feel compelled to avoid it if I can (thinking of my children). OR I can of course trust that the local government are doing their job and preventing the contaminated produce from reaching the shelves - but sorry if that option doesnt fill me with confidence.

If the authorities had come clean right from the very beginning, they could have avoided this massive trust issue now which I am certain in the long term is going to cost them far more.

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Posted in: Massive storm leaves four dead in Japan See in context

This one is directed toward those who don't own a dog. If you don't have the space to let your dog roam and do its business, you gotta walk it. Are you going to just let it urinate and defecate in your home? I think not.

A bit of pee or poo on the balcony (or plastic sheet indoors), or letting them go just outside the front door (depending on your circumstances) versus life-risking behaviour by walking out in a major storm? Yeah, I think I would stay home and just deal with it.

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Posted in: Smelt in Gunma lake four times over new legal radiation limit See in context

I wish they would be a little more specific on their supermarket products as to the origin. For example, carrots that just say "chiba". If they could say "Chiba + the area" - and we could know from a regularly updated list of previously tested-and-found-to-have-problems areas - it would mean the consumers would know what is and is not likely to be safe, and the prefectural governments (such as Fukushima and now it may appear Gunma) would not have to write off their entire prefectural produce because of fear.

Its not a perfect solution - some products absorp radiation more than others - but it would still be a step up on what is going on right now.

New school year starts tomorrow. School dinners begin again from next week. My daughter will be going in with bentos until they can confirm the safety of the food. And any bullying or other nonsense - ill keep her home and teach her here. I am done with this.

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Posted in: AIJ president, 3 execs summoned to appear in Diet as sworn witnesses See in context

As a sworn witness, he can face criminal charges for lying.

Good. Perhaps he can also now face some criminal charges for the whoppers he has been telling for the last 10 years.

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Posted in: Massive storm leaves four dead in Japan See in context

Well, I think the dog-walker takes the prize. A man going up on a roof could conceivably have been checking on something, but walking a dog in a typhoon-level storm? ????!!!!

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Posted in: Massive storm leaves four dead in Japan See in context

Yeah, the news reports were some of the best I have ever seen here. Did anyone see the guy clinging to the lamp post in the background? Or the one where the guy was lifted off his feet? The umbrellas were the best though. I wonder if any of that is going to wind up on YouTube?

Sad about the 96 year old, but you got to wonder really. No one in their right mind would have gone up on a roof in that, so maybe he wasn't really aware of what he was doing, or maybe he did just decide to end it all.

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Posted in: Massive storm leaves four dead in Japan See in context

A 96 year old man on the roof of a 3 storey house in that weather??! I know, we read about it all the time, but it still never ceases to amaze me.

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Posted in: Man arrested for assaulting girlfriend's 4-year-old son See in context

Mothers who know this abuse is going on and do nothing about it should be stripped of their title. To be someones "Mother" is a privilege, not a right.

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Posted in: How do you feel about being a ‘gaijin’ in Japan? See in context

I always feel complimented when I read articles like these and note Madame Riris obsessive interest in everything we do. I had no idea we were all so interesting to them!

I have had good and bad experiences but the good experiences outweigh the bad by about 10 to 1. The problem is, when the experience is bad, it tends to be very bad, and it is easy to focus on that and ignore all the other things that are actually so great about being foreign here.

After many iterations I am in a good place now, where I can enjoy all the advantages of being a non-Japanese, but at the same time can "manage" the downside. You have daily ups and downs and frustrations, (when a Japanese asks me if I like Japan I always answer "what day is it? Tuesday? Oh, yeah, I like it today!" and they generally get the joke) but when Japan really starts to piss me off all I need to do is go home for a few weeks, and then after that I am generally really looking forward to coming back!

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