Japan Today

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Posted in: Nintendo chief unimpressed with iPad See in context

there is an interesting article on kotaku about the ipad that discusses some of its glaring weaknesses. (though, to be fair, most end users aren't tech savvy enough to care about them...)


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Posted in: Nintendo's Mario endures even as games come and go See in context

RE: societymike and pawatan's discussion:

no one can deny that MW2 has broken sales records during its release, but i highly doubt that anyone will be talking about Sgt. Roach (one of the characters controlled in MW2) in 30 years. mario is an icon, and will continue to be one.

and to call it a "niche" or "cult" following seems disingenuous. mario, in his many iterations, has sold over 200 million units. that is NOT niche.

to be fair, the call of duty series has sold over 50 million in only 6 years, but the saturation level of pc and console gaming has never been as high as in this decade, so it should be expected that good games now (and the call of duty series IS good) should outsell good games of the past.

i personally prefer multi-player FPS games, but overall, mario stands as a cultural icon in a way that the call of duty games will never manage to do.

and, yeah, counterstrike rocks. ;)

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Posted in: What is the most effective way to put an end to Somali piracy? See in context

the link doesn't work because JT script changes it. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/you-are-being-lied-to-abo_b_155147.html

the end of the link shouldn't have an italicized b, it should be 'you-are-being-lied-to-ab UNDERSCORE b UNDERSCORE 155147'. just search "huffington post + lied to about pirates" in google. you'll get it.

at any rate, even if you don't read it...


Somalia is a lawless cesspool and the only thing they understand is violence.

yeah, i should definitely open my eyes to your enlightened way of thinking. you really think that an entire nation of people loves that they have no government and live in a hellish world of violence and oppression? yeah. that just makes so much sense. not sure why i didn't see that before.

a few snippets from the article (fair use)

In 1991, the government of Somalia - in the Horn of Africa - collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since - and many of the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country's food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

everyone just loves nuclear waste... right?

This is the context in which the men we are calling "pirates" have emerged. Everyone agrees they were ordinary Somalian fishermen who at first took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least wage a 'tax' on them. No, this doesn't make hostage-taking justifiable, and yes, some are clearly just gangsters - especially those who have held up World Food Programme supplies. But the "pirates" have the overwhelming support of the local population for a reason.

so... could it be that an entire region of people just hates everyone else and wants to wage violent campaigns against them for no reason at all? or could there be a plausible reason why this is happening?

sure... a lot of opportunists have latched onto this feeling of support to be greedy thugs... but the reasons this situation exists aren't so clear cut as "they're bad, and we're good."

maybe thinking that there are many facets to any given situation disagrees with your plain and simple/non-liberal view of the world... but what would you do if you had no food, no government to help you, and the world started taking giant dumps on your backyard?

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Posted in: What is the most effective way to put an end to Somali piracy? See in context

Stop dumping nuclear waste in their waters and stealing all their fish.


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Posted in: Hideo Nomo appears in TV commercials for air conditioners See in context

i might be mistaken... but i was pretty sure that i saw him in a commercial in the 90s...

Moderator: The story has been amended.

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Posted in: USA Swimming suspends Phelps for 3 months; Kellogg drops him See in context

doesn't this kill the idea that smoking pot somehow limits your potential? this guy has more gold medals than some people have teeth!

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Posted in: Man arrested for shooting ex-girlfriend and her father in Tochigi See in context

Don’t believe that his girl is 100% innocent, to me; she drove him to this disturbance.

Are you suggesting that there is a valid reason for SHOOTING and trying to KILL two people?

You're the same person who, in another post today, said

I suggest that all foreign teachers are drug tested every week at least.

in regards to a marijuana arrest. So it's maybe ok for this Japanese dude to try and murder his ex girlfriend and her father, but every single foreign teacher is a potential criminal who should be tested and probably kicked out of Japan?


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Posted in: No other country is making such a big fuss with some 1%. This shows the strict awareness Japanese society has against drugs. See in context

the strict awareness Japanese society has against drugs.

how much Japan continues to resist marijuana.

you mean how strict and resistant the Japanese establishment is towards marijuana. the people are too ignorant to be either aware or resistant.

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Posted in: The dark side of the change in the labor market is becoming pretty clear. The safety net has always been weak because the idea was that companies would take care of their workers. That’s no longer hap See in context

oh, come on. you could see this coming for years and years. it was obvious that the honor system would only last as long as the riches.

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Posted in: What do you make of all the publicity over the recent arrests of Japanese university students for smoking pot? See in context

Isn't the obvious reason for marijuana being banned the fact that society at large is horrified by the thought of drug use? its hard to distinguish this particular drug from all the others when your gut is telling you that using is an immoral act

Triumvere, you’re right. It is hard to distinguish marijuana from harder drugs, and many people are terrified by the thought of drug use. Only 36% of people in America (which, like it or not, leads the way on world drug policy) favor legalization of marijuana.

But why? Mainly because of a widespread and well-funded (dis)information campaign that the U.S. government began in 1937, perpetrated by the suddenly jobless alcohol prohibition establishment. That group, combined with industrial interests - because hemp had the potential to radically alter our production landscape (meaning there were large textile fortunes at stake) - began an aggressive anti-marijuana campaign harnessing prevalent fears of Mexican immigrants to demonize the plant.

So there are the racist and corporate interests I spoke of. As for military strategy, in 1945 a country could not wage war without hemp. As much as MacArthur probably didn’t want his troops toking up, the prime motivation in criminalizing hemp in Japan (and by default marijuana) was a tactical one to prevent by default any future military campaigns by the country.

Why are these things not common knowledge as they should be? Because of the topic of this thread: there is a serious lack of responsible objective journalism and education regarding marijuana.

isthistheend, it is ironic that you mention Nixon, as he is precisely the president who halted marijuana reform in its tracks when it was finally gaining some legitimacy. The American Medical Association, at Nixon’s request, put their minds to the marijuana issue. Their findings? They could find no plausible reason for marijuana to be criminalized as a hard drug. Nixon’s response? He threw the report in the trash and appointed a drug czar. But… as he said… if I expect politicians to change, I must be smoking something. ;)

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Posted in: What do you make of all the publicity over the recent arrests of Japanese university students for smoking pot? See in context

I agree with many of your points, but I don’t necessarily think they’re relevant.

As the topic at hand is about media portrayal, my main point is that there needs to be reportage of positive aspects of marijuana. You are not wrong in saying there are detrimental aspects of marijuana, but the media focuses solely on detrimental aspects (many of them suspect in credibility) without portraying that other side. As you said, ‘the bigger the front, the bigger the back,’ so where is the other side in the media onslaught?

Referring more specifically to your statement, even your idea of ‘banned’ is more akin to what I would call regulated. You say that it should be fined for public use but ok for private consumption. Great. I think many pro-marijuana reform activists would be pleased with that scenario. The problem is that the current situation isn’t nearly that cheery. It’s NOT ok for private use or even medical use, and if you pursue it anyway, the police boots will be marching to your door. All because of a useful little ‘herb from mother earth.’

Again, you aren’t wrong when you say there are negative aspects of marijuana, but those have no relationship to its legal status. It is illegal because of racism, corporate interests, and military strategy. Not because it’s harmful to your lungs.

Yes, smoke is bad for you. I cannot argue that point. But that alone is not sufficient grounds for criminality. We are allowed to choose to permit some level of harm in our lives. Non-ergonomic keyboards are still legal, right? Sports cars made of plastic still cruise the roads. I breathe the dioxin-filled air of Tokyo on a daily basis, ne? I strain a muscle now and again on the Footsal court. And, yeah, maybe even drink alcohol or smoke some plant matter. And when that happens, it is with other smokers, so there won’t be any second-hand smoke to affect you.

And when the munchies come along, someone can whip up some snacks of fruit and nuts, because not everyone can eat (or wants) junk food. Healthy eating doesn’t come from not smoking pot, it comes from education and positive role models. And responsible drug use comes from education as well. OBJECTIVE education. That’s where responsible research and journalism comes in. This demonizing of marijuana must stop. As you said, there are two sides to it.

The media has plenty of negative stories about marijuana. Where is the good stuff?

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Posted in: What do you make of all the publicity over the recent arrests of Japanese university students for smoking pot? See in context

Like Bill Hicks used to say, why don't we ever hear the good drug stories on the news? This media hysteria is neither surprising nor welcome.

Maybe a little balance on the issue could help.

I'm not sure whether to growl in frustration or laugh in pity at some of the opinions on this board and in the world. The logical statements from non-users I can at least respect (and comprehend), but some of the garbage coming from the horrendously uninformed non-smokers just boggles the mind.

I don't think experience with marijuana is a prerequisite for discussion, but a little perspective might be helpful.

Take my own story of how pot helped me.

When I was a young university student, I caught mono and my immune system set out at full tilt to take it out. Unfortunately, right after my diagnosis, I also got salmonella poisoning from a bad restaurant. Anyone who has had either mono or salmonella can attest to their being very not fun. To have both at the same time is hellish. I'd never been so sick in my life and hope to never be so again.

My ability to eat was annihilated. Now, when you are horribly sick and can't keep any food in your guts, your body starts to burn through its reserves (i.e. itself) to keep going. So I began to waste away.

Thankfully, being on college campus, I had access to pot. Smoking made it possible to eat again, and I made it through my illness (which put me into the hospital at one point) without starving to death.

Pot helped me. It can help people. And that perspective needs to be out there. The Japanese media (and most of the media in the world) are failing at the duty of all journalists: objective reporting.

Can pot be a negative influence on someone's life? Absolutely. Most anything can, from television to chocolate. But it can also be an amazingly positive influence on someone's life.

And when I see someone who can't string two logical sentences together write that using pot makes you stupid and dim-witted, all I can do is growl in frustration and laugh in pity.

So put that in your pipe and smoke it.

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Posted in: Two men arrested for possessing 108 cannabis plants in Fukuoka See in context

And, some people don't understand sarcasm!

you're right. you need to learn how to use it better. ;)

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Posted in: Two men arrested for possessing 108 cannabis plants in Fukuoka See in context

I feel the need to be depressed and psychotic just thinking about it.

That speaks to your problems, not the problems of marijuana.

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Posted in: Two men arrested for possessing 108 cannabis plants in Fukuoka See in context

and to those of you who think this should be a crime, many of your sick and dying relatives may wish otherwise.


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Posted in: Two men arrested for possessing 108 cannabis plants in Fukuoka See in context

"street value." what a joke. it's ridiculous how the authorities always calculate a street value based on the smallest quantity of sale, as if these two guys were going to get that much.

and for the anonymous tip... well, these guys should have remembered the first rule about weed in japan: nihonjin cannot be trusted when it comes to weed. ;)

i kid. NO ONE can be trusted. Rule number one: Don't tell anyone. Rule number two: See rule number one. Rule number three: Are you an idiot or something? See first two rules!

and the hemp plant is indeed native to japan. the world record holding strain (for height) is from Tochigi-ken (although that stat is at least 6 years old... not sure if it still holds true), and a school in Tochigi mentions the plant in the school song.

japan (and the entire world) has a rich history with this plant, and it's a shame to see it so demonized.

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Posted in: What does Japan need to do in order to attract more tourists? See in context

Draw in the families and friends of foreigners already here.

Allow foreigners living in Japan to purchase the JR rail pass on the condition that it is purchased in tandem with a non-resident's pass. I generally prefer to meet friends and family abroad (either back home or in another country) because it can be prohibitively expensive to try and travel with friends who have the JR rail pass. If I could get a rail pass to travel with them, I'd have a never-ending string of tourists coming through the country.

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Posted in: McCain says pundits being fooled; promises victory See in context

how can you blame him for being smug? the republican candidate lost in 2000, but still got the presidency. massive voter disenfranchisement can carry the day for him.

of course, this is not 2000, and i think that he's going to lose even WITH the disenfranchisement campaign. and i will celebrate the day.

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Posted in: Soka Gakkai boosts advertising on TV See in context

don't get me wrong. i don't exclude the religious from participation in politics. i personally wish that religious influence on politics and government would lessen the world over, but i would never presume to exclude those with religious beliefs from participating in politics and government.

i just question SGI's partnership with the LDP, and what that association says about the nature of the organization and its leadership structure.

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Posted in: Soka Gakkai boosts advertising on TV See in context

They are supposed to be a party representing a global Buddhist peace movement, but they support the right-wing, nationalistic LDP government?

the only valid criticism of SGI that i've seen from anyone here so far, and the only problem that i have with SGI.

i was quite surprised to find out how negatively SGI is viewed here in japan. after knowing a few SGI members over the years, it was hard to understand the vitriol. i view SGI as no more or less sane than any religious grouping. there are some extremely bright people involved and some extremely susceptible ones as well.

but most criticisms here could extend to any/all religions.

the only valid one being what kukai asked: what the hell business does a buddhist organization of "peace" have with the LDP?

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Posted in: Russian sumo star arrested in Japan for marijuana See in context

It does get frustrating to see all the crimes that the J-satsu are too afraid to tackle, and at the same time see their fervor in taking down the dreaded weedsmokers.

It's good that this country's legal system is in the process of removing a dope fiend from its society.

No, what would be good is if we could get rid of the clueless idiots who think that there is such a thing as a dope fiend when it comes to marijuana.

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Posted in: New subway line to open in Tokyo on June 14 See in context

and if you've lived on the yurakucho line past ikebukuro, you'd realize that this line is welcome. it was a pain in the ass, and expensive, to transfer to JR just to get to shinjuku.

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Posted in: New subway line to open in Tokyo on June 14 See in context

via Kitake-mukaihara

i believe you mean kOtake-mukaihara. unless they've gone and changed the name without telling me.

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Posted in: TV announcer Ako Kawada found dead in car in apparent suicide See in context

lends weight to the questions, "what is 'success,' and does having it bring you happiness?"

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Posted in: How come so many young people today don't know how to cook? See in context

it's a pain in the arse to cook when your bed is your cutting board. plus, i don't like having tons of rotting trash next to my pillow waiting for collection day.

i moved into a house (my first real kitchen in tokyo!) in november, and have been cooking non-stop since then.

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Posted in: Mother arrested for attempting to kill 5-yr-old son with hydrogen sulfide gas in Saga See in context

i agree she shouldn't be let off the hook. just curious as to what actual laws she will be charged with breaking.

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Posted in: Mother arrested for attempting to kill 5-yr-old son with hydrogen sulfide gas in Saga See in context

yes, but is this actually illegal? she called the police and told them of her intent to commit a crime (murder/suicide), but she didn't actually carry it out.

perhaps she could get a bit of punishment for endangering the neighbors with toxic gas, but no one was hurt and she removed her son from danger herself.

she obviously needs some sort of psychological help... but what law did she break?

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Posted in: Platinum See in context

this picture combined with yesterday's picture and all the comments have really helped me get it. you guys cream yourselves over ANY japanese girls, whether they are even marginally attractive or not. you should really raise your standards. there are more beautiful girls than this walking down the streets in tokyo. why fawn over these two or the one from yesterday?

sarge, in regards to yesterday's photo: my eyes are open. but i think you have only ol' one-eye open when thinking about these girls.

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Posted in: Juno See in context

the japanese girl just looks silly. and vapid.

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