Orchid64 comments

Posted in: Cyclists using phones to be fined up to Y50,000 See in context

It's not illegal to bike on the sidewalk if there are signs saying it is okay to bike on the sidewalk.

The laws regarding cycling in the street or sidewalk are purposefully ambiguous so that the police have the latitude to act as they please. In some places, being in the street is illegal. In some places, being on the sidewalk is illegal. In some both are okay. The police in my area are always on the sidewalks (and I'm near a main ward station and see lots of them all the time), so I'm guessing it's okay to be on the sidewalk in my area.

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Posted in: Strong year ahead for language schools See in context

From a personal viewpoint, I can say my experience concurs with the author's perceptions. I've noticed an increase in the number of people who are serious and aggressive about improving their skill set and are willing to pay more for private lessons with qualified teachers to get them.

Also, keep in mind that the government supplements the expenses of certain types of study including English study. I don't recall the exact information, but I believe they will pay 50% of the tuition for one year of study out of every three. Many companies will match the investment of an employee in his English study so between these two supplements, English study (and other skill building) can be very cheap for people interested in building skills.

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Posted in: Two elderly men arrested for robbing supermarket in Sapporo See in context

Guns are not entirely illegal in Japan. Hunting guns are legal. Most people don't have them, but it is possible to get them. These guys made their own, but it wouldn't be surprising to see future crimes committed with guns in Japan as the number of poor people increases and people become desperate and social order breaks down more and more.

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Posted in: Japan's relative poverty rate is one of the highest among the OECD nations. The reason is that our taxation and social security systems are so feeble, making it impossible to rectify female poverty or See in context

Alphaape, foreigners working in Japan pay Japanese taxes. There's no escaping it as it is deducted from your pay check and the city will send you tax statements that you have to pay.

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Posted in: Japanese cooking shows and the loss of sanity See in context

The comments here show that all roads lead back to America, eh? Here's a thought. It's not a competition. One can discuss the shortcomings of Japan without using America as a way to elevate the weaker points of Japanese culture.

The problem with the cooking shows, as those with reading comprehension might realize, is that the cooking shows lack depth and are mainly commercials for the dishes with pretty people endorsing them.

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Posted in: Obama begins assembling team See in context

If anyone was under the illusion that America was going to cease its position as a friend of Israel any time soon, they were fooling themselves. Being pro-Israel is a non-issue. It's a given and there's no point in fighting about it. The only question is how that support will manifest itself. That remains to be seen.

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Posted in: World hopes for a 'less arrogant America' See in context

It's tough for America, being such a flawed place in a world of perfect countries. I'm sure all of the Americans who were excited about Obama's election had the approval of the rest of the world forefront in their minds. Thank goodness you all might love us now. We were all really worried about that. :-p

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

Try to educate the population about manners when encountering someone different. Staring, pointing, or shouting out are considered rude in most countries when encountering someone who is physically dissimilar to yourself. The Japanese need to start instilling this idea in their kids especially so they grow up not carrying on as they do now. My parents taught me never to do such things in regards to people who were disabled or looked different in any way because it hurts their feelings. The Japanese either don't care about the feelings of foreign people or they are too ignorant to realize their actions are disrespectful. More English speaking and guidance. I know that people hate this, but English is currently the international language (it used to be French, so let's just accept one language will always bind us, but it may not be the same one forever). Japanese is a difficult language to learn because it's hard to read without learning lots of characters, especially if all you want to do is come for a nice tourist trek and not live here forever. The notion that learning Japanese is a compliment and not doing so is an insult isn't helping tourism. More low cost accommodations and food tours. Food is one of the biggest reasons people come to Japan. Make the process of accessing it easier and the cost more reasonable. Make the culture accessible by expanding beyond simple translation. Japanese culture needs to be framed properly and placed in a psychological context to help foreign folks relate to it. Get over the idea that Japan is just too sophisticated for foreigners to comprehend and help them understand it so they can develop deeper interests and are interested in coming here again and again. It's not that confusing, but Japanese people like everyone to think it is.

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Posted in: Net cafes becoming delivery rooms for poor pregnant girls See in context

Balanced views gets you labeled Japanophile, but not everyone can be a brunt out jaded English teachers.

I can't help but note the irony of calling for balance in the same sentence as a heavily prejudicial statement about anyone who puts forth a negative view of Japan.

Certainly two births under unusual circumstances does not indicate a trend, but there haven't been only two of these cases. If you do a search, you'll see that there have been other cases that were not cited in this article. One occurred in a net cafe on October 3 in Yokohama, for instance. There's also the well-known "baby hatch" situation where mothers abandon their babies. It had been shut down for awhile, but was reopened and is seeing notable business, particularly in a country where the birth rate is low and adoption is nearly unheard of.

The problem is that Japan's large middle class is starting to separate into lower class and the safety nets, which have largely been part of the family structure, are changing. It used to be that family took care of their elderly, less financially well-off, etc. members. Now, they're doing so less and less and there's nowhere else for them to turn to. The culture hasn't experienced such things long enough to set up services or to educate people about which ones are out there.

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