pantherpg comments

Posted in: Delta shutdown strands 1,000-plus at Narita airport See in context

Sometimes technology is so heavily integrated into our lives that we treat it like a fact of nature rather than a series of things designed, built, and maintained by people just like us.

It's interesting that this happened shortly after a router failure at Southwest Airlines (domestic US carrier and one of the world's largest by volume) caused huge disruptions to their service.

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Posted in: Artistic look See in context

What a great payoff for the hard work these girls have put into their sport. Best of luck to them in the team finals!

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Posted in: Visitors’ tastes depend on where they come from. For example, Europeans like unspoiled Japanese landscapes, while Thais favor mountains. Areas other than major cities have many opportunities if they f See in context

Folks interested enough in Japan to read a publication like JT will probably find themselves as exceptions to the rule. Marketers generalize because it's very hard to market in a cost-effective fashion otherwise. I imagine most leisure tourists that spend the dollars for JTB tours want to see things different from what they see back home while still having access to creature comforts.

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Posted in: Shock as peaceful Japanese town wakes to knife rampage See in context

Mental health issues are tricky. It is entirely possible that this individual, when he was initially hospitalized, figured out exactly what he needed to say to the doctor to get released. It's also possible that the doctor was under pressure to authorize his release, either from his supervisors or the suspect's family (or both). I hope that investigations are able to determine what the underlying factors were.

There are a few folks here saying that drugs are to blame. There's no guarantee that Uematsu was medicated, and there's a possiblity that if he was, he stopped taking the medication and that's what led to this happening. Many folks with mental illnesses rely on medication to do fancy things the world takes for granted like:

getting out of bed in the morning falling asleep at night having the self control not to spend all of their money having the focus to work an 8-hour shift

There are a few big caveats here. First, when people with a mental illness are on a medication that truly works for them, they feel better. When they feel better, like every other sickness they've had in their lives, they often want to stop taking their medication. The underlying issue with their brain chemistry has not changed, though, so the problems come back, often very abruptly.

Second, brain chemistry is squirrely, so if someone is misdiagnosed, giving them the wrong medication can cause some serious problems. For example, a bipolar (manic-depressive) person vacillates between two extremes, like ends of a pendulum: extreme depression and mania. Extreme depression isn't usually where folks are suicidal -- this is how people end up going from bed to the bathroom back to bed for days, weeks, or months at a time, not showering, not shaving. There's just no will to do anything. On the other hand, mania is the will to do lots of things: stay up for three days straight working on a project, have an extravagant night out on the town, buy a car (regardless of your finances) to spite your spouse, get in a fight, play Russian Roulette. It's an absurdly heightened emotional state without a lot of self control. If the person is feeling good, it can be the best time ever; if not, this is when most bipolar folks kill themselves. (Think of the jilted lover who threatens to kill him/herself -- and whom you can believe would actually do it.)

Many people who can't get out of bed eventually find their way to the doctor, where they are given an antidepressant. This is great and helps them to function. If a bipolar person takes an antidepressant without another medication to balance the highs, though, it doesn't center the pendulum -- they just end up really manic, which sometimes results in violence.

I'm not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be one -- but I've seen mental illnesses destroy careers, marriages, and lives, and I've been close to enough people that I know they cannot function without their medication. It feels counterintuitive if you've never seen it because many people are fine without taking a drug. However, if you're willing to acknowledge that diseases like Alzheimer's, dementia, multiple sclerosis, sickle cell anemia, diabetes, cerebral palsy, and the like exist, it's not hard to imagine that people are born and live whose brains function pretty well, but don't produce or respond to certain chemicals like they should.

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Posted in: Cube-shaped box See in context

I see a little silhouetto of a man.

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Posted in: Man with only Y42 on him runs up bar tab of Y137,000 See in context

For his sake, I'm glad that the man chose this route to address his despair and didn't choose to leap in front of a train instead.

I hope that now that he's in the system, social workers or family members are able to help him find some work and a roof over his head.

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Posted in: Bamboo pickers defy bear attack warnings despite 4 deaths See in context

The people who continue to go into the woods have probably done so at this time of year as long as they can remember. More than anything, it's probably a ritual that connects them with their youth and folks who have gone before. Good on the local officials for getting the word out about the dangers, though.

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Posted in: How would you compare American animated films with Japanese ones in terms of technical quality and story-telling? See in context

This question is too broad. Similar technology is used in both -- and I believe that both US and Japan firms outsource a good bit of animation to South Korea these days. In terms of storytelling, there's no shortage of carefully engineered money grabs in either country. Cross platform advertising and "toyetic" stories are everywhere.

If I had to name a difference, I'd suggest that maybe Japanese animated films meant for general audiences rely less on violence, romance, and pop culture as driving forces in their storytelling and presentation. You're more likely to see a slice-of-life animated film or a story considered "timeless" out of Japan. Another general difference is that the animated musical format doesn't seem to be a thing Japan does. (Please correct me if I'm wrong here -- this is the one generalization where I can't immediately think of exceptions.)

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Posted in: New hires shock Internet with their sameness See in context

I'm seeing a lot of pressure in the comments to react in a specific way to the photo. The nail that sticks out gets voted down. ;)

That said, it's nice to see people who appear to be having fun at the beginning of their work life. I hope they thoroughly enjoyed the ceremony. I'm sure they don't realize it, but that's the last big event society will have in their honor (if they get married, they have to foot the bill for the party). Not that adult life is bad at all, once you get used to it -- but the next few years of adjustment will likely be difficult.

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Posted in: The IOC executive board has backed the proposed inclusion of baseball-softball, surfing, karate, sport climbing and skateboarding for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Which sports would you like to see includ See in context

The "artistic" sports that many mention as being subjective are actually scored on concrete portions of the presentation -- for example, the difficulty of the maneuvers/elements in the routine, how accurately/well they are executed, and how many are completed. While it's easy to have more faith in the judging of concrete events, these are also places where it's likely for doping to occur, and "bribing and favoritism" could very well be in play if testing is random.

I'd argue that baseball, softball, basketball, and hockey probably don't need to be there. It's nice to see everyone compete in different configurations than they normally do, but it's the same folks we see all the time anyway. I'm sure they're there for the US/CAN ad money -- but they do increase awareness of different sports as well, since the networks will often jump between events.

For those who would remove certain disciplines of swimming, would you eliminate different lengths of foot races as well, and different disciplines of fencing?

I'm all for including many sports because I think the Olympics are the only way that people learn about them. The whole thing is like a giant infomercial for healthy lifestyle options and international understanding, despite the scandals.

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Posted in: There is an extremely high likelihood that the applicant would exhibit the same sort of language and behavior that it has in the past. The decision to deny permission to use the park was made based on See in context

I agree that tolerating speech we detest is important for civil discourse. There's a difference, though, between engaging in civil discourse and having a hate demonstration. The latter is meant to terrorize a minority population into moving out of town -- but would likely intimidate or disturb a lot of other folks into leaving the area as well.

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Posted in: Call for gastric surgery to be standard diabetes treatment See in context

Recently, the New York Times published a big on a study by the National Institutes of Health (US) following participants in the TV show "Biggest Loser". What the study found is that almost all contestants regained weight, even if they worked hard to maintain lifestyle changes. These individuals also had a respite from their typical life responsibilities to concentrate all day, every day for an extended period of time on a lifestyle change with a team of coaches. In short, the folks who worked the hardest and were best set up for success were largely unsuccessful.

Reportedly, each individual brain has a "set point" for a target weight. It will give your body signals to consume more until you reach that set point. Your metabolism slows -- and it won't speed up again once you're back to what you weighed. So, you feel like you're starving yourself forever.

These people are facing a choice between a long, drawn out struggle that will consume a significant portion of their energy and self-control every day or a relatively quick intervention. It is, in the long run, a less expensive medical intervention, and it allows them to shift their focus to the other things in their lives that matter, like their jobs, taking care of their homes and families, and pursuit of their interests.

If doctors who deal with this disease and its impact on patients and families every day are coming together to make a recommendation, who are we to say they don't know what they're talking about?

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Posted in: Attack on singer sheds light on risks of stalkers-in-waiting See in context

The problem with consulting an attorney is that usually one needs money to do so. That's something that a college student/underground idol does not have.

That said, I don't think the intent of the consultant was to victim blame, but rather to educate others on how they can better protect themselves should they find themselves in a similar situation.

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Posted in: What do you think about high-tech surgical procedures popular in Japan, such as Lasik, hair removal, breast augmentation and liposuction? See in context

I always thought cosmetic surgery was silly until I learned that it can help to fix deformities that can be physically limiting, career or relationship limiting, and make it extremely difficult to find clothing that fits properly. In a culture where one is occasionally naked in public in the course of normal activity, this takes on an additional layer of importance.

If it's performed safely and responsibly, it genuinely improves people's lives, and it doesn't hurt anyone else, I don't see any reason to complain.

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Posted in: Quality of daycare in Japan deteriorating See in context

When something is big enough to be a societal problem causing protests on this scale, we have two choices:

We can assume that all of the people having the problem (in this case, a very large subset of parents) must be horribly flawed people.

We can say, "Oops, there must be a problem with how society is set up right now."

Logically, one of these options pushes society apart. It engenders distrust in other people on a massive scale. The other option commits to strengthening our bonds.

If a significant proportion of society was morally bankrupt -- even a pretty remote minority -- we wouldn't have a society. It doesn't take many folks to cause chaos.

Considering that the nature of work and the structure of families have changed immeasurably in the last 150 years, doesn't it seem like perhaps the latter is the answer?

(I would also argue that parents who drop their kids off at daycare and then drive off in fancy cars aren't the same parents who are protesting and sharing their stories. Parents who have money to burn can afford to send their kid to a private facility.)

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Posted in: Japan stumbles over baby steps to encourage working moms See in context

If change is to happen, it is going to have to come in the form of mothers, mothers-to-be, and those sympathetic to their viewpoint creating new companies and helping grow existing companies with family-friendly workplaces.

If the only way for most people to have enough money to live off of and a harmonious work life is to never have kids, then you had better bet Japan's population will keep decreasing.

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Posted in: Buying these products contributes to reducing food waste. I want consumers to think of it as benefiting society. See in context

Could you explain this more please.

I think It"s ME was referring to the single-serve coffee pods (or K-cups) that people use with their Keurig machines. For many people, there's a cup of plastic waste generated each time they have a pot of coffee, and it goes right in the landfill, at least in my country.

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Posted in: Nobody imagined large tourist buses would be used for shopping in central Tokyo, leading to a battle for parking spaces. We should make better use of land by allotting spaces for parking and to pick u See in context

This quote is a bit oversimplified without the context, but it's true. Most traffic infrastructure in my US town wasn't built for the load it experiences now. When was Ginza laid out, for example? Wikipedia, for lack of a better quick source, says the late 1800s. People back then would certainly have trouble imagining ~54,000 tourists a day flying into Japan (the MEXT figure for 2015 was 19.74 million), or vehicles that weren't horse drawn or steam powered. Even urban design of the 1950s didn't take into account the number of individuals who would own cars, or the concentration of people in urban population centers.

Part of Prof. Furuya's job is to figure out how to take an outdated design and make it work with the new reality. Most of his job, in reality, involves negotiation and getting politicians and local stakeholders to agree to some give and take. If a study finds that designating a certain cross street for bus drop-off and pick-up largely solves the traffic problem, no matter how simple the fix is, the businesses on that street will fight to block the change because it would decimate their business. If it involves setting aside land for bus parking, what developer would give up land in a high rent area to do that?

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Posted in: Tokyo zoo to work on changing living conditions for elephant See in context

Hanako has lived a unique life. It appears that the "powers that be" are serious about taking care of her, as they brought in a significant name in elephant wellness to assess how she's doing. It's unlikely that they'd find anyone else who could give a better assessment of whether she's truly happy.

Apparently, she is! She talks to her keepers, enjoys their affection and offers affection back, and she's healthy for her age. Enrichment is the big question, and that's an attainable goal -- hopefully the publicity of Hanako's case leads to better enrichment (and improvements in enclosures) in zoos across Japan. I think if one zoo in Japan were to really start implementing cutting-edge exhibit design -- including safely housing different species together, overhead trails, and simulating natural environments -- others would have to quickly follow suit to remain viable.

I don't understand the calls to release her to the wild. The heartbreak from leaving her home and her zoo "family" would likely kill her even before her bewilderment at the new surroundings would.

I've struggled a lot with mixed feelings about zoos, but I've seen the conservation and rehabilitation efforts put forth by good zoos. I believe that zoos are an important resource for teaching kids about nature and the importance of conservation, especially urban kids, because most of what they see in their environment is centered around what is efficient, cost-effective, convenient, and/or profitable for humans. Conserving land and discouraging poaching don't necessarily fit into that equation unless we educate people and appeal to their sense of humanity, awkward as that feels to say. I prefer to see zoos take in animals that may have been physically injured by poachers and wouldn't survive in the wild, or that are the children of zoo animals and aren't socialized to behave appropriately in the wild.

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Posted in: Tokyo specialized school’s new department will teach you to be an Akihabara professional See in context

@Liam Baka

do they take foreign students? :3

Well, if you're serious, you can check their admission site out at If you can read the instructions and you've got the money (both to pay tuition and to sponsor your student visa), you should be good to go. If not, you could apply for computer jobs through the links on this site that fit your true Japanese level, and live modestly/take evening Japanese classes while you work at one of those jobs to prepare to go to that school.

I will say that you'll want to have a specific, realistic goal in mind that the classes would help you work toward. Your money and time are valuable, and the years immediately following university are crucial for investing in yourself -- putting away money and building up experience that will let you do awesome things later.

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Posted in: Parents arrested for slashing, choking 5-year-old son See in context

I'd like to take a moment to express how awesome the child care worker is for noticing, asking about it, then reporting it. This should be the way it works any time abuse is suspected.

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Posted in: In race for 2024 Summer Olympics, losing is winning See in context

Can we put a price on the global shared experience and inspiration that the Olympics provide? Can we put a price on getting people interested in travel, geography, and foreign languages, in role models who display physical fitness and mental toughness, in reminding everyone that we're all human beings and not just statistics to be read off a page?

And if we put a price on it, are we willing to accept the company that buys it, and the changes they might make to make the event more stylish and profitable?

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Posted in: Mastering homemade teriyaki sauce with 5 delicious recipes See in context

The slow cooker chicken sounds great, but I think I'll need to make some adjustments on volume -- I might have trouble finding a slow cooker that fits 5 kg of chicken!

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Posted in: Where are Japan's women leaders? See in context

We have a shrinking population! We want women to get married and have kids. But we want them to work! So when they have those kids, we want them to put them into daycare for a full day as soon as possible.

Don't you understand you need to stay late at the office if you want to get ahead? By the way, extended daycare will be an extra fee.

Oh, but the family also needs healthy, home cooked meals and laundry! And don't you ever spend time with your kid? She's neurotic, like you're neglecting her.

Are you tired? Ganbatte.

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Posted in: I would have to pay attention to what I wear and rack my brains to figure out where I should take her for a date. It's just too much of a hassle. See in context

A cause that no one has mentioned yet is consumption culture. To keep the economic engine moving, people have to keep spending, even after everyone has everything they need. So we have new versions of the same kids' shows every year, each with its own extensive toy line and officially licensed adult replica costumes. We have mass CD buys for idol pop senbatsu elections and handshake events that are framed as arts patronage. We have rapid-fire fashion changes, new phones every year with incremental upgrades, and franchise films where previous releases get a new release with more features every time a new movie comes out. We have cafes themed after video game franchises, children's television shows, and whimsical fantasy worlds.

Through all of these things, we encourage people not to let go of their childhood and to focus on satisfying their own immediate desires. Giving in to a whim or a fit of nostalgia feels good in the short term and is a lot easier and less scary than working toward a long term goal. Buying a CD to shake hands with someone you see as an ideal girlfriend is easier, quicker, less expensive (in theory), and more of a guaranteed good experience than getting to know a girl, talking with her about her interests and worries, asking her out, and going on a date. Playing a new map or gameplay mode on a video game with friends all night gives you a shared experience to talk with others about, even if online, and you also experience the thrill of discovery -- seeing something you thought you knew with a new perspective. Sure, you could go check out a different part of town, but that costs more and isn't a guaranteed good experience.

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Posted in: New app tells you nearest subway exit to your destination See in context

At its core, this is a product designed by a bunch of engineers trying hard to do something that will help other people, backed by a company that doesn't necessarily have a market need to do so. Dogooders doing good makes me smile. Even if there's room for improvement, you have to start somewhere!

I wouldn't be surprised if this ends up being the first step toward a comprehensive navigation app built in time for the Olympics -- or, as others have said, purchased by Google.

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Posted in: What are some suggestions to avoid overeating or getting too drunk during the Christmas-New Year party season? See in context

Grab a healthy, filling snack and drink water before you go to parties. It's easier to overdo it if you've been "saving room."

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Posted in: Japan’s top baby names for 2015 See in context

In a country with an alarming low birthrate, thinking of top "names" should be least of their worries.

On the contrary, articles like this are great in a country with a low birthrate. People with or without children enjoy reading them to see if their name or something else that interests them pops up on the list. Then, they usually give thought to the idea of having kids, even if only to say, "I would never name my kid something like that." They are putting themselves momentarily in the shoes of a parent while otherwise they might not have even thought about the concept.

It's important to help people visualize themselves as parents. To help seal the deal, it's important to have policies in place to allow them be the parents they want to be -- this basically means making it possible for parents to spend quality time with their kids and their spouses each day while also providing a reasonable standard of living. An economy that depends on lots of consumer spending runs by training people to indulge themselves. As a result sacrifice for the sake of having a family is a hard sell.

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Posted in: Japanese TV show produces baffling list of five household habits that will shorten your lifespan See in context

These all sound like things people do when they are clinically depressed. Shaming depressed people does not help them -- it just isolates them more. I'm disappointed, but not surprised, that somebody thought this would be an appropriate intervention.

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Posted in: 3 ways the Japanese entertainment industry keeps idol singers from dating See in context

People who really want to do exceptional things make sacrifices. Olympic athletes are often teens and young adults who have dedicated nearly all of their time outside of school to perfecting their sport. Professional athletes are similar. Kids who really want to get into a selective college pack their schedule with extracurriculars and spend more time on their studies than their peers. Kids in idol groups want to perform. Some, perhaps many, take performance classes for years before entering a group.

Talent agencies are like car dealerships. Some take advantage of you. Others treat you well for the lifetime of your car. Some people will go to a shady car dealer, never perceive problems with the transaction or the car, and be happy with their experience. Others will be treated like gold at a good dealership, but find themselves unhappy with the service, or even find that the car isn't what they expected.

I won't criticize kids for wanting to be idols. I won't criticize fans for liking what they like. There is supply and demand on all fronts, so the idol industry exists. I do think it's important to enforce child labor standards and sanction or shut down agencies that don't comply. If society thinks the child labor standards aren't strong enough, people need to lobby to change them.

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