Paul Laimal-Convoy comments

Posted in: SoftBank internal data suggests smartphone figures worse than reported See in context

The whole industry here needs to do the following things:

Increase coverage (especially in the countryside and throughout the underground/tube train networks in Tokyo, etc).

Improve carrier updates to Android devices (currently, all three carriers are notorious at only releasing ONE update, early on, for most Android phones, and then calling it a day).

Offer cheaper and easier ways to upgrade phones.

-Allow for unlocked phones from other domestic/foreign networks to work easily on their networks. A more open system seems less stable, but also offers more possible customers, especially tourists looking for the same services as their own country when travelling abroad (i.e., easily installing a temporary foreign sim card while on holiday).

Increase "pay-as-you-go" plans, and make it easier to get such "burner" phones and/or allowing users to pay over the phone by credit/debit cards (like every other developed country does).

Offer more, recent and better phones. Currently, Docomo didn't offer the Galaxy Note 4 (or the infamous Note 5, which is no loss, IMO), while Softbank's pathetic offering of 5 or so out-of-date, mid-range Android devices at high prices has basically given the (perhaps on purpose) impression that Softbank IS Apple (the colours and layout seen very similar). Hiding said Android device in the corner, at the back, in the basement doesn't help, either.

Sell more official and third party peripherals. Samsung, for example, have sold some amazing stuff that goes with their phone and tablets, but tracking it down in Japan is a pain. In the end, I just went to Amazon and/or imported it myself. The carriers should follow the lead of the Apple and Microsoft stores and devote space to such things and/or manufacturer corners, such as a "shop within a shop", creating a reason to visit such carrier shops.

-Train the staff to actually know something about the phones, and technology in general. I can't remember how many times the staff at a flagship shop knew little or nothing about the phone they were trying to sell.

Stop branding their logos on the bloody phones. People don't like it and it smacks slightly of nationalism (or perhaps some other dark aspect).

reduce carrier bloatware. No Docomo, I'm not interested in your sodding mail app, not the awful carrier skin, launcher or countless other badly designed " llifestyle" apps with bad GUIs.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to offer $810 mil to support refugees fleeing Syria, Iraq: NHK See in context

Ahh, Japan. Perhaps, when Japan suffers a similar problem, the rest of the world can just write them a nice, fat cheque...

... And then do nothing to help them.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Posted in: Nuclear reactor switched on in Kyushu despite protests See in context

Meanwhile, in America, wind turbine prices fall, while some states generate 10% of their power from wind power:

Japan: Failing to catch up with the the rest of the world, since time began.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Japanese journalist pulls a 'Weiner' in Thailand See in context

Hang on, so this "official forum" was just a "Naver Line" chat group? A chat group that anyone on Line can make?

1/ Why would the Thai government use such a temporary and/or unstable platform, such as a temporary chat group? Why not create a "Google Groups" or use an official, government site?

2/ Why would anyone in their right mind join such a thing? The first time of using online communications is to separate private lines of communication from official/work/public ones. That's why most professionals use separate, work email addresses. Some people even access said addresses from separate apps, "just to make sure".

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Critic review 'Attack on Titan' movie: 'I wished the titans would eat the kids so it would end' See in context

I'm sure that an American version will come out, which, although suffering from the banality that most Hollywood blockbusters suffer from (JJ Abrams notwithstanding), will be miles better than anything current Japanese filmmakers can do.

Just look at the Last Samurai; it was factually inaccurate, posed a white person as the lead (why?) and suffered a while host of other faults, yet it still managed to out-do almost every recent Japanese samurai flick, possibly even to this day.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Digital business card holder See in context

It's so easy to do this on a smartphone. To scan ANY document, picture, etc via a camera, at ANY angle (and then edit it to look like a normal, scanned image), just use "CAMSCANNER".

There are also numerous " business card maker" apps our there that can, if you really need to, make "digital cards" for you.

To be honest, all that is needed is a quick swap of phone data, but in archaic Japan, I suppose a card making app is also useful.

The product in the new article though, is a compete and utter DOA joke.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Aquariums using dolphins caught in drive hunts to be expelled from JAZA See in context

This is a great step in the right direction. It's certainly not western imperialism at all. Just recently, an ex-employee of Seaworld in the USA wrote a whistle blowing expose on the cruel treatment of dolphins/orcas at their parks. Regardless of how they were caught, the whole shebang is not particularly humane and western parks are starting to feel the change in public sentiment towards them.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Sony, Panasonic cling to TVs, betting on halo effect of premium sets See in context

TVs are just "dumb pipes". What is important are the STBs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Lower house passes controversial bill on temp workers See in context

All this will do is increase the frequency of hiring and firing of part time workers. It might even put people off from bothering to hire workers or from (kids) bothering to take up such positions. That way, the Japanese government can state that party time jobs have "gone down", while full time have "increased".

Well done.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan says it hopes to resume whaling later this year See in context

"Japan has long maintained that most whale species are not endangered and that eating whale is part of its food culture."

In the same way that "Shakespeare is part of British culture", as hardly anyone bothers with it.

The majority of whale meat is used to make cheap pet food, while the rest is kept, unwanted and unused, in warehouses.

The REAL reason whaling occurs, is as a pork-barrel scheme for those remote, dilapidated coastal villages and towns. If the government actually bothered to invest in a sustainable industry, without handing out money in subsidiaries, then maybe those towns could build themselves back up.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan Tourism Agency surveys onsens over tattoo policy See in context

Although the ban on tattoo's is "fair" to both Japanese and non-Japanese alike, in the case of the Mauri woman, the exception should be made. She may not have chosen the tattoo herself (maybe her family chose it or was done over cultural pressure) and/or this is still culturally important.

This reminds me of French (and British?) Schools banning women from wearing Hijab's while teaching, or while entering banks, etc. However in those cases, the women had the choice to remove their garments. In this case, onsens should give tourists the options of covering up their tattoos, just as supermarkets allow workers to cover up hair in nets and even beards in "snoots" (Google it).

The main point here is not the social stigma over tattoos, but the lack of flexibility of some Japanese onsens regarding it. Patrons should have the right to attend, if they cover up.

Mind you, I've been to Ikaho onsen and there was a Yak with a full back tattoo during there, and at a swimming pool at Inage, girls were walking around in full makeup, high heels and jewellery while in the pool, and there was a nuclear family of Yaks, all with tattoos (the two "kids" had some tattoos, while the mother and father had full backs of yak-yats).

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Nintendo charts return of 'Zelda,' 'Star Fox' at E3 See in context

What this article failed to address was the widespread fan-rage at these "non-games" (as they aren't actual, proper versions of these games, but rather, simplified spin-offs, with another franchise pasted over them).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Netflix to deliver Fuji TV original content See in context

Wait, Netflix is in Japan now? Not that I care, as I've got HULU+ and Netflix USA waiting for me when I come home from work in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Toyota in damage control mode after American exec arrested See in context

Japan's medical profession is decades behind the developed world. Even now, there are are people who import medical equipment, not certified in Japan (but certified by American medical authorities) to Japanese doctors and institutions here. The doctors and staff often have never even heard of or been aware of major medical breakthroughs outside Japan, due to the protectionism of the government, and the siloing of various medical staff and organisations. It's like the third world here for medical breakthroughs.

It's the same for medicine. Most foreigners here being their own medication from home, due to the extremely poor state of Japanese medicine.

Nihon gambarre yo.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Posted in: Bureaucratic bungling behind butter shortage See in context

Just more proof that Japan isn't really a "developed" country. It's really similar to Greece, South Korea, Italy and perhaps certain US states like Detroit and other "Underdeveloped" places/economies.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: Heartache for Japan's 40-year-old virgins See in context

Easy way to get laid or at least, a GF; work hard, leave home and get your own place.

Stop living with mummy and daddy and the world has more opportunities.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: NHK World TV to start video on demand See in context

I agree. I remember that they used to block NHK World in Japan. At first, I thought that this was unfair. Then I watched it.

Turns out, it was just nationalistic, rose-tinted propaganda BS.

If NHK actually showed an actual cross section of criticism, promotion and just plain facts concerning Japan, it might be interesting.

As it stands, it's just the official "Japan Tourism" channel. I don't know anyone abroad or in Japan that watches it, or thinks it is relevant in the slightest.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Chidorigafuchi cemetery See in context

This is what Abe, and every Japanese leader should have done.

Leave Yasakuni to be forgotten.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Companies not as keen as Abe gov't on nuclear power: poll See in context

A recent (if short) video piece by the BBC showed fairly large solar farms present in Japan. The owner stated that although many smaller companies had invested and/or produced solar, geo-thermal, wave and wind powered solutions (up and running in Japan), Tepco and cronies didn't want to infest, as they were unprepared for such a high amount of these (competing?) systems popping up.

Wonder why...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: The art of giving and receiving change in Japan See in context

My local 7-11 shop is great, as I know the owner. Sometimes, he gives me free alcohol and sometimes it's a free party in the back office. Great times.

Usually, the service is good in Japan, but as most convenience stores (everywhere?) Are franchises, there can be great, and pretty "ghetto" ones, with rude or unprofessional staff, dirty premises and poor products.

Some of my peeves, which don't happen that often, include:

trying to force me to accept tape on my goods when I don't want a carrier bag (I just ask for my money back and leave if they press the issue).

giving notes before the coins.

serving other customers while I'm still pouring my change away or getting my stuff off of the counter.

However, like I said, all I have to do is just leave and go somewhere else.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan agricultural reforms open door to widespread change See in context

Although you have spun the economic situation in Japan quite positively ("second largest CAPITALIST economy "), let's not forget that, according to Wiki:

"The economy of Japan is the third largest in the world by nominal GDP..."

And let's not forget that CHINA is the world's actual second biggest economy in the world.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Man buying porn refuses to be served by female convenience store clerk See in context

Once, in a video shop in Gunma, I saw a gaggle of high school girls enter the adult section. Not shortly after that, half a dozen embarrassed Japanese "men" came out. My friend wondered why they were so embarrassed, considering most of the videos on display featured girls just like them.

Anyway, my girlfriend and I stopped going to a shop down the road when they refused her entry to the adult section on the grounds that "women weren't allowed" (there were no signs stating this, either). When we pushed the little troll manning the shop why, he explained it was because women "like men".

He got the shock of his life when our friend, who was also with us, exclaimed " so do I, because I'M GAY!"

When we asked him if he was banned from the adult section too, he hurriedly said "yes", so we ripped our membership cards up and threw them at him on his counter.

I've never really liked Japanese video rental places anyway, and in this internet day and age, haven't looked back.

0 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: Michelin-star sushi restaurant in Tokyo defends foreigner rules See in context

Just heard back from Michelin Japan (after Michelin USA forwarded me their email address). Here's their reply (including their contact email AND a copy of my original email, which you are welcome to copy and paste in order to send to them on your behalf).

Messages below:

Subject: Restaurant and Hotel Guides (Red Guide)

We thank you for interest in MICHELIN Guides. We are concerned about the remarks on this restaurant and we will check when the inspectors visit.

If you have further questions and suggestions, please feel free to contact us. Thank you for your understanding.

Best regards, MICHELIN Guide Japan e-mail:

件名: Racial discrimination at one of your awarded restaurants

Dear Michelin guide Japan,

I would like to request that a restaurant that has been awarded stars in your guide, to be stripped of them, due to racially discriminative practices. The restaurant in question is in Tokyo and bars all foreigners from making reservations, but not Japanese (even if the foreigners can speak perfect Japanese):

Although restaurants in similar situations have enacted exclusivity as a method of selection, none have so far used race or ethnicity in order to do so. As an equal opportunities and upstanding organisation, I urge you to investigate this matter, and, if true, remove the establishments awards on these grounds.

Thank you for your time,

Yours faithfully

(insert name here)

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Posted in: Cherry blossoms also bring out the yakuza See in context


Yes, the Yakuza are lovely people:

"Many yakuza syndicates...forbid...drug trafficking, while some...are heavily involved in it. Some yakuza groups are known to deal extensively in human trafficking...(in) The Philippines...Yakuza trick girls...into becoming prostitutes and strippers (in Japan).

There is much evidence of yakuza involvement in international crime. There are many tattooed yakuza members imprisoned in various Asian prisons for such crimes as drug trafficking and arms smuggling. In 1997, one verified yakuza member was caught smuggling 4 kilograms (8.82 pounds) of heroin into Canada.

The Yakuza are said to use Hawaii as a midway station between Japan and mainland America, smuggling methamphetamine into the country and smuggling firearms back to Japan."

(source: - )

The same source does mention the help given by these groups in the earthquakes, plus the avoidance of theft, etc. However, the crimes also shown in the same source cite activities that can hardly be seem as "nicer" than any other crime syndicate out there.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: Old companies thrive in brand-loyal Japan See in context

This article seems a little "nihonjinron" to me ( ), in that it seems to suggest Japanese businesses are somehow "different", and thus "better" than non-Japanese ones.

Some of the reasons for the longevity of these businesses include a protectionism, created from cutting off Japan from the world and then, after it was forced open, via economic protectionism and nationalism. How many of these "traditional" companies have been bought out by other Japanese corporations/the government to keep them afloat?

Also, how is a refusal to support other companies' products (especially newer or foreign) a good thing? By only doing so, such companies, and their products inevitably become staid and lack any motivation to innovate. I also don't think most Japanese care these days, either. Just look at Japan's technology industry. Who really buys Japanese mobile phones these days? All I see are iPhones.

And, as for traditional companies and products, the world has them in spades. Sometimes, the product is not bound to one company or has evolved, but it still exists. Just look at pubs or architecture in the UK (or anywhere except Japan), or mother nature, which features buildings that are hundreds of years old (if not thousands in some countries) or countryside not buried under concrete.

Personally, this whole article looks like an excuse to reassure older Japanese that navel gazing into the past is still a viable option. They are welcome to celebrate their 100 year old sake company in their Playmobil houses, surrounded by power cables, noise pollution and concreted rivers, while I can go back (should I wish), to my village and eat traditional, REAL (cheddar) cheese, drink traditional beer in a genuine Tudor pub, surrounded by unsullied countryside, even though it's right next to an international airport.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Mobile phone service operators lift SIM locks See in context

The thing is, I doubt very much the three carriers will allow people to join their networks without purchasing their own phones.

All this means is that people can join, get a phone, unlock it after six months, pay the exorbitant fees needed to unlock and/or leave and then go to the satellite carriers instead.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Movie fans wonder who made 'Avengers' poster for Japan See in context

Why does it matter? Japanese cinemas are notorious for not selling Japanese film posters anyway; instead seeking out of date posters from other countries (and then wondering why no one buys them).

Silly, silly, Japanese cinemas.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Michelin-star sushi restaurant in Tokyo defends foreigner rules See in context

If you think that this restaurant's behaviour was deplorable, simply complain to Michelin. If enough people do so, then they might investigate and/or remove the stars. Put pressure on them and they will drop such undesirable connections in a heartbeat.

Nothing speaks louder to racist little holes in the wall than a lack of money and prestige coming their way.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Diplomatic pressure on foreign reporters raises media hackles See in context

I think this author was also approached by Japanese diplomats in (Australia?) ,and asked to cease publishing it. He told them to get lost.

Here's info about similar censorship of the book, conducted by the newspapers:

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese men share a list of common male woes before and after marriage See in context

This could be better represented by the following phrase, which I'll leave you to debate, regarding its truth or not:

"When a woman gets married, she believes her life is just starting, but when a man gets married, he believes his life is ending".

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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