philinjapan comments

Posted in: One dead, 4 wounded in Ohio school shooting See in context

Well, if guns are not the problem, then it must be mean that family values in America is crumbling and that there are way too many loonies running around in America. I for one would hate to think the latter. People often say "if only everyone was armed with a gun". I say, "If only everyone DID NOT have a gun".

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Posted in: Two sisters, aged 5 and 3, perish in Tokyo fire See in context

Puller, this is Japan. That is too mendokusai! Best leave them at home or in the car!

tmarie: It is not solely a "Japan" thing, or an "American" thing. Irresponsible parents exist throughout the world. I've heard of and seen enough to understand that being irresponsible and negligent has everything to do with each parent themselves and thus have no one to blame but themselves. I've also met enough responsible, caring, and loving Japanese parents to know that it is not the norm.

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Posted in: Two sisters, aged 5 and 3, perish in Tokyo fire See in context

The blame for this lies solely on the parents themselves. There should be no scapegoats here. No job is worth working long hours if it takes you away from raising your kids properly. As for me, my job is one in which I chose, and in which I am able to come home by a respectable time (6:00pm). My wife and I made it a point to make time so that there would always be at least one of us with our child when he was younger, whether it be through taking a few years off, as my wife did, until she could slowly re-enter the workforce, I watching him on weekends and my days off, while my wife went to work, or me taking extra days off when he was sick, etc. Yes, raising a child (or children) is tough, but their safety and well-being should be the top priority over anything in this world. Any "sacrifice" to me is worth it, if your child is safe and happy.

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Posted in: After diabetes diagnosis, U.S. celebrity chef feels heat See in context

The differences between the U.S. and Japan in health is not necessarily solely in the food itself, but the lifestyles. In Japan, people walk or ride bicycles everywhere. I even see the obaachan and ojiichan walking on the sidewalks. Business people walking to the train stations, between junctions, etc. In the U.S. people drive everywhere. People are so lazy that they even drive their cars a few blocks away (what could simply take them a mere 5-10 minutes by bicycle) to pick up a simple McDonald's lunch. You even see many overweight people who are constantly riding those four-wheeled buggies (meant for handicapped people or old people) on sidewalks and streets absolutely everywhere in the U.S.

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Posted in: Former gang member shot dead in Denny's restaurant in Chiba See in context

I've felt disappointed when at a Denny's in Japan that the food is not as good as at Denny's in the US of A, but not that bad to start a shoot-out!

Yup. Too bad they don't have the typical Grand Slam breakfast, cheese fries, fried buffalo wings, fried chicken strips, fried mozzarella sticks, fried onion rings, country fried steak, and Golden fried shrimp. I even remembered once they had grits in one Denny's I've been too. All I get at Denny's in Japan is hot soba, pasta dishes, spinach salads, tofu served with grated ginger and bonito flakes, hamburger steak dishes, grilled salmon dishes with side orders of miso soup, etc.

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Posted in: Asada leads at Four Continents figure skating See in context

I did not watch so far in the competition

Well then, that is your problem then. Watching only part of a competition leaves open the door to biases and half-truths. Watch the whole thing and then draw a conclusion. It's like deciding that someone is guilty of a crime from only listening to half of a testimony.

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Posted in: Asada leads at Four Continents figure skating See in context

based on the broadcast of Fuji TV which totally disrespected all the other skaters except Mao.

Well, if you call when commentators like Yaginuma Junko were saying "that was a beautiful triple-triple combination by Wagner", and "great triple-triple-double by Murakami" as "disrespect", then I guess you could be right. I often heard them say "subarashii" when commenting on skaters like Murakami and Wagner; and not only Mao. Also, when commentators were saying that Patrick Chan was simply wonderful and flawless, then I wouldn't call that "disrespect", but if you think so, then that's your opinion.

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Posted in: 'Gurokawa' (grotesquely cute) fashion styles See in context

Doesn't seem as grotesque as a typical South Park episode, or what was routinely shown on Beavis and Butthead.

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Posted in: What do you think of the quality of waiters in Japanese restaurants? See in context

Like in any country I've been to, I've had good service and  "まあ まあ" decent service. Luckily, the worst situation, in Japan and abroad has been late service of food. Other than that, whichever restaurant I go to whether it be Denny's, Jonathan's, or a higher end type like Ginza Zetton, I've always had my orders correct. They even promptly fill my coffee refills at Denny's everytime, and make sure I have enough water, etc at other places. I've had a few instances when either my or my friend's utensil was dropped and the waiter kindly brought a new one with no hesitation at all. At least in Japan I never get the attitude like "Yeah, what'll ya want" with a disdainful sneer as if that waiter or cashier really doesn't want to be there making the crap pay they're making.

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Posted in: Madonna's guarantee: no half-time wardrobe malfunction at Super Bowl See in context

I think Madonna looks stunning for her age. There aren't many 50+ year old women I know who can dance and perform in a three-hour live concert non-stop like she did in her 85 concert, world Sticky and Sweet tour a couple of years ago. She keeps herself lean and yet has so much energy to do what she does on a daily basis. Much better than a lot of fat lazy slobs. She of course takes real good care of her body through a macrobiotic diet and lots of exercise.

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Posted in: How foreigners’ daily lives change when they live in Japan See in context

From childhood on up Japanese were never taught that people are DIFFERENT.

NetNinja: Then I guess Japanese children were taught that all people are built the same and should be treated equally, by your logic; which doesn't sound so bad to me. In any case, as I've mentioned before, people look at other people all the time, for varying reasons. What constitutes a stare, a glance, and a look lies in a gray subjective area. Time and again, in many parts of the world, I've seen people stare at each other, and not always based solely on difference in looks or race. As I've posted before, I've seen Japanese people stare at each other a lot (whether it be because of smell, rude behavior like listening to music loudly, scantily clad women, etc.). I also have stared at others when it was someone who looked familiar but I couldn't quite place their name. It often turned out to be a former student I haven't seen for a long time, who was also staring back at me wondering the same thing. Frankly, I'd rather put up with a few stares, than racial slurs, physical beatings, and Rodney King type of police brutality.

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Posted in: Oden, mixed stew, sukiyaki most favored 'nabe' dishes in winter See in context

Kimchi nabe is the best. Chinese cabbage, enoki mushrooms, leeks, tofu, and seafood is wonderful in a kimchi nabe. The place gets smelly the next morning, but nothing a bit of "Fabreeze" can't take away. As for oden, I can't stand the konnyaku, but love the boiled egg, hanpen, and daikon; among others. Nabe and oden warms the tummy in winter and is so easy to prepare.

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Posted in: How foreigners’ daily lives change when they live in Japan See in context

Yes! I always have ask people to stop looking at me! They don't stare at each other so why do they do it to me?

Well, actually I've noticed that Japanese people DO stare at other Japanese people on the train; especially if they are smelly homeless men, high school girls with short skirts, women who put make-up on the train, and people talking on their cellphones or listening to their music players too loudly. Young girls will often even say "kimoi" as they stare at a dirty looking, nerdy man; some who picks their nose and flicks their boogers. As for me, I have been stared at a few times (from old people) when riding the two-car trains in the inakas, but almost never in Tokyo. (Then again, I've noticed old people stare at just about anyone with eyes fixed in a dumb, mindless kind of gaze.) Now, the Metro back in the States is one place you better hope you don't get stared at (and followed), or risk finding yourself in some deep trouble.

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Posted in: How foreigners’ daily lives change when they live in Japan See in context

As for my parents, they were very supportive of me marrying my Japanese wife. All they really cared about was that she had a good personality and truly loved me and could see that I felt the same way. Twelve blissful years later, nothing's changed about those feelings. I did have one crazy uncle though, who continued to warn me about marrying a Japanese girl, and kept saying that they are all gold diggers. Don't know where he got that idea from since he's never had a Japanese wife, nor has he ever been to Japan.

As for my in-laws, although they can't speak a lick of English, they have been very accepting of our marriage (they even paid for most of it). My wife even says that her mother treats me better than her. My mother-in-law constantly worries if I'm working too hard, gives us tons of food, etc. I love drinking with my father-in-law, and since we both love sports, we have loads to talk about.

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Posted in: How foreigners’ daily lives change when they live in Japan See in context

You know the difference between American culture and Japanese culture? We don't have to force ours upon people.

Netninja: I know of no culture that does not try to impose a part of its culture on another in some form or fashion. Yes, the Japanese media likes to do it from time to time, but you'd be blind not to see that big boss America does it as well. To say that Japan does it, while America doesn't makes no sense at all. I'd be a rich man if I had a dollar for every instance where a fellow American tried to push their culture onto someone else. I even feel embarrassed at some who constantly make it a point to remind anyone and everyone (whether it be Japanese or other foreigners) that America is number one in sports, military strength, prestigious colleges, etc. etc. It even galls me that they seem to belittle and look down on other countries who can't be like America.

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Posted in: How foreigners’ daily lives change when they live in Japan See in context

Sadly though, when he first heard about me, it was "no son of mine will marry a gaijin", "halfu babies aren't Japanese", "you marry her and you're out of the family"... Sadly, I know about twenty other western women who have dealt with the same thinking.

tmarie: Sadly, that is what happens in the world. I've met fellow expats who have had to "re-educate" their own parents who after much arguing grudgingly let their "child" go off to a foreign country like Japan, and then had to argue with him again about marrying a "foreign Japanese woman". It would take them several years for the parents to warm up to and come to begrudgingly accept that union. Turns out that seeing their "halfu" grandchild ends up easing those harsh feelings of hate.

Bottom line is, that since living in Japan and other parts of the world, I've noticed it quite strange when I go back home and talk to people who have never been abroad at all. I guess to me, the biggest change about living in a foreign country is that the gap between my way of thinking and the insular views of those back home who have never "seen the world" just grows bigger and bigger."

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Posted in: How foreigners’ daily lives change when they live in Japan See in context

What amazes me is how some people traveling to a foreign country expect that country to bend or conform to THEIR customs. While it's great to keep a bit of your own identity, it is extremely bad to disregard any and all rules and customs of the country you choose to live in. I've always found out that if you give a little, you'll get a little. There will always be a struggle with understanding and difficulties dealing with another culture. However, if you don't make an effort and go through some of that pain, sweat, and tears, you'll never get anywhere.

I too was plunked in the middle of an inaka and forced to bear a few odd stares of the locals and cultural misunderstandings. Yet, I made the effort to learn the customs and language. Little by little, the locals understood me and could see me making the effort and thus really warmed up to me, and I to them. Even some of the hard-assed oyaji (who I've become drinking buddies with) I ended up finding out to be decent guys who are actually a bit ornery to everyone; and not just strange looking foreigners. I ended up finding out that deep down, Japan isn't quite that much different from other parts of the world. Sure it has some problems, but so does every country in the world. But like other places in the world, there are things that are good and beautiful about it. Constantly harping on only the negatives, while fantasizing about only the positives about your home country, will only give you ulcers and make you an ornery bastard.

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Posted in: NBA cancels first two weeks of season due to labor dispute See in context

And of course the biggest losers in this drawn-out dispute is the fans and little people who work 9-5 making ends meet. I for one used to be an avid fan back in the days of Jordan, Magic, Bird, Malone, Stockton and Ewing. Those were the days when it was really fun and guys had a bit more respect for the game. There's just no fun anymore. It's like these owners and players only care about the money. Whatever happened with loyalty and wanting to stay with one team and try to win a championship with your group of guys?

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Posted in: TV commercial of the week: BOSS canned coffee See in context

I also love the BOSS canned coffee commercials. They always put a smile on my face. I also wish they still had those Sapporo Kuro Label beer commercials from way back. They were funny and cool; especially the one with the two guys fighting over a barbecue in between a volleyball match. Or who can forget the Matsudaira Real Estate commercial with the golfer and his compact swing; funny and creative.

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Posted in: Asia leads world in child-labor products: report See in context

Nice slogan. Look at the kid in the picture. I bet if you went to India, and showed that picture to a lot kids there, they would exclaim how lucky he is. He looks healthy, fed, has a clean shirt and it does not look like the work is especially dangerous.

Good point, Mr. Bill. While it would be nice to see children not having to work for a living, it isn't necessarily all that bad. I mean, kids in richer countries who don't work, but often times turn to drugs, gangs, bullying, teenage pregnancy, underage drinking, petty crimes, teenage suicide, and suffer from physical abuse from demanding parents, don't have it that much better. I think the pressures of kids in rich countries to have enough money to buy their Playstations, expensive shoes and clothes, and i-Pods shouldn't be taken lightly. Some people like to think that we need to impose our way of life on these people, but is it really that much better?

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Posted in: Japan to give additional $21 mil in food aid to Horn of Africa See in context

No matter if a poor nation use its food aid from other nations and save their starvation, other countries are ready to exploit what they can.

sfjp330: That's a good point. While efforts made by huge international organizations such as the World Food Bank, and rich nations such as the U.S., Japan, the U.K., etc., sounds good, they are always only looking at ways to use their "good deeds" to further their political and economic gains in poor countries. In fact, volunteers for small NPOs do much more good than all the money given by rich conglomerates and nations. In essence, "food aid" is a farce and really doesn't work, which is why I feel more support needs to be given to volunteer groups who tend to deal at the grassroots and personal level.

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Posted in: Japan to give additional $21 mil in food aid to Horn of Africa See in context

I actually feel the money would be better spent being given to NPOs and NGOs such as the Africa Japan Forum and AAAG (Asia and Africa Association). I still remember a while back teaching English to groups of Japanese who were to be stationed in parts of Africa such as Kenya and Botswana, using their varied skills such as engineering and agriculture to help the locals build better wells and help farm their lands more successfully. They could really use the funds to help them.

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Posted in: Man attacks neighbors with kitchen knife over insult See in context

Ah, but if all four victims had had guns, they would have been able to defend themselves.......(or so some would have us believe)

Good point. And I also feel that if all four victims had bulletproof vests and helmets on to go along with their guns (so that they don't end up accidentally shooting themselves), then they would have been able to defend themselves. After all, we all know it ain't like the movies where you can cleanly shoot your intended target to disable them.

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Posted in: Troy Davis executed in Georgia amid international outcry See in context

Over 270 completely innocent people condemned to death for crimes they didn't commit -- all freed by the Innocence Project. That's a helluva lot of wrong convictions. No civilized society would tolerate such a thing.

Excellent points, yabits. Let's not also forget the people who weren't so lucky and were executed. People like Larry Griffin, Leo Jones, and Carlos DeLuna. All were executed and then were found to be possibly innocent. Many cases were found to have contradicting evidence, or witnesses who later retracted their statements due to confessing being coerced by police, or evidence and testimonies of people which could've served as substantial alibis, but never being admitted in court.

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Posted in: Troy Davis executed in Georgia amid international outcry See in context

Just my common sense speaking here.

sailwind: Common sense is not good evidence to convict someone of a crime. The fact that there wasn't sufficient evidence to eliminate any doubt should have been enough to stay Mr. Davis' execution. Even Michael Cooper himself testified that he was inebriated at the time he was arguing with Davis and "other men" and thus could not be completely sure who shot at him. Why didn't prosecutors do more to pursue the fact that another man, Red Coles, was also spotted arguing with Larry Young, who was pistol-whipped? Red Coles even confessed that he owned a .38 caliber gun, but (conveniently) gave it to someone else earlier that night. Even a ballistics expert couldn't be sure if the .38 caliber bullet from the MacPhail shooting was the same as the one which wounded Cooper. Add that to the fact that no murder weapon was ever found and no fingerprints left by Mr. Davis at the crime scene, and you have a very shaky case for the prosecution, based on a couple of iffy eyewitness accounts.

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Posted in: Typhoon strands several thousand commuters in Tokyo See in context

Your life, property is of no consequence to them.

That is so true. Therein lies the dilemma. Back where I come from, workers have more freedom and leeway to do things as they feel necessary in their company. Granted, that equates to laziness by workers, employees coming in late, etc. However, they can take off work more liberally. Yet, I do encounter the problem of poor customer service, but as an employee of the company, it is great. Here in Japan, it is strict on workers, but as a customer, it is paradise, since I never have to worry about a wrong order, or cold food being served me, etc. There must be some way to meet halfway, in both worlds.

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Posted in: Troy Davis executed in Georgia amid international outcry See in context

Absence of DNA evidence does not equate innocence.

True, but having it would help to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt. Unfortunately, in this case, there has been a lot of doubt.

I suppose you thought Casey Anthony was innocent, too. By the same token, then I guess you believe that Larry Griffin was guilty too. Larry Griffin by the way, was executed in 1995, even though there were no hard evidence linking him to his crime. There were no fingerprints at the crime site and weapon. Even the witness who said he saw a black man shoot the victim with his right hand (Larry Griffin was lefthanded) was not credible. It was only after he was executed that he was proven to be innocent. Too late, if you ask me.

Too many cases where executed people have been proven innocent later (or where there were serious doubts) prove that capital punishment does not work.

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Posted in: Atami: Sun, sand, sea, sex and gardens in a day See in context

I love Atami. Nice view of the ocean and great seafood. I once ate the best abalone and clams I've ever eaten there. There are some nice quaint ryokans located near the coast.

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