philly1 comments

Posted in: Body confidence and body positivity in Japan See in context

As I read through the entire article after clicking "read more" I noticed this:

There are by far more clothing options available in today’s Japan compared to the frumpy tunic tops and baggy body hiding suits of ten years ago.

Alas, the current trend is not much better. Slim women wear the frumpy, body-hiding clothes, too. Doesn't matter whether it's from high end designers in Omotesando or Uniqlo. Yes, some clothes are made from the finest fabrics and cut in amazing asymmetrical designs, but hiding under a well-designed version of a tent or oversized bathrobe does nothing to flatter most women.

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Posted in: Tokyo public schools will stop forcing students to dye their hair black, official promises See in context

Don’t get too excited folks. This is just one official making a promise. It has to go through many other heads before it gains approval.

Rephrase that to It has to go through many other heads before it becomes toothless.

In the spirit of eliminating hypocrisy, that ridiculous rule should apply equally to all principals, school and school board staff who are dying gray to black. Just sayin'.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Why do Japanese make fewer charitable donations than people in other countries? See in context

...J-companies still participate a lot for the welfare of their lower level employees with corporate housing, which is not considered charity... 

Nor should it be. That's an employee benefit--like sick leave, holidays, health insurance or anything else the employer provides supplementary to wages.

It's also a not so subtle way of tethering/indenturing employees who will have to fend for themselves should they wish to seek more gratifying employment. All risk is borne by the employees who will not only risk being without a job, but also without a home. All the more reason not to upset and displace the entire family on account of their own lack of fulfillment or opportunity for advancement within the company.

Of course, that doesn't prevent the company from upsetting and displacing employees or their families by moving them across the country to another regional office whenever they please. Shoganai...

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Posted in: Top tourism spots crack down as they become victim of own success See in context

It [ Belgium] is moving away from marketing its medieval cities like Bruges and Ghent as it tries to lure cyclists, art lovers and beer aficionados to its country lanes, cultural gems and monastery breweries - taking them off well-worn tourist trails.

Oh good. Spread the existing blight to the rest of the country. Rethink this strategy. Please.

The bonafide cyclists, genuine art lovers, and true affectionados of various cultural offerings have already found the country lanes and local gems. No need to bus more people in droves to any remaining and relatively unspoiled places.

The cash-cow type of tourism nations have fallen into is a complex, economy-driven dilemma with no easy, quick-fix solutions. Countries thought they could boost local economies by marketing their charms; however, the actual result is a Faustian bargain.

Since no governments thought it prudent to restrict and control tourist agencies' access to popular sites and are consistently aiming to increase tourism annually, there's not much that can be done after the fact.

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Posted in: True kimono See in context

How fitting it would be if it were returned to Japan.

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Posted in: Uniqlo to switch from plastic to paper bags worldwide from Sept. See in context

If you do the research, using paper is not more ecologically sustainable or benign. Neither are polyurethane bags or fabric bags.

Things--especially in Japan--also come in plastic wrappers because it is considered more sanitary and tidier. Who wants to buy things that others have groped through?

Forget Uniqlo, I want to know what's to be done with hundreds of millions of individually wrapped sembei? This monster will be very hard to slay.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Heavy rain forces evacuation order for 1.1 mil in southwestern Japan See in context

Does evacuation mean evacuate? No it doesn't. It means evacuate if you are or will be in danger. Everyone else should monitor the situation. 

But how would people accustomed to being told what to do and when to do it (warm biz, seasonal transitions, the time you are allowed to go home) decide whether or not they are presently in real danger? Paradoxically, many are routinely "scared" or consider "dangerous" things that are absolutely benign elsewhere.

Regardless of such cultural differences, it's a natural instinct not to act on account of the mind defaulting to fight/flight/freeze, never mind the inclination to say Shoganai. It's my fate.

I think what the news media is reporting is that 590,000 people live in the area of a Level 4 Evacuation order. Not that all 590,000 people are ordered to evacuate.

This makes more sense. I pray the people affected have a clearer sense of what they should do than what the news media conveys here as 590,000 are not going to be able to squeeze into evacuation centers. Driving elsewhere (if they can) in such a deluge may be a greater risk to their lives than staying put. All around, it's a tough call.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: G20 leaders end 1st day of summit with wagyu beef, kyogen See in context

Not black kimono, indigo.

Thanks, zichi. Makes sense. The story, however, stated black.

I didn’t spot Angela Merkle’s spouse in any of the photos I saw. Did he attend?

He was in the photo shoot at the spouses away day in Kyoto. Top right corner back row.

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Posted in: G20 leaders end 1st day of summit with wagyu beef, kyogen See in context

Is there a subliminal message in Aki's black kimono and white obi? I have been given to understand that black & white are funereal (not chic) colours in Japan and are to be avoided. Can anyone clarify?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Travelers prefer human touch to automation at airport, according to new OAG analysis See in context

At an airport machines have never solved a problem for me. in fact, screens can be confusing and confounding to travellers who do not fly frequently. Messages and boarding passes to phones are helpful as information does a great deal to ease any travel anxieties.

However, human beings have assisted me in various ways numerous times. Always with courtesy, concern for my well-being and often congeniality and good humour. You can't get that from a machine....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Feminist scholar calls Japan's gender problem 'human disaster' See in context

many/most housewives are supported for life without ever having worked a day

When my aunt passed away a decade ago my uncle took on full responsibility for her role in the cooking and all domestic chores. After some months he expressed his deep shock at how hard she had worked and how much she had contributed to the wonderful atmosphere of their home life over their time together. "I had no idea," he said. Indeed. As is obvious by the sentiments expressed above, he is not alone in this Bochan-like attitude toward women. Unaware. Unappreciative.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Posted in: Have your curry on the go with Haneda Airport’s new cup servings of 'Walking Curry' See in context

Curry in a Hurry. Scurry with your curry. Perhaps Japan is unique after all....

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Posted in: Crown prince says royal duties need review as members decline See in context

"Those who are building international goodwill are decreasing, but in a way there is nothing we can do," the crown prince said. "I think those among us who are able can only do so much."

Well, if only the royal males "are able" the writing is on the wall. However, if he comes out in favour of a female empress, that nixes the throne for his son.

He hasn't talked to his daughter? What?

He very likely knows exactly what's going on. He's simply providing a vague answer to a question question which causes discomfort. That's a no-brainer. Or maybe he didn't talk to her--not this morning anyway. It might not be a total fabrication.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Average working hours of teachers in Japan longest in OECD survey See in context

The best teachers + the best students= The best country= Japan

More flawed "math." Definitely flawed logic. A non-sequitur. It does not follow that....

Love of one's country is admirable; however, (as in all countries including mine) there's a significant number of things that might well be subtracted in the "equation" above. This is not a complete list, but provides a general idea: Very high suicide rates. Unlike Europeans, the inability to carry on basic conversations in English in spite of years of schooling in the subject. The penchant to conform no matter what. Low national rankings globally in numerous areas.

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Posted in: Japan revises law to ban parents from physically punishing children See in context

Emotional abuse isn't even on the table for discussion. Highly damaging verbal abuse and public shaming is not addressed. Nor is giving people who choose to have children and training in parenting skills. Those are not biological. Methods such as those used successfully by Norland Nannies need to be taught to all people as part of their education.

Along with prenatal and birthing classes that are quite commonplace these days (but weren't even 50 years ago), education concerning the best methods in raising that child after it's born should be mandatory.

People get more training in how to drive a car than they do in strategies for raising emotionally healthy and well-adjusted children. Of course, the parents didn't necessarily get what they needed in their childhood. The suffering and indignities will be passed along as that's all they know.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Getting to zero: Tokushima town tries to recycle all its waste See in context

The consumer can make choices. When living in Tokyo I was faced with having to sort my garbage into numerous categories. Since I had no room in my kitchen or narrow hallway to put multiple containers necessary to organize and collect garbage without my tiny studio apartment looking like a recycling depot instead of a home, I quickly learned how to avoid purchasing items which created waste.

For the mountain of glossy advertising flyers received on a daily basis, the apartment complex provided a container beside the mailbox. Advertising's gross levels of waste is never addressed when the garbage/recycling problem is discussed.

I managed to get it down to paper (mainly milk cartons), plastic wrappings and containers for healthy (no junk) food purchases, and glass (wine bottles). The rest went into the compostable category which I kept in the freezer between collection days to avoid bad smells. I also carried my own shopping bags. Except for fish or meat which can cause cross-contamination, I politely refused all the extra plastic bags most shops used.

It's hard work to avoid and manage waste. Commitment is required. Alas, that's discouraging to individuals who do their best when their neighbours and other nations do much less.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Reverence for tradition threatens same-sex marriage in Japan See in context

Reverence for tradition threatens same-sex marriage in Japan

Reading the air: Fear of change threatens same-sex marriage in Japan.

The right to marry is important. Often families of the deceased shut out the unmarried partner simply because they cannot tolerate and wish to hide the fact/shame of a LGBTQ relationship in the family.

Someone who is not a spouse does not have any legal right to spousal benefits. Also, as with hetero couples, unmarried partners have no right to jointly-acquired assets. They cannot make decisions regarding the health care or end-of-life or burial wishes for their partners. They cannot inherit pension income or jointly owned assets or even pets unless specific arrangements have been made.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Posted in: Penalty increased for pilots who fly after drinking alcohol See in context

Make it mandatory for all airlines to test pilots via an independent tester before flying. All of them All the time. Test them for alcohol and drugs. Suspend licenses of those who fail and order them into rehab. On second offense, fire them.

I won't get into the car with a person who has been drinking. I need assurances that the airline has ensured my safety as I cannot do that for myself.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Posted in: Japan offers most paid leave for fathers in world, but few take it See in context

My Mrs and I are going overseas in August. Her company told her she is only allowed to take an extra two days off on top of her three day summer break, giving her only five days vacation. And, that will be all she can take for the full year. 

That's a crime against the employee. But with benefit laws not enforced and people losing their jobs (or getting disagreeable transfers as in the case mentioned above) it's simply another thing that is the way it is in Japan. Shoganai.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan grapples with traffic jams, visitors' manners amid tourism boom See in context

I find it interesting that one of the complaints is about toilets. Many toilets, especially in stations used to be filthy, smelly and unpleasant. In recent years they have improved considerably because of tourism, for the sake of tourists, so that tourists would not see how dirty Japanese toilets could be.

True. Things have improved. That comment reminded me of the time I was the only non-Japanese lined up in the women's washroom of a railway station waiting my turn along with 5 or 6 others. While waiting the first woman rolled her pant legs up to her knees and the others followed suit. I did the same and they all burst out laughing when I gave them the thumbs up. They understood that I was not unaware of what I might encounter.

Experience taught me to hold out for department store washrooms whenever possible. Shocking as it was to experience it, even places as upscale as Takashimaya I never use the toire on the first floor. Those on the restauran gai tend to be the cleanest.

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Posted in: Outrage at acquittals in rape cases sparks calls to fix Japanese law See in context

"We must cautiously consider the impact of completely removing the requirement (to prove) violence or intimidation,"

Subtext/Reading the air: We will do nothing. Change? Not a chance. Shoganai.

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Posted in: Illustrator shows different types of perverts encountered on Japanese trains See in context

Why aren't all the victims of these assaults making a HUGE noise? I'd be yelling some choice words.

These pervs are counting on women's (or in some cases the men's) silence.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Posted in: In historic first, G20 weighs aging as global risk See in context

Part of the problem is ageism. People who live long lives can be productive, engaged, energetic and contribute a great deal to their communities. Instead they are undervalued and sidelined by social prejudices and discrimination. Their societies--all of them-, not just Japan--perpetuate ageism. Many societies recognize that sexism and racism as inappropriate ways of thinking about people. But not ageism. Not yet.

Carl Honore (author of In Praise of Slow) explores this phenomenon in his book *Bolder: **Making the Most of Our Longer Lives. *The book suggests that a radical shift in the approach to education, healthcare and work is necessary.

The current model of childhood, adolescence, adulthood and dotage is seriously flawed. (Remember that at one time in history people really didn't have "childhoods." The "teen years" are a 20th century construct.)

If considered more respectfully and intelligently, people who live long lives have a great deal to offer society. Instead of recognizing and valuing this we set a cap at an arbitrary number (55/60/65/whatever), label people as "seniors" and consider them a burden rather than an asset.

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Posted in: Kimigayo: A guide to Japan’s controversial national anthem See in context

The act of singing the national anthem at a school is one of the educations we take to bring pride and dignity to say that you are a citizen of that country. The act of singing the national anthem at school is both a lesson and a duty.

While reading from the Bible and reciting the Lord's Prayer was part of daily practice in schools until it was banned due to the growing diversity of the nation, during my lifetime growing up in Canada such singing was not part of my education.

Nor was it formally done elsewhere. At some events such as July 1 (Canada Day) parades, military band performances or professional sports especially but not necessarily concerts or other public occasions, O Canada was played and sung before the start of the event. As we are part of the Commonwealth, sometimes, but rarely God Save the Queen was played or sung at the end.

Though I missed the indoctrination of "lesson and duty," I have a great deal of pride in being a Canadian citizen. Without flag-waving or any overt jingoism, when I travel abroad I am always mindful that my actions ought to convey the dignity appropriate to showing the best of what it means to be Canadian.

My point is that there is no need for tedious indoctrination in order to foster the love of one's country. However, fully understanding its history (both the glory and the shame), its foundation and role in the modern world has done that quite holistically and naturally. Frankly, I prefer that approach over "lessons and duties" I might have come to resent--or worse--find meaningless with being drilled into me.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Labor minister opposes banning female dress codes with high heels See in context

I think heels look very nice...

Not the ones in the photo. Not fashionable. Not beautiful. Not comfortable.

Three strikes...

(Same for the suits. What airline are they with?)

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan to ban free plastic bags at stores to fight marine pollution See in context

@ listenthetruth and others

I've been on holiday and am now catching up with this thread. Perhaps everyone has moved on. Nowever, here is further food for thought for anyone who wishes to have a deeper understanding of a complex problem. Simplistic solutions to the plastic problem won't solve anything.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to ban free plastic bags at stores to fight marine pollution See in context

The cloth or polyurethane 'eco' bags aren't any help to the environment either and may in fact be worse. There ought to be systems in place for the recycling or reusing plastic bags and huge consumer education programs. If it can be done for natural disasters, it surely should be done for this unnatural disaster of another order.

There's an engineer in Japan who has developed a system of creating oil from discarded plastic. Why hasn't that been promoted and caught on?

Why aren't governments working together globally to fish and dredge the plastic already in the oceans?

There is much that could be done. However, there's much eco-posing by the banning of things like drinking straws and plastic bags that stands in the way of the real issues.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Posted in: Real-world 'Final Fantasy' wedding plan reservations start in Japan See in context

And the final fantasy wedding cos-play shatters when the bride and groom wake up the next morning only to realize they are ordinary mortals with limited relationship skill sets who will very likely spend the coming decades of their lives disliking each other and bickering about all sorts of trivial matters.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Fun, flattery in Japan over, Trump returns to DC snarls See in context

For the life of me I can not understand, how anyone could call someone their "best friend" , spend 3 days together, getting wined and dined, and STILL not be able to pronounce their name correctly!

For the same reason that many Japanese people cannot pronounce various Western names or words correctly. It is what it is. Probably a shoganai moment. Let it be....

-9 ( +8 / -17 )

Posted in: 6 Nara deer deaths attributed to plastic in stomachs; tourists cautioned to feed animals properly See in context

And don’t let the animals bully you into giving them everything they want, no matter how persistent they may be.

Good luck with that. If you aren't fast enough for them, the deer have been known to bit people hard enough to be bruised for weeks. My friend got it in the knee and limped for weeks. Best policy is not to give them anything they want as too many people are feeding them as it is.

At Miyajima signs specifically ask visitors not to feed the deer as they are (supposed to be) wild and will not forage on the plants of the forest they are meant to eat. Last time I was there imagine my surprise to see that a senbei vendor was set up under the sign.

Like Miyajima deer, the Nara ones aren't meant to eat crackers either. But tell that to people who like feeding cute things.... Mission impossible.

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