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philly1 comments

Posted in: Massive price increase announced for Japan Rail Pass; cost to jump by up to 77% See in context

Even at the old price I had to do my due diligence. Unless I was travelling long distances or doing multiple daytrip commutes it wasn't always worthwhile. Even on trips of 25 and 33 days, I was rarely more than 100 bucks (give or take the sine wave of the money markets) ahead using a pass. Hyperdia is gone now, but I used that to calculate the fee for every stage of my journey before committing to the purchase of a pass.

Under the new pricing any advantage to the pass is the value of the TIME saved. I want my boots on the ground the majority of the time; I do not want to spend a long time in transit. Perhaps flying is cheaper, but it's not nearly as relaxing as the Shinkansen or Rapid Express trains. Unlike flying, there are no security line-ups, no hassles of getting to remote airports, lots of seating space, Wi-fi, and plug-ins for your tech.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: There’s no place like hotels this festive season, Hyatt global survey finds See in context

Nice on a postcard, if you enjoy winter sports, or live in latitudes with a snow-culture. Other it's highly over rated. Nothing about my experience of snow has ever made a festive season more magical or festive. Festive magic is achieved by a state of mind, not the weather.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Five things that’ll surprise foreign tourists in Japan when they visit See in context

And crappers that are basically a hole in the floor, sinks with no soap and nothing to dry your hands.

You make it sound like that is the standard, which it is very much not. On the contrary, in general Japanese public toilets are of the western variety and kept clean and in good shape.

Both are surprising. Surprise, by the way, is not about things that are "standard." It's about things that are not standard where the "surprised" visitor originates.

To that list one might also add: the sound of birds chirping and water running to mask the noises of elimination, the toilet seat heat turned on when it's September 21 (regardless of the 30C/90F degree temperature) simply because it's officially "autumn." Try adding that to a hot flash!

Then there's the absence of garbage cans along with the absence of litter. The surprises in Japan never end.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: One-person fryer is game-changer for tonkatsu, tempura, and all your favorite izakaya fried foods See in context

What a lonely existence to be at home by yourself, thinking by yourself,drinking by yourself,eating by yourself….

Not at all. Not if you are content and secure in your own company. Besides, even without the restrictions imposed in many places during the pandemic, some people do not have a choice in the matter for all manner of reasons (use your imagination and perhaps reach for some compassion).

Why should individuals living alone be relegated to sub-standard dining or be deprived of dishes they enjoy? Why should they have to rely on food arriving via courier that isn't at its prime due to the unavoidable gap between the stove top and the front door?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Travelling to Miyajima and Itsukushima Shrine? Best to be a glass-half-full type of tourist See in context

Oh, and pro tip, skip the overpriced "shika senbei" and just pull some leaves off the trees for the deer to eat. They went CRAZY when I did that, especially cherry and momiji tree leaves, and I couldn't shake them off for quite a while! Suddenly, dozens of Japanese tourists took my lead and did the same, with happy results for all! lol.

Hahaha! In a time with the usual flood of visitors that would succeed in denuding the lovely trees. Not exactly a brainy move. Also, the signs do ask visitors NOT to feed the deer allowing every compliant person to "skip the overpriced 'shika senbei'" without damaging the natural landscape. However, people are bloody-minded creatures not unlike the deer--though perhaps not quite as "cute."

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan minister says women 'underestimated' See in context

*Cleo: **But let's not pretend that it's possible to be out of the house working and at home caring for children, at the same time. There has to be give somewhere. For most women, that means having someone else take care of the child for the part of the day she isn't at home.*

Girl_in_Tokyo: Explain to me why having daycare or a family member care for the child for part of the day somehow means the mother isn't taking care of her child? Just because the mother has arranged care doesn't mean her child isn't cared for or is being neglected. Arranged care is still care. No parent is with their child 24/7.

Are you also accusing the moms you know of neglect for not going to school with their children and caring for them themselves, instead of letting the school do it?

Exactly. Cleo, fathers never have to bear this bad rap for "neglecting" to do their job or "failing to mind" their children. Let's be clear. Men put long hours in at soul-sucking jobs and delegate their children's' care all the time--to their wives, parents and in-laws and the school system. Without reproach. With the blessing of the patriarchal system.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan minister says women 'underestimated' See in context

Japan has fallen behind because other countries have been changing faster...

Ah. The C-word again. Always the C-word.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Posted in: Japanese junior high school girl removed from class for three days for grooming her eyebrows See in context

... children may become distracted by overly focusing on their eyebrows and hairstyles, and neglect essential aspects of their education and lifestyles.

As a Canadian student and later a teacher for many decades, I always took great care with my appearance. Why? I enjoyed it. It allowed me creative expression. It gave me confidence. It enabled me to better connect with others whether my students, colleagues or superiors. It was never a hinderance to my education or my ability to offer quality instruction to my students.

The fact is, frumpy people are often dismissed and considered irrelevant. That's how the brain reacts in less than 4 seconds. But stylish and edgy people spark an interest from others.

I never judged my students based on their outré appearance and a good number of them confided that I was the only person to accept them. But more important than that, by accepting and respecting them, they were more inclined to give a subject in which they had no interest a chance. Piercings, tattoos, hair colour and expression through fashion choices were irrelevant. Some went on to excel in spite of their initial resistance and apathy.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan bids farewell to Abe at funeral in Tokyo See in context

This assassin has no comprehension what a can of worms possibly a Pandoras Box he has opened.

Sobering thought if we consider what we remember of history. We cannot know how the dominoes will fall. Once upon a time a man shot a Kaiser. Look how that turned out.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Tokyo government announces new name for maternity/paternity leave; hopes to change attitudes See in context

Once again, it's not as important to actually pro-actively DO something, but important to BE SEEN to be doing something. Also, the crux of the problematic system in Japan is this:

... everyone else is covering for them, until at least April of next year...

Without legislation that strictly encourages via monetary incentives (if not actually demands) that employees take leave and employers grant it without harassment real change is not likely.

Surely a pool of temporary workers who would happily cover the work of those on leave could be found. In other countries this is often handled by recent retirees or those who for numerous reasons do not want a fulltime commitment to a company. For example, a talented friend with much to contribute whose husband's company can move him at any time to one of their other national branches who feels that by taking on employment she will only disappoint her employer.

Covering someone else's work and thus creating an environment in which coworkers resent colleagues for taking what is their legal right is just not on.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Posted in: Rainy season ends in Tokyo, neighboring areas; earliest since 1951 See in context

Does that mean office blocks will turn off all those unnecessary lights left on through the night, and will they stop work when the natural light ends?

Two admirable ideas.

If it's absolutely necessary to make up the lost time they could also work earlier in the morning when it's quite bright enough shortly after sunrise. Or perhaps the work people dawdle over while looking busy might be completed efficiently.

Of course, there's one constant hurdle. It would mean change in a place where that's vehemently resisted.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Airport chaos: European travel runs into pandemic cutbacks See in context

All predictable (i.e. avoidable) for anyone with a bit of a brain. After two plus years of pandemic restrictions the middle of the bell curve has the same singular idea. The world now looks like Japan during Golden Week. It's an optimal time to check into a luxe experience close to home and accessible by ground transportation. Avoid the hassle, discomfort, high expense and (most especially) the chaos.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Travel firms thrown into confusion over rules as Japan reopens to foreign tourists See in context

Make it as difficult as possible to come, that’s the big plan. Then nobody comes!

Exactly…tell the world you’re open, but a wink wink to the xenophobic LDP base that none of the nasty filthy foreigners will actually come.

They've been doing that since Perry. You mean nobody's noticed? There are many insidious ways to exclude others which wear a friendly face and the guise of omotenashi.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Posted in: Japanese etiquette lesson: Should you fold up your own futon when leaving a ryokan? See in context

No matter what you might wish to do out of consideration for the host or staff, if you're not Japanese you're going to get it wrong. Don't be an a$$hole, but don't waste your energy or time trying to be "helpful" either. It's not going to "help." Leave your room without a second thought. Forget about it. They're not going to remember you. And if perchance they do, who cares? You're likely thousands of kilometers away. There's way way way too much weight given to Japanese rules that are irrelevant anywhere else.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Posted in: Green options transforming a wedding industry prone to waste See in context

Too much emphasis and cost is allocated to the wedding and too little on the marriage. Couples might wish to consider budgeting for simpler ceremonies and invest the savings for greater returns or apply them to activities that they do together as a couple throughout their marriage. The grand wedding is a marketing ploy by a predatory industry that offers fairy dust and princess dreams that don't serve people well at all.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo medical school ordered to pay 13 women over exam rigging See in context

That has to be one of the most counter productive arguments I’ve ever seen, they are better and should be hobbled to allow less evolved males to get through? Oh my god.

In patriarchies it has ever been thus. As old as the myth of Atalanta and Hippomenes. Women must be distracted so that men can "win." The man's prize for this cheat is to marry the woman, keeping her firmly under his rule.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Climber from Japan dies after falling into crevasse in Alaska See in context

I'm sure his dream was to do the climb and stay alive afterward.

Exactly. And maybe enjoy bragging rights.

But people have to say something as cliché as it might be. Still, a clichés don't enter the lexicon without some inherent element of truth. I remember saying to a friend who'd arranged a meal of fugu for us before my departure, "Well, if I die, at least I die in Japan. I'll die happy."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: 3 fall to their deaths from cliff while rock climbing See in context

78 is too old for rock climbing (Zichi)

78 is too old to drive to rock climbing (Master)

 ...if you ever leave the height interval you are destined to live in as a human being... You surely very quickly get into serious trouble. (Sven)

Ha! Immediate default to ageism--the prevailing and toxic point of view. Expected that as soon as I read the headline. You can die from being pushed over in a parking lot--at age 16. Or fall from a two-step ladder while painting a room--in your thirties. (Actual people in my circle to whom this happened.)

Or you can engage in all kinds of activities and live a long and fulfilled life--however it might end, and it will.

Please read Bolder: Making the Most of Our Longer Lives by Carl Honore, bestselling author of In Praise of Slow. Learn about the history of ageism, the numerous myths and falsehoods societies perpetuate regarding people who live long lives, and the way such flawed perceptions cause actual harm to people. For example: Did you know that doctors routinely fail to diagnose treatable conditions in patients because they dismiss the "complaint" as "a natural part of getting old"? Yup. They've studied that. People die from such cavalier dismissal--more often than they do rock climbing, I suspect.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Essential things I’ve learned from raising kids in Japan See in context

...it all came very naturally to me, which doesn't seem all that strange given humans have been raising kids of millions of years, you really would think such behaviour would be built in.

Alas, it isn't. For those whose upbringing was dysfunctional and/or abusive or whose cultural expectations don't allow for flexibility in response to each child, any "natural" instincts (if they exist) may have been severely damaged.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Matcha cake from one of Japan’s top tea towns has a one-month wait, but is it worth it? See in context

Marketing. Mystification. Hype.

All about saying you've had some, not that it was any good.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Understanding Valentine’s Day (and White Day) in Japan See in context

A soulless quid pro arrangement. A Western idea appropriated for profit just as Christmas for Kentucky Fried Santa Claus and Christmas Eve romantic date night have been.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

Posted in: Delta asks DOJ to put unruly passengers on no-fly list See in context

Maybe, but the booze might help some of them to sleep instead of cause problems.

Alcohol is not the most effective sleep aid and the side effects of nasty drunks are unpleasant. A little Ativan helps to calm people down if anxiety is the issue. If it's sleep they want, 3.5 mg of Zopiclone/Imovane provides 4-5 blissful hours and allows them to waken refreshed. No fuzzy-headedness afterwards. Best tool ever, that, for beating jetlag and kicking the body into the new time zone within a few days.

A time-limited no-fly list for disrupters ought to be a sobering deterrent.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: One of Tokyo’s best museums is closing and won’t be open again for years See in context

I have always enjoyed my visits there and hope that it will reopen on schedule.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Kyoto primatologist advocates a daily 'smartphone Ramadan' to keep priorities in perspective See in context

I agree that time apart from the phone is a good idea. Turn off the sound, put it in another room as it charges, rest the eyes from the phone's light, and especially don't look at the phone when speaking with others (I often see the latter with people using laptops to contact me via video calls).

However, I don't recommend leaving the phone behind to "go downtown." The sound can still be turned off and people can enjoy their surroundings which I believe is the intent here. But without a phone there is no way to deal with an emergency should one occur, make a record of something with a quick snap or find a resource that might be needed.

I learned this lesson--and it took only once. I meant to cross the street from my apartment to pick up an item in a shop and thought to leave the phone behind. However, my gut said take it. On my return, as I inserted my key, the lock jammed. With the phone I could contact a mobile locksmith who was there in 20 minutes to dismantle the broken lock and replace it. Easy peasy. No need to find a neighbour, borrow a phone, blah, blah blah. I never leave my home without my phone.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: What’s the true reason for Japanese train delays classed as 'customer support?' See in context

What else--exactly--do people need to know? If there is potential danger there's no way of knowing as it has not happened yet. If there is actual danger causing a delay that delay is elsewhere and not relevant to the people being informed that the train will not arrive at the expected time. Thoughtful of them to say so, frankly.

With the gazillions of people passing through Japan's railway stations daily, it's only logical to realize that delays are inevitable. Delay is a normal part of life. Period. It's amazing that there are so few in Japan. The statistics are astonishing.

Since trains in Japan offer notes concerning delays for employers, what's the problem? If a timely arrival is critical for any given appointment or occasion, then perhaps allowing a grace period and arriving early might be a desirable option.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Long wallet or bifold? What your wallet says about you in Japan See in context

Why the comments on wallets? Why not the shallow criteria used to eliminate a man as a contender for a relationship?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Postal worker arrested for dumping 7,000 undelivered mail items, including vaccination tickets See in context

Tough job day after day bringing unwanted bills and advertisements to people.

There's a great deal of truth in that. My mailbox was routinely filled with superfluous junk advertising all sorts of stuff I didn't need or want. But there it was. Every day. It went straight from the mailbox to the recycle bin provided. A waste of finite resources.

Perhaps force advertisers to hire (and I know some do) their own couriers and ensure that the postal system deals with legitimate mail.

Good luck with getting things like vaccine tickets delivered online. Perhaps a better chance if they went via fax. (Wink-wink!)

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: Hong Kong police switch to goose-stepping 'to show patriotism' See in context

And very strange how patriotism is a good word in USA, but a dirty word when applied to China.

That depends on whose point of view and during what time in history. Patriot wasn't a good word to the Crown or to Loyalists during the time of the American Revolution. It was synonymous with rebel and traitor. Of course, once the Patriots/Rebels won, the word was rebranded to mean the good guys. Had the war gone the other way, so would that connotation.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: End-of-life conversations can be hard, but your loved ones will thank you See in context

Speaking as someone who was the Executrix for the Estates of both my parents, I can say that the last duty I was able to perform for them was made much "easier" due to their careful planning. Both had current Last Will and Testaments, had designated of Power of Attorney, compiled Living Wills (which is what wishes concerning their end of life treatment are called in my province) and provided a file of detailed instructions concerning funeral services. Each also had purchase a pre-paid cremation plan as I also do now. When travelling, I make sure to purchase insurance which includes repatriation of remains and the company holding my plan will look after everything.

Being the person responsible for carrying out the final wishes of the deceased is not an easy task. It is filled with all manner of red tape, rules one isn't aware of, procedures which are unfamiliar and events which can be deeply affecting emotionally. The closer the relationship the more devastating it can be. Therefore, I would urge everyone to make such a plan as a kindness to the ones they love who will be left behind. I would urge everyone to learn the law in their own jurisdiction and prepare properly.

Then again, if you hate your relatives: Stick it to them. I don't know how delicious revenge might be when you're cold, but you might enjoy the taste while here.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Quiet reminder See in context

A machine telling me for the umpteenth time stuff that is obvious to everyone, no thanks.

But generally I find Japan to be an excessively noisy country esp re announcements of all kinds.

So true. And excruciating as the same loop plays over and over. Get two side by side escalators going with a safety announcement at different intervals as different riders get on and off, and its counterpoint on crack.

But that's Japan. Absurd contradictions co-existing at so many levels.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

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