philly1 comments

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.

2 ( +2 / -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.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

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.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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.

2 ( +2 / -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.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Posted in: Trump pledges support for return of Japanese abducted by N Korea See in context

I don't get it though, what advantage does the North have in keeping them?

It establishes a climate of fear. It's a form of terrorism. Though these things happened in the past--even too long ago for some to care about--the threat that it might happen again remains and is ever present.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Australian mother reflects on 'lunchbox shame' she felt from her son’s Tokyo preschool teacher See in context

Sorry. That's something you want parents to discourage

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Australian mother reflects on 'lunchbox shame' she felt from her son’s Tokyo preschool teacher See in context

As it included a muffin which is high in sugar and fat and essentially a dessert-style treat (unless it's homemade to healthier specifications), the Aussie sandwich lunch was not perhaps the "healthiest" lunch. However, it's not an "unhealthy" lunch either. It's simply not a Japanese-style lunch.

It's very hard going against the Japanese norms and doing things your own way. I know. And while I'm not impolite about it, I go about doing things my own way unless I'm convinced that the Japanese way is the better way. That said, it's no easy feat. In the Borg Collective resistance is futile--a worthy transliteration of shoganai.

Besides, making meals too cute can have a serious downside. It cultivates fussy eaters who won't, for example, eat an apple that's slightly bruised or hasn't been cut a certain way. That leads to the enormous levels of food waste--not only in Japan but in other developed nations. That's not something you want parents to discourage.

Yes, food preparation is equated with love (in many cultures, not only Japan); however, there are other meaningful ways to show love than a Hello Kitty rice ball.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Posted in: Melania Trump colors fish with kids at digital museum See in context

"Be Best" is the name of a program the First Lady started. It's short, bunchy and alliterative. "Be Your Best" would be a bit long, trite and boring for a name. She made the right choice.

Sometime English teachers surprise me with their lack of appreciation for the rhythm of language, instead focusing on pedantic rules. Live a little!

In English usage there are numerous occasions--especially when using the imperative (commanding) form--when a subject (you/your) or even an article (the) is dropped. (You) Live a little! in the quote above is a prime example.

Therefore, Be (your) Best or Be (the) Best is perfectly acceptable as it is not part of a formal piece of writing. Numerous exceptions are fine for informal speech or when used as a punchy slogan.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Posted in: Trump attends sumo; gives President's Cup to winner Asanoyama See in context

Asanoyama said he was very happy to receive it.

Of course. What else could he say? That said, it might mean something along the line of you use chopsticks or you speak Japanese very well. Something which must be said but its sincerity might well be doubted.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Trump arrives in Tokyo; meets Japanese business leaders See in context

I wish one of Trump's staff or the U.S. ambassador would tell him to pronounce Abe's name properly. He keeps calling him Abi.

Give it up. Trump can't properly pronounce a good deal of English. Don't expect him to master a single syllable of Japanese. It's too much for his stable genius mind.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan to stop labeling people unmarried at 50 as 'lifelong singles' See in context

What's wrong with simply being 'single' if one is not currently married? Age is irrelevant. Whether one's single status is due to divorce, death of a spouse, inability to marry a partner of same gender, lack of opportunity to create relationships due to work demands, or personal choice not to marry really doesn't matter. Married. Not married. It could be that simple.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Posted in: Group referred to prosecutors for bed prank at Shibuya crossing See in context

What if there were pregnant lady, elderely couples, lady with pram?

What if there were? So what? They're given no consideration or respect much less a seat on a train which is specifically designated for them. Oh no. The standard practice is to fill those spaces with oblivious sleeping louts or able-bodied people using their mobile phones.

Why would anyone up-level their game in Shibuya crossing?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Group referred to prosecutors for bed prank at Shibuya crossing See in context

They were in and out of the scramble before the light turned. Was there any actual harm done? No.

Right. They did no more harm than anyone else stopping for selfies in that intersection.

Ah! But the stunt was a nail which stuck out. WHAM!!! BAM!!! Yokoso Japan!!!

Meanwhile in this nation of paradoxes people (possibly some of those who thought the prank "dangerous") walk while texting, transport their children on bicycles without wearing helmets, regularly take all sorts of risks and drunkenly puke in public.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Posted in: Renting a girlfriend in Japan: Relationship goals or just plain awkward? See in context

The whole video felt a little like an episode on Terrace House. The participants are acting in order to achieve a desired objective. Alas, without the comedians' commentary to make it worthwhile.

Come to think of it, dating is much the same. With or without the camera (though most would work a selfie in somehow). Even an effort to make friends in Japan can be similar. Often the encounter is little more than a pre-programmed script from English class. It's not helpful that I know very little Japanese--I fully realize my responsibility for that par ot the disconnect.

Add in the cultural divide and the numerous ways to step into minefields on account of the differences in manners. Then mix in the ambiguities and difficulties with translations not being nuanced quite the same way in Japanese or the other language. It's a wonder people connect, much less stay connected for any length of time at all.

Though I never got around to making the call, when I lived in Tokyo to study for several months at a time, I considered using this type of service. I didn't know a soul in the city and to join a gentleman for an evening of jazz or lively conversation would have been lovely sometimes. Fortunately, now and again during my travels I have lucked into free English-speaking tour guides who have provided scintillating conversation on a wide range of subjects beyond the particulars of the historical site being toured. Manna from heaven!

There are all kinds of needs in this world. That there are people who create businesses to meet them, so long as no one is being exploited and the service is within the law, I say bring it on.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Police checking dash cam over car accident that left 2 toddlers dead See in context

In and interview I recently heard Yoko Tawada, an award-winning Japanese writer, state that those Japanese who have never lived abroad are quite unaware of the dangers in their environment. She described it that it's as if they are sleepwalking. I concur. It's the best description I've ever heard from a national who recognizes that Japan is not as safe as it believes itself to be.

I have often stood and gaped at numerous instances of extreme disregard for children's safety I have observed in Japan. Adults also routinely pay little attention to their own. Many of these practices would not happen elsewhere. For example, in this tragic instance the article states

There were no guardrails or curbs at the intersection. *

I cannot imagine childcare personnel in my country (or many others) taking toddlers--or children of any age--for a walk in traffic under any circumstances.

I imagine that there were "sidewalks;" however, I also know that many so-called sidewalks in Japan are merely lines painted on pavement less than a meter away from both the house butting up against the street and the street itself. To use such a "sidewalk" pedestrians often must choose whether to strut like a heron through flower pots place in it or walk in the area designated for traffic. It's a danger which is routine and thereby normalized because it is ubiquitous.

My heart bleeds for these children, their families and the caregivers also injured. However, will such practices stop? I suspect not. In fact, I'd place a sizeable bet that the same daycare will consider it a "terrible accident" and will follow the same route with more children at some not too distant future date.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Posted in: Australian court finds man guilty of plotting to blow up airliner See in context

 Granny Smith never tried to blow up an airplane.


I'm all for profiling and random checking simultaneously & rigorously. I'm also for paying security personnel high enough wages to discourage any temptation to collusion with terrorists as well as running security personnel through constant security checks. Forces investigating terrorist plots should be well funded, too.

It's one of those areas such as flight, food, or medical safety. Multiple layers of checks are required. Reassurances of optimal personal safety are of utmost importance to any free society.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Parents bring newborns to ER for many non-urgent reasons See in context

The ordinary person without medical know-how has no idea. Of course, newest parents are going to be frightened by numerous things.

How difficult would it be to post reassuring videos online with quick tips of what to expect and which ones might require a trip to emergency? Prior to birth the parents could watch and learn and be better prepared.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: 120 interviews later, photographer releases book about Japanese ‘hafu’ identity See in context

Why not bi-racial, bi-cultural, multi-racial or multi-cultural?

Nelson Mandela in his 2010 book Conversations with Myself argued in favour of a non-racial world. I stand with him.

Race is a cultural construct used to separate and diminish others. But like sexism and other nasty isms, racism and racially-based thinking isn't going away anytime soon. Especially not now with the rise of right-wing nationalism and religious wars fomenting world wide.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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