philly1 comments

Posted in: Sarcastic Koike says: Let's hold Olympic marathon on Russian-held islands See in context

"It came out of the blue," Koike is also quoted by the official as saying at the gathering of the Tokyo branch of the nation's largest labor organization, in an apparent expression of displeasure over the IOC's plan.

That explains it. There wasn't a pre-meeting (never mind multiple pre-meetings). The cultural difference between opting to change on the fly and thwarting change that does not proceed through established channels.

The quip was funny.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Posted in: High on ease, low on nutrition: Instant-noodle diet harms Asian kids See in context

The noodles, which cost as little as 23 U.S. cents a packet in Manila, are low on essential nutrients and micronutrients like iron and are also protein-deficient while having high fat and salt content, Mutunga added.

Also important is that any flavour in the packets is chemical. Also unhealthy. Great money maker for the noodle manufacturer though.

Another factor to consider is this: About 20 years ago I learned of a case in Canada where a university student who was unable to cook for himself subsited on instant noodles for all his meals. He became one of only two cases of scurvy as a result.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Typhoon victims felt worst was over; then floods came See in context

Preventing floods is impossible. However, it is possible to rebuild on stilts above previously known water marks.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Naomi Osaka picks Japanese citizenship with eye on Olympics: NHK See in context

 ...would she really be happy in Japan for the rest of her life?

She doesn't have to stay in Japan for the rest of her life in order to be a Japanese citizen. Numerous Japanese live elsewhere without giving up their citizenship.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Canadian father sues Japanese firm for paternity leave harassment See in context

... he's referred to as Canadian despite being a resident of Japan for three decades

Authorization to live in Japan and three decades residence in Japan doesn't mean he has Japanese citizenship. If that's the case he remains Canadian.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: JAL reprimanded for 2nd time over pilots' drinking See in context

At this point, government mandated, every pilot every time, independent, stringent pre-flight testing ought to be mandatory. First infraction of an individual should result in a hefty fine to JAL (or any other airline) as well as automatic grounding for a year with treatment for the person. Second infraction, a heftier fine to the company and dismissal of the individual.

How can a company play Russian roulette with passengers' lives this way and get a free pass?

In addition, passengers need to send the message on this issue and boycott JAL flights. Knowing what you know, don't assume that "Japan is safe," ergo so is JAL. Take another airline. Internally, take the train.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Foreign tourists in Kyoto reminded of etiquette via smartphones See in context

This should really come as no surprise. As most of you ought to know, Japan has a massive gaijin hangup and needs its regular fixes of news that show how badly foreigners are screwing up their country and corrupting their incredibly unique heritage. This will help them keep that needed feeling of superiority and put things right again. You should also know that no Japanese has ever done any of the things listed in the article because, well, they just don't do things like that or make mistakes.

Indeed. I'd love to see a study of national "news." I suspect we would see an average of several such worn out "news items" per week when tallied. Yawn.

That said, I once witnessed numerous tourists swarming and invading the personal space (less than a meter) of a pair of children (likely 3 and 5) dressed in kimono to snap their picture. The parents were some distance away and did nothing to intervene, but at times the children looked quite nervous.

I thought both the tourists' and the parents' action/inaction inappropriate, even reprehensible.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Is premium economy airfare worth the money? See in context

Given the prices quoted above you would be better off buying three economy seats for the price of one premium economy seat and making yourself a nice bed out of them.

Creative idea, however, you are supposed to keep your seatbelt on for your own safety in case of unexpected turbulence. Might be a little uncomfortable trying to strap down.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Man arrested for injuring woman who was texting while walking See in context

I actually only got the shoulder bump once in Shibuya. The guy was trying to teach me a lesson not to walk the wrong way that the floor arrows showed.

Indeed. When very peeved about it I stand my ground as the locals approach the wrong way and point to the arrow. I get tired of all the complaints against "foreigners" who don't know how to behave in Japan.

I can't recall doing it for a cell phone user. However, those who text and cycle while threading through pedestrians on sidewalks are even more obnoxious and dangerous. Mind you, I won't deliberately get in their way as it's too easy to get seriously hurt.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Fans allowed to bring food after shortages at Rugby World Cup venues See in context

Great trial run for the Olympics. Organizers take note....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Stand and be delivered: Japan's evolving escalator etiquette See in context

... even stairs have rules, like direction arrows that everybody, especially tourists seem to ignore.

Sure, in areas that are packed with tourists, perhaps that happens. Yes, it's a nuisance, but it's not the end of the world. Especially since away from tourist hot spots and in various local neighbourhoods, I find way more locals ignoring the stairway rules than non-existent tourists. Since I am a non-national I take extra care not to flaunt the conventions; however, I regularly found people walking two and three abreast in "my lane."

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Posted in: Message to Japanese media: 'Stop asking people to open their fridges during a blackout' See in context

In the usual, small Japanese refrigerators, who has space for dry ice?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Alcohol detected in JAL pilot’s system before takeoff See in context

Excellent! Airlines need to show their passengers that they take their safety seriously. Firing him is the only appropriate action to take. Five whisky sours and wine? Unbelievable.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese court hears case on 'paternity harassment' See in context

Oh yeah, and sick leave as well as long term disability as required....

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese court hears case on 'paternity harassment' See in context

I don't see most companies having the resource to provide the same flexibility of having a empty positions for a year.

Funny, in places that are not Japan it's done and works just fine. Employees on leave are covered by term-specific, contracted workers to fill the empty spot. Then when the leave is up the employee returns to his or her job. That works for various kinds of leaves--maternity, paternity, bereavement, study or sabbatical.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Posted in: A guide to using the JR Pass See in context

The passes are great if you are going longer distances. If you know which cities you wish to visit you can calculate the cost of the fare using Hyperdia. You'll soon find out whether you need a pass or not. Plus, Hyperdia lists which trains are JR trains.

The writer points out that if activated in the evening that counts as a day. It's also wise to calculate which day of your journey to activate the pass if you are staying longer than the duration of the pass. That allows you to arrange all your long haul trips to be covered by the pass.

I have used the pass to take day trips from a home base in Kyoto, Kanazawa, and Tokyo. It's very handy as you don't need to pack up or take a new hotel every night. Leave early, return late and save money doing so.

Also, some passes can now be bought within Japan. Check the website for details. Recently, while living in Tokyo for a few months, I travelled to Yonezawa. When I booked the reservation for the round trip the agent informed me that it would cost me less to purchase a JR East Pass which would entitle me to 5 trips within 7 days. As I happened to have time off, I used the 3 extra trips offered by the pass to take day trips to parts I otherwise wouldn't have paid to see. That gave me about 52,000 yen worth of additional travel. Definitely worth it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: 2 court cases highlight paternity leave issue in Japan See in context

Were I the workforce-fairy and could I wave a magic wand over the problem I would suggest these steps as people--companies, bosses, managers, workers--need incentives.

Minimum paternity and maternity leaves should be mandatory by law.

Then there ought to be an equal maximum period for each.

Companies who can show how many workers are taking their minimum leaves would receive compensation in tax breaks.

Companies who can show that their workers are taking more than the minimum would receive greater compensation in tax breaks.

After minimum leave is exhausted, the workers who choose not take more than the minimum, must be given additional compensation in pay and receive tax breaks.

Companies shown to be not in compliance with the law must be fined heavily.

A company's business plan needs to reflect that economic reality.

If it does not cost the company anything if it fails to comply with the law, no amount of urging or "rights" in small print that are never enforced are useless.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Man arrested for memorizing over 1,300 customers’ credit card info, using it online See in context

Sure would be nice to have that aptitude. Would make memorizing kanji so much easier...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan looks to encourage paternity leave by raising subsidies See in context

Sorry....that should read "...the reality is anything but."

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan looks to encourage paternity leave by raising subsidies See in context

I must say that this is a good start,the government is acknowledging that paternity is as important as maternity.

Probably the only step. The headlines look positive even though the reality is nothing but. To avoid actual change, all that's required now is a few centuries of pre-meetings and meetings and post-meeting meetings to let the whole idea fizzle as not viable in Japan. Shoganai.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Mountain hikers warned to protect themselves amid spate of strandings See in context

Requiring climbers to wear some kind of signalling device might also be helpful. Easy enough to do now a days.

I don't understand the down-votes on the idea. Many experienced climbers--especially those who climb alone--carry very sophisticated, satellite-linked, tracking devices voluntarily.

Should they run into difficulty and not make their call-in appointment, search & rescue immediately knows where they are.

If they fall to their deaths (it happens even to highly experienced climbers) a recovery mission is saved the effort of an expensive, time-consuming and often highly dangerous search over a vast area.

Families of loved ones who are still "missing" on mountains are spared the anguish of not being able to bury or cremate their loved ones, as well as the additional expense of legal fees incurred in order to have the missing persons declared dead in order to settle estate matters

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Mountain hikers warned to protect themselves amid spate of strandings See in context

Requiring climbers to wear some kind of signalling device might also be helpful. Easy enough to do now a days.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

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.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

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.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: True kimono See in context

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

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

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.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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