Japan Today

philly1 comments

Posted in: Naomi Osaka withdraws from Melbourne tournament semifinal See in context

Are we supposed to be sympathetic?

Compassion as a default position from which to consider others, whatever their circumstances, has always been a desirable character trait. Derision and scorn, not so much.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: 2 elderly people die, 4 taken to hospital after choking on mochi in Tokyo See in context

Certainly doesn’t sound like it from the description, more like a cross between rice chewing gum and rubberised super glue?

Excellent description of the stuff. I'd rather eat natto. At least that has an agreeable taste along with health benefits. But, like anything else, people--whether Japanese or non-Japanese--like what they like.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Spending New Year’s alone? Restaurant has special one-person 'kosechi' meals See in context

Looks like this restaurant is for those lonely pets kept in the cage.

More than a bit harsh, no? And what makes people who are in groups, couples or family units better than those who are single? Why should people who are single miss out on the culinary pleasures and celebrations of a season or tradition because they are single? Why shouldn't savvy businesses recognize a niche and fill it?

While I was studying in Tokyo (where I didn't know a soul) and spent the Christmas/New Year season there, I ordered a kosechi set simply to experience that tradition for myself, but it was expensive. This option is an affordable way to savour a little seasonal joy and mark an important milestone in a year.

For single people to miss out on important occasions isn't good for mental health. Let's be happy that someone is thoughtful enough to provide this kind of service.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Panel recommends no change to male-only emperor system See in context

How wonderful that after 20 years of pre-meetings to pre-meetings before the actual meeting a conclusion has been reached.

Change? In Japan? Nope. (Whew! Dodged that bullet again.)

15 ( +24 / -9 )

Posted in: Mother to sue 'Terrace House' TV network, producer over daughter's suicide See in context

philly1Today 09:01 am JST

Hana was a lovely girl with a zest for life, an endearing fierceness and shattering naivety. A tragic loss. God rest her tortured soul.

What a fantastic eulogy, strikes just the right tone and is not at all creepy.

Thank you, Ego. Hers is such a complex and multi-faceted story which I choose to view from a point of compassion (as well as the insights gained over a much longer lifetime than she enjoyed). So many factors play into this tragedy. Personality, mental health, social/cultural expectations, family dynamics, the entertainment industry, online freedom to abuse others and more. Even the most famous global superstars are not free of these challenges. What surprises me most as I read the comments thread and view the +/- clicks is how divisive the story is.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Mother to sue 'Terrace House' TV network, producer over daughter's suicide See in context

Television shows of this type are happy to exploit the personnel they engage cast. At the very least, all candidates should receive a thorough education as to the reality of online remarks and how to deal with them in the form of counselling and filtering of the content coming their way. All actors who work to entertain others ought to have teams to support and manage their social media presence as well as filter out the haters. Networks' first responsibility should be to their employees and the protection of those employees.

Saying that they should have to suck it up and put up with it as it's the price of fame is the same as saying people who work in customer complaint departments should expect abuse and accept it. More and more service providers now have signage indicating that abusive language and behavior will not be tolerated. Nor should it be.

Hana was a lovely girl with a zest for life, an endearing fierceness and shattering naivety. A tragic loss. God rest her tortured soul.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

Posted in: Not holding a funeral service can cause feelings of regret or guilt among bereaved families, and it will take longer for them to recover from their sorrow. See in context

I can see both sides of the argument for holding or not holding a formal funeral service. I arranged both (Christian) services for my very practical parents who had made pre-paid cremation plans with a local company which was a great help to me. No fighting with the siblings. (That came after over the terms of the Will.)

In addition, both were members of a church which handled all the details of the service and the personnel to organize the reception. Of course, there were some choices to make and a small fee for that, but it was all humble and beautiful with much less stress than having to mount up all of that myself. Grieving relatives often are too distraught and do not have the skill set to do all of that, most especially during a deeply emotional time.

The value of a service (if done beautifully as ours was) is the contribution of the people who attend. My father mentored a great number of young men over his lifetime and the church was packed 200 attendees many of whom had traveled a great distance. One after another they spoke at the reception, sharing stories of how my father had touched their lives. In the case of my mother, it was mainly nephews and family members who spoke of her compassion during times of great stress in their lives, her many talents and the joy that knowing her had brought to their lives.

As children we seldom see our parents the way outsiders to the immediate family do. I cannot speak for my siblings, but I found the experience very comforting. No one likes to attend a funeral--especially a poorly planned and executed one--but if done properly the memory of the experience can be uplifting. When communities were smaller and rural this was an event shared by everyone who supported the bereaved in practical ways as well. In that respect, losing the opportunity to share in mourning adds to one's loss.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Kick back after a hard day with a thirst-quenching bottle of Insect Sour See in context

200 million bugs for every single human.

And probably with the highest concentration of pesticides and herbicides in their bodies.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: See Tokyo’s holiday illuminations from the comfort of a taxi with the Tokyo Night Cruise See in context

A nice enough idea for those to whom such a service holds appeal or if walking is a challenge. However, as someone who has lived in Tokyo through that season and enjoyed many of the key illuminated spots, there's nothing like hopping a train and walking along the lit up avenues and venues in the crisp winter air to feel it and enjoy gentle exercise as well. Most of the destinations are not difficult to get to, and I much preferred spending part of an evening outside and topping it of with a drink somewhere nearby than hunkered in my 30 m bedsit glued to a screen with the AC blasting down on my head.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Receive a selection of sake in your mailbox each month with SAKE POST See in context

...the hundreds of different varieties [of sake] stocking the shelves can at times be so overwhelming that we find ourselves skulking out of the store without having purchased anything. On other occasions, the large selection to choose from can be so tempting that we end up spending more yen than we had originally anticipated...

Despite these downfalls....

The vacillating mental state of the writer/customer is only a downfall for that individual. One solution to such chronic indecision is to seek out a sake bar and over time begin sampling and making note of the brands one prefers. Then buy those from the stores.

Or, if viable, visit local breweries to sample their line up and proactively support local businesses by purchasing from them.

That said, the subscription service is another alternative for the easily overwhelmed consumer. Even so, a large selection of sake in a Japanese store can't be called a "downfall" or a reason which makes such a service any better than the other options.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: France issues arrest warrant for Japanese woman over 'parental kidnapping' See in context

French authorities issued the international warrant over allegations of parental abduction and endangering a minor

A bit over the top if you ask me. Endangering the minor how exactly? She is the mother.

Obviously and sadly, the better parent isn't always the mother. In this case (as in other similar instances), she is a mother who fails to understand the psychological damage to a child who is denied access to the other parent--in this instance a father. Abandonment issues can be extremely damaging and require years of therapy to address and overcome in children who are deprived of a father's love, example, support and ongoing relationship. This in turn gets passed on to their children.

In addition, except for criminal action against one's child, a basic human right of any parent ought to be the right to contact with their biological and adopted child(ren). If warranted, under supervision, but a right all the same. Another basic human right ought to be the right of a child to refuse contact with a parent, but never one parent's right to deny access to the other parent.

29 ( +31 / -2 )

Posted in: JR East launches bullet train 'office cars' for teleworking See in context

In 2018 I travelled from Tokyo to Akita in a single day, a journey of several hours each way. While I preferred to enjoy the scenery and relax during the daytime, it was diverting as well as time-saving to be able to use the return trip through the blackness outside to work at my computer. However, the warnings on the Internet connection were clear. Privacy was at risk on connections which were not secure. Therefore, you might as well take off the flimsy paraphernalia and be comfortable as the so-called privacy is a fiction.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Domino’s Japan’s new sextuple topping pizzas come with special chopsticks to eat them See in context

These pizzas come with six times the normal amount of toppings.

Why not just put it all in a trough? This is little more than another way to market unnecessary and unhealthy excess as something desirable.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Man dies after wife hits him with plastic bottle filled with water See in context

The thing she hit him with was hard enough to break a rib.

Especially if he was fragile from osteoporosis. It wouldn't take much. Tragic for both of them--his physical deterioration and suffering as well as her mental health and inability to cope. Both without the support they needed at a time in their lives when they needed it most. Who knows how much each of them contributed to their communities and families in their prime years? Now this is how their legacy will be told. Compassion: There but for fortune go you or I.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Foreign researchers facing stricter quarantine; 'jailed' in hotel See in context

I don't think I'd mind spending 14 days for free in a luxury hotel. 

Also, who's cleaning the rooms and changing the sheets?

Conditions vary. If you are a couple and are lucky enough to be permitted to stay together in a larger suite type room with desk, large screen TV and sofa in an upscale hotel, reports of such experiences are not that bad. Food, fresh linens delivered to the suite and garbage removal daily was part of the service. No cleaning though.

On the other hand, if you are in a no frills business style hotel where the bed stretches across the room with a small TV on a desk without fresh linen or cleaning and food garbage was not removed either during the entire stay, needless to say the place began to stink. People were also not allowed fresh air as it was forbidden to open the window.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Posted in: Dementia sufferers gain purpose from return to Japan's workforce See in context

Just make sure you count your change when you got to those convenience store, not sure they'll counted right.

If you read the details, they are not serving customers, so they won't be handling cash.

14 ( +19 / -5 )

Posted in: Mako's marriage casts shadow on imperial succession debate See in context

Oscar Wilde wrote: We used to have the rack. Now we have the press. That was in the 1890s. Social media is the press on steroids. Little good comes from haters and trolls.

23 ( +26 / -3 )

Posted in: The dark side of ramen See in context

I thought it was going to be an article about how unhealthy it is for people with gout or for people with salt issues.

Right. I wouldn't cross the street for it. Never understood the mystique when there's infinitely better cuisine to be had all throughout Japan. Not a popular opinion, I know. Fully prepared for the hate.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: Mount Aso volcano erupts See in context

Too much volcano! :D

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: How your emotional response to the pandemic changed your behavior and sense of time See in context

I wonder what other factors played into the emotional states that seem to influence the perception of time. Aside from extraverts likely suffering more than introverts during a pandemic, there may be other factors at play such as: 1. Financial security, 2. Intimacy and harmony verses aggravation and hostility between others sharing the space inhabited, 3. The beauty and spaciousness of the place of confinement, 4. The level of responsibility for others from whom people were separated, 5. The ability or inability to pursue hobbies or access green space during confinement.

Doubtless there are more. Having heard first hand accounts of people who were quarantined in hotels (which is but a fraction of the pandemic experience), their emotional response seemed greatly influenced by the circumstances--unable to open a window or garbage (including food) not removed from the 12 meter square room for the duration, or enjoying a spacious suite with excellent services and fresh linen daily. There'd be a parallel for people stuck in their homes, I'm sure.

Even under the best of conditions and with a positive attitude it's not impossible for emotions to tank over the course of restrictions amid uncertainties which have lasted so long.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Ready for Christmas See in context

This jumping the season is insane. This year I noticed "Back to School" merchandise promoted before classes had recessed for the summer. The underbelly of capitalism and commercialism.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Rare sports car Toyota 2000GT makes a comeback as limited edition wireless mouse See in context

Cool idea.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Kishida vows to lead with 'trust and empathy' to fix Japan See in context

Change Japan? Odds on this are so slim the bookies won't look at it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Princess Mako's boyfriend arrives from U.S. for wedding See in context

My J family can turn silence into a discreet form of attrition. 

Yes. Exactly. Power dynamics (aka bullying) 101. Manipulation by passive aggression. Ergo emotional abuse.

Show respect, you advise. Hmm. Expose your throat, you mean.

There are other choices. Not easy ones, but choices all the same.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Couple arrested after remains of miscarried baby found in refrigerator See in context

There is a great deal of clarity lacking in this report. Absolutely shoddy journalism with a clickbait headline. The delivery occurred at home but was the pregnancy carried to full term and the child stillborn? Or did a living child die shortly after birth? Or did the woman miscarry a late-term child which died in utero prematurely? Or was it mid-term miscarriage?

Whatever the case, my sympathies and condolences to the couple. Anyone who has been in the position of dealing with remains not carried to term outside of a hospital setting--and it happens often at many stages of fetal development--will respond with compassion.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Man sent to prosecutors for posting abusive comments online about mother of late ‘Terrace House’ star See in context

What is "hate speech" and "bullying" is completely subjective.

If that were the case the nations that have laws in place to address hate speech within the context of free speech would be unable to prosecute hate crimes. However, they do. Successfully. With the burden of proof. Any freedom that social order affords also carries the burden of responsibility and must not be confused with anarchy.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: U.S. tennis star Sloane Stephens shares abusive social media posts See in context

When advising people to "get off social media" those who do so may be forgetting that the fans' hunger for tweets and posts is a cash cow for anyone with subscribers in high numbers. As for managing the abusive messages that invites, that's harder to navigate. You'd need to be a psychopath to shrug it off.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: TEPCO to build undersea tunnel to release Fukushima water; gov't to buy marine products See in context


Make that number one on the "unique" to Japan roster.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: U.S. flight attendants report high frequency of unruly passengers See in context

Airplanes are the new Greyhound bus 

They have been for years. People simply haven't phrased it that way. Tubes that travel on air where highways aren't available. Nothing glamorous about it. Simply a means to get from A to B in a short period of time.

Conditions have become infinitely worse as airlines cram more people onto flights, decrease the space and remove comforts such as cushioning and leg room. Even average sized people's knees now butt into the backs of the seat in front of them. This does not help to encourage civility.

People, too, are problematic. Hour after hour with a shrieking baby that cannot be calmed. Intoxicated and belligerent adults. Inability of people to self-soothe or find serenity for a few hours under less than optimal conditions. A general lack of empathy and manners.

I doubt there are easy solutions for any of it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: What is umami, the mysterious taste of Japanese cooking? See in context

Must be something unique again.

Funny how easily unique can be boring.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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