Japan Today

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Posted in: Boy seriously injured after jumping from 4th floor of school building See in context

I don't want to sound cold, but with all the focus being put on trying to prevent bullying, I wonder if any emphasis has ever been put on making kids emotionally and mentally tougher. That is to say, jumping off a roof because a coach verbally reprimanded him sounds like these kids today have become too soft and sensitive. They need "thicker skins" so to speak to accept that in life, there are going to be times where you're going to have to face negativity from other people, but you can't just go jumping off a roof every time someone says or does something mean.

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Posted in: 'Beethoven of Japan' says he can hear again See in context

If nothing more, this guy must at least be a pretty good actor, if for the last several years he was able to fake being deaf and nobody noticed that he could hear.

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Posted in: Marvel’s mighty Avengers to become an anime See in context

I wonder if all the kid protagonists will be Japanese. It will be kind of strange having a Japanese kid transform into Captain "America."

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Posted in: One man killed, one hospitalized by passer-by who filmed their argument with car driver See in context

Well, it was nearly 4:30 AM on a Sunday morning, and the two guys were leaving a pub. Had probably been out all Saturday night drinking and were drunk when they left the pub. So one guy beating up two drunk, tired guys isn't really that big of a feat.

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Posted in: Abe takes a stand against parents naming their children Pikachu See in context

I think parents should have the right to name their children anything they want. I do not like to think that I would be refused to name my own child a name that had special meaning to me and my mate simply because the government felt it wasn't standard enough. The world is already filled with enough common, boring, mundane names like John, Mary, etc. Nothing wrong with wanting your child to have something a little different.

Me, my parents gave me a name that in my thirty plus years of life I've never personally met anyone face-to-face with the same name, and I was always thankful for that uniqueness. I always somewhat pitied the other kids in my classes with common names who often had several other kids in the class with the same name.

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Posted in: 90% agree with NHK decision not to invite Sachiko Kobayashi to 'Kohaku' - survey See in context

smithinjapan: Just a point of order that it was March 11th of last year referred to in the article, not the Sept 11 terrorist attacks.

That was a typing mistake, I knew that the article referred to March 11th, but out of habit I typed September 11th without realizing it.

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Posted in: 90% agree with NHK decision not to invite Sachiko Kobayashi to 'Kohaku' - survey See in context

I'm a bit confused. So this enka singer was not invited to be on this year's show simply because she fired her long-term business partner, on the grounds of wearing such lavish costumes (which I assume her manager was responsible for) was distasteful and a waste of money after September 11th? Is that a correct summary?

So ninety percent of the people on this survey think that not inviting her because she fired someone for this reason to be without "morality" or "dignity?"

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Posted in: Two-timing Shun Shioya reportedly proposed to one of his celebrity girlfriends See in context

This could all be summed up as: "young, popular, attractive 20-something-year-old unmarried actor found to be dating two women while deciding on which one he wants to marry."

I honestly don't see why it's a surprise or big deal.

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Posted in: Police say killer of 23-year-old nurse may have held a grudge See in context

Sounds to me that the ex-boyfriend's being out all Sunday afternoon and night with a friend was a convenient alibi. I hope the police are checking into said friend to make sure the stories of their whereabouts that Sunday afternoon and night match up.

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Posted in: Int'l marriages test ability to balance love with tolerance See in context

gonemadApr. 19, 2012 - 12:49AM JST Pardon my ignorance, but what's it all about these toilet seats?

It seems that most Japanese women (my own wife included) think that having the toilet seat up is gross, and always insist on keeping it down when not in use. It's like they think bacteria or other gross things are going to come up and crawl out of the toilet unless the lid is kept closed at all times. Similarly, I've heard many Japanese women say the same thing about Western style bathrooms that have the toilet and the bathtub in the same room, that it's gross because they hate thinking about the toilet being nearby while they are taking a bath.

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Posted in: Corporate in-house jocks now seen as a liability See in context

I'm actually a little confused by this article. Is the point that "jocks" are proving to not be ambitious enough and don't take enough initiative in their salaryman job roles, and that they should indeed be more ambitious and take more initiative rather than having to always be told what to do? Or is the point that modern jock employees now question their seniors too much and still don't do what they're told?

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Posted in: Some Japanese customs that may confuse foreigners See in context

Some Japanese girls cannot walk gracefully in high heels and end up walking pigeon-toed.

After years of living here, that is one that I still don't understand today. It's not just while walking or wearing high heels, for Japanese women are often pigeon-toed while sitting down and wearing sneakers, shoes, etc. What's up with that?

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Posted in: Did Jesus Christ live and die in northern Japan? See in context

I wonder if a Hebrew guy did perhaps travel to Aomori from the Middle East, and decided to use the stories of Jesus as himself to impress and entertain the locals. Kind of like those guys who try to impress girls by telling them stories of wondrously exciting things they did that were really done by their best friend (or even just seen on TV or in a movie).

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Posted in: Olympic judo champ Uchishiba indicted over teen rape See in context

Just to note, though 20 is the age of adulthood here, as far as I've read though she was a teenager she was of the age of consent for sex. A university student, so probably 18 or 19. The crime here seems to not be her age but that he supposedly had sex with her without her consent due to her being too drunk or asleep.

On a side note, since she wasn't of legal age to drink alcohol, I wonder why nobody is stating that the izakaya they were drinking at didn't check for ID? Probably because I've never seen an izakaya here that checks IDs when it comes to alcohol.

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Posted in: The weekend away that'll turn you into a superhero See in context

I've read that a lot of people end up dying from pneumonia after doing "waterfall meditation."

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Posted in: Christmas tree or holiday tree? See in context

This kind of thing is so silly. Christmas is and has always been a primarily Winter celebration that Christians just later associated with Jesus to make Christianity's spread more acceptable to the early European pagans. Yes, I'm sure that back in Jerusalem, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus were decorating evergreen trees and making snow angels and hanging up wreaths. Let's just accept the fact that despite the name, most of these Christmas traditions really have nothing to do with Jesus or Christian religion specifically.

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Posted in: Foldable robot scooter wows visitors at Tokyo Motor Show See in context

ReformedBasher Dec. 02, 2011 - 09:21AM JST : What's wrong with a normal scooter? It's probably a lot cheaper, takes up less space and can go faster than 30kpm, (which is suicidal on any open road, especially with something as bulky as these).

Like the idea but it does not appear to have much in the way of advantages?

Well the article says it's electrically-powered, so for those environmentally conscious folks who have the money to spend and would prefer not to add to air pollution, it might be ideal.

Anyhow, robotic vehicles able to "transform" so as to take up last space? I like where this is going.

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Posted in: Yokohama man fatally stabbed by wife's boss See in context

Of course it's just speculation, but I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't her plan all along: have an affair with her boss, manipulate him into madness so that he'd kill her husband and then himself. That way he takes all the blame, and she comes out as the widow collecting her late husband's insurance money, and free to do as she pleases. I wouldn't be surprised at all if it turns out she had some debts or something too.

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Posted in: Cyclists feel under siege with new rules See in context

Playing the devil's advocate here, on the other hand I find pedestrians in Japan to be some of the most unawares people in the world, which is why I'm not surprised by the high bicycle accident rate. They're always so distracted by talking to someone, looking at a sign/advertisement/restaurant/shop, or staring at their cell phone, book, PSP, or whatever else it is to ever notice anyone or anything coming towards them. And it's people of all ages, but especially teens in groups, female chatterbox duos, and old people. It frustrates me to no end just how common it is for people to be walking forward but be looking off to the side, or even straight down for some reason and never once do they look up from whatever they're doing to make sure that they're not about to walk into some kind of danger (or just another person). It's like I have to use my l33t ninja skills each day just to dodge and weave among the many other pedestrians who just walk about in a daze, never noticing anyone or anything outside the small bubble of their attention span.

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Posted in: A culture shock – generosity isn’t free See in context

ben4shortNov. 04, 2011 - 09:18AM JST: b) Japanese are simply afraid of the consequences (ostracism) of not being nice.

I have to completely agree with this point. I find a lot of people in Japan aren't necessarily polite because they're just so warm, friendly, and generous. But because it's an obligation and expectation for them to behave so, and they do not want others to gossip about them, ostracize them, or dislike them. It's more a matter of fitting in and doing what's traditionally expected rather than out of generosity.

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Posted in: If you had a baby with an AKB48 member, what would your child look like? See in context

How sick is this?!? Are not most of the AKB48 girls still children?

Most of them aren't still children, but it's still bizarre as hell.

I read once that the ages of all the AKB48 members ranged from 12 to 24, with the average being 17. So they may not all be children, but if the average is 17 then most of them are underage I guess. So yeah, I'm sure there'll be a number of guys curious about seeing what their baby would look like (and imagining the real process of making one) with some of the younger members.

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Posted in: Taxi driver killed after taxi goes off road onto train tracks below in Tokyo See in context

First crashing through a gate, going over the road, and luckily surviving the resulting fall and crash, only to then get hit by a speeding train. Sounds like something out of a Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote cartoon. Totally bad luck.

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Posted in: Single females mean big bucks to Japan tourism See in context

Though they weren't exactly tourists, years ago back in my home city I knew plenty of Japanese women in their late teens and early twenties who were living there for extended periods of time to do homestays, attend college as a study abroad type thing, or who were temporarily transferred by their company. I think a lot of Japanese women are a bit naive when it comes to traveling, as I was surprised by just how many of them easily ended up mixed up in sex and drugs simply because they never refused anything offered to them, even when picked up by random strangers on the street. As a result I knew quite a number of Japanese women over there who experimented with drugs, contracted STDs, had abortions, or had been robbed or in other ways scammed all due to naivety and lack of common sense during their stays abroad. Traveling alone is fine, but to avoid trouble these women should know that the social rules in other countries aren't the same as in Japan, and they should be wary and ready to refuse shady situations.

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Posted in: 'Exorcist' director slams trend for comic book stories See in context

All I can say is that things change. We can't expect a culture's tastes in movies, music, or any other form of entertainment to remain static throughout the decades. In another thirty or forty years some other type of movie (or its futuristic equivalent) will be popular and older people of that time will look back at these superhero movies and think nostalgically how films were much better back in those days.

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Posted in: Chatbots teach English conversation See in context

For those who have wondered if these A.I. Chatbots could be used as girlfriends, this video from SpeakGlobalJapan's YouTube channel answers that question: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnx8yxFDMYc

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Posted in: Man recently released from prison held for holding two women captive See in context

This is a strange story. If he had been holding them captive, did he not think to take their cell phones away or other such devices? Or did he lock them in a room that had a computer or some other device with internet access? Either way, if they were in there from Sunday to Tuesday, why did it take so long for them to e-mail someone? And why would someone lock two women up in a room for two days, but then decide to go out to a restaurant together for coffee like nothing happened? Though it's all speculation, it could well be that this guy being an ex-con was set up as an easy patsy to take a fall.

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Posted in: Teacher arrested for paying junior high school girl for sex act See in context

I don't know about Japan, but most English-language matchmaking websites that I've seen in the past usually require members to be at least eighteen years or older to join. Which doesn't stop teenagers from setting their year of birth as being several years earlier to qualify (particularly for websites that are free to register). So it is indeed possible that the guy thought she was eighteen if supposedly all members of the website were supposed to be at least eighteen. If her profile said eighteen he may simply have not looked any further into it. Though we don't know if this was the case. But visually there isn't a great deal of difference between a fifteen-year-old and an eighteen-year-old in many cases, especially with Asian girls. As an example, look up pictures of popular all-girl J-pop group "AKB48." The members of the group range from age twelve to twenty-four, with the average being about seventeen. Would you easily be able to visually tell which girls are eighteen and older and which ones aren't? And it seems most people in Japan (unless they have a driver's license), don't generally carry an ID card around at all times as it seems rare that anyone ever actually asks anyone to show ID (unless you're going to engage in some kind of official business that would require a proof of ID). There are insurance cards that have age on it, but I'm sure a lot of teenagers may not carry such around at all times.

Anyhow, I always wonder if the crime was that the man had sex with an underage girl, or if it's that he paid for sex with an underage girl? I've never read a news story about an older man being charged for having sex with an underage girl where he wasn't accused of paying for it.

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Posted in: 4 dead, 8 wounded in shooting at IHOP restaurant in Nevada See in context

As an American myself, every time I read these articles I think more and more that guns should be illegal in the U.S. I've been living in Japan for a while now, and though I don't agree with most aspects regarding Japanese culture, tradition, laws, and politics, this is one of the things that I actually do agree with.

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Posted in: Book review: A Geek in Japan See in context

I picked up the book of couple months ago, and found it to be entertaining and interesting. For those also interested in similar books, I'd recommend:

"The Otaku Encyclopedia: An Insider's Guide to the Subculture of Cool Japan" by Patrick W. Galbraith "Cruising the Anime City: An Otaku Guide to Neo Tokyo" by Patrick Macias and Tomohiro Machiyama "Tokyo Clash: Japanese Pop Culture" by Ralf Bahren. "The Anime Companion: What's Japanese in Japanese Animation?" by Gilles Poitras "The Anime Companion 2: More... What's Japanese in Japanese Animation?" by Gilles Poitras

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Posted in: Smart robots designed for hospitals See in context

Rather than actual robots, maybe they could set up screens and holographic projectors like the ones used in those Miku Hatsune concerts to have virtual nurses talk to and comfort lonely old patients who would appreciate the company. Maybe such virtual nurses could even respond to patient requests by alerting a real staff member via Wi-Fi alert or something. If the patient needs something, the virtual nurse could respond to key words such as "I need to go to the bathroom" or "my chest hurts" or whatever and send a message to a caretaker.

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