Plinytheelder comments

Posted in: Columnist suggests language tests for foreign journalists See in context


The source material that BBC used during Fukushima Accident came from something Japanese Government released or from something BBC created from nothing. All the government briefing was broadcast live on Japanese TV. The data were available on internet. Why could BBC more reliable than directly taking information from the original source? We knew all the original source of BBC.

They were also getting information from independent sources. Governments are not always to be trusted in times of crisis to give accurate information. Various experts were issuing information at the time, including independent nuclear investigation bodies etc.

Government briefings do not always contain the truth,mthe whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And journalists are not required to take what governments say at face value.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Columnist suggests language tests for foreign journalists See in context


The complaint about Fukushima was not that the government "did not report a thing", but that there was a lot of disinformation and obfuscation from the government and government-dominated news agencies at the time. I was in Britain at the time, and Japanese family members were asking me for information because they thought the BBC was more reliable. I have also found information in BBC documentaries on Fukushima and the tsunami - researched by fluent Japanese speakers - which is not commonly known in Japan. The BBC employs researchers who speak foreign languages fluently. They don't cut corners.

In fact, one reason that so many foreign residents in Japan were being urged to go home after the tsunami by relatives abroad was because the news reporting and pictures abroad were much, much more graphic than what was broadcast in Japan.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Columnist suggests language tests for foreign journalists See in context

Okabe should be careful what he wishes for. Journalists who came already fluent in Japanese would by likely to have higher degrees in Japanology, and they would be absolutely on the ball sniffing out corruption and incompetence. They would not give the censored "Isn't Japan lovely" view he seems so much to want.

80 per cent in the census, by the way, was the number of people in the whole of the UK who identified as white British in the census. Sice British people, in my experience, tend to talk up any exotic ancestry, not wanting to feel that they are dull old Anglo Saxons, I would guess that the 80 per cent is an underestimate.

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Posted in: Columnist suggests language tests for foreign journalists See in context

But, thinking 'Like a Japanese', I guess 現在ロンドンの人口の8割は海外から来た人で占められ means solely the historic background of the population is 80% of non-British origin, he didn't say they are first generation immigrants. Some of those are white. But still, he falsely implies that color and language ability are connected.

His figures are just plain wrong. At the last census, 45 per cent of Londoners self-identified as "white British". Add in the significant numbers who will have identified as Irish, traveller, Romani, mixed-heritage and so on, and you acutally have far more than 45 per cent with roots in the UK.

And what does Okabe mean by "外国から来た"? If my mother were Polish-Jewish and my father was Scottish, and I was born in Glasgow but living in London, I could identify as Jewish, white British, Scottish, or mixed-heritage. But would Okabe class me as "from a foreign country" on account of my mother - as my half-Japanese son tends to be classed here? Okabe has missed out on these subtleties. Perhaps if he had better English he might have actually been able to understand the complex nature of ethnic identity in Britain. But he hasn't grasped them at all.

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Posted in: Columnist suggests language tests for foreign journalists See in context

I'm a little concerned by the figures presented, if 80% of Londons population is foreign born, how can 45% be 'White British'?

Perhaps if Okabe's English was better he'd have been able to read the statistics properly. The last census showed 37% of London residents were non-UK born. Only 24 per cent of these were non-UK nationals. The 80 per cent figure is the percentage of people who consider themselves "white British". His grasp of statistics is shocking.

The census data is probably confusing to him. In census returns, people are required to describe their own ethnicity, and a lot of people who are British and look "white" don't self-identify as "white British"; for example, Irish people, travellers, Romani, mixed-heritage people, etc. He probably also fails to grasp that non-Caucasian people can be regarded as wholly British.

Then again, perhaps he just did his own survey and just counted the number of people in bowler hats, or something, or the number of people who said "cor blimey guv'nor" when he wished them good morning.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Posted in: Columnist suggests language tests for foreign journalists See in context

Why does he assume that being fluent in Japanese will lead to less "anti-Japan" bias? Knowing a language does not equate to loving a place uncritically and unconditionally. If anything, it makes you more aware of the kinds of duplicity that go on in political circles and the weakness of the arguments employed.

Besides, I haven't seen any anti-Japanese bias in the British media. If anything, they tiptoe around Japan a bit too much.

13 ( +13 / -1 )

Posted in: Debate on separate spouse surnames heats up before court ruling See in context

Probably conservatives are afraid this will somehow remove the stigma from single mothers and divorced parents. But they also seem to nurse some antiquated Neo-Confucian idea that social order is maintained when wives' identities are subsumed within that of the husband and his family. They see it as the natural order of things that families are ruled by a patriarch and that everyone in that family defines themselves in relation to that patriarch and defers to him. To be honest, this has been contentious for well over a century and a half now, and it's time they stopped rolling out these Tokugawa-era justifications for laws which deny equity and balanced partnerships between husbands and wives.

Anyway, as somebody pointed out above, it's only relatively recently that the majority of Japanese people actually got a family name. Not many seem to set much store by ancestral names in the way that they do in, say, Scotland, where some people still like to maintain some kind of clan identity. In fact, on the contrary, Japanese women with historical names are often forced to give them up at marriage for Tanaka or Nakata or whatever, because husbands are averse to giving up their own names, no matter how unexceptional they are.

There is a very sad footnote to this issue. In the butsudana, we have the names of all the deceased family members, dating back centuries, but none of the maiden names of the wives or where they came from are recorded anywhere. Half the family lineage is lost forever; their identities and where they came from have been denied and erased. They have been treated as nobodies, without a context or a life of their own. How very sad that is, not just for them, but also for their descendents who are unable to trace their ancestors or to know who they really are.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: What do you think the world will be like if Donald Trump becomes U.S. president? See in context

Where I come from "trump" is slang for breaking wind, so I guess there would be a bad smell, noxious gas and possibly explosions. The man is such an idiot even th other idiots are distancing themselves from him.

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Posted in: U.S. veterans who firebombed Japan in WWII meet survivor See in context


Herbert Bix's biography of Hirohito is a good place to start.

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Posted in: U.S. veterans who firebombed Japan in WWII meet survivor See in context

I'm always glad to hear about reconciliation stories such as these, and they put a lot of modern politicians, with their jingoistic warmongering, to shame. However, I think the headline is misleading. It suggests that this was a case of a victim meeting an aggressor, when, as the article points out, both were victims in their own way. After all, one of the reasons the bombing was happening is because the Japanese government was conducting activities all over East Asia in much the same style as the treatment meted out to the airman mentioned in the article.

The reason the headline disturbs me is that I am concerned by the number of Japanese people who consider Japan to have been the primary victim in World War II and who are ignorant of the fact that other countries also suffered deeply. In terms of sheer numbers, China, Poland, Russia and Germany saw many more civilian deaths, reaching into the millions - in China's case, according to some estimates, into the tens of millions.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Posted in: Only 11% of Japanese people willing to fight for their country: Gallup survey See in context

If this is an expression of deeply held pacifist beliefs, I admire it.

However, I suspect that actually a lot of young people might be thinking that the society and values they've been brought up with are not worth defending. If this is true, there needs to be a serious rethink of those values. At the moment, they are taught "work, obey, conform, consume". It's nihilistic materialism. They need more meaning from life, and that meaning will not come from nationalist ideology, which is the only thing being offered to fill the spiritual void in modern Japan.

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Posted in: Survey shows most Japanese employees don’t like Western-style work socials See in context

Everyone hates works dos. Not just the Japanese.

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Posted in: Trump says he saw people celebrating 9/11 in Jersey City See in context

Why would anybody be cheering the towers coming down when nobody knew at that point who was behind it? Trump is a $hi#-stirrer, and bringing up this sort of thing bodes ill for the future. It's not constructive. It's childish and confrontational. America has a Muslim population who are citizens with a right to live there. To start alienating them on an election campaign is inviting division.

I can't believe anybody would be dumb enough to vote for him. His intellectual calibre is low and he is inarticulate. I don't know how he got anywhere near the hustings.

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Posted in: Battling the surge in elderly shoplifters See in context

I'm with those who believe this is a sign of a mental problem, or of early Alzheimer's. When normally honest people steal, it's a sign of serious mental disturbance, and should be treated as a psychiatric issue rather than a crime. Time the mental health services (such as they are) got a grip on this, rather than it being used to boost police arrest quotas.

As for the poor woman who was hounded out of her job, it's a disgrace and her employers should be sued. The idea that the sins of the fathers should be visited on the children is iron-age logic and has no place in our modern and supposedly more well-informed age.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Gov't to step up measures to prevent terrorism in Japan See in context

It's not just dark-skinned people who get stopped. I'm Scandinavian-looking and I've been harrassed for no reason a couple of times, but I guess it's because they assume that any blonde girl must be a hooker, regardless of whether or not they're wearing a business suit and carrying a briefcase.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Gov't to step up measures to prevent terrorism in Japan See in context

Being more vigilant about unattended luggage, garbage bins in public areas, and so on would be much more effective than racial profiling and stop and search. It's serious. They should get a grip on that.

As for ISIS, a lot of their anti-western rhetoric is very old and reiterates a lot of stuff that was coming out of anti-western activists like Okakura Tenshin long, long ago. Islamic fundamentalism also has some roots in Fanonism, which was itself inspired by nihilist French philosophy. History has a horrible and relentless way of bringing back the past to haunt us.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Does bringing up baby take sparkle out of hubby's sex drive? See in context


there seem to be a lot of issues with history here at the moment, and putting one's head in the sand seems to be the default response. Much better to believe that history was just all about barbatian quashing and swoed wielding.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Does bringing up baby take sparkle out of hubby's sex drive? See in context

These two "experts" seem to know nothing about history, Japanese or otherwise. In the past, 150 plus years ago, the majority of people spent their lives working from home as a family unit. Fathers were in or around the house or farm almost all the time. Mobility was severely limited, "totty" was reserved for the well-off. But husbands and wives seem to have got it on well enough - judging from the amount of infanticide that went on.

The idea that men go out to work has been absent for most people in most cultures in history. In Japan, it started in the Meiji period. It does not equate to hunting. And anyway, aren't we being told ad nauseum that the Japanese gave up hunting long ago for their beloved rice, giving rise to the allegedly elongated bowel? Where is the hunter mentality in that?

If the husband isn't putting out, look at his browser history and you'll find out why. Porn - it's what men do when they can't be bothered to make the effort for their partner. My guess is they're not hormone-deprived; just lazy and selfish.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: Students complain of being exploited in part-time jobs, survey shows See in context

The wages and conditions of employees in Japan are disgraceful rigt across the board, as is the lack of accountability when employers break the law, the lack of observance of leglly-mandated holiday provision, the pressure to go to work even when sick, the flagrant pressure not to take maternity leave.....the list just goes on.

The problem is that the business structure is still feudal. Employees are viewed as serfs. They are not respected; managers think they are there to be used and abused any old how. Power and control are the priority, even of that means using employees inefficiently and counterproductively. You have to jump when your boss says "jump", just to affirm your devotedness to the system, even if it's for no reason.

Exhausted, poorly-nourished, lonely, unsatisfied workers are no good for an economy. When will managers learn that and stop treating businesses as a way of inflating their own egos by lording it over their staff?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Man jailed for 6 1/2 years for abducting, confining 11-year-old girl See in context

That sort of premeditated crime warrants a stay in a high-security psychiatric prison, not 6 1/2 years. Crimes against children and women are not being taken seriously.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Posted in: What do you like about the way Christmas is celebrated in Japan, and what don't you like about it? See in context

My husband likes to sabotage Christmas if at all possible, by contriving to work, but now I have my son it is becoming more of an event. However, the feeling of emptiness that comes when the decorations get dragged down early and preparations get under way for the National Festival of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning that is New Year hits me with renewed misery every year. Relinquishing a nice warm Christmas for a cold invented tradition where everyone sits with the telly blaring is unbearable.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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