powderb comments

Posted in: U.N. rights committee urges Japan to let children be children See in context

The moment a new mother and father look at their newly born child surely they will be overwhelmed with happiness and won't be able to conceive of living life without that young life.

This is, however, something my wife and I, mid 40s, have opted never to experience.

The pressure and overwhelming control school has on a child's life here is just too enormous. Yes, there are countless happy families and children, but I do think it's because they know no alternative and make do with what they have. Good for them, truly. But having grown up outside Japan and knowing what else is possible, I just couldn't do it.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: Sanders eyes 'bigger' 2020 bid despite some warning signs See in context

If Bernie Sanders would not join the military on moral grounds, and was open and transparent about it, I have zero objections. The same as Muhammad Ali refusing to serve on moral grounds. Disagree if you like, but they have been open about exactly why they chose to do so.

A world apart from having wealthy and well-connected parents invent medical ailments for missing service.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Tight races across the U.S. as more polls close in battle for Congress See in context

Gerrymandering and voter disenfranchisement are, indeed, powerful tools.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Tight races across the U.S. as more polls close in battle for Congress See in context

There seems to be unusually high support for Trump on JapanToday. Is this just me, or have others noticed this? Is this American military in Japan voicing conservative opinions? I am open to being proved wrong, but I meet no Trump supporters in daily life. Granted, that is my world that I create for myself and I will be around like-minded people, but over the past two years I seem to recall a surprising amount of support for Trump on this site.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan, 2 other Asian nations warn citizens not to use marijuana in Canada See in context

Some countries do, in fact, claim extraterritorial jurisdiction in certain cases. That is one aspect to debate, granted. But for this particular "crime" how would Japanese authorities even go about deciding who to test, question, arrest?

If Japanese snowboarders in British Columbia post their partying on Instagram and there is photographic evidence for their "crime" then I'll leave it to the lawyers to debate the jurisdiction.

But will every Japanese tourist returning home now fall under the, ahem, cloud of suspicion? Sign your customs declaration and please pee in this cup.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan, 2 other Asian nations warn citizens not to use marijuana in Canada See in context

"Most outsiders wouldn't understand" can be used to justify anything and it completely stops any possibility of conversation.

Imagine a tourist having one's arms cut off for suspicion of theft in a deeply conservative Muslim region. Then imagine the locals telling that person's family to get over it, as "most outsiders wouldn't understand."

18 ( +19 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan, 2 other Asian nations warn citizens not to use marijuana in Canada See in context

Picture this headline:

Taka Saito, 18, and Ayumi Suzuki, 19, were arrested today at Narita airport upon their arrival for having consumed alcohol while on homestay in London. Each has pled guilty and faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

An inconsolable Ms Suzuki, 19, claims she had only one sip of wine at her farewell dinner and usually never drinks alcohol. She has been suspended from her university pending further investigation. Mr. Saito, 18, admitted to having had alcohol before.

Yes, absurd, again, but again, that's the point.

29 ( +29 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan, 2 other Asian nations warn citizens not to use marijuana in Canada See in context

This is absurd on many levels, so where to begin?

People must follow the laws of the country they are in. People do not follow the laws of their home country regardless of where they are. You have to put aside whether or not you agree with the legalization of marijuana. It is, in fact, irrelevant.

As someone else said, would the American government start arresting 20 year old foreign students returning from Japan for having drunk alcohol?

If the laws of the home country take precedence, well, can Canadians on ski trips to Hokkaido now smoke marijuana as they wish while in Japan? After all, that is the law of their home country. I know that sounds absurd, but that is the point.

Will there now be urine tests administered in at customs at Narita and considering marijuana use spans across every demographic, how could you possibly decide who to test?

I’d love to say something more erudite and insightful, but give me a break will need to suffice.

32 ( +34 / -2 )

Posted in: Journalist freed from Syria returns to Japan to relief, rice balls and criticism See in context

I'd be curious to know if all the nationalists criticizing him for being reckless overseas, would also criticize Abe for wanting to revise the constitution to allow soldiers to go overseas, some might say recklessly.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Women demand Tokyo Medical University compensate them over entry test rigging See in context

How one can not have nothing but sympathy for these women is beyond me.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Foreign divorced parents fight in vain for child custody in Japan See in context

The obvious: this is horrible and cruel.

My question: why does the article calls this “patriarchal” when it clearly causes nothing but pain for the father?

Or, forgive me, are Japanese fathers (or the opinion of Japanese fathers) so awful that to be free of not having to help raise a child is viewed as a patriarchal benefit?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Yasukuni Shrine chief priest to quit for criticizing emperor See in context

The notion that a “person’s soul” can not be moved because it goes against the rules of Shintoism is absurd. These rules were made by man and can thusly be changed by man. An actual God did not manifest from the forest with eternal truths carved in stone.

If made by man it can be changed by man.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Posted in: Tokyo named world's best city for 3rd year in row outside U.S. in Conde Nast Traveler poll See in context

For what it's worth, if you go to Conde Nast's own website and read the supposed 2018 awards article, the results link to the 2014 survey. Have we been duped by old news?


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Kono says Japan will accept more foreign workers See in context

@browny1 You wrote Naomi Osaka left Japan because of intolerance of her in-laws. Do you have a source on that? I don't doubt it, but I'd like to see that firsthand.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Posted in: Kono says Japan will accept more foreign workers See in context

Oh, I'll just sheepishly admit it: I clicked because of the woman seated on the far right.

(Begs forgiveness)

15 ( +19 / -4 )

Posted in: Naomi Osaka wins U.S. Open after Serena Williams penalized a game See in context

Congratulations to Naomi. Well deserved.

It will be an interesting media case study the next few days as Japan celebrates its Japanese champion, a person the country might have otherwise treated poorly had she not been successful.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Posted in: Are more doors opening to tattooed visitors? See in context

Hamilton: well said.

Harry-Gatto: indeed! The bathing etiquette of elderly men often fails to live up to the standards of what is asked of foreign tourists.

My legs are covered in tattoos. It gives me great pleasure to look at works of art on my body. They are beautiful, to me. Out of respect to my home in Japan of several decades, I don't wear shorts, I wear sweatpants at the gym, I go to a few hot springs in ski areas that don't object to people wearing tattoos. I don't complain about it. So be it. I only ask in return to not be so gleefully judged.

I once saw a sign that said, paraphrasing, "The only difference between people with tattoos and those without is tattooed people don't care if you are not tattooed." Sums it up for me.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Whaling documentaries from Japan rebut 'The Cove' See in context

Perhaps because the adult dolphins in Japan are eaten, yet the babies are sold to aquariums. What is the tradition in that? And by that logic, why ever give food or help to one poor person if you can not help them all? You have to start somewhere, and perhaps the directors thought the practice more horrific in Japan. It's a question for the director, not me.

I am not, in fact, arguing for or against hunting dolphins. I've steered clear of that. What I am firmly against is people stubbornly grasping to tradition in the name of culture or patriotism. My home country of the States certainly has traditions of shame. I do not wrap myself in the flag and shout at outsiders when those traditions were justly criticized.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Whaling documentaries from Japan rebut 'The Cove' See in context

"The Cove" was not anti-Japan, nor anti-Japanese. It was anti- dolphin hunting, which so happens to be practiced in Japan by Japanese.

Having the ability to change is an admired quality. Stubbornly clinging to something in the name of "culture" or patriotism or nationalism is not.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Posted in: High-tech Tokyo tops list of world's most innovative cities See in context

Fax Machines.

6 ( +17 / -11 )

Posted in: Most female doctors in poll can understand Tokyo medical school reducing female applicant scores See in context


Exactly. If you poll only those who have successfully gone through the system the chances are high you will find someone who agrees with the way the system works.

Having said that, I’ve often been surprised by how many older women in Japan are relatively comfortable with allowing sexist institutions to continue.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Tokyo 2020 chief asks Abe to consider daylight saving time See in context

I support this completely, and for nothing to do with the Olympics.

The sun starts to peak through my curtains at nearly four in the morning. That light affects sleep quality. If that light started breaking around six, all the better.

And in the evening, dinner and drink with friends at twilight that stretches until nearly nine.

This seems wonderful to me.

Apart from the idea that Japanese office workers might feel obligated to stay at work later, what are the arguments against it?

18 ( +18 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan's declutter queen Marie Kondo expands her empire See in context

I've yet to go to any home or office in Japan that is not absurdly cluttered. And not, it is not a small sample size.

Good for her if she is genuinely helping people to declutter and introduce a little order into their homes. Having said that, I can imagine this being a best seller abroad because people imagine the still tranquility of Japanese gardens and temples from movies and storybooks.

The truth is, that is not at all representative of life in Japan.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Posted in: Temperature soars to 41.1 C in Kumagaya; highest ever in Japan See in context

Ah, Kumagaya: lived there in the late 90s. A friend described it thusly, "a commercial-industrial blob of no particular aesthetic appeal." He forgot to say it was hot, other than that, spot on.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Death toll in heat wave tops 30; more than 10,000 taken to hospitals See in context

And in a few weeks hundreds of high school boys will go to Koshien to play baseball during the height of the Osaka summer.

Absolutely foolish.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan's population declines at fastest pace yet to 125.2 mil See in context

Headlines should stop framing a declining or small population as a problem. It is not. The problem is a population imbalance.

Perhaps millions of people crowding into earthquake- prone cities and mountainous flood-prone countryside is not a particularly wise idea.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Man on platform hit by train after argument with commuter See in context

I have nothing but sympathy and compassion for this man in the hospital.

I was not there. I don't know what happened. I do know that if other passengers were simply having a "loud" conversation at 12:35 am on a train on a Saturday night on a holiday weekend, and not being aggressive or hostile towards other passengers, I would have bit my tongue and not said anything. I've had a few loud conversations on trains with friends late on a Saturday night after dinner and a few drinks. I would think many people have, regardless of nationality.

It seems such a trivial matter to risk the potential escalation. And yes, I do wonder if ill-will towards Chinese and Chinese speakers played a part.

And still, despite all that, there is no reason at all for violence. For that, the suspect is entirely in the wrong.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Man on platform hit by train after argument with commuter See in context

There is no place for a physical altercation or violence. Full stop.

I spent an hour on the train yesterday, passing through Kichijoji, and the loud groups of junior high school kids was merely part of the background noise. So be it. It would never occur to me to tell them to be quiet, so it does beg the question: had it been Japanese men speaking Japanese loudly would this all have been avoided?

For all the talk of celebrated train manners in Japan, I think the low tolerance for otherness is a better representation of the city’s character than the so-called good manners themselves.

3 ( +13 / -10 )

Posted in: Licensing system for dog, cat breeders sought in Japan See in context

California too, forward thinking on this:


4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: London murder rate overtakes New York as stabbings surge See in context

A more accurate representation would be “New York’s murder rate has fallen, now similar to London’s.”

New York’s crime rate has dropped drastically over the past two decades, and this is the actual story.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

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