ramenbaka comments

Posted in: Business, leisure travelers ponder flying without laptops See in context

@zichi ... Exactly. And if terrorists are able to turn laptops into bombs, how will banning them in passenger cabins but not as cargo make any difference?

@NZC2011 ... I also do business travel. I can live without my laptop on short flights. But on long flights I do work on my laptop - it's not only a good use of my time, but it also allows me to be more ready when I arrive. I agree that the risk of damaging or losing the laptops is a real concern.

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Posted in: 'Game of Thrones' might spawn new HBO shows, says creator See in context

@Wakarimasen ... True. But I hope the spin-offs will be good.

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Posted in: Which form of renewable energy do you think is the best alternative to nuclear energy? See in context

@Reckless ... Agree. The Audubon Society says that wind turbines kill up to 328,000 birds annually in North America. That's horrible. Although I must confess that I enjoy bird watching, so there is some bias on my part.

In any case, I do think that solar panels are better because they can be put almost anywhere like on top of roofs. I just read recently that Tesla is taking pre-orders for solar roof panels, which can generate more than 1000 USD worth of energy annually per household.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: School bag cushions: The ultimate Japanese schoolgirl accessory See in context

@Disillusioned ... More appropriate for during travel between school and juku, I think :) To be honest if I had this when I was in school I would have used it, because I had to take a train and a bus to get to and from school which took me about 1 hour each way.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Abe's constitutional reform push facing questions from LDP members See in context

@Aly Rustom ... Thanks for sharing the link. Everything that Abe wants to do is exactly what Nippon Kaigi wants. We are seeing the rise of nationalism and authoritarianism around the world - in the UK, US, Turkey, France, Russia, Philippines, and many other countries. And we are seeing it in Japan. But here it is being done more subtly. The last time this happened, we had WW2.

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Posted in: S Korea's new president willing to visit North See in context

@Toasted ... While I agree that dialogue is better than war, and I also agree that it is needed now, I just don't see what more can be done to get the DPRK to walk away from their nuclear ambitions. Still, I'm glad that Moon won and is willing to talk. I just hope it will yield positive results.

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Posted in: TEPCO mandated to put aside money for scrapping Fukushima plant See in context

Excellent! Other power companies should also have to do this. It is not just the cost of decommissioning, but also the time it takes to fully complete the process (decades) that is the problem. Here is the link to a 2016 official report on this topic: https://www.oecd-nea.org/ndd/pubs/2016/7201-costs-decom-npp.pdf

Quick summary (on page 28): No one knows how much it costs to decommission. Basically, governments and businesses 40 years ago bet on nuclear energy without fully understanding the costs and dangers. And now people are paying the price, like those in Fukushima.

We need clean, renewable energy now.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: 'I’m glad I’m Japanese' posters in Kyoto spark outrage among Japanese Twitter users See in context

But without the Hinomaru part.

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Posted in: 'I’m glad I’m Japanese' posters in Kyoto spark outrage among Japanese Twitter users See in context

私良い人でよかった。This would have been a better poster.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Posted in: ADB gives Japanese individuals chance to fund eco-friendly projects See in context

Excellent move by ADB. In addition, if I'm not mistaken, non-Japanese individuals and corporations without permanent establishment in Japan are exempt from paying capital gains tax on their bond income. So this should attract foreign investors for these green bonds issued by Japanese companies or municipalities.

Projects in China would likely benefit the most, given that a large portion of all issuances come from there. But I hope this will also invigorate Japanese issuers, especially those in the clean energy sector. The less we rely on nuclear power the better, in my opinion.

There is definitely a potential for growth. Currently the green bond market is worth about 200 billion USD globally, whereas it is estimated that 700 billion USD in investments are needed annually for clean energy.

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Posted in: Thousands march in Tokyo for LGBT awareness See in context

Although I'm not LGBT, I do have one gay and one lesbian friend. Before knowing them, I never realized about the societal discrimination against them. It just never occurred to me. Japanese society is not diverse, and that is one major reason for the difficulties faced by LGBT people in Japan.

So in general I think it is good to have more awareness about LGBT issues in Japan. However, I also think there's a right way and a wrong way to do this. Having a march is good and is a brave thing to do. But wearing costumes that make some people very uncomfortable may not be the best way at this time to engage with the public on this very serious issue.

Some interesting videos on LGBT issue in Japan:

1 - Story about activist Higashi Koyuki: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKCgDAV16b4

2 - VICELAND: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKUlte3lDaY

3 - VICELAND: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkkLQGUfuW8

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Into the Wilds of Central Japan See in context

I enjoy reading travel literature in general. But I have to agree with others here that spending three months somewhere does not really qualify someone to provide deep insights into any culture or society. And I say this because I have lived and worked overseas for much of my professional career.

Of course, not all travel writers need to be like Donald Richie or Will Ferguson and not all travelogues need to on the same caliber as "The Inland Sea" or "Hokkaido Highway Blues" - two of my favorites about Japan, but for very different reasons. But I really find it quite boring to read yet again about someone's amazing discovery of Japanese vending machines.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Some cling to landlines, but cell-only homes now dominate See in context

I have not had a landline since 1997. Crazy, isn't it! I don't know about the U.S., but in Japan even back then I could use my cell phone practically anywhere - and I did a lot of traveling back then from southern Kyushu to northern Hokkaido.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan, China, S Korea pledge to resist protectionism See in context

@smithinjapan ... Yes. Another major looming battle will be which currency will dominate the Asian trade zone. When the yuan was accepted as an internationally recognized reserve currency by the IMF in 2016, it was a huge deal. In fact, the yuan now outweighs the yen - only the dollar and the euro are more preferred.

So, like you, I also had to laugh when it said that there is no competition between Japan and China for influence over the economies of Asian countries. Not sure who Nakao thinks he was fooling, but I guess as essentially a diplomat he has to say that.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: 1st large Chinese-made passenger jet takes its maiden flight See in context

A sincerely congratulations to the Chinese civilian aviation industry. I hope everything goes well.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Posted in: Not welcome: Japan tough to crack for refugees See in context

@sf2k ... I understand your frustration. I've a friend who works with refugees, and she showed me links to some really good information. Basically ...

UNHCR handles only the initial vetting of potential refugees, then refer them to a possible refugee-accepting country, who do further vetting of their own. The process is very lengthy, usually taking 1 year - for Japan it takes about 2.5 years. Currently there are only 37 countries that voluntarily accept refugees. Japan is one, but it is not the most accepting in terms of numbers. Each country is responsible for funding its refugee resettlement program. In many countries this is underfunded, and so NGOs, NPOs, or charities usually provide assistance to refugees.

There is no reliable evidence to show that refugees commit more crime per capita than the general population. I firmly believe that the real problem is that Japan is basically still an insular and racially homogeneous country, which means there remains a strong fear of outsiders. On the other hand, I also think it is true that many refugees face difficulty assimilating into their host country - which is totally understandable when you're in a new culture . This is why we see so much resistance and debate about refugees.

At the end of the day, we are talking about compassion for our fellow human-beings. Do we as a society step up to help those in need - refugees are by definition involuntary immigrants often fleeing persecution. Or do we turn our backs on others, even if it not easy to help. By the way, Japan takes in very few refugees each year - last year there were more than 10,000 applications and only 28 accepted.

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Posted in: Japan's peace constitution under pressure at 70 See in context

@itsonlyrocknroll ... Thanks for the link. I've read all the comments here and everyone has some good points. But as Professor Jones said, what is the real point of revising the Constitution? If it is only to allow the SDF to be more combat-ready, then I'm ok with that. But if it is to impose "duty" on the Japanese people, then I am totally against it. Because that is taking us back down the road of total obedience to the State - tens of millions of people died horribly or suffered terribly because of that ideology.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: American passenger arrested for assaulting ANA employee See in context

@Dango bong ... I think drinking before - and during - a long international flight is normal. I do it myself. It's just that this guy drank too much before boarding and was a bad drunk. Yup, imbecile all right.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Posted in: Abe says he will initiate debate on new constitution See in context

In the 1920s it was China's political weakness that helped to fuel Japan's fascism. Nearly a century later it is China's economic strength that is helping to inflame Japan's resurgent nationalism. China is every nationalist's wet dream and nightmare at the same time.

Democracy is being subverted everywhere. The U.S., the U.K., Turkey, the Philippines - all former democracies. France might be headed the same way soon. I can't believe that I'm seeing the same thing happening to Japan.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan will not make concessions in two-way trade talks with U.S. See in context

Let's hope so. TPP was a good deal overall for everyone involved. I do not have experience at this level of negotiations, but I have had experience with multinational business negotiations. A successful negotiation is one in which everyone gets something and by definition gives up something. Otherwise there is no point of negotiating.

TPP would have helped Japanese companies to more easily enter foreign markets, consumers to have access to cheaper foreign products, and very likely increased the GDP - which is critically to improving the country's economy.

Of course, there are legitimate reasons also against TPP. For example, Japan already has a low food self-sufficiency rate, which would be even lower with TPP. But I think overall the net benefits outweigh the real negatives.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Trump's currency, trade pressure tolerance test for Japan See in context

Japan should push for a TPP without the US. It's remains a good deal overall, and it will counter China's RCEP, which would make China economically dominant in the region. Of course, reviving the TPP will be difficult, in part because many countries will likely want to renegotiate the details. But it is necessary.

Forget the US. They are going insular and protectionist, and wanting to do bilateral trade deals because they think it will give them a huge advantage. But as DJT found out from Merkel, the EU will not do bilateral deals between the US and individual member countries.

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Posted in: Japan, U.S., S Korea to exert greater pressure on N Korea See in context

Yun is just doing the normal diplomat pose - just smile and pretend you're doing something useful. Both Kanasugi and Kim are probably thinking this is all BS and that everybody knows it. But Kim is better (slightly) at hiding it.

Honestly, what more can the US, Japan, and South Korea do to put pressure on North Korea? If the Chinese don't do it, then nothing will change. And I doubt the Chinese will. North Korea is a useful tool for China, and is even more with nuclear weapons.

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Posted in: Moritomo Gakuen applies for bankruptcy protection See in context

Sadly they'll be back, polluting more young minds with dreams of fascism and nationalism. And even if they - this school - don't come back anytime soon, some other such school will open to take their place.

As long as groups of right-wing politicians and intellectuals exist, this kind of school will always have financial backing. One can only hope that their influence remains relatively small and in the fringe. Fingers crossed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Eastwood to make movie on thwarted Paris train attacker See in context

Why? If anything the movie should be about El Khazzani - why did he do what he did? American Sniper was war porn. Sully was good because it showed what he had to go through afterwards. Really this train attack story should be a documentary instead of a movie.

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Posted in: What do you think of the new Japan Today design? See in context

Please change it back. Don't fix something if it's not broken.

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Posted in: Ramen inventor's son soups up healthier legacy See in context

I will do my best to help reach 100 billion servings!

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Posted in: Flower festival See in context

Beautiful! Note to self: Must go to Awaji. See tulips. Eat onions.

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Posted in: Ragtag military left to defend Japan on shoestring budget See in context

This is really appalling. This is what 1% of GDP gets you?

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Posted in: Chef Pierre Gagnaire makes triumphant return to Tokyo See in context

I can't afford to eat there. But then a nice bowl of ramen is all I really need ^_^

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Posted in: Modest civil servant transforms into Miss Universe Japan 2010 See in context

Please don't be jealous of her. She is beautiful and smart (fluent in English and Portuguese ... and Japanese). Maybe she has a nice personality also.

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