RascalFromKochi comments

Posted in: 16-year-old high school student commits suicide after meeting teachers over online insults See in context

Serndipity, I agree, almost entirely. The side that just does not come out in tragic cases like this is that for every cruel teacher there are 10 kind ones that are deeply dedicated to the welfare and upbringing of their students, regardless of what unacceptable things they do.

The other thing that is really hard to put a finger on is why a grown adult would think it is morally acceptable to try to destroy a young person's sense of self-worth as a disciplinary tactic.

BTW, the old ways say that now there is a teacher that must take responsibility for the student's death, and the only way to do so is ....well, we all know that, don't we. We'll see if the old ways win or whether the 'dokonjou' culture has faded somewhat...

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Posted in: 'Eco-actress' Saya Takagi under attack See in context

I hope Takagi-san doesn't let the undeserved anger from people bother her. It seems to me that the anger is because they can't stand someone having a real purpose in her life and are jealous.

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Posted in: Senate bows to Bush and approves surveillance bill See in context

You might as well get used to it--electronic information will be monitored from this point out, period, whether it is legal or not to do so. We need to get used to the idea. For one, monitoring is too easy to do. For two, it is impossible for a government to supervise the flow of information to prevent the monitoring of information. For three, the maxim of "information is power" will, by its very weight, trump the idea that privacy is a social ideal or civil liberty.

Did anyone else happen to monitor the ping times between the US and Europe during the weeks after the tall buildings fell? Or did you happen to do a trace-route and see where the packets were routed through? I did, and it was very clear what was happening. BTW, the ping times grew significantly, and haven't diminished since, and the trace routes no longer tell you where the packet is being monitored (but it did for a while...).

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Posted in: Why don't Japanese speak English better than they do? See in context

Japanese and English have no common ground linguistically, culturally, or historically. Without bridging each of these areas systematically, there is no way for either people to learn the other language.

In addition, most English learning materials I have seen in Japan have been of rather poor quality, and not written from a perspective that teaches the fundamentals of the English language and underlying culture.

The "I want to learn English" instinctive response of the average Japanese is, I think, an extension of the fact that study of the language is required in the school system, and as often mentioned above, due to an understanding that English is the mercantile language of the world. Yet there is little real reason for the average Japanese in Japan to ever need or use English. This implies that the reason Japanese do not learn English is that they really don't need to.

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Posted in: What is the best way for Japan and North Korea to resolve the abduction issue? See in context

I agree with the "give it up" approach. Yes it is very hard for the families who suffered the loss of their loved ones, and for them I grieve as well.

But Japan does not have the high moral ground--in fact, their "dilemma" is entirely self-imposed.

First, Japan needs to admit that the issue is nothing more than an internal political issue to feed the weekly rumor magazines and to give the Opposition something to yell about in Parliament.

Second, it apparently feels morally good for the average Japanese on the street to have something to hold against a country that it occupied (and brutalized) within the living memory of many many people. The logic is classic xenophobia, and it goes like this: "If I can find the bad things about my neighboring country, I can justify that they are unworthy of my concern, and I can feel better about the bad things my father's and grandfather's generation did to them."

Japan has the money and the food to keep 100,000 people in North Korea from starving to death next winter. Why should they stomp their feet like little children regarding, what, 25 Japanese who were abducted 30 years ago? The necessary aid for North Korea is a perfect opportunity to pay for some of the hardship that Japan inflicted on the Koreans in the 20th century, and to mend fences with both North and South Korea. Why should they pass up such a perfect opportunity to show that the Japanese people are a compassionate people?

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