Raymond Chuang comments

Posted in: The good, bad and unknown about marijuana's health effects See in context

I think the days of smoking a joint may be coming to an end. There's good reason for this: smoking cannabis like you smoking a cigarette introduces a lot of really bad chemicals into your body--you're essentially inhaling smoke from a burning substance. The future will be the use of vaporizers, including the very small vaping devices.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Niigata governor tells TEPCO nuclear plant to stay shut See in context

I can understand why the Niigata government did this: in 1964, there was a major earthquake in Niigata that caused a lot more damage than anticipated because much of the land around Niigata city was highly vulnerable to a type of damage called liquefaction, where the ground shaking causes the building to literally collapse into the ground. They want to make sure the nuclear power plant literally does not sink into the ground in case of another major earthquake in the area.

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Posted in: Train driver says he can't remember overrunning platform by 220 meters See in context

This is why JR East has been testing in the Sendai area--and will soon implement throughout the the entire JR East system--a form of positive train control that will not only stop the train, but also control its speed between stations. That way, the train will automatically brake anyway as it approaches a scheduled station stop.

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Posted in: 5 things to do in Nagano City (that aren't winter sports) See in context

Until the then-Nagano Shinkansen opened in 1997, even relatively small numbers of Japanese visited that town for tourist reasons, mostly because it was a long train ride just to get there from Tokyo. But once the Shinkansen opened, the city became a bit of a tourist town--and now even more so with the full opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen all the way to Kanazawa.

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Posted in: Tokyo Metro employs megaphone translation tech at station near Harajuku See in context

I think an improved version of this special megaphone could be used at major train stations--particularly Tokyo, Kyoto, Sin-Osaka, Hiroshima and Hakata Stations, where large numbers of foreigners travel through.

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Posted in: 'Osechi ryori' - The meaning behind Japanese New Year food See in context

Making or buying osechi ryori used to be common but within the last 30 years, the rise of konbini and regular supermarkets that open just about all the way to December 31st has reduced its demand. The high price of a decent store-bought osechi box hasn't helped, things, either.

I wouldn't be more surprised nowadays that families during New Year's Day period in Japan are more likely to eat from a nabe pot or an oden pot instead at home, especially since you can get the ingredients almost right up to the last day of the year.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: KFC Japan's New Year box See in context

@Nippori Nick, while I understand you sentiment, the Japanese have taken to KFC in such a big way that they would take to something like this, especially given the eye-opening cost of a decent osechi-ryori box set nowadays.

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Posted in: Koike seeks to reduce crowding on trains during rush hour See in context

@GW, I couldn't agree more with your suggestion about "decentralizing" Tokyo corporate offices itself. They need to move corporate offices away from much of Tokyo inside the Yamonote Line loop or the Marunouchi district and put them in other Tokyo wards, southern Saitama Prefecture, western Chiba Prefecture and Kanagawa Prefecture.

I mean look at New York City. Many Wall Street firms are now putting up offices not on Manhattan, but on New Jersey side of the Hudson River, where there is a lot of space to grow.

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Posted in: Koike seeks to reduce crowding on trains during rush hour See in context

Particularly bad in terms of ridiculous overcrowding are the JR East Saikyo Line and the Tokyu Toyoko and Den-en-toshi Lines. They need to figure out a way to get the riders now using the Saikyo LIne to use more the "F-Liner" service via the Seibu Ikebukuro and Tobu Tojo Lines with runthrough on the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line and help Tokyu rebuild stations to run longer trains on the Den-en-toshi and Toyoko Lines.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Authorities urge elderly people to be careful when eating 'mochi' See in context

It may sound like Big Brother, but the elderly choking on eating mochi is a well-known problem in Japan. (If I remember correctly, the famous movie Tampopo has a reference to that issue.) Better be safe than sorry....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Disney faces 'Star Wars'-size dilemma over loss of Carrie Fisher See in context

We have to know just what was completed in an early rough cut of the movie shown to Disney executives. If it means an important role for the Leia character in Episode IX, then there is a chance they may have to reshoot a number of scenes in Episode VIII, and that could result in Episode VIII being delayed from December 2017 to May or June 2018 for its release date.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Sagawa employee caught on YouTube throwing, kicking parcels See in context

Ah, doesn't that employee know there are many millions of camera-equipped cellphones out there? Most of which can take video? That's the reason why celebrities have to be much more careful in public in recent years, because one wrong move will result in their actions posted on YouTube and other video streaming services in no time flat

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Blindsided by SUV boom, Hyundai Motor trims costs, perks See in context

Don't be surprised that Hyundai at least shows a concept version of a new, smaller crossover SUV based on the next-generation Hyundai Accent platform (the OS model mentioned in the article), possibly as early as the Chicago Auto Show in February 2017. The current Tucson and Sante Fe models sell well but Hyundai really needs a smaller crossover SUV model to fill out its range.

Honda is doing well because they have crossover SUV's in the low-end (Vezel/HR-V), mid-range (CR-V) and high-end (Pilot) models to cater to buyers demanding an SUV.

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Posted in: Massive fire engulfs more than 140 buildings in Niigata Pref city See in context

I wonder did they stop Hokuriku Shinkansen service because the fires were too close to Itoigawa Station?

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Posted in: European clubs call on FIFA not to expand 32-team World Cup See in context

I think it will stay at 32 for the foreseeable future.

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Posted in: Solar panels repay their energy 'debt': study See in context

However, I'm not sure if solar panels worth it in parts of Japan that have snowy winters--especially the Tohoku region north of Sendai and in Hokkaido. It would certainly work on Honshu from Kyoto westwards and on Shikoku and Kyushu with enough sunny days to justify its use.

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Posted in: 79-year-old truck driver, going wrong way, killed in expressway crash See in context

I'd really like to know how did the driver miss the No Entry sign, which has been used worldwide for many decades? Might want to check for the possibility of alcohol or prescription drug use.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo officials announce flu season has begun See in context

Any cold or influenza virus could spread really fast in Tokyo given all those crowded commuter trains and subway trains. Might want to take some proactive measures, though some of them are of questionable value.

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Posted in: Tech evangelists see the devil in Donald Trump See in context

It's not hard to figure out why: companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter were seen by many to be actively rooting against the Donald Trump candidacy and now dread what will happen with technology issues in a Trump Administration.

Why? I can probably date this back to February 17, 2011, when President Obama held a private dinner in San Francisco with the CEO's of Apple, Cisco Systems, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Oracle, Twitter and Yahoo!. We don't know what was said at that private dinner, but one must openly wonder was there a "gentlemen's agreement" with the President's personal blessing to censor the political Right by tweaking the search and discovery algorithms to favor Leftist topics. If we find out this is true, then the companies I mentioned could be legally liable for violating the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, since it was essentially de facto government-approved censorship.

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Posted in: Hollywood in shock over Trump victory See in context

To which I say, your problem. The entertainment community donated millions of US dollars to the Hillary Clinton campaign and made a lot of personal appearances on behalf of the campaign and got nothing for it. No wonder why we're getting angst-ridden postings on blogs and on social media (Facebook and Twitter primarily in the USA) from many celebrities so disappointed by the outcome. Particularly alarming was that long post on Lena Dunham's own weblog and MIley Cyrus' video response.

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Posted in: Clinton, Trump target two different Americas in final push See in context

The problem for Hillary Clinton is that she lost her most-trusted political confidant, Huma Abedin, last Friday when it was revealed that the FBI had to re-open the investigation in Hillary Clinton's private email server. Reason: the NYPD (New York City's police department) as part of their investigation in Anthony Weiner's perverted behavior found thousands of suspicious emails on the cellphones and laptop computers owned by Abedin and Weiner--emails that shouldn't there under Federal law in regards to confidential information disclosure. In short, Hillary Clinton lost essentially the lynchpin of her campaign at the worst time possible with disastrous results.

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Posted in: Tens of thousands of South Koreans call for Park to quit See in context

Maybe it's time for the South Koreans to demand breaking up the chaebol companies that literally run that country. Breaking them up may just promote real representative democracy there for a change.

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Posted in: Clinton lashes out at FBI's handling of new email review See in context

Dear Madame Secretary--too bad.

Because your most-trusted political adviser (Huma Abedin) violated a lot of laws in storing (very likely) Classified emails on her personal cellphones and laptops (and that of her soon-to-be late husband, Anthony Weiner), the result could be quick dismissal of Abedin from Clinton's inner circle, which would be an immediate public-relations disaster for the Clinton campaign.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Posted in: Indians beat Cubs 7-2 to lead World Series 3-1 See in context

The problem is that the Cubs' timely hitting seemed to vanish at the most inopportune times. And that will be the doom of the Cubs if they don't correct it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Kyushu Railway skyrockets on Tokyo trading debut See in context

I think people are still trying to think JR Kyushu is still a railway company. In fact, JR Kyushu is making the majority of its money from real estate, especially the gigantic Hakata Station City complex with its many retail spaces (including the very profitable Hankyu Department Store). This isn't JR East (which makes a lot of money from its Tokyo area commuter railroads and the Tohoku, Joetsu and Hokuriku Shinkansen) or JR Central (which makes a lot of money on the Tokaido Shinkansen, the world's busiest high-speed rail corridor).

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Posted in: New Suntory Japanese beer tells you what time to drink it See in context

What an unusual gimmick to sell a beer. I don't think American beer companies have come close to marketing a beer like this....

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Posted in: Apple announcements: iPhone 7, Mario game, new watch, no headphone jack See in context

The big news is that the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus now has full FeliCa functionality for higher-speed NFC mobile payment data transfer. This means the iPhone 7 models will now have iOS versions of the apps for JR East Mobile Suica and Rakuten Edy mobile payments--something that could be bad news for garakei phones since a big selling point for garakei phones was FeliCa compatible mobile payment support.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Transport ministry raids Mitsubishi Motors over mileage-cheating scandal See in context

@Moonraker, that's why here in the USA, emissions and fuel economy certification are done by the Environmental Protection Agency's own testing labs. That's something that Japan's own transport ministry (MLIT) should do on their own with their own testing labs.

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Posted in: Emperor’s video address to be broadcast at 3 p.m. on Monday See in context

I think despite the skeptics here, I DO think Emperor Akihito does want to abdicate. And with good reason: he personally experienced his father's decline in health during the 1980's, and didn't want the country to undergo that experience again.

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Posted in: Nissan introduces all-new Serena, scheduled to go on sale in late August See in context

Disguised Serena prototypes have been spotted in the USA recently. I wouldn't be surprised if Nissan is studying the idea of a hybrid "tall wagon" based on the Serena specifically for the US market.

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