Japan Today

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Posted in: Could Fukushima provide catalyst for Japanese youth to reach criticality? See in context

Out and about in Tokyo I've been looking for signs that the earthquake may have woken people up and energised them a bit more.

Unfortunately, in comparing the pre-earthquake days with the post-earthquake days, I see no noticeable difference and people seem as comatose as ever.

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Posted in: Yukina Kinoshita announces end of blog See in context

Can't believe anyone would pay to read a blog... what a joke

I for one, am intensely interested in looking at photos of food dishes or cute dogs.

Such blogs by Japanese women are increasingly hard to come by.

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Posted in: Gov't under fire for disaster response; TEPCO chief heckled in Diet See in context

Kan doesn't seem that bad, but where it states above that he says: “I am sincerely apologizing for what has happened", seems very weak.

I really don't know why the DPJ don't go to town on tearing the legacy of the LDP to shreds and highlighting just how many mistakes they made at every possible opportunity; or highlight their utter childishness.

This would certainly be the case in the UK. Such weak, chinless apologies really do the man no favours. Instead, he should be trying to kick these little LDP lawmakers in the balls, rather than this weak submissiveness all the time.

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Posted in: Why did those foreigners who decided to leave Japan in the aftermath of the March 11 disaster come in for so much derision from some people who labeled them with words like 'flyjin?' See in context

I think this is just some stuff and nonsense kicked up on the internet.

I stayed in Japan throughout the situation, but some of my friends left. Do I feel some kind of superiority over them because of this? No.

Will I shun or mock them because they left Japan, and I stayed? No.

Will it alter any of my prior relationships? No.

I still feel greater affinity with other gaijins than I do with Japanese, and this probably won't change. Each had to make a decision based on their own needs, and their own evaluation of risk exposure.

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Posted in: What do you think about Shintaro Ishihara's re-election for a 4th term as Tokyo governor? See in context

I'm not sure how well he is performing, but someone like that Mayor down in Osaka would be good for Tokyo, principally because he's young. A 78 year offers little in the way of freshness in my opinion.

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Posted in: Leah Dizon secretly divorced stylist husband last year See in context

Mina Monta and his fellow morning-variety-show hacks to enlighten is all with their genius insight does not make it a "secret".

These are extremely insightful and stimulating shows. Without these my grasp of current affairs would be close to zero, I can assure you.

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Posted in: Tokyo's catnap culture See in context

I met a lass once who told me that her hobby was 'sleeping'.

Despite her looks, a duller conversation could not be had; a similar experience to that of the author with his student.

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Posted in: No. of people dying alone rises in 'no-relationship' society See in context

they do it with a smile becuz they are too caught up in a tradition that doesnt fit in today's society.

Come off it. How many times do you see people smile in Tokyo? I've lived here for years, months go by without seeing someone smile.

Trains are like libraries, the streets are quiet. People in this country just don't communicate or interact effectively with other human beings.

They're all "in the zone" - oblivious to what's going on around them, unable to respond or deal with humans on a one-on-one or spontaneous setting.

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Posted in: Hatoyama blames bureaucrats for his failure on Futenma issue See in context

Considering the issues facing Japan, the whole Futenmba topic is akin to rearraning the deck chairs on the titanic.

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Posted in: Job seekers flop at impressing potential employers See in context

You see them on the trains in the morning. Cheap suits, empty briefcases, a glazed zombified look. No capability of interacting or acknowledging the existence of other human beings. Nothing more than drones.

Something is fundamentally wrong where this country is producing so many seemingly lifeless zombies.

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Posted in: Why must Tokyo’s railways engage in aural assault? See in context

trains and platforms are full of bewildered, vulnerable children.

A supremely accurate and penetrative understanding of Japan's train platforms.

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Posted in: NHK newscaster Yuko Aoyama to move to daytime TV See in context

But no doubt the next two will continue with the practice of an older man pontificating to a nodding younger woman.

The current guy is a bit better than the guy that preceeded him. That guy knew absolutely everything, or pretended he did.

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Posted in: Facebook to let advertisers republish user posts See in context

Before I got rid of my FB account I had about 150 friends. Of these only 3 or 4 people were regularly updating their status - about 2.6%. I wonder if this can be extrapolated to the 500m supposed "users" on the site?

This GS valuation is way out of line I think.

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Posted in: Fashionable 'yama' girls take to the hills See in context

Unfortunately they have one device that will be the #1 cause of trouble: their keitai. "Please send a helicopter, it's starting to rain and I have a blister".

Until they realise there is generally no reception in most of the mountains around Tokyo.

I think this is a good trend. Japanese should realise how beautiful the countryside (which is only an hour from Tokyo) actually is. Part of the beauty is the lack of crowds - I hope yama girl fashions don't become too popular.

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Posted in: Ichihashi's book goes on sale; says he hopes to give royalties to Hawker family See in context


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Posted in: Tearful Sawajiri confirms plan to divorce, promises to change attitude See in context

She's 24 so in the Japanese entertainment business has 2 maybe 3 years left at best. If she want's money then she'll just have to swallow all the crap and be cute and fluffy, as they like; or try to capitalise on her current reputation somehow, perhaps by doing these god awful dramas with sinister music in them.

One person against this whole machine doesn't stand a chance.

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Posted in: Job-hunting See in context

If you think the look in Japan is fixed and unimaginative, UBS Bank have a new employee clothing guide that details virtually aspect of what a person may wear.

That is one bank, out of a range of employers. This is a whole country where everyone dresses the same when they're applying for jobs, many continue this trend forever.

Black suit, white shirt, striped tie.

It's truly lamentable. No striped shirts, no pinks, blues, or other colours. No solid ties or striped suits. Many Japanese men wear suits, but look like cretins.

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Posted in: What do you think of the fashion style of Japanese women this winter? See in context

Ladies here look better in winter as they don't have the best bodies, but they dress up nicely and put in a good show. I also like fur, but the fur on boots which is kind of wrapped around is not to my liking and looks a bit cheap. There are some nice stockings/tights at the moment. Sheer colour which present the legs nicely. I like some of the down jackets they are wearing which have a kind of rubbery appearance. There seem to be fewer cashmere coats this year, perhaps because of the downturn. This is a shame as they always look elegant.

Overall, it's not the best winter, but winter is generally the better time for ladies fashion in Japan, in my opinion.

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Posted in: Royal attack prompts big questions on UK security See in context

“I do think that the officers who were protecting their royal highnesses showed very real restraint... ” he said.

It's a shame that they did. They could have rid the UK of some its worst elements.

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Posted in: Students attack Prince Charles' car after fee hike See in context

I'm from a working class background and the first member of my family to go to university. I benefited enormously from student loans, so had some sympathy and concern about the impact of loans on students from poor backgrounds.

Having seen the photos of the riot, the pictures of an upper middle class, privately educated Cambridge student swinging from the Cenotaph, the near attack on Prince Charles, the urination on the statue of Winston Churchill, and the random violence I must say that I really have no sympathy for the students anymore.

Frankly, I think the police should have used plastic bullets on the most aggressive rioters, and should have beaten the hell out of them.

These so-called student protests now have no credibility. Let them pay their fees. If they treat society with such contempt, they really deserve no respect or support.

It's a shame. Many of the working class probably weren't even there; they'd be working part-time to support themselves or making the most of the opportunities presented by university. I guess it was so called anarchists and socialists, the middle class losers that you always meet at university that were doing the most damage.

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Posted in: 70,000 commuters delayed by quarrel over cell phone on train in Chiba See in context

I have two boys and teach am teaching them how to be polite and caring citizens, just as perhaps your parents taught you.

Yes, I was taught manners. But in the trains in Tokyo, manners are not necessary, that's why you have to live within yourself.

Of course, occasionnally I do like to show the locals manners by offering my seat, or showing some decent courtesy. But the longer I live here, the less I do this. Why? because no one shows any manners or courtesy to anyone else. It's a spiral of decline.

As IvanCoughalot noted, the fixation with phones is a really corny obsession given that the lack of general manners elsewhere are simply appalling.

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Posted in: 70,000 commuters delayed by quarrel over cell phone on train in Chiba See in context

As I have lived here for a few years now, I have practically gone native in my manners.

That is, on a train I live in my own world. No other people exist except myself. If I walk, I walk as if no-one else exists, meaning that I knock and charge as is necessary for me to escape the train.

If there is a queue, then because it is only I that exists, I can freely push in, and get on before other people have got off.

If there is a seat available, then I take it. This is regardless of whoever is around me, be it a pregnant lady or an invalid. I simply don't see them.

This is the only way to be here. Ignore everyone and everything, and you'll have a stress free journey to work, otherwise you'll go crazy with all the zombies & morons that drive other people nuts.

The person who pressed the alarm was a bit of an idiot: firstly for over-reacting. Secondly, for even caring about other people. That is not the way a commuter behaves in Tokyo.

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Posted in: WikiLeaks release gives hit list to al-Qaida, says U.S. See in context

I'm not sure what Wikileaks objective is, but even though many of the releases have been interesting, I fail to see why they should be published. They threaten to undermine the practice of diplomacy and this latest batch seems particularly irresponsible.

Assange seems to have some idealised notion that openness in and of itself is a good thing. I'm increasingly skeptical and am slightly worried about the implications of all these leaks - especially if countries are no longer able to trust or work with each other.

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Posted in: Does J-pop really suck? See in context

The only exposure I have to J-pop is the Japan Record of the Year ceremony which I have to sit through and endure with extreme disinterest and indifference each year.

Thankfully, I will be abroad this year in a deliberate effort to avoid such television shows.

That said, some of the melodies can be quite interesting and are certainly different to pop music in the West. I often go to live houses, a lot of Japanese bands can be quite talented - it's a shame that none of them seem to progress to the larger market.

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Posted in: Real estate in Japan: A good time to buy or not? See in context

When I bought my place, I visited more than 50 buildings over a period of 11 months. The amount of information that real estate developers try to conceal, or in some cases flat out lie about, is absolutely staggering.

We had the same experience. The chaps that were showing us around had very little information on what they were trying to sell us. Information on housing was also very poor. It was a purely cosmetic exercise based solely on the appearance of the property; and the immediate vicinity.

The only thing the realty guys were certain of was that "everyone is buying now, and you should make your decision quickly". It was not a situation suited for the rational purchase of a house. We got out.

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Posted in: Which of Tokyo's commuter rail lines have the best babes and worst habits? See in context

Have to agree about the Ginza-Akasaka Mitsuke section of the Marunouchi line. That is always a pleasure.

As for the Chuo Line, there are simply too many awful, colourless, and lifeless salarymen to make a comment; it is simply awful.

Also, I frankly cannot believe that there are any train lines in the greater Tokyo area where the passengers have manners. This bit of the article was pure fiction.

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Posted in: Real estate in Japan: A good time to buy or not? See in context

I have never heard a real estate agent say it is a bad time to buy property.

This is very true.

I was thinking of buying here a couple of years ago and was hearing this all the time from the Realty chaps I was dealing with. I'm actually glad that I didn't buy in the end. There might be some savings in comparison to rent but depreciation is a big worry.

Aside from design issues with newly built houses (I'm not that keen on a lot of the designs on pre-fab housing here) there is the issue of quality. As is noted by Mr Dillon, the absense of any insulation or central heating in newly built homes means basically that you have to source your building contractors etc. and design the building yourself. I can imagine that this would be very difficult trying to introduce new ideas (insulation is only really a new idea to Japan nowadays) with contractors, and you probably have to get your materials from overseas.

These factors, plus the depreciation, detered me from making the purchase. I also have some long term worries about the future of Japan which has added to the uncertainty.

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Posted in: TSA chief calls for understanding; pat-down leaves Michigan man covered in urine See in context

Going to America has been a ball ache for some time. I'm increasingly reluctant to go there and will avoid it if I can.

A lot of this stuff in the media is hype, but it's not nice going there, either the queues, the questions, and the general level of miserableness of trying to enter the country. Once you're in though, it's nice.

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Posted in: Best dressed See in context

I sat on an interview panel recently for freshmen and all the men were wearing these suits. One to the next, cheap black suit, white shirt, dark blue striped tie. It was purely miserable seeing this but I can forgive them as they are just young and straight out of university.

For seasoned salarymen who continue to wear these suits in combination with white shirts and blue striped ties it is simply unforgivable.

It is even worse if they try and spice things up with brown shoes or pointy shoes.

Fit lass.

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Posted in: Woman arrested for using spray on bus passengers in Chiba See in context

While talking on the phone is a bit irritating, it no way compares to being shoulder barged, trodden on or treated like a non-entity by people on the trains here. That kind of behaviour really does deserve a beating.

Other than this case above, the general lack of aggression in this society is probably why manners have deteriorated to such a shocking level. People can just get away with it.

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