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Posted in: Japanese hot spring inn lets you spend night for ¥100 if you do something special in return See in context

Wish I could play the piano, this looks like a nice change of pace. I'd think about three days of playing would be just right.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Orange juice crisis ’24 – Japan’s OJ supplies drying up See in context

we used to drink a small glass from one squeezed orange. now, the food industry has you drinking a giant glass with twice the calories and 3-4 oranges. would you sit and eat 3-4 oranges at a time?

buy an orange and a 99 yen orange juice thingie. stop being a glutton.

I live in Kagoshima and we have many different citrus fruits down here. I can easily eat three or four fruits at a time, albeit the sour ones not quite so many at once. I also make citrus marmalades and zqueeze my own juices. There are many citrus trees down here that are not harvested, or that the fruit just falls to the ground. It is too bad. Sometimes we can buy 10 fruits for 100 yen when in season, although they are more often 100 yen each. Still, the juice is fine freshly squeezed without the added sugar. JA should concentrate on distributing more of Japan's home-grown citrus products.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Luggage manners See in context

There is someone with blue hair, though, and no one with a long or high nose.

This is such a stupid poster because it is written especially, but not exclusively, for foreigners but the sentiment is cryptically vague for the same foreigners. The poster would be much better if it said, "Take off your backpacks and put them on the overhead racks as well as any small suitcases than can be lifted so that you aren't bumping others with your luggage." "Handle your luggage with others in mind" is so vague, but Japanese who see the poster and then see any foreigners who are not getting the vague point can assume that the foreigners just don't care, rather than don't understand Japanese expressions and sensitivities. Let's be kind to everyone, and make posters that have some meaning! (See the little red heart in the upper right of the poster, where the English is so small)

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Posted in: Baby-crying sumo contest See in context

How about seeing which rikishi can charm the baby the best, or make him laugh first, or even put him to sleep. This just looks like plain cruelty.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Posted in: Shizuoka governor to resign after gaffe insulting vegetable sellers See in context

Gov Kawakatsu is my kind of man. Make Japan Great Again! /s seriously, though, there are many civil servants who retire to lives of growing and selling produce. I did for ten years after I retired from central government work. Now, in my doddering age, I have come back to work for the city government for a few years. I still grow vegetables and work my field after work and on Saturday. It is a way to meet all the neighbors walking by and keep in touch with grass-routes opinions and goings on. Sorry for the common people of Shizuoka, though. I am sure the gov'nor is not the only person who feels like this.

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Posted in: Adult siblings fall out over infirm or deceased parents: Who nurses them? Who inherits the property? See in context

As well as writing wills, we can dispense to our descendents while we are still living of any of our wealth that appears to be more than we need to be comfortable for the rest of our lives, including transferring real estate to a child who chooses to live with us to take care of us. Estate planning is not just for tax purposes, it helps us to keep our children and grandchildren from squabbling and breaking ties at our deaths. Family unity is the most important inheritance we can leave behind.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Derelict hotels See in context

Interesting that this issue of Japan Today contains this Kinugawa Onsen article and the Naruko Onsen article, two diverse examples of Japanese onsen culture and the bubble economy.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Derelict hotels See in context

Urban explorers should be aware it is illegal to enter any property including abandoned and derelict ones.

The temptation is so strong though to imagine what some of these places were like in their heyday. I have enterred abandoned buildings in both the United States and in Japan. One in the Aso area closed after the earthquake and subsequent mudslides. I enterred and reminisced on how nice it was when I stayed there when it was operating. Yes it is trespassing. And it is dangerous. So is caving or backcountry hiking and exploring - dangerous that is. It is a shame when some of these once interesting places close. One I went to in near Niseko still had hot water flowing in the yubune but I was afraid to try it out. When I went back a year later it had been bulldozed down and had a for sale sign on the vacant property. The old inn was so quaint ...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Images taken deep inside melted Fukushima reactor show damage, but leave many questions unanswered See in context

Again, where are the pictures, or at least a link to them??

Luckily, I have to manually search for them. Here it goes:


Thanks. This is a most useful link.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Bernie Sanders wants U.S. to adopt a 32-hour workweek See in context

One of the most crucial issues facing labor and humanity, and he has long seen that productivity has been orthogonal to pay for nearly 40 years, with the lion's share of the gains going to investors and not labor.

Interesting use of the word orthogonal. I listened to CSPAN coverage of the hearings this morning and the discussions of productivity advances in industrial production and the arguments for four-day work weeks sound good in places where productivity is not dependant on manual labor. Restaurants and some service industries do not see the same increases in productivity as other areas, and these small businesses would be most impacted by shorter work weeks, as they would need to hire more workers to maintain their current workloads. I recommend the CSPAN podcasts for anyone interested in this discussion. It was a unusually useful and educational hearing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Filipino woman admits to killing sister, Japanese niece See in context

Wonder how big a bundle 5 million pesos is. the largest common denomination is 1000 pesos so that is 5000 bills, or a hefty shoebox full. I remember having a shoebox of Ghanaian currency which I gave as a wedding gift when I was living in Ghana, USD 700. It was a heavy box. I can't imagine carrying USD 90,000 in cash. We had a fellow come into the city hall in Kanoya the other day and he had a pocketful of 10,000 yen bills, I think about 100 of them. It really worried us, so we gave him an envelope to put them inj so they weren't as obvious. Bank transfers are the way to go, even if the banks charge commissions.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Posted in: Niseko in Hokkaido to introduce lodging tax of up to ¥2,000 a night See in context

Guess it is time to ski at Furano. I like Niseko in the summer better than in the winter, but it is a shame how built up ( except for properly planned infrastructure including transportation and water supplies) the area has become. 20 years ago was much more interesting.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Kyoto may launch tourist express bus service to handle overcrowding See in context

Still plenty of Japan that's not crowded--even in neighboring Nara. How about trying to induce people to actually leave the tourist spots and see the more beautiful side of Japan?

Exactly. Start by cutting JR rail pass prices or allowing the 14 and 21 day passes to be used on non-consecutive days so that foreign tourists (as if they are the problem of overcrowding in major cities) could leisurely visit other areas of Japan without squandering their rail pass days.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Kyoto may launch tourist express bus service to handle overcrowding See in context

 more than 40 million domestic and foreign visitors hosted in 2022

Glad this article mentions the domestic tourists and not just focusses on foreigners, although the picture at the top made sure to focus on non-Japanese. The slowness of the buses and their overcrowding is not caused by foreigners. Slowness is because Kyoto has too many drivers. Put on a fee for driving in the central part of Kyoto during daylight hours. Cut down on drivers and get more buses on the streets. Kyoto's problems are overcrowding but not necessarily due to tourists, domestic or foreign. Urban planning is needed. Remember back in the day when Kyoto had a limit of five stories on its buildings? Crass commercialization and poor planning are Kyoto's problems.

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Posted in: Osaka Prefecture eyes collecting fixed fee for inbound tourists from 2025 See in context

Seems like I have to pull out my resident card at hotels when they ask for a passport anyway. I do remember staying at one place in the last 6 months where I was not asked for any identification. It felt liberating. I am not interested in visiting Osaka anyway, but worry that this idea might spread to other places in Japan. Fortunately, in most places there are plenty of places to stay at less than 7000 yen a night.

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Posted in: Japan's humble 'onigiri' rice balls get image upgrade See in context

I wonder where tempura stands in popularity amongst overseas Japanese cuisine.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: 3 foreign-born residents sue over racial profiling by Japanese police See in context

Japan has a homogenous society and wishes to remain that way. However, change is coming due to depopulation and aging. A major crisis is just around the corner and their only viable solution involves immigration. 

Those of us living in rural agricultural areas are already seeing the influx of Indonesian, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Philippine, and other South Asian groups coming to work. Most of them are brought in by Japanese companies, and many are on five year visas, some on second sets of visas, and presumably can qualify for permanent status after a few more years. The difficulties we have is working with incoming Japanese and non-Japanese residents to help newcomers totally integrate with the local communities. In my city and many others in the area with declining populations, there is an active push by some in local governments to welcome all newcomers. I am not sure how this process is accepted by the local citizensw. It will take a great deal more work to fiond acceptance for multiculturalism in Japan. In my city in eastern Kagoshima, foreigners make up just a bit over one percent of the population.

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Posted in: 3 foreign-born residents sue over racial profiling by Japanese police See in context

I don't recommend taking a bicycle out of these garbage piles. Who's to know the bicycle wasn't stolen and then thrown out?

Indeed. Taking things from 粗大ゴミ is illegal. Taking rubbish in general is illegal. I remember hearing stories of a clamp down on homeless people taking recycle-able cans that they would cash in. Also, taking cash dropped on the ground is illegal. Sometimes on stuff a sign might say 自由取ってください which you can take. I always ask if it is ok first. Just in case.

These posts are very good points. I picked up the bike and was questioned in 1988. At the time, it was not illegal to take things from soudai gomi piles. All sorts of people pulled things out and put other things into the piles. It was a way we recycled. I now work at a city hall, and was surprised when I was translating garbage regulations into English to find that taking items out of trash is now illegal. From what I read, i believe it is a national law. When I first lived in Japan in the early 1970s, it was a tradition to clean your house before each new year started, and many apartment buildings at the end of the year had large piles of recyclable things , and there were also piles at neighbourhood parks. Bikes , rice cookers, kitchenware and washing machines were often left as people bought newer models, and other people traded up if they found better things in the piles. Just another example of the ways Japan has changed over the years. There were no 2nd Streets or Hard Offs at that time. When I picked up the bike, it had been in the pile for about two days. I might have gone to the residence that was written on the bike and checked to see if it was OK for me to take it, I don't really rememberr. It never occurred to me that it might have been stolen and left in the pile later on.

Profiling of foreigners has been going on a long time in Japan, and it seems to have increased as more non-white foreigners live in Japan. I have lived in Japan several times, and whenever I move within Japan or to Japan from abroad, I make it a point to visit my neighbours and the local police box and introduce myself and let them know where I live and why I am in Japan. While this does not stop random stops when your are out of your neighbourhood, it can slow down police visits to your home or on your street because some neighbour calls in that there is a strange foreigner wandering around. When I visited the police last August when I moved back to Japan for the first time in 9 years, though, the police looked at me like I was crazy when I stopped at the koban. I guess new move-ins don't call on the police much these days. When I first lived in Japan, it was a standard thing to do when moving into a new area.

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Posted in: Japanese rail company lets teens ride for free on entrance exam days See in context

A nice gesture. I would be glad for seniors to be given free passes on Respect for the Aged day and for 18 year olds to be given passes on Coming of Age day.

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Posted in: Japan's moon lander comes back to life See in context

Looking forward to the sharing of a wealth of information. This is indeed good news.

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Posted in: 3 foreign-born residents sue over racial profiling by Japanese police See in context

Been stopped once in 17 years in Japan. It was for being on a girly bike that was unusual for a white male to ride in Japan. And I had picked it up out of a garbage/recycling pile back when we had neighbourhood soudai gomi piles. So I had not registered it. The police asked for my alien registration card (replaced now by the residence card) I told him I didn't have one. He was getting annoyed at my cheeky answers until my colleague told him I was a diplomat and he should ask for my diplomatic card. I produced it when he asked. He apologized for bothering us. I asked why he stopped me and he pointed out that the bike was not typical for a male. I said yes, but it was a nice bike, and he left us. Although in the United States I do not feel white privilege, I am very aware of it in Japan. When I am dressed in a suit like a businessman, many times my opinion seems to be worth more than even my Japanese colleagues. It is an unfortunate fact of life that we are often judged by our appearance, our age or perceived maturity, our gender, our Japanese abilities, the type of bike or car we have, or how much money we appear to have. Japanese police often reflect the values of Japanese society, but the profiling is more pronounced when it is the police who are doing it.

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Posted in: The perfect man See in context

Yes, I'd be really embarassed if some woman gave me something like that on Valentine's day.

I wonder what types of things will be sold for White Day.

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Posted in: Shinto shrine naked festival ritual asks men to cover up for first time in three-century history See in context

Personally, if someone makes the decision to go naked in public, they have to automatically understand that there will probably be pictures or videos circulating of them on the internet.

From the article it doesn't appear that anyone participating hadaka has made any complaints, and if I were participating in a public ceremony like this I wouldn't expect any rights to privacy either. Sounds like, if the article is correct, the Mie Prefectural Police is making an issue where the Police have no standing (unless some of the police are participating and are afraid of photos of themselves circulating after the fact). After all, participation is voluntary. Yaya is now banning the display of yaya? Now it should be called the Nana festival.

This year’s Yaya Matsuri is scheduled for February 1-5, though we’ll likely have to wait a few more months to see if the lack of nudity is still able to convince the gods to grant their blessings to Owase’s fields and fishing spots. The parishioners association has come to the decision to require korikaki participants to wear shorts, swimsuits, loincloths, or other articles of clothing which will conceal their manly bits before jumping into the water. This policy will remain in place going forward.

We’ll likely have to wait a few more days to see if the participants decide to don the new clothing requirements, or go on with the traditions as they have been held for three hundred years. It is not hard for a loincloth to fall off during the jumping into the water.

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Posted in: Japan’s biggest ham company is making 'tuna' that contains neither ham nor fish See in context

I use small cubes of konnyaku when I make curry. It is fine, but quite chewy, and something to get used to. I can't imagine it melting in my mouth like fine maguro. I I could imagine it more as an octupus substitute in sushi than as a sashima tuna substitute. I look forward to trying it when it comes out in the grocery stores. I guess it might compete with spam sushi for those who like spam in Hawai'i.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan says there is possibility moon lander power can be restored See in context

This is a fascinating article with much more information than many of the pablum articles common in Japanese press. I hope that we get more information in the future from this probe. Thanks  JT

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Posted in: Old media fade, new media proliferate: Which is best? See in context

More important than whether people read printed newspapers or not is the question of whether people receive the education or otherwise get the skills to think critically. I fear the ability to read or watch informational shows and independently evaluate what is said and what is not said is not cultivated or taught in our public schools today. I worry about it when I look at American media and the upcoming presidential and local elections. I worry about it when I look at Japanese English-language education and "teaching for the tests" rather than for practical life. I worry about it when I listen or watch "news" and see one news source quoting other news sources rather than independently verifying or analyzing what is spreading around as entities try to scoop each other or to glean market share by feeding the public what seems to be popular.

I don't mind where I get my information from. I do mind when I read unsourced pablum masquerading as information and sheeple thrirsting for entertainment or something that reinforces their prejudices rather than challenging therm.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: What is the difference between sento and onsen? See in context

Could bathing traditions be a Japanese cultural form of displaying one's status?

Once inside a Onsen naked, you cannot tell a lower-class from other classes. This is because status commands dress codes. In other would, you would not know if you are sharing a onsen with a beggar or a Samurai when naked. Hence the dislike of tattoos. Tattoos are still a status symbol of a gangster in todays Japanese culture. So everyone can be comfortable and can relax not knowing the status of each other while inside the onsen aiding in mental heath.

I'd never thought of tattoos as a status symbol, but this makes sense. I have frequented onsen and sento for over 40 years, and early on learned the concept of "hadaka no tsukiai" which is often translated as skinship, but when I learned it it was more of what John-3 says, when you meet naked of clothing in a bath, there is no clothing to differentiate classes or economic status of people. All are equal. And for mixed bathing, the same goes. You meet people without the false encumbarences of knowing names and work history and other status signs. When people are in baths, especially in the countryside, the similarities of humanity are what are shared. Baths for me are a great way to study Japanese dialects and learn about local customs and sights. Egalitarianism at its finest. I have had the pleasure of meeting young and old, tattooed, pierced, shaven, and scarred people. All people seem interesting. Some come to be alone and reflect, others come and mingle and talk. When there were fewer baths in homes, the local sentos served as places to gather after supper and exchange local news and gossip, either in the baths or in the waiting rooms or outside the door in the streets. Sento used to serve a vital public interest as a public meeting place. That era, unfortunately, is a thing mostly of the past.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: France to send forensic experts to Tokyo after airport collision See in context

A team of forensic experts from planemaker Airbus and French state agency BAE will arrive in Japan on Wednesday to help authorities investigate the deadly accident involving a A350 plane at Tokyo's Haneda airport, they said on Tuesday.

I suspect the forensic experts are more likely in Japan because this is an unfortuitious chance to investigate the carbon-composite aircraft skins than it is to "help" Japanese authorities investigate the cause of the crash. It is a learning experience for all parties as to the benefits of the new technology. From another Japan Times article we read further on the importance of this investigation:

The fire is likely to be seen as a key test case for airplane fuselages made from carbon-composite fibers — featured on the A350 and the Boeing 787 — instead of conventional aluminum skins.

“This is the most catastrophic composite-airplane fire that I can think of. On the other hand, that fuselage protected (passengers) from a really horrific fire — it did not burn through for some period of time and let everybody get out,” safety consultant John Cox said.

I expect the results of the investigation will be quite interesting. I wonder how long before they will be published. It may be a tramatic experience for passengers at Haneda for a while as the burnt hull of the Airbus will sit on runway C until the investigation has dissected the remains to conclusions. I remember how the Indonesian Garuda aircraft sat a bit beyond the runway at Fukuoka for months after its 1996 crash before the investigation was complete. Prayers and thoughts to the surviving pilot and the expired crew of the Coast Guard aircraft.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Kishida arranging to visit U.S. as state guest in early March See in context

I guess the first question is whether the PM will be able to hang on to power until early March and the second question is whether visiting the United States will be good for either the PM or the President. Surely the President doesn't want to be tainted by associating with more scandle-ridden people and the PM doesn't want to seem to be dependent on US relations to lift his sagging domestic support. Today's politics worldwide seem to be in the doldrums. Time for some fresh winds and younger, more vigorous faces and ideas all around.

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Posted in: Kuju Mountains in Kyushu entertain day trippers and experienced hikers alike See in context

The Kuju range are indeed beautiful mountains. The highest mountain in Kyushu is not Nakadake at 1791 meters. Rather, it is Kagoshima's Miyanoura at 1936 meters. Mount Miyanoura in found in the center on Yakushima, an island a bit south of the mani part of Kagoshima. Nakadake peak is the highest peak only on the main island of Kyushu.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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