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Posted in: LDP coalition party Komeito approves 8th term for leader See in context

it seems you didn’t make any answers to the criticisms of your own church. Again, your knowledge dates back 70 years.

Redstorm, you have correctly noted that I didn't respond to the criticisms made of the church of which I am a member. I see no reason to make this a discussion of religions and their teachings. Mushiro, I am pointing out what happens when voters think that one or more religions have undue influence in national governance. If you wanted to question the influence the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has in the governance of Utah, Arizona, or Idaho, I think we might have something to discuss. I would not defend religious interference in government.

You and Wallace might not consider Soka Gakkai a "New Wave Religion" in Japan. That is your option. However, it falls under that rubric according to the Wikipedia article I quoted; it is not an idea I pulled out of my posterior, and I have no pony in that race. One could argue that Soka Gakkai is not a religion at all, and thus it can't be a new wave religion. I think this would be a silly argument. I heard several people contend that Nitiren was the religion, and Soka Gakkai was not; as many people said that the opposite was the fact. Who am I to tell other people what they believe or not?

As to whether my 'knowledge' dates back 70 years, perhaps I am guilty. I was born in 昭和29. I have only lived in Japan for about 17 years out of the past 46, so I cannot be considered an expert on all things Japanese.

I consider the Seven Day Church to be an alien religion in my country.

Sorry, are you referring to the Seventh Day Adventists? and which country is 'your' country?

Again, the political problems that have arisen surrounding Abe and the LDP are not religious in nature, but are perceptions of religious interference or influence in the national government.

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Posted in: Strong U.S. dollar an unstoppable force endangering other currencies See in context

I wouldn't be surprised to see the dollar appreciate relative to the yen for another 30 yen or so, to something like 175 yen to a dollar, in the near future. Fundamentals do not indicate that the BOJ or Ministry of Finance can jawbone the yen to rise in value. Intervention without significant changes will be short lived. Conditions need to change significantly for any real moderations in the yen's fall. IMHO

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Posted in: Railway line fully reopens after 11 years See in context

Thanks socrateos. This was a useful comment.

I love Japanese local trains.

This Tadam Line looks beautiful.,_Mishima_Town)-m.jpg

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Posted in: Ground Self-Defense Force issues rare apology over sexual harassment case See in context

As for women fighting in wars, read history and see how often women were able to fight alongside men. Go read Daughters of Kobani and see how girls and women took the fight to the IS. 

Thanks for the tip on the Daughters of Kobani. I have now ordered it and Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield and am looking forward to reading each.

 USA armed forces are the highest and best trained units ( Soldier, Seaman or Airman ) in warfare history were bullying, humiliation and sexism as not been tolerated and eliminated since before 2000's if any, they are rare.

They weren't rare when I was working with special ops in Afghanistan in 2011. When I was teaching at Fort Leavenworth 2008-2010 we were forced to take mandatory sexual harassment training because of continued bullying, humiliation and sexism in the US armed forces. It was pretty explicit and embarassing to the majority of us, and the only reasons for such training was that there were still continued incidents; as a result of a lack of control, reviews of sexual harassment and assualt were taken out of the chain of command and committed to independent review, and this explicit training and explanation of what is harassment and assault was mandated in the services. I don't know if there is still such training, but I would be surprised if the training (if not the problem) continues because of the influx of new recruits and commissioned officers. The problem was throughout the ranks, and was both military, civilian employee, and contractor oriented. I learned stuff and language I had never heard before. If this type of training is going on with US forces, I expect it is needed with Japanese forces, too.

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Posted in: Harris visits Zojoji Temple See in context

I hope she spent some time reflecting with the Sentai Kosodate Jizō while she was there.

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Posted in: LDP coalition party Komeito approves 8th term for leader See in context

Interesting how some people seem to think that anyone with whom they disagree is automatically incorrect. Disagreement in discussion doesn't necessarily mean someone is correct and someone is incorrect; both could be incorrect. And, when someone gives a perception, it does not mean that the perception is correct. Blatant labeling of someone as incorrect reflects mostly on the labeler, and shows a lack of tolerance and understanding of multiple points of view. Often it also reflects a refusal to check facts or do basic research.

Blue: I've yet to meet a Japanese who does not consider Komeito as any else but a "faction" of the LDP, albeit an "external" one, reason being that they try to make it look like they keep themselves at arm's length of the LDP...

Wallace: That statement is so incorrect. No one I know would ever think that.

Roten: I first heard of the Soka Gakkai and of the Unification Church in the 1970s when I was in Japan as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka Mormons). All three, along with Tenrikyou, are known as new wave religions in Japan.

Wallace: You are incorrect. There was nothing new wave about the Soka Gakkai in the 1970s. It was formed 40 years earlier in 1930. You wear your prejudice on your sleeve.

A bit of research adds light to the intolerance of labeling those with whom one disagrees as "incorrect."

In the above cases, a bit of simple research on Wikipedia would bring clarity to this perception of new wave religions, or  shinkō shūkyō, in Japan. Wikipedia states, and Wikipedia's statement is in line with my understanding, is that "Japanese new religions are new religious movements established in Japan. In Japanese, they are called shinshūkyō (新宗教) or shinkō shūkyō (新興宗教). Japanese scholars classify all religious organizations founded since the middle of the 19th century as "new religions"; thus, the term refers to a great diversity and number of organizations." Wikipedia cites the Agency for Cultural Affairs (文化庁) as a primary source for this information. Wikipedia lists, inter alia, Tenrikyō (1838) and Soka Gakkai (1930) as Japanese new religions. From personal experience I note that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1830-United States) and Toitsukyō/Unification Church (1954-Korea) are also commonly included in the rubric of 新興宗教 in Japan.

The  Kōmei Seiji Renmei, a forerunner of the Kōmeitō, was founded in January, 1962, when nine independent members of the Diet who were members of the Soka Gakkai, banded together.  Headed by Harashima Kōji, in In the July 1962 elections the new party won nine seats in the House of Councillors. On 17 November 1964 the party was renamed Kōmeitō. It has gone through many iterations and reorganizations since its inception, and the Communist Party newspaper Akahata specifically attacked it in the 1980s by reporting that many Soka Gakkai members were rewarding acquaintances with presents in return for Kōmeitō votes, and that Okinawa residents had changed their addresses to elect Komeito politicians. Later allegations of tax exempt funds being funneled into funding from Soka Gakkai to the Kōmeitō were alleged by an expelled Kōmeitō member of the Tokyo municipal assembly, even though there had been a formal separation of Soka Gakkai and the Kōmeitō in 1970.

So what, one might ask? Is this important in the current discussions of the Unification Church's political contributions to various members of the current Diet? And, do religions contributing to politicians or to political parties constitute problems to the separation of religion and state? Or, is the separation of religion and state confined only to the government (or political parties) contributing to religions?

These are important questions. My opinion is that while members of parliament are free to practice whatever religion they wish, and that they should not have to hide their religious beliefs, and that they should be able to join together in groups similar to the Kōmei Seiji Renmei before it morphed into the Kōmeitō political party. However, religions contributing to politicians or parties; or the government or politicial parties contributing to or supporting religions, opens up the door for corruption, graft, and back-door scandles that can rock governments and democracies.

And when people disagree, calling each other incorrect rather than explaining why one disagrees with another, is not conducive to politicial or social discourse. Intolerance and incivility is part of the cancer that is eating away at the American politicial system today. Let's hope that it can be cured in the United States and in other countries as well. Scandles are corrosive to democracy and good governance. There are reasons for separation of church and state. Democracy is a poor political system; but it is the best system that has been found so far. As attributed to Winston Churchhill, "Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others."

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Posted in: LDP coalition party Komeito approves 8th term for leader See in context

The Soka Gakkai never goes to anyone’s home to ask for money.

The majority of Soka Gakkai members vote for the Komeito, but actually not all. Probably, about 80%. There are nonmembers who also vote for the Komeito. Only about 8 million people vote for the Komeito in elections. About 12% of the votes.

I first heard of the Soka Gakkai and of the Unification Church in the 1970s when I was in Japan as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka Mormons). All three, along with Tenrikyou, are known as new wave religions in Japan. I rarely heard anything good spoken about any of these new churches except by adherents of each. At the time, Soka Gakkai was strongly associated with both the Komeito political party and Nichiren Shōshū, and had a reputation of really strongly pushing its adherents for money, and for not allowing them to leave the organisation when they became disinterested in its tenets.

But after the scandal of the Unification Church time for the Komeito to review their position with the LDP.

I am strongly of the opinion that the LDP and any other political parties should be completely separate from any religions, churches, or other similar groups including all Shinto and Buddhist organizations . It is difficult for me to consider the Komeito as a party separate from the Soka Gakkai, even though there was a formal separation of the two in 1970.

After the scandal with the Unification Church, both the Komeito and the LDP ought to review their positions with each other. Both can be considered tainted with the odor of the other. There is a reason for the separation of church/religion and state, and Japan, with its history of emperor worship, Shintoism, and Kyoto's Enryakuji militarist monks in past eras, is a perfect example of the problems with the intermingling of church and state.

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Posted in: Why is Japan called ‘Japan’ and not ‘Nihon?’ See in context

大日本帝国 was the designation of the Empire of Japan under the Meiji government and the Meiji constitution. Dainippon (大日本)was in use until the end of the Second World War, when a new constitituon was ensconced upon Japan during the Allied Occupation of Japan, and the new constitution was entitled the 日本国憲法 and replaced the 大日本帝国憲法 from the Meiji era. It was at this time that the world started referring to Japan as Nihon rather than Dainippon. With the 大 at the beginning, dai meaning large or great, we can see similarities with the Great in Great Britian, and be reminded of the imperial nature of both Japan and Britian.

This may be irrelevant to today's generations, but for those of us who remember the death of Showa Tenno, there are similarities to the "to hell with Hirohito, he finally died" sentiment that some older people who remembered the second world war and POW atrocities with the anti-empire and anti-colonial sentiment of some of those who feel that Elizabeth Rex represented the continuation of the colonizations of Britian from before the second world war over the British Empire, upon which the sun never set. I hold Showa Tenno and Queen Elizabeth in high regard, and found their personal lives as great examples of courage and individuality as I was growing up. I am curious to find out how the future generations of the imperial families add to the prestige of these historical families and how long before either Japan or Great Britian do away with their respective imperial families.

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Posted in: Japan's intervention unlikely to stem yen's slide See in context

I wouldn't be surprised to see the dollar appreciate relative to the yen for another 30 yen or so, to something like 175 yen to a dollar, in the near future. Fundamentals do not indicate that the BOJ or Ministry of Finance can jawbone the yen to rise in value. Intervention without significant changes will be short lived. Conditions need to change significantly for any real moderations in the yen's fall.

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Posted in: How the new bivalent COVID vaccines work See in context

So, is a bivalent vaccine available in Japan? If not, when does the Ministry of Health expect one to be available? What makes this article relevant to Japan?

In other irrelevancy, I got a Moderna bivalent booster last Saturday, Septmber 17, along with a flu booster for this fall. I felt out-or-sorts with aches and a fever on Sunday, and was hurting until about 24 hours aftr the booster.

Now, will my having had four Corona shots make any difference to Japanese immigration officials when I show up at Haneda in the next few months for independent tourism and wandering around? Will I be able to enter all my Covid booster info on MySOS?

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Posted in: China plans easier border entry rules for some foreign tourists See in context

Thanks for posting this. It isn't very detailed, and has nothing to do with Japan. Is Japan one of the ten countries with which China shares a (sea) border? Are Japanese tourists or other visitors waiting to travel to China right now? Japan-specific value added would make this a much more relevant news or information article.

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Posted in: Japanese win Ig Nobel prize for study of finger movements See in context

I am undrgoing physical therapy after wrist surgery and carpal tunnel release on my right hand. Some of the strengthening exercises are for my grip between my thumb and first two fingers. Research " examining how many fingers people typically use along with the thumb when turning objects such as handles, tabs and knobs and where exactly the fingertips are placed in the experiments aimed at improving the design of cylindrical objects" sounds much more reasonable to me now that I have undergone this restorative surgery and therapy than it would have otherwise. Things that sound Ig Noble or a waste of research money to the common person may be really worthwhile to others who are suffering. I, too, love to read the Ig Noble prize stories. This one award may cause me to think more about the whys for seemingly silly esoteric research in the future.

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Posted in: Japan is hard on gifted children See in context

This is a great slice of life piece for Japan Today. Makes me want to find and read Seibei's Gourds. Thanks for including it in JapanToday.

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Posted in: Japan to remove entry cap in 'not-so-distant future,' official says See in context

By the time restrictions go, I'll have missed 3 whole seasons of live J.league and my body is missing onsen.

https:// things-to-do/ hot-springs/ Idaho is my go-to hot springs place now that I am not running around in the Kyushu mountains. I have also discovered the hot spring delights of eastern Oregon and northern Nevada.

Did you even read the article or just the headline? It’s literally in the second paragraph “The government will simultaneously relax other restrictions including a visa requirement and the requirement to travel on a package tour”

All I can say is, don't count your chickens before they hatch. The GOJ has been promising chickens and only laying eggs since this Korona Crisis started. I won't believe this until I see it with my own eyes. What does "Not-so-distant" mean this time. More egg laying until we see real results.

mind BLOWN! this man must be a genius!!! why didn’t anyone else figure that out?!?!

Again, political Japan does not listen to geniuses. Much easier to speak encouraging words (to tourists) and do nothing incrementally.

Flew into Narita from Oz last evening. 2 hours to get through the quarantine area. A lot of people are missing connecting flights and I just made the last Shinkansen back home.

Yup. I keep reading about this problem. Although I plan for two hours at Haneda when I arrive, I often am through immigration, customs, and on the train platform less than 30 minutes pre-Covid. This will be a sign that the Covid problems have been resolved. ( I don't check a bag.)

Actually I got back from overseas yesterday afternoon too (Terminal 1), but got through the quarantine pretty fast - flight landed a bit early and a short taxi to our dock against expectations. Had to do a lot of walking through quarantine, but I had done the quarantine stuff via the MySOS app ahead of time, and I was at the train station about 30 minutes later.

Great news! Let's hope that this is the new normal for those who prepare ahead of time.

good news, but I’ll believe it when I c it, it seems too good to be true all but vax cert needed. Fingers x

Yes, you and me too.

This is feel-good news. I hope it comes to pass by the end of September as I have three months of no commitments bfore I have to be back in the states by mid-December. I would love to spend a month or so in Japan this fall. I have been looking forward to being back in Japan for a month or so since April of 2020, when I expeditiously left as the Covid scare was just heating up and we worried about being able to get into our home countries before a world-wide travel ban was implemented. Although I enjoy US hot springs in the pacific northwest, my favorite Kyushu and Tohoku hot springs are singing their siren songs, too.

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Posted in: Forest bathing in Hokkaido is a hot spring experience you’ll never forget See in context

I'm assuming they were all old Obaasans?

There you go making uninformed assumptions again. Nope. Just women who love hot springs and are comfortable in their own skins without bodikon issues. Although youngsters might assume that my wife is an obaasan (baba) and I am the jiji. The best way to guarantee that not all the women in konyoku hotsprings are obaasan is to make sure you bring along some friends who are women.

Now I have a new onsen destination, if they ever let us back in.

Because of the really hot water at the free Furiage hot spring, I suggest that this is not a worthwhile place to make the center point of a trip. If you are in the Kamifurano area, it is a worthwhile stop. You might also stop at the Ryounkaku Tokachidake Onsen, also in the area. When I stayed there, it was the middle of winter. As I was getting on the bus to leave, two young men and two young women arrived, and invited me to join them again in the konyoku rotenburo. How could I say no? We spent an enjoyable two hours talking and having a snowball fight while in the bath. This was the only time I've sat in a bath, scooped up snow from the drifts on the side, and had a snowball fight. It was a wonderful experience to practice my language skills. I am not sure if that rotenburo is still konyoku (this was ages ago), but the hot spring is still around. Hakuginsou is much cheaper than Ryounkaku if you don't mind cooking for yourself.

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Posted in: Forest bathing in Hokkaido is a hot spring experience you’ll never forget See in context

I heard that in most Konyoku everyone wears a towel- you don't actually bathe nude... I don't know- never been to one. Does anyone know if this onsen allows men to wear a full bath towel, or do we just go in with a small hand towel to cover strategically?

I've been to Fukiage Onsen several times, lastly about 3.5 years ago. No one I've seen here wears anything. I think it would be more noteworthy if someone, especially a man, used a bath towel when in the spring, as the thing of wearing a towel would draw attention to him, and I would feel really uncomfortable if I were the only man in a spring wearing a bath towel. A small hand towel would not be unusual whilst outside the water, but would be out-of-place in the water. It would not be out of place on one's head while in the bath. As for women, about half were as nude as the men, and the other half were wrapped in bath towels while in Fukiage. Disrobing is completely in the open beside either bath. As I recall, the upper bath was about 50 degrees Celsius and the lower bath was abot 45 degrees, a bit hot for a long soak. Most of the time my wife and I sat on the side and dangled our feet in the lower bath.

Hakuginsou is an inexpensive cook-for-yourself inn, and if you want to wear a bathing suit, it is the appropriate place to go. The water is cooler than Fukiage, and there are three sets of baths, a men's area, a women's area, and a konyoku area. Each has several indoor and outdoor baths. No suits or towels allowed in the men's or women's areas. Suits are required in the konyoku area. I don't wear suits, and only looked at the picture map of the konyoku area. I stayed at Hakuginsou for two days on one of my trips to Fukiage, and the rest of my trips were day trips.

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Posted in: Japan says it is ready to take action as yen dives See in context

And I am ready to spend spend spend if I can come back to Japan as a tourist without any restrictions as to where I go and where I stay. I can't stand making hotel reservations before I get to Japan (well, I often make first night in Japan and last night before flying out of Japan) because I want to have freedom to decide where to go based on the weather and on what my friends are doing. Around 145 yen to a dollar? Tourist nirvana. Hope it lasts until at least the COVID travel restrictions are lifted.

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Posted in: 5 Japanese ‘compliments’ that can sound off to foreigners See in context

Hashi jouzu desune - So I get to look flustered and then switch to using hashi left-handed, or one hashi in each hand. With a little practice you can become proficient and you, too, can be micro-aggressive and challenging to the other speaker, non-verbally checking to see he or she can match you in hashi flexibility.

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Posted in: Taiwan to resume visa free entry for some countries in latest reopening step See in context

Quarantine. I'd gladly take a three-day quarantine upon arrival in Japan for independent tourism if that is what it takes to be able to travel around Japan when I want and where I want without having to make lodging reservations days in advance. I don't mind the GOJ tracking where I am by my cell phone signal, either. Good luck, as I tend to go to places that cell phones don't always reach. It looks like even Taiwan is kilometers ahead of Japan in its opening.

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Posted in: Japan warns of impact of yen's rapid depreciation to 24-year low See in context

I have some money burning holes in my pockets waiting for independent travel bans to be lifted for those who are interested in visiting Japan again. Bring back the visa waiver program and unrestricted travel. 140 yen to the dollar? Yummy!

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Posted in: We visit an awesome sauna in Tokyo that’s ladies-only on days that end in zero See in context

Imagine the undies you could steal from that place....if one was so inclined

Mick, since you wouldn't be there on a day when women were present (but instead dates not ending in zero), are you suggesting an inclination to steal jock straps or other mens' paraphernalia?

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Posted in: Outgrown or unwanted? See in context

Hard off? Vintage clothes shops? Back in the day we used to go to soodai gomi piles and take the things we could use from them. Many in the neighbourhood did this. It was a place to get rid of unuseful things and find other useful things. Too bad these recycle values have gone by the wayside.

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Posted in: Train driver’s locked tablet with forgotten password leads to big delay on Fukushima line See in context

If JR East issues drivers tablets with schedules, etc, it could put facial recognition software or fingerprint recognition software on the tablets and combine all the tablets into one per driver. I will miss the printed schedules, as I love to stand in the first car of a commuter train and see things almost as the driver sees them. I loved looking at the printed schedule by the front windshield and watch to see how close to the second the drivers closed the doors and adhered to the schedules. And now, my grandchildren like the first car of the train too, for the same reason.

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Posted in: Pizza Hut now sells rice pizzas in Japan See in context

This is not a Pizza Lover's meal, it is a carb lover's meal with three different carb-based pieces of shunk food.

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Posted in: Yakushima sea denizen See in context

I saw these when I used to snorkle in Okinawa. Beautiful fish

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Posted in: Nissin releases 3 Showa Era inspired ramen flavors See in context

The packaging of these three ramens may be reminiscent of the Showa era, but these flavours are anything but Showa. I spent more of my life in the Showa era than any of the more recent eras, and I think some young marketers have mud in their eyes (or brains) if they call a sweet and sour base with bacon flavor a Chicken Ramen. Likewise, what kind of rationale is there to call a minced pork flavored soup a Chicken Ramen. Please, young Nissan marketers,  don’t denigrate the Showa era by saying that these flavours or ramen names are like those of the Showa era. Rather, they sound like something from a dumb 零和 era, which I hope we never see.

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Posted in: 'Life after is more important': A child of Japan's baby hatch See in context

I like this article. JapanToday, this is the type of article I think you can focus on, news or articles on Japan we don't find elsewhere. Skip the international articles that don't have anything to do with Japan.

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Posted in: Japan baby hatch hospital offers mothers last resort See in context

GaijinjlandToday  08:03 am JST

Anyone ever try adopting in Japan? There are thousands of couples and they make you go to weeks of parenting classes, even if you already have natural children at home. They go through your financial records, the process takes years and years and most prospective parents give up because they make it so difficult.

What a bunch of rubbish. My wife and I adopted twice in Japan. We did not go through weeks of parenting classes, but this is a good idea. The process took about a year for our son, and about eight weeks for our daughter. I did the filing at family court myself for our daugter, our second Japanese adoption. I don't know who the "they" Gaijinland refers to is, but it is certainly not the Japanese government or the family court.

Kumamoto's Jikei Hospital performs a vital service. I lived in Fukuoka 15 years ago when Jikei opened the baby hatch. I am glad it serves women who don't know what to do when they unexpectedly have a baby. So much better than throwing a baby in a trash can or taking it to a pond and drowning it or the woods and abandoning it.

Adopting works in Japan. It is not as difficult as some people think. We know of several other families who have adopted in Japan, both Japanese families and foreign families living in Japan. Don't believe everything naysayers say. Plenty of people, like in Aesop's fable, are like the fox who called the grapes sour when he couldn't figure out ho to get them.

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Posted in: Japanese wasabi farmers fear for future amid climate change See in context

I love this article. JT, please keep articles like this coming, with even more details. It reminds me of my stopping by mountain streams in Shizuoka years ago to see wasabi grown. I can get international news and general interest stories not about Japan elsewhere, and articles about Japanese news and events are why I read JT daily. Never knew of Tasmanian wasabi.

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Posted in: Journalist arrested for shoplifting while in Hokkaido town to report on sunken tour boat See in context

But my Big take on this article is - Why does a shoplifting incident of $20 worth of goods , necessitate the nationwide plastering of the person's name & job.''

I am glad to see name and shame articles for repeat offenders, especially for major crimes and repeat offenders. This does not seem to be a major crime. Where are the name and shame articles for corrupt officials or police or older people?

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