sangetsu comments

Posted in: American Airlines to expand in-flight web access See in context

In-flight internet service is nothing new, KAL offered it a few years ago, but stopped in late 2007 for some reason. It's so nice to be able to browse the internet on those long, trans Pacific flights

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Posted in: What do you think about the 'Buy American' provision in the economic stimulus bill being debated in the U.S. Congress? See in context

It's all nonsense. Exactly what do they mean by "buy American"? What are these "American" things they want you to buy? How many American products are actually in an American home? Not many. As for American cars, a large percentage are made in Mexico and Canada, and many components are manufactured in Asia.

This entire stimulus bill is ludicrous. Exactly what good is it going to do to borrow nearly a trillion more dollars and add it to the national debt? The amount equals nearly $5000 per person in America, and this amount must be paid back (with interest, I might add).

What's worse is that it probably won't do any good. No amount of "stimulus" is going to help. Everything the US government touches turns to crap, for each dollar you give the government in tax, they spend three. The best thing to do is for the government to keep it's sticky hands out of the economy, and let nature take its course. "Stimulus" will not fix anything, it will merely delay the inevitable, and in turn delay the eventual recovery.

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Posted in: US to deploy 12 stealth fighters to Okinawa See in context

"and it's not cold war mentality. the US protects Japan not just from Russia but from China, NKorea, etc."

It is in the US national interest to keep hostilities in this area of the world on edge. The US arms sales to South Korea and Japan amount to sums compareable to the GDPs of some smaller nations.

It is a cold war mentality. It is in the best interest of the military industrial complex to keep up hostilities as it was during the cold war. The fear promoted by the MIC, keeps the west and its allies technically strong and in control of natural resources. This gives us our technical advantage, and overall advantage.

Yes, I suppose the military industrial complex is in collusion with North Korea and it's on again/off again nuclear program, or China's routine threats against Taiwan, which is both a US and Japanese ally. We can also add the fact that Japan has no standing military, and pays America to maintain a military presence in the country.

We can't forget that America isn't the only country with a "military industrial complex".

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Posted in: JAL to test biofuel for airliner in January See in context

Biofuel works, there is no argument about that. A jet turbine can run on pretty much any type of fuel, kerosene, diesel, and even gasoline or alcohol. The problem is that it takes vast amounts of plants to make a limited amount of fuel. Increasing use of biofuels in recent years has caused a large increase in the price of food, which has been felt the most strongly in developing countries. This is just a publicity stunt for JAL, many Japanese companies are trying to pass themselves off as being "green".

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Posted in: Actress Riho Makise marries fashion designer Nigo See in context

Man I hate these hip hop dressing Japanese guys. So lame.

Such is all fashion created in Japan. Japanese department store fashion ranges from "all out geek" to "high end bizarre". There is very little fashion created in Japan, and for good reason.

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Posted in: In view of the worsening global economic crisis, is capitalism a failure? See in context

What we are experiencing isn't the failure of capitalism, but the results of political manipulation of the marketplace. There has been no "deregulation". The problems we are facing now are the result of one thing, the American Federal Reserve system keeping interest rates too low. Had the market decided the rates by the usual principle of supply and demand, rather than a government agency (we all know how well governments handle money), we wouldn't be affected by these occasional "bubble" markets. Low interest rates caused the housing boom, which caused ridiculous speculation in real estate. Double digit increases in real estate decreased the risk of writing loans to people with poor credit (if the borrower defaulted, the lender would merely resell the property for an even higher price). This economic house of cards was doomed to fall, made all the weaker by high energy prices and inflation.

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Posted in: Are there any circumstances that justify war? See in context

Likening war with disease is not farfetched, is it? And we perform preemptive actions to prevent disease, do we not? It's been said countless times that the best defense is a good offense, and that cannot be denied.

A "preemptive" attack by the League of Nations in 1935 against Germany would have cost many lives, but in the long run would have saved many more. Regardless of the outcome, such a move would have been condemned by many because it was not done in self defense.

Those who oppose war at any cost are the ones who will most often invite it. In nature, one cannot "negotiate" from a position of weakness, and one must never underestimate the animal greed which man possesses.

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Posted in: Nebraska court rules Japan has jurisdiction in child custody case See in context

Were the father a Japanese citizen, he could return to Japan, get a divorce, and then attempt to file for custody or visitation rights. But, he is not a Japanese citizen, and because of this, he will not be granted custody or visitation rights.

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Posted in: Are there any circumstances that justify war? See in context

George Bush... History may or may not justify George Bush's actions, but apparently he did read his history. I guess none of use remember Neville Chamberlain and the League of Nations, both of whom could have acted against Hitler for his many transgressions leading up to WW2. But they, like the UN now, wanted to avoid war at pretty much all cost. And look what happened. Had Chamberlain and the League of Nations acted against Hitler in 1935, no doubt there would have been protests that Chamberlain was a "warmonger", and that his actions were not justified as poor old Hitler hadn't done anything other than persecute citizens of his own country. Does any of this sound familiar? Saddam Hussein was not another Hitler, or was he? Thankfully we'll never know.

War exists, it always has, and always will. All life on earth lives in a state of conflict. From mankind's wars, to animals fighting for territory, to your body's immune system, which is at this very moment fighting off hordes of invaders. To oppose war simply for the sake of it is to deny the reality in which we exist. That's not to say that we should fight wars with little or no provocation, but to act with full force in the threat of peril should always be an option. The measure of that peril rest with the powers that be whom we elect. You can argue as much as you like about whether or not Bush was justified in invading Iraq, but it's irrelevant, he was given the authority, and he used it.

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Posted in: Nebraska court rules Japan has jurisdiction in child custody case See in context

I can see the father's point of view in this situation clearly. Being a foreigner, he will not be granted visitation rights to see his son. There is simply nothing he will be able to do if his son is returned to Japan, if he pushes the matter Japanese immigration may not even issue him a visa to enter Japan, making visits impossible. I would have thought that the boy's being born in Nebraska would have given the court jurisdiction, aren't people born in America considered American citizens? Some may say that the father's taking his son to America without telling his wife was an extreme action, but he understood clearly that foreign parents of Japanese children have no rights whatsoever in Japan, so there really was no other option.

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Posted in: Try to get a credit card in Japan See in context

I arrived in Japan in April of this year to begin teaching English at an Eikaiwa. Immediately after arriving, I obtained my alien registration card and opened an account at the local JP bank. I was quickly sent a EDY ATM/debit card which worked just about nowhere, so I returned to the bank and in very poor, broken Japanese asked if I could get a Visa branded ATM/debit card. I was given an application to fill out, which I completed (or so I thought) and handed back in. 5 days later I received a call at my workplace from JP bank verifying my employment. A few days later I was sent another application as apparently I had forgotten to fill in a few items on the first one. I filled out the second application and sent it in, and 4 weeks later I received a Visa credit card with a limit of 500k yen. The card is a JP bank Visa, but is apparently issued by SMBC. I was surprised to be approved, and even more surprised by the rather high credit limit.

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Posted in: Foreign laborers hit hard by downturn in Japanese economy See in context

As the crow flies wrote: "Most Latin workers have been working on those terms since they got to Japan, whether they have visas or not. There's no shortage of day labourers, as namabiru said, who are just told "take a yasumi". The main reason they were encouraged to come to Japan was precisely to be a flexible, mobile labour force that would work when and where there is work, and just be expected to fend for themselves when there isn't. Japanese companies turn to them even during a downturn because they can just use them when they need them. Although a growing number of Japanese are in a similar situation of casual, insecure work, many of them can't hack the kind of heavy physical work that many Latinos will do, and don't have the Latino's endless hunger for overtime. So though many are being thrown out of work right now, I will be surprised if the demand for such flexible, disposable labour doesn't stay strong, even in a depression."

Since when do any Latin people work more overtime than a Japanese? My Japanese girlfriend often works more than one hundred hours of overtime each month. Many Japanese spend more time at work than they do at home.

I'm not sure what kind of hard, physical work you are talking about. Whatever it is, I don't see latinos doing it here. I've never seen a single latino construction worker, gardener, farm worker, waste handler, fisherman, meat cutter, truck driver, in all the time I've spent in Japan.

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Posted in: Foreign laborers hit hard by downturn in Japanese economy See in context

Pointofview said" "My comment was based on the comment made in the article stating that the workers are being let go first because they are foreign. Sounds like a prejudice statement to me. Why are foreign contract workers needed in the first place anyway? Many people have learned and continue to learn Japanese but if companies require someone to be fluent in all areas of Japanese than that is ridiculous. A Certain level should be acceptable then build on that when working. Being a Level 1 to work is just silly. Open the doors..."

They were needed because Japan has a negative birth rate at the moment. The native population is declining in numbers, which means with a growing economy, workers must be found. Now that the economy is shrinking, they are no longer needed.

In order for a foreigner to qualify for a visa, he must be paid a certain amount of money for a certain amount of time, a kind of "minimum wage". If a company cannot afford to pay this wage, then they are in violation of the labor law. It is illegal to pay less, but it is legal to fire the worker.

A couple of the people in the article are here under special circumstances. Being of Japanese decent, or being married to a Japanese national makes the labor/pay argument irrelevant. These people are being let go for one of two reasons, lack of seniority (neither have been in Japan for very long, and in Japan, your seniority in a company counts for everything), or because they were, in fact, foreigners.

For some jobs, language is not much of a requirement, but for many other jobs, it is a necessity. There are plenty of native Japanese who are fluent in their language, why should a company hire a foreign worker who needs visa sponsorship, special pay/insurance considerations and the like, when they could much more easily hire a fluent, native Japanese?

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Posted in: Investigators try to track last 30 minutes of murdered girl in Chiba See in context

LFRAagain "And then there's the third option: Find out why these criminals commit such horrific deeds. Delve deep into their childhoods, explore their experiences growing up, analyze the pressures they faced that may have driven them to do something so wildly outside of social norms, and take that data, analyze it, and develop some sort of system to ensure that others don't follow the same twisted path."

One isn't always the result of one's upbringing. There's nothing I dislike more than listening to a defence attorney digging up a defendant's past in order to justify or in any way excuse criminal behaviour. Some people are stupid, others are genuinely evil, and both types deserve punishment. Punishment will teach the stupid, and hopefully restrain the evil ones among us.

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Posted in: Investigators try to track last 30 minutes of murdered girl in Chiba See in context

I live only 100 meters from where the girl's body was found, and I'm still in shock over the whole situation. I've always thought of Togane as a quiet and crime free place. My only complaints about the place so far have been the noisy scooters which the teenagers around here love to ride. There are many children in the area, as there are several schools nearby. It wasn't at all unusual to see young children walking around by themselves, though that's all changed now. I truly hope they find the person responsible and punish him accordingly.

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