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Posted in: Katy Perry to perform at NFL Super Bowl show See in context

I wonder which "embarrassing" wardrobe malfunction they're planning this year? Is vegas running a lottery on this?

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Posted in: Low voter turnout could erode Abe's call for fresh mandate See in context

I believe this snap election is more a typical political ploy to distract the general voting populace from the true root cause - Abenomics is not about curtailing government spending, nor about more rigorous fiscal responsibility. Abenomics, as I understand it with my limited if not diminished mental capacity - is bluntly "INCREASE government spending (and therefore government debt) to rebalance the economy and reduce government debt.

I'm definitely NOT an expert in economics, public finance and management - but Abenomics seems equivalent to increasing the line of credit and use of an already overtaxed, abused, and overextended credit card, in the hopes that it will somehow miraculously cure my credit indebtedness woes.

From an investment perspective - the expected return on investment can't even competitively outperform simple bank savings account interest.

I truly don't understand government based economics and financial management - either here in Japan or back home in the good ol' USA.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Man fires shots into ex-wife's apartment in Yokohama See in context

Ahh...reignition of the gun control debate yet again. A gun has the same features as a knife, a baseball bat, a car, a spare container of petrol/gasoline, a crossbow, a slingshot, a bb/pellet gun, and most people's brains. By itself, it's an inanimate object. It's neither good nor bad - but can be dangerous in the hands of a moronic imbecile or the impassioned - which abound in society regardless of nation or culture.

Guns receive high profiles because they allow the weak to be strong. Governments and government officials are terrified of guns as they permit and enable the rapid destruction of social disorder - anarchy. They fear the crimes of passion - people can become impassioned about anything - including the perceived disrespect of a persistently loudly partying neighbor(s).

Personally, I see no difference between a crime of passion using a gun, as demonstrated by Mr. Formerly a gang-member and tossing a lit container of gasoline at your intended source of displeasure - although a gun is certainly more surgical - thin walls, ricochets, and bad aim, notwithstanding.

Gun control has been and always will be an emotional argument - with both sides perversely quoting skewed statistics. Like many government imposed laws of emotion, gun control has always struck me as a law of emotion imposed upon the masses for the sometimes spectacular infractions of a few.

Statistically - gun related issues aside - the legal incarceration rate of most developed nations runs around 2-3% (prison population divided by government reported population at large). So gun laws, like drunk driving laws, don't rob bank laws, don't murder others laws, don't lie, cheat, steal laws are mostly written for that 2-3% of the population, but imposed upon the 98% who wouldn't normally even consider breaking such laws whether they exist or not - but it makes the masses feel safe and comfortable knowing there's a law against guns. Gun laws sate the irrational emotions of society, through the false illusion of safety and the false illusion that one's personal safety is the responsibility of the government and the government will protect you.

Gun laws and gun control have never been and never will be the root cause of the issue - it is merely a re-direction - the root cause of the gun control issue has been and always will be society's inability to take responsibility for its actions and the behavioral disorders of others and trying to push that responsibility to to an amply willing third party at the cost of personal loss of liberty. Governments generally delight in making laws and increasing taxes and budgets to support those laws, while continuously eroding our liberties and our abilities to rebel when those laws become tyrannical and oppressive.

The issue isn't gun control - Japan has some of the world's most restrictive and effective gun control laws, yet gun-related incidents continue to appear - albeit at a severely lower rate than the USA, but I believe that's also cultural. China similarly has comparatively tyrannical gun control laws (gas powered pellet guns are also forbidden and illegal - but continue to proliferate). As many of you are aware, a small focused group of disgruntled people from a specific people group managed to murder 29 people and injure another 140, armed with nothing more than watermelon knives - very sharp, easily procured, long-bladed knives for slicing watermelons. There was no knee-jerk reaction to ban watermelon knives, nor an international outcry from gun control advocates to ban nor limit the easily procured and prolific watermelon knives.

So - gun control as practiced and lobbied today, has and always will strike me as a rather emotionally charged issue, stoked by societies' ignorance and happily accommodated by our government officials, at the cost of erosion of our civil liberties - which we gladly surrender for the emotional illusion/delusion of social peace, harmony, and safety.

I'm NOT saying gun control laws are good or bad - but I do question the rationality and sanity of applying a social stigma to an inanimate object for an illusory benefit.

Personally, I enjoy the freedom of gun ownership that the USA currently affords - but I'm equally happy with my professional, competition level compound bow and arrow. The care of use of both instruments of my chosen hobbies are quite zen and my hobbies just happen to also scare people because of the stigma society attaches to these inanimate objects and yet illegal drugs, unrestricted gasoline containers - all are just as dangerous, if not more so.

Gun control is an exercise in futility, fueled by emotional impassioned advocates, but neither addresses nor resolves the root cause. It is a futile attempt to ban morons, imbeciles, criminals, terrorists, and crimes of passion - but attempting to draft those kinds of laws is ludicrous, irrational, and fundamentally insane - so we assign or stigmatize an inanimate object to make everyone feel comfortable because we actually cannot solve or prevent the root cause - making our government and security forces appear impotent.

There are three topics one should never discuss or raise at a party, religion, politics, and gun control.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: China mulls days to remember defeat of Japan, Nanjing Massacre See in context

Well - the USA celebrates in remembrance 7 Dec every year (aka Pearl Harbor Day). We also celebrate (in remembrance and honor) Memorial Day. Although the timing is a bit off (70+ years) - seems okee dokee to me.

As for apologies - Japan has never really apologized - most apologies, like most recent Abe/NHK gaffs - become downgraded to PERSONAL opinions, not necessarily supported by officialdom.

The "we deeply and sincerely regret your pain and suffering over our actions" classical Japanese apology is actually rather offensive. Most westerners fail to understand or comprehend the actual official political language used when Japan addresses its historical past.

Germany made it illegal and a criminally punishable offense to deny the holocaust and even chided Japan on their refusal to come clean with their past (so we can all just get on with life and move on to the next international relations gaffe).

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

Posted in: Confused Japanese tourists trigger highway pursuit in Utah See in context

Of course, she was also driving on "the other side of the road" - and as a typically confused female driver (have you people ever witnessed a young, newly licensed Japanese woman trying to parallel park - I watched one in Shibuya for about 40 minutes while my wife went shopping AND came back - same girl, same car, still trying to parallel park - amazing.

Anyway - I can easily understand how this silly woman panicked, drove all over the place, drove THROUGH the tire shredders, etc ad infinitum - I'm just glad she wasn't driving on the wrong side of the highway also.

The Utah police are to be commended - as I'm sure the kid was terrified. J-Police are famous for their compassion when it comes to normal people doing silly things, with small children.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: 43 killed in Nigeria in Boko Haram school attack See in context

Boko Haram is and has been a cancerous blight on the world. I'm wondering just WHEN the USA will take some time off from securing its energy supplies and eradicate this abomination off the face of the earth. I'm assuming nobody wants to do anything as this also means trying to repatriate, re-integrate, and re-educate all the forced child soldiers - a lifelong commitment.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Posted in: Policeman fires at fleeing suspect in car See in context

Wow - the officer managed to wound the driver, miss the passenger, all while armed with that little pop gun the J-Police carry, while under duress - outstanding marksmanship - exemplary control!

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Posted in: Gov't unveils draft energy policy with nuclear power as key source See in context

Actually, you guys all got it wrong. Restarting Japan's nuclear power plants and building new plants has a little to do with maintaining stable energy without fossil fuels - but as shown in Iran's case, are also used (subversively or covertly), to generate fissile materials for nuclear bombs.

China has become increasingly assertive over territorial claims and Japan refuses to acknowledge it's WW2 atrocities - and in a way, they're "legally" correct as an inordinately large proportion of Japan's Class A war criminals were essentially absolved by the USA internationally, during the Nuremberg war rials, so the USA could go about its new priority of neutralizing a communist China and Soviet Union.

As Japan has constitutionally stated it will not create nor harbor nuclear weapons - it can only create its nuclear weapons covertly - hence the heavy support for nuclear reactor - ostensibly for peaceful energy production purposes - but it doesn't take a great leap of intelligence to join the dots.

And if you don't believe that - then you probably also believe that the USA of today continues to stand for liberty and justice for all - despite our much maligned "global rendition program" and other historical anomalies.

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Posted in: Japanese farmer is French chefs' secret See in context

In case you guys are interested, there are mail-order farmer's coops around Tokyo where you can buy first fruits and farmer's picks of the crops, albeit at higher prices - but hey - organic, FRESH, and utterly amazing. Once you've tried reputable coop produce, you'll NEVER go back (and leaving Japan will be extraordinarily painful). Lettuce is as juicy as a ripe watermelon, crunchy as a freshly picked apple. Fruit and juices always sweet, never sour, never bitter, never dry. You pre-order based on their seasonal crops and they deliver pretty much on-schedule in refrigerated (dry iced) styrofoam containers (which they want back - very green you see).

A VAST difference from the animal fodder at most grocery stores.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Foreigners in China squeezed by pensions, taxes See in context

Actually - for the smaller companies, such as international schools - they'll just find the simple route around the law - they'll fire most of their full time staff, then hire them back as independent "contractors" with one-year contracts. The visa issues will be more complicated - but there's always a solution to a problem.

This will resolve the tax issue - albeit at the expense of no benefits for foreign contractors - which will drive up prices. The alternative is to raise prices to compensate for the tax increases. Same problem we face in the USA (except for the visa issue). So you see - no matter WHERE the government decides to place the tax - it ALWAYS comes back to bite the public.

I've shopped at Walmart in China - they sell expired meats (one month old or longer) and use fraudulent packaging ploys to increase profits - example we bought a package of instant noodles - upon opening the package the "noodles inside were HALF the size that were normally packaged inside. Don't know if this is a Walmart issue or just a corrupt buyer embezzling money through kickbacks - but it's widespread - so that makes seem more like a Walmart fraudulent practices play until the government catches them and fines them yet again.

As for taxes on the auto industries - ALL high-tech and foreign investment firms enjoyed roughly a decade of preferential taxes - with a limit so all this whining about taxes is cow manure. They knew it was coming - just your typical winging and whining because they have to pay taxes just like everyone else.

In China - there is only ONE income tax for employees. Companies are burdened with the bulk of taxes and social benefits for their employees and truthfully, I prefer this system as no normal human being can actually fill out a US tax return. The US gov uses the complexity of the IRS rules and regulations to fraudulently steal billions (perhaps trillions) from it's not so sophisticated taxpayers - while mega corporations (e.g. Bank of America 2010) pay ZERO taxes - I'd call that akin to rape and sodomy.

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Posted in: Farmers - last of the modern-day samurai See in context

Farmers in Japan face the same plight of farmers in the USA - allegedly the land of milk and honey - poverty. There is a way to reutilize idle agrarian resources without welfare, in a sustainable manner, which also contributes to the social economy - but you'll have to watch China to see how this plays out. The free market west is far too greedy and vicious to care about poor farmers who don't have enough money to contribute to various political campaigns - let alone pay for a bucket of golf balls at the exclusive membership only driving range.

China may be a so-so government - but it's doing well for a relatively new government. Second largest economy in the world - rapidly approaching super-power status - and they haven't even really ramped up yet. On top of that - China pays close attention to its rural areas - always the hotbed of revolutions and general rabble raising. While China (noted by the UN) has made consistent and steady progress towards poverty reduction and elimination, the US is hitting records - near depression are percentages of a rising socio-economic class of poverty stricken.

Domestic agriculture, like OIL, is a national security issue. No government can afford to be dependent on foreign imports of agro-goods.

The US solved the problem of poverty amongst farmers by allowing large corporations to take over the industry, effectively forcing most small farmers out of business. This resulted in some fairly serious consumer abuses - steroid laced meats, insecticide laced produce, and massive outbreaks of diseases such as salmonella, eboli, etc from lax quality control practices (a la the fukushima crisis perhaps, remember snow brand milk?).

Unfortunately - Japan will eventually migrate to the corporate agriculture model, once some corporate giant decides to enter the space. The only solution for farmers is to expand their product line using the resources at their disposal - that said - should be interesting to see how China addresses/resolves this problem.

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Posted in: Jaczko's response to Japan crisis criticized by U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission See in context

Simply goes to show how the AP is a governmental propaganda yippy dog. Slanting and biasing the news. Jazcko's intolerance is more probably due to frustration at working with corrupt government officials and lazy ass government employees who just want to protect their industry subsidized government jobs and get good job recommendations and promotions from the four government shills.

Simple solution - find out how much the nuclear dogs paid directly or via lobby groups to the four public officials PACs (Political Action Committees - a legal term for bribery slush fund) or their re-election campaigns. If they're on NRC - they should be legally banned from accepting donations etc from the nuke dogs as a conflict of interest - but the gov shills wrote laws exempting themselves from conflict of interest bribes. Welcome to democracy - American style.

At least the gangsters in Japan are legalized, recognizable, and generally pay taxes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Baby carrier See in context

Aside from the lack of sleep and occasionally bewildering crying temper tantrums (babies need a change of scenery too and seem to cry out of frustration) - I miss the baby days - they were so cute and playful...and simple. Making them was also a blast (when it's somewhat planned).

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Did FDR conceal Pearl Harbor intelligence about Japanese attack? See in context

Intelligence is highly over-rated. FDR was assuredly receiving intel about potential Japanese attacks EVERYWHERE in an obvious intel subterfuge by Japan to spread our limited forces all over the place. That we piled them all up in Hawaii for the Japanese to take out in a single blaze of glory required some incredible political intelligence (what happens when politicians practice military strategy).

Did FDR know - of course he did, despite the nay-sayers. But he also had a plethora of other data to process - I'm guessing the theory was to mass the navy at Pearl so they could sail out in force once activated. The blunder occurred with the lax if not non-existent vigilance of maintaining a "safe perimeter" around the battle group.

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Posted in: The forever war See in context

I for one am glad the USA invaded Japan - although I REALLY think WE are the victims now and NOT Japan - as we have to PAY to maintain our troops in this most idyllic of countries (aside from the occasional nuclear melt down and radiation poisoning).

We implemented a government which has become steeped in corruption - just like our government - I don't know if that was intentional - but amusing to observe.

Japan first broke the Geneva convention when it firebombed Shanghai - targeting civilians. They followed through with civilian massacres in Nanjing, etc etc - the list is endless. This man - just like US citizens - likes to blame everyone and anyone except his own leaders - just like the good old USA. Our politicians can point fingers everywhere except back at home where the evil and corruption were allowed to take root.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Posted in: Woodford ramps up campaign to oust Olympus board See in context

Woodford is dreaming. A significant amount of Olympus business is generated through the complicated kairetsu relationships of it's board and senior executives. Woodfords idea to "clean up the board" comes with a serious if not suicidally catastrophic drop in revenues - he'll come out of this looking rather ugly if he actually manages to succeed. The board, meanwhile, can afford to outlast this foreigner - working behind his back to destroy his credibility, collapse the company's revenues, and generally be a major pain - while being verbose critics of every move he tries to make.

Should be amusing to watch...

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Posted in: Noda said Japan needs to tap into China's development See in context

Also - based on the above numbers - perhaps you all see why Japan and the USA are quite concerned - China WILL eventually shift the balance of economic power. with a population ten times the size of Japan and five times the size of the USA and already the world's #2 economy, what do you think will happen as the Chinese machine ramps up to it's full capacity? It will obviously overwhelmingly eclipse both Japan and the USA combined.

Kudos to Mr. Noda for his long-term vision - hopefully - China will be significantly more responsible as a global citizen than the USA - with it's long history of using military and violent covert interventions to interfere, oppress, and suppress the natural evolutions of foreign governments and sovereignties, in its quest for colonial domination of foreign sovereign natural resources and manipulate "world favor". BAD neighbor...BAD neighbor. For those of you who disagree - let's discuss using the US's complicated relationship with Mexico as a case study.

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Posted in: Noda said Japan needs to tap into China's development See in context

The problem is the gap between politics and reality. Japanese companies are already somewhat entrenched in China - but how to differentiate between genuine low risk opportunities and outright frauds. Secondly - Japanese corporate mentality is colonial - the goal of Japanese corporations is to suck resource and money back to Japan - which doesn't work well in China. China prefers long-term companies that will contribute to the domestic infrastructure and employment - with heavy social responsibility. While the world criticizes China's state run enterprises - the simple fact is they provide massive employment for a country with 4-5x the population of the USA. Japan's population of 120-130 million roughly equates to a single large province in China (but kudos to Japan for being the world's #3 economy at roughly one-tenth the population and size of China).

Over the last ten years I've continuously provided major (USD 100 million+) contractual opportunities to both US and Japanese firms - the USA is simply unresponsive. Japanese firms have tried on multiple occasions to circumvent our NDA/Non Circumvention Agreements and use their own "guanxi" to circumvent my mandates - which shows their utter disrespect for entrenched Chinese processes. I can only be amused as circumvention of a mandate results in open bidding as opposed to sole sourcing (no corruption involved - we don't do that).

Our focus has changed from working with Japanese and US multinationals to the SME's. They're less prone to banditry although their lifecycle stability is always a risk.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Woman found strangled in Kamakura See in context

The fact that the police mentioned her husband has "gone missing"strongly implies they suspect her husband. He'll probably give himself up in a little while - plead temporary insanity, regret his actions, get off with a few years in the clink and probation for a "crime of passion". Probably yet another case of a nagging wife who just didn't know when to shut up. Although I don't condone family homicide - I also don't condone aberrant stupidity, although I'm beginning to suspect this may be a DNA imposed behavior in certain women.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Tokyo's really, really real ninja hideouts See in context

If you've ever been stopped by a traffic cop - then you'll know for sure - ninja are still alive and practising the arts of camouflage and subterfuge - in giving out traffic tickets. Completely invisible until you make that illegal right turn, then POOF! the team materializes, waving you over to the side of the street.

Incredible, amazing, astonishing skills.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Heart disease: Long-term study proves benefit of statins See in context

20,536 patient sampling size. Approximately 3,500 cancer patients. That's approximately a 17% incidence in patients at risk of cardiovascular disease. Extraordinarily high.

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Posted in: China executes man for raping 14 schoolgirls See in context

For those of you wondering about the organ harvesting - death row criminals must repay their debt to society - which includes food, board, laundry, utilities, legal assistance, and health care services - so they sell their organs to cover incidental prison expense and in some instances, to leave some things behind for their families.

Quite civilized, actually.

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Posted in: Wrong twin terminated in Australian hospital error See in context

Extraordinary negligence bordering on criminal behavior. And the hospital has the gall to say "correct" procedures were followed? I shudder to ponder the results of "incorrect" procedures.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: The case of Abubakar Awudu Suraj: A PR nightmare of Japan’s own making See in context

In the good ol USA - the video tapes would have been "misplaced".

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Kanto with kids: The Tokyo area's best family outdoor adventures See in context

Guess Puroland doesn't count - but it's my FAVORITE place to take the little ones - especially when it's rainy and cold outside!

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Posted in: U.S. Marines to be based in Darwin See in context

Absolutely fantastic - free disaster aid and anti-piracy for other sovereign nations - all of course, paid for with my tax dollars - deducted from my unemployment check - which runs out shortly - let's see the IRS tax nothing! Gyahahahaha...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Olympus chief Kikukawa resigns amid reports of FBI probe See in context

Wow - I just learned a new trick - how to legally siphon off USD 700 million into an offshore account so you don't have to pay shareholder dividends or re-invest into the company. Amazing trick.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Olympus says it did nothing illegal in controversial deals See in context

Wow - they legally siphoned off USD 700 million - I think they learned this from Carly Fiorina and Leo Apotheker's playbooks.

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Posted in: 'Come and get it:' Tokyo sends out call to cash-rich Chinese tourists See in context

I'd rather buy via internet...waiting for Tokyo Hands, Marui, etc to go online in China...now THAT would be extremely cool.

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Posted in: Planned naval base on Jeju Island has security implications for Asia See in context

So, I suppose in retaliation - China will just quit investing into US Bonds and instead send the money to Mexico, Latin, and South America (and MAYBE even Canada) and thus "encircle" the USA. Funny thing about this is - the USA is using money invested by China to do all these interesting things.

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