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Posted in: Japanese tourists in flu masks frighten British supermarket shoppers See in context

In my experience, students in Japan heading abroad as an organized group spend a fair amount of time being briefed on the dos and don'ts of their destination, and being advised not to wear surgical masks is one of the things normally mentioned. This pre-trip education is often included in the services of travel agencies chaperoning these groups.

In many other countries wearing a mask certainly raises suspicions — you would either look like a potential convenience store robber or a person infected with a highly contagious disease. And nowadays with more people fearing terrorism, there is the triple whammy of fueling paranoia among already edgy people.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: What are some differences you have observed between waiters and waitresses in restaurants and cafes in Japan and other countries and also the way in which customers treat them? See in context

In my country, the waiting staff bring the main dish for the entire table at the same time, even when the group of diners is fairly large. In Japan, I rarely if ever see that. Quite often, one person will be finished with their meal before the last person in the group gets theirs. This can be very frustrating dining with small children when the adults get their meal much earlier than the meals for the little ones are served.

Also, in Japan they tend not to handle special requests very well. They pretty much give diners nothing more or nothing less than what is on the menu.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Posted in: Tokyo's homeless boast their own upscale neighborhood See in context

Here is a photo of one of the homeless encampments close to Rokugodate Station (六郷土手): https://i0.wp.com/tokyodeep.info/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/01ae79a56f2a60970b757e70302297f0.jpg

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Hey, Mr President: It's time to make spellcheck great again See in context

This is unpresidented, bigly.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Easing of regulations allows me to run businesses in the United States more easily. President Trump is a person with whom I can talk frankly with in an honest debate. See in context

I have liked the way CEO Son as somewhat of an outsider has shaken things up in the Japanese business community in the past, but he has been blatantly pandering to Trump and shamelessly stroking his ego, perhaps more than any other non-American CEO.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Trump, Abe discuss security alliance, trade See in context

During the news conference, Trump forgot to put in his earphone for interpretation when Abe was speaking. Still, he seemed to understand what Abe was saying.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Trump to team up with Abe for round of golf in Florida See in context

I wonder if bookies are posting odds for this on any of the online gambling websites. If so, my money is on Trump — I have a feeling it would be in Abe's best interests to avoid a twitter-storm and let Trump win.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: Trump to team up with Abe for round of golf in Florida See in context

The Bannon & Trump presidency is turning out to be an even greater disaster than Nixon's turn at the helm. The danger of Abe sycophantically saddling up to Trump is that the Abe administration could also go down with the ship when the sinking of the Trumptanic.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Posted in: I hope that local consumption of locally produced goods that was disrupted by the nuclear disaster will soon be back. See in context

CNN International has been airing an English-language commercial touting the popularity across Japan of food from Fukushima, paid for by the Japanese government. One scene shows a family feeding their toddler rice ostensibly from the area.

It's ironic that the government should be pushing this now, given that just last week the API reported a recently discovered radiation link at much higher levels than previously estimated, as @tmarie alluded to above.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Who will casinos hit hardest? See in context

Japan is invariably late to the game when it comes to almost everything, and these proposed casinos will probably end up being but one example of that. Singapore got in on the windfall early on, at the ground floor.

Once built in/around 2021, the casinos in Japan are supposed to generate most of their revenue by bringing in wealthy tourists from China and elsewhere in Asia. The problem is with relations between China and America/Japan now fraying, it seems fairly likely that inbound tourist numbers could drop off substantially by 2021, which would leave these casinos relying much more on domestic demand to generate revenues, which kind of defeats the purpose.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Opposition calls on Abe to oppose Trump's refugee ban See in context

The head of Japan’s main opposition party has called on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to speak up against President Donald Trump’s refugee ban

As much as I hate to say it, I agree with several of the people posting on this thread thus far. Even if Japan's people/politicians disagree with Bannon/Trump's refugee ban, they don't have a leg to stand on given Japan's dismal and utterly shameful record when it comes to accepting refugees. Given that, in all reality how is Abe supposed to speak up against the refugee ban, and do it with a straight face?

I know a number of Japanese people who are voicing anger regarding Trump's refugee ban, yet these same people never speak out about Japan's lack of willingness to embrace immigrants and refugees. Hypocrisy at its worst.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan eyes U.S. job, investment plan ahead of Abe-Trump summit See in context

Speaking as an American, I hope Abe and other world leaders take a firm stand against the Trump administration, and particularly the alt-right, de facto president Bannon, the evil genius behind the curtain. When Trump visits countries in Europe, there are bound to be massive protests, I hope the citizens of Japan do the same.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Posted in: People from Southeast Asia are hardworking, and they have high potential of becoming good workers. See in context

Given that this is under Japan’s Technical Intern Training Program, I wonder what sorts of technical skill training these 15 "interns" will undergo during their "internships" with supermarket chain Life Corp.

Most of these jobs through the program have nothing technical about them, little to no training in marketable skills, and no component that could be regarded as an internship. What a joke. I wish the government would drop the absurd euphemistic label and instead more accurately and honestly name the program.

Vice News made a short documentary on this, "The Worst Internship Ever" (15:40): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wt__lHCuH5g

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: China's tourism authority urges boycott of APA hotel group See in context

Here is some video content of this in English, for those interested.

Right wing nationalist hotels in Japan (10:02): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcSqAulB-lo

Japanese Hotel CEO Says Nanjing Massacre Was Fake, Wall Street Journal (2:05): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozyvQ5E97eQ

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Do you think foreign journalists based in Japan sometimes misrepresent Japan, and if so, in what way? See in context

By and large Japan is treated with kid gloves by foreign journalists, and mainstream Japanese journalists alike, and do very little true investigative journalism. So in that respect, they misrepresent Japan by presenting a government-approved, sugar-coated view of this country to the rest of the world.

When Kyung Lah was assigned to CNN's Japan desk she asked somewhat more probing questions, but she was reassigned I believe to Los Angeles.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Posted in: China's tourism authority urges boycott of APA hotel group See in context

I would have thought APA Hotel would have been blacklisted by Chinese and South Korean tourist agencies long ago.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Posted in: Park employee didn’t collect admission fees from 160,000 foreigners over 2 1/2 years because one scared him See in context

If he let as many as 160,000 foreigners into the park without paying, it probably wouldn't be difficult to locate a few to corroborate the story. That's over 5,000 foreigners a month.

Are there any JT readers who have been to Shinjuku Gyoen over the last 30 months, either paid or no entrance charge?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Posted in: Park employee didn’t collect admission fees from 160,000 foreigners over 2 1/2 years because one scared him See in context

the man provided free entry tickets to the park to foreign visitors and then deleted the records from the ticket database.

I would say that there is a very high likelihood that this man was embezzling, and now playing the foreigner card to create a diversion.

Embezzlement is rampant in Japan, particularly in non-profits and small companies. The police do little to pursue these crimes, and the criminals if caught get off lightly, usually without arrest or a criminal record.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Posted in: Survey picks 8 most disappointing sightseeing spots in Tokyo See in context

there’s still a bit of a seedy air to Ameyoko... which might be a little off-putting to those expecting more glitz from Japan’s biggest city.

People who visit Ameyoko don't go there expecting "glitz." Its lack of glitz and general roughness around the edges is what makes it a great place to visit.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Koike seeks to reduce crowding on trains during rush hour See in context

One major factor behind the overcrowded trains (and buses) in Tokyo is the simple fact that the more people the train companies can cram into a railway car, the more profit the company generates. The railway companies could easily alleviate crowding if they were to run more trains on crowded runs, but doing so would be less profitable.

It frustrates me to no end when I and my fellow passengers are left waiting a considerable amount of time for a train to arrive, only to find that it is bone-crushingly full of people — and this is the situation at certain times every day. In those cases where there is a substantial amount of time between train arrivals, there is obviously track capacity to add additional trains and/or trains with more railway cars.

The extent of train/bus overcrowding in Tokyo is dangerous, and would be illegal in most first-world countries. It should be made illegal here as well.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Posted in: Defense minister visits Yasukuni shrine one day after returning from Pearl Harbor See in context

"Japan’s disaster reconstruction minister Masahiro Imamura visited the war-linked Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo on Wednesday, shortly after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama visited Pearl Harbor in Hawaii to commemorate the war dead. But Imamura told reporters the timing of the events was just a 'coincidence'..." From Japan Today, Dec. 28

Construction Minister Imamura's visit to Yasukuni on the day of Abe's Pearl Harbor visit was written off as "just a coincidence." I wonder if Defense Minister Inada's visit will likewise be downplayed as yet another coincidence.

What irks me is that she stood right by Abe's side during much of the Pearl Harbor visit. This is the epitome of insincerity. Even more, this is a major affront to Obama, which the Trump supporters will have a field day with. It makes him look like gullible and naive. They took advantage of Obama's positive intentions. It's a slap in the face.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Posted in: Defense minister visits Yasukuni shrine one day after returning from Pearl Harbor See in context

How would the people of Japan felt if Obama or his secretary of defense had visited the Enola Gay one day after he paid respects at Hiroshima? This is shameful. I was very much hoping this Yasukuni visit immediately after the Pearl Harbor visit would not happen, but had a feeling it would. Par for the course, unfortunately.

This visit, clearly sanctioned by Abe, is a two-faced move. Essentially in Hawaii he is telling the world that he expresses his condolences for Japan's role in the war, but then is sending the opposite message to his nationalist cronies back home. We're sorry, but we're not.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Posted in: Sagawa employee caught on YouTube throwing, kicking parcels See in context

Our delivery drivers from both Sagawa and Kuroneko are top notch. Express delivery is one industry where Japanese companies perform extremely well.

Still, I am aware of the grueling pressure these drivers are under (as @Stephen Knight noted). This man obviously snapped, but I hope he gets a second chance.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Family sues Saitama Prefecture after daughter dies during school walkathon See in context

the high school failed to consider the students’ physical condition prior to the race (walkathon)

The sentence above has me wondering.

In their myopic quest to instill students with a group mentality, Japanese schools often have every student take part in every event, few or no exceptions. I have seen this numerous times. (As one of many examples, teachers will have native-speaking returnee students in the 7th grade taking English with all the other students, many with virtually no exposure to English, all learning the ABCs together. No special study hall or alternative curriculum for the sake of maintaining the group mindset.)

In this case, I am left wondering if this student's physical condition was such that it would be unwise to have her participate in a 13-kilometer walkathon. I'm guessing that is likely the case.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Posted in: Body of newborn baby girl left on grounds of Gifu shrine See in context

In this day and age, with these sorts of incidents I always wonder if it would possible now or in the near future to readily identify the parents/relatives of the deceased newborn through DNA testing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: 'Comfort woman' statue at Sydney church upsets Japanese-Australian community See in context

Memorials to events are not generally placed in locations unrelated to the events being memorialized.

Should Japanese people enjoying a day in the park with their family have to be confronted by their nation's past at every turn?


Good comment, and I tend to agree with you overall.

However, given that you are put off by "unrelated memorialization," how do you feel about memorials to the Holocaust or Hiroshima/Nagasaki which are prevalent all over the world? If the Australian government opts to remove this comfort women memorial, should the government also remove Hiroshima and Holocaust memorials on Australian soil?

The thing that gets me is the hypocrisy — many Japanese people overseas actively spread the gospel worldwide of Japan's wartime suffering through memorials and commemorative events, but then those same people paint themselves as victims of mean-spirited foreigners when people of another country draw attention to their suffering at the hands of Japan. Personally I'm fine with Japanese people engaging in "unrelated memorialization" in other countries about the suffering many people of Japan endured, but I think it should also come with a willingness on their part to also recognize the suffering many Japanese people caused others.

There is a strong tendency these days among many Japanese people to see the IJA as virtuous and well-intentioned liberators who have since unfairly been given a bad rap by foreigners trying to take advantage of the kind-hearted people of Japan. I hear this sort of sentiment often, and it really bothers me.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Posted in: 'Comfort woman' statue at Sydney church upsets Japanese-Australian community See in context

The Australia-Japan Community Network website contains a link to the "Texas Daddy" website hosted by Tony Marano who is an active supporter of Japan's nationalists. The AJCN's link to that website alone suggests that the AJCN is a fairly repulsive organization.

That's a shame. Before now, I thought the AJCN played a positive role in Australia-Japan relations. I'm disappointed.

12 ( +18 / -6 )

Posted in: 'Comfort woman' statue at Sydney church upsets Japanese-Australian community See in context

Yamaoka doesn't seem to deny that many comfort women were victims of sexual slavery, unlike many others with a revisionist agenda these days. However, he does make some abhorrent remarks such as, "The Japanese government was forced to establish comfort stations for occupying soldiers as thousands of rape incidents were reported in the first month or two of the occupation after the WWII."

In his press release, Yamaoka writes, "the group called Chon Dae Hyup based in Seoul [is] erecting such statues all over the world." The irony of course is that Japanese interests have been actively encouraging the setting up of Hiroshima/Nagasaki monuments worldwide for decades now. A quick Google search turned up no fewer than 50 such monuments worldwide outside of Japan for Hiroshima, and there are hundreds of Holocaust memorials worldwide.

I wonder if Yamaoka would be against setting up Hiroshima monuments outside Japan on the same grounds of divisiveness/discrimination, or setting up Holocaust memorials outside of Germany on those grounds. Something tells me he would be OK with those monuments. Hypocrisy.

Here is Yamaoka's press release: http://jcnsydney-en.blogspot.jp/ Here is an ABC Australia segment on this, with an interviews of Yamaoka and Crews (8'07"): http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-14/japanese-group-launches-18c-case-against-uniting-church/8117234

7 ( +13 / -6 )

Posted in: Japanese kindergarten teaches students pre-war ideals See in context

For those interested, here is video footage of Tsukamoto students chanting the the Imperial Rescript on Education (kyoiku chokugo; 教育勅語), starting from the 3:30 mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wo_fxeRIER4

Here is the English-language translation of the kyoiku chokugo: http://www.moral-science.com/world.html

Here is a current events program in Japanese featuring this school and the debate surrounding jingoistic education and use of the kyoiku chokugo at Tsukamoto kindergarten: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXeTCl6oQVI

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Posted in: Japanese kindergarten teaches students pre-war ideals See in context

“Should emergencies arise, offer yourselves courageously to the state.”

Who in their right mind has 3- to 5- year olds chant this rhetoric about offering yourself to the state?

Besides Nippon Kaigi and ISIS, I can't think of many others. Parents who send their preschool-aged children to a "school" like this should be ashamed of themselves.

21 ( +27 / -6 )

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