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shonanftw comments

Posted in: University of Tokyo to assist new female students with Y30,000 a month for rent See in context

A news story on the TV tonight spelled out some of the reasoning, a main one being that parents from the countryside were worried about the safety of their daughters living in Tokyo alone. So, many parents feel the need either to shell out extra money for a security "auto-lock" apartment/mansion or if that's not affordable they have no choice but to have their daughters attend a school closer to home.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Warm Biz campaign kicks off across Japan See in context

Japan IS changing when it comes to building as house makers have really made a change to modernize over the past 10-15 years. We're building a house right now, and you get what you pay for. If you buy pre-fab or contract with a housing company whose only claim to fame is a catchy commercial featuring a big name celebrity, you will pay less, but get considerably lower quality construction. (We know, we looked at a lot of companies and pre-fabs and saw what they use and how they use it). The company we chose uses excellent, strong materials with the latest earth-quake research construction designs and real insulation, installed professionally. I've been visiting the house every few days, and have seen first hand how well it's being put together with a few thousand photos to prove it. Furthermore, the government encourages quality construction with additional tax breaks if you build to a certain code, and the government sponsored loan corporation offering the "Flat 35" loan will only approve the loan if the house is built to proper standards.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: More than 90% of vehicles don't stop at crosswalks without lights despite presence of pedestrians See in context

As a driver I stop, but I always reflexively look into the rearview mirror as I suspect one of these times I'm going to get rear-ended by the car who won't be expecting me to do it.

Also, having spent a lot of time out running/jogging on the streets I know the rule is don't make eye-contact with drivers. It seems counter-intuitive, but in Japan this seems to mean that I have somehow acknowledged the existence of the car, and therefore have given it the right of way. It still makes me nervous, but cars will stop for me if I deliberately don't look at them.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Top 5 myths about learning Japanese See in context

Flashcards did NOT work for me. After I bought flashcards so I could get past the 500 or so kanji I already knew, about 3 weeks later I could proudly recite the words and meanings for 100 new kanji. So I asked my J-friend to write a kanji test for me using those kanji. I got about 30% right. Turned out I was a whiz at remembering the flashcards but once the context changed I was lost.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Will smart cities save Japan? See in context

I think large cities like Tokyo/Yokohama/Osaka would benefit by smart technologies already available, but not being used currently due to tradition/inertia. Namely, how many workers packing the trains on a daily basis could do the exact same work from home with access to internet and the latest communications technology? Quite a few I would wager.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Plans for daycare center scrapped after residents complain of possible noise See in context

A new eldercare center is opening in our neighborhood. There are a lot of families with kids in our neighborhood, maybe we should stage a protest against it stating that if we let elderly in they will create meiwaku by complaining about the noise of families already living here.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Driverless taxi start-up eyes partnerships with automakers See in context

"Where am I?" "You're in a Johnnycab." I want to start a robot cab company that has various theme "drivers", like talking velociraptors, or totoro. This is the wave of the future!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Pachinko is ‘recreation for morons,’ magazine claims See in context

I made some money over a short period of months several years ago, but my wife complained so I stopped. I have to say that where I played was nothing like what's described in the article. There was a non-smoking section and the people that played around me were very polite and nice - giving a smile or a fist pump if they saw me win. I still go in there to use the toilets because they're brand new and nice, while the other available ones at the station are decrepit and smell of piss. It's true that there were people that always seemed to be there, and that's the problem. The addiction part is dangerous and there have even been real cases of parents leaving their children in hot cars to go gamble. Honestly I'm glad I stopped - not sure if I would have become addicted but I did find in a weird way that it helped me de-stress because I didn't have to think about anything while I played. Even if it doesn't provide the same stimulation as video games, it was still somehow all-absorbing so yeah, better that I quit when I was ahead!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese TV show produces baffling list of five household habits that will shorten your lifespan See in context

I agree, I think the first one is a reference to clutter, not overvaluing "things". I absolutely find the clutter of my apartment to be stressful, but it's hard to help. The closet space is completely inadequate and the garbage sorting coupled with the collection practices (recently it rained 5 weeks in a row, so we had our paper trash piling up in our living room because they wont' pick it up in the rain) makes for a continually cluttered lifestyle.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: 4-year-girl drowns after falling out of boat into river in Ibaraki See in context

There might not be a specific requirement, but I help out from time to time at a boat rental place and any time someone rents a rowboat we give them a life jacket. Whether the customer actually wears it the whole time isn't enforceable though.

A family trip, supposed to create good memories ends in tragedy instead. Poor little girl, and I hope the family can get beyond the suffering for her loss.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: What do you think of the quality of food sold in convenience stores in Japan? See in context

The food is just fine, it's convenient and good in a pinch. Some things they sell are better than just good. Some personal favorites are 7-11 oden and Lawson's karage-kun. Also agree that it's nice to see they're finally selling coffee. It won't compete with real coffee shop coffee, but again in a pinch it's fine.

My only real complaint is I wish they would do away with the baby style sandwiches without crusts. I truly hope they are not just throwing all those bread crusts away. Wasteful and unnecessary. In many ways Japan still doesn't really understand bread....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Should permanent foreign residents in Japan have the right to vote? See in context

First off, I agree that dual citizenship should be allowed.

Also,I voted "No" and think citizenship should be a criteria for voting. Why? Because you need a genuine level of Japanese language to gain citizenship, and in my humble opinion, following Japanese politics only in the English press is not going to really allow you to make a genuinely informed opinion when it comes to voting. I have known too many long term residents, wonderful people thought they are, who have made zero effort to live outside of their English-only British-Pub existence, and because of this I don't think the mere fact of having lived in Japan for XXX number of years makes for an informed voter.

I am not personally a "bubble-boy" and have made efforts to learn the language, but even so I don't feel I personally have the level of Japanese to really make an informed choice if I were allowed to vote.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Yamada was questioned by police in Tokyo 2 days before Osaka child murders See in context

I'm curious what made the police decide to detain him in the first place. Was he parked illegally? Was there a report of suspicious activity? I know that's not the main point of the story, but there's no explanation about what he may have been doing to prompt the police to ask him to go to the station.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Melbourne rated world's most liveable city; Tokyo ranked 15th See in context

I'm with warispeace

Living in "people stacks" because there's no space for a proper home. Smashed into trains during your commute next to armpit man and halitosis girl in the "light air conditioning" car because you didn't notice in time. Cost of living means having only one child and living paycheck to paycheck. Cultural offerings? Anyone been to an art exhibit or ANYTHING that is even modestly popular in Tokyo? You have to fight an equivalent number of people to the population of Melbourne just to do something normal like visit a Costco.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Woman, backing car out of garage, hits and kills 2-year-old daughter See in context

Without the details, people need to stop judging the mother. I still remember the first article I ever read about a story like this. A little girl, 2 or 3 years old, and her grandmother were on the sofa. The grandmother got up and went into another room to get a blanket. While she was gone the little girl apparently decided to run outside to say goodbye to grandpa and got run over by her grandfather who was backing out of the garage. Grandpa had no idea the little girl was even outside, much less anywhere near the car. It's a horrible thing to happen, and not entirely preventable. No sane person wants to hit their own child with their car so don't assume gross negligence without details. Back cameras on cars are hopefully going to become a standard.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: For our readers who live in Japan, what are some items you always make a point to bring back to Japan after you return from a trip abroad? See in context

Food: Cheese, coffee, Cheerios, honey and hot sauces!

Personal items: Sunscreen - Japanese sunscreen is fine but you get about 1/8th the size for the price in Japan. One trip to the beach and the dinky Japanese bottle is gone! Stick deodorant. Tylenol. Antacids (for the hot sauce...)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Fatal fire on airtight bullet train exposes lapses See in context

Instead, they say increased police patrols and random baggage checks of foreigners could be more effective.

This sentence will probably be closer to the truth.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Lower house passes controversial bill on temp workers See in context

One study I have come across recently concluded that one standard deviation point towards unemployment risk lowers household consumption by 4.1%

For example, it's hard to buy a house (and all the related purchases and spending and economic growth that creates) when you can't be sure you'll still have a job in the same area after a few years. Lowered consumption in Japan is already a growing problem, keeping more and more workers on temporary contracts will only exasperate this.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Cost-conscious males make for stingy relationships See in context

You just let yourself get caught up in the marketing rush for gift-giving on St Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc,” he frowns. “What’s the point? All the more reason to trim the trappings of human relationships to the bone.”

How about you just cut your consumerism to the bone rather than your relationships?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Which sports, when they are played well, do you find the most exciting to watch, and which sports do you find so boring that you can't understand how anyone could find them interesting? See in context

I pretty much love watching all sports.

Unfortunately the Olympic sports that Japan likes are the ones I like less - Table Tennis, Wrestling and Judo for example. Rather than watch events going on we get subjected to re-runs of Judo all day.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Driver who killed cyclist in crosswalk accident found not guilty See in context

Two seconds on an internet search will tell you that, by law in Japan, bicycles must ride on the left side of a road,


pedestrians are to walk on the right.

Bicycles are faster than people walking, and that raises the chances of a terrible accident with two vehicles speeding towards each other. It is safer, however, for pedestrians to walk on the right because they are then able to see any possible danger bearing down on them (someone texting, driving drunkenly, or one of those times when a motorbike is passing a car on the right and leaving no space). I always walk on the right - it just seems foolish to completely trust the bicycles/motorbikes/cars coming up behind me on those narrow roads. I'd rather have at least a small chance of leaping to safety.

6 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Toyota zooms to record Y2.17 tril profit on U.S. sales, weak yen See in context

Toyota will likely never be seen as a luxury brand. In the same way a hornet will never be seen as a honey-bee.

Outside Japan, perhaps. In Japan though, the Toyota Crown is certainly a symbol of luxury and is their flagship model. I was confused at first to learn the Crown stood above the Lexus brand here, for the very reason crustpunker indicates - I didn't think of Toyota as a luxury name-brand.

After renting one for a special occasion though, I was certainly impressed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Fukui man arrested for landing drone on roof of Abe's office See in context

You mean we have this "Forcible Obstruction of Business" catch-all law and no one has used it against the bosozoku yet?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: More than 100 lawmakers visit Yasukuni shrine See in context

I always find myself torn on this issue. On the one hand it's political antagonism on the part of the Japanese lawmakers, and I can't help but question the wisdom of what they are doing.

On the other hand, it's highly hypocritical of a nation like China to cry for another nation to own up to its history, while they themselves sensor and refuse to own up to their own history of oppression and mass murder.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan nuclear watchdog hits out at reactor injunction See in context

I know I will get massive downvotes for this, but it has to be said:

Fact: 27% of the power supply of Japan in 2013 was coal, which means air pollution filled with carcinogens and coal-mining related deaths and the emissions fuel climate change. Fact: 44% of the power is petroleum which means air pollution, nature-destroying oil spills, oil rig related deaths and more climate changing emissions. Fact: Renewables made up 2%, which while this should increase, is a long ways from taking over for the others. Fact: Zero people have died because of Fukushima Daiichi. Source: US Energy Information Administration

So, the comments against restarting the reactors are essentially supporting the status quo of energy production deaths and pollution, simply because there MIGHT be another huge earthquake which MIGHT cause a huge tsunami which MIGHT cause a catastrophe to the nuclear power plants which MIGHT cause more than the zero deaths the first one caused?

-12 ( +0 / -12 )

Posted in: Five things expats wish Japan had See in context

The ATM thing wouldn't be a big deal if there was more credit card acceptance. I'm not saying that a mom and pop noodle place needs to take a CC, but it would be nice of the Post Office (itself a ginormous bank) would take one.

Modern tree-trimming practices would be one I'd add. The hack job my city does on the roadside trees is truly horrible to witness. I've been told "the leaves are messy", but I'd rather have messy leaves for a few weeks out of the year than have horrible franken-trees all year round.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Nowhere to put nuclear waste See in context

Maybe they could dump it all on the Senkaku islands? It would make the territorial claims an even greater circus.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: For those of you who have lived abroad a long time, does it feel strange when you go back home? See in context

I've always found that visiting home re-grounds me in a way I can't fully describe. I slip back into the US "me" pretty easily, and I try to hang onto that when I return to Japan. It's this nice reminder of who I am and where I come from and never fails to make me feel complete. Hanging onto that feeling never lasts long though, the daily routines here quickly strip me of the US "me" and I'm back to the Japan "me" in no time.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: 'Running police' to take part in Tokyo Marathon as security precaution See in context

I'm trying to imagine how it would actually work. If they run too quickly, it doesn't seem likely they'll see anything suspicious. If they run too slowly, they could be in the way of other runners because Tokyo marathon is pretty crowded, especially for the first half of the race.

Anyone who thinks these guys will be tired from running 10km obviously is not a runner themselves. The rest of the people are going the full 42!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: LDP accused of avoiding election questions from foreign journalists See in context

The foreign press should turn this LDP silence into a full story for foreign consumption - and let the financial markets take a hit due to (further) lost confidence in Abe and his policies. There's more than one way to get people to see what's going on....

16 ( +18 / -2 )

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