Sid comments

Posted in: Showa University medical school admits rigging entrance exam scores See in context

It's common knowledge amongst Japanese people that children of medical school alumni are given preference, so I don't know why there's any surprise about this. According to one group of medical students I taught this rigging goes on even at the level of the national exams for doctors. They were clever, hardworking and pleasant people, but were lamenting the fact that certain other students could pass with very little effort on their part. This is why I was often advised by Japanese friends and neighbours to avoid certain clinics for treatment: 'The father's very good, but he's retiring and the son is taking over. He's useless.' The original clinic owner is usually a wealthy and powerful figure in the community who has many connections. One particularly obnoxious student who I taught was part of a medical 'dynasty'. He did nothing in school (when he came) and he stated directly that they wouldn't dare fail him. I thought this was just some twisted bravado, but it was confirmed to me informally by other professors.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Posted in: From 'problem child' to 'prodigy' -- LSD turns 75 See in context

I wonder if Japanese people would benefit from this drug. It would probably have to be mixed in with some pleasant drink to make it palatable, fruit soda or something.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Legendary Chicago blues guitarist Otis Rush dies at 84 See in context


My thoughts and feelings exactly. There are almost none of the classic bluesmen alive today, but their music lives on.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Odd man out See in context

Perhaps he needed some photocopying done.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Dylan to release lost recordings from classic album See in context

I love Blood on the Tracks and was really excited when I was given a bootleg of the early recordings. However, I found them really lifeless and without the energy of the released versions. It actually raised Dylan even further in my estimation as he realised he could do better and wasn't afraid to re-record the songs, in spite of the fact that the early versions were ready to go into the shops.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Cruel yet popular punishment: Japan's death penalty See in context

Fortunately, the execution process in Japan is not cruel. I see from the article photograph that the execution chamber is fully air-conditioned. How considerate! There's nothing worse than being hanged when you're feeling a bit uncomfortable because of the heat.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Posted in: Arguing, booing overshadow Osaka's U.S. Open final win over Williams See in context

Osaka was the class act here. I don't have enough words to describe Williams' behaviour: bullying, dishonest, selfish, entitled, immature, graceless.... Unfortunately, these days, people who abuse others often see themselves as victims. I thought the crowd were booing because Williams was behaving so badly, but it turns out it was the opposite! I was also very disappointed that one of the officials at the presentation afterwards started her speech by saying something like, 'Well, it wasn't the ending we all hoped for ', as if a great injustice had been done, and focused most of the time on Williams.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Posted in: Kimono parka combines traditional fashion with modern streetwear See in context

Definitely handy for shoplifting, not that that ever happens in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: No World Cup hooligans? Russia says told you so See in context

Most of the Russian football hooligans are associated with extreme right wing movements and are great supporters of Putin. No doubt hey were told to put a break on their activities during the world cup to confound the 'Russia bashers' and it's being presented as the security services getting tough on Russian hooligans.

It's great that England fans were banned for singing an anti-semitic song. They're probably the only people in Russia, that famously anti-semitic country, to have ever been punished for doing such a thing.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: 'One Piece' manga creator’s joke about World War II soldier prompts official apology from publisher See in context

I actually thought it was a clever and funny idea by Oda. There are occasions when a person should indeed apologise for saying something offensive, but this isn't one of them. How many people were actually 'offended' by this? I suspect not many, and they were the usual nutters.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: High school basketball player punches ref after dispute over foul See in context

@Toshihiro When I worked in Japanese high schools in the eighties I regularly saw teachers hitting students - it seemed to be accepted as normal and hardly worthy of comment. I even saw on a couple of occasions senior teachers hitting junior teachers when scolding them for what they perceived as some work infraction. I'm sure it's a lot less likely these days, although I'm happy to be corrected on that. I haven't been in a Japanese high school for thirty years.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Posted in: Idol singer Keiichiro Koyama suspended for encouraging underage girl to drink liquor See in context

I've no doubt that he was trying to get her drunk, and I really dislike the pressure that's put on people, male or female, to drink alcohol. This isn't something that's exclusive to Japan.

However, I really think that someone who is 19 is adult enough to make her own judgement and refuse alcohol if she doesn't want it. She sounds like a willing participant to me, especially if she claimed to be 20.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: Will Smith's 'Live It Up' anthem divides World Cup fans See in context

There's a lot of great music in the world. This doesn't come into that category. 'Give it up' is my suggestion, because we only have one life and it's too short to listen to stuff like this.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: 69-year-old serial wallet thief caught stealing again on Tokyo subway See in context

He did help himself - that was the problem.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Groped, scared, disgusted: Stories of dealing with 'chikan' in Japan See in context

Fully agree with the previous posters - this guy is an absolute creep, but it all feeds into the notion that foreigners are dangerous and more likely to commit crimes. The reality is that statistically foreigners in Japan are much less likely to break the law than Japanese. I look forward to a spate of videos posted showing non foreigners molesting women on the subway.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: 5 more Australian MPs leave parliament after court's citizenship ruling See in context

Dual citizenship is not allowed in Japan except for children, who have to choose one nationality when they become adults.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Posted in: Mother arrested for killing 2-yr-old daughter by dropping her from balcony See in context

simon g: "I have never crashed into another driver but the idea is sometimes appealing."

And THAT is why mental illness is not to blame, but the person. If you can control your feelings, so can others. Thanks for the example in your own argument. Lots of people suffer from mental illness -- they don't murder their kids for it.

simon g can control his feelings because he's not mentally ill.

I can't believe in this day and age that people are still so unsympathetic towards those who suffer from mental illness. Would you even think of saying to a cancer sufferer, 'If you just controlled yourself a bit better you wouldn't have cancer"? Mental illness is a disease just like cancer or hepatitis.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: Filipino man flees after being denied entry to Japan See in context

If he was wearing a white shirt and carrying a rucksack they should capture him in no time; he'll stand out a mile.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Posted in: Silicone Sally: Japanese men find true love with sex dolls See in context

I actually bought one of these dolls when my marriage broke down several years ago. However, I eventually found out that when I went to work she was having an affair with my microwave. She's now living with a paraffin heater in Sendai and we never communicate.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan wakes up to global 'ransomware' cyberattack See in context


My understanding is that the NHS were paying £5.5 million pounds per annum for support for Windows XP, largely because the cost of upgrading was greatly in excess of that. Given how stretched the NHS' finances are they not surprisingly opted to prioritise patient care.

However, my main point is that by not supporting older versions of their software Microsoft are doing exactly the same thing as these cybercrooks i.e. unless you pay to upgrade or for special support then you're in big trouble. The morality is the same.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan wakes up to global 'ransomware' cyberattack See in context

Microsoft itself bears a lot of responsibility by not offering support for older versions of their software - unless you pay a lot of money for them to do so, of course. The NHS in the UK were handing over millions of pounds per year to Microsoft (and still couldn't prevent an attack). Microsoft have been holding people to ransom for years, hence the vast wealth of 'philanthropists' like Bill Gates. Personally, I can't tell the difference.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Posted in: Statins don't cause muscle pain: study See in context


You've got it absolutely right. Unfortunately, this last part will be ignored by most reports and doctors will be forcing these often damaging drugs onto patients on the basis of 'research shows that the side effects are all in your head'.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: A guide to pensions for foreign residents in Japan See in context

The good news about pensions for at least some foreign residents in Japan is that you now qualify for a pension if you have made ten years payments. This is paid pro rata. If you pay the maximum number of payments of forty years then you get the full pension. If you've paid for ten years you would get one quarter, and so on. This applies to the national pension and the civil servants pension (i.e. you work for a public high school or university) I don't know how it applies to company pensions, but it's worth checking out. It applies even if you leave Japan, as it can be paid into your foreign bank account.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: A guide to pensions for foreign residents in Japan See in context

The important news about pensions for many foreign residents in Japan is that you from this autumn you qualify for a pension if you have ten years payments. It is paid pro rata. For example, as the period to qualify for a full pension is forty years, if you paid ten years you would get one quarter of the full pension. This applies to the national pension and the civil servants pension (i.e. if you work in a public high school or university). I don't know how it works for company pensions, but it's worth checking out. It's true even if you leave Japan - your pension can be paid into your foreign bank account.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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