smartacus comments

Posted in: Employee being fired fatally shoots 5 co-workers, wounds 5 police at Illinois plant See in context

I wonder what police officers who used to walk the beat 50 or 60 years ago would say if they were shown a photo of those armed officers above. They'd probably ask how did things get so bad that the military have to police the streets.

I remember my grandfather, who grew up in a small city inn Australia, saying how people often knew the police officers on the beat by name and the police knew the citizens. They'd greet each other. They had guns and there were violent crimes but nothing like this.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Posted in: Greatest western film? 'Wild Bunch' book argues its case See in context

I prefer the old westerns. Shane, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Warlock, The Big Country, The Magnificent Seven, The Fastest Gun Alive, El Dorado. The only "recent" one I really liked was Unforgiven.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Do you think democracy is the best form of government? See in context

I used to think democracy was the best form of government but I’m losing faith in it. I suppose a benign dictatorship is impossible.

 The U.S. system would be ideal if the electoral college didn’t decide the winner rather than the popular vote. Also, campaigns there start too early. Now, 20 months before the election, many Democrats are announcing their candidacy. Think of all the money that will be wasted on those who have to drop out of the primaries next year. I’d like to see primaries abolished. Let each party decide its candidate at their conventions three months before the election.

 The parliamentary system in my own country Australia, and Britain used to be functional, but now prime ministers are replaced by backroom backstabbing and you end up with someone whom the people didn’t vote for as PM. Britain is a mess because of Brexit. Germany and France aren’t doing well. Japan is factional politics, so it’s not much of a democracy.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Posted in: The world's postal services are struggling with lower demand for letter deliveries. How would you feel if the mailman became a thing of the past? Do you still eagerly look in your mailbox each day? See in context

I haven't had or sent a handwritten letter in years but I still get bills, invitations, brochures, etc, so yes, I do look in my mailbox every day.

I remember as a kid growing up in Australia, we'd hear the mailman blow his whistle and we'd run out to the mailbox to see what he'd delivered.

I especially miss Christmas cards. I used to send and receive 40-50 each year and enjoyed putting them on my mantle. Now it's just curt emails or Facebook messages wishing friends and relatives a merry Christmas.

The strange thing is that as letters disappear from life, my handwriting has gotten worse. These days, I sign my name occasionally to documents or after using a credit card, but that's about it. I haven't written a full sentence for years. My handwriting now actually looks child-like.

Anyway, I will miss the mailman as much as I miss the milkman.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: 16-year-old girl arrested for extortion in sugar daddy case See in context

This is a strange story. I read on a Japanese news site that the guy took photos up the skirts of both girls under the table. What did he do? Drop his fork on the floor and snap photos while he was looking for it?

But what I don't get is: If he took the photos, then who called the police and why? Was it the girl, angry because she couldn't the extra 150,000 yen?

If he didn't take the photos, then why did he pay the girl 40,000 yen?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: 34-year-old man arrested for killing pregnant ex-girlfriend in 2011 See in context

This is a strange case. I read on a Japanese site that Onishi's parents didn't report her missing until 2014 - that's three years after she was killed. I wonder where they thought she was between 2011 and 2014, even if she wasn't living at home.

I also wonder how the police got onto Araki after eight years.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Do you think Nissan's sales will suffer as a result of former chairman Carlos Ghosn's prolonged detention in Japan? See in context

No, I don't think it will affect sales. In fact, over Christmas when I was in Australia, I was speaking with some relatives who live in a small city. Two of them have been driving Nissan cars for years. They don't know who Ghosn is, never heard the name and couldn't care less. But they have known their local Nissan dealer for 20 years and trust him, so of course, they are happy with their Nissan cars.

Ex_Res, your grievance is with Japan's justice system that is keeping Ghosn incarcerated and I agree with you. But to say you'll never buy another Nissan car again because of Japan's legal system is illogical. You might as well say you won't buy any other Japanese companies' products.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Do you think the 10-day Golden Week holiday period from April 27 to May 6, during which the imperial succession is scheduled to take place, is a good idea? The travel industry is eager to take advantage of the unusual business opportunity, while a survey has indicated that people who welcome the holidays and those who do not are nearly evenly divided. See in context

I don't need a 10-day holiday then because I am taking the first two weeks of July off, so I'll be working during most of Golden Week.

NHK had an interesting segment on this a few weeks ago. Hospitals and clinics will not have outpatient services, which is not good. Parents who have to work are worried about what to do with their children if daycare centers close for 10 days.

Like most holidays, a lot of companies will still be operating. The hospitality, retail, manufacturing, transport industries are just a few. These holidays will be good for employees of banks, post offices, government ministries but that's about all.

And how about part-time workers? Think of the wages they will lose.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Nissan top exec Munoz resigns amid broadened Ghosn probe See in context

Munoz may know something about Ghosn's alleged financial conduct. Or maybe he knows nothing. But the whole investigation is getting really tangled and it's difficult to know which top executives (foreign and Japanese) at Nissan knew what was going on. If Munoz was involved, resigning from the company won't save him from prosecution. He probably should issue a clearer statement through his lawyer rather than posting a few comments on LinkedIn.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Abe asks business leaders to raise wages before sales tax hike See in context

There is nothing Abe can do about wages. It's up to each company. The boss at the company where I work has already told us that if we meet our sales target at the end of the fiscal year (next March 31), then everyone will receive a small pay increase. But if not, wages will stay the same. That has put our sales team under tremendous pressure because they feel all of us are depending on them. They have said it will be tough to meet the targets. So I guess no pay hike for us.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Nissan asks employees not to contact Ghosn and Kelly See in context

I doubt if anyone would be allowed to see Ghosn anyway. And it's unlikely that any employee would be allowed into Kelly's hospital room. But if I wonder what Kelly will do if he can get his hands on a computer and start emailing, though I think he should let his lawyer issue statements on his behalf.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Burnout, stress lead more companies around the world to try a four-day work week See in context

I think it's unfair to ask employers to pay the same wage to employees who only work four days a week, especially small and medium-sized companies.

As for me, I love my job and am happy to work seven days a week, if necessary. The idea of working four days a week is ludicrous. Nobody needs three days of leisure time each week. Dare I use the word "lazy?"

If some people want to work four days a week, then in my opinion, they should be prepared to accept a wage cut.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Prosecutors appeal after court decides against extending detention of Ghosn, Kelly See in context


I don't believe Ghosn could leave Japan in a private jet from any airport. Where would he get the jet from? And the jet has to file a flight plan with aviation authorities who would be on the alert. Furthermore, if he did manage to get out of the country, he would become an international fugitive and have to go into hiding, which would be difficult for someone used to a lavish lifestyle.

He would most certainly lose any sympathy. Japan could seek Interpol's help in freezing his financial and other assets.

Also, I do not believe France, Lebanon or Brazil, for that matter, would shield him.

No, I still think he must face the charges in court. If he innocent, good. Then he can hold as many press conferences as he likes. If he is found guilty, my feeling is he will get a suspended sentence and a massive fine.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Prosecutors appeal after court decides against extending detention of Ghosn, Kelly See in context

I notice that some readers think or expect that Ghosn will give a press conference or make public statement when he is bailed out. That is the worst thing he could do. If his lawyer is smart, he will advise Ghosn to make no public statements and keep a low profile, and especially say nothing about the detention process. The lawyer should then say something like "Mr Ghosn and Mr Kelly deny the allegations against them and look forward to proving their innocence in court."

Their passports will almost certainly be confiscated so Ghosn and Kelly will be staying in Japan for the foreseeable future. When they go out in public, I hope they can resist the temptation to talk to media.

The case will drop out of the news until the trial.

But it is also important that the public and Japan Today readers keep an open mind on the question of guilt or innocence. I'm not a member of the Japan Today Ghosn supporters' club, but nor do I think he is guilty. I am willing to wait until the trial, if there is one.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Posted in: What are some of your favorite Christmas-themed movies or TV shows? See in context

Miracle on 34th Street, The Bishop's Wife, Christmas in Connecticut, We're No Angels, The Santa Clause, the Christmas episode in Season 2 of Happy Days and Christmas episodes of The West Wing in Seasons 1 and 2.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Name your 7 favorite TV comedies of all time. See in context

Get Smart

I Dream of Jeannie

The Munsters

The Beverly Hillbillies

The Three Stooges

The Benny Hill Show


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Thousands of Australian students skip school for mass climate protest See in context

Children today are so much more mature than my generation was at that age. Look at what that 11-year-old said. When I was 11, all I was interested in was eating junk food, watching my favorite TV shows and playing sports. I knew nothing about social issues. I'd love to compare these Aussie kids with a group of similar Japanese kids. I wonder what the Japanese girls would be more interested in talking about - the environment, the prime minister's policies...or Hello Kitty.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Posted in: Where do you like to buy furniture in Japan? See in context

Usually IDC Ohtsuka. I know they are expensive but the quality is top notch.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Man arrested for fatally stabbing Filipino woman See in context


I don't know why you are making fun of the police. The victim filed a complaint and they issued a warning, which is what they are required to do by law.

However, for reasons we don't yet know, she went to that pub with him on Thursday night. That is not the police's fault, nor could they have prevented it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan, 2 other Asian nations warn citizens not to use marijuana in Canada See in context

I'd like to hear from recovering drug addicts on the question of marijuana. If there are any readers who are recovering addicts, what do you think? Is it harmless?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: What are some of the weirdest examples of English used for product, brand or company names that you have seen in Japan? See in context

Apart from the usual ones like Creap, Calpis and Pocari Sweat, I'm always amused at the names Japanese automakers give their cars. Many of them sound weird, like Vitz, N-Box, Pajero, etc. Then there are the low cost carriers like Peach and Vanilla Air.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Woman arrested for killing brother, charged over father's death See in context

This one of those truth is stranger than fiction stories. I wouldn't want to accept a drink from that woman.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Gov't considers 10-day holiday period around 2019 imperial succession See in context

Personally, I don't want a 10-day holiday then. I'm taking three weeks off in July. Why do we even need 10 days holiday then anyway? You can still celebrate the new emperor's succession without having a long holiday. And if you're planning to leave the country for 10 days, that defeats the purpose of celebrating the event.

Anyway, these holidays will be mainly for government, banking and post offices and the like. The retail sector will not be having holidays, nor will the hospitality industry or the manufacturing sector that has production lines working around the clock. Night shift workers will still work their shifts.

There are too many national holidays in Japan, as it is. I like my job and prefer to work. To quote someone (I don't know who), if you like your job, you will never have to work a day in your life.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Posted in: Japanese cheesemakers fret over EU trade deal See in context

I actually like Japanese cheese from Hokkaido, and imported cheese, too, especially Australian cheddar. I'm looking forward to cheaper European cheese but I'll still buy Japanese camembert and brie, also.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Mother, 6-year-old daughter killed in car crash See in context

Looking at that wreckage, I doubt seat belts would have made a difference. It's amazing the 4-year-old boy survived, though.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: The number of one-yen coins in circulation has fallen sharply in Japan, and the government has stopped minting new ones for circulation, while deteriorating units are being withdrawn. Do you still use them much? See in context

In Australia, they discontinued using small coins years ago. Now when you buy something for, say $2:98, you just hand over $3 and they don't give you any change. Everyone is used to it now. I think the same will happen in Japan. I do feel sorry for the charity donation boxes, though, because that's where I put all my one-yen coins.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Abe planning talks with Iranian president See in context

What will Trump and Pompeo have to say about this? They have been trying to get the EU to stay way from Iran. They won't be happy about Abe meeting the Iranian president. Japanese oil importers have already caved in to U.S. bullying.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Emperor, empress visit flood victims in Okayama See in context

Whenever I see photos like this, which are very touching, I wonder how Masako will do when she accompanies her husband on these trips when he becomes emperor next year. I think she has to be allowed to go out and about with the crown prince now. She needs to be seen with him more often in public and should be with him in France now. Because it isn't going to get easier for her. She is going to have a lot more duties as empress.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: What are some movies or TV shows that had gut-wrenching scenes that made you cry? See in context

I cry all the time when scenes make me sad. Too many to mention, but here goes.

Movies: Titanic and A Night to Remember (people drowning as the ship went down upset me); Gone With the Wind (when Melanie died); Breakfast at Tiffany's (it's so melancholy, especially when Audrey Hepburn is singing Moon River); The Sound of Music (not sure which scene, final one I think as they cross the Swiss Alps as the choir sings Climb Every Mountain); Lorenzo's Oil (watching the boy suffer was too much for me); and ET (when he parts from the little boy. I wanted to go with him).

TV: The West Wing when Leo's character died; and the last scene of season 3 of Downton Abbey (fans will know what I'm referring to, and from what I read online, millions of other fans felt the same way).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: New book by Woodward says Trump wanted Syrian leader killed See in context

Given what we know about the chaos in the White House and how many senior staff have left or been booted out, I have no doubt Woodward's account is accurate. We know what Rex Tillerson said about Trump and he denied it at the time.

So of course, Mattis would deny making those comments. He has to. Anyone who wants to keep their job would deny it. That's natural.

If Trump really believes the book is libelous, then he should sue Woodward. See how far that gets.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

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