smartacus comments

Posted in: Trump arrives in Tokyo; meets Japanese business leaders See in context

I wish one of Trump's staff or the U.S. ambassador would tell him to pronounce Abe's name properly. He keeps calling him Abi.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Posted in: Australian election vote count reveals close contest See in context

Most of the polls predicted a Labor victory. I guess this proves the old saying that the only poll that matters is the one on election day.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Why do Japanese pro baseball team uniforms have the players' names in Romaji instead of kanji? See in context

Probably because some kanji names are difficult to read while others have more than one way to read them. High school baseball teams used to use kanji on their uniforms, but in recent years, they have switched to romaji for the players' names.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Keyboard predators: Southeast Asia's kids targeted by online pedophiles See in context

If there are any therapists or psychologists among readers, I'd be interested to know what causes a person to become a pedophile. I'm genuinely curious about this sickness of the mind. Or maybe to a pedophile, it's not a sickness but a natural urge. Does anyone know? And also why are most pedophiles (I assume) males? Are there female pedophiles? We never seem to read stories about them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Driver killed in car crash during police pursuit See in context

I understand the point of view that the police shouldn't give chase and just find the driver later through analysis of street surveillance camera footage or the license plate. But there are also times when it might be necessary for the police to pursue a fleeing vehicle. Suppose the car is carrying a kidnap or murder victim, someone who has committed a robbery, for example. He may be a drunk driver. If they track him down later, after the alcohol has left his system, the penalty will be less severe.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: What do you know now that you wished you had known when you were 21? See in context

Plenty. I'd tell myself to invest in Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Twitter and a few other companies that didn't exist when I was 21. I'd bet on all the big winners in sports. And I would tell my 21-year-old self to not go to that party where I would the woman with whom I would have a disastrous marriage.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Australian court finds man guilty of plotting to blow up airliner See in context

This is quite frightening. Law enforcement authorities have to be lucky every day of the year to foil these plots. Terrorists only have to be lucky once.

I wonder how many attacks are being planned in various countries right now.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Trump offers 'heartfelt appreciation' to outgoing emperor See in context

I don't think I have seen a husband and wife look less in love than the impression I get from this photo of the Donald and his wife.

-5 ( +12 / -17 )

Posted in: Emperor Akihito to make last remarks before abdication See in context


To the best of my knowledge, Masako has not been disabled by a stroke, or has cancer, MS, ALS or such. If she had been, then it would be a different situation.

I don't know what is ailing Masako but she will be an empress tomorrow and millions of Japanese will want to see her out and about with her husband. A statement from the Imperial Household Agency saying she is suffering from stress and can't attend an event doesn't look good. It's just my opinion.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Emperor Akihito to make last remarks before abdication See in context

I saw on the news that Empress Michiko didn't attend this morning's ritual because of pain in her arms and neck and that Crown Princess Masako also didn't attend because of her "stress-induced illness." Masako betetr get over her "stress-induced illness" in a huryy because it won't look good if Emperor Naruhito has to go out and about to events by himself or host dinners for visiting heads of state by himself. One of the things that endeared the outgoing emperor and empress to the people was the fact that for most of the time, they did things together, especially as they got older.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Key questions and answers about Emperor Akihito's abdication See in context

I hope the emperor and empress don't disappear completely from public view after Wednesday. It would be nice to see them out and about, at a museum, concert or just walking in the park. I'm sure visiting royals would like to pay a courtesy call to renew old acquaintances (strictly in private, of course). It would be a shame if they became recluses in their palace.

For example, I know they are very passionate about sports for the disabled and it would be wonderful to see them attend the Paralympics next year.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Body of Japanese woman killed in Sri Lanka bombing arrives at Narita See in context

That's a very poignant photo. I wonder if there are many countries in the world where airport workers would bow like that to the coffin of an ordinary citizen.

I fear for the future that our kids will grow up in.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Posted in: Trump expected to watch sumo on May 26 during Japan visit See in context

Abe is already meeting Trump at the end of April in Washington and then Trump is coming to Osaka for the G-7 in June. So why the trip in May? Because for some reason Japan is desperate that he be the first foreign leader to meet the new emperor. It's ridiculous. Why would Trump even want to come to the same country in two consecutive months?

And I hope someone in the State Department tells Trump how to pronounce Abe's name. For the past two years, he's been calling him "Prime Minister Abi."

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Posted in: What do you think will be some of the biggest challenges that Crown Prince Naruhito will face when he becomes emperor on May 1? See in context

Following in his father's footsteps will be difficult at first. I remember when Akihito became emperor, no one knew what kind of emperor he would be like. It wasn't really until he and the empress got older that they began to be admired and highly regarded by people, especially older Japanese. By the time they were in their 70s and then 80s, they were a familiar sight comforting disaster victims.

I think for Naruhito, a lot will depend on Masako. She has to be seen with her husband everywhere he goes and whenever they greet visiting foreign dignitaries. This excuse given out by the Imperial Household Agency that she suffers some sort of stress won't cut it when she becomes empress. If her husband has to go out and about alone, he won't be highly regarded.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Brunei's new Islamic criminal laws including stoning to death for gay sex and amputation for theft See in context

I wish more Muslim leaders around the world would condemn this practice, and the brand of Islam of Islamic State, al-Qaida, Boko Haram and so on. What, for example, does the imam at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch think about this enforcement of sharia law in Brunei? How do the good citizens of Christchurch (and PM Ardern) who showed their solidarity with Muslims feel about this story?

I know some fine Muslims who hate this sort of extremism, but unlike other religions, there doesn't seem to be one leader that can speak for its adherents.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: When pedophiles or others convicted of sex crimes are released from prison, do you think residents in communities they move to should be informed of who they are and where they are living? See in context

This is a very difficult question. There was an excellent British movie int he 1960s about the subject, called "The Mark." My feeling is that if everyone in the neighborhood knows, they'll ostracize that person, blame him for any incident and maybe even beat him up.

The problem is these people have to go somewhere after they have done their time or if they are in therapy. If they keep getting hounded from one community to another, where do they end up?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Court turns down Ghosn's request to attend Nissan board meeting on Tuesday See in context

Why would he even want to go? He is not allowed to talk to any senior Nissan official. He'll have to sit there silently. If he says anything to any of them, it's a violation of his bail conditions. Besides, he's going to be voted off the board at the April 8 meeting anyway.

I think Ghosn needs to keep a low profile until his trial.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Court approves Ghosn's release on ¥1 bil bail See in context

Just out of curiosity, does anyone know how he would actually pay the 1 billion yen in bail money? He wouldn't have that much sitting in a bank account. Even if he could get it in cash, it would be too bulky to transport. He couldn't use a credit card. I'm guessing all his assets are tied up in investments overseas. So how does he post bail?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to ban physical punishment of children by parents See in context

I'd also like to know how they are going to enforce it. And does it mean that if a parent smacks his/her child, they are breaking the law?

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Posted in: There are many customers who feel burdened when planning their trips. Travel agency outlets will likely become places to introduce clients to previously unknown travel destinations and inspire a desire to travel. See in context

I think this is aimed at elderly people who don't how to use the internet and who prefer the human touch, which many people do. It's a niche market but there will be demand for it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: 80-year-old woman robbed, murdered; masked trio targeting elderly victims suspected See in context

Why did they have to kill her? Why couldn't they have just tied her up? Mongrels. My grandmother, when she was in her late 70s, was knocked down by a punk who stole her handbag when she was walking back home from a nearby shopping center. She was never the same after that. She was always a very trusting person but after that incident, she was afraid to go out of house by herself and lost all self-confidence.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Trump says talks with Kim failed over N Korean sanctions demands See in context

Summits like this should never take place unless both sides are sure an agreement can be reached. The whole idea is for negotiators to work out the details in advance, so the leaders can sign an agreement. The problem is that Trump doesn't listen to his advisers or negotiators. He does things on instinct. Like at the summit in Singapore last year, when he canceled the war games in South Korea without telling his Defense Secretary Mattis anything about it beforehand.

I also think Cohen's testimony rattled him and his mind was not on the summit.

He is so incompetent. I wonder if there is any leader in the world that respects Trump.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Waratahs edge Sunwolves 31-30 in Super Rugby See in context

Most of the Sunwolves players in this photos look non-Japanese. The Japanese team seems to have a lot of foreign-born players, too. I'm curious. Does anyone know the international rugby regulations about this? Is there a limit? In theory, if 15 non-Japanese players got Japanese citizenship, could they form a Japanese team? I'm surprised Japan has given Dan Carter citizenship so he can play in the World Cup.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Abe mum on reports he nominated Trump for Nobel Peace Prize See in context

It's my recollection that South Korean President Moon recomended Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. Maybe Trump confused the two and now Abe doesn't want to be embarrassed to admit he didn't nominate Trump.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

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 )

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