Japan Today

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Posted in: Teachers given prison terms over 2017 Japan avalanche deaths See in context

I was in Nasu on the day this terrible tragedy occurred. That morning,after a lovely white snowfall, we heard siren after siren around 8:30 or 9. We presumed that a building had caught fire somewhere on the mountainside. On our way home, we stopped for an early lunch at a locally run restaurant. The waitress told us that there had been a terrible accident on the mountain.

We continued to monitor the news for days and I concluded then that the teachers had been very negligent, going against the misgivings of other staff and a student or two.

The ski slope next to where the students died is where my children had learned to ski. Even now I can’t drive near there without offering a wish for the repose of all those young men whose lives were cut short.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese firms now legally obliged to meet needs of disabled customers See in context

Last summer I had a visitor from the U.S. who used a wheelchair and her companion who was legally blind (meaning having some vision.) They had traveled the length of Japan. They were both impressed with how well they had been able to get around and the amount of help available to them. They claimed that Japan was much better at accommodating those with disabilities than the U.S. was. My own experience with my elderly mother in the U.S. echoed their experience. As often happens, Japan gets ready and gets things in place before changing the law.

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Posted in: Japan's indifference to 'Gangnam Style' riles S Korea See in context

I asked a couple Korean university students studying in Japan why the song wasn't a big hit in Japan. Both gave the same answers: Oh, it just isn't "Japanese style" (with no trace of irony intended.) One student said, "Oh, it was just so totally "Psy!" I asked several Japanese college students who said, "I looked, but it just wasn't that interesting or novel." (No trace of anything anti-Korean - all these students have studied Korean and some have actually studied in Korea.) While only anecdotal, at least I asked some of the people whose intentions are being guessed at

As quite the student of Korean and K-dramas myself, I watched and understood most the the memes about class and Kangnam, but fould it to be similar to much of what I have seen in East Asia, so wasn't that interested. I am glad that something new from Asia has caught the attention of the West (if only for a moment.)

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Posted in: Newspapers in Japan defy new media challenge See in context

1) If you can read Japanese, you can find a lot more detailed information in Japanese newspapers than in US newspapers. I have read detailed maps and compared figures and information on the radiation fallout in Japanese newspapers, but the Western media has just given me a few floating figures and a bunch of opinion. 2) Reading the newspaper brings in articles and information that may not be chosen from an Internet site. 3) Newspapers are more easily shared among family members than news on a screen is. 4) I'm a bit surprised that circulation is still so high!

And don't knock the old - you will (hopefully) all be there some day.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Kindergarten bus driver held over girl's death See in context

It is standard procedure to arrest the driver of the vehicle when there is a serious injury or death. Whether or not the person will be prosecuted is decided after all the facts are gathered. I know of a couple people who were arrested at the scene, but not prosecuted after hitting and injuring (killing) someone with a vehicle.

Whatever the circumstances, the family and the driver must be suffering a lot right now - sending my sympathy.

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Posted in: Hirano under fire for calling tsunami victims 'idiots' See in context

Poor translation - "baka" also is used in an affectionate way, particularly by men, to refer to friends. I have heard people (again, mainly men) use this term to refer to friends or family members who got sick or died before them. Even most of the Japanese media is backing off after reading the comments in context.

Hirano is from the earthquake/tsunami area and has worked ceaselessly since the disaster. He has a good reputation with many people in the area and is known for being very careful with his comments. Maybe the hard work and lack of opportunity to express deep feelings got the better of him.

Should he be replaced by someone who doesn't know the job well and lots of work and effort have to be reduplicated because of this remark? I for one don't think so...

10 ( +10 / -0 )

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