Japan Today

Stephen Knight comments

Posted in: Leslie Jordan, 67, Emmy-winning actor, dies in car crash See in context

It was Jordan’s second book, following his 2008 memoir, “My Trip Down the Red Carpet.”

The title was, "My Trip Down the Pink Carpet."

Show a little respect, AP...

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Posted in: Japan scholar and translator Donald Keene dies at 96 See in context

Condolensces to his wife and son.

Dr. Keene never married.

RIP to a true giant of scholarship.

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Posted in: Beloved Spanish paella restaurant Xiringuito Escriba comes to Tokyo See in context

One hopes the restaurant will also encourage a correct pronunciation of their signature dish, which in some quirk of transliteration is referred to in Japanese as "paeria"...

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Posted in: Veteran Japanese TV, film actress Kirin Kiki dies at 75 See in context

Her daughter lives abroad (according to the article I read a sometime ago), so I'm glad someone found her.

Her family was with her at home to see her off, having arranged in advance that she would die at home.

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Posted in: High-tech Tokyo tops list of world's most innovative cities See in context

"Robotics" in this case usually refers to their use on manufacturing lines, etc., not just to the humanoid (or doganoid?) robots in popular media. In that sense, Japan is indeed one of the leaders in the use of robotics. Despite the fax machines and such.

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Posted in: Major Japanese companies turn their eyes to LGBT consumers See in context

All the major banks and foreign companies with slogans lending support to the LGBTQ community.

I'll believe the banks are sincere in their support when they start offering mortgages to same-sex couples.

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Posted in: Major Japanese companies turn their eyes to LGBT consumers See in context

1 in 13....so close to 10% of the population? I haven't googled it or anything, but that number seems high, and it is one of the factors included in the ever decreasing child-birth rate.

The only way LGBTQ individuals affect the birth rate is when they STOP entering into sham "straight" marriages and STOP having babies as part of those sham marriages, or when same-sex couples are allowed to have children (more kids!) through means other than adoption. Otherwise the declining birth rate is entirely the responsibility of the other 90%+ of the population (and government policy that fails to come up with any viable solutions). This tripe about an "increase" in gays causing a "decrease" in births has been repeated too often.

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Posted in: Man seeks inheritance, damages over same-sex partner's death See in context

As far as inheritance rights go, a will certainly would have helped, but even in Japan, it's also possible for a lawyer to draw up legally binding documentation that provides for co-ownership of assets, and here are a handful of attorneys in Tokyo who specialize in handling this sort of thing for same-sex couples. Conceivably, you could even throw all your joint assets (including real estate and life insurance) into some kind of limited partnership structure, with the surviving partner assuming ownership in the event of the death of the other. That doesn't, of course, address issues like hospital visitation rights and funeral arrangements.

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Posted in: 88-year-old becomes oldest person to earn doctoral degree in Japan See in context

"I do not want to put a damper on this," she says--before proceeding to do just that...

According to Japanese-language sources, Prof. Ozeki did indeed "earn" the degree. She spent 30 years researching Jomon-era fabric, and how it influenced the development of fabrics in later periods; this is not to say it took her 30 years to summarize her work in the thesis that earned her the degree. None of the sources I saw mention anything about the degree being an "honorary" doctorate.

Arcane fields of study are no less legitimate for being abstruse.

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Posted in: Japan's energy drink makers seek to lift sinking sales See in context

What's happened is that younger people have switched in droves to products like Red Bull and Monster, which are probably far worse for you than the "traditional" Japanese energy boosters.

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Posted in: Kirin beer company toasts same-sex marriages for its employees See in context

That's great, now if only same-sex marriages were actually legal.

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Posted in: Abe to reshuffle cabinet on Thursday as voter support plummets See in context

Deck chairs on the Titanic, man...

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Posted in: Man arrested for leaving mother’s body to decompose at home See in context

Sounds to me like the very opposite of "abandoning a body."

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Posted in: Sushi-delivering robots to go into operation in Japan next month See in context

A solution in search of a problem...

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Posted in: Narita airport police find 30 bullets in U.S. plane crew member's bag See in context

He brought them in because they can be sold at a high price here.

But they found them in his baggage as he was going BACK to the U.S. So what, his sale fell through?

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Posted in: Narita airport police find 30 bullets in U.S. plane crew member's bag See in context

Police are still investigating why the bullets were undetected when he arrived at Narita and went through customs.

Possibly because at Narita customs, they physically inspect only a tiny percentage of baggage. I've flown back and forth from the U.S. five or six times a year for more than twenty years, and never ONCE have I been asked to open my bag(s) upon arrival in Japan. (The TSA, on the other hand, not only opens my suitcase on every return trip, they usually forget to replace the the special TSA locks I buy.)

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Posted in: Ex-policeman breaks records with Hello Kitty collection See in context

"I love Kitty," he added, calling her "adorable, especially her facial expressions".

What facial expressions???

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Posted in: Maker of Hello Kitty under investigation by EU Commission for breaching antitrust laws See in context

Errr... pretty sure sporting goods giant Nike is NOT a Japanese company...

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Posted in: Apple to invest $200 million in scratch-resistant glass See in context

It may be scratch-resistant, but from what I've seen of my friends' phones, it's nowhere near crack-resistant. Half of them seem to have a web of cracks on their screens from dropping, bumping and otherwise abusing their iPhones. They're so expensive to replace that they keep using them anyway...

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Posted in: Piko Taro appears in new music video for 'I Luv It' by South Korean superstar Psy See in context

Can two one-hit wonders add up to a third??

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Posted in: Gov't to again skip requesting power-saving in summer See in context

Well sure, now that the government has virtual ownership of TEPCO, it's in their interest to discourage people from conserving power.

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Posted in: Japanese beer makers agree to stop putting 'gulping' sounds in their commercials See in context

An identical news item came out about three or four years ago.

Did it not take the first time around???

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Posted in: Japanese museums abandoning no-photos policy See in context

What does safety have to do with it?

The most popular exhibitions--the ones that draw real crowds--are often so crowded that people jostling for good photo angles, ignorant of those just trying to view the works, can be a real hazard, especially when there are a lot of elderly people in attendance.

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Posted in: MtGox website disappears amid huge bitcoin theft claim See in context

On Monday night, a number of leading Bitcoin companies jointly announced that Mt. Gox, the largest exchange for most of Bitcoin’s existence, was planning to file for bankruptcy after months of technological problems and what appeared to have been a major theft. A document circulating widely in the Bitcoin world said the company had lost 744,000 Bitcoins in a theft that had gone unnoticed for years. That would be about 6 percent of the 12.4 million Bitcoins in circulation.

According to the NYT... so any Bitcoin holders on this exchange, don't hold your breath for a comeback!

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Posted in: 265 copies of Anne Frank's diary vandalized in Tokyo libraries See in context

A disturbing act of vandalism but I see no connection with Japan's so-called "move to the right"--especially since that move seems to exist mostly among a handful of politicians and the media. There has always been a fringe "global Jewish conspiracy" faction among Japan's more deluded academics, but again, I don't see what an act like this would buy them except condemnation. Likely not the work of an organized hate group...

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Posted in: Hulu Japan offers not just movies, but a little education and awesome customer service too See in context

Also! I couldn't see how to play on iPad as it requires FLASH player

The iPad version works just fine--you have to download the Hulu app first, of course.

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Posted in: Why does Tokyo's transportation network always end up in chaos whenever it snows? See in context

Maybe because it only snows once or twice a year, the snow is usually gone in a day or two, and it doesn't make sense to keep huge fleets of plows and other equipment on hand for such a rare occurrence.

Apparenly, public transportation was brought to a crawl -- or halt in some cases -- and 46 people died as a resut of -- wait for it -- 4cm of snow. Four centimeters!

It was actually closer to 25cm, with up to 40cm in some parts of metropolitan Tokyo.

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Posted in: Line, Twitter, Facebook: Japanese people vote on their favorite social networking services See in context

And I guess Mixi (Facebook's closest competitor in Japan, in format and intent if nothing else) has fallen off the map completely...

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Posted in: Hulu Japan offers not just movies, but a little education and awesome customer service too See in context

I have some nits to pick with Hulu, too--like running the first few seasons of "Mad Men" but then not coming up with the rest of them, and then removing the show entirely--and some of the movies on offer don't let you turn off Japanese subtitles (which is a complaint I have with WOWOW too--everything is on digital tracks these days, you'd think it would be a relatively easy thing to accommodate). They do, however, update content weekly, though perhaps not with the programming we'd all like.

All of these issues basically come down to licensing. Content owners generally have very different standards for licensing in the U.S. vs. international markets, and I suspect the Japanese market is probably one of the most challenging for a company like Hulu to try to operate in, in terms of licensing. I noticed, for example, that all eight seasons of "24" only turned up well after WOWOW had finished running them, so there is probably an issue with negotiating around exclusive contracts, etc. And of course they can't provide Japanese content subtitled in English unless it already exists somewhere else--Hulu is not in the business of subtitling.

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Posted in: Escape plan See in context

I was at the zoo one year when they were doing this with a guy in a panda costume. Given all the yuru-kyara running around these days, it came across as far more hilarious than alarming. Hard to run on asphalt when you're wearing a huge panda head and furry slippers!!

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