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Stephen Knight comments

Posted in: Softbank to begin retail electricity sales in spring See in context

The question is, can SB provide reliable, reasonably-priced power, especially to large corporate customers?

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Posted in: Each year, Hollywood comes out with remakes of old movies (one of this year's will be "Godzilla"). Which of your favorite old movies would you absolutely not like to see remade? See in context

A remake of "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane" could never do the original justice.

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Posted in: Starbucks CEO to focus on mobile, digital efforts See in context

Hey Howard, how about focusing on things like your coffee, store cleanliness, service--you know, your business??

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Posted in: Aerobatic pilots unharmed after jets collide in midair See in context

Instead of forcing schoolkids to give up music and arts education for lack of funding, the military should give up these "extracurricular" activities so the money could be put to better use.

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Posted in: Many Japan Today readers hate AKB48 and insult them every chance they get. Yet the megapopular all-girl group has tens of millions of fans in Japan and Southeast Asia. Why so much hate for the group? See in context

It's not hate, just an intense dislike. More of a phobia, or maybe an allergy. Their ubiquitousness, their lack of any real talent, the fact that millions forgive them for lacking talent because they "work hard" (e.g., are exploited to the full extent the law and public morals will permit), the inspidness of their music--these are all reasons for not piling on the AKB juggernaut. That, and the fact that their creator is widely admired for his accomplishments, chief among them being having generated a fortune for himself and others on the throw-away backs of innumerable underaged girls. He's certainly not the first, but he's certainly one of the worst of Japan's long line of pop impresarios.

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Posted in: Yomiuri Giants to bar players from chewing gum during games See in context

As per usual,Japanese treating aduit like kids.

Well, the MLB restricts chewing tobacco use by players, are they also being treated like kids?

While gum chewing is hardly a vile epidemic among Japan's pro baseball leagues, I don't think this is particularly unreasonable. No one looks good chewing gum.

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Posted in: Abandoned bicycles dumped in Tokyo pond See in context

At least they haven't found any bodies... yet.

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Posted in: Tokyo governor election turning into referendum on nuclear policy See in context

So why doesn't Koizumi just go ahead and run himself? He'd kick butt, I think, and would be less likely to find himself constantly steamrolled and circumvented by the Metropolitan assembly, which has something of a mind of its own.

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Posted in: Head of NPO promoting motherhood arrested for beating his wife See in context

Too many men running too many things they shouldn't be. Women hold up half the sky--move out of the way, oyaji-tachi, and let them do it.

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Posted in: China falls in love with Sherlock Holmes See in context

Well, drop that one in the "Who would'a thunk" file.

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Posted in: The desk that tells you to stand up See in context

I want one!

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Posted in: Woman arrested after breaking into Koizumi's home See in context

Presumably because he is a former Prime Minister. Former U.S. Presidents also receive a certain level of Secret Service protection.

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Posted in: Uniqlo operator profits from Asia growth, bargain cashmere See in context

Google around and see what that bargain cashmere has done to the environment. Cashmere used to be a luxury item for a good reason.

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Posted in: Academics apologize for ‘robot’ cleaning woman cover See in context

When women's participation in the sciences, academia, and business more accurately reflect the population at large, this kind of thing will go away.

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Posted in: Airline pilot instructor arrested for smuggling illegal drug 'Rush' See in context

Sometimes used to turn up in shops here as "VCR Head Cleaner" except now that VCRs are on the way out I don't know what they're calling it these days. Stuff's been around for decades--in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, it was one of the first things pointed to as a potential culprit. Won't kill you, but it might kill more than a few brain cells, I hear.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Y35 million diamond ring stolen from Wako Ginza store on Christmas eve See in context

How much is a smattering?

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Posted in: Ishihara backs sacked military chief for Tokyo governor See in context

“The man in this high position dares to join the battle with very little possibility of winning. I dearly hope people will share and understand the sense of duty and sense of crisis behind his decision.”

Gee, not exactly a ringing endorsement, is it? Not to worry, the guy'll never win. Past experience aside, Tokyo voters do have some sense.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: 7-Eleven looks to U.S. to inspire online revolution See in context

Yes, 7-11 was originally an American company. 7-11 Japan started through a licensing arrangement put together with the U.S. parent by Ito-chu Corp., a major trading house here; it was only after 7-11 Japan was well-established that they turned around and bought the U.S. parent company and began exporting some of the management and technology innovations developed in Japan. The U.S. entity is still responsible for the management of its franchises there.

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Posted in: Fans are up for 'Downton Abbey' starting season 4 See in context

The show is broadcast exclusively on the Star Channel in Japan, a for-pay movie channel like WOWOW.

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Posted in: Camera makers face shakeout as smartphones shatter mirrorless hopes See in context

What's happening with digital cameras on phones, etc. is the same thing that happened with digital music on iPods, etc.--the vast majority of (amateur) users gained access to devices that produced sometimes sub-standard quality images (sound) and eventually decided that level of quality is "good enough" to meet their needs. Most of them are neither familiar with or interested in/demanding anything much better. We've gotten used to being surrounded by mediocre sound, now we're growing accustomed to producing and viewing mediocre images, impressed as hell that it all comes from a single device.

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Posted in: A minicar named Hustler? Japan's brand names raise eyebrows See in context

"Hustler" is not so off the mark given the meaning of "one who moves or acts energetically or rapidly." There is company in the U.S. that makes and sells Hustler lawn mowers, riding mowers, etc. I think the name fits the car, if you take your mind out of the gutter.

The other examples (Pocari Sweat, Collon) have been trotted out ad nauseum for decades now...

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Posted in: McDonald’s Japan to serve 'American Vintage' burgers See in context

McDonald's in Japan keeps doing this--shuffling the same basic ingredients in different combinations without offering anything new or taste-worthy.

Talk about rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic...

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Posted in: ANA to serve Japanese sake, shochu in airport lounges See in context

ANA to serve Japanese sake, shochu in airport lounges

Not to be confused with German sake or French shochu...

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Posted in: U.S. welcomes deal on relocating Futenma air base See in context

Funny how the environmental issues that were so much a part of the original opposition to the Nago/Henoko landfill and development get almost no mention anymore at either the national or international level... in a way, I suppose that represents progress, in that people are more focused on the big-picture controversy. In another way, though, should the project finally be completely green-lighted, the question of environmental impact is likely to be swept to the side.

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Posted in: Utsunomiya 1st to declare his candidacy for Tokyo governor See in context

he wants to make Tokyo a secure city where people can live and work

I'd say that pretty much describes Tokyo today, but his other goals are certainly laudable, as is his stance of defending working-class folks.

Tokyoites have a history of supporting non-mainstream (e.g., not supported by either the LDP or the DPJ) candidates, and I doubt they would be interested in a candidacy by Tokyo outsider Higashikokubara, though Masuzoe, the former Health, Welfare, and Labor minister could alter the balance if he decides to throw his hat into the ring.

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Posted in: Review: Reeves comes off bogus in 'Ronin' See in context

The key difference between most Chushingura comes in the speculated motives behind Asano’s initial attack upon his rival in the palace...

No, I'd say the key difference comes with the "CG monstrosity," the 10-foot silver-armored samurai, and the deliciously evil witch. Oh, and the presence of a "half-breed" Keanu Reeves.

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Posted in: Scandal over 'schizophrenic' Mandela memorial signer See in context

This should be a reminder to those who insist on using bargain-rate interpreters and translators of all kinds--you get what you pay for. The company that supplied the "interpreter" won the work for a rate of the equivalent of just $77 a day--skilled sign language interpreters normally charge upwards of $125 and hour.

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Posted in: Live-action 'Attack on Titan' gets release date, new director See in context

Never heard of it... :-/

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Posted in: What do you think of NHK? Do you like any of their programs? See in context

They've done, and continue to do, some great documentary programming, including the "Professional" series; the "Cosmic Front" series on space and astronomy-related issues; the "Shin Nihon Fudoki" series (in reruns on BS-1), which takes a really people-oriented, in-depth view of Japanese rural and cultural life; and many one-off documentaries on world culture, history, and modern society. (They've run a strong--and, indeed, thought-provoking--series on political and social issues facing China, among others.) They've also provided surprisingly even-handed coverage of the aftermath and long-term impact of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Some of their documentaries covering Japanese Buddhist art and architecture have been incredible.

That said, I do wish they'd stop taking the quiz show/"expert" panel route with some of their documentaries--it cheapens the material and actually makes for less interesting viewing. And some of their attempts to be hip and current are just, well, clunky and sad.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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