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Posted in: Fast food places like McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, KFC, etc, are frequently criticized. What do you think of them? See in context


I am talking about THIS Japan. You can be as cynical as you want, but there are aware consumers out there, even in Japan. And McDs is certainly more expensive than a local soba house. A McDs combo is roughly 2000 yen, while a good plate of tsumiki udon/soba is 500. Perhaps it's your vision of Japan that's out of focus...somewhat jaded perhaps?

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Posted in: Fast food places like McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, KFC, etc, are frequently criticized. What do you think of them? See in context

Why would you go to McD's if you have a soba house around the corner for a fraction of the price? Fas food only makes sense if it's cheap (which in Japan it ain't. And is there anything faster than soba anyway?).

While everything has its time and place (even the occasional McD's hamburger) aware consumers will probably choose to support local real food shops than an environmentally-unfriendly megacorporation.

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Posted in: 'Gayjin' find it tough going in Tohoku See in context

Two consenting adults, whether male or female, engaging in a romantic relationship is hardly a problem. Who you sleep with has no relevance whatsoever in your moral fiber.

As for the post that says gay men meet only outside public toilets...well, I think the poster's ignorance and hatefulness speak for themselves and no one should take him seriously.

Moderator: Do not be impolite to other posters.

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Posted in: Why the Japanese Are a Superior People See in context

De Mente attributes the special knowledge and skills of the Japanese to the premise that they are primarily right-brain oriented as a result of their vowel-heavy language

Vowel-heavy language??? It is a linguistic fact that phonetically Japanese is an extremely poor language, exactly because there are only 5 vowels (ok, and 5 long vowels if you want to get technical). Modern European tongues (particularly English and French) and Slavic tongues have thousands of phonic combinations - Japanese, on the other hand, has about 200.

What utter rubbish. Nihonjinron at its worse.

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Posted in: Zelaya's plane circles Honduran runway, but can't land See in context

Coups are never "necessary." Regardless of how much you hate the ruler in turn, he did not commit any real crimes, nor was he tried in a criminal court.

While I'm far from being a Zelaya fan, the democratic institutions MUST be preserved, otherwise democracy as a system fails. The coup d'etat is a disgrace for Honduran democracy and will further destabilise a region that has had its fair share of illegal military interventions in politics. Like it or not, Zelaya is the rightfully elected leader of the country, and the only way to oust him is through people's votes, not military force.

Honduran news channels have been heavily censored (only one channel shows government-directed news), local journalists persecuted and foreign ones expelled, and security tightened to the point that constitutional civil liberties have been curtailed (mandatory curfews, phone-tapping, prohibition of free speech and assembly). If the coup was indeed so popular among the population there would be no need for this. All they are creating is a future uprising of extremist groups and more violence.

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Posted in: Takeo Doi, scholar on Japanese psyche, dies See in context

Wow, I remember using Doi's books for my undergraduate thesis. Interesting chap. I hope he had a peaceful death.

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Posted in: Meltdown 101: Will airlines go bankrupt? See in context


"they should cut amounts of flights, then cut quality of service, cut compensation for delayed or cancel flights such as staying at hotels and meals, and so on."

I trust you either work for an airline or never have had your flight cancelled and do not shirk at the sight of masses of people sleeping in the airport, sometimes for days, unsure whether they'll be able to travel because of airline mismanagement.

If a customer pays for a ticket, he deserves to receive the service that he has paid for EXACTLY as he has bought it. If they airline cancels a flight at the last minute, OF COURSE they should be held responsible for the harm inflicted upon their customers. Why should they suffer because the airline is trying to save a few bucks? Regulation for this kind of thing is good, it protects consumers from airlines taking advantage of their customers.

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Posted in: Court decriminalizes gay sex in Indian capital See in context

Lovely sapquest. I was just waiting for the resented anti-gay statement to show up, and you made it happen in a record number of 3 posts. Congratulations.

So then, you believe homosexuals have a "problem" and therefore should get 10 years of prison for trying to live their lives as they see fit? Please explain how two consenting adults engaging in a same-sex relationship is comparable to hurting and killing others? Perhaps you are the kind of person who sustains that all homosexuals are pedophiles too?

I think the only one with a problem here is you.

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Posted in: Is Tokyo really top dog in global rankings? See in context

What about access to green areas? Tokyo has far less m2 of green areas per citizen than recommended by the WHO. Smaller cities in Japan are far more livable than Tokyo's endless expanse of grey upon grey.

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Posted in: English-language teaching industry in bad shape See in context


Perhaps companies need to encorage experienced teachers with higher salaries, full time contracts, health insurance, bonuses etc. Make it a career instead of just a part-time job. That would dramatically increase the number of teachers who stick around.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of full-time jobs in Japan, a full-time contract with benefits carries a lot of other things that few Westerners would put up with in the first place.

I used to work semi-full time at quite a prestigious large company, which in practice means a full-time job without benefits, bonuses, insurance, etc. I went there, did my job, got paid, end of story.

On the other hand, I had a couple of colleagues who went for the full-time and benefits option, and I cannot even begin to describe how sorely they had to pay for those benefits. Unpaid overtime, unpaid working weekends, unavoidable nomikais, and a corporate culture of two-faced backstabbing, gossip and jealousy, nemawashi, pointless meetings and superiors with overinflated egos. (I have worked in quite a few Japanese companies and this seems to be the norm rather than the exception). Many people scoff and say "I would never put up with that!", but you should see the real power of Japanese group pressure in practice. It's enough to break even the most rebellious souls. Especially if your career depends on it.

Ergo, making a career in a Japanese company would be extremely taxing for most Westerners (especially free-spirited, humanist-oriented, world-travelling teachers) , which is why the market has structured itself to favour part-time jobs. Not a bad thing, if you ask me.

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Posted in: What do you think about the eco-point registration system, which starts July 1, in which consumers who purchase government-designated environmentally friendly refrigerators, television sets and air co See in context


turn it off.

Unfortunately, that's wishful individualistic thinking and doesn't solve the problem in the short term. Sure, hopefully the day will come when everyone is educated enough to recycle properly, turn off the lights and know better than to throw cigarrette butts on the ground. But in the meantime, if the government does something to curb the energy waste of people who couldn't care less about their energy consumption, I applaud the measure. After all, your carbon footprint is as much my problem as it is yours - we all share the same planet and breathe the same air!

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Posted in: Friends eyed in Japanese man's death in Chile See in context

This is not a petty crime, it sounds more like a mafia-related incident. I live in Chile, and crimes like these are extremely rare - and if they did, they would have definitely taken the rolex!

The only result from this is that the ensuing media blowup will just give Japanese tourists another unjustified reason to be scared of my otherwise very peaceful country. Shame. I can sense the tour cancellations as we speak.

BTW, La Cuarta is hands down one of the worst sources the journalist could have picked. It's mostly a tabloid, of platitudes resembling "The Sun" or "News of the World."

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Posted in: Japanese urged to take pride in their safe society See in context


i wouldn't characterize is as a safe society, but an insular discriminatory society that views anything other than Japanese as below their interest

Oh dear. Red herring? While true to an extent (and true in many other parts of the world too), the issue at hand is crime in Japan. Safest country in the world. Never have I felt so safe. The media instigates the culture of fear, but seriously, I can leave my house unlocked and windows open (as do my neighbours). Doing that in my native Chile would be unthinkable.

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Posted in: What do you think about the eco-point registration system, which starts July 1, in which consumers who purchase government-designated environmentally friendly refrigerators, television sets and air co See in context

Well, it doesn't deal with the overconsumption problem that creates the need for these policies in the first place, but it's a nice way of stimulating the economy and persuading customers who would otherwise buy cheaper and dirtier appliances.

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Posted in: English-language teaching industry in bad shape See in context

I believe that good teachers are made in the classroom. And as for qualification, a shitty 2-week TOEFL diploma does not mean you will be a good teacher. Experience counts for a lot more.

I agree that there are atrocious would-be teachers out there getting by with the minimum effort, but their numbers are dwindling as we speak. Japan is no longer the land of the easy yen, and companies know better than to hire the losers who wouldn't be able to get a job at home. Students who really want to learn are not stupid, and in fact they can be extremely demanding.

There are thousands of good English teachers out there who are mostly constrained by the antiquated Japanese education system and the lack of initiative of students who don't want to learn English in the first place (but do it because their companies tell them to, or to impress their bosses/enhance their CV).

And Eikaiwas are in it for the money, we all know that. NOVA's model was to get as many students as possible, but smaller companies know that in troubled times like these client retention is the key. The demise of NOVA shows that teaching quality is a huge factor in client retention, and that the days of fast-food English are over.

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Posted in: Republicans accuse Obama of socialism See in context

That's a hilarious heading. "Accusing" someone of "Socialism," as though it were a bad word in itself. Socialism does not necessarily mean having a state like the USSR or Cuba. Communism in that kind of scope is nearly dead. What "progressive" leaders like Obama stand for is social control against a ruthless free market. What it means is in practice is (a) fair distribution of wealth, (b) social guarantees for every person so no one is left behind. By that yardstick Japan is a near-perfect Socialist state. And yes, their constitution was made by Americans. Who, in turn, based their constitution on the ideas of the European enlightment.

A free market will never magically regulate itself, it is not all-knowing and all-powerful like Friedmanite freaks will let us believe. The financial crisis is a clear example of what happens when there is no regulation - humans are greedy, and markets operate on bottom lines, it does not care about wealth inequalities and middle-class workers losing their jobs.

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Posted in: US church creates stir with gay exorcism video See in context


Just to be pernickety and for arugemtn's sake, surely you can be a Christian (as in, following the precepts of love and brotherhood set forth by Jesus of Nazareth) and still ignore scriptures that have been translated, rewritten, altered, edited and used politically for millenia as a form of social control. Nothing in the Bible is simple and straightforward - it's an allegorical text, and as such clear-cut readings given to such scriptures are dodgy at best.

The only clear thing here is that the people in this church are lunatics. Saying that being gay is the work of Satan is no different from stating it as a medical condition. The WHO banned homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses quite some time ago.

I propose opening a church where all religious bigots are said to be possessed by demons and thus need to be exorcised!

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