Japan Today

Steve Fabricant comments

Posted in: Ex-Okinawan governor and anti-U.S. base campaigner Ota dies at 92 See in context

He was a great and kind man who always acted in the interests of Okinawa. I had the honor of talking to him in his office two times in recent years. He bore no grudges against Americans, only the policies of the national government.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Can internet-beaming balloons outmaneuver shifting winds? See in context

Papi, do you think you will see the balloons at 60000 feet!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Police offer ramen discounts to elderly as incentive not to drive See in context

Yubaru - I had to do the 3-year license renewal deal at a driving school in Naha yesterday in a session for seniors. The "lecture" strongly emphasized the accident statistics of the age groups, and the video must have repeated scenes of staged accidents (all involving cyclists and joggers) two dozen times. Then they sat us down at driving simulators (like arcade games) and tested reflexes - although the equipment was really clunky it gave computerized readouts of the results of braking and steering - pretty cool. Then vision testing and finally a road test just like the driving test.. I would say that it is a very good approach to warning of potential age-related problems. I don't know if other prefectures do the same, or if Okinawa takes licenses away from prople with poor results. I would not want to do it more often than every 3 years though.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan wary over Philippine leader's policy, manners in front of emperor See in context

Let's see... Duterte is still pissed off at the US for atrocities of 100+ years ago so he insults US officials to get even. The Japanese didn't exactly coddle the Filipinos during the invasion and occupation either, so what will this asshat do this time?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: As Duterte embraces China, Abe set to roll out warm welcome See in context

Let's see... the US got booted out of Clark and Subic to make the Philippines feel more independent, but somehow it remained a client of the US all these intervening years? What went wrong there? Could it be that the oligarchy loves America too much?

Let's wait and see. Sure, the Chinese really respect Duterte and their little offshore Asian cousins. Didn't they just give him a marching band welcome? And with baton twirlers no less. I think it does all add up to a coup in the foreseeable future.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: Don't eat these foods together and avoid possible intestinal distress See in context

"Most of my foreign friends love natto"

You must have some weird foreign friends, Bertie!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan plans July fighter jet tender seen worth $40 bln as China tensions simmer See in context

This should make everybody happy.......

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan announces $7 billion plan to develop Mekong region See in context

That amount also neglects the billions poured into the Mekong subregion via the Japanese part-owned Asian Development Bank.

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Posted in: Okinawa: the new Hawaii? See in context

Why not in Japan too?

Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), is a process by a United States federal government commission to increase United States Department of Defense efficiency by planning the end of the Cold War realignment and closure of military installations. More than 350 installations have been closed in five BRAC rounds: 1988, 1991, 1993, 1995, and 2005. (Wikipedia)

Congressmen speak of reducing military spending. Military bases are expensive to operate, yet another domestic base closing round is unlikely. However, the President can close any foreign base without Congressional approval. Polls show the vast majority of American citizens support the closure most U.S. military bases overseas.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Okinawa: the new Hawaii? See in context

There's a "well-kept secret" in Okinawa that this ACCJ puff-piece omits - with mass tourism comes bland replica hotels. Even (or especially) those owned by the big US chains are just so-so value-wise, and all have the same rooms, service, food, and amenities. What Okinawa should have are more boutique and specialty accommodations that put visitors closer to what is left of the real Okinawa.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: Economy, strong yen defuse 'explosive' Chinese shopping in Japan See in context

(dont understand why Chinese need them, as they typically don't "sit" on the seats) says Yuibaru....

The Chinese are following the Japanese in a demographic transition to an aging population, and apparently also in a toilet transition from squatting to sitting.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: 5 Palestinians killed while attacking Israelis See in context

Imagine if the Allies, after Japan surrendered in 1945, had started building settlements in Japan for Westerners, while tossing out the native Japanese.

They did. It's called Okinawa.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: 4 designs make shortlist for Tokyo 2020 logo See in context

A word to the "wise": the construction for the Rio 2016 Olympics is so far behind and billions over budget that it may not happen after all.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: For our readers who live in Japan, what are some items you always make a point to bring back to Japan after you return from a trip abroad? See in context

OTC medications are a ripoff/racket here in Japan. I also bring the biggest jar of generic ibuprofen I can find. Sunscreen. And I forgot Almond Butter. And XXXXXXXXXXXL condoms, you wimps!

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Posted in: For our readers who live in Japan, what are some items you always make a point to bring back to Japan after you return from a trip abroad? See in context

Wow, deodorant really heads the list. Maybe the Japanese are right about kusa gaijins. And the heavy condom imports tell a related tale. I bring back Parmesan cheese and Peet's coffee.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: 23 injured as typhoon lashes Okinawan islands See in context

Agree, typhoons are not the reason they shouldn't be here.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Baseball, bowling, squash among 8 sports shortlisted for 2020 Games See in context

Bowling, now there's a game worthy of the alcoholympics. I hope the US succeeds in fielding Team Leboski.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Ear cover serves as low-priced hearing aid See in context

This is great. I hope they come out with a hot-climate version.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese worry over Osprey safety after fatal Hawaii crash See in context

If we are going to have to start speaking Mandarin in Okinawa, it won't be because of a Chinese military takeover if the US goes away. It will be because the China is getting better and better at what we used to be good at - industrial innovation, infrastructure development, education, fighting its own poverty, engaging in constructive world trade, foreign assistance, and NOT stupidly meddling in strategically vital regions in the pretense of promoting their way of life and politics by military force. How much does it cost the US and Japan to keep thousands of warfighters, their highpaid supporting contractors, and their contented families ensconced on Okinawa and elsewhere in Japan? Whatever you guess, you are probably off by a hell of a lot of money that the US should be using for better purposes. Go ahead and "bad" this - the truth can be painful sometimes.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Posted in: Tropical storm moves toward Honshu See in context

The headline should have been "Wannabe typhoon sashays into Okinawa."

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Radiation from Fukushima disaster detected off Canada's coast See in context

At least I give this report more credence than that scaremongering "plume" that purported to show radioactive water lapping on the western US shores a few days after the explosion. Note to nuclear-haters: we don't actually need "sky is falling" any more than necessary.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Posted in: Gov't cuts budget for Okinawan economic development See in context

Undeniably true that a lot of money has been mis-spent on "developing" Okinawa. When I visit mainland cities I am surprised how shoddy many seem compared to Naha, but there was also the matter of the total devastation in 1944/45 that the Japanese government rightly assumed responsibility for. What is NOT needed are more grand administrative and social welfare buildings and boondoggles like the OIST "technology incubator" that result from the wet dreams of bureaucrats with unlimited budgets. Quite possibility it is not yet possible to find a group of Okinawans with planning skills and with enough distance from the construction firms to plot a realistic future for this prefecture, but until that happens I think a dose of austerity is good medicine.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Putin, Netanyahu in top 10 most admired in U.S. Why? See in context

USN - of course it is a reaction. "wrong but strong" vs. "right but weak". When it comes to guiding a country down a path, I'll take the latter, thank you.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Sony tries to save face with 'Interview' flip-flop See in context

“Panic-based decisions are not sound crisis management,” said Jonathan Bernstein, president of Los Angeles-based crisis management company Bernstein Crisis Management

Gotta love this journalist.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Influenza See in context

Interesting that a Google search on "The following substances are found in flu vaccines: aluminum, antibiotics, egg protein, formaldehyde, human aborted fetal apparatus (dead human tissue), monosodium glutamate (MSG), and thimerosol (mercury)," turns up several dozen anti-vax and religious websites, but NOT C.D.C. nor is there any citation that connects it back to CDC.

Now why would that be?

In addition, the CDC never said that the flu vaccine is ineffective.

I guess I should really go public with the fact that I have been getting the seasonal vaccine since it first was made availlable and have never had the flu or any side-effects. Like that proves anything either?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Influenza See in context

Even if it is "only" 60% effective, that makes it a very good bet against a week of misery or worse. The Health Depts are not strongly recommending everyone get the shots but only the young and elderly, who are at risk of the worst consequences of the flu. That seems sensible to me.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Okinawa vote a blow to Japan-U.S. ties, say analysts See in context

I see we have one of those simple 200-pounders here: "To the victors go the spoils". Don't forget that China and the Soviet Union were our allies in the Pacific War too. If it's blood that he means, lots more Okinawan civilians died here than US troops. so by that accounting they deserve their island back.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan tries to tap growing Muslim tourist market See in context

The Philippines does a good job of catering to Muslim visitors, but that was made easy by their indigenous Muslims who now are a large presence in Manila. In any case, what's the big deal about labeling menu items as halal in a restaurant in a touristic area, or putting a small sign in the window? And if you resent tourists wiith money (like Mr. Leach - perfect!) then you shouldn't object to seeing foreigners sleeping on park benches either.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: Japanese single malt whisky named world's finest See in context

I had to think long and hard about this news. First, as "excellent" as the best J-whiskies are, they do not offer the great available taste range of Scotch single malts. Someone who settles in on a couple of Yamazakis as their only whisky is depriving themself of so much else. Second, I also used to only drink whiskey neat until I watched a video by a rather over-the-top Scotsman who gave instructions on the proper savouring and drinking of Scotch - and to my surprise he insisted that the whiskey should be diluted to about 50 proof with water. Yes, water - the same stuff that WC Fields never drank because fish make love in it. Well, after some experimentation I am now in agreement with the guy, because when slightly diluted you get all of the flavor and subtlety without the burn. And any good Scotsman knows the bottle lasts longer that way, and that is no small matter when it happens to be something like Lagavulin 18.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: Green power floods Japan grid as premium prices bite See in context

A few years ago when hybrid vehicles were becoming numerous, there were questions raised about the lifespan and re-usability of their batteries. They seem to be lasting longer than most engineers expected, but I recall reading that when their capacity becomes degraded to the point that they are unsuitable for the vehicles, they could still be used to backup intermittent electricity sources such as solar. I envisioned mountains of ex-Prius batteries wired to the grid through giant inverters. I wonder what happened to that concept?? And BTW, I don't believe there is any real problem with the "quality" of the solar power that is fed into the grid since it all gets conditioned by electronics.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

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