Teachmeteachyou comments

Posted in: U.S. to expand military presence in Australia to counter China See in context

The truth is that no-one in the region wants to be the lone chicken picked off by a hungry chinese fox. No-one is saying America is some kind of perfect angel, but at least is mostly a decent country and offers the hand of protection in exchange for some small favours here and there. Certainly, letting America have bases in their country has made South Korea and Japan safer from external threats and being influenced by the sole remaining superpower has lead to some incredible economic growth. Of course, I'd love a safer world and for all this money to go into schools and hospitals rather than battlefields, but smart strategic thinking means you have to be ready for the unthinkable. It's actually a lot cheaper to work with America rather than try and build up an independent deterrent, a kind of pooling of resources.

Though for all this, this is a two-edged sword for the Australian conscience. Positioned far from the events of the rest of the world, there must be a natural instinct to call for pacifism and a return to civilised norms, even when the cultures confronting each other are so different. If the US does use Australia as a launchpad for a colonial war of 'liberation' (a big if, as much of their actions in this region have been humanitarian in nature), it will be hard for Australia to keep a distance from it. They are traditionally strong allies of the US, so it would be unlikely they'd want to, but they might this way be more strongly involved than otherwise. I personally think it's worth the risk and worth trusting America to let them keep the freedom to opt out of any operations they conscientiously object to.

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Posted in: Scientists on trial for manslaughter in Italy for failure to warn residents about quake See in context

Unbelievable they are trying to pin this on the scientists rather than the poor standard of buildings. I could understand this maybe 500 years ago, but now? Witch hunt is the word. The sad fact is that there is almost never a way to know which tremor will turn out to be a larger quake and even less how to know where exactly it will be significantly large. People can't live on edge the whole time- all that can be done is offer optional evacuations, or say there is some risk, but more to the point, strengthen buildings just in case and have procedures for getting out of harms way as soon as possible if one does hit.

Also, anyone in a quake-prone region should as a matter of course have some emergency sup;plies, torch, water, etc, but with the knowledge that it could come at any time so better to be prepared.

But what @beangry says is of interest. It is always possible that unconventional scientists may stumble upon a useful truth before their findings are properly peer reviewed. The problem is, when to evacuate and how long for? All people can do is prepare and in the case of medieval cities, I wonder how muc can realistically be done to shore up the ancient buildings.

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Posted in: Tesco failed to imprint itself on this fragmented, hyper-crowded and competitive consumer market. Japan's notoriously conservative and fussy shoppers simply had too many other choices. See in context

I was just in Thailand, where they are everywhere. I think the problem is the slow acceptance of international foods here in Japan, it happens, but at a hard to determine pace. Take Indian food- it's everywhere now, though for years was on the sidelines, but in my city (Kashiwa), the two Vietnamese/Thai restaurants we had recently closed down, which saddens me as they were some of the best places to go for something different. One of them defaulted to a ramen shop, to my eyes just like any other.

Maybe Tesco could have kept trying, or tried to do more to fit into the Japanese 'scene', I don't know. I go to Kaldi and Costco for choices. really glad to have them around.

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Posted in: Hosono says all of Japan should help with Fukushima's contaminated debris See in context

It sounds like he is in a serious form of denial as to the impression this brings. Other parts of Japan may help with tax revenue, but why should they host toxic waste, especially if they are more heavily populated? This sense of 'fairness' is leading to contaminated food going everywhere... not good for Japan's citizens or the country's reputation.

Storage sites should be found, far from people and well-secured, perhaps not solely in Fukushima, but not in this sense of spreading it everywhere. Fukushima's tragedy is one all of Japan can relate to and help fix, but it shouldn't be allowed to define Japan, a country in the international arena in need of an attractive image.

IMHO more should be done to compensate those affected and limit the flow of toxins as a priority, rather than out of sympathy allow them to spread, whether through foods, livestock or this insane idea.

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Posted in: Was I a date, a friend or just a potential English teacher? See in context

Did it ever cross your mind that that passage was just a phase and other things potentially lay after it? She made an effort to communicate, however much it annoyed you and you pushed her away. Why can you speak Japanese but she can't use English? It's true people want your help in English, the same way you mit want help in Japanese, or with computers from someone who knows more about them, yet in certain circles that disappears and you made a big (stereotyping) assumption that this is 'all she wanted'.

Probably, the relationship is irreparable, but still you owe her an apology, though to be fair, in my first years in Japan I did have many people who wanted me to be an English teacher rather than a friend, whether for them or their children. I think as you are here for longer, or look older, you are less likely to be viewed this way. The stereotype of the genki Eikaiwa teacher is a young one. Even so, stick with relationships and they can deepen to more than this.

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Posted in: Police, coast guard hold security drill for Taiji dolphin hunt See in context

I was kind of hoping after the Tsunami, Japan appreciating the help and the world appreciating Japan's harmonic culture, would all be one again. Yet now the 'culture' of hunting sea mammals returns, which no-one in their right mind would sanction, Japanese or otherwise. The allusion to fox-hunting, seal-clubbing, bull-fighting is very apt. No-one is bullying Japan, the world just wants to move on from these historical crudities.

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Posted in: Consumers, who were forced to replace their TVs won’t likely have a motivation to buy another one for a while. See in context

3D is the beginning of the 'digital camera' approach to TVs, throwing in more features and supposedly better quality. 3D Grade 1, better 3D Grade 2, then 'Real 3D', then 'Ultra 3D'... if they can get the price of bigger sets down the way they did with 32 Inch (which really aren't expensive any more), they can have their upgradeitis going. Because in the old days, you just got a TV and kept it.

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Posted in: U.S. issues worldwide alert against al-Qaida attacks See in context

I'm really not sure what I'm supposed to be scared of any more, but at least it's safe to stay at home and hide under a table, just so long as no-one switches off my wi-fi!

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Posted in: How should the government dispose of radioactive beef? See in context

Burn it with filters to capture the radioactive particles, that way they'll take up less space. Most of the cow is probably water, etc and presumably there are ways to do this safely. Then treat the ashes as radioactive waste. This is what's done with sunflowers used to decontaminate fields.

If they do this with as much as possible that is contaminated by the fallout, they can reduce the amount of cesium in the environment.

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Posted in: Do anti-whaling campaigns backfire in Japan? See in context

I think there is truth to this. Japanese have a victim mentality at times and feel they are being bullied by 'foreigners'. If there was a more dialogue-based effort, there wouldn't be such a strong, nationalistic response. The truth is the whales are endangered and Japan is being irresponsible for carrying on the whaling. More focus on this and showing the whales as the real victims could have more effect. You can't blame the greenies, though- they are just stepping in because governments have failed to get Japan to co-operate. SS or Greenpeace are known for direct action, not tact or diplomacy.

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Posted in: Gov't names 4 more radiation 'hot spots' near Fukushima plant See in context

With all the donations received form around the world, surely they can sort out better housing for people forced to flee because of other's mistakes? If people are staying put because they feel they have no-where to go, then this is just plain wrong, especially where kids are involved.

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Posted in: Hawkers 'pleased' with life sentence for Ichihashi See in context

A true life sentence would in my view be justice. What matters most is that the family feel justice has been done, so they can find peace. That and him not being let out early, as he is clearly still dangerous. In term of the world reaction, many countries oppose the death penalty, so granting that wouldn't help Japan's image.

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Posted in: How can workplace bullying be eradicated? See in context

Punish it, severely, don't tolerate it. If companies are too lazy, then make sure to force them to pay hefty compensation. If Japan can say no way to sexual harassment, why not bullying?

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Posted in: Beef, milk, tea, spinach and other vegetables have been contaminated due to the Fukushima nuclear crisis. How much worse do you think this is going to get? For example, do you think rice will be affec See in context

I think it will, but as I understand it, the worst contamination is in green plants, like tea or spinach, that absorb many minerals from the air and hold them in their leaves. I'd be more worried about beef or milk from cows that eat such plants/hay left outside.

They really should have destroyed produce from the area rather than be so lenient about it. If governments can be so vigilant about BSE, why not radiation? Living here became a risk as they are mixing it in with everything else, just to save a bit of food and money.

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Posted in: Efforts to stabilize nuclear crisis on track, say gov't, TEPCO See in context

A big thank you to everyone involved in stabilising this.

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Posted in: TEPCO scrambles to protect nuclear plant as typhoon nears See in context

Well, whatever criticisms people have for the past, I really hope they can protect the plant from this typhoon/heavy rain. The part of all this I'm least comfortable with is the fact everything is being left to TEPCO. No, I don't mean 'poor TEPCO, I fell sorry for you'. I mean whatever resources are available should be given to them to solve these problems, whatever the cost. I get the impression the central government doesn't want to get too publicly involved because of issues of liability. Well, that's fine, but I hope they are privately very involved, as even breaking it down into financial figures, prevention is the best cure.

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Posted in: Vietnamese cafes in Calif too racy for some See in context

I want to go there and decide for myself! Too bad in Japan we only have those weird maid cafes, not counting places where you'll drop a months salary before you know it. There is something to be said for a cafe that provides waitress to oogle.

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Posted in: Panasonic develops tubes for geothermal electricity generation, waste heat recovery See in context

Sounds like this could suit Japan. Maybe along the lines of hybrid vehicles, we could have buildings that generate their own electricity as they go, even using their own waste heat. It wouldn't have to be on the level that would justify a power plant, just enough for it's own use, feeding any excess back into the grid.

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Posted in: TOHO Cinemas selects MasterImage 3D as partner See in context

@Nicolas, I totally agree and along with the use of glasses this is their obvious failing. The only one I saw that wasn't like that was Avatar at iMax, which has higher light levels to begin with.

It seems to me that if they are going to keep up this polarized 3D, they should get much brighter projectors to compensate.

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Posted in: Kyocera starts operation of 230kW solar power generating system at Fukushima plant See in context

Good to hear. But the low yield says to me that solar is mostly a locally based energy source. If nuclear plants are mainframes, solar is mostly a PC, at least for the moment.

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Posted in: Nokia abandons Japanese market See in context

Interesting to see Apple succeed so well in popularising the Smartphone. The stylish, light, slim designs that Nokia made are rendered irrelevant by newcomers that can do so much more, that we never dreamed we would be able to with a pocket device. If they are smart, they'll move into Smartphones. There's also more money to be made with all the frequent upgrades.

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Posted in: 16 children taken to hospital after collapsing during athletics meet See in context

Stupid time of year for a sports day. Move 'em to October or so, forget about gaman and think smart.

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Posted in: New report shows early chaos at Fukushima plant See in context

This is worse than negligent, it's more than incompetent. It shows a general disregard for the painful reality that these plants are volcano-like structures that if disturbed enough can and will explode, sending radioactive debris from their cores far and wide. Sadly, I doubt most other plants have had the time to get better prepared, nor will their budget cover eventualities like this. As others say, if you live in Japan, you learn the preparedness is just a myth- people are focused only on the day, even what they are doing that hour. Bring up anything deeper and you get a blank, sometimes annoyed stare.

Japan should be pouring resources into containing and fixing this, rather than trying to downplay one of the worst nuclear disasters in history. They should be taking seriously the need to safeguard the other plants. Yet still the evading of responsibility and playing the victim continues. I'mn even half-wondering if I should believe all this, but it does sound that with better preparation and more realism a lot of this could have been avoided.

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Posted in: Fukushima tsunami plan based on single page See in context

Personally I think it's just irresponsible to expect a private company to police itself in coming up with adequate safety measures, plans, back-up for the kinds of tremendous natural disasters Japan has a history of. It seems that the NISA guidelines were just too optimistic, making them inadequate. Hopefully, this can be learnt from and they can be vastly improved.

Rather than pointing the finger at one organisation or another, I prefer to see this as an example of human nature's frailty when dealing with such sensitive materials as are contained in nuclear plants. It's only natural people are getting angry at the lack of preparation here, but it makes more sense to see a failure in the system.

We can improve the system, have more checks and balances, more stringent safety, with the understanding that despite the vast cost, it will still be cheaper in every way than the immense cost of a disaster, which is probably incalculable. We can change the system, make it more realistic and preventative, but we may never change the root cause of all this- the frailties of human nature, which a good system should account for.

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Posted in: Obama defends his Mideast peace vision to pro-Israel lobby See in context

Isn't this the 'tick-tock' approach to the Middle East? Invade a country, or take out a terrorist leader (for lack of a better word) and then say you are pressing Israel to make concessions? Surely this is designed to show he is fair and even-handed and not an 'enemy of Islam', whatever that is. I'm not sure that this is really for internal consumption, except perhaps for the left-leaning democrats.

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Posted in: Obama addresses Arab world; urges Israel to go back to 1967 borders See in context

Obama could be a good negotiator, with his knowledge of both the Western (I'm including Israel here) and Islamic worlds. Yet, this problem is one of the most intractable I have come across. Even by restating the original thesis for peace, his emphasis has made many cry foul, and his lack of emphasis on Israel's security risks from hostile neighbours makes him appear biased.

He should remember (if he wants to be fair), that Israel only took this additional land for strategic reasons after having her existence threatened. I think Obama is wading into deep waters here, not sure if he can achieve any more than others who have tried. The secret is to convert the surrounding states to democracies, at which point peace with Israel will be preferable to them than treating her as the bogeyman, to target anti-regime frustrations onto.

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Posted in: Why do tourists continue to stay away from Japan, despite the fact that there are many places of interest far away from the crisis-affected areas? What should Japanese tourism officials do to promote See in context

I think the realistic fear of radiation has to be top on the list. Japan should be more clear about what places are free from it... but then what do they say to people closer by, living there, who by implication would somehow possibly be at risk? Insisting foreign diplomats enjoy products from Fukushima isn't exactly helping their cause, as anyone with a brain would know that the further away, the safer the produce. It may be two-faced, but they should start to emphasise the places further away from there more. Kyoto, for instance, must be totally safe, so why not encourage people to go there?

Though, with time, things will calm down and the tourists will be back, maybe by summer even, just not to the Tohoku region perhaps, sad though that might be.

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Posted in: Why do famous men with power and influence (Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton, for example) risk everything with their sexual behavior? See in context

Their sexuality is part of their macho character. A better question is why society admires these overtly masculine guys and then cries foul when it turns out they have a strong sexuality that can't necessarily be satisfied by one partner, to match. Study biology, people- we like these guys for the same reason the girls do- because they are full of life and life energy (libido)!

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Posted in: If Hamaoka is potentially deadly, what about all the other nuclear reactors? See in context

This is all the legacy of the oil-shock, when this was a make-or break situation for Japan's economy. Now we have solar power, certainly the plants closest to fault-lines should be shut down. People learn through experience, and I think Fukushima is more than enough... though it should be a planned phase-out and it doesn't that we are ready for a 'non-nuclear' society just yet.

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Posted in: Bin Laden's death prompts questions about legality See in context

Of course he should have been arrested and tried. If people are finding closure with this brutal, shall we say, 'extra-judicial killing', it's because the legal option, the normal option has now been closed to us. From what I have read, there may have been teams ready to interrogate him, possibly to glean intelligence that may well not be in all the hard drives that (we are told) were carelessly left lying around.

The shifting stories (nonsense about human shields that was rendered unsupportable in a matter of hours, due to the existence of witnesses), won't stop people criticising the legality of the operation, thereby tainting it. This isn't a comic-book here, this is the real world. That said, I think it was better to do something rather than nothing... I am just left feeling that the chosen action was popularise, coming so close to campaign season.

As such a feeling spreads, it could even backfire on Obama, as no-one likes to be manipulated for another's political gain. At heart, Americans are as international anyone else, at heart they want their leaders to respect the international law that is there to keep us ALL safe. As someone who prefers the Democrats to the alternative, such an outcome, even if unlikely, is undesirable.

Basically, you can be glad he is gone, you can be pleased with his demise, without necessarily claiming that it was the right thing to do. What is necessary now is to know more of what happened, to make clear if the situation indeed forced these events, rather than them being preplanned from the beginning. The quick burial of the body will be seen by many as disposal of evidence. Surely people want to know the truth rather than propaganda?

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