Torgo comments

Posted in: Rise in number of empty houses a growing problem for Tokyo See in context

"If they are not going to use it, I will gladly take one of the places off of their hands! I'll take several! Sell all but one and use the money to build a new place on the best plot of land. Problem solved"

The problem is that most of these houses (built 20 or 30 years ago) were bought by people taking out loans on the value of the land during the bubble. The house is worth nothing, and the land is worth much less than it was when the house was bought. Selling the house isn't a realistic option, since no one would pay enough to allow the owner to pay off their loan. What good is selling your house when you'll still owe tens of thousands of dollars on property you don't even own anymore? "The right price" would be too high for most people interested in reselling it, and with the market the way it is, selling it for full market value would still take forever.

The idea of buying houses and flipping them doesn't work here. The industry has conditioned people into buying cookie-cutter houses that fall apart after twenty years, then the owner tears it down and builds a new one, if they can afford it. No one wants to buy a used house, instead, the old house gets torn down and a new house gets built. No one would want a refurbished house in Setagaya, they'd rather have a new one. The land prices being so ridiculous these days, they'd be more likely to buy outside of Tokyo.

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Posted in: Erika Sawajiri: Inside the head of Japan's outspoken star See in context

her gripe is about talented people, how does this involve her? I managed to miss the whole "betsu ni" thing the first time around, but saw a short clip of it this week. In two words (plus the sullen pouting and overtly hostile body language), someone I've never met made me dislike them intensely. Talent? They showed her 'singing' and 'dancing' on the next clip, and lord, she made Paris Hilton's album sound like a shining example of quality music.

Clearly, the system stinks, but lord, I hope she's not the poster child for change. That would just make sure the system retrenches. Get someone with actual talent to take a stand, please.

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Posted in: Sumo chief resigns, citing health concerns See in context

The article doesn't mention it, but supposedly he has stomach cancer. He's not well. I imagine the JSA wanted him to stick around until the scandals trickled off, so he could resign in shame to take all the blame. Now, the next guy will have to do it.

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Posted in: Asashoryu to be warned for drunken incident See in context

Criticizing a person in Japan, let alone a sumo wrestler for getting drunk? Really? Last basho, I listened to the English commentary, which had Musashimaru telling tales of being able to drink other rikishi under the table. The thing is, he was talking about drinking sake from dai-jokis, and two people finishing bottle after bottle of sake. Drinking is a part of the culture, and excess (in eating and drinking) is a pretty strong component of sumo culture. If the JSA wants to crack down on it, maybe they should work within the rules and culture which make Asashoryu comfortable with the behavior he's been taught to feel is valid.

He's a drunk? And how many other rikishi get trashed regularly? He's a bully? Like he's the only one in the sport? At least he's never killed someone by beating them with aluminum baseball bats/sake bottles to the head.

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Posted in: Brown agrees to take Rakuten manager's job See in context

I hope they treat him better than they treated Marty Kuenhert, the guy they hired to be the general manager when they first started out. Then again, given the fans' love of Nomura (totally justified love, mind you), if the team doesn't perfom as well, I imagine it'll be easier for the team to scapegoat the foreign manager than a Japanese manager.

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Posted in: Brown agrees to take Rakuten manager's job See in context

I hope they treat him better than they treated Marty Kuenhert, the guy they hired to be the general manager when they first started out. Then again, given the fans' love of Nomura (totally justified love, mind you), if the team doesn't perfom as well, I imagine it'll be easier for the team to scapegoat the foreign manager than a Japanese manager.

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Posted in: Self-centered zombies running rampant through Japanese society See in context

The cell phones, loud conversations between people sitting next to each other, the screaming kids, that's why I tend to wear headphones nearly everywhere I go. I take them out to talk to people, or at the cash register, but other than that, I'd rather not listen to the cluster of shrieking high school kids on the train. Headphones make them invisible. Not less annoying or rude, just invisible.

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Posted in: Powerful typhoon lashes southwest Japan; expected to make landfall Thursday See in context

Ranger Miffy, you might try the JR East Information page (though it's down at the moment) or http://www.jorudan.co.jp/english/index.html, but that's not loading at the moment either.

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