Japan Today

tranel comments

Posted in: Man of the moment See in context

And so one of the greatest statesmen of all time became a tourist attraction only a few days after his death.

This makes me so very very tired.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Posted in: 4 tips on preparing to move to Japan See in context

The best preparation you can make before coming to Japan is to learn some Japanese. Not sure why so many gajiins don't bother doing that.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: 'Abenomics' may result in more workers getting fired See in context

We (and Abe) should remember that, while there are plenty of unproductive workers at Japanese companies, making it easier to lay them off is only half the answer. The other half is about work processes. If you keep the same inefficient "must stick to these procedures come hell or high water whatever the outcome and the parameters of the project" at the same time as you reduce the number of workers, you will only increase instances of karoshi and the number of kids who never see their parents.

Yes, firing the slackers will reduce labor costs for companies. But the real key to corporate growth that you can turn into expansion and added employment lies in making sure that people work efficiently, with focus on results rather than processes. And there Japan has a long long way to go.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese right-wingers protest against S Korean daily's A-bomb editorial See in context

You Koreans you!! Go back to the Korean peninsula! Go back to your fast-growing market and highly competitive companies and your far more internationally adept workfor.... er, hang on, this doesn't sound right. Who wrote this??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Why you shouldn’t learn Japanese See in context

Whooo... another gaijin who thinks it's perfectly ok to move to another country and live there and expect to be treated as a responsible adult alongside everybody else... without bothering to learn how to speak, read and write.

What is it with native English speakers in Japan? Why do I encounter this attitude so much?? Ah sure ain't gone learn any goddam Japanese, dats juust too dam haaard.

Yes, always take the easy way forward. If you can avoid something, do it. What a shitty shitty attitude. Unsurprisingly, the very same people tend to fume at the ears at the thought of people living in THEIR country without, you guessed it, learning to speak, read and write English properly.

As for Japanese only being useful in Japan... er, no. Useful only in a Japanese context maybe, but once you speak business Japanese well, it is a skill you can use worldwide. I know.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Posted in: How to function optimally in Japanese work environment See in context

Directive A1 for Japanese office clones: CONFORM. Never, ever depart from established procedures even if it would mean a higher-quality product or radically improved efficiency (and hence profitability for the company). Following procedure is much more important than trying to reach results in the most effective manner possible. If you follow procedure, but something goes wrong you'll be scolded but the fracas can be explained by "inexperience" or something similar - in rare cases, the influence of external factors may even be recognized. If you try your own way (ie try to work smarter) and something goes wrong, you will be perceived as reckless and a danger to the company.

Also remember:

In Japan, there is ONE correct way (or "shikata") of doing everything. All other ways are wrong.

In Japan, there is ONE worldview only - the Japanese one.

In Japan, regardless of the fact that a day has a finite amount of hours, and each task you're given to do uses up a specific portion of that time, if you only gambaru you can do it. You DO NOT say "I can't fit it in" - you gambaru. Nobody ever asks you whether you can squeeze something in - a Japanese person will say "yes, of course, sure" to the client first, then expect you to ganbaru to meet the deadline. This generally leads to the worst project/time management imaginable.

In Japan, your boss is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more important than your child.

In Japan, your client is your boss' boss. The client rules your universe.

In Japan, there are no small or even insignificant mistakes. There are only mistakes, and mistakes are unforgivable. Anything less than perfect is unacceptable - and the way to reach perfection is to perfectly follow established procedure.

In Japan, things that you actually can influence are perceived as unchangeable, set in stone by God. Expect to hear "sho ga nai" a lot.

Incidentally, all of the above are reasons why Japan is stuck in the doldrums. Japanese companies like to complain about the high yen, but never once consider their own working cultures to be reasons for poor sales and weakened public images. Perhaps one day somebody will understand and shout Eureka, but I doubt it very much.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: Bored Japanese trucker gets kicks from Syria war tourism See in context

The only way to interview him was to make use of Google Translate.

AFP cannot interview anyone who doesn't speak English? Reminds me of the "journalists" who parachuted into Japan after the March 11 disaster, stuck mics in the faces of devastated locals without any knowledge of Japan or Japanese whatsoever.

Journalist - I can't think of a single occupational group that deserves less respect.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Does Japan need a political "third force" to challenge the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and the main opposition Liberal -Democratic Party (LDP)? See in context

Japan needs:

a) a third and fourth (credible) political alternative to the LDP or the DPJ

b) an upper age limit for politicians - mandatory retirement at 65. Far too many 80 year-old with ossified value sets running the show here. How about a law stipulating that members of the government cannot be older than 55?

c) an upper salary limit for politicians. The AVERAGE salary for Diet members is now 20 million yen, not including perks. Cut in half at least. Ka-chunk. All savings go to expanding child care.


d) An efficiency drive throughout the civil service. For every step removed from a work process, regardless of what that may be, said department/ministry avoids a 1% budget cut.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Why they don't want us dancing at nightclubs See in context

I didn't realize such laws existed. How can you outlaw dancing in a supposedly civilized country? Then again... somehow I'm not surprised.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Toyota Japan’s sexy new topless ad featuring transgender model shocks viewers See in context

Erh... it is absolutely useless in terms of advertising. But apart from that, why is it "shocking"?

Could somebody please explain to me why this is in any way or form "shocking"? Some dude who looks like a girl with no clothes? Oooh.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan joins int'l anti-soot and methane campaign See in context

A noble step forward, Japan, well done. Now please make some draconian laws about IDLING.

Oh, right, Japanese cars are built differently and need to have the engine going to run the air conditioner. For f@ck's sake, stop!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Welcome to the toy cafe; no kids allowed See in context

"There are a lot of cafes out there and Japan is no exception."

What a terrible opening line. Lazy, nonsensical... just aaaargh from a writing point of view. Seriously JT.

We editor and copywriters should unit against thighs like this.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Posted in: Denmark's Noma retains world's best restaurant title See in context

Congrats to Noma! I don't think I can afford a full-course dinner there, but I'll try an appetizer next time I'm in Copenhagen.

As for the person who had spent all of three weeks or so in Scandinavia and found Nordic food a bit "plebian".... er, no. A bit no-nonsense, yes, but that's a good thing. Besides knowing what you eat and that you get good quality ingredients, you also get a sense of the ingredients' natural flavors. We don't pointlessly dunk the food into batter or sugary stuff, we don't overcomplicate the cooking like certain European countries famous for their food. Scandinavian food is simply some of the best in the world. Norwegian salmon. Danish ham or crisp-fried pork. Swedish herring or smorgasbord... this discussion is over.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Sony, Sharp warn of massive losses See in context

namabiru4 wrote: "as they struggle to survive amid fierce global competition

should read: "as they fail to adapt and innovate in pace with their global competitors"

Alternatively: "as they continue to design and make products with only the Japanese customer in mind and expecting to be competitive overseas"


"as they continue to stick to world-spanning yet highly Tokyo-centralized organizations where managers are unable to communicate effectively in English verbally and conceptually, and completely unable to think from anything other than the Japanese point of view"


"as they continue to stick to management practices where saving face is much more important than clarity and transparency in corporate governance, and where Following the Process is a billion times more valued (= risk-reducing) than New Thinking"

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Experts discuss how to improve bike riding etiquette in Tokyo See in context

How to improve the bike riding etiquette in Japan? Allow me to suggest one huge step forward:

If you approach someone from behind, use the ring bell!!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Not all cyclists are mindful of pedestrians and fatal accidents involving bicycles are on the rise. As the number of elderly pedestrians is expected to increase in the future, we decided strong action See in context

Newsflash to all Japanese cyclists: the RING BELL is there for a reason. Use it! Especially when approaching someone from behind!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Why the increasing number of alcoholic women in their 20s? See in context

Dogs have more honor, dignity and courage in their rear left paw than all of the human race together. I feel precisely zero compassion for the drunkard girl in the story, but the dog died patiently waiting for its master to come home - and probably showed 100% love and affection up until the very end, even as it didn't receive any back. Heartbreaking.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan economy faces 'severe situation,' warns BOJ chief See in context

Oh, japanbashing... Actually if the europeans could just get their overpaid behinds together and resolve the problems that are unnecessarily weighing on Japan, Japan would be in a different situations. Not all of Japan's woes are created by Japan - far from it.

The other day, a German bank/finance/somesuchsort minister appeared on the BBC saying that the fate of the eurozone - and hence the little global financial stability we have - now rests in the hands of the Italian (cough, smirk) "government." Facepalm.

Again, not all of Japan's problems are created by Japan.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Posted in: Japanese viewers tuning out, turning off their TVs See in context

Turning off the TV is a hallmark of a more refined, intelligent and enlightened human being. Unfortunately, making up for the non-TV time by mindlessly browsing your keitai internet is pure idiocy. One step forward, two steps back.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Posted in: 'You lookin' at me?' Fake book soothes race relations See in context

This idea is pure genius! Please tell me where I can buy this "book".

A sidenote to the writer of this article: Tokyo is not a cosmopolitan city, not by a stretch. For a cosmopolitan vibe try London, New York, Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen or Stockholm.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Prison inmates' illnesses, injuries go untreated See in context

Can't help agree with Benisen. I wonder how much it costs each year to provide healthcare to prison inmates? Cut, cut and cut.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Posted in: Here are some dieting methods you might not have thought of yet See in context

Whatever happened to "be happy with who you are"? If you have a health problem because of your weight, fix it by eating better and exercising more.

If you feel healthy and energetic but you have a higher BMI than magazines and marketers tell you you should have... well screw them. Be happy with who you are, end of story.

Oh, and another thing aimed squarely at teenage girls everywhere. Beauty does not come from your clothes or your accessories, nor does it come only from your body shape. It is about 5% looks, 30% posture and facial expression (as in, do you stand straight and look intelligent, or do you subscribe to the oh-so-common neanderthal hanging-arms/slouching back look with the vacant half-open-mouth expression), and the rest is your attitude to life and other people.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Obama to GOP: Act on jobs or get run out of town See in context

If I may be so bold.... If you want to get the US growing again it's time to rid your political system of people like Eric Cantor. "We must obstruct everything Obama does so that he becomes a one-term president! Whaddaya mean political gridlock hurts the economy?? Of course it does!! That's the point, that hurts Obama see!"

Oh, and maybe also rid the country of people who think dinosaurs coexisted with people 6000 years ago.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: 'Mad Men' 2011: Japan’s gender equality debate See in context

"the government has struggled with the issue of how to encourage women to have more kids."

This is not a difficult problem. Two things are needed:

a) investment into flexible daycare with LICENSED personnel. Please feel free to divert funds away from old people for this purpose. And close the idiotic loophole that says that you can only get daycare if you are actually working....

b) make all prenatal medical procedures, all check-ups and tests as well as the delivery itself, entirely insurance covered. How many people will opt to have kids when just the prenatal procedures cost a small fortune?

Any society that ignores the importance of having babies and nurturing them, instead diverting all resources to its old, will fail. As for work/life balance, if you have a baby in Japan you're actually doing society a favor and should be gladly commended for it by your company.

Why is this so difficult for the Japanese to understand? It is not something that requires deep thinking or weighing of options. But it takes action, and that is something that people here abhor.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: James Murdoch 'knew about' News of World phone hacking See in context

How can people actually for a moment believe that Tycoon Senior and Tycoon Junior and their red-haired poodle knew nothing of these phone hackings? OF COURSE they knew - and condoned it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Gaijin -- just a word or racial epithet with sinister implications? See in context

Decent article, if a bit meandering. "Gai-jin" is just a word that reflects the uchi/soto mentality, and simply means "not from here" ie "non-japanese."

I think most of those who take offense are either in the Nama-Gaijin Phase or the chakuhachi-playing Wabisabi-Gaijin Phase (as indicated by the article).

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: 52% of Japanese favor whaling, poll shows See in context

Regardless of where one stands on whaling, it just costs too much for a nation that has no money and is drowning in debt. I don't want to subsidize it with my tax money and neither should anyone else.

Oh, and I don't want to subsidize politicians' inflated wages either (20 million yen / year is the AVERAGE salary for Diet members)... just imagine how much money Japan would save if politicians' salaries were cut by, oh, 70% or so...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan to focus on clean energy exports See in context

The right move for Japan, no question about it. Many of Japan's high-tech companies are already very competitive in this field, not just when it comes to "new energy" but also other environmental tech.

But, please please please Japan, this all rings a bit hollow unless you get people to stop IDLING!!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: Noda to become Japan's next prime minister See in context

And who is Noda? Yes yes... I have read newspaper articles etc. but now that he is PM he should make an effort to introduce himself to ordinary people. Go on a nationwide tour, talk about his own vision for Japan (if he has any.... which is unlikely), establish (dare I say it!) an IDENTITY among all the other suit-clad clones.

But alas no, none of this is going to happen. Don't worry guys, if Noda doesn't cut it, will have another PM in six months time.

I wonder when Japan will understand that this circus actually hurts the economy?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Kan farewells cabinet; tells them to get ready to resign See in context

And so the best prime minister that Japan has had in ages resigns. It makes me wonder: What do Japanese people want from their prime minister? "Lack of leadership" - well, du-uh, here comes a prime minister who for once actually SHOWS leadership and not just bows to fuzzy consensus-must-agree-with-everybody decision making, and you throw THAT at him! How about showing an understanding for how incredibly corrupt and self-serving the bureaucrats are, they are the ones who have been hampering him at every step!

Do people really think that any of the other oji-sans would have fared better with the March 11 disaster? Tanigaki? Oh please...

7 ( +8 / -1 )

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