tranel comments

Posted in: Japan investment in U.S. bonds 'unaffected' by downgrade See in context

Why keep buying US debt? The country has proven to the world how incredibly inept it is at taking critical, pragmatic decisions, and because of that the U.S. economy will just keep going sliding down hill.

I wonder how hard-line republicans feel about the fact that Canada now has a higher rating?

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Posted in: Forest firefighting concept vehicle wins 2011 IDEA Gold Award See in context

"The wildfire truck illustrates the power of a bold, refined prototype to test innovative thinking by richly probing a market space with a visceral, hands-on experience of the features and brand,” they said in a statement."

This text is a bit dull and unimaginative, lacks nuance somehow and not enough hyperbole. I think we need to add a few more adjectives:

"This stunningly designed, groundbreaking and paradigm-redefining wildfire truck illustrates the power of a bold, refined and stylish prototype to test innovative thinking by richly and seductively, yet with the subtle finesse and verisimilitude conveyed though sleek, eye-catching curves, probing a market space with a visceral, hands-on experience of the features and brand,” they said in a statement."

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Posted in: Chicken tips See in context

Somewhat besides the point perhaps but I do wonder what it's like to have ヤダ as your sirname...

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Posted in: A sip of champagne makes Itano feel 'really hot' See in context

Just thought you should know: One sip of champagne does not affect me at all.

Maybe JT can interview me?

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Posted in: Japanese prefer nonsense songs to message songs. It’s a hassle to think about the future, or about society. People want entertainment, not a message. See in context

@Legs and Oikawa:

Look, it could also be that they guys wants to explain how much he loves to show affection by rubbing his friends'.... backs. Just saying that you know it could be you know that you know the choice of words is entirely intentional.

Regarding the topic: Nonsense songs with nonsense lyrics are hardly a Japanese phenomenon. However, the "not just corporate pressure" part is correct in so far as this is a society where you are programmed from birth to not express your negative opinions publicly as doing so is "bad manner" and "disruptive". Not only do you have to go against the grain of society in general to write protest songs, in Japan you also need to defy the value set that you yourself have been taught and that you yourself consider to be normal behavior.

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Posted in: What do you think of laws in some countries (U.S., Australia) that require tobacco companies to put gruesome, full-color images on their packs as health warnings against smoking? See in context

Actually it's quite simple. Don't drink and don't smoke. Health benefits aside, you'll save a ton of money.

Regarding the topic: I don't think you need to show gruesome pictures of lung cancer etc, but you can have no-nonsense warnings on both tobacco and alcohol products. Oh, and if you smoke and/or consume alcohol above a certain limit each month, you should not have public health coverage either.

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Posted in: How first 24 hours shaped Japan's nuclear crisis See in context

@yildiray:

That's precisely what I thought. I think Kan is probably the straightest shooter Japanese politics has seen for a looong time. People slam him for being indecisive, but I really do think that he tried to get to grips with this situation early on. The crisis was made worse by TEPCO, not by Kan. He deserves much higher popularity ratings, let's hope this article gets translated.

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Posted in: Australia introduces tough new tobacco ad bill See in context

Rather than making cigarettes illegal, here's another alternative: A combination of radically elevated nicotine levels in cigarettes, zero healthcare support for smokers, and extremely strict regulations stating that smoking may only be carried out in specially designated places (smoking outside of these places would result in simply ridiculous fines).

You would achieve three things: A healthy contribution to population control since smokers would die off faster, very little in the way of passive smoking for the rest of us, and (probably) a healthy short-term contribution to GDP growth since smokers at first would try and smoke outside of the designated zones.

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Posted in: Senate Republicans block hearing on free trade See in context

Sorry guys, but I must ask. I am Swedish and simply cannot consider wealth distribution "theft" when it so obviously helps create a society with better (not equal, take note) opportunities for everybody.

What's wrong with a bit of wealth distribution in society? I don't mean to step on anybody's toes but I just cannot understand how some people can oppose it. Aren't people supposed to support each other? Should everything be about "me, me and me"?

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Posted in: Japan trails international peers in social media-based marketing See in context

Couldn't agree more. By all means market your products, but don't do it on social media. Social media is for human-to-human interaction. That Japan "trails" other countries in this area, well I see it as civilized.

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Posted in: Consumption tax burden will hit the poor See in context

How the government can raise money:

1) Slash politicians' salaries (average 20 million a year for diet members) by at least 70%. Politics is not about money, it is about caring for your country. Oh, and while we're at it, set an age limit for politicians at say 55.

2) Just empty the ministries' discretionary accounts, trillions of yen hidden away there. Should the ministries have their own secret coffers for their own secret little projects? I think not.

3) Create a progressive tax scale that taxes people with high incomes (say about 7 million) much more than today. You can raise the income tax overall a little bit, but rich people must pay more. Very low taxes on children's clothes, books and food. Alcohol and smokes, double the tax.

4) No child support to people with household incomes above 7 million. If you earn that much, you can pay for yourself.

5) Stop whaling. Emotional love-the-whales arguments notwithstanding, it costs 70 billion yen/year.

6) Create a law by which light and electricity in government buildings is turned off at 6PM. Who knows, maybe the bureaucrats could learn to work effectively and go home early and have a social life and you know, maybe even make a few babies.

7) Citizens committees (how about say 49 members chosen randomly from a census twice a year?) should decide whether or not meaningless projects like the Tokyo Sky Tree get the go ahead.

That's it for now (of course leaving out the fact that raising women's participation in society has been linked to higher growth rates and fertility rates in number of countries)...

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Posted in: Norika has the ideal body See in context

"Here we go again. Somebody "decides" that this or that body type is ideal. Ideal for what?

Oh please... I presume you are a woman?

If this was a list of the "hottest guys" would you be complaining because only handsome, slim guys made the list instead of fat balding men with nice personalities?

How about next time they vote Morisanchu as "ideal women". Would that make you happy?

Nope, I am a guy. I just (really) don't agree with the fact that the chattering classes decide for us what the ideal look is and what is not. Be happy with who you are, man or women, slim or fat, bald or not, tall or short, whatever. You are you, and you have a right to the same respect as everybody else regardless of your looks.

My BIG problems are that a) marketers rule the world b) we let them because we believe them.

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Posted in: Norika has the ideal body See in context

Here we go again. Somebody "decides" that this or that body type is ideal. Ideal for what? For fitting into snazzy clothes? For dancing? For simply being the "hottest" - thereby telling other women out there that you are NOT ideal unless you look exactly like this. And JT too, think about the way you write headlines. The one for this article reads like a definite statement, which sends the wrong signals too.

All people are worthy of equal respect, regardless of looks or body shape or whatever. There is no such thing as an ideal body, a healthy one yes, but not an "ideally shaped" one. Be happy with who you are, for ++++'s sake.

Marketers rule our world simply because we don't do anything about it and suck up everything they say.

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Posted in: Employees reveal absurd company regulations See in context

OK, it's all very simple: Should you find yourself "required" to follow rules like the one's in the article, you blatantly disobey. And when your boss calls you to his office, you give him a good telling off.

Never, ever ever ever blindly obey "authority." Always question, always make a stand if you need to. And practice making good retorts in front of the bathroom mirror at home.

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Posted in: Are people hired based on their looks? See in context

That your looks is a key factor in a job interview is a given, no news there, especially in Japan where "funiki" and "inshou" are more important than anything else.

The really big question is: What are we, ordinary people, doing to try and change this? Look around yourselves at our media-saturated, celebrity-obsessed world that values youth/looks/image more than anything else. Things just didn't get this way all by themselves, we live in the world we live in because so many of us secretly admire those who meet our random notions of what beauty is/should be. Until we really try, really really try to get it into our heads that it's the inside that counts.... well, nothing's going to change. Sho ga nai.

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Posted in: 1,995 LEDs to light up Tokyo Sky Tree See in context

Would somebody please remind me why this thing actually got built in the first place? Instead of, say, channeling the billions and billions of yen it took into, say, oh I don't know, it's a stupid idea, but.... CHILDCARE SERVICES??

How about an upper age limit for Japanese politicians?

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Posted in: Synthesizer godfather is feted by a new generation See in context

@gogogo: The "sound quality" doesn't matter so much to listeners. If they like what they hear, they'll listen and enjoy it and maybe even buy it. That's all that matters. What synth you use to make your music is completely irrelevant. Only the music matters.

I am somewhat intrigued though that there is a Japan Synthesizer Programmers’ Association. :-) Maybe I should join?

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Posted in: Disaster sparks social media innovation See in context

Yes, the world is doing a lot of good for Japan, which I am exceedingly happy about. This is a time of bridge-building I think!

But, while we are giving with one hand, the other hand taketh away. I am speaking specifically about the panicking herds of shoppers who boycott Japanese products because they may be radioactive. There are companies in Okinawa who now cannot sell their products!

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Posted in: Fukushima No. 3 reactor's container feared damaged See in context

Gurukun: absolutely right. There are real heroes at work at this moment. I just hope they will be honored properly!!

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Posted in: Fukushima No. 3 reactor's container feared damaged See in context

OK, apparently one of the water pumps was burning. They have now put out the new fire.

Am I the only getting pissed off about how the media is constantly using the most "dramatic" descriptions possible? "Fire" evokes a different image from "flames" for instance. There seems to be a measure of stability in the situation now, although it (of course) remains serious. There are no headlines saying "radiation levels in Tokyo area well below risk level", instead they all say "radiation shoots up in Tokyo". Or my favorite, as reported by among others the BBC: "the Fukushima plants north of Tokyo". Well, Hokkaido is also north of Tokyo. I don't know how many times now I have had to explain to people at home that the power plants are not just outside Tokyo, but about 300 kilometers away.

The media is loving this. As far as they are concerned, they wouldn't mind seeing this situation spiral out of control. This is the kind of story that can ensure a nice career in journalism. Oh, how I yearn for balanced nuanced reporting without sensationalist headlines. The situation is plenty dramatic already, thank you very much.

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Posted in: Why must Tokyo’s railways engage in aural assault? See in context

Dear Mr. Writer,

You, sir, are completely missing the point. I completely agree with you about the ridiculous noise levels on Tokyo's underground, but what YOU think about it is not terribly interesting to read about. Bring in the fact that loud, persistent noise levels are scientifically proven to cause depression, raise blood pressure, elevate stress levels and whatever else, and suddenly you're on to one of the main reasons why this society is one of the most stressed-out ones on earth, yet nobody is tackling this big contributing factor (the noise) because everyone is so accustomed to it. People say "I don't mind / I don't notice / it doesn't bother me" etc. BUT it does bother you physically even if you think you're OK with it. Bringing these facts into the article would have elevated it beyond a personal rant...

I wish we could all remember in this day and age that Silence is sometimes the sweetest music.

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Posted in: Hikaru Utada advises fans not to buy her album See in context

@islandview:

Musicians need to make a living. The notion of downloading/sharing music "for free" when somebody spent time and effort to produce it just shows the shitty morals of our day and age—it is theft, nothing else. If you want it, pay for it. If you don't have the money, well... then you can't buy it.

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Posted in: COP10 See in context

Looks like the photographer unwittingly captured an entirely new species on camera. How timely.

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Posted in: Things Japanese girls do that make guys go, 'Huh?' See in context

Hmmm.... apart from 2 and 9, they all apply to western women as well me thinks. Women are, as we Men all know, a completely different species with unfathomable thought and behavioral patterns that would drive Mr. Spock (who is, admittedly, a Man) nuts. :-)

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Posted in: Why are there so few benches and garbage bins in public places in Japanese cities? See in context

Or we could take another approach> since there are few garbage bins, and no place to throw away that empty styrofoam cup from Starbucks, don't buy it in the first place. Any small litter can be brought home and disposed of there.

Some people here say they will continue to litter until the city "gets it". How about adjusting your own consumption patterns? Or maybe you're from the United "I have a right to litter whereever I please!" Kingdom?

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Posted in: What makes Japanese women say, 'I never want to see that jerk again!' See in context

In defense of Japanese women: my wife—who combines grace, thoughtfulness, gentleness and pure steel in a way I have never encountered in the West—is the best thing that ever happened to an idiot like me.

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Posted in: Too much katakana contributing to Japan's malaise See in context

I hardly think Katakana causes people to commit suicide... But, katakana does cause trouble in the sense that its excessive use disconnects people from their native tongue. The Sky Tree is actually a good example—why not use a kanji name that evokes the beauty/spirit of the real Japanese, there must be thousands of incredibly beautiful kanji names to pick? "Sora no ki" is faaaar more beautiful and evocative than the tired Sky Tree...

Second, apart from the effect that katakana has on English levels in this country, katakana-izing buzzwords simply means that a lot of people won't know what the heck you are talking about. Yes, it may be "cool" or impart an "international funiki" but does the reader/listener actually understand? Why not use other perfectly suitable hiragana-kanji expressions (of which there are many) instead?

I for one advocate immediate abolition of katakana.

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Posted in: Last trapped miner pulled to surface in Chile See in context

Amazing. I can't even begin to imagine being trapped under 2000 feet of rock for TWO MONTHS. The fact that this is coming to a happy conclusion is making me want to sing and dance!

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Posted in: French strikes disrupt life, shut Eiffel Tower See in context

Mais....mais... c'est MERDE non!? Ai vill now have to retire vén I am 62 instead ôf 60! No matter zat zat's 5 years befôre most ozer countriiz! C'est ne pas vrai!

Oh, please... strikes in France, rain in England, snow in Sweden. What's new?

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Posted in: Where has the wonder of innovation gone? See in context

I think the author is right. The innovations he mentions are things that have truly and fundamentally changed people's lives. Yes, maybe the internet has done that too but still to a less fundamental degree than say, tap water, the refrigerator or radio. We're talking technologies that enable entire societies to take an evolutionary leap forward in life quality.

Sorry, but with about 15% of Internet consisting of porn and another 83% of non-fact-checked junk, I don't think the Internet qualifies. Quite the opposite in many cases. And mobile phones—well yes they are convenient, but I wouldn't say that they are necessary for a quality life. Again, in many ways, they actually diminish people's quality of life.

The Mars Pathfinder, on the other hand, that's awe-inspiring, mind-expanding innovation.

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