UdaMan comments

Posted in: Why are girl bands and glamour groups like AKB48, SKE48, Morning Musume and Miniskirt Police so popular in Japan? See in context

To echo majimeaussie, I had no idea Miniskirt Police were a band (are they still around??). I just thought they were a little troupe of tarts paraded around for bawdy-humor effect, like the girls they used to have on stuff like the Benny Hill Show...

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Posted in: Kanji catching on all over, but frequently misunderstood See in context

Obviously no country or culture has a monopoly on ignorantly bungling another's language... Be it Engrish on t-shirts or misguided kanji tatoos (although the latter, being permanent and applied directly to the offender's body, does seem to be the more egregious offense), there always seems to be plenty of stupid to go around. As for going "mideavil" on the "jackass who marks someone with a kanji 'joke' ", I'd suggest it's probably more ignorance than malicious humor at work, and that anybody who elects to have a tattoo without doing the research into what it means for themselves probably deserves whatever they get.

I personally have made for myself a t-shirt reading "超酷”, precisely because it could be read as "exceedingly cruel" by a Japanese reader but "exceedingly cool" by a Chinese. Because I'm just that big of a dork.

(Side note @Beelzebub: The latter kanji may be used as a phonetic equivalent to the English "cool" in Chinese, and the original meaning may have been the same as in Japanese, but to imply that "cool" is not its "meaning" now in Chinese is incorrect -- roughly analogous to claiming that "cool" itself doesn't really "mean" "stylish or appealing in form" but only "mildly cold".)

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Posted in: Becky and Ryuta Sato win Best Smile of the Year awards See in context

I find Becky insufferable. To me, she comes off as more fake than most, and in a way that specifically grates on me for reasons I can't quite define. I feel compelled to change the channel as soon as she appears on TV.

The bloke I have no feelings about one way or the other.

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Posted in: Baby boy dies in locked car while mother plays pachinko in Akita See in context

niibu_yaa: You're missing one basic distinction, and that's the addictive nature of pachinko for some people. People don't go to the grocery store or hair salon and lose track of time to the same extent. I don't think we should blame the pachinko parlors specifically, but for a mother to leave her child in the car while she plays is quite a bit different from leaving the child in the car while she buys some groceries (getting her hair done is pretty borderline, if you ask me -- some hairstylists take just a few minutes, others take considerably longer!). It is sickening to think that for this woman, the prospect of winning a few yen (or recouping her loss) was more important to her than her child's well-being. To speculate that she actually did it on purpose seems rather unfounded, though. It's not unreasonable to think that maybe pachinko parlors should perhaps post some kind of public-service message around the place, or occasionally make an announcement, to the effect of "We appreciate your patronage -- however, please be sure not to leave your child in the car."

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Posted in: Fast food places like McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, KFC, etc, are frequently criticized. What do you think of them? See in context

It's all crap. Once in a while I'll walk by one and it'll smell good, and I'll grab something, and it's always crap. The only thing I use McDonald's for these days is coffee -- not bad, and cheap. When I was in high school, though, I loved McDonald's fries and milkshakes. I wonder if they changed, or I did.

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Posted in: Lux See in context

Second from right. Done and done. Thank you, ladies; Mr. Go, nice shoes, now goodbye.

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Posted in: Ebi-chan See in context

Ah, Ebi-chan. Is there nothing she can't sell?

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Posted in: Billy Blanks' wedding See in context

Is Billy just actually kind of small, or is his wife (who IS hot, by the way, at any age) a GIANT for a Japanese woman? Or maybe she's standing on a riser or something in this photo?

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Posted in: Japan going to pot: Celebrity busts and student smokers have authorities in a tizz See in context

urufuls:   The basic issue here isn't whether or not marijuana is good for you; it's whether or not its illegality is consistent with the legality of other drugs, namely alcohol and tobacco. Alcohol abuse clearly is more harmful to the body, and causes more social problems in the way of violence and traffic accidents; tobacco is more addictive, and more carcinogenic (come on, smoke entering the lungs?), and yet these are legal. So I'm sorry you have friends whose lives were wrecked by ganja, but my grandfather died of lung cancer from smoking two packs a day, and very dear friend of mine drank himself to death at the tender age of 31, yet that doesn't mean I think either of these substances should be outlawed.

BTW THC in solid or liquid form acts too slowly to be of use to medical marijuana users, who generally rely on the substance for immediate relief. Short of injection, inhaling is the only suitably fast delivery method.

Also BTW, marijuana can also be ingested (not so pleasant with tobacco), thus avoiding the whole smoke-in-the-lungs problem. The effect is much slower in onset, but longer-lasting.

Legalization, regulation, and taxation (on commercial production) of marijuana makes a lot of sense. People already use it anyway, and it's doubtful that many more would just because it were legal, just as plenty of people decline to drink alcohol or smoke tobacco regardless of their legality. In fact, legalizing it might actually reduce marijuana's supposed effect as a "gateway drug", in that there would be a clearer difference between its status and that of other, harsher illegal substances.

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Posted in: Jun Hasegawa capitalizes on 'haafu' look See in context

I just saw her on "Gu-tan" last night and she was ravishing. Vivacious. OK, maybe not genius-level smart, but not a ditz, either, by any stretch.

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Posted in: Amazon unveils Kindle Application for iPhone See in context

Can't even download mp3s on amazon.co.jp yet... bummer. Stuck with illegal file sharing or iTunes music Store with $#%%$ drm...

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Posted in: Where is Japan's version of Obama? See in context

Japan's overwhelming "shoganai" mentality doesn't help one bit.

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Posted in: McCain, Obama make final push for votes See in context

When the Constitution was written, four months was deemed an appropriate amount of time for a president-elect to get his affairs in order and make the move to Washington (remember, this was horse-and-carriage days). Thus the original date of March 4th.

November was convenient as it was after the harvest, but the weather still would be reasonable for travel. Nobody really knows why Tuesday, but presumably because it would take voters a day to get to the county seat and a day to get back to their farms, and not impinge on the Sabbath.

FDR didn't change the inauguration date, Congress did (presidents can't change the Constitution, much to G.W.Bush's consternation, no doubt) by passing the 20th Amendment in 1932, to make the lag-time less, and more in keeping with the more modern transportation, etc. available at the time. A majority of the states ratified it in '33.

Obviously, none of these logistics really matter to most voters or to the presidency today, and there's no real reason why Election Day couldn't be some other time (& a national holiday for that matter), or why the president shouldn't be inaugurated sooner -- except that it's tradition, and the standing president during the change wouldn't technically serve exactly four years.

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Posted in: Diva's Dream Festa See in context

I've met Thane on a couple of occasions, actually. Decent, down-to-earth guy. Not at all impressed with his own celebrity; he just seems kind of amused by it.

He is fairly tall, and none of these girls are runway-model tall, so yeah, they're going to look short. But they're probably on the tall side for Japanese women.

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Posted in: Obama confident, McCain seeks upset See in context

Sarge: OK, Arnie has gone against Bush on a few issues (I did my research, and came back, as per your kind suggestion). I'd say I stand corrected, but since I originally phrased it as a question, there's really no need. I guess I was just remembering him plumping for W in 2004. But my original point stands: What I'm saying is, Arnie's not breaking any surprising ground by getting behind McCain. Did you think he would endorse Obama?

Do you suspect the Terminator of being a closet liberal???

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Posted in: Obama confident, McCain seeks upset See in context

Sarge: "Arnold Schwarzenegger has endorsed McCain. Does that make him a traitor to the cause?"

Nah, that just makes him predictable. He's always stood by Bush, too, hasn't he? Not sure what your point is. Is Arnie supposed to be liberal or something? Because the idea was, see, that Ron Reagan, being the son of the archetypal Republican president, you'd probably expect to vote Republican, too, right? So maybe his endorsement of Obama comes as some surprise -- like the endorsements of Buckley and a few other notable conservatives. Follow me? The only way your question would make any sense is if Schwarzenegger were considered a liberal or something, which to the best of my knowledge nobody thinks he is.

Different subject, but who was it cited a Fox News poll as evidence of a McCain comeback? I'm assuming that was sarcastic. Either way I got a good chuckle out of it.

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Posted in: Diva's Dream Festa See in context

"And yes Koda Kumi has tree stumps for legs..."

Those are "tree stumps"? I don't know... I think Kumi's pretty hot. Maybe not Jun-Hasegawa hot, but still. Rather those legs than the skinny, bony-kneed, muscle-less legs you see on so many Japanese models. They look like they'd fall apart if you... never mind.

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Posted in: Obama confident, McCain seeks upset See in context

ImperiumMundi: "question:has a poor man ever given you a job?"

Don't be reductionist. Of course people want to make money. I simply believe that there need to be more checks in place to prevent the kind of crap that seems to have been happening at a rapidly increasing pace in the US from happening so much. The kind of checks that the Republicans always seem dead-set on getting rid of. This whole "the market is infallible -- the market will sort it out" nonsense. Well, after years and years of the higher-ups having their way with government -- look where it's got us. Ooops! Turns out the market ISN'T the perfect solution to everything! Who knew! "Now please give us a gazillion dollars of taxpayer money, please."

"What do you mean, 'That would be socialism'?"

And yes, by the way, I HAVE in the past been given a job by a man who by the standards of any self-respecting CEO would be considered "poor" (i.e. middle class). He was a builder, and I was a carpenter's apprentice.

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Posted in: Obama confident, McCain seeks upset See in context

Sarge:"74% of CEO's believe Obama would be disastrous for the nation"

Let's see... those are the CEOs who pocketed their investors money by the millions and allowed their companies to crash, but somehow managed to escape with their own personal fortunes.

I think what 74% of CEOs believe is that Obama would be disastrous for conniving, greedy, thieving CEOs.

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Posted in: Obama confident, McCain seeks upset See in context

I've said before that I have a great respect for McCain (though admittedly less after this campaign) and the service he has done for his country, but I've got to go with Obama. Here's why:

a) I trust him to listen to intelligent input from all sides, and make carefully considered decisions, on all fronts -- economic, foreign policy, everything. I don't trust McCain to listen to anybody, and he has a tendency towards rashness I can't endorse. It may be fine in the Senate, where it can do little immediate damage, but I do not want an irritable old man with his finger on the proverbial button.

b) McCain is 72 years old, and by his own admission lives on a diet of donuts and Coca Cola. The words "President Palin" bring such a cold shudder to my spine that even if I didn't like Obama, I'd vote for pretty much anybody else, really. Palin as president would be like a female version of G.W.Bush, only far, far worse. The U.S. simply can't afford to even risk that possibility, in my opinion.

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Posted in: Man jumps to death from station platform in Yokohama; two women injured See in context

No. Some people become very sad on the day they die, for no apparent reason.

... and some people become very sad on other days, when they don't die, for no apparent reason. And some people are perfectly happy, walking down the street whistling merrily, when they get hit by a bus.

I'm afraid I don't see your point.

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Posted in: Want to see the real Japan? Try hitchhiking See in context

I used to hitchhike in the States back when I was in college. Made for some great adventures, but you certainly had to be careful.

I've never actually hitchhiked in Japan, but a number of times in rural areas when I've found myself wandering down some back road, someone has pulled over and offered me a ride, no thumb necessary. Happened a couple of times in Kyushu, once in Okayama, once in Gunma. Each time, it was just a genuinely kind soul or souls who seemed happy to offer a lift, and in one case in Kyushu, dinner as well.

You might expect it would be those in the rural areas who are suspicious of foreigners (rather than in the urban centers), but it seems to be quite the opposite. Each of those encounters left me with a beautiful "ichi go, ichi e" feeling, and a deep sense of gratitude.

People in and around Tokyo, sadly, do seem to be much more suspicious/defensive around strangers, no matter whether the other person is foreign or not.

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Posted in: LAPD says Miura hanged himself with shirt in cell at detention house See in context


Yes and no. There is a long tradition in Japan of honor suicide (especially seppuku, or "hara kiri", for men, throat-slitting for women). There was also a tradition of retainers following their liege-lord in death. The suicide could be a way of atonement (for losing a battle, for example), or a way of protesting one's innocence, or a way of showing loyalty.

I don't think it's much about the promise of "a better life in the next world", as the Japanese have never seemed inclined to think about the afterlife too much -- rather, it seems that the LACK of any Judeo-Christian/Islamic-type promise of heaven or threat of hell makes the suicide option more palatable. When "face" -- how you are perceived by others -- is paramount, simply removing yourself from the equation may seem like a pretty obvious solution. Combine heavy societal pressures, de-emphasis of the individual in favor of the group, an established if archaic tradition, and a lack of religious convictions that proscribe suicide, and you've got a pretty good recipe for a high suicide rate.

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Posted in: Raw anger in McCain's crowds as Obama strengthens See in context

FandB: "People are getting mad, really mad at tghe thought of Obama being president. Decent folks know they country will be destroyed by the wicked man, who is good buddies with terrorists!! McCain is getting mad at heh lies and evil poilicies and past of Obama. Now is the time to let America know that Obama is a dangerous traitor. Any method to stop him becoming president is valid, to preserve our nations freedoms.

McCain si a patriot, all patriots must vote for McCain, or look forward to a solialist nightmare. Be afraid, be very afraid!!!"

I can only assume this is sarcasm, with all the typos thrown in to enhance the effect... But sometimes it's so hard to tell...

I actually like John McCain. I do believe he's a real patriot. I even agree with some of his positions. I wish he had beaten Bush in the 2000 primaries; the country might be in better shape. But for the most part he just seems like more Bush-type Republicanism, and I don't think the country can stand any more of it in the White House. More to the point, I think this Palin woman is incompetent and a true wacko to boot, and the thought of her a McCain heart-attack away from the presidency would be enough to steer my vote far, far away, if I didn't lean in the other direction already.

By the way, what exactly is the "socialist nightmare" everyone is always talking about? I've been to any number of countries with socialist governments, and they all seemed like pretty nice places to live. Certainly no nightmare! And anybody looking to get worried about their freedoms need look no further than the so-called "Patriot" Acts...

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Posted in: Raw anger in McCain's crowds as Obama strengthens See in context


Wait a minute, are you implying that the angry crowds at Republican conventions think Obama is somehow to blame for the financial tailspin we're undergoing? Do you think they're actually THAT stupid? I'd almost rather they were JUST racist...

And skipthesong:

There's quite a bit of difference between not denouncing rap songs you've got no connection to and tacitly encouraging the (obviously ludicrous) belief that your opponent is a terrorist, at live appearances...

But McCain and Palin have all but lost already; I suppose it's to be expected that they're getting a little desperate and want to encourage whatever support they're getting, even if it's only from mouth-foaming bigots...

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Posted in: Temple Japan’s undergraduate student numbers double since 2001 See in context

OK, let me rephrase that as questions:

@ tokyofun1:

I don't understand your comments.

a) "We are so KOKUSAITEKI": Who is the "we" you are referring to? TUJ? Japan as a whole? b) "NO you can come in here NOT asian" ... = CAN'T come in? "here" = where? TUJ? Japan? (& "your" = you're, right?) c) "PROMOTE that..." I'm guessing this is meant sarcastically, but promote WHAT? (& shouldn't the emphasis be on "THAT", rather than "PROMOTE"?)

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Posted in: Tokyo Girls Collection 2008 A/W See in context

Yeah, um, I believe that should be "Girls' Collection". Otherwise it really does sound like they're about to be auctioned off.

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Posted in: Apple's iPhone goes on sale in Japan to cheering crowd See in context

For a far better informed thread, see:


There is an option to use a regular phone-keypad style input for Japanese, for those who are totally unwilling to give up that format (though the querty keyboard is bound to be faster, once you get used to it) so that shouldn't be an issue.

A lot of this sounds like comments from people who have never actually used one...

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Posted in: Nick Baker sent back to Britain to finish jail sentence See in context

I think the real message here is "choose your traveling companions wisely". I'm not sure how someone sets you up to take the fall for moving 1.4 MILLION POUNDS of cocaine and ecstasy, but it seems like that would be hard not to notice. That's what the article says: not 1.4 million pounds' WORTH, but 1.4 MILLION POUNDS. I.e. 635 metric TONNES. I'm thinking that's got to be a typo...

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