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Posted in: How to deal with your Japanese neighbors See in context

Japanese neighbors can be very nice but I'd also recommend keeping them somewhat at arms length. You can bet they'll have their eyes on you, especially if it's a traditional neighborhood where there have not been many foreign residents. It's been known in the past for the police to encourage Japanese residents to spy on their foreign neighbors, and to report them if there's any illegal activity going on. In addition, be prepared to be patronized endlessly on your understanding of Japanese culture, and never to be seen as an equal. So, by all means, have nice friendly relations with your neighbors… I certainly do… But be aware that you're always gonna be a foreigner wherever you live in Japan.

5 ( +16 / -11 )

Posted in: Many schools in Japan reopen after monthlong coronavirus shutdown See in context

Utter insanity. A need less risk.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese chef gives customers a subtle hint to say thanks, by putting a sign on his back See in context

Considering how polite Japanese people are often said to be, it's surprising how rarely you hear them thank waiters and waitresses when they bring their food. And it's common to hear customers - generally men - barking orders at wait staff: "Beer!" rather than, "Beer please." It's accepted in the culture, but surely this could be changed?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: A growing number of actors are renouncing Woody Allen See in context

WA4TKG: Woody Allen didn't adopt Soon-Yi.

Mia Farrow and her previous husband Andre Previn did.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: AKB48 and S Korean idol groups perform hits at music awards; turns out to be a disaster See in context

Appalling isn't it? But when you have a youth which is so lacking in curiousity and originality, so insipid and dull and unchallenged, minds numbed by an authoritarian system and bland consumerism...the dominant youth culture is bound to reflect that.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: 3 candidate mascots for Tokyo 2020 Olympics unveiled for voting by children See in context

Pretty underwhelming.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Top court finds charging subscription fee for NHK broadcasts constitutional See in context

People use TVs in different ways these days. I use mine as a 'smart TV' and only watch streamed content from overseas. I don't use or watch NHK's decidedly below-average programming , don't even have an antenna or TV hook up. Therefore I refuse for pay for something I never asked for, need or use.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Kyoto bus driver dismissed after failing to help fallen passenger See in context

I live in Kyoto, take buses nearly every day. The driving is often appalling, with drivers often heavy on the brakes, especially difficult for elderly passengers to maintain their balance.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese girl says school forced her to dye hair black; sues Osaka gov't See in context

Truly appalling, and a new height of idiocy as Japanese bureaucrats move one step toward eugenics. Why don’t they measure students' skulls too, just to confirm how Japanese they are?

I’m also wondering what they’d say to students of mixed race ... are they gonna ask them to change eye color too?

And how can they even say this with a straight face: “School staff told her mother they would even ask foreign exchange students with blond hair to comply. ” You also have to break one school rule (no dyeing of hair) in order to enforce another (everyone must have black hair).

It reminds me of when students at the prestigious Kyoto university I worked at came back from their year abroad. All the girls with brown hair had to dye their hair back to black in order to go job hunting. We can never be identical enough!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Ex-member of boy group KAT-TUN released; indictment decision pending See in context

Oh hang on...was he driving? If so that's different.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: High court upholds obscenity ruling against 'vagina artist' See in context


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Foreigners in Japan face significant levels of discrimination, survey shows See in context

Last night for the second time experienced racist treatment in a Kyoto standing bar. We will not be going again.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Two halves of a whole: Japan’s habitual ‘labeling’ of bicultural kids See in context

Personally I find the term 'hafu' offensive, for the simple reason it seems to imply that someone is half a person and not as fully Japanese as someone with two Japanese parents.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Posted in: Smoking paradise Japan tries to kick the habit See in context

"places with less than 30 square metes of floor space would not be affected by the restrictions"

Considering how many small restaurants there are in Japan, that's probably the majority!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan a great place for returning lost-and-found items See in context

Have lost or mislaid wallet three times in Japan. Got it back every time. Pretty amazing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: How well do you know your neighbors? See in context

Bought a house 18 months ago. Some of the neighbors are nice, others are indifferent, but someone obviously doesnt like foreigners. They have thrown eggs at my house twice and were regularly dumping trash in my bicycle basket until I put a cover on it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: I wonder what I would have become if Bob Dylan didn’t exist at a certain period of my life. I feel that I could become who I am now only because of Dylan’s presence. See in context

Nice tribute. Just as Dylan himself has expressed gratitude for many artists including Woody Guthrie, Little Richard and Muddy Waters for inspiring his own musical quest.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Thailand's king dies at 88 See in context

RIP and, yes, Bhumibol Adulyadej presided over an increase in tourism, income and prestige for many Thais. But Thailand's lese majesty laws are appalling.

in 2015 two Thais convicted of posting anti-monarchy messages on Facebook received jail terms of 28 and 30 years.

Monarchy complicit in keeping huge parts of the population in poverty and ignorance. 10% of Thailand’s landowners own 30%s of its titled land. A fifth of rural Thais don't even have a bank account.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Narita's main stumbling block is its indifference toward travelers See in context

Totally agree. Crap airport considering it's Japan's main entry point. They don't even have a bar!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese fishermen say they are portrayed as 'sadists' in Oscar-winner 'The Cove' See in context

Well it certainly looks sadistic when you see the movie. Westerners don't have much room to talk, though. The meat/fast food industry commits animal cruelty on an industrial scale.

It has to be said that purely from a PR perspective, this looks bad for Japan. Kids love dolphins and whales, and when they think of Japan, they associate it with killing cute cetaceans.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Posted in: Illegal mosaic-free porn business busted See in context

As a friend and I noticed on a recent jaunt to an erotic dvd store in Kyoto, the number of porn DVDs sold in Japan is amazing, considering the vast amount of mosaic-free content available on the internet.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Posted in: Do you think the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were morally justifiable? See in context

Thursday is the 70th anniversary of the bomb.

Compelling account here that it was unnecessary.


-3 ( +11 / -14 )

Posted in: 6-year-old boy drowns in Nara swimming pool See in context

Just wondering how many Japanese kids are taught to swim as a matter of course. There seem to have been several of these sad occurrences recently.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Mega-important debate: Do you shower before work or before bed? See in context

Once every six weeks, whether I need it or not.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Woman tries to kill husband because he didn't give her White Day gift See in context

Headline should be, "ALLEGEDLY tries to kill husband..."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Five things expats wish Japan had See in context

Decent bacon.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Why is teaching at English conversation schools in Japan such a maligned profession by some people? See in context

It's true that there are many unqualified, unprofessional English teachers in Japan.

However, there are many university English professors who are incredibly well-qualified, motivated specialists in their fields. They have relevant masters degrees and PhDs.

They are familiar with cutting edge pedagogy and the latest trends in applied linguistics and related fields, presenting at international conferences and publishing academic papers in Asian/international journals.

They take their profession very seriously and they are committed to education and bringing the best out of their students, including opening learners' eyes to a huge variety of issues which they don't learn about from their Japanese teachers, from gay rights to critical thinking to globalization. That's why they are actively hunted by Japanese universities.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Mothers react to being called by their first names after years of just being 'Mama' See in context

In his classic book on communication skills, "How to Win Friends and Influence People," Dale Carnegie urged readers to "Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language. "

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: What’s wrong with English education in Japan? Pull up a chair See in context

Again, I'm surprised by the comments by (well-meaning but misguided) English teachers here who are talking about pronunciation, translation, immersion and so forth. Yes, all these things can make language learning easier, but they aren't the reason why Japan is lagging behind in English language acquisition.

Yakimo has a point when s/he talks about the deep enculturation of Japanese people which prevents them - generally speaking, there are exceptions - from meaningfully interacting with the world. In Japan cultural identity is imposed as ideology and one acquiring English is largely seen as losing 'Japaneseness'.

If Japan really wanted to be bilingual it could do so in one or two generations, much as other Asian nations like Taiwan, Philippines and Malaysia have done.

For instance, Japan could have two official languages (Singapore has five) - Japanese and English. 50% of kids' TV shows should be in English with English subtitles.

In short, the reason English language acquisition is failing in Japan is becasue the culture doesn't want it.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

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