valekt comments

Posted in: 2-year-old boy dies after being left in car by father See in context

The attitude towards work/companies/'the greater good' cannot be emphasised enough, when talking about Japanese workers.

A few years ago, I worked in an office in Hiroshima, where one of my co-worker's children died. Now, I know nothing of the circumstances surrounding the child's death (I wasn't close to the guy at all), but the e-mail was sent on Friday, explaining why he was absent that day, and he was back to work on Monday.

I'm from New Zealand, and my father died when I was 20. Now, I had JUST started my first full-time job at that time, but I still took two weeks off for bereavement, and my bosses thanked me for returning to work so quickly!

I shudder to think what was going through that poor boy's head as he sat trapped in that car - perhaps his lack of comprehension due to his age might be the one mercy he was given. If only someone had walked past that car at some point during the day.. But no, everyone was probably lined up at their desks all day, metaphorically trapped, like so many people here seem to be.

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Posted in: Parents arrested for chaining 8-year-old son inside house See in context

This just goes to show that the しょうがない attitude is not intrinsic in Japanese people - it's taught to them over time, whether by sempais/senseis or through first-hand experience. So so glad that the boy's friend was there and that he CARED! Adults here could really learn a thing or two from their kids!

As for the parents.. I'm interested to hear what they have to say. I've pretty much already made my judgment about them, but I'd still like to hear how they intend to defend their actions.

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

Granted, Japanese teachers of English are a mixed bag, but by the same token, native teachers are too. The JTEs may have the qualifications to teach, but not a sufficient English level, while the native teacher has (obviously) native-level English, but may not be qualified as teachers - many come on the JET programme, fresh from receiving their degrees in fields completely unrelated to education (TESOL or otherwise). Of course, this is why they are placed in the ALT position - merely a teacher's assistant (though this depends largely on the school and colleagues) - because many lack the experience and, in most cases, the qualifications to lead a class in a constructive and goal-oriented way.

The answer to this particular problem would be to get qualified English teachers and make them lead classes, with a Japanese assistant teacher to put students' minds at ease, if necessary.

Some people ask why Japan should be forced to learn English. Well, no one should be forced, but they should be made aware of the benefits of it. Considering Japanese society is (was?) all about tight-knit communities, it's rather tragic that they shun their place in the global community. This country used to be adored by many, but it's gradually losing grace in the public (western) eye, and doesn't think that it should have to do anything about it. Well, guess what? Japan will never ever be self-sufficient, so unless anyone has a better idea, people had better pull their heads out and start conversing with their friendly neighbourhood gaijin.

And hello -- Olympics anyone? Yeah, won't need any English then...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: 3-year-old boy dies after being thrown against wall by mother See in context

This cuts both ways. She killed her second-oldest son in 2010, yet her husband saw fit to have ANOTHER child (for a total of five) with her after she was released on a suspended sentence. WTF is he thinking?!?!

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Posted in: Man arrested for attempted murder after stabbing woman at love hotel See in context

The terror this woman must have felt... I shudder to think! Kurosawa needs to check into a psych ward, if you ask me. Since he had the presence of mind to turn himself in after the deed, maybe there is hope that he could balance out his psychiatric issues in the future. As for the woman, though, she will be traumatised for life, no doubt. I hope for her speedy recovery.

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Posted in: Chiba teacher arrested for threats to blow up government buildings because of Saturday classes See in context

My analogy:

The current education system in Japan is anemic, but rather than giving it a steak to fulfill its iron requirements, the BOE would rather give it a huge plate of spinach (which isn't even that high in iron anyway (AND only has non-haem iron)), which it'll only finish out of politeness, and still suffer iron deficiency in the end...

OK, I could have made that simpler.

More =/= better.

I 100% support this guy's intention, but his execution was foolish.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Father arrested after 14-year-old son commits suicide See in context

If both parent and child are open about the reasons for actions (why the parent wants the child to abide certain procedures vs. why the child doesn't believe he or she should), then such drastic actions such as domestic abuse wouldn't take place...

is what I'd like to think, but some people are just too set in their ways. My older brother used to bully me for a fairly similar reason (if I spoke out of turn, he would tell me later that 'you're gonna get a hiding' to the point that, after a while he'd just narrow his eyes and slowly shake his head at me). He's seven years older than me, so much like this child no doubt felt, I felt powerless to rise against him. Luckily for me, he grew out of it. There were times, though, when I saw fear in him. He was afraid of getting in trouble with our parents.

Most bullies, like this sad excuse for a father, have deep-seated fears in them that cause this awful behaviour. Rest in peace, kiddo, for you were stronger than you or your father realised.

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Posted in: Japan must eliminate misogyny in workforce: UNDP chief See in context

In my, admittedly short, experience working in a Japanese office (19 months), women are taken about as seriously as foreigners - that is to say, not seriously at all. However, Japanese women are openly reprimanded and shamed in front of other staff, whereas foreign staff are quietly taken into a small meeting room and told off one-to-one, but never in front of others.

Shame is a huge factor in Japanese society - much more so than NZ, and other countries. This is just me speculating, but based on what I've seen, Japanese women develop somewhat of a 'thick skin' to this public shaming, wherein they get used to the system of power harassment of senior (usually male) staff. The sexism is most certainly there, but they don't let it affect them as much as their male counterparts, when they themselves are subjected to the same process.

Thanks to the hierarchy of companies here, when people with any degree of authority (e.g. team leader) are shamed in this manner, they take it upon themselves to dish it out to their subordinates. For example, if a woman is called out for making a mistake, she will acknowledge and accept responsibility personally. When a man is called out, he will apologise in front of everyone, then when the teams return to their stations, he'll do his best to blame everyone around him.

Again, just speaking from personal experience, but it's the pattern I've noticed.

How this relates to 'misogyny' in the workplace, is that I don't believe they believe they're being misogynistic - sexist, absolutely. I think they would accept that, to be honest. One has only to look at their behaviour to tell that they flaunt their sexism, and they always have. As StormR stated,

She is passing judgment on a centuries old culture not on its work ethic

Culture should be judged. It shouldn't be a case of 'well, that's just the way they do things'. If we're truly to be a global community, we have to accept people as intellectual equals.

Sorry for all the tangents.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Archie to be shot saving gay friend in comic book See in context

He can't just save his 'friend', he has to save his 'gay friend'. If they're bringing sexuality into the spotlight, why not race as well? Why not get way more specific? Archie saves his 19 year-old black, gay, junkie friend. Is it a victory for gay people to be represented like this?

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Posted in: Campaigners push for pacifist Japanese people to win Nobel Peace Prize See in context

You can't help but laugh at the sense of timing.. They want a peace prize in one hand and a gun in the other. I sincerely hope they don't get it. The last thing Japan needs is another boost to its ego, much less from the international community.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Maori welcome See in context

We kiwis are a misunderstood people, it seems, haha. Abe and his entourage are doing the right thing in this photo. Basically, the only way to screw up being received like this would be to smile or laugh. His solemn expression is the right show of respect.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Pair of Yubari melons fetch Y2.5 million See in context

An increase of over 50% from last year's bid. Does nobody find that strange? I'm probably reading too much into it, but something like this reeks of the Japanese agricultural industry trying to push their agenda of, "See? We can make enough money by ourselves. Japan is #1!"

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Posted in: Japan to import 7,000 tons of butter after milk production falls due to 2013 heat wave See in context

Toshiko, I work in a cafe in Hiroshima, and we go through a LOT of butter - salted and unsalted. What is this "Japanese do this," "Japanese do that," rhetoric that you keep spouting, and what year are you living in?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Kanagawa policewomen get tips on manners, makeup See in context

LFRAgain, thank you for shedding some light on the true nature of this seminar. It's just so... damned... unnecessary... What a waste of time for all involved. If the female officers want make up tips, they can find plenty of free advice online. Japan really needs to get up to speed with this whole 'internet' thing (granted, that's another, only slightly related issue, but still).

Male police officers in this country are a mixed bunch themselves. Their manners certainly aren't consistent - I've seen and met extremely polite officers, and also seen (luckily not directly dealt with) some rather ill-mannered ones. Would be nice to know WHY this seminar is only for female recruits.

Oh wait, could it be because women are presumed to have less knowledge than their male counterparts about basic social functions such as manners? (Yes, Japanese language is more nuanced than English, but isn't that part of the reason for screenings of new recruits? I mean, they don't (touch wood) just let ANYONE in, do they?)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan to import 7,000 tons of butter after milk production falls due to 2013 heat wave See in context

Hey, in a few years the population will have decreased enough that they won't need those extra few thousand tons of butter ;D

Also, Toshiko, you said 'USA' four times in four sentences.. Learn to English better.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: 57-year-old man arrested for killing 92-year-old father See in context

Proximity, for better or worse, is the key factor in all relationships. Unfortunately, given the population density of Japan, it's hard to 'get away', so to speak, from people that stress us out.

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Posted in: Man arrested for killing bedridden mother See in context

The young caring for the old, and family caring for loved ones, should go without saying. But when you're talking full time care, i.e., taking away the ability for the young to live their lives, I agree with other posters that it's unfair. That's not how life was designed, and it's an unsustainable model for a society. As someone whose first baby will be born this year, I am aware that this was our CHOICE. Our children owe us nothing. They're not an investment, for goodness' sake.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Man arrested over hit-and-run death of woman he met through online dating site See in context

Since this is Japan, shouldn't it be a 19 year-old girl? She wasn't legally an adult.

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Posted in: Secrecy plagues Japanese executions: Amnesty See in context

Death penalty be damned, if he is proven to be innocent (which it really looks that way), he was held unjustly for 48 years! The mind boggles at such corruption!

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Posted in: Popcorn line See in context

In Japan, all eateries have this kind of thing when they first open (with the right location, of course). Massive queues spark interest here, rather than disgust. Personally, I hate waiting for anything, so you won't catch me anywhere near a grand opening event..

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Posted in: Aichi city plans to block children using smartphones after 9 p.m. See in context

So, according to some people here, parents are too irresponsible to teach their kids how to be decent people, yet when the local government steps in with a guideline to light a fire under said parents' collective arses, they're also ridiculed. Hey, at least they're trying something. It's not enforceable (which I think is a good thing); it's not harmful to anyone; and it may just encourage some kids to put their phones down for a while and let their brain relax. God knows it's what a lot of these kids need, but most of all, they need attention from their parents - perhaps even the amount of attention required to say, "OK Son, it's 9 o'clock. Hand it over," is enough. With any luck, parents will be motivated by it to create their own rules.

But who am I kidding? People don't learn how to be good parents from government agencies, media, etc.

As far as I can tell, good parenting is hereditary, and that's it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: 5 reasons foreigners find it hard to become friends with Japanese people See in context

The instant way to become friends with any Japanese person: オヤジギャグ

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Posted in: Tokyo police take 13 underage girls into custody for 'JK walking' See in context

The girls in these situations don't seem to have any idea of why it's wrong. I'm sure 99% of them realise that they are doing something generally accepted as bad, but they probably don't know why. I vaguely remember my teenage years, but viscerally remember thinking I knew everything.

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Posted in: 80% of 'black companies' guilty of illegal business practices, survey finds See in context

Pretty sure that nothing gets done about this kind of thing because it's so prevalent here. If all companies who engaged in these practices were busted, there would be nowhere left.. Though, maybe that's what this country needs? A complete do-over..

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: University student arrested for kicking stroller with baby in it See in context

Creative punishment time: bind him to an adult-sized stroller, and let all his victims' mothers kick him to their hearts' content.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: Tokyo enlists civilian 'water monitors' to prove its water is tasty See in context

Next we'll find out that big cities have been mislabelling their water for years, and it's actually produced in China :P

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Man of the moment See in context

Not to be crass, but I think the headline of this page is entirely accurate. Especially in Japan.

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Posted in: 307 cases of food mislabeling found among 23 industry groups See in context

@FernandoUchiyama

I think it happens much more with any other country than in Japan. This entire scandal is happening most because japanese people is strict and like to give importance to defects.

Got any proof of that? I can tell you with 100% certainty (having worked in the food industry in both countries) that the food preparation standards in New Zealand are much higher, and are upheld far more strictly, than in Japan.

It irks me so much when Japanese- sorry, ANY- people react to scandals like this with blind nationalism, and remarks like 'I think it's much worse everywhere else', or 'It only gets picked up in (my country) because of our high standards'. Note: I've only heard this in Japan

Don't get me wrong, I love living here, but people need to wake up to the fact that a lot of large organisations here are full of corruption, and just because it's Japan, and these criminals don't get punished, that doesn't mean it isn't a crime.

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Posted in: Japanese college students struggle to answer basic astronomy questions See in context

@Frungy

It simply isn't useful for them, so they don't remember it.

You hit the nail on the head there. That could lead to a philosophical debate, though, of what constitutes 'useful information', and why. Personally, I find it amazing that they don't seem to have any curiosity about 'how things work' - just 'whether they work or not'.

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Posted in: Live-action 'Attack on Titan' gets release date, new director See in context

I see it as somewhat of a variation on the zombie genre. This could be why Attack on Titan is so popular - it taps into a deep survival instinct within us humans, in which we like to envision our survival among ridiculous odds. As a series itself, I find the pacing suffers somewhat, sporadically focusing on different groups of characters. Plus the generic character designs make it hard to tell some characters apart (only talking about the manga here).

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