Japan Today

Wilke comments

Posted in: Top American general says attack on Japan same as attack on U.S. See in context

@ Nerakai;

More accurately, Japan is a client state of the US.

I believe that the US would act in defence of any western Pacific nation only if US interests were directly threatened. If US interests and facilities weren't at risk in a conflict between Japan and any other nation, then Japan would be left to its own devices. Most of the multilateral and bilateral military treaties the US have only compel the US to "consult" if its treaty partner is threatened -- i.e. the US is only compelled to "think about" helping defend its ally, not to actually do anything to assist.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: 3-year-old boy left in car dies from heatstroke See in context

There, but for the grace of God, goes any one of us...

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Posted in: JR train staff berated for snoozing, reading comics on duty See in context

let's blame management for me reading a comic book while driving a train!

Did you actually read the article. Two guards were recorded as having been reading while at work -- one was reading a manga, the other a book.

Guards ("conductors") do not drive trains.

One driver was reported for being sleepy -- not "sleeping" whilst his train went through 16 stations. The article doesn't specify if the train was an "all-stops" or an "express". I know from direct experience how easy it is to be in that situation. It is dangerous, for one's reaction times are far greater when one is sleepy and mistakes are much easier to make.

0 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: JR train staff berated for snoozing, reading comics on duty See in context

I remember the advice a senior driver gave me when I started driving (goods) trains nine years ago.

"Always bring a book," he said, "for when you're waiting at a red light or when you're waiting for the shunter to finish working his magic down at the back of the train.

"Reading a book while you're waiting makes the wait seem much shorter."

Maybe the guard was reading his comic book while waiting for someone else to finish doing their job before he could resume his own work? I doubt that safety would have been compromised in the slightest. And I doubt that guards in their 50s would hardly be novices in the job.

As for the dozy driver, that is something that is far too common. Its cause is not in the driver, but often in the rostering arrangements that the railway makes for their drivers, which often ensure that drivers are constantly tired. I'm leaving my (Australian) railway employer at present because of the bad effects that rostering is having on my health and my family. I suspect that JR East's driver rosters could be more punishing to employees than the one that I am leaving.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan misses out as Australia awards sub contract to France See in context

I don't think any contracts have actually been signed. Australia is going into election mode in the next couple of weeks, with a "caretaker" government in place between the election announcement and the election.

As caretaker governments cannot sign-off on major contracts (and a $50b submarine purchase is hardly a "minor" matter), I doubt if we'll know for certain which company or country has been awarded the Australian submarine contract until after the election in July.

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Posted in: Nissan unveils world's first automated 'intelligent parking chair' See in context

Might be embarrassing if there's a round of applause.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Architect of Tokyo 2020 stadium says his design not a copy See in context

Of course there's similarities. It's a sports stadium, which is basically a big open area in the middle of the building surrounded by tiered seating all facing the big open area.

That is the fundamental nature of a stadium, and has been since at least when the city-state of Athens was a major world power.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Posted in: Hiroshima bombing order offers glimpse into fateful day See in context

Firstly, Japan did not "start" the war. World War Two began when Britain and France declared war on Germany in September, 1939.

Secondly, the war didn't end "immediately". The last USAAF bombing raid over Japan was a raid on the Nippon Oil Company's refinery at Akita on the night of 14-15 August. The bombs were dropped on the refinery after Japan had accepted the surrender terms.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Posted in: 3 killed after small plane crashes into Tokyo residential area See in context

"now" = "not".

-2 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: 3 killed after small plane crashes into Tokyo residential area See in context

Best rate of climb speed for a Piper Cherokee 6 is 89kts IAS (about 165km/h Indicated Air Speed), now 120km/h.

The crash site is about 800 metres away from the runway threshold, and at a direction about 20 degrees east of the runway heading.

As for the reason / causes -- it is far too early to speculate. There will be an investigation to determine what caused this crash. When that investigation is finished and the results released is when we will know.

-1 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: 2 youths on motorbike going wrong way on expressway killed in collision See in context

So many experts here.

Such a lack of knowledge.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Woman, four children found dead in Aichi home See in context

It is easy to sit in judgement.

This was a tragedy for all concerned.

For the deceased, and for those who they left behind.

For the police who found their remains.

It was a tragedy. But to sit in judgement on those involved when one has no more knowledge of the matter than the information contained in this report is, IMO, not quite the right thing to do.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Posted in: Why doesn’t the U.S. adopt the metric system? See in context

The US doesn't actually use British measurements.

Because the US fluid ounce equals 0.96 of a British fluid ounce, it means that a US gallon is much less (739ml) than an Imperial Gallon.

The origin of this is that the US base their gallon on the Queen Anne Gallon (231 cubic inches), whilst the UK standardised their gallon in 1824 to be "the volume of 10 pounds of distilled water" (277 cubic inches).

Weight is also different in the two systems. Although both systems have one ton equalling 20 hundredweight, in the UK one hundredweight equals 112 pounds, whilst a US hundredweight equals 100 pounds. The result is that an Imperial Ton is 240lbs heavier (about 109kg) heavier than a US ton.

Even length is different. The internationally-defined yardstick is 0.9144 metres long, but the US survey yardstick is 0.999998 metres long. And even a Nautical Mile in the United States is 72 metres longer than a Nautical Mile is anywhere else in the world.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Police called after Okayama teens dress differently for graduation See in context

@ Commodore Shmidlap:

"... and there was actually a fight..."

Yes. The fight was a few days before, outside Hakata Station, which is 450km away.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Le Pen urges Japan to avoid making same mistakes as France See in context

@ knowbetter:

Denmark's colonial empire wasn't anywhere near as extensive as Britain's (Denmark sold their few Indian colonies (in reality, trading stations/forts) to Britain a couple of hundred years ago).

As a previous poster mentioned about many French Muslims being from Francophone North Africa (former colonies, which were part of France until quite recently), the same applies with the UK, where those born in Britain's Dominions and Colonies were either classed as "British Subjects" or "British Protected Persons", and -- although their cultures and often religions are not identifiably British -- they are not considered to be Aliens under current British law.

For most of its history, the Japanese Empire has extended to the land masses between Hokkaido and Kyushu. The exception to this was the period between 1895 and 1945, when Japan's empire expanded to Taiwan, Korea, parts of Russia and Mainland China and (very briefly and not securely) south to Indonesia.

Japan now does, to an extent, have ethnic minorities of colonised and formerly-colonised people in its population. The most noticable of these groups are the Koreans. However, there are also the Okinawans and the Ainu.

The difference is that their cultures are now quite similar (to the outside observer) to the Japanese culture, which leads people to regard Japan as a monoculture.

Le Pen, by the way is wrong.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Posted in: Stinky train tracks, expensive imports and no weekends: Netizens remember Showa-era Japan See in context

Only examples three and four in the article appear to be Japan-specific.

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Posted in: Kyoto taxi drivers reduce convenience store robberies by 48% by doing absolutely nothing See in context


Surely, you jest.

@ nandakandamanda:

From my recollection of Kyoto, none of the conbini near Kyoto Station have off-street parking, so they're unlikely to be able to join this scheme. In fact, most conbini in central Kyoto are devoid of off-street parking, and those close to suburban stations usually have no off-street parking, either.

But those same conbini tend to be in well-lit areas, with people milling around even in the wee small hours.

It is the other conbini, away from the bright lights and in the suburbs, which have off-street parking, which are more susceptible to late-night attempts at robbery in that they are more isolated. For them, this scheme must be attractive.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Angelina Jolie's 'Unbroken' strikes a nerve in Japan See in context

I think my wife is what most would call an "average" Nihonjin (although I think she's quite extraordinary).

She tells me that at least one of her great-uncles served in the Imperial Japanese Forces on a remote Pacific island during WW2.

My wife's in Japan at present, with all the kids, whilst I stay home in Australia -- so I can't ask her anything about this subject. But I can guess at her reaction.

Although Japan's WW2 atrocities are well-documented and known of outside Japan, they are not all that well known within Japan. This is not all that dissimilar from American, British, and British Commonwealth knowledge of any atrocities committed by their own military during that time, as our governments tend to gloss over those naughty things our soldiers do in wars, whilst highlighting the naughty things our enemy's soldiers do in the same wars.

For my wife, and for many like her, the news about Japanese cannibalism which would come with this movie would be rather confronting for it would bring the mental image that the beloved and kind great uncle of their childhood memories could quite possibly have been a cruel and vicious eater of humans during his never-spoken-about youth.

For Westerners, this is all rather academic and theoretical, as it does not personally affect our lives or the lives of our immediate families. But for many Japanese, I believe that this matter is far from academic but is instead rather confronting and shocking.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Angelina Jolie's 'Unbroken' strikes a nerve in Japan See in context

Maybe it's time for Japanese TV to rebroadcast the 1987 Japanese documentary movie ゆきゆきて、神軍

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Why does 'Engrish' happen in Japan? See in context

JWithers scribed thusly:

Christianity is also part of the language. For example, you teach the days of the week as just sounds they should remember. However most people know why it's called "Sunday". God said "Let there be light". Sunday!!!! Hello!!

Actually, no.

English names for the days of the week come - via Old German, from ancient Rome - where the days of the week were named after the seven planets (according to classical Roman learning), those planets being the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn.

It is in Russian where the name for the day has heavy Christian overtones ("Voskreseniye" = "Resurrection").>


1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to issue disaster response guidelines for foreign tourists See in context

Kosher and Halal are very similar, to the extent that most Kosher foods can be eaten with a clear conscience by Muslims, and vice-versa.

And there is no Christian (or, as far as I'm aware, Buddhist or Shinto) prohibition on eating either Kosher or Halal foods.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Posted in: Nobody at subway station in Tokyo for first train after two staff oversleep See in context

@ Disillusioned.

I have been driving trains in Australia for seven years, and only once in that time have I been put on a breathalyser.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Tomonoura: Where Ponyo and Wolverine crossed paths See in context

It's the town where I met my wife.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Should overweight people flying economy class be required to pay for an extra seat? See in context

Oughtn't the question be: "Now that the average person is getting larger in size, why are airline seats all getting smaller and closer together?"?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: 14-year-old boy jumps to death in front of train at Funabashi Station See in context

14 is way too young to be jumping on front of a train!

As is any age.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: 'Railway Man' revisits war prisoner's horror and forgiveness See in context

@ nandakandamanda:

Takashi Nagase still lives in Kurashiki, I believe.


Takashi Nagase died in mid-2011

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: The top overpriced products in Japan See in context

Public transport costs (even in Tokyo and Osaka) are a lot cheaper than they are in Australia. A trip I took recently on the Hankyu Railway in Osaka (21km each way -- ¥580) would have cost me the equivalent of ¥1554 in my home city of Brisbane.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Australian PM hopes for swift end to trade talks See in context

Actually, Toyota are closing because Ford and GM have both announced their departures from Austral manufacturing. I suspect the "give us money or stupid gets it" was more FoMoCo's and GM's method than Toyota's in Australia.

And when Ford US and GM (US) fell on hard times and needed US Government bailouts in 2008, their Australian operations basically were on borrowed time (small branch office in an out-of-the-way location building a product that neither parent company were too interested in supporting or exporting).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Dempagumi.inc about to break into stardom See in context

A visual, aural and musical train crash.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

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