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zaichik comments

Posted in: Idiocy versus intelligence on Japanese quiz shows See in context

I can't see the point of Japanese quiz shows, because it's only ever tarento on them and they don't exactly need the prizes - better to go to some average member of the public.

And making their voices sound squeaky and abnormal

True, but that is perhaps because they get a better reception from J-males that way. I'm naturally an alto, but when I call Japanese hospitals in the course of my work, I always get a far better reception if I use my "high-pitched ultra-feminine Japanese" voice than my normal lower pitch. It's still not in the ultrasonic "kawaiiiiiiii" range, mind :-)

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Posted in: Woman crashes car into Saitama convenience store See in context

Funnily enough, something similar happened to a Japanese friend of mine here in NZ - an elderly lady drove through the window of the McDonalds where my friend was having lunch. Fortunately my friend only suffered minor injuries....

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Posted in: Downtown's Matsumoto announces shotgun marriage to ex-weathergirl See in context

But we're just as broke... lol

In that case, my dear, you must be a very nice chap.

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Posted in: Proposed resident registry card for foreigners creates Big Brother concerns See in context

The rate, if it is a good job, is 250,000. It hasn't changed in 10 years. And now lets do the math. 250,000 base -25,000 national tax at 10% -15,000 local tax -2,000 yen unemployment + the new two taxes -25,000 for health -15,000 for pension 168,000 take home.

My point was that I was making around 250,000 yen and my take-home pay was in the region of 200,000 yen, so I think your figures are inaccurate. Or is it down to the difference between shakai hoken contributions and kokumin hoken contributions?

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Posted in: Proposed resident registry card for foreigners creates Big Brother concerns See in context

So, after deductions on tax, who is going to work for 150,000 yen a month? That is what the tax home is going to be for full time teachers

Are you seriously telling me that teachers only get paid 200,000 yen a month before tax? I was a shokutaku-shain on single year contracts, getting paid in the range of 24-26 man a month and paying into shakai-hoken (which my company provided even to non-seishain), kokumin-nenkin and koyo-hoken, and my take-home pay only dropped below 200,000 a month when I was earning good money from freelance translations and my jiminzei contributions went up accordingly.

What interests me now, as someone who no longer lives in Japan but who does work with InterGlobal, is how the requirement to enrol in social insurance would affect those who currently have private medical insurance. Would they be allowed to continue with this (based on my own experience, I don't think many of the hospitals like it, because it makes extra work for them) or would they be forced to pay the back payments (a form of double taxation)?

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Posted in: Aki Hoshino mistaken for minor at Macau casino See in context

How many 32-year-olds can claim to have been mistaken for a minor?

I regularly get carded when buying booze in NZ. Makes my day :-)

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Posted in: Media continues to smirk over SMAP member's Roppongi impropriety See in context

I'm surprised that nobody's taken the "Hadaka no O-sama" angle. Perhaps the media isn't sufficiently familiar with SMAP's oeuvre....

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Posted in: Akita man arrested after falling asleep drunk in stranger's house See in context

We believe it to be an effect of SMAP’s Tsuyoshi Kusanagi getting arrested

Oh FFS! I'm sure there have been incidents like this in the past (even if not in Akita).

I do quite like the term "totally SMAPped", though!

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Posted in: Beauty and the best See in context

Origins is actually pulling out of the Aus & NZ markets, and I wouldn't be surprised if the economic downturn in Japan doesn't lead Estee Lauder to withdraw from that market as well.

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Posted in: Recession a good opportunity to return to Japan's core virtues See in context

More about Ryokan, and a picture of his hut, here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ry%C5%8Dkan

There are a number of monuments and commemorative sites associated with him in the Chuetsu region of Niigata.

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Posted in: Supermarket investigator exposes slipshod quality management See in context

I never got food poisoning in the entire time I lived in Japan. The quality of food was consistently good at the supermarkets in Niigata.

And eggs are sold unrefrigerated in NZ as well....

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Posted in: Niigata school vice principal under fire for ordering soccer team to lose game See in context

considering Joetsu is my favorite place in all of Japan

Really, Taka? What's your connection with the city? I was CIR there from 1998 to 2000.

I'm reassured to see I wasn't the only one who thought this wasn't the best example to set the kids.

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Posted in: Niigata school vice principal under fire for ordering soccer team to lose game See in context

I'm happy to bow to the judgment of those who are better versed in football rules and etiquette than I :-)

Happy Easter, everyone.

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Posted in: Niigata school vice principal under fire for ordering soccer team to lose game See in context

Any professional soccer coach would do exactly the same if it meant the difference between facing a Barcelona or a Tottenham Hotspurs

Seriously? To the point of getting players to score 6 own goals?

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Posted in: Niigata school vice principal under fire for ordering soccer team to lose game See in context

Somewhat sharp practice and not really the best example to set to kids.

When I was CIR in Joetsu, one of my friends was the ALT at this school. It was one of the better local schools, not a breeding ground for delinquents like Kasuga-chu was.

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Posted in: Toyota banks on tiny, green but pricier iQ model See in context

I still like my Vitz, though I do wish I'd gone for a slightly bigger engine - she struggles to do 80 up the Harbour Bridge in the mornings. Still, the fuel economy's good and she's easy to manouvre....

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Posted in: TBS clarifies Mino Monta’s remark that Japan should buy back Northern Territories See in context

Personally, I think the remark is quite amusing....

I remember the fuss that MoFA made when the institute where I used to work produced a publication containing a map of Northeast Asia that showed the Kuriles as Russian territory (the same colour as Russia was on the map). We ended up having to get stickers printed up showing the Kuriles in white (i.e. not the same colour as any of the other countries), and then sent them out to all the recipients of the publication so they could stick them over the offending map, if they wanted. Presumably the Russian recipients didn't bother....

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Posted in: Enka singer Yoko Nagayama marries American entrepreneur See in context

This would have been more amusing had it been "enka singer marries Mark E. Smith".... (/obscure indie reference)

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Posted in: From stage to screen to behind-the-scenes, Miki Mizuno does it all See in context

I liked her in Odoru Daisosasen....

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Posted in: Man arrested after taking taxi from Tokyo to Fukuoka and refusing to pay Y359,230 fare See in context

Although I think the driver was a bit dim for not asking to see (or even get hold of) some of the money up-front, I've been in a somewhat similar position and was grateful to a Chinese taxi driver for taking a chance. Mr Zaichik and I had to go to Beijing in September 2006, for our interview for permanent residence in NZ (since the NZ embassy in Japan doesn't do residence visas). We couldn't get a flight from Niigata to Beijing via Incheon and had to fly Incheon - Tianjin instead. Since Tianjin is an "international airport", we thought we'd be able to change money when we got there. We were wrong. We couldn't even change money at a nearby hotel unless we paid for a room there. Fortunately, we were able to get a taxi driver to drive us from Tianjin to Beijing, where we were staying with friends, who paid the taxi fare in RMB and who we repaid in yen. Mind you, Tianjin to Beijing is only a couple of hours by road and a damn sight cheaper than 35 man!

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Posted in: Japan warming to cheap foreign gadgets amid slump See in context

ASUS certainly wasn't unknown in Japan 4 years ago, when Mr Zaichik bought Asus components to build our PCs.

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Posted in: Plum blossoms See in context


I agree with you, shugotokumaru, for all the reasons you gave. Wish we had ume in NZ (well, you can buy the trees wholesale, but you have to buy at least 10 and we haven't room for an orchard....)

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Posted in: Walking, talking female robot to take part in fashion show See in context

The robot often looked surprised, opening its mouth and eyes in a stunned expression, when the demonstrator asked it to smile or look angry.

Tarentobot - only able to respond with kawaii! oishii! kakkoii! But a robot tarento would be no good - impossible to generate publicity through tabloid scandals.

Now this is a cool robot: http://kiyomori.jp/main.html


My friend is trying to get funding to bring it to NZ later this year for the annual Japan Festival in Auckland....

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Posted in: Fujiwara, Jinnai divorcing after two years of marriage See in context

I&'m done with Norika

I'm sure she'll be devastated.

Maybe I am biased but wouldn't Norika do better in an international marriage?!

Well, maybe you have a chance, since cracaphat's now out of the running.

I have something of a soft spot for Norika, as I remember watching some drama of hers when I first moved to Japan, and I'd hoped that this wasn't some kind of celeb publicity stunt sham marriage. And maybe it wasn't - they just underestimated the difficulties of the long-distance relationship even after marriage.

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Posted in: Drug suspect, caught at Narita, had 273 packs of cannabis in stomach See in context

I don't imagine that having these packets burst in your stomach would be as dangerous as if they contained heroin or cocaine, but I'm sure it would give you a pretty nasty time....

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

Anyway, she is certainly beautiful and sounds like she might have a couple of brain cells to spare - a bit more to her than the average tarento, who's fit only to squeak "cute! delicious! gorgeous!"

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Posted in: Snow monkeys See in context

Hell Dust Mite


The pic's completely overexposed

It can be difficult to get a good photo, because of the steam....

It is a great place to visit, though - went there in 1998 and again on New Year's Day 2006, when it was covered in snow and the closer car park was closed, so we had to hike from the upper one. We were staying in Yudanaka Onsen, which is really nice and has a rather cool barrier-free ryokan: http://www.avis.ne.jp/~hakura/


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Posted in: Handcuffed man escapes police after molesting woman in Aichi See in context

Hmmm...unfortunate in light of the Ichihashi debacle, but not the end of the world.

Congrats on being about to gain an SIL, Cleo!

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Posted in: Tokyo’s St Patrick’s Day Parade – It’s a long way from Tipperary See in context

And doubtless there will be a few choruses of the Fields of Athenry....

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Posted in: Workers rally See in context

But the industry isn't big and unified enough for workers to be rallying.

Too much competition, for starters, plus the amateurs vs professionals thing you mentioned. Ah well, back to whoring myself around a variety of translation companies.

Not even in pink bunny suits.

Maybe purple axolotl suits might do it?

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