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Posted in: Memo to guys: White Day's approaching See in context

Memo to the human race: (1) you do not need one day of the year to celebrate your love for another (2) one piece of chocolate will not transform a complete stranger (or casual acquaintance) into "the chosen one".

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Mini-skirt turbulence at Skymark Airlines See in context

It really is "one step forward and ten steps back". All of you commenting on "women should be sexy, and remain young foever" - I pity your female relatives, friends (!) colleagues and so on.

0 ( +14 / -14 )

Posted in: Construction crunch slows Tohoku rebuilding See in context

Both locals AND the rest of the nation have put in a huge amount of effort to help the people and region through charity events, pressure groups and direct aid. As usual, the general public has stepped up to the mark admirably. It's at times like this (the anniversary) that you realize how much there is still left to do.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: How much attention do you think drivers in Japan pay to child safety seats or making sure their kids wear seat belts when they are in cars? See in context

Driving with young children on the drivers' knees. Older kids roaming all over the place. It still happens, but this is more noticeable - it's more difficult to see who is using a baby seat.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: March 11, 2011: What are your memories of that day? See in context

The news broke as I was in the departure lounge waiting for my flight back to Japan. It was numbing. The gate staff were asking everyone if they "really wanted to take the flight"... Three years on, and still so much unresolved.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Husbands aghast at wives' infatuation with rightwing causes See in context

This report also points to the lack of communication between people - people are entitled to their opinions, but I want to know where someone's values lie before before becoming firm friends or, indeed, lifetime partners!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: University student arrested for posting naked pictures of 13-year-old girl See in context

Sometimes the shift of focus in people's reactions takes my breath away. Never mind which university the culprit is affiliated to - never mind privacy concerns over what is posted - above all, don't try to suggest it wasn't all the fault of the perpetrator.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Posted in: Gov't blames translator over Abe's World War I remark See in context

So, a politician claims he was miscostrued - this happens all the time, either unintentionally or not. In a high level international forum with several languages involved, the chances increase and some people use the situation to their advantage. Obviously, if someone clearly did NOT say a particular phrase, then it is perfectly fair to defend his position. Speaking as someone with firsthand experience interpreting, the clue is in the job title, although this doesn't mean the interpreter has freedom to insert unvoiced opinions. When politicians are discussing at an international gathering they should be even more vigilant about plain speaking to avoid confusion. Yeah, good luck with that...

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: Which places in Japan do you think are overrated as tourist attractions? See in context

"Proper" tourists generally seem satisfied, nay, impressed by the sights they see (judging by interview reactions). Maybe those of us who live here are too jaded?? KYOTO: The first time I went it was fine, and there IS a lot to see. But when it becomes more familiar, the contrast between the traditional/tasteful and modern/brash becomes pronounced. TDL: This is a non starter. It is a fairground that charges a fortune for an anxiety attack.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Why Japanese TV shows have become boring See in context

There is very little I would watch by choice, and some of the programmes I consider to be ok are buried in televisual dross. NHK is far too serious, in stark contrast to the banality of the commercial channels. One thing they DO have in common is the promotion of (R)Japan, the product: reinforcing traditional values and seldom challnging accepted norms. Precipitating the idea of (R)Japan as somehow floating in a bubble separate from the rest of the world, and so on. Check out: Aibo Trick

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Dewi Sukarno speaks up about recent slapping incident See in context

It's official. Dewi-san is an old slapper.

22 ( +22 / -0 )

Posted in: Deciding whether or not to help a crying child is complicated in Japan See in context

It's all a case of common sense - and therein lies the rub, because common sense seems to be escaping people of late.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: What is the most effective way to learn kanji? See in context

If you're starting from scratch in Japan, learn public transport stops if you travel regularly. They are nearly always in hiragana, roman letters AND kanji, so they are ready-made flash cards.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: ANA pulls TV ad after online furor See in context

The response from ANA to the criticism was not well thought out. (Expressing the desire to be accepted internationally - clearly, this did not work.) Either that, or it is a bare-faced lie, and the intention was always to reinforce difference and suprficial acceptance. Whichever, the ad was a non-starter, in my opinion. The subject matter is reasonably serious, so go with real situations (as suggested here by others). If the ad makers want to be more playful with a serious subject, then at least make it clever or cool. As it is, ANA is now a laughing stock.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Posted in: Gov't says Fukushima decontamination likely to be finished by 2017 See in context


7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Roll out the barrels See in context

Is this to illustrate the "mixed feelings" with which the general populace react to Yasukuni Shrine (see article next to this)? Or simply Dutch courage for those respecting the dead?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese 'religion of the home' alive and well, says scholar See in context

Regardless of the religious views of the participants, it seems the replies were to the question: "What do you value in your later life?" - an open-ended question, allowing respondants to answer freely. If people were asked more direct questions, such as: "How important is some form of religion for you?" the results might have been completely different. As long as everyone answered honestly, that's ok. Honesty is a good quality. Beyond that, if people want to judge relevant merits of friends, wealth and religion - well, that's up to you.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Morning Musume to change their name from Jan 1 See in context

Mourning Youthaway

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Girls fawn over Nagano police station’s new pretty-boy mascot characters See in context

Absolute nonesense. Use real photos of real people for campaigns in professions.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan's secrecy bill condemned by Nobel academics See in context

"That problem is exacerbated by a relatively weak institutional press." -- a very telling line, in many respects.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Fukushima town protests Abe's global promise on crippled plant See in context

Unfortunately, voters have short memories, and are mainly influenced by politicians that promise a financially rosy future, regrdless of the politicians' stance on the welfare of the citizens or foreign policy.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Street scouts take risks to rake in big money See in context

Really, this kind of activity takes my breath away. Young people (of both sexes) being lured into shady dealings with the promise of vast fortunes by manipulative organizers who mock the lifestyle and education of those who become ensnared. Also, a society that advocates and glamourizes 'easy millions" is partly to blame. The article, however, having appeared in the lofty journal 'Weekly Playboy', has probably fallen on deaf ears. (Michael: a 'yak' is a large, shaggy, mountain dwelling ungulate used as a pack animal; or, short for 'yakuza', a small, nylon-suited, volotile Japanese criminal syndicate member.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Posted in: Kyushu Railway unveils super-luxury train See in context

It was just on the TV! Retro-plush and carved wooden furnishings.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Kyushu Railway unveils super-luxury train See in context

I love travelling by train. Some rail journeys are world famous and attract tourists and enthusiasts. At the other end of the scale, there are probably routes in your local area that have their own charms. I think it is a shame that this new train has gone for the "astronomically expensive, yet breathtakingly ugly" (as commented above) approach. Judging by the wording of the snippet, the suite rooms are aimed at couples, possibly newlyweds? Whatever, if you have a spare 1.13 million to throw around why not take a trip on the Orient Express, or similar?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Visitor-friendly See in context

Err, look at the article to the left of this picture...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Ever since Tokyo Olympic bid ambassador Christel Takigawa used the word "omotenashi" - a term expressing the spirit of Japanese selfless hospitality - in her speech to the IOC last week, it has become See in context

Ms. Takigawa certainly made a good presentation speech - but, really, would any country represent itself as "heartless and abrupt" or "stickler for rules"? this morning's TV has already had a feature on shop owners' "omotenashi spirit" in relation to visitors to Japan. It is an admirable quality when offered with sincerity: let's hope the meaning doesn't become empty through overuse and convention.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: Abe pledges to boost Japan's defense capability See in context

Defending the entire country and resisting radiation - all Abe needs now is a red cape and a pair of tights.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Posted in: Going round in circles: Japan considers introducing roundabouts See in context

I think it is a good idea, and have thought so for many years. Some of the comments regarding "speedy decisions" and "driving temperament " are a bit bewildering - For a country with so many vehicles the majority of regular drivers do very well, especially compared to, just off the top of my head, Russia. YouTube is awash with hopeless driving from there.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Tritium levels spike at Fukushima nuclear plant See in context

Some brave soul (Satou-san) has just said "300 years" for a cool-off period RIGHT OUT LOUD, on the telly and everything. I suppose at least some of the popular morning TV is reporting about the situation - quite a frank appraisal. Of course, there was no segue into related topics, such as distribution of funds or the ongoing search/rescue of people and animals. No! We couldn't do that - it's off topic, and that would never do. Let's keep all topics in their own pigeon holes, because, heaven forbid, it may encourage DISCUSSION and possibly DISSENT and other awkward words beginning with "D".

2 ( +3 / -1 )

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