Wednesday, August 29, 2007
That has all changed now as Japan has some of the highest speed Internet connections in the world and a very high percentage of users connected to broadband. The situation has pretty much reversed. Basic prices are still slightly higher here I believe (not including broadband) but it is now very reasonable.
One has to wonder how this happened. One reason: In this area, the Japanese government actually (shockingly) forced competition by permitting smaller companies to rent NTT copper lines at cheap rates. The US did too for a while, but this all changed in 2003 when:
...the Federal Communications Commission and a federal court ruled that major companies do not have to share phone or fiber lines with competitors. The Bush administration did not appeal the court ruling.
"The Bush administration largely turned its back on the Internet, so we have just drifted downwards"
As the United States drifted, a prominent venture capitalist in Japan pounced on his government's decision to open up the country's copper wire.
Masayoshi Son, head of a company called Softbank, offered broadband that was much cheaper and more than six times as fast as NTT's. From The Washington Post: Japan's Warp-Speed Ride to Internet Future.
No problem, the US has been looking for WMD in Iraq. Just wait until the next election when perhaps a Democrat gets in. Everything will change then. AHAHAHAHA. Nothing will change. The US sees security as primarily military, and Japan sees it as economic.
Of course the US still holds the lead in complex financial schemes which nobody can clearly understand and are very good at sucking the naive or greedy into hopeless, long-term debt and then bailing out the investors who---both foreign and domestic---were naive or greedy enough to assist in the scheme. And we are very good at producing obese folks.
I just wish Japan would allow foreign computer makers more access to the market. It would be nice to get a up-to-date PC at a reasonable price instead of having to buy an old, out-of-date, Japanese brand clunker for a price higher than a good one costs. You can get Apple or IBM and a few others---at a high price---but I cannot find any Taiwanese made (or other origin) brands. But at least I can get good Internet access and service.
Friday, August 24, 2007
From the New York Times at the bottom of the article, Japanese Leader Hails Indians... about Abe's trip to India.
The shrine was, of course, Yasukuni.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
However, since he had touched on the Imperial Family in a less than worshipful way, it has agered the right wing extremists, who as is their usual way of handling these things, have threatened violence toward the publisher and author. Naturally, one can expect the Japanese authorites to take action against these thugs. AHAHAHAHA. Just joking.
"I have had death threats. They were saying things like, 'Die white pork!' They were quite racist,"
Hills' biography has ....drawn the ire of the Japanese government...
The new publisher reported:
"Just now, two black cars with ultranationalistic slogans on them are parking (next to) the building where my company address is. They are shouting hysterically, 'Stop the publication of Princess Masako' with huge loudspeakers," the e-mail said.
"Policemen are just watching them and let them do as much as they want to do. This is how your book is getting more and more popular in Japan before being published," Kitagawa said. From The Japan Times Online: 'Princess Masako' author, Tokyo publisher threatened
Racism in Japan? "Police" officers who do nothing? A government which not only allows this, but in effect supports and encourages it? Who'da thunk?
One, which discusses the real results of blind "bushidoism" (like ol' Barcode Fujiwara goes orgasmic over" is When the way of the samurai was pointless self-anniliation. by Philip Brasor.
Another, which would not be a big surprise to find in a normal Japanese newspaper concerns Akira Kimura's theory---based on research and evidence, unlike a lot of the nihonjinron nonsense---that the US obstructed Japan's surrender in WW2 to enable it to use nuclear bombs before the war ended as a way to put the USSR on notice. Kimura is not some sort of "Japan was an innocent victim" nut either, as he acknowledges that Japan was trying to develop a nuclear bomb during the war and would likely have used it had they been successful. (Few I have spoken to know, or believe that fact. I doubt many non-Japanese know it either. I read a book by one of the Japanese scientists involved over 15 years ago, but can no longer find the book in print.) You can read this article at The U.S. obstructed Japan's surrender to test nukes: claim by Michael Hoffman.
"Bill Hawker, who lives in central England, told The Times of London it was a "truly sadistic murder.
"It was a horrific murder. There was literally not a square inch of her body that wasn't badly bruised."
The Japanese "police" however, have not found the sleazeball yet. Perhaps they are too busy detaining and questioning British residents of Japan who violate local garbage ordinances.
The full story is at the Japan Times HERE.
Friday, August 17, 2007
She knows a British guy who was moving recently and while moving he decided to put some of his bigger unneeded items in the garbage. Unfortunately, this hardened criminal foreigner put it out without calling for pickup, in other words, he violated the garbage rules.
The landlord saw it and decided to call the "police" on this thug. The cops, displaying more skill and daring than they did when they tried to arrest the murder suspect in the slaying of a young British woman last spring, responded immediately and took said crook into custody. The held him for 5 hours, getting detailed information about such things as his salary etc (very pertinent to this felony.) Ultimately, he was released. He was very lucky that they did not keep him prisoner for 21 days.
The woman who told me this was stunned by it, calling Kanagawa's finest "idiots." Interestingly, when she was imitating the landlord calling the cops, she was using the term gaijin in a way that she assumed the landlord would. (She was imitating the landlord as if the landlord hated foreigners.) Sort of like some Americans use the N-word, or "gook" or similar. But of course, we hear especially from foreign apologists that gaijin is a neutral term. I have, however, given up on expecting that to change.
It is interesting that most Japanese seem to be as surprised and disgusted at this sort of thing as non-Japanese are. At least the ones whom I know and speak with who may not represent the average person react that way. I suspect that if the Japanese media ever started picking up on this kind of thing consistently and thoroughly, there would be embarrassment and negative reactions on the part of people towards the clowns doing it. But, that will never happen. These issues are largely ignored, and even if they did, you'd find a lot of foreign apologists defending the abuses of power in order to make sure their own little boat wasn't rocked.
This happened in Kanagawa where I used to live. The garbage collection rules are routinely violated there. If they detained everyone who does this, most of Kanagawa would be in police custody. Including the cops, I suspect.
Monday, August 13, 2007
...the number of disputes between individual workers and employers has increased, so the Ministry view is that the contractual rules between company and worker need to be clarified.
....The proposed law would apply to all aspects of employment contracts from hiring to retirement, seconding to related firms, or shifting a worker’s contract to another firm. Particular emphasis is placed on consolidating rules concerning “changes in labor conditions.” (From a Japan Focus article "A contract law that "enslaves" Japanese working people, by Suda Mitsuteru. You can read it HERE.)
And you can bet your last yen that in Japan that those "clarified" rules will always favor the employer. (No doubt it is heading that way in the US, but not so far, and not so fast. And it never started from the same point an of employer-favored environment anyway.)
Although this legislation has not yet been approved, it should worry anyone working in Japan. And after my experiences at 2 of my previous workplaces in Japan, the worst* of which was that eikaiwa company starting with a "B" and ending with "z" and spelled B-e-r-l-i-t-z, I am very concerned. This new law seems to mean that the company can do what it wants to a very large degree. What are you going to do about it---sue? In Japan? Got 20 years to wait and even if you do win, get an award of an absurdly small amount of money that wouldn't even cover 1/2 the legal expenses?
The author goes on to explain that the new law will mean that work rules will be entirely decided by the company unless they violate the law or a current contract (and as explained in the article, that latter exception may not be ironclad). All they need do is ask an opinion from the employees. It makes no difference what the opinion is, nor whether 100% object. As long as they ask for an opinion, that is all that will be needed.
*I wrote earlier about some of the experiences I (and others) had at Berlitz. In actuality, they needed change work rules as they tended to ignore them anyway if they thought they could get away with it.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
See Pro-Con: Should Japan apologize to "comfort women"? No.
Why does the US media insist on the Japanese phrase "comfort women" instead of sex slaves?
Do we also refer to the fire bombing of Tokyo as "overheating?" (Maybe we should just deny it happened. Firebombs? What firebombs? The US gov't and military were directly involved, it was oil interests.)
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Japan is the only first-world country which refuses to sign the Hague Treaty meant to protect children from international abduction. A short documentary film on this is on YouTube: Face the Truth. (Can't post it directly here as I cannot get my login to YouTube to work.)
Quote from the film: "Japan, the country of Japan stood up and stomped their feet and screamed 'North Koreans are bad.' They filed international Interpol arrest warrants against the abductors from North Korea. But what they neglected to tell anybody is that every year American children are abducted to Japan and protected by the Japanese government."
Most Japanese are likely not aware of this. One suspects few would support it.
The United States though says Japan deserves a seat on the UN Security Council.
Friday, August 03, 2007
I had trouble deciding if the blog writer was real or it was a spoof. He seems real. A good place to see some of what the rightwing thinks.
Has Abe read this yet? Could be more documentary evidence to support his version of history. Could give Bush a copy too. No translation needed, George could look at the pictures and even color them.
Japan Focus posted the following:
We are launching a subscription drive. We ask our subscribers to forward this newsletter with a note of your own to colleagues, friends, students and others who would benefit from a subscription to Japan Focus. They can subscribe to receive a weekly announcement and link to articles by going to http://japanfocus.orgJapan Focus is a peer-reviewed e-journal and archive on the Asia Pacific.
It's free and one of the best Japan-related sites on the Internet.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Man: "Haha, yes but Japan's are very distinct."
Me: "They are very distinct where I come from too. In fact, much, much more distinct than in the Tokyo area."
Gal: "We have many seasonal foods."
Me, the non-Japanese idiot: "Ah, but so do many other countries." Even in the US if you eat traditional food. (Not restaurant or packaged processed stuff.)
Gal "Mmmmm. But we have many different types of scenery in the seasons."
Baka Gaijin me: Oh, you mean like leaves that change colors, snow, mountains, beaches.."
Troublesome, evil foreigner who studied typing in English class instead of spelling: Doesn't the US have that?"
Gal: "Haha." Starts thinking of more nonsense. Refuses to give up as it is a known fact that Japan's seasons are different and better than anywhere else on earth.
I guess Fujiwara Masahiko-chan would say that the problem is that logic does not work, especially in Japan. One could make many arguments and provide tons of facts and evidence showing that Japan does not have unique seasons, but to do so would simply prove that logic is invalid. Japan has the world's most unique and distinct four seasons because it does. It's that simple.
I cannot resist digging at these nihonjinron myths anymore. I won't win any arguments as I am arguing a religious belief. Don't ever say that the Japanese are not religious. They are some of the most religious fundamentalists on earth. The religion is Japan, Japaneseness: Nihonjinron.
われわれ 日本人！ We are Japanese! (and you ain't so don't ever forget it!)
(I suppose US myths are just as irritating to immigrants in the US. All countries have their own and most folks believe them. Even people from other countries believe them too. Regardless, they are all myths. The USA is the freest country on earth specially blessed and chosen to lead by God. Canadians are all polite. Japanese is the world's safest country.)