Sensato's past comments

  • 1

    Sensato

    Some time ago I heard that a similar movie was in the works based on a book about Olympic runner Louis Zamperini who was a POW in the Omori camp (near present-day Omori Station and Shinagawa station on the Keihon Tohoku Line). I wonder if there are still plans to make that into a movie.

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

  • 5

    Sensato

    The woman’s absence seems to have struck a particularly sensitive nerve with Koichi Gono, a Saitama prefectural assemblyman who was a guest at her school’s ceremony. “She is lacking in appreciation of her duties as a homeroom teacher, and also in ethics as an educator,” he fumed. “This also gives me doubts as to the administrative capabilities of the school’s principal.”

    This sort of anti-family attitude is a major reason I quit my teaching position years ago. The breaking point for me was when senior faculty told me I should limit my family visits to my home country to once every two years, so that instead I could be available to them over the entire summer for camps, clubs and other duties.

    I know of male Japanese teachers who have even missed births of their children because senior faculty required them to take part in school trips or camps. There are lots of latch-key children in Japan whose parents are teacher and often stuck in unproductive meetings until late at night.

    Posted in: Teacher criticized for attending son’s entrance ceremony instead of her own school’s

  • 3

    Sensato

    In North America apparently the most common word for this is "grandparent scam," also sometimes "granny scam" or "emergency scam."

    Here is a link to an FBI website alerting people to the dangers of this crime, "The Grandparent Scam – Don't Let It Happen to You". http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2012/april/grandparent_040212

    Posted in: 3 teens arrested for conning elderly people out of Y400 mil

  • 15

    Sensato

    Japanese rice is ideal for certain foods like sushi. I just wish Japan offered many more varieties of rice beyond slight variations of japonica.

    When ordering Thai, Spanish, Indian, Italian or other cuisines in Japan it is almost always paired/made with sticky japonica, rather than with indica, jasmine, basmati, bomba, arborio or other rice varieties.

    Posted in: How do you think the taste of Japanese rice compares with rice produced in other countries?

  • 2

    Sensato

    Sumire Matsubara apparently graduated from Punahou School in Hawaii and then studied at Carnegie Mellon University.

    Here is a video of her with her mother: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEdEGHxQTkw

    Posted in: Looking good

  • 0

    Sensato

    “It is extremely unproductive that a Chinese leader makes such remarks about Japanese history in a third country,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

    Remarks about Japanese history? Whether or not they were 'unproductive,' Xi's remarks were about the shared history of China and Japan.

    Posted in: Japan berates China's Xi over Nanjing remarks in Berlin

  • 13

    Sensato

    “The government will examine the statement, but we will not revise it,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

    What does that even mean? More silly word games.

    I wish these lawmakers would just stick to the task of improving relations with Japan's neighbors and bringing the Japanese economy back to health.

    Posted in: Suga repeats Japan won't revise 1993 apology to wartime 'comfort women'

  • 3

    Sensato

    According to Wikipedia, the official name of was changed from Kamagasaki (釜ヶ崎) to Airin Chiku (あいりん地区) in 1966. I imagine many locals still refer to it by the old name.

    For an idea of what the place looks like, here are the results of a Google image search on Kamagasaki: http://goo.gl/jnDEQ4

    Posted in: Japan's biggest slum not on maps or in film festival

  • 3

    Sensato

    New Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe on Wednesday pledged to help mend Japan’s strained ties with China through city-level diplomacy

    Great news and a breath of fresh air in comparison to Masuzoe's predecessor Ishihara who went out of his way to exacerbate tensions with China/Korea, and largely sparked off the current bilateral mess.

    Anyway, I find it odd how Tokyo governors have come to take on the role of foreign affairs — probably a sign of a flailing national government. Nevertheless, I hope Masuzoe's approach on the city level leads to more constructive national-level diplomacy as well.

    Posted in: Tokyo governor vows to patch up relations with China

  • 0

    Sensato

    With the stock market up slightly today, gladly it is clear that this news didn't scare off equity investors.

    Counter intuitively, this news may have been slightly positive for the Nikkei and Japanese economy overall because of a consequently weaker yen and due to the fact that the pace of gains in exports outstripped that of imports.

    Still, I would like to see the BOJ opt for a substantial helicopter drop to kick start Japan's economy from the bottom up, rather than its current top-down, give-to-the-rich quantitative easing which is not working because the banks are refusing to lend.

    Posted in: Japan's trade deficit expands to Y800.3 bil in February

  • 4

    Sensato

    the soccer club coach had been seen verbally reprimanding the boy

    I suspect 'reprimand' is being used euphemistically here.

    I have seen first hand many jhs/hs coaches verbally attacking the young athletes on their teams. They do it persistently, viciously and publicly, well within the realm of verbal abuse. Seeing this still haunts me, and I will never again participate in a Japanese-led sports activity.

    This coaching approach is even encouraged by some of the mothers in the name of toughening up their children. Some of the youth seem to get fired up under this sort of pressure (still the wrong means to an end), but many others fold, some suffering from tragic mental anguish as a result.

    I know of at least one case where 'reprimand' from a coach (outside the school system) resulted in suicide of a teenager. (And no, the teenage suicides I know of did not make the newspapers, and were conveyed as accidents to the student body and part-time faculty) Japanese society has got to put a stop to this.

    Posted in: Boy seriously injured after jumping from 4th floor of school building

  • -1

    Sensato

    Japan’s trade ministry said Thursday it would take the unprecedented step of disclosing the names of firms that did not raise employees’ wages

    This is a great idea. I wish the U.S. government would do this with those large companies who pay poverty wages to the bulk of their workforce.

    Posted in: Ministry to name firms refusing to raise wages

  • 4

    Sensato

    I am pleasantly surprised, and very much encouraged, that Japan has taken this move — very responsible and commendable.

    Now, as mentioned in the last sentence of the article, I hope Japan's efforts do in fact encourage other nations to follow suit.

    Posted in: Japan to halve tuna catch in northern Pacific

  • 3

    Sensato

    It is sad that Japan lost the northern islands, but it could have been much worse for Japan given that the nation clearly came within months, maybe even weeks, of losing Hokkaido and possibly northern Honshu to Russia, as is apparent from the August 1945 timeline of the final days of the war. That would have meant many decades of an East-West Germany / North-South Korea type scenario for Japan.

    I would guess that Japan's fear of being occupied by Russia had much to do with its surrender, possibly more so than the nuclear bombs.

    Anyway, here is the timeline:

    August 6, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima August 8, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan August 9, atomic bombing of Nagasaki August 15, Hirohito broadcast his decision to surrender August 18, the Soviet Union captured the Northern Territories (after Japan's vow to surrender) September 2, Japan's formal surrender on board the USS Missouri

    Posted in: Ukraine crisis stirs Japanese memories over disputed islands

  • -12

    Sensato

    For the sake of children's safety, I wish they would close Kashiwa-area schools for the time being.

    Posted in: Man killed, 3 others stabbed in same street within 10 minutes in Chiba

  • 3

    Sensato

    Few Japanese people realize it, but because the ocean current flows from Japan to North America, debris from Japan regularly washes up on North American shores, particularly after storms (and historically particularly after other tsunamis). This has been happening for thousands of years. Although lots of this trash litters West Coast shorelines, it also at times provides some exciting finds for beachcombers.

    Historically, every once in a great while Japanese fishermen would even wash up on those shores. The last time this happened I believe was in 1834 when three Japanese fishermen, Iwakichi, Kyukichi, and Otokichi washed up in northwest Washington State (details on Wikipedia). They later made their way down to the Hudson's Bay Company in Astoria, Oregon (home of the first English speaker to teach English in Japan, Ranald MacDonald, who came to Japan in 1848). In 1837, an American merchant ship tried to repatriate them, but the vessel was repealed by cannon fire in Edo Bay.

    Posted in: 70 Japanese students volunteer to help clean Canada’s shores of tsunami debris

  • 5

    Sensato

    I'm surprised that JT has not reported on Chinese-American Gary Locke who has just left his post as U.S. ambassador to China. This has a direct bearing on the situation unfolding between Japan and China.

    After Locke's parting speech where he asserted that China needs to cool tensions with Japan, China's state run news agency called him a banana ("yellow on the outside, white on the inside"), adding that "after a while, a banana will inevitably start to rot."

    Locke is the former governor of Washington State, is otherwise very well respected at home, and comes with superb credentials for the post of Ambassador.

    Here is the story from the Seattle PI: http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/China-attacks-taunts-Ambassador-Gary-Locke-calls-5277106.php

    Posted in: Japan says it is puzzled by new China WWII national days

  • 1

    Sensato

    I am fascinated by the idea of virtual currencies, but clearly they are only as good as the exchanges that hold investors' funds.

    Given the huge amount that has gone missing and the number of years involved in its disappearance, Mt Gox lacked obviously any and all safeguards that would be considered normal with a financial firm handling 'real' money — no regular audits, sound governance structure or internal controls — a situation made possible by the Wild West mentality of Bitcoin overall.

    This time around it is Mt Gox, but I would guess that other Bitcoin firms operate using similar practices, making it highly likely that another Bitcoin exchange will hit the front pages in the near future. I wouldn't sock my savings away in Bitcoin quite yet.

    Posted in: Bitcoin blunder

  • 2

    Sensato

    “The public junior high school after-school club advisory system is definitely illegal!!”

    This most definitely is blatantly illegal with respect to Japanese labor law, particularly when you consider the non-classroom extras that every full-time teacher must volunteer for — year-long clubs/sports held most days after school, and all day Saturdays, Sundays, national holidays, summer vacations; parent briefing sessions, all varieties of "camps" (ski camps, overnight study camps, club camps) coupled with other non-class-related preparation and extracurricular activities (school excursions, festivals, events, standardized exam proctoring, duties with the entrance exam process, and much more — an endless laundry list).

    Teachers are supposed to clock in and clock out by stamping a "shukinbo" (出勤簿) attendance record with their seals (hanko), and that record is checked several times a year by Japan's labor department. This means, to sidestep these labor violations teachers face subtle pressure not to stamp in when doing the extras. Lots of undocumented overtime, very little paid overtime.

    Posted in: Is Japan overworking its teachers? One exhausted educator says, 'YES!'

  • 7

    Sensato

    One officer consoled the boy and reunited him with his parents as others worked to get a Japanese-speaking officer on the phone.

    Patrolmen took the family to a motel and wished them safe travels.

    When I started reading this article, I feared this would be yet another case of gratuitous U.S. law enforcement paramilitary-style overkill -- there are just too many stories of "shoot first, ask questions later" encounters coming out of America these days.

    Anyway, I am very relieved to hear that the officers practiced empathy in dealing with these tourists who, granted, should have used minimal common sense in this situation.

    Like the some above posters, the dim-witted behavior on the part of the tourists was at least in part a consequence of the ubiquity of Japanese police who drive constantly with their reds and blues flashing for no apparent reason. People here rarely pull over in those cases, even when an ambulance is trying to get through.

    Posted in: Confused Japanese tourists trigger highway pursuit in Utah

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