Wonbatto's past comments

  • 1

    Wonbatto

    The Japan aviation market is starting to fill up with LCCs - Skymark, Peach, AirAsia, Jetstar. Solaseed. I know that newer entrants like Peach have already caused Skymark, the "original" LCC, to pull back on some routes. So I wonder how crowded the market is becoming, especially with fares so low, yields often low, and landing fees and labour costs high.

    LCC pricing pressure on the established carriers - JAL and ANA - hasn't been as intense as I would have thought. You will often find domestic fares x2-3 higher on ANA/JAL when booking with less than 4 weeks notice.

    Another problem was that the carrier focused on online sales—a key strategy for AirAsia—but many Japanese travelers still book flights through travel agents, Shimizu said.

    This doesn't surprise me, but I find it dismaying. In much of the rest of the world, the industry has completely moved in this direction of self-purchased tickets. There's no reason to rely on a middle-man when all you're booking is a simple domestic ticket. Consumers are backing themselves into a system where prices are artificially inflated, and not by a small amount. Would you seriously pay Y60,000 for a Haneda - Okinawa return ticket when a competitor is offering more or less the same product for Y20,000?

    Posted in: AirAsia, ANA part ways over management clashes

  • 1

    Wonbatto

    Seinfeld was funny for its time, especially compared to a lot of the other comedic rubbish on TV. But Arrested Development is a much better written comedy IMO and should be ranked more highly.

    I would rank the West Wing a bit higher also, at least for writing. Some of the plots became a bit more strained in later seasons, but the show's signature banter showcased some pretty solid writing talent.

    The Wire should rank near the top of the list, given that it is just about the greatest television program ever made.

    Posted in: 'Sopranos' listed best-written U.S. TV series, ahead of 'Seinfeld'

  • -1

    Wonbatto

    Pretty simple, do what was done in the Falklands a few weeks ago, a referendum... That would surely settle things.

    Referenda on what the people want don't usually sway larger powers who are pursuing historical territorial claims. The thinking goes, if some land belongs to them, it really doesn't matter what the people living there think. The referendum you mentioned certainly hasn't dampened Argentina's claims to the Falklands. (I happen to think that ignoring residents' desires on questions of sovereignty is a bad idea, especially those that date back decades or more).

    This whole idea that because the world map looked a certain way in 1870 (or pick any date centred on your own favoured golden age) that it must always look that way is just ludicrous. National borders change and people move. Sometimes the reasons are noble (e.g. independence movements) and sometimes they aren't (wars, forcible taking of lands). But it helps no one to stay so focused on the past that you can't move forward.

    Posted in: China should reconsider who owns Okinawa: People's Daily

  • 2

    Wonbatto

    Best time for it to happen! When the plane is safely on the ground. A non-event.

    I wouldn't call a fire on the ground a non-event. Recall China Airlines flight 120 at Okinawa a few years back

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Airlines_Flight_120

    Upon noticing an engine fire while pulling up to the gate, the pilot made a judgement call to evacuate. This turned out to be the right decision, as the plane exploded shortly after the last passenger escaped. This event, of course, was much less serious, as it could be extinguished.

    It's way to early to speculate on causes (manufacturer/maintenance/inspection schedule) though that won't stop many from trying. I'm just waiting for all of the comments from posters who will never fly this aircraft model or airline ever again because one bad incident made it into the news.

    Posted in: Plane's engine catches fire after landing at Osaka

  • 0

    Wonbatto

    Doesn't have enough money for food but has enough money for a smart phone?

    Yeah, and Y15,000/month at that. For one person? Maybe she needs to switch carriers.

    Posted in: Women use smartphone games to lure men into paying for their food expenses

  • 2

    Wonbatto

    Yet, he says, children in Kalimantan (Borneo) grow up free from such common maladies in Japan as atopic dermatitis, asthma and pollen allergies.

    I don't suppose he compared infant mortality and childhood death rates between Borneo and Japan. I know that lower levels of sanitation tend to correlate positively with low incidence of allergies and certain chronic conditions in children, but the cost is usually higher mortality in the first year of life.

    I think there's probably something to the idea that there can be too much cleanliness and endeavouring to kill all bacteria is a bad thing, but my worry is more from overuse of antibiotics than people running the washlet too long.

    And to reduce the impact of free radicals, one should chew one’s food well—at least 30 seconds for each mouthful.

    I'm going to say I have my doubts on this one.

    Posted in: National obsession with cleanliness bodes ill for health

  • 2

    Wonbatto

    Tokyo is indeed a safe city, and it's fair to tout that relative safety as part of an overall bid for a large event like the Olympics.

    But to somehow claim immunity from terrorism publicly not 24 hours after a bombing in an otherwise relatively safe major city? That's pretty low. Major violent attacks may be rare in Tokyo, but they are rare in most of the developed world. They stick out in our minds in part because they are so rare. Tokyo may be safe for a large city, but a cursory look at its history shows that it's far from immune to violent mass killings, and I don't need to list them here. Is Mizuno really going to claim that terrorist attack is so much less likely than most other candidate cities?

    If I were on the IOC, I'd take these comments as a strike against Tokyo's bid, unless the city's government wishes to quickly distance themselves from them.

    it is "not very clever" to target the Olympics and become the "enemy of the whole world."

    I don't think making enemies deters terrorists and other mass murderers.

    Posted in: Tokyo Olympic bid chief vows 'safe' Games after Boston blasts

  • 3

    Wonbatto

    Natural background levels are 24 millisieverts a year in America.

    Where in the US are background levels this high found? Background levels vary by location and altitude, but in the US (and worldwide) they are on the order of 2-3mSv/yr. 24mSv/yr is typical only of very high altitude (like cruising altitude for a plane, not where people live).

    20mSv/yr may be a reasonable cutoff for adults - I'm no expert on radiation health effects, but occupational limits for adults tend to be ~50mSv/yr in many countries, so some fraction of that seems appropriate. But if the science on low level radiation effects on adults is spotty (and it is) then there are even fewer data on what threshold is appropriate for children. It should, however, be lower than that for adults.

    I would hope that whatever limits set are based on data available and neither are lowered in response to irrational panic nor raised for political purposes. But we know there's low chance of that.

    Posted in: Lawsuit seeks evacuation of Fukushima children

  • 2

    Wonbatto

    A full embargo worked to help change South Africa, so there is no reason to suppose it wont work with communist Cuba.

    Sanctions against South Africa were more of an exception than a rule when it comes to effecting change in a country's domestic policy. They were targeted to one specific set of policies and had broad support among many other countries. But, like the fall of the USSR, the fall of apartheid in South Africa owed more to leaders coming to power who had a conscience than it did to external pressure.

    There's plenty of reason to believe that sanctions against Cuba will not bring significant change - they haven't worked for the past >50 years, and have almost no support by the international community. Fidel ruled Cuba through 9 US presidents and his brother rules through a 10th. Even looking at this objectively, I'm not sure at what point you pack up and say this isn't working, let's try a different approach.

    Posted in: U.S. lawmakers seek reason for Beyonce, Jay-Z trip to Cuba

  • 0

    Wonbatto

    And many of those slaughtered would be North Korean military personnel. For this reason, I believe Kim Jong-Un would refrain from ordering a suicidal cross-border invasion on his own.

    If anyone in the Kim family gave a hoot about the average citizen of North Korea, the country would look a bit different from its current state. The Kim family's primary (and perhaps only) objective is to remain in control of the country and keep the cognac budget liquid.

    North Korea will not launch an all out invasion because it risks starting a war that, while bloody and not quick, they would undoubtedly lose. That's the reason the uneasy truce will likely remain.

    Posted in: Evacuation warnings, missile fears stoke N Korea crisis

  • 4

    Wonbatto

    Reading about these sorts of attacks sickens me more than most of the horrid violence that makes it into the news on a daily basis. Acid (and similar) attacks on women aren't simply an assault on an individual - they're an assault on the idea that women are entitled to have an education, seek employment, choose their own marriage partner, and otherwise have a place in the public square on par with men. That day is coming when women everywhere will enjoy those rights, but clearly we're not there yet. Not only do the attackers not want to see that day, they also see violent acts as horrific as this as an acceptable means to stop it.

    Posted in: 4 Indian sisters maimed in acid attack

  • 0

    Wonbatto

    I wish there were more low sugar options among the coffee drinks. Most are sickly-sweet, and the few with no sugar added are black. You can find some low sugar options at convenience stores, but from vending machines is more difficult.

    Posted in: What do you think of all the coffee drinks and products sold in Japan, either in cafes, convenience stores and vending machines? Anything you recommend?

  • 2

    Wonbatto

    in this modern age narita should operate 24 hours per day as it is a very important hub for the pacific and asia

    Read the history of Narita Airport and you'll see why it doesn't. Narita was a good example of a halfway-done public works project that tried to appease so many different interest groups that the end result doesn't do much of what was intended - to build a premier international gateway for Japan as well as a transit point for intercontinental visitors to Asia.

    Narita coasted for a long time with Tokyo being such a major business and leisure destination for foreign visitors, as well as its position as a natural stopover point for visitors from the Americas (and Europe, to a lesser extent). As other regional hubs become more important (Seoul, Hong Kong, various China cities) and aircraft become more efficient, allowing point-to-point trips that don't require connections, Narita's importance will diminish. The restrictions on its size and operation will make it uncompetitive compared to the alternatives.

    Posted in: Narita Airport operating hours to be extended until midnight in some situations

  • 0

    Wonbatto

    Canada is a wonderful country and there is much to admire about Canadian society, but too many Canadians tend to define themselves by what they are not - not the US. They would do well to carve out their own identity.

    Aside from being in extremely poor taste, such a comment is just too simplistic - is the overall crime rate really lower at an urban university in Toronto than, say a rural university in the US?

    Mr. Keddy is a Conservative MP from a riding in Nova Scotia. Halifax, which borders his riding, had a homicide rate of 4.4/100,000, putting it higher than Seattle and San Diego, and not too far behind New York City. Other parts of the US do have higher rates of violent crime, but overall we're not talking about gaps that ought to provoke a crisis of conscience among parents looking to send their children abroad for an education.

    There are plenty of reasons to consider Canada for educational opportunities. But if you need to instill fear and backhandedly criticize parents who have considered alternatives as somehow negligent, then perhaps you're not so good at articulating those reasons.

    Posted in: Our communities are extremely safe. Most Canadians are very friendly. If you are a Japanese parent and if you are thinking of your child going for a foreign education for whatever reason, what is happening in the U.S., it would be very difficult, I think, in clear conscience to send your child there.

  • 2

    Wonbatto

    Pretty silly idea actually. If the goal is to really turn off the lights and get people back to some sort of eco-nirvana again with mother nature then people being people will resort to burning wood again and we'll end up with deforestation and smog like you've never seen in the past as the result.

    I'd disagree. I think there's a middle ground between those who have a naive desire to return to some idyllic age (read: when life was hard and people died) and those who turn on all the lights in the house just for the heck of it.

    We certainly need energy sources to drive the economy and our standard of living (which almost everyone aspires to) but there is a lot of wastage of energy and it does have a concrete impact on the environment. Reducing waste isn't going to go too far to eliminate reliance on fossil fuels in the near term, but if nothing else, reducing energy consumption reduces demand on the power grid and saves some money in the process. Sometimes all we need is a little reminder.

    Posted in: World landmarks go dark for Earth Hour

  • 3

    Wonbatto

    The SDF is good enough to keep Japan free.

    This is at the crux of Japan's national defence policy - no government in the past 50 years has agreed with this statement. The LDP and DPJ both see alliance with the US as necessary for Japan's long-term security interests given the current role of the JSDF and the limitations of the constitution. If Japan is going to reduce or eliminate dependence on the US for national defence (and I firmly believe that it should) then Japan first needs to reach some national consensus on the role of the JSDF and whether it can meet Japan's long-term security objectives. Until that happens, there will be no major realignment of the Alliance with the US and likely no major reduction of the number of US forces stationed here.

    I do believe that it's long overdue for Japan to have a discussion on how it can meet its own national defence needs without reliance on the US. The status quo is unsustainable (especially vis-a-vis Okinawa's heavy burden of both US and JSDF facilities) and this is something that the US and Japan should have realized long ago. But until that discussion happens, there won't be any fundamental changes.

    Posted in: Gov't submits Futenma base relocation plan to Okinawa

  • -2

    Wonbatto

    @Yubaru makes a good point that at the time Henoko was chosen as the relocation site, the mayor of Nago at the time was in favor of the relocation, as was Nakaima. It's exceptionally difficult to sign international agreements if local politicians expect to have some veto power, especially when the positions of local politicians aren't consistent.

    The Henoko relocation has been decoupled from the other base realignment, meaning that the plan to close most bases on the southern part of Okinawa will proceed independent of Henoko's completion. This was decided last year and was in recognition of the fact that Henoko's completion is well behind schedule. Ironically, decoupling the two issues may mean that Futenma's closure will take much longer than if they had been kept together.

    There was a good article in the NY Times last year talking to residents of Henoko village and asking them what they think of the relocation. It's one of the few examples I've seen of anyone asking them what they think. Not surprisingly, the views are a bit more nuanced than those that the local politicians state publically:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/15/world/asia/okinawan-views-on-us-military-presence-are-nuanced.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    The US, for their part, haven't done a good job of articulating to the public why a Marine Air base is necessary to keep within the prefecture. Then again, it's rare that local politicians expect to have veto power over what is essentially a matter of national defence policy.

    Posted in: Gov't submits Futenma base relocation plan to Okinawa

  • 6

    Wonbatto

    China has territory dispute with neighbors. However it has not used excessive force so far.

    The people of Tibet, Vietnam, Taiwan, India, Russia, etc. would beg to differ. I don't think that China (the civilian government, anyway) is necessarily looking for armed conflict to resolve this territorial dispute, but let's not pretend that China would never resort that.

    Posted in: China's new diplomats signal thaw with Japan, keeping U.S. at bay

  • 3

    Wonbatto

    It troubles me greatly that so highly placed of a leader in the Catholic Church would be so cavalier in condoning a war of aggression in which nearly 1000 lives were lost. Though he was bishop of Buenos Aires at the time, he is now the leader of a "catholic" Church, and just as much the spiritual leader of British, Argentinian, and Falkland Islander Catholics alike. I hope he is wise enough to distance himself from his past statements and not become involved in what can most charitably be described as a territorial dispute.

    Posted in: Delicate diplomacy: Pope meets Argentine president

  • 3

    Wonbatto

    North Koreans have many relative in South Korea. How on earth, they want to nuke South Korea which is sharing the blood, custom, culture and history? They may nuke Japan. South Korea is very unlikely scenario.

    This did not stop the North from instigating and prosecuting a war in which many thousands of South Koreans died. Given the North Korean government's treatment of most of its own citizens, I think it's fair to say that it has little regard for the well being of anyone living north or south of the DMZ.

    Posted in: N Korea can't hit America, but South Korea and Japan in range

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