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kurumazakaOct. 07, 2014 - 10:04AM JST
I like the four distinct seasons here. Being raised in northern Arizona, where winter basically lasts from late September to mid May and "spring" is a mix of snow, freezing rain, or 60mph wind, Tokyo weather is pretty darn nice.
Posted in: 10 instances when Japanese people feel thankful to be Japanese
kurumazakaOct. 07, 2014 - 09:45AM JST
I'm not an English teacher so I can't comment about specific curriculum issues, but it would seem that a focus on phonics would be helpful. It must be discouraging for someone who has gotten good grades in English to try to speak to an English speaker and draw blank stares because they don't understand a word that has been said to them. I used to see this back in New York all the time. Japanese tourists at Starbucks saying "hooto Koohi pureezu" while the barista just gives them this "what the heck are you asking?" look. I can say from my own experience with nihongo that such things made me just want to crawl under a rock and stop speaking all together. I mean, one of those girls was sitting at her table reading "Gone with the Wind" in English. She was not incompetent in the language, but her spoken English was all but unintelligible. Seems a lot of these problems could be solved with a focus on phonics. And for gods sake, after phonics is taught, there should be no katakana in any English textbooks. Nothing quite like teaching your students how to say nearly everything wrong.
Posted in: What’s wrong with English education in Japan? Pull up a chair
kurumazakaSep. 16, 2014 - 10:02AM JST
Ichiro's Malt makes some damn fine spirits. The Wine Wood Reserve is splendid! As good as I have ever had. As for Suntory, I Like Hakushu, but don't see what the big deal about Yamazaki is. It's not "bad" but for that price you can do a lot better...As in, pretty much anything from Nikka. Both Yoichi and Miyagiko (and even the Taketsuru blend) are much better than Yamazaki, for considerably less.
Posted in: Japanese whisky makers in high spirits as accolades pour in
kurumazakaSep. 05, 2014 - 09:54AM JST
While I certainly have nothing good to say about the Ferguson militia, I mean, "police," the little tidbit about black motorists being stopped nearly twice as often as white motorists really doesn't tell us anything when 7 out of 10 Ferguson residents are African American. Anyone know what percentage of the remaining 3% is actually white? Not defending Ferguson PD, but can't their critics come up with an actually relevant example of discrimination?
Posted in: U.S. Justice Department to investigate Ferguson police
kurumazakaSep. 05, 2014 - 09:36AM JST
Not bad for a 41 year old mother of two small children. "Not bad?" Who am I kidding? Ryoko is rocking! She looks better than ever!
Posted in: Ryoko Shinohara’s smoldering lingerie ad is a Triumph
kurumazakaSep. 05, 2014 - 09:32AM JST
Call me a dinosaur, but I never even activated iCloud for my phone.
Posted in: Celebrity hack puts focus on Internet 'cloud'
kurumazakaJul. 16, 2014 - 02:36PM JST
I second the votes for Tanimura, Oda and Hirai. While he's still relatively new, would add Shimizu Shota as well. He got a standing ovation at the Apollo when he performed there.
Posted in: Japan’s 10 best singing voices as chosen by people in the industry
kurumazakaJul. 15, 2014 - 09:22AM JST
Kind of surprised Kyosuke Himuro (especially from the BOowy years) didn't make the list.
kurumazakaJul. 15, 2014 - 08:44AM JST
Any Koji Tamaki fans out there should check out Sapporo based musician Yuya Hoshino. He is produced by Anzen Chitai guitarist Wataru Yahagi and frankly could step in for his obvious hero and have old Anzen Chitai fans wondering if they were listening to Tamaki himself. And he's a damn nice kid to boot!
kurumazakaJul. 01, 2014 - 04:12PM JST
Compared to their SMAP sempai, Arashi are actually pretty good. A Johnnies group harmonizing? Say it ain't so!
Posted in: Arashi announce largest dome tour ever
kurumazakaMar. 12, 2014 - 09:00AM JST
According to Wikipedia, the Japanese suzemebachi is a subspecies of the Asian giant hornet. Read a NatGeo article that said these nasty wasps have killed 42 people in northeast China. Like the suzumebachi, their favorite snack is entire hives of honeybees, which just a few can decimate in short order. Japanese honeybees have developed specialized defenses against them (they swarm the scout wasps, buzz violently, and literally cook them alive) but European honeybees are essentially defenseless.
Posted in: Asian hornets seen for first time in Japan
kurumazakaMar. 03, 2014 - 02:49PM JST
Don't know what the US can really do about this beyond some sort of sanction regime against Russia, which would of course be vetoed by the Russians (and possibly Chinese as well) in the Security Council. While my heart goes out to those Ukranians who desire to be a part of the EU, militarily the US/NATO has few, if any, viable options. Russia has all the numerical and geographic advantages, and crucially, the support of about half the Ukranian population. Russia had no trouble seizing Crimea because the predominatly ethnic Russian population welcomes the Russian military presence. What the heck is the US supposed to do about that?
Regarding Japan and the Northern Territories, this changes nothing. Russia was not going to return them anyway, regardless of whether Abe buddies up with Putin or not.
Regarding the Senkaku issue, China would be wise not to push its luck. Unlike Ukraine, the US military does have the ability to influence outcomes here.
Posted in: Japan expresses concern over Russia's Ukraine move
kurumazakaJan. 31, 2014 - 10:24AM JST
Have seen Clapton several times at Budokan and can say he still has it. And his side man is Doyle Bramhall II (with Derek Trucks on one tour), worth listening to on his/their own. Never been to a Stones show, but last live TV performance I saw (Super Bowl) was outright awful with Mick and Keith totally out of sync with each other. Ronnie Wood was the only bright spot in that performance. Jeff Beck is incredible!
Posted in: Big music acts coming to Japan one after another over next few months
kurumazakaDec. 20, 2013 - 01:24PM JST
Smith, as someone who lived in the City for 12 years I think you are underestimating how frequently this stuff happens. My then 9 year old son got his "Mr. Freindly" play backpack ripped off. My buddy chained his Haro freestyle BMX bike to a tree, came back 10 minutes later to find nothing but a cut chain. Another buddy had a cellphone snagged right off his table while he gabbed with friends. I myself had a Nautica umbrella stolen in a university admin office right off the back of my chair. Larceny is just a part of living in NYC.
Posted in: Anna Umemiya victim of pickpocket in New York
kurumazakaDec. 20, 2013 - 01:00PM JST
Have seen her live a few times (including super lucky front row on the rail for the Tokyo dome show). She works her tail off and her dancers are incredible! The "Feel" show was very well done. She was clearly having throat issues, actually coughing in a couple songs but just kept right on with it. Thanks for a great experience, Namie san!
Posted in: Namie Amuro back on top of charts after four years
kurumazakaDec. 20, 2013 - 12:33PM JST
That's NYC for ya. My wife got hit twice when we lived there. Once on the subway. She felt a slight tug on her bag as she was getting off the train, turned as the doors closed and the dude smiled and waved her wallet at her. The second in a Starbucks right behind my back. Dude used his two kids as a diversion. He had the little boy grab the wallet, he took it and stashed it somewhere, then came back and played dumb. Called the cops but couldn't find the stash spot so with no proof they had to let the creep go. He had already served time on Rikers twice for the same thing. NYC can be a rude awakening for someone straight out of Japan, (we had already been there for 8 years the second time and were considerbly more street smart) especially someone like Ms. Umemiya who seems to always be wearing thousands of dollars worth of clothing and jewelry. She is a walking bullseye.
kurumazakaDec. 12, 2013 - 09:12AM JST
Jean, as a guitar fan it is with more than a bit of embarrassment that up until about a year ago, I was one of those multitudes who knew nothing of Jim Hall. (many thanks to Jazzradio.com for the free education!) Mr. Hall and Joe Pass opened my eyes to the beauty of understated elegance. RIP Jim, hope you get to play with Joe up there.
Posted in: Jazz guitarist master Jim Hall dies at 83
kurumazakaNov. 27, 2013 - 09:02AM JST
Gee, would appear China may perhaps be trying to surround Taiwan?
Posted in: Japan receives int'l support over China air zone
kurumazakaNov. 27, 2013 - 08:50AM JST
Expect a lot more of the same. Would imagine this is going to be daily routine for a while.
Posted in: China says it monitored U.S. B-52 air zone flights
kurumazakaNov. 20, 2013 - 10:18AM JST
The more I ponder this the more I think the Abe govt. is being set up by Korea and China. What is Abe going to do when the South Koreans challenge him to publicly explain WHY Ahn is a mere criminal? Frankly, the international community doesn't pay much attention to SK/NK/China calling Japan unrepentantly militaristic because it's been used politically so many times, but what about if they could provoke the Abe government to actually say it themselves? How could they use the fallout from such an explanation as leverage in territorial disputes? The Abe government needs to stuff a sock in its mouth promptly.
Posted in: China praises Korean assassin whom Japan calls a 'criminal'
Oct. 31, 2014 - 04:33PM JST
Shooting down PRC plane is entirely not the business of Japan. Japan is still the…
Posted in: China calls on Japan to end jet scrambles
Oct. 31, 2014 - 04:30PM JST
As usual, one new scare (Ebola) has erased our memory of a previous one, something beginning…
Posted in: Yoyogi Park reopens after 57-day closure due to dengue fever
Oct. 31, 2014 - 04:16PM JST
China just got its face rubbed in it with Vietnam and Indian agreement over the South…
Oct. 31, 2014 - 04:13PM JST
Actually, in "Word" you can choose to use either American or British English with "centre" being…
Posted in: Why does 'Engrish' happen in Japan?
Oct. 31, 2014 - 04:03PM JST
It is Just about time for Japan to start shooting down china Defense force when crossing…