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samwattersAug. 04, 2015 - 10:48AM JST
My 8 year old son and I just came back from a day at Shikotsuko, a lake that is held in notoriety for the number of people who have drowned in it. In water up to 8 feet deep I taught my son how to roll on his back and kick if he is having trouble getting to shallow water (called the "dead man's flop" in my native Michigan), how to sit on the bottom on the lake and tread water with his arms and legs. We had a blast while people lined the beach, pointed and even took pictures. Like most other kids in Tomakomai, my son goes to swimming school (and his is good ) but there is just no comparison between swimming in an enclosed space with heated water with no waves and swimming in a natural body of cooler water.
Posted in: 10 water-related deaths reported across Japan on Sunday
samwattersAug. 03, 2015 - 03:52PM JST
Make this man president of Korea today. China, take note of how a person uses their eyes to focus on the bigger picture.
Posted in: The U.S. and Japan are moving forward as allies, and we are being held back because we cannot get out of the past. Historical aspects are overwhelming the security dimension, and people are wondering whether this is right.
samwattersJul. 24, 2015 - 10:10PM JST
Dear Mr. Abe, this is an open letter to you on how you can save the 2020 Olympics and maybe even your tattered reputation. Call a news conference and announce that the name of the 2020 Olympics will be changed from "Tokyo" to "Kanto." Then announce that all of the events for the 2020 Olympics will be held in existing facilities in the Kanto area. Rennovate the stadiums such as Yokohama that hosted the 2002 World Cup with Korea but do not build anything new. Announce that the time has come to stop spending billions and billions of dollars for a two week sports festival when the world economy is still in the dumps and especially when Tohoku is still a disaster and their is a looming social security disaster. Tell all construction companies that all contracts are now null-and-void; sure, they'll scream but it will blow over. Tell the IOC if they don't like it then they can leave---here's a secret; they can't. No legitimate country can or wants to pay the nonsensical fees for hosting the Games. The people of Japan will love you and may even turn out in numbers greater than 30% to vote for the LDP in the next election. The rest of world will also applaud your courage and vision---two qualities you are not known for----and you may even win a Nobel Peace Prize. Sincerely, Sam Watters.
Posted in: Abe chairs task force on Olympics with 5 years to go
samwattersJul. 24, 2015 - 12:29PM JST
After listening to a particular venomous discussion in which my students from China complained about Japan's actions during WWII I asked the following questions and received the following answers:
1.) What are China's biggest problems right now?
Answers: Pollution, government oppression (no open internet, etc.) white collar crime and cronyism.
2.) Have you personally experienced any of the brutality?
3.) How does Japan's WWII crimes contribute to problems mentioned in the first question?
Answer: Dead silence.
4.) Do you think Japan has apologized enough?
5.) How many times should it apologize?
Answer: It's not how many times that matters. It's the sincerity that matters.
6.) Describe a sincere apology for me.
Answer: Dead silence.
The class ran out of time before I could explain the concept of the whipping boy.
Posted in: China envoy warns Japan not to backtrack on WW2 remorse
samwattersJul. 24, 2015 - 08:04AM JST
Depends if the bow comes after a contracted promise to pay restitution.
Posted in: Bowing is an important outward sign of contrition by Japanese company executives caught up in a scandal. But how sincere do you think the act of bowing is, as an apology?
samwattersJul. 19, 2015 - 12:55PM JST
Good on the Japanese for standing up! These protests suggest that Japan is not the collective herd of sheep they are sometimes made out to be.
Now an observation. With the exception of Kim Jon Un in North Korea, Abe is the most thin-skinned leader I have seen in my lifetime. He simply cannot emotionally nor intellectually handle disagreement or failure; notice how "Abenomics" is a term that has disappeared in the last couple of months now that the economy again appears headed south. There was also a priceless article in the Japan Times reporting on how infuriated Abe was Kensuke Kuwata of the Southern All-Stars made a parody of Abe during the annual Kohaku Music/Singing Contest held on New Year's Eve. Kuwata was reportedly coerced to apologize. Young children have more emotional maturity than Abe.
Regardless, Abe will the re-election in September as now one will stand against him (I personally believe that the "scandal" engulfing Yuko Obuchi was a set-up to remove a rising star who was perceived as a threat). I think his re-election will further erode his popularity (remember, Abe has been receiving less and less votes since 2009) and the unrest will continue and grow.
I see this playing out in two ways. 1.) Abe has health problems and steps down late this year or early 2016 and the Article 9 revision gets shelved. That is the best case scenario. 2.) Abe plays the "national security" and "state secrets" cards and has a China-like crackdown on the populace. Needless to say this is bad for all of Asia.
Posted in: Abe's support rate plummets after defense bills pass lower house
samwattersJul. 17, 2015 - 01:56PM JST
"Funny how these almost daily mass shootings in the US only qualify as terrorism when it is a Muslim pulling the trigger. Don`t remember anyone bringing up the T word when that white guy shot up a church full of black people a few weeks ago."
Nope, you're right. Then it was called "racism" which is what it was. Guy who did it is in jail now where he belongs.
Posted in: Four Marines killed in Tennessee shooting rampage
samwattersJul. 17, 2015 - 01:14PM JST
Cleo, I agree with you that guns are far too easy to get a hold of but this man's religious faith was the deciding factor in his decision to kill four people. If he didn't have a gun he would have gotten a knife or an axe like the Muslims in England used when the killed a member of the military.
samwattersJul. 17, 2015 - 12:41PM JST
In the long run, it might actually be in Japan's favor to be the first country to say: "This is getting out of hand, we need to build something within our means and make sure that it can continue to make a profit in the years to come with out becoming a financial burden to the public". The cost vs. return is getting out of hand with the Olympics and the IOC really needs to be put in check with the realities of their games..
Posted in: Architect Ando defends selection of Olympic stadium design as anger grows
samwattersJul. 13, 2015 - 05:55PM JST
My heart goes out to the family. At the same time I am utterly shocked and how badly the majority of Japanese people are at swimming in lakes or oceans. Maybe it's because the majority of them swim in pools with no waves or currents but once they get into anything over their shoulders it's bad, really bad.
Posted in: 8 year-old boy drowns in Lake Biwa
samwattersJul. 10, 2015 - 07:33AM JST
Of course there are no problems; they're politicians.
Posted in: 2020 Olympics minister says donations were appropriate
samwattersJul. 09, 2015 - 09:54PM JST
And you will also spend 120% of all the money you collect, making the debt worse and therefore requiring another tax hike in a few years. What happens when you've finally bled the public dry and it cannot bear another increase in tax rates or a all together new tax? We don't want to think about that, do we? But that day is not to far off, is it?
Posted in: Unless something really unusual like a large economic shock happens, if things are in a normal state, we’ll definitely raise the sales tax in 2017.
samwattersJul. 06, 2015 - 05:27PM JST
"Minors, that is, people under the age of 20, are fundamentally different to adults as their brains are not fully developed."
Maybe so but the brains of 18 year olds are developed enough to know the difference between right and wrong and therefore the consequences should not be softened.
Posted in: Minors, that is, people under the age of 20, are fundamentally different to adults as their brains are not fully developed. Sending them to an adult prison would only make matters worse.
samwattersJul. 04, 2015 - 11:07AM JST
"You may have heard that Japan is obsessed with youth, which is ironic for a country with an ageing population, this is ironic."
It is redundant to use "ironic" twice in the same sentence I think it is redundant.
Posted in: Poll asks: Is a woman 'middle-aged' at 30? 40? 50?
samwattersJun. 23, 2015 - 10:59PM JST
"Reported ny NHK or not, Amb Kennedy was there, She is fluent in Japanese language."
She does? I don't think so.
Posted in: Abe heckled at ceremony in Okinawa on 70th anniversary of battle
samwattersJun. 21, 2015 - 09:24PM JST
Military action cannot stop an ideology but it can show its practioners that there are consequences for lunatic behavior.
Posted in: Can Islamic State be eradicated by military means?
samwattersJun. 21, 2015 - 12:49PM JST
One note about the pensions and lack of speding power; Abe and his cronies just past a law basically ending all chances of the younger generation getting full-time work. Before Abe gutted it, the law said that companies must upgrade temporary workers to full-time status after three years of work. The new law, that Abe claims will help part-time workers, now says that companies can keep any and all positions as temporary for as long as they like.
Now here is how this will likely play out.
1.) Number of full-time workers drops to record lows.
2.) Women most likely won't marry a man who isn't employeed full time. Number of marriages and children born drops to new record lows.
3.) Number of tax payers and amount of taxes collected by government drops to record lows (remember dear politicians; you can only tax what people make so if the average Kenji/Keiko is making less money that means you get less tax revenue).
4.) Government panics and finds that it has painted itself into a corner as raising taxes will not the situation worse but cutting government programs will be even worse.
If Japan can keep its head for 20 years until most of the Baby Boomers pass away and most of the Social Security debt with them (and I am not suggesting that the Boomers have caused this debacle) it might be OK but I am not confident.
Posted in: Pinched pensions limit Japanese consumer clout
samwattersJun. 13, 2015 - 09:38PM JST
Japan needs to; it's the only way to take back some political power from the elderly who are making disasterous choices for future generation in order to continue their comfortable lives.
Posted in: Do you think lowering the voting age to 18 in Japan is a good idea?
samwattersJun. 07, 2015 - 11:51AM JST
You guys are next! Get ready for it! Nobody wants the 2022 Games since Norway/Sweden told you to take a long walk off a short dock and then published your outrageous demands that find it's way into a Dan Wetzle column. First FIFA and next the IOC. The days of billion-dollars paydays for sports festivals while the world is in a depression are coming to an end.
Posted in: IOC leaders meet with eye on FIFA scandal
samwattersJun. 07, 2015 - 11:49AM JST
I tend to be a conspiracy theorist/nut and wonder if maybe some of the leaks aren't planted as a means to pre-empt a decision that is going to be unpopular. Take the Nenkin situation for example; it's only a matter of time before the government is going to have to cut the amount of money the program pays out but the excuse that "hackers hurt the system" will probably be easier to swallow than "we politicians wasted the money on other things."
Posted in: Hardly a week goes by where we don't hear about a massive data leak at some company or government organization. Does such news make you uneasy?
Vast Right-Wing Conspirator
Aug. 04, 2015 - 06:43PM JST
What lingering issue, the issue that Korea is too embarrassed to thank Japan for contributing to…
Posted in: Asia News Weekly - Lingering issues between South Korea and Japan
Aug. 04, 2015 - 06:42PM JST
Nessie: The absence of white allows me to see the font as you type them. Now,…
Posted in: 5 interview questions employers in Japan are no longer allowed to ask
Aug. 04, 2015 - 06:35PM JST
fxgai: "QFs, SFs, and maybe finals and wins."
Try not to bet your tennis professional opinion…
Posted in: Stronger Nishikori seeks return to US Open final
Aug. 04, 2015 - 06:32PM JST
Last year the first typhoon to hit mainland Japan was around Uminohi, same as this year…
Posted in: Soudelor targets Japan, China as most powerful storm of 2015
It is Wallaroo or something who said.
Why doesn't Abe do the same?
Posted in: U.S. drops atomic bombs on Japan in 1945: How AP reported it