Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Japan's economy

18 more months of just 8%~

Below are some conflicting views.  In the second video, the man with the mustache/beard says, around 4 min 35 sec into it, that the only way to increase capital investment is to make it costly to sit on cash. . .to create inflation. . .Then people will go out and take financial risks and invest for a higher return.

Of course, there are risk-takers in this country and in every country, but most of the people I know here are pretty reluctant to make the leap.  I'm more inclined to agree with the economist without the mustache and beard (nothing against mustaches or beards, though).  De-regulating the country, liberalizing the workforce, and cutting corporate tax rates, he thinks, could do the trick.

I took macro- and micro- economics in high school, and I just barely passed, so I think I'm pretty terrible in understanding any economy.  In terms of language, though, the one thing I see in common with the second video and with other videos that I saw last week (when I watched, in a bit of a drunken state, the news that Japan had put out another stimulus) is that America and Japan, while facing some similar problems, differ in this:  America can solve its workforce problems by changing its immigration laws, while Japan will not do this.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween has exploded here

The past couple Halloweens I wasn't much in the mood for doing anything on the eve, so I've been a little out of touch with how big it's gotten in Tokyo.  I started to get an inkling last week Saturday (Oct 25) when I strolled through Ikebukuro Sunshine Street(池袋サンシャイン通り)and found red carpets lined in the middle of the road.  At first I thought it was for a promotional event of some sort--for a movie, an anime, or something--but it seemed that cosplay people were generally welcome to pose while observers and passersby took pictures.

 It was almost a week before Halloween, and here we were already, Ikebukuro packed  with costume delight.  I started to wonder if this area would replace Shibuya as the location of choice for Halloweeners.  Boy, was I wrong.  Below are pictures from last night's festivities in Shibuya Sentā-gai 渋谷センター街.  It was insane.  Like a hanabi festival (花火、 or はなびたいかい), like Meiji-jingu on New Year's Eve, you could hardly move in some areas.  It was pretty great though.  People were coming out of their shells for this night of disguising and pretending.  I only walked around for an hour or two, but it seemed like a playful, sensible friendliness; strangers were talking to one another, but I didn't see anything get out of hand.  Hopefully, this festive thing can keep on going peacefully and safely; this city can benefit from such great communal events.

This is one minute out of a very nice walk~


And these are videos posted by other people:

Friday, July 11, 2014

tomato vegetable curry (夏野菜トマトカレー)

This tomato curry dish just recently came out at Matsuya.  I think it's good.  Probably not worth a lot more than what  it costs, but I like it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Japan approves larger military role


Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Japan took a step away Tuesday from an American-drafted constitution that has long kept its military shackled, approving a plan to allow greater use of a force that was vanquished at the end of World War II.

In one of the biggest changes to Japanese security policy since the war, the ruling coalition gave approval to reinterpret the constitution on military affairs. It now awaits endorsement — a formality — by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has made raising the country's military profile a cornerstone of his nationalist policies.

The move will allow the military to defend other nations in what is known as "collective self-defense."

Previous governments have said that Japan's war-renouncing constitution limits the use of force to defending Japan.

Abe, who has pushed hard for the change, cites a deteriorating security environment, notably China's military rise and North Korea's missile and nuclear threats.

About 2,000 opponents of the shift protested outside Abe's office Tuesday morning. They said that any changes to the constitution should be made through a public referendum, not simply a cabinet decision to reinterpret it.
"For 70 years, Japan has kept its peace with its constitution," said 67-year-old protester Toshio Ban. "What are we to do with that stupid man trying to trample over the precious constitution?"

Written under U.S. direction after World War II, the 1947 constitution says the Japanese people "forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation." The clause was crafted to prevent a repeat of Japan's invasion and brutal occupation of wide swaths of Asia.
The ban has been relaxed over the years, starting from an introduction of a "police" force in 1950 amid the Korean War, which became a military dubbed the Self-Defense Force in 1954.

The government does not intend to change the constitution, which has remained unaltered since it came out. But Abe and subsequent governments will now be empowered to authorize greater military engagement under a new interpretation of the constitution.
Opponents say the new policy could open the door for Japan's eventual participation in joint military actions such as the war in Iraq.

Abe and other leaders of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party say Japan will stick to its pacifist pledge. The agreement with junior coalition partner New Komeito includes restrictions on when Japan can exercise collective self-defense.

The U.S., now allied with Japan, supports the move. The change could, for example, allow Japan's navy to protect a U.S. warship from an attack.

Takeshi Iwaya, a lawmaker who chairs a ruling party research commission on security, said Japan has said it won't repeat the mistakes of World War II, but that alone is no longer enough to preserve peace.

"What we are trying to do now is to play a more proactive role in cooperating with regional countries in setting up a framework to protect the peace and stability of the region," he said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Buddhist-backed New Komeito initially opposed the change, and Tuesday's agreement came after weeks of negotiations between the two parties.
Associated Press videojournalist Koji Ueda contributed to this story.