“Tachishon” -What we shouldn’t be teaching our kids

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Comic relief, Life in general, Politics, Rants and Raves

 

I have been in Japan for nearly 20 years now, and still, not a day goes by where something doesn’t shock or amaze me.  And today is no different.  But before I go into my rant over the event that shocked and amazed me, I will need to give a bit of some background info into the culture of child raising in Japan.

 

In Japan, there is this weird and frankly very disgusting culture of urinating in public.  Of course, many people here find it to be a lewd and completely repulsive habit, but at the same time it has been accepted as social norm in this country.  As a matter of fact, many parents even go as far as encouraging (yes…ENCOURAGING) young boys to pee in public.  When little Taro wants to go pee, usually the mother (yes MOTHER…keeping it real) who would escort the boy to a nearby bush, wall, or ally -or even sometimes right out in the open for everyone to see, pull down his pants, and encourage him to pee shamelessly while others watch.  Go ahead Taro, mommy’s too tired (and lazy) to take you to a restroom and teach you the proper place to urinate.  Fast forward 30 years, and now this young boy is a middle aged man who thinks it’s okay pee anywhere he sees fit, like a stray dog marking his territory, because that is what he was taught to do.

 

A few years back, I remember reading this story about a man who had urinated in the same elevator at train station EVERY DAY for nearly six months.  He had caused over one million yen (or ten thousand US dollars) damage to the elevator after it corroded beyond repair.  Can you imagine having to use that elevator and the unbearable stench it must have created?  The funny part is that he had the nerve to dispute the cost of the repairs in court, siting that many of the urine-damaged parts should have been recycled.   If I were the judge, I would have given him some jail time in addition to several months of community service for being a public menace.

 

You may be thinking that this is an extreme case, and perhaps it is, but I can also testify that urination in public is a regular occurrence.  If you don’t believe me, I would be happy to escort you to the ally next to my grandmother’s house which was apparently a favorite peeing venue for those who would drink at nearby pubs and bars, and wanted to quickly relieve themselves outdoors.  Fortunately, those pubs and bars have gone away over the years, but the rancid odor from past patrons still exists.  And on any given night in Shinjuku or Shibuya, its almost a certainty that you will see a drunk or perhaps sober man urinating in public somewhere.

 

So by now you are probably wondering what this event is that’s got me up in arms.  Well, tonight as I was walking home from work, and hiking up the long flight of stairs leading up to our neighborhood Shinto Shrine, I heard an election campaign van for Masako Shirai, a local assembly person for the Japan Communist Party (I kid you not -this is real), blaring her name and campaign slogans from the loud speakers on the top of van.  Not knowing why this van was even parked there, I was initially pretty irritated that this woman would make such a racket in #1. an otherwise very quiet and uneventful neighborhood, especially so late in the evening, and #2. parked right in front of a Shinto Shrine.  I am not a religious person, but I do take offense to those who disrespect a sacred site such as this.  A lot of people take that Shrine pretty seriously and to disgrace it with noisy campaign rhetoric spewing from loud speakers is pretty deplorable and disrespectful.

 

As I got to the top of the stairs, I spotted the van immediately and walked towards it.  I wanted to tell the people who were campaigning in that spot to move to a different location because they were obviously disturbing the peace.  The loud speakers were really that loud.  But as I got closer to van, I immediately noticed that no one was in it.  The repetitive campaign slogan and the calling out of Masako Shirai’s name was on tape which was infinitely looping. Arg!  What a major annoyance and no one to complain to about it, I thought to myself.  I looked around the van, and at first it appeared to be completely abandoned despite it running with all of its lights on, and the loud speaker going.

 

As I came around to the other side of the van, that’s when I spotted HIM.  A small little man who appeared to be in his 60’s or 70’s wearing a Masako Shirai campaign jacket facing away from me and towards a pile of leaves in front of the Shrine.  It was quite obvious what he was doing, so I waited until he was finished.

 

As he finished up and pulled up his pants, he turned around and spotted me standing next to the campaign van.  I glared at him in anger, and before I even said a word, he began apologizing profusely.  I pointed to the Shrine, and explained to him that little kids play in the very spot he just urinated on.  I also told him that he was repulsive and that a man his age, wearing a campaign jacket, and driving a campaign van that endorsed a public official should be ashamed of himself.  I then pointed to a life sized picture of Masako Shirai that was plastered on a large sign on top of the van, highlighted by no less than 10 spot lights, and asked the man, do you think she would approve of you defacing my neighborhood and a religious monument.  He bowed deeply and again apologized profusely.  I then told him never to come to this neighborhood again EVER, or I will write a very lengthy letter to Ms. Shirai  and perhaps her opponent, about his actions tonight.

 

He crawled into his van sped off quickly in shame.    I didn’t want to be so hard, but I was genuinely irritated that this man would drive into my neighborhood and just pull down his pants and pee -disrespecting our local landmark which is respected by many of the residents in our neighborhood.  I hope it teaches him that we are not his toilet and to think carefully the next time he has the urge to relieve himself in a place other than a toilet.

Ladies and Gentlemen…WE GOT HIM!

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Life in general, Politics, Rants and Raves

And its about time too….  Way to go Obama!

 

Japanese Sex Dolls

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Comic relief, Life in general, Politics, Rants and Raves



About a year ago, I posted a YouTube video on Facebook about an IT engineer in Japan who collected VERY elaborately made, yet very creepy  sex dolls.  He went on to tell the Reuters reporter that he collected these dolls because, in a nut shell (and I’m paraphrasing here) he doesn’t trust human women because they can cheat on you and betray you, whereas the dolls were his possession,  and will forever remain loyal.


Recently, I sent this link to The Young Turks,  a progressive political commentary show on the  internet, You Tube, and radio, of which I am a big fan and a proud member of.   And to my amazement, they did a short commentary on it, and pretty much expressed the same thoughts that I did (funny but extremely creepy).



Within the segment, Cenk Uygur, the host of the show,  posed a few questions and comments about the dolls and about Japanese society in general, and I thought I would address the questions and comments on my site.  Now please note that my answer are my opinions are based on my 14 years of living in Japan and also having grown up within this culture, and may not be 100% accurate, but I am confident that most of it is.


Question:  Why are they making the dolls look so young? Why are the dolls so small (referring to its relatively disproportionate height to weight ratio):

Answer: The simple answer to this is because they are in fact modeled after teen aged and in some cases pre-teen girls.  As sick as it may sound, the whole Lolita fetishism is a HUGE industry in Japan.  A classic example of this are the Maid Cafe’s in the Akihabara district (electronics district) in Tokyo where the waitresses (who are usually very young, or very young looking women) dressed up in classic French maid uniforms. They serve and entertain their customers, in a cutesy non-sexual way.   From the moment that they enter the cafe’s, the customer is greeted by a maid or a group of maids with a very orchestrated and synchronized “Welcome home master,” greeting.  The customers are mostly socially dysfunctional men, usually referred to as Otaku’s, or nerds (like the man in the YouTube video) who have a hard time attracting women or fear having a relationship with real women.  When these maids are asked how old they are, regardless of their real age, they will usually say that the are between the ages of 13 to 17 to further satisfy the customer’s fetish for younger women.  And in some cafe’s, the maids will even perform a brief dance and song routine upon request.  And after any request from the customer, the maids are required to answer “yes dear master”, in their usual cutesy high pitched cartoon-like voice.


The fascination with younger women, or what is more commonly referred to as the Lolita complex, or Lolicon for short is very prevalent in the Japanese porn and manga (comic book) industry, where the comic book characters or adult film actresses can often be seen in a Japanese high school girl’s uniform.  In some extreme cases, some of the adult films feature extraordinarily petite women (of legal age) whom are dressed in elementary school children attire and perform as if they are children being molested by male adults.


But the really creepy and somewhat disturbing part of all of this is that for some of the really hard-core mentally unbalanced and socially dysfunctional men out there, this isn’t enough.  And of course with child pornography being illegal here, the Japanese have found a way to satisfy these men without breaking the laws through Japanese animation or hentai anime, where the stars of these animated adult films are typically unnaturally well-endowed animated teen aged or pre-teen girls.  And since they are only illustrations, and Japanese laws don’t really examine the psychological ramifications, or the implications that these films pose on these men, it’s all perfectly legal not to mention a great money maker.

Going to back to the original question, as to why they look you and disproportional.  Well,  having a $6000 dollar sex doll modeled after a woman in her early to mid-20’s, with the proportions of an average Japanese woman of that age (which is roughly 5’2″ and 110llbs) just won’t cut it for these guys, because in this industry it’s all about getting it look as young it can look without it being infantile.


The flip side to all of this is that there is a side of the Japanese sexual fetish industry that caters to men who have fantasies about not just older women, but married older women. But that’s a whole another story.


Comment:  People aren’t having human interaction (in Japan).   They’re not having sex anymore.

Answer: Yes and no.  Japanese people are having sex, but they are not procreating.  Currently, the Japanese demographics is a somewhat of inverted pyramid, where there are more people over the age of 60, than there are under the age of 20.  My take on this is that it’s because Japanese government is corrupt.  The economy is extremely poor at the moment and yet the prices for goods and services have not receded at all.  On top of this, the cost of having a child in Japan is astronomical.  Just to have a child in Japan is at least $10,000USD.  The national health insurance will pay about $3500 of it, but the other $6500 needs to be paid out of the pocket.  And this is just for birthing expenses;  any further medical expenses, the upbringing costs are of course paid out of the pocket.  And of course, the government will give some tax breaks for any additional dependents you have, but it’s really minimal and hardly covers the additional living expenses.   So in my opinion, in order to turn the demographic pyramid back to the way it should be, the government should be encouraging population by giving real breaks to people with families so that they can afford it, and create a real economic stimulus package to give viable financial incentives to those who want children but feel that they cannot afford it.


Of course there are other factors involved in lack of population growth.  One serious one that I can think of is that the work hours in Japan are way too long, and people people don’t get enough time to spend with their families.  I think Japan should be more like France and regulate work hours better and allow for people to spend more time with their families so that they can  procreate.


As for sex in Japan, there is no shortage of it.  I think that the Japanese society does a really good job of encouraging people to have healthy, fun, and safe sex.  A good example of this is making it easier to access contraceptives, which can be embarrassing to some (especially in Japan where people tend to be very modest about their intimate  behavior in public places) by selling condoms in vending machines which are sometimes located on the outside of some drug stores.  In the Harajuku district in Tokyo, there is even a shop called Condomania that exclusively sells all makes and models of condoms.


Another example of Japan’s progressive attitude towards encouraging sex, are Love Hotels, which are hotels that cater specifically to those who want to have sex with their partners in a very sanitary and discrete environment.  The rooms can be rented for a reasonable price ranging from as a little as $15 to $100+ depending on the size of the room, length of the stay, and the level of elegance.  Rooms can be rented for only 2 to3 hours, or for the entire night, and they are meticulously cleaned and maintain to ensure cleanliness and make sure that diseases aren’t transmitted from using the facilities.  In many of these hotels, you are provided with 1 or 2 complimentary condoms, clean sheets, clean bath towels, complimentary coffee or tea, and an assortment of toiletries like mouth wash and shampoo, etc.  Some of these hotels even have automated clerks so maximize user privacy.   Some of the more upscaled ones offer a lot more services like an in room jacuzzi bath, and a theme based atmosphere (example: a romantic theme with hearts and flowers, or an S&M theme with leather and whips.


So as far as sex is concerned, there is plenty of it going on.  Prostitution is not legal in Japan, but there are a lot of places that operate covert prostitution operation, under the cloak of bath houses, or massage parlors.  And although many of these places are obviously running prostitution ring, the law usually doesn’t bother shutting them down unless they’re fronting a much more serious law breaking operation like drugs or illegal aliens.

Honest About Being Dishonest

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Politics, Rants and Raves


Last night, I had the privilege of having dinner with a good friend of mine.  And during the course of the evening we had a very casual conversation about politics.  Now I usually don’t talk politics with friends, not because I am that passionate about politics, but because I feel that politics is not a good subject to discuss with friends.  But the young lady whom I had the privilege of of having dinner with is really intelligent, and has a pretty unlighted and educated view of the world, so discussing was politics at a nice dinner conversion level was quite nice.


During the course of our conversation about, we got on the subject of a Koizumi-era politician by the name of Taizō Sugimoto.   He was a very young politician -I think he was about 26 years old when he was elected to serve for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), or jyumintō in Japanese.  And like most of the politicians in the LDP, Sugimoto was extremely corrupt.  He was one of the crookedest politicians in the LDP in recent history.  But the one thing that set him apart from the other politicians in LDP, or any other political party in Japan for that matter, is that he was what the Japanese call baka shōjiki.  Basically, this means that he was so stupid, that he doesn’t know how to be covertly dishonest, so he was in  effect, he was too honest about his dishonesty.  Allow me to explain:

When Sugimoto came into office (I think this was back in 2005, at the tail end of the Koizumi administration) the first thing he did was go on national television, and with a crazy wide-eyed expression on his face bragged about how much his salary was going to be.  Now, this was coming during a time when the LDP was being highly scrutinized over high taxes, inflation, and over spending, not too mention decades of corruption and scandal within the LDP party.  And yet, this young and naive politician, was so oblivious of the political temperature at that time, that he had the balls to go on national TV and tell everyone in a highly publicized news interview, how substantial his income was as a junior level freshman politician.  Here is a paraphrased quote of his statement (and I’m going by memory here so bare with me.)


The VERY first thing I did when I was elected to office, was look up what kind of salary I would be making, because I honestly did not know.  I almost went into shock when I found out. I could not believe it!!! (becoming more and more wild-eyed as he continues).  I will be making 25 million yen a year (approximately USD$250K a year).  On top of that, I get a 10 million yen a year bonus (roughly USD $100k)…AND I also get unlimited first class travel expenses on JR (Japan Rail -the largest passenger rail company in Japan, and operates the bullet train).



At the end of this highly controversial statement, he gives a very stereotypical  high pitched crooked politician laugh.  As you could imagine, this didn’t go well with the public and he was highly condemned by the senior senators in own party.  A few days later, he reappeared on national television, obviously not learning anything telling the public that he was going to buy a BMW with all the money he’ll be making, and again highly frowned by the general public and the senior senators.  He was eventually told to keep his mouth shut, and to stop doing any more TV interviews.  He was also forbidden to buy any cars (especially a BMW) and this was his reaction:


Translation: The other party members told me not to drive, under no circumstances are you to drive, they said.



Translation: Oh no!  My BMW!  I won’t be able to drive a BMW.



Translation:  It was always my dream to buy a BMW!   I figured that if I become a politician, then I could get one.



Translation: I guess I’ll have to give up on my dream car, for now


Translation:  Sugimoto had been in contact with a BMW dealer 2 days after to being elected.

.



I think this clearly says where the minds of the members LDP is at.  And it’s not just Sugimoto, it’s almost everyone in this party -they are all crooks.  The problem with Sugimoto is that he was so immature, that he wasn’t able exercise discretion.  But having said this, I ‘ve got to give credit where credit is due.  Even though it was out of ignorance, at least Sugimoto was honest about this.  This is a 26 year old first year junior senator.  Can you imagine how much the senior LDP members are making?  And this is all tax payer money.   In my opinion, no one in the LDP should be getting this amount of money.  They do absolutely nothing all day, and they are doing nothing to help the Japanese economy get back on it’s feet.  As a matter of fact they are making it worse by taxing the hell of people, and putting it into the politician’s pockets.

The bottom line here is that the LDP needs to go.  They have ran their course and they have nothing left.  It’s time to give the other parties, who are seriously concerned about the future of Japan, a chance.  Political parties shouldn’t be allowed to run the country and stay in power for 5 decades.  If they do a good job, then yes.  But in the current situation, and when you have a party filled with crooks like Taizo Sugimoto, it’s time to go.