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Monday, September 29, 2014

News in Japan ( ALTs to be placed in all primary schools ) / Japan's 100 Year Old and Older Hits Record High / The Most Crowded Train Lines in Japan

Good news from the Yomiuri newspaper

"The government has decided to increase the number of Assistant Language Teachers considerably over a five-year period, starting from the next school year, to strengthen English education at primary schools.
Aiming to create a system in which ALTs will be assigned to all public primary schools by the 2019 school year, the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry and the Foreign Ministry plan to increase the number of ALTs by about 2,300 over five years as a national project. Combined with ALTs who are hired independently by municipalities, the ministries intend to expand the total number of ALTs to 20,000, or 1.5 times the current level, by the 2019 school year.
The education ministry has decided to lower the starting age for English education from the current fifth year of primary school to the third year by the 2020 school year, and make it an official subject from the fifth year.
Experts have said it is important to secure a sufficient number of native English speakers, and utilize them to enhance the learning environments for students.
About 800 ALTs first came to Japan in 1987 when the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program was launched as a state international exchange project. As of 2002, the number of ALTs had increased to about 5,600, but it began to decrease after that due to financial problems. The current number is about 4,100.

Besides ALTs on the JET Program, about 8,000 ALTs hired independently by municipalities and other organizations have been dispatched to local primary and middle schools across the nation. In some cases, an ALT teaches at several schools.
According to experts, considerable disparity exists among the nation's 21,000 public primary schools. While some schools have resident ALTs, some schools are visited by an ALT once about every six months.
The government therefore plans to increase the number of ALTs in the JET Program in stages. From the 2020 school year onward, English lessons will increase from the current once a week to three times a week for fifth-grade and sixth-grade students. Third-grade and fourth-grade students will have English lessons once or twice a week, and the education ministry plans to have ALTs frequently instruct students in English classes.
The budget for English education utilizing ALTs is expected to increase from about ¥30 billion this school year to about ¥50 billion a year eventually. The government also plans to launch a subsidy system for supporting municipalities that independently hire ALTs.

An ALT assists Japanese teachers in teaching foreign languages such as English at primary, middle and high schools. In addition to ALTs who come to Japan on the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, a state international exchange project, others are directly hired by municipalities or private organizations contracted to dispatch ALTs.
From the 2011 school year, foreign language studies became compulsory for fifth-grade and sixth-grade primary school students. The role of ALTs has expanded to include assisting with pronunciation and listening comprehension. "




Japan's centenarian population hits record high

From Japan Today

"The number of people aged 100 or older in rapidly graying Japan has hit a record high for the 44th straight year, the government said Friday.
The country’s centenarian population jumped by 4,423 from a year earlier to a record 58,820 as of Sept 1, the health ministry said, adding that 87.1% of them were women.
On average, there are 46.21 centenarians per 100,000 people.
The figures included the world’s oldest woman and her male counterpart, as recognized by Guinness World Records—Misao Okawa, a 116-year-old woman in Osaka, and Sakari Momoi, the oldest known man at 111.
The number of centenarians stood at just 153 when the ministry started the survey in 1963. It topped 10,000 in 1998 and has increased by 3,000-4,000 each year recently.
“Progress in medical technology and an improvement in the care-giving system may have contributed to the steady rise,” said ministry official Yuji Umemoto.
In 2013, life expectancy for women in Japan was 86.61, the longest in the world, while for men it was 80.21, the fourth longest, the ministry said earlier. "



Japanese male porn stars rarer than Bengal tigers, actor says

From Japan Today

"Japan’s vast pornography industry is desperately short of men, one actor claims, insisting even the endangered Bengal tiger is more numerous.
A veteran porn star known only as Shimiken says he is one of just 70 male actors, with just a handful of them doing all the heavy lifting.
“Everyday I meet the same people and see the same names on scripts,” he said on Twitter under his @shimiken username last month, adding the number was “lower than that of Bengal tigers”.
Quite why there aren’t enough willing participants is a mystery to Shimiken: “This job is like an Aladdin’s Cave, in many senses.”
“In contrast, the number of porn actresses is as high as 10,000, with 4,000 movies released every month,” Shimiken said. “We lack porn actors here.”

The number of tigers in the world has fallen drastically from around 100,000 in the early 20th century to about 4,000 today, according to the international conservation body, WWF.
Most Bengal tigers live in India, where a little over 1,700 are found, according to another conservation group, the IUCN Global Species Program."



The most crowded train and subway lines in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya are ...

By Krista Rogers

"Even though I could praise Japan’s efficient public transportation system for hours on end, there’s one major drawback about it that has left me traumatized on several occasions and never fails to induce terrifying flashbacks whenever I’m surrounded by too many people. You can probably guess what I’m talking about, right? Yup, it’s about how unbelievably crowded the country’s trains and subways can get during rush hour.
Anyone traveling in the Greater Tokyo Area or other metropolitan centers of Japan should be forewarned that the experience is not for the faint of heart – nor for the claustrophobic. I mean, you know it’s a bad sign when there are actually station staff on hand during peak rush hours to squeeze as many passengers as possible into each car. That said, if you’ve traveled or happen to live in Japan’s capital, you can undoubtedly sympathize with the following ranking of the most crowded train and subway lines in Tokyo at rush hour. And just so you don’t think Tokyo gets all the love, we’ve also thrown in the lists for Osaka and Nagoya, too.
About the only negative memory I can recall from my study abroad days in Tokyo was navigating the Chuo Line every morning and evening on my daily commute to and from school. On rare days, I could just manage to do some homework reading while standing up; on even rarer days, finding an empty seat felt like winning the lottery. On the worst occasions, I would be shoved up against a total stranger with my arms stuck out at odd angles, all while trying to politely ignore one another’s existence. After moving to the rural countryside and emptier trains of northern Japan, I actually experienced culture shock whenever I visited Tokyo and rode on public transportation there again.
The website for Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism recently released 2013 data about the most crowded train and subway lines in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, three of Japan’s most populous cities. Each ranking comes with a percentage value which indicates the degree of crowdedness inside the train. The graphic illustrates the different percentages.

For your reference:
At 100%, you have no problem finding your own personal space near the door and stretching out.
At 150%, you can still easily spread open a newspaper and read it.
At 180%, you can read a folded newspaper with some difficulty.
At 200%, you’re feeling a bit cozy, but you can still manage to read small books or periodicals.
At 250%, it’s just like what the picture shows–you’re squeezed in like a can of sardines. Things may get a little awkward…
Now, let’s finally move onto the actual ranking. Here are the top ten most crowded train and subway lines during rush hour in Tokyo (the specific stretches of track between two stations are listed in parentheses):
1) Keihin Tohoku Line (from Ueno to Okachimachi), JR East: 200%
2) Tozai Line (from Kiba to Monzen-Nakacho), Tokyo Metro: 199%
3) Chuo-Sobu Line [Local] (from Kinshicho to Ryogoku), JR East: 199%
4) Chuo Line [Rapid] (from Nakano to Shinjuku), JR East: 194%
5) Yokosuka Line (from Musashi-Kosugi to Nishi-Oi), JR East: 193%
6) Odawara Line (from Setagaya-Daita to Shimokitazawa), Odakyu: 188%
7) Den-en-toshi Line (from Ikejiri-Ohashi to Shibuya), Tokyu Group: 183%
8) Tokaido Line (from Kawasaki to Shinagawa), JR East: 183%
9) Sobu Line [Rapid] (from Shin-Koiwa to Kinshicho), JR East: 178%
10) Chiyoda Line (from Machiya to Nishi-Nippori), Tokyo Metro: 177%
Yikes! Eight out of the ten most crowded lines are above that 180% mark. Now let’s see how those numbers stack up to Osaka’s top ten most crowded lines:
1) Kobe Main Line (from Kanzakigawa to Juso), Hankyu: 142%
2) Takarazuka Main Line (from Mikuni to Juso), Hankyu: 139%
3) Nara Line (from Kawachi-Eiwa to Fuse), Kintetsu: 135%
4) Midosuji Line (from Umeda to Yodoyabashi), Osaka Municipal Subway: 135%
5) Osaka Line (from Shuntokumichi to Fuse), Kintetsu: 133%
6) Katamachi (from Shigino to Kyobashi), JR West: 131%
7) Kyoto Main Line (from Kami-Shinjo to Awaji), Hankyu: 129%
8) Koya Line (from Mozuhachiman to Mikunigaoka), Nankai: 125%
9) Hanwa Line [Rapid] (from Sakaishi to Tennoji), JR West: 124%
10) Minami-Osaka Line (from Kita-Tanabe to Koboreguchi), Kintetsu: 123%
In other words, Osaka’s most crowded line at 142% is equivalent to the 26th most crowded line in Tokyo (which happens to be Keio’s Inokashira Line).
Similarly, let’s take a look at the ranking for Nagoya (note–the list only goes up to eighth place):
1) Higashiyama Line (from Nagoya to Fushimi), Nagoya Municipal Subway: 139%
2) Nagoya Main Line [East] (from Jingu-mae to Kanayama), Meitetsu: 138%
3) Nagoya Main Line [West] (from Sako to Meitetsu-Nagoya), Meitetsu: 138%
4) Nagoya Line (from Komeno to Kintetsu-Nagoya), Kintetsu: 133%
5) Chuo Line (from Shin-Moriyama to Ozone), JR Central: 129%
6) Meijo Line/Meiko Line (from Kanayama to Higashi-Betsuin), Nagoya Municipal Subway: 127%
7) Tokaido Line (from Biwajima to Nagoya), JR Central: 121%
8) Tsurumai Line (from Shiogama-guchi to Yagoto), Nagoya Municipal Subway: 113%
This time, the worst offender in the Nagoya area is equivalent to Tokyo’s 27th (the Keikyu Main Line)."

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Daily Life (Days 2374 – 2380 ) --- Happy Birthday To Me (7th Birthday in Japan) / iphone 6 Plus Attained

Photo of the Week:

Day 2374 ( Health Check Result  )
Thursday, September 18, 2014

Received the result of my health check that I did in Yokohama about 3 weeks ago. The result is basically saying that I am very slightly overweight, based on the BMI (weight vs height) distribution thing. Well I'm on the border, and if I put on any more pounds, I am officially overweight hahahaha unbelievable, with people asking me all the time if I lost weight.

My cholesterol level, blood pressure etc is all fine. But one problem I have had since I got a health check in 2010 is that, I apparently have heart trouble. As in my heart is either skipping a beat or beating too fast.

To top this off, many of the males in my father's side of my family, has a history of heart trouble. If I can remember properly, 2 of my dad's siblings died from heart trouble in the USA. Plus my paternal brother in Canada who died in 2012. I never met the guy, but he was 62 when he died of heart complications. My dad also has some heart trouble but he is like 83 now so he escaped the early trouble.

Called a high school former class mate of mine for his birthday. We have been doing this every year since we left high school in 1997. He lives in the US now and just had a child recently. We call each other almost always just once a year, on our birthdays .....



Day 2375 ( 7th Birthday in Japan  )
Friday, September 19, 2014

Wow already my 7th birthday in Japan. And I have photos of all my 7 birthdays here... Check them out ...

2008 (Niimi, Okayama - Dinner)

2009 (Niimi, Okayama - Party)

2010 (Kochi Prefecture - Visit)

2011 ( Enoshima, Kanagawa - Special Lunch/Dinner)

2012 (Shibuya, Tokyo - Dinner)

2013 ( Kawasaki, Kanagawa - Special Dinner and Cake )

And 2014 (Toyama city - Party)

I like this picture of me.. This is the real me !!



Day 2376 ( Toyama Latin Festival )
Saturday, September 20, 2014

Went to a Latin festival in the night. Got there a bit late so I only caught like the last 1 hour of it.

What's the name of the new Jamaican dance? Creetch?

One of the coolest guys in Toyama



Day 2377 ( Barbecue !!! )
Sunday, September 21, 2014

Went to a BBQ arranged by a foreign swimming instructor from Serbia I believe. It was a pretty decent BBQ with quite a few foreigners and Japanese turning out. We even played some soccer. And they made me a birthday cake. Amazing.... Never seen anything like this in Yokohama.

All photos are courtesy of fashion designer, Mariko



Day 2378 ( New House, Ground Breaking Japanese Style )
Monday, September 22, 2014

For the first time in 6 years, I saw a Japanese style blessing of the ground, before a house is built on it. Apparently a Buddhist or Shinto priest has to come there and perform some sort of ceremony along with the house builders and the land owners.



Day 2379 ( Skype Interview )
Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Did a skype interview with Baye Mcneil today. Author of "Hi my name is Loco"  and "Loco in Yokohama". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baye_McNeil



Day 2380 ( iphone 6 Plus Attained )
Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A typhoon is heading this way to Toyama which is usually very unlikely. Some rain fell today but I got a call from the softbank in my area today to come and collect my iphone 6 plus.

The picture quality is amazing. I like it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

News in Japan - ( Japanese Middle Aged Men Behaving Inappropriately With Daughter in Laws ) / Some Japanese women case sexual assault on themselves

Some Japanese daughter in laws do some very interesting things.

Check out this article from Kuchikomi of Japan Today.

Tensions surface between middle-aged men, daughters-in law

" The generation gap is eternal, but no two eras experience it quite the same way. How many ways can the old and young grate on each other? People now approaching old age have lived through an unusual number of possibilities. Politics, music, technology, sex, and economics have all conspired in recent decades to set the generations at odds.
“Generation gap” usually suggests parents and children, but Shukan Post (Sept 5) tries a different approach, focusing on fathers-in-law and daughters-in-law.
The wife of a man’s son, mother of his grandchildren or grandchildren-to-be, deserves a special place in his heart and often wins it – but “special” doesn’t always mean good.
“My eldest son brought his new bride home for Obon,” recalls a 62-year-old company employee, referring to the annual mid-August occasion for family reunions. “Maybe because I never had a daughter, I felt a little awkward.”
“A little” soon became a lot. “Not that she wasn’t a nice person – on the contrary – but… well, the way she dressed – was it really suitable? See-through T-shirt, no bra? You don’t want to stare, and yet ... does my son really not mind?” The father-in-law didn’t say anything, but “it embarrassed me to be thinking what I was thinking!”
A 64-year-old self-employed man describes coming home one evening and entering his living room, only to suddenly stop short – there was his visiting daughter-in-law, breastfeeding her little boy. Well, so what? “She was not in the least embarrassed – she smiled down at the infant and said, ‘Look, grandpa’s home!’ For some reason I felt like apologizing, but thinking that would be silly, I just said, ‘Drink up, little man, and grow big and strong!’” Which was surely the best way to handle the situation.
This from a 65-year-old accountant hosting his visiting son and daughter-in-law: “My son was out late at a class reunion. I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and noticed their light on, which seemed odd. She must have fallen asleep with it on.”
Approaching to turn it off, he saw his daughter-in-law, wide awake, so thoroughly absorbed in a pornoraphic video that she didn’t even notice him. He beat a hasty retreat and nothing was ever said – “but I can’t get it out of my mind, I can’t feel the way I used to about her.”
One last anecdote, narrated by a 63-year-old company president. “She came to my office one day” – his 39-year-old daughter-in-law – “to talk to me about my son’s infidelities.” She was distraught. Unable to contain her emotions, she burst into tears, into uncontrollable sobs. “I couldn’t just stand there and let the woman weep. I took her in my arms, comforted her, kissed her, she clung more tightly to me…” Nothing further happened on that occasion, but the die was cast: “In secret from my wife and my son, we now meet at a love hotel once a month."


Women who attract 'chikan,' and women who don’t: An illustrated guide

by Frank Wrigley - Japan Today

"“Chikan”—men who grope women in public in Japan. Also refers to the act itself.
An illustrator who posted a cartoon claiming to show the difference between those who easily attract sexual harassment or assault and those who don’t has, as you might expect, sparked a heated debate in online and offline communities. Critics assert that focusing on a woman’s appearance and clothing amount to blaming the victim, not the attacker. The artist on the other hand says the work is based on statistical evidence. 
Japan’s problem with “chikan” is widespread. In surveys conducted by train companies, as many as 70% of young women say they have been groped, mostly on commuter trains. Some train lines have introduced women-only cars at busy times to counteract this, and there are poster campaigns in stations proclaiming, “Chikan is a crime” and “Beware of chikan“. The positioning of these two statements is worthy of attention. The first warns men not to commit crime. The second statement warns people (usually women, although men and children are victims too) not to become a target of crime.
So how does the illustration that’s doing the rounds on Twitter fit into this?
Let’s take a look at the artist’s description of the image first: “The difference between people who attract ‘chikan’ easily and people who don’t. According to statistics, this is how it is”, writes the artist, who goes by Twitter username @Nakashima273.
Now, look at the picture at left and see what you think.
From left to right, the scale shows “easy targets” to “difficult targets”.
Those most at risk from “chikan,” the notes below the image tell us, are school students in uniform, and meek-looking women in demure clothing. Women who wear loud clothing, or who look tall or powerful, are less likely to be attacked.
The suggestion that a woman in modest clothing is more likely to be groped in public than someone who is “provocatively” dressed might fly in the face of what many people believe – that showing your body, like the woman on the far right is, means a woman is somehow “asking for it”.
In a follow-up tweet, the artist linked to a Japanese blog post which states: “Suspects in sex crime cases were asked why they chose that person [to attack]. Fewer than 5% said they targeted someone because they were wearing provocative clothing. In rape cases, the most common reason given was ‘they seemed like they wouldn’t report it to the police’ (45%). In indecent assault cases, the most common reason was ‘they seemed meek; I didn’t think they’d be able to stop me’ (48%).”
“Ayako Uchiyama, who led the research, said ‘It’s often thought that [women] who wear provocative clothing will be targets [for sex crimes], but that’s not the case.’”
Although these particular statistics seem to have been reblogged for many years (e.g. here and here), the source link is always the same one, which is now dead. With its “meek women are easy targets” heading, the reblogged paragraphs could be Internet scaremongering. It’s hard to tell.
But the debate Nakashima’s image has merited is real enough. Many Japanese netizens were appalled at the age of the kids in the picture.
“I can’t believe even elementary school students get attacked by ‘chikan.’ What is the world coming to.”
“Elementary school students are the easiest target?! That’s a different crime altogether, isn’t it?”
Others paid attention to the woman on the far right.
“Of course no one’s going to hassle a girl that looks as terrifying as that.”
“Lady Gaga!”
“Sunglasses. Sunglasses are the best countermeasure.”
More commenters shared their own experiences.
“When I started high school, I stopped being a target for ‘chikan.’ I started wearing makeup and the attention stopped completely.”
“Funny how I know loads of women who say they’ve been groped on the train, but never met a man who says he’s molested anyone.”
The illustrator is protesting against the notion that women who wear revealing clothing are more likely to be assaulted – or somehow to blame if they are attacked. But some commenters disagreed with the way the artist made this point.
“Talking about people who attract ‘chikan’ easily is looking at it the wrong way. It’s like saying the victim is in the wrong.”
Another commenter added, “‘Chikan’ aren’t just a threat to women, they’re a menace to society as a whole”.
This “we’re all in this together” mentality is echoed in another kind of anti-“chikan” poster you can see in train stations in Japan now. In this short manga-style story, a young woman yells “Chikan!”  Two other passengers are seen reacting: “Did she say ‘chikan?’” “That’s a crime!” A member of the train crew asks, “What happened?” as he comes to help. The text underneath encourages people who see sexual harassment or assault happening to speak out: “With everyone’s courage and voice, we can eliminate ‘chikan.’”"

More than half of Chinese see war as inevitable, with Japan
Japan Today

"More than half of Chinese people think their country could go to war with Japan in the future, a new poll revealed Wednesday, after two years of intense diplomatic squabbles.
A survey conducted in both nations found that 53.4% of Chinese envisage a future conflict, with more than a fifth of those saying it would happen “within a few years”, while 29% of Japanese view military confrontation as a possibility.
The findings come ahead of the second anniversary Thursday of Japan’s nationalisation of disputed islands in the East China Sea that have formed the focus of tensions between the Asian giants.
Underlining the lingering row over the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku Islands, four Chinese coast guard vessels sailed into their territorial waters on Wednesday morning.
China regards them as its territory and calls them the Diaoyu Islands.
The survey was conducted by Japanese non-governmental organisation the Genron NPO and the China Daily, a Chinese state-run newspaper, in July and August.
It questioned 1,000 Japanese aged 18 or older and 1,539 Chinese of the same age range in five cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Shenyang and Xian.
In the annual opinion poll which started in 2005, 93% of Japanese respondents said their impression of China was “unfavorable,” worsening from 90.1% last year and the highest level since the survey began.
The percentage of Chinese who have an unfavorable impression of Japan stood at 86.8 percent, an improvement on 92.8% last year.
“The most common reason for the unfavorable impression of China among the Japanese public was ‘China’s actions are incompatible with international rules’ at 55.1%,” Genron NPO and the China Daily said in a joint statement.
That was closely followed by “China’s actions to secure resources, energy and food look selfish” at 52.8%.
The third most commonly-given reason was “criticism of Japan over historical issues” at 52.2%, while “continuous confrontation over the Senkaku islands” came fourth place at 50.4%, it said.
“On the other hand, ‘The Diaoyu/Senkaku islands’ (64%) and ‘historical understanding’ (59.6%) were the two prominent reasons for the unfavorable impression of Japan among the Chinese public,” it said.
Despite a huge trade relationship and their deeply interwoven economies, relations between Tokyo and Beijing have seen several periods of deterioration over recent decades.
But ties have been particularly bad since late 2012 when Japan nationalised the Senkakus, a move it says was just an administrative change, but which China says was a provocation.
Beijing regularly insists that Japan has not atoned enough for its imperialist past, and lambasts nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for an “incorrect” understanding of history and what it describes as his intention to remilitarise.
For its part, Tokyo accuses Beijing of dwelling on the past for domestic political reasons and says that in the seven decades since World War II it has apologised repeatedly and trodden a pacifist path.
In an editorial, the China Daily described the poll as “worrying”, commenting that “these findings should be concerning” for leaders in both countries.
“There is a need for a meeting between the leaders of both countries to reverse the deteriorating relations,” the paper said, but added: “the ball is in Japan’s court.”
“Abe needs to show Chinese leaders with his actual deeds that he is sincere about improving relations.”
Abe has repeatedly said his door is open for dialogue and called for a summit with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, but has so far been rebuffed."