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Fun / foon Tokyo
Sunday, October 3, 2004
The last American sumo Yokozuna grand champion
here's perhaps the last American Yokozuna (grand champion), Musashimaru, during his topknot cutting ceremony on October 2, 2004 in Tokyo....

Posted by trek/taro at 9:27 PM KDT
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Thursday, September 30, 2004

Topic: adviceS

Q: What is the best way to come to Japan?

A; Joining a foreign software company and being sent to Japan on "The Package" for expats is the best. Why live in Japan as an "in-country hire" low-life like me when you can live the fatcat expat life?
Ahhh, the old pig-in-the-poke problem: No Japanese company wants to hire you sight unseen...but it's a pain in the ass to come to Japan without work (and often a visa).
"Ideally" if you want to come to Japan, you try to hire on at a non-Japanese company with a large Japanese division and then get transferred here to live as royalty. The greater the Japanese presence the non-Japanese company has, the more chances you have to transfer here on the all-important Package. Occasionally a smaller company like RAMRON (Colo. Springs) with have a gaijin director position available but you would have to have inside connections to know that and generally the smaller the company the higher the level of Japanese is required.
The reason I am saying non-Japanese companies is that Japanese companies don't like to transfer folks from the Real World to Japan except for specific projects of less than 6 months. The game industry has the greatest amount of cross-border transfers most other industries use in-country hiring of very F'ed gaijin and "astronauts" who commute to Japan for a couple weeks or months at a time.
You might find a master's degree somewhat a hinderance in the Japanese corporate world since you will outrank most everyone. I have for sure. The pay diifference for a masters is only 12-20,000yen/month at Fujitsu for example. It's experience and SKILLZ that count .
However, bigger companies, in particular DoCoMo and Hitachi value Phds and advanced degrees. If and only if you remind me by PM, I just learned of one contract programming company that offers 1-year job contracts* in NTT Data, Renesas, et al which would be a great foot-in-the-door.
*(in-country hire, no visa provided)

Posted by trek/taro at 11:14 AM KDT
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Bambi in Japan followup
"Underwhelmed and Overrated" blog wrote in The Old Messengers Of The Gods:
At one time shika (deer) were among the most revered animals in Japan. they were considered as "messengers to the gods" under the Shinto religion. And as such, they were not allowed to be hunted or eaten. Even today, many of the larger Shinto shrines will keep deer. ....
...I got down to the river a little after them and put it together rather quickly. Someone had killed the deer (there were four carcasses tied down in the river), disemboweled them, spread the organs out amid the rocks along the stream and weighted the carcasses down in the water. But why?
...Although, when I asked the man about eating the deer, he recoiled in horror. Poison not withstanding, based on that man's reaction, as well as those of my friends, I'll assume that whale is good eatin', whereas, deer is right out. ...
....the Japan Times is holding another photo contest. I entered last year's but didn't get any traction with my photos. So instead of the beautiful countryside shots that I turned in then, maybe I'll put in something more edgy this time. Such as the shot below--I'll title it, water with dead shit in it. ....
dead deer in stream
Image taken from the Underwhelmed and Overrated...Indeed blog.

Posted by trek/taro at 10:18 AM KDT
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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Deer in Okutama stripping mountains bare
Kyodo / Sept 29
OKUTAMA, Japan - -
The number of deer is expected to reach some 3,000 by the end of March next year. The photo, supplied by the metropolitan government, shows two deer spotted in the mountains in the town of Okutama, western Tokyo.

Posted by trek/taro at 4:21 PM KDT
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Miss International Japan
IMiss International JapanVia GettyImages / TOKYO, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 28: Miss Japan, Tamiko Kawahara attends a press preview of the 2004 Miss International Beauty Pageant... 61 beauties from the world participate will select the Miss International in Beijing on 16 October.

Posted by trek/taro at 4:02 PM KDT
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Kaiju Donald Duck speakers from Japan
Kubotek?s man-sized speakers

Via / Spt 27 Tokyo?s Hi-End Show, a showcase for preposterously expensive audio gear, were these speakers from Kubotek....a shape that suggests the result of a warped mind playing with a Donald Duck head, a jumbo pot of varnish and a mirror, they stand 174 cm tall, which is, well, bigger than the guy in the black t-shirt... a pair of them will set you back Y7.35 mn ($66,000)
japanese stereo speakers

Posted by trek/taro at 1:08 PM KDT
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Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Collect the $5,000 please leave Japan evil gaijin bonus!
Topic: adviceS
Check out the Gaijin "bonus" for leaving Japan!
About the J-Pension Refund...
There is a Y590,000 limit on the refund so if you have paid lot of money into the Japanese Pension system having the 11 years you paid into the J-Pension transferred into your UK-Pension program is a better deal (if the UK and Japan have that pension swap).
On the other hand, for folks who mostly worked "off the books" doing freelance work, hostessing and the like during their stay, the J-Pension Refund will be a good deal just as it is for 3-or-fewer-years gaijin. (The very name of the pension-refund scheme in Japanese refers to payments for "short-term" foreigners--the 90 percent who leave within three years.)
The Irish Net Nippon presents Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About The
Adapted from an article originally published in the Japan Times.

[[ a bit old, but still valid]]
>Q. What if I have more questions?
A. In Japanese, call the government offices mentioned earlier where the pension payment application will be distibuted and ask to speak to someone who can tell you about pensions (nenkin). Specifically, ask about lump-sum withdrawal payments for foreigners (tanki zairyu gaikokujin ni taisuru dattai ichijikin.)

Also be aware of this possible refund...
I don't know if I would trust these folks with my money, but they do seem to have a "method" to get both the: "1. The pension refund itself (below) 2. The additional 20% tax refund."
[url=] Tax Representative Service Pension Refund[/url]
See the old threads
Pension & Health Insurance payments

Posted by trek/taro at 2:31 PM KDT
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The true ribald art of Geisha (literally "art person")

Geisha: 100,000 yen minimum for a few hours of

Not that anybody pays for those old ladies: it's always OPM on an "entertainment" account. I used to feel it was such a waste to take a gaijin like me since the randy but sophistcated Japanese banter that is the true "art" of geisha.

Kimina, 23 [looks 46] BBC News photo journal: Geisha 27 Sept 2004
"When I said to my parents that I wanted to become a geiko they said 'What are you thinking?' They didn't want to send their daughter into a strange world. "

Posted by trek/taro at 9:53 AM KDT
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Monday, September 27, 2004
Big Scooters - - Big in Japan
Big scooters selling like hot cakes
Yomiuri Shimbun / Sept 27
Scooters with an engine displacement of more than 250cc have become increasingly popular recently. The machines, which do not have clutch levers, are easy to handle, and their relatively large underseat storage space...At a time when the number of people applying for motorcycle licenses is falling, the motorcycle industry has high hopes for large scooters. Manufacturers, who expect that more people will get motorcycle licenses if a license for automatic machines is introduced, are likely to further boost their production and introduce new models of large scooters.

Photo via, which also used to run now-offline-and-seemingly-dead Also see Steve B's thread: MasaManiA with fucking photo & poor English in his own world

Posted by trek/taro at 3:32 PM KDT
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MOON BURGERS at Mcdonalds Japan
MOON BURGERS ... I'm lovin' it.

I'll never get the deal with the Japanese 'Rabbit in the Moon'(aka the Western Man-in-the-Moon).

Posted by trek/taro at 2:25 PM KDT
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The Original Fruitcake Gajin: Lafcadio Hearn
Lafcadio Hearn was the original fruitcake gaijin... Here's Lafcadio Hearn: the Good, the Bad, the Butt Ugly...
the Good:
Hearne made the HUGE intellectual jump that Japanese esthetics had value. In his day, everyone "knew" that Japanese music was cat screeching, Japanese gardens were barren dumps, and Japanese houses primative. Hearne set architectural greats like Frank Lloyd Wright, L. Sullivan, Frederick L. Olmsted, et al on the Path.
the Bad:
Most of the FGs here on the f* speak better Japanese than Hearn. He couldn't read or write Japanese and depended on his wife for everything to understand the J-world.
the butt-ugly:
Lafcadio Hearn was a wacked fruitcake: Just read his work for free on Project Gutenburg.
Hearn wrote:
"I only wish I could be reincarnated in some little Japanese baby, so that I could see and feel the world as beautifully as a Japanese brain does."

Also see
Virtual Hearn dairy

Map of Hearn's Japan

Abandoned misfit who found peace in prose and his new land


Special to The Japan Times / Sunday, September 26, 2004

..."The beautiful illusion of Japan, the almost weird charm that comes with one's first entrance into her magical atmosphere, had, indeed stayed with me very long but had totally faded out at last" ("Out of the East," 1895).

....For other stories in our package on Lafcadio Hearn, please click the following links:

Disillusioned bard of a bygone Japan

By Roger Pulvers

Glimpsing the essence of Hearn's Kamakura

By Burritt Sabin
href="" target="_blank">
Hearn's estrangement with Japan in his last year of life, " "I have long been a subject of persecution in Japan. For many years, I have been isolated -- unable to meet or to have other friends, other than Japanese."

Posted by trek/taro at 11:49 AM KDT
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Let's "turn Japan into a nuclear sea of fire"!

6-Nation North Korean Nuclear Talks in Doubt (no registration required) September 26, 2004 by James Brook
.... ....The urgency of defusing North Korea's arsenal became clear this week when American and Japanese officials reported that soldiers and vehicles were gathering around North Korean missile sites, and the country's main newspaper warned that North Korea could "turn Japan into a nuclear sea of fire." The Kyodo news agency of Japan said the latest analysis indicated that North Korea was conducting missile preparedness drills in northwestern North Korea. At a site in the east, North Korea may be preparing the test burn of an engine of a modified Soviet-made submarine-launched missile, Kyodo reported Saturday. Known as an SSN6, this missile has a range of up to 2,500 miles, roughly the distance from North Korea to Guam.....

Posted by trek/taro at 10:31 AM KDT
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Don't mess with my false memory of aliens
"With alien abductees," Clancy thought, "I'm never going to have to deal with the criticism that it might have actually happened."

A Bad Trip Down Memory Lane > magazine, Sept 25
It is not considered good judgment to wade into the issue of recovered memories without skin as thick as permafrost and caller ID on the phone. Rare is the academic field in which colleagues on opposite sides of a debate -- people with international reputations -- dismiss the very foundations of one another's work, sometimes not so privately, with common barnyard epithets; in which two of the most prominent reference books are almost Jesuitically contradictory; in which more than a decade of fairly sound research has done little to settle a debate that has raged ever since Freud popularized the term ''repression.''

Posted by trek/taro at 10:12 AM KDT
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Saturday, September 25, 2004
Japan to develop new exploding satellite for N. Korea
What's Japan's batting average now? Isn't it 5 of the past 5 of the satellites lauched have exploded?
Japan to develop new spy satellite to monitor N. Korea
TOKYO Sept. 25 Kyodo -
The government has decided to start research on an advanced spy
satellite capable of taking sequential photos of a range of North
Korean missile bases and nuclear facilities almost

Posted by trek/taro at 11:32 PM KDT
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No Japanese fetus can beat us
Illegal dumping of aborted fetuses almost standard across country
(Mainichi Shimbun, Sept. 25, 2004)
Almost half Japan's 47 prefectures and one in five cities with public health facilities regularly dump aborted fetuses with regular trash instead of giving them special treatment, a shocking national government survey has showed.
Only one in 10 municipalities has created an autonomous ordinance regarding the disposal of fetuses from abortions...
Of these, 21 prefectures and 11 cities said they had handled aborted babies, used syringes and bloodied bandages as regular trash....

See also: Freezer vs Chopped Garbage Where do you keep aborted fetuses?

Posted by trek/taro at 11:18 PM KDT
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Why do Japanese game characters look anything but Japanese?

MAKUHARI, JAPAN - - SEPTEMBER 24: Characters from a computer game are displayed during the Tokyo Game Show.....

Posted by trek/taro at 10:55 PM KDT
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Friday, September 17, 2004
Japanese are more than a bit *amused* anime speaking gaijin
Topic: adviceS
It has been said that, "Japanese speakers are more than a bit *amused* by gaijin who pick up the language from anime."

?Horrified? would be more accurate and for good reason.

Anime freakozoids think speaking like the Beavis and Butthead in Japanese is cho-kool. It seems impossible for them to understand the simple fact that Japanese is not like slang in Spanish or French. Using slang bestows on you negative karma in Japanese--- not cool at all.

Posted by trek/taro at 4:00 PM KDT
Updated: Friday, September 17, 2004 4:02 PM KDT
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Thursday, September 16, 2004
Halloween starts on September 15 in Japan

16-Sep-2004 AFP Photo, TOKYO, JAPAN:
Young Disney fans in their hand-made costume of Disney characters Ariel (L) and Jasmine pose for a photo before a Disney Halloween Parade at Tokyo Disneyland in suburban Tokyo, 15 September 2004....

Posted by trek/taro at 5:52 PM KDT
Updated: Friday, September 17, 2004 4:03 PM KDT
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Silly Surfing "Danjiri" in Osaka Japan

Getty Images -OSAKA, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 15:
The Kishiwada Danjiri Festival passes through the town of Kishiwada... also known as the 'fighting festival'...a procession of four ton wooden floats, known as a Danjiri, are pulled through the streets by 32 teams of up to 1000 men competing in a reckless race...

Posted by trek/taro at 5:36 PM KDT
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Cheeky Japanese eyes for you!

Cheeks replace damaged eyes in Japanese study

15 Sep 2004 21:00:30 GMT
BOSTON, (Reuters) --
Thin sheets of cheek tissue can be used to replace the damaged corneas of people blinded by certain eye diseases, Japanese researchers reported on Wednesday.....

Posted by trek/taro at 2:47 PM KDT
Updated: Thursday, September 16, 2004 2:47 PM KDT
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