Sunday, August 28, 2011

Clubbing Baby Dolphins and Out of Work Actresses

Remember that silly sensationalist movie called "The Cove"? It was the documentary film about the annual dolphin hunt in Taiji, Japan, where several hundred (thousand?) dolphins (of a species that are not on any endangered lists) are killed by fishermen. This distasteful and bloody event has been going on for centuries. The movie made some headlines because it was supposedly "banned" in Japan -  It wasn't. It was never banned in Japan at all. 

The claims that it was banned was a publicity stunt by that film's makers.

Hollywood lives on publicity stunts.

This article is not about the Dolphin slaughter or anything like that. It is about greed and the lows that people will go to to make money. It is about the vanity and shallowness of people from Hollywood and in show business in general. 

Especially, this post is about the main actress in that movie, the Cove, Hayden Panettiere.

Hayden is the typical stupid Hollywood starlet who will do anything for fame. 

After 30 years in show business, I've met many people like that. Sorry to burst some people's bubble, but, turn off the TV and put down the popcorn for a second...

As I have written before, people like Hayden Panettiere don't really give a rat's ass about any dolphins or anything like that, they only care about fame. 

Just like jerks like U2's Bono who prop up charities and claim to care about poverty (yet give only 1%) or Sting with his BS about rain forests or the next Hollywood clown who makes noise about endangered monkeys, it's all just blah, blah, blah... Yadda, yadda, yadda. These people don't really give a sh*t about these things. Their "charities" and work are all promotions capitalizing on other people's misery and they constitute tax breaks. 

In Hayden's case, if she really did care about the Dolphins, she'd still be talking about it... But, she doesn't. She doesn't because, you see, the advertising budget for that film is over with and, well, she does have a movie star career to attend to.  

So much for... sniff.... sniff... actually caring!.... I mean, really... She's an actress after all. She doesn't really have to care. Isn't acting like she cares enough for her fans? Why do fans always have to "take, take, take"?

For the most part, these famous people who support these charities do it as a tax break or a vehicle for promotion. They don't really care about actually making any effort. This is the real world, folks. That's the way it is. Live with it.

Frankly speaking, I don't think that that movie's main starlet, out of work Hayden Panettiere, ever cared a bit about those dolphins... She faked tears for the promotion of that movie but now, since she's out of a job, she's not faking any tears. She needs money and is charging $30 a pop for autographs.

Charging fans for autographs? Are you kidding me? Is she that desperate?

The Daily Mail reports:

Are times that tough Hayden? Actress Pantierre charges $30 an autograph at a fan convention.

She found herself without a regular television role after Heroes was cancelled last year.

But it seems times have got a lot tougher for Hayden Panettiere.

The 22-year-old actress spent today at a fan convention in Toronto signing autographs for the princely sum of $30 a pop.

"I'm out of work... sniff... Please buy my autograph..."

And if fans wanted a photo opportunity with the star, they would need to cough up $45 for the privilege, according to an accompanying sign.

The actress wore a low key grey T-shirt with her hair pulled into a ponytail as she greeted convention goers.

The four day Fan Expo Canada Convention in Toronto is for fans of  horror movies, comic books, science fiction, animé and video games.
$30 for an autograph and $45 dollars for a photo? Excellent. And, I'm sure with her sincere efforts to stop the killing of Flipper and the rest of his dolphin friends, Hayden will be donating all of that money to her favorite "Stop the Dolphin" kill charity...

Or is that "so last week"? Just like AIDS, Global Warming, whatever, is the dolphin killing just no longer trendy amongst the Hollywood elite and their fans who watch way too much TV?

Since tuna sells for a dollar a can, I wonder if she'd trade me her autograph for 30 cans of tuna?


Note: There are many good charities in Japan: Rock Challenge Japan:

Foreign Volunteers Association:

Second Harvest:

Save Minami Soma Project: just to name a few.... 

-------- NOTE: 

Some background about the Cove; to promote the film, the producers of the film made the claim that, "If all of the Japanese people could just see the film once, they'd ban dolphin fishing forever." I wrote in Japan Bans the Cove and Other Atrocities how that was a bunch of rubbish. 

If the producers really were sincere in that thinking, they'd make the film free for view to everyone on Youtube. But they don't, so their purpose is to sell tickets and make money to people going to see the movie or buying the DVD.

When I pointed that discrepancy out, some people criticized me by saying that the film's producers "have to make money some way." I countered that doesn't make sense as many films are available for free on Youtube and that Google gives away everything for free and they are one of the biggest money making companies in the world (not to mention Facebook, Twitter, etc., etc.)

It is good that there are enough people who are intelligent enough to see through this sort of BS. 

The film's makers then claimed that eating the dolphin meat is full of mercury and dangerous. In Dolphin Hunters and the People Who Hunt Them I countered, 

"...the crowd against dolphin hunting (in their twisted logic) say that the dolphins shouldn't be killed and eaten as the meat is pumped full of mercury and so it is poisonous to eat. If so, then that's great, isn't it? Then let these people kill the dolphins, eat the meat and then they die. Problem solved!"

If people are so stupid to want to eat poison, then let them do as they wish. Or do people think the government should outlaw unhealthy behavior? If so, then let's outlaw smoking, drinking, sweets, all red meats and really make it a heavy crime to be over weight.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Race for Japan's New Prime Minister is On and the Entire Country is Abuzz....ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz.......

Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan who was prime minister for just over one short year is resigning. The race for a new clusterf*ck prime minister of Japan is on. 

If you were to judge by the media, you'd think that the Japanese, as well as people all over the world, are gripping their arses in anticipation of who the next prime minister of the world's #3 (and dropping quickly) economy is going to be.

Will it be dumbf*ck number one or dillweed #2? The entire nation anxiously awaits the results of an election that they have absolutely no say in whatsoever.....So, I am....ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz.....

ZZZsnork! Where was I? Oh, yeah....

Kan, as you remember, was Japan's prime minister for just about 15 months. In that time, his infamy is often compared with that of many tyrants of the past. The destruction and devastation that occurred under Kan's rule will always be on the level of a Adolf Hitler, Chairman Mao, Attila the Hun, Caligula, Joseph Stalin and that Khan dude on Star Trek. 

The world will never forget the destruction they caused: 
Top (L to R): Hitler, Stalin, Mao
Bottom (L to R): Kan, Khan and Fine

See? Told you he's right up there with old usual suspects. 

Our own Naoto Kan, who, you'll remember singlehandedly was responsible for causing the earthquake, tsunami and subsequent Fukushima nuclear disaster will also always be remembered for his positive achievements such as... his, er.... ummmm... And then there's... the... uh... 


Things will be OK if you just remember to keep repeating the mantra: "March 11, disaster, earthquake, tsunami, Fukushima Dai ichi and Naoto Kan."

Kan! Kan! Khan! Damn you, Khan! We'll get you for this!

AFP reports:

TOKYO (AFP) Japan's ruling party is to kick off a two-day campaign Saturday to choose a new leader for the disaster-hit nation, with trade and industry minister Banri Kaieda emerging as a strong contender.

Who the hell is Banri Kaieda?

Five candidates of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) have so far run for the party's leadership election on Monday to succeed Prime Minister Naoto Kan as the nation's sixth premier in five years.

Awriiiiight! I think we should go for a new world record! You know that Italy has had more than 50 government's since World War II? yes. It's true. Come on, Japan! We can do better! Japan! Japan! Japan! Ganbare Nippon!
The party has set a deadline of Saturday morning for candidates to come forward for what is expected to be a close race.

Hoo hum....What? I missed the dealine for filing again?

Kan announced his resignation on Friday after nearly 15 turbulent months in power, during which his response to the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and resulting nuclear plant accident drew fierce criticism.

Remember to keep repeating: Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Genghis Khan, Attila and Kan (sounds like some 70's Hippie Prog Rock group doesn't it?)
Through debates and speeches this weekend, the candidates will seek support of 398 DPJ lawmakers who can vote for a new party president to replace Kan. Parliament will then vote the leader in as PM on Tuesday.

Debates and speeches this weekend? Oh goody. That sounds like how I want to spend my weekends with the family! Listening to old political pharts droning on and on about this or that....
Former foreign minister Seiji Maehara, who has topped the list of hopeful successors to Kan in opinion polls, and Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda were largely seen as pre-election favourites.

Is it just me or does the name Seiji Maehara sound like a horse racing jockey? 
But Kaieda, who has led efforts to contain the nuclear crisis, leapt into the front row alongside them late on Friday after party kingmaker Ichiro Ozawa, who controls the DPJ's biggest faction, voiced support for him.

And he lifted a pinky finger is his direction. Don't forget the power of the Ozawa pinky in your direction!
Ozawa, a divisive figure who faces a criminal trial over a donations scandal, leads up to 130 lawmakers, although he has lost his party membership following his indictment over the scandal.

This is great: divisive figure, criminal trial, donations scandal, leads 130 lawmakers...  think that pretty much sums up the political situation here in a nutshell.
"We need support of Ozawa at a time of crisis," Kaieda told reporters late Friday.

Ha! Ha! Ha! "We need support of Ozawa at a time of crisis"!? Tell me, Einstein, when is Japan not in a crisis?
Kaieda, 62, a well-known economist before he turned to politics, also won support of former prime minister Yukio Hatoyama, a close ally with Ozawa.

Hatoyama? Oh, yeah. I seem to remember that name. He was the guy who promised to kick out the US military if elected and that he would..... ZZZZZZzzzzzzz.......
Kaieda came to be at odds with Kan, who made a policy shift away from nuclear power generation while Kaieda was trying to convince local governments to restart reactors that went offline after the disaster.
Maehara, 49, who stepped down as foreign minister in March over a donations row, could become the nation's youngest post-war prime minister. He is against raising taxes to ease Japan's fiscal woes.

Get it? Kaieda who has the support of a divisive figure who is involved with a criminal trail over a donations scandal and is supported by another loser who couldn't keep his election promises is up against another guy who has his own doantions scandal.... Ever see that British TV show, "Yes, Minister"? 

(and now for a short comedy interlude about government)
Back to the article:

Noda, 54, who recently courted controversy with statements supporting war criminals, has softened his earlier stance on hiking taxes.

Doh! How many times have I told these idiots that you don't talk about raising taxes before an election? See? This Noda guy is not completely and totally stupid. He's toned it down. Now, if he becomes PM that will only prove the rest of the nation is completely and totally stupid.

The winner faces the unenviable task of overseeing Japan's biggest post-war reconstruction, resolving the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl 25 years ago, and shielding the economy from a soaring yen.

...And the task of trying to stay in office for more than two weeks... With the even more daunting task of trying not to say something stupid once a day.
The new premier must also unite a divided parliament, decide on a new post-Fukushima energy policy and win market confidence that Japan can overcome a legislative quagmire to address the world's biggest debt mountain.

Read that last sentence again: "The new premier must also unite a divided parliament, decide on a new post-Fukushima energy policy and win market confidence that Japan can overcome a legislative quagmire to address the world's biggest debt mountain."

Bwa! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Just remember, no matter who becomes the next Japanese prime minister, he will look good is you just always repeat the mantra: March 11, disaster, earthquake, tsunami, Fukushima Dai ichi and Naoto Kan.


NOTE: The international and local media are really turning up the gears on this new Japanese prime minister nonsense. Like I said, "who cares?" Nothing is going to change.

My good friend George Williams turned me on to this great British TV show, that I highly recommend that you watch. It is a wonderful documentary about how TV makes people stupid:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Selling Their Gold? The Japanese Must Be Completely Insane!

I stumbled upon this story today from Reuters about how many Japanese people are selling their gold. It seems that, at today's high prices, they want to cash in while they can.

Because of this trend, this makes Japan a net exporter of gold for six years in a row!

Why would anyone want to sell gold (real money) in exchange for worthless paper? These people selling their gold haven't a clue as to what they are doing. 

Reuters reports in "Analysis: Japanese Cash in on Gold Price Boom":

(Reuters) - For Eriko Ebina, standing outside a downtown Tokyo medical equipment store that has a side business buying gold, the recent surge in prices for the precious metal was just too tempting.

"For more than 30 years, I kept gold jewelry mother bought for me, and with media saying prices are high, I thought I would sell them now except for a few keepsakes from her," said Ebina, in her 60s.

"I earned more than I thought they were worth. I'm not interested in buying gold."

It is sellers like Ebina who will offset surging investment into gold funds in Japan, which should make the country a net exporter for the sixth year in a row.

The assets of Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corp's physical gold exchange traded fund (ETF), Japan's first backed by metal stored in the country, have grown by a quarter since end-July to 21.8 billion yen ($284.9 million) as of August 23.

"Investors are seriously treating our gold ETF as a legitimate asset class, just like investing in equities, bonds and currencies," said Osamu Hoshi, deputy general manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Trust.

"They see a need to diversify their assets after seeing volatile moves in currencies and stocks and others," Hoshi said.
There is a serious disconnect here. Hoshi says that people need to diversify their assets, yet they sell their gold? And what do they buy? Stocks? Bonds? Paper currency?! Oh yeah, those have done especially well over these last 20 + some years.
What do they say, "A fool and his money are soon parted."

A downgrade of the U.S. sovereign debt rating amid a deteriorating outlook for the world's largest economy, as well as a spreading European debt crisis, have triggered a rush to gold that has boosted prices by 14 percent this month.
Yeah... For people like this dumb lady who sold her gold, they need to wake up and smell the coffee...She doesn't need to sell her gold, she needs to hold on to it... For those of you who don't have any gold or silver, you need to buy it.
It's the only asset that has done well over these last ten years.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tell Them You Love Them and Hug Your.... Parents?

Constantly we are reading things about how we are a bunch of lousy parents (we are) and that we should be doing more for our kids (we should). 

At that same time, we often read that our poor parenting of our kids is a result of the poor parenting we received from our parents. Hmmm... I don't know if that is true or not. After all, I think most people try to do the best with the cards they are dealt. I think that, for the most part, if we are lousy parents today, it could be because we were brought up in a very prosperous society and that our parents wanted to give us all they could so maybe they spoiled us a bit. 

Nothing wrong with wanting your kids to have more than you had as a kid.

My being a lousy parent can never be blamed on my dear old mom (I miss her so) and my now ill father. 

Before I go on about my dad, let me pass on just one tip that I found yesterday from a wonderful blog by a guy named James Altucher about how we should better treat our kids. If I can just pass on one tip for you parents today, it would be this. He wrote: 

"Tell them (your kids) you love them a lot. And always tell them they’re beautiful. You’d think that’s obvious but not every kid is told that."

It's true. I thought I was very handsome when I was young but I don't remember my dad ever telling me that. My mom did often enough. I think my dad never said that because he is a handsome guy and I look like him, I suppose...

It is wonderful for a child's confidence and self-esteem to hear verification that they are beautiful (or handsome). They might think so, or they wonder if it is true ("mirror, mirror on the wall....") but to have their parents tell them that and reinforce it is priceless.

But I digress....

They say that we are bad parents because our parents dropped us as kids or beat us or kicked us. Maybe. Maybe not... But, I tell you what, we have to do our best for our children today, no matter how we were treated when we were kids as we have to strive to make their lives better than ours were (as our parents did for us!)  

Grandfather and Grandson in 2007

My father is now on hospice and is awaiting that day. He has been sick for several months and in and out of the hospital. Now, with hospice, he won't be going to the hospital again.

He is 6,000 miles away. I've been sending him snail mails and "virtual" hugs daily. I hope to call him when and if he becomes strong enough to talk again. I went to see him 2 months ago when they said, "This is it!" 

It wasn't "it". He got better. He's a tough onery guy. I don't expect that he's going to go so easily.

Unfortunately, I am not filthy rich so I have to work. I have a family and a job to do so I cannot be running back and forth half way around the world constantly. So, besides hugging my kids and telling them that I love them and that they are beautiful, I tell my dad the same thing.

Of course I pray about these things nightly (and in the morning) too!

I was upset when my mom died but really had no regrets because I told her that I loved her every chance I got.

My dad always tells me he loves us, but he doesn't really have too... We know it.

Now, come to think of it, that I constantly tell (told) my parents and children that I love them, perhaps I was brought up pretty well after all...

Ultimately, everyone knows that what goes around comes around... And when I am on my death bed, I hope my children tell me that they love me all the while telling their own children the same.

Of course, I'm going to keep telling them that I love them and they are beautiful and handsome.

I think that's one step towards living life with no regrets.

-Big hugs and thanks to Eiko and Lucia for helping my dad in these difficult times. Good folks like you two make this world a little bit better place to live.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Radioactive Golfing!? Some People Love to Golf!

Here's a story that caught my eye. It's about how golf courses near the Fukushima nuclear power plant are struggling to stay in operation.

All of the 27-hole courses are within the emergency zone.... And they are struggling to stay in business!? What!? You'd have thought that they'd have gone out of business 6 months ago. 

Some people really love to golf!

Daily Yomiuri reports:

Golf Courses Trapped in Rough by Radiation

FUKUSHIMA--Some golf courses in Fukushima Prefecture are suffering from radioactive contamination stemming from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, while others have lost customers due to radiation fears.

Gee. Ya think so? Nah! Can't be.

Since the accident at the nuclear plant, 12 out of a total 63 golf courses in the prefecture have been forced to suspend operations. The number of players at golf courses currently in operation has been low, frustrating people in the golf business in the prefecture.

Go figure.

Kashima Country Club in Minami-Soma, located northwest of the nuclear power plant, has been closed since March 12, the day after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. Almost all of the 27 hole-golf course falls within the emergency evacuation preparation zone.

Hmm? They are within the emergency evacuation zone? That means they are chock full of goodies like Spider-Man at Three Mile Island. Now why in the world wouldn't people be just be "dying" to get on the courses and do a brisk 18 holes every morning? 

Radiation-measuring instruments dotted around the golf course constantly issue alarms indicating radiation levels of 0.3 microsieverts per hour or above; in some areas, levels have reached over 3 microsieverts per hour.

Three microsieverts and hour? Does that count toward my handicap? Wow! Empty golf courses? If there were ever a time to pick up the sport, now is the time... And, that's not all, folks! Free tanning on these golf courses with the new "Fuku-you Golf Tanning" plan!

Yoshikatsu Fukuodori, manager of the golf course, said, "[It's a pity], as our golf course suffered no damage from the earthquake and tsunami."

What does he mean by that? Does he wish the courses were ruined by tsunami as well as nuclear radiation?

As a result of some club members requesting to practice their swing at the course, the club reopened 18 holes on June 4. However, because many of the club's members have evacuated to outside the prefecture, only about 20 people per day use the course. The 3,500 yen fee members pay to use the course just covers the minimum maintenance costs involved, such as gasoline for golf carts and chemical herbicides.

Aha! I love golf! Nature! The sun! Birds! Bees! Chemical fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, Agent Orange and nucleotides!

Fukuodori had no choice but to dismiss all 45 of his employees as a result of the downturn. Of those, four are supporting him as volunteers. Fukuodori remained pessimistic, however, dropping his shoulders and saying, "Even if we decontaminate the golf course, it's not guaranteed that players will return."

"Even if we decontaminate the course, it's not guaranteed that players will return"!? So, what Einstein is saying here is that the course is contaminated and he wonders why players don't come there to golf?

Did you folks ever see that movie Caddy Shack?.... Case rests your honor.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Japanese PM Kan is out on August 30, 2011!!!

Jeez. It's about time! Zero Hedge is reporting that, according to Reuters,  Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan will step down on the 30th!

Zero Hedge reports:

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan told his cabinet ministers on Tuesday that they are likely to resign on Aug. 30, Japanese Economics Minister Kaoru Yosano said on Tuesday.

The unpopular prime minister's comments effectively confirmed his intention to resign in coming days, clearing the way for Japan to select its sixth prime minister since Junichiro Koizumi ended a rare five-year term in 2006.

The ruling Democratic Party of Japan is planning to pick a new leader on Aug. 29, setting the stage for parliamentary confirmation of a new premier and the selection of a new cabinet.

Yosano also told a news conference that the government needs to devise steps to cope with the negative effects of the yen rise in the coming third supplementary budget for this fiscal year.

It's good news and bad... If history is any example, the next guy will be just as much of an idiot too.

Japanese Gov't to Rent Land Near Fukushima? Nuts!

There's some things going on about the Fukushima disaster that I just cannot understand. These problems all involve the government handling of the situation. I've written much about my dissatisfaction with that. 

The problem with the entire situation stems from government incompetence and the desire to be all things to all people in this crisis.

Yesterday, it came to fore that areas near the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plants will be declared uninhabitable for many ears to come. Does that come as a surprise to anyone? I wouldn't think so.

Now, it seems that the Japanese government is going to reimburse land and property owners near the Fukushima plant by paying them rent for all the coming years that they won't be able to live in their homes. I am completely against this notion and think this is just another government boondoogle that makes the rest of us pay for something that we had nothing to do with.

The New York Times reports:

TOKYO — Broad areas around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant could soon be declared uninhabitable, perhaps for decades, after a government survey found radioactive contamination that far exceeded safe levels, several major media outlets said Monday.

The formal announcement, expected from the government in coming days, would be the first official recognition that the March accident could force the long-term depopulation of communities near the plant, an eventuality that scientists and some officials have been warning about for months. Lawmakers said over the weekend — and major newspapers reported Monday — that Prime Minister Naoto Kan was planning to visit Fukushima Prefecture, where the plant is, as early as Saturday to break the news directly to residents. The affected communities are all within 12 miles of the plant, an area that was evacuated immediately after the accident.

Why is this a surprise? Didn't everyone expect this long ago? When the government announced a few weeks ago that they were planning to allow residents to return this year, didn't everyone think they were talking like the fools that they are?
The government is expected to tell many of these residents that they will not be permitted to return to their homes for an indefinite period. It will also begin drawing up plans for compensating them by, among other things, renting their now uninhabitable land. While it is unclear if the government would specify how long these living restrictions would remain in place, news reports indicated it could be decades. That has been the case for areas around the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine after its 1986 accident.

Like I said, under what twisted rules will the government determine the land value of these areas? Their current value must be zero, right? What is the difference between this and the US government buying all those billions of dollar of so-called "toxic-assets" from the failing uS banking system? There isn't any. It is just throwing public money down the toilet.
Since the Fukushima accident, evacuations have been a sensitive topic for the government, which has been criticized for being slow to admit the extent of the disaster and trying to limit the size of the areas affected, despite possible risks to public health. Until now, Tokyo had been saying it would lift the current evacuation orders for most areas around the plant early next year, when workers are expected to stabilize Fukushima Daiichi’s damaged nuclear reactors.

Ha! No one who has been paying any attention even thinks anything the government says is anything but a sick joke. Once again, they show their total incompetence and lack of common sense and delusion. Kan and his cronies keep hoping that things will get better but as a friend once told me, "Hope isn't a very good business plan." How in the world it is that Kan is still prime minister is astounding.
The government was apparently forced to alter its plans after the survey by the Ministry of Science and Education, released over the weekend, which showed even higher than expected radiation levels within the 12-mile evacuation zone around the plant. The most heavily contaminated spot was in the town of Okuma about two miles southwest of the plant, where someone living for a year would be exposed to 508.1 millisieverts of radiation — far above the level of 20 millesieverts per year that the government considers safe.
The survey found radiation above the safe level at three dozen spots up to 12 miles from the plant. That has called into question how many residents will actually be able to return to their homes even after the plant is stabilized.

The only good note that can be deemed from all of this is that, with everyone being so nervous and doing some serious checking and investigation, that no one has found any wide contamination in Tokyo is a good thing. Let's hope it stays that way and people remain vigilant.

Frankly speaking, in a nutshell, here's what I think:

1) The TEPCO nuclear power plant is a privately owned business. When they made profits, they kept them. When they lose money (as in the recent accident) I don't understand why the public has to bail them out. They make a profit, they pocket the money. They lose money and the public has to pay through increased taxation? Does that seem fair to you? It doesn't to me.

2) Once again, the government is easy to spread around public tax monies paid for by you and me.... After all, it's not their money.

3) This sounds really cold, but the people who lived around those nuclear power plants profited in their businesses and livelihoods for decades due to the business and economic benefits those nuclear power plants provided as a main source of jobs and revenue for the people living in the area. Why are they different than TEPCO? They profited for many years off of businesses and jobs created by the TEPCO plant. Now that there has been a terrible accident, why do the rest of us have to pay them rent for their houses that they can no longer live in?

4) Who will decide the amount of rent to be paid? Surely we will be paying way over current market value on those properties as their current value - since the disaster - must be close to zero.

5) Why are we, the public, being asked to pay for these properties? What is the purpose of private so-called "fire and marine" insurance? (Insurance for covering accidents and disasters befalling private property?) If the owners of property had no insurance, then that is their stupidity and loss. Why should the rest of us pay for that?  When, say, a property on a mountainside is burned down in a fire, are the rest of us expected to pay for that property owner's loss? No.

The disaster of March 11 is a tragedy for those who lost homes, family and livelihoods. These sorts of occurrences are why there is insurance. There is no good reason that the government has volunteered for the rest of us to pay for these people's losses. They profited from the good times, they must suffer for the bad. 

Paying these people, like paying TEPCO, is not fair. It is the same as the US government using tax monies to bail out the big banks when they were in trouble.

The rest of us didn't experience personal or financial gain from the good times, we should not be expected to pay for the bad.

I am against this sort of expenditure of public monies whether it is to be spent to help a private business like TEPCO or a private landowner like those who lived near the Fukushima reactors. People must have known the risk. They should have moved if they didn't like the chances. The rest of us should not be expected to pay for their poor judgement or bad luck.

That is what insurance is for.

As with all tragic events, I wish for good luck for those people and survivors of these disasters... But I can't see how you or I should be forced to pay for it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Little Things That Make Japan Best: Politeness and the Telephone

Japan will teach you patience. In everyday life, Japan has great lessons for westerners who come from nations full of people with the "Me! Me! Me!" entitlement attitude.
Many people find Japan's pace frustrating. But I think the wise people will find Japan's pace in showing them (and helping them with) patience is actually much better for their physical and mental health.

Think about it: the Japanese live, on average, about 8 years longer than Americans do. Of course diet has much to do with it. But people here rarely scream and shout. This sort of "flying off the handle" that (especially) Americans are guilty of cannot be good for one's health. Getting mad over insignificant things is just a cause of stress and can only harm the person doing the stressing.

As everyone knows, stress is a killer of relationships and life!

Actually, on a recent trip to the USA, besides the regular stress that I think is just "in the air" at the USA these days, I watched some TV... I felt like I was being yelled at all the time. What a stressful experience. Not good for my health. But, just a part of today's American society... Not good for anyone's health, I'm sure. But America's don't realize it anymore. It's part and parcel of that society nowadays.

But I digress...

Japan is world famous for politeness but nowhere in Japan does the politeness reach the plateau of Mt. Everest like it does when talking to strangers - or on a telephone call (excepting for when you might be talking with a geisha - so how often does that happen?)

I have seen and heard, with my own eyes and ears, Japanese people who were in arguments (thought they never scream and shout like Americans do) with friends and family. Then, suddenly, the telephone rings.

They made their last comments along the lines of, "Be quiet now! There's the telephone!" Immediately, all tensions and frustrations disappeared in a flash! It's like they were different person! They picked up the phone and answered in a most calm and sweet tone.:

"Moshi moshi! (Hello!) This is the such-and-such residence."

It is like being on another planet. One moment ago, they were in the midst of a heated discussion. Now, it seems they just stepped out of a peaceful field of grass and flowers. As my friend Kevin Riley observed, "...It's like they have a split personality." Ah! Fresh air!

It doesn't matter if the caller is a friend or business associate or even some salesman, the Japanese are very polite in their tone and mannerisms. Like a person stepping out of an extremely hot outdoors into the blast of a cooling air-conditioned breeze of a department store open doors, the Japanese will show courtesy to even strangers who intrude upon themselves - if even in a telephone call.  

As my friend, Andy in Japan, has recently related - though using a much heavier example than mine above (concerning the police), just another reason Japan is a much better place to live than the USA.