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Comment Re:2027? 2045? (Score 1) 159

uhhh... Inactivated polio vaccine is what they have been using in the States for most of the past 25 years. Here in Japan, parents seek out GPs who import it on the grey market to give to their children, as the risks from catching polio from the live vaccine are too high.

Comment Re:2027? 2045? (Score 1) 159

No bad experiences with the police or the judiciary, thank heavens. My carbon footprint here is much less than it will be in the States, I agree. The only time I've had someone try to mug me was in Sydney [epic failure on the mugger's part]. Graffiti and beggars I don't like, but I can live with them. The subway where I'm from doesn't smell like piss. Health care is cheap here, but you get what you pay for. They just inoculated my son with a live polio virus, ferchrissakes! Racism and racial profiling are open and in-your-face. Why should my J-citizen children who look more European than Eurasian have to put up with it? It's not going to change. The government is so inept it makes my brain hurt just thinking about it. My experience is atypical only in that I have been here for so long and have enough degrees in Japanese to realize that this place, which I had so much hope for in the Eighties, is heading downhill and won't climb up again in my lifetime. Dollars to doughnuts you have no children, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

Comment Re:2027? 2045? (Score 1) 159

I've been living in Japan for most of the last quarter century, and must disagree with your standard of living statement. You must live in Roppongi Hills or somewhere just as posh to make that qualification. As a matter of fact, I'm moving back to my hometown of San Francisco to improve my family's standard of living. Here in Kyoto, utilities are extremely expensive, public education is a shambles, the police and judiciary are corrupt, the population is elderly and the young 'uns are apathetic and realize that their future is working at a Family Mart. I can get all that in the good ol' US of A, and I'd rather have the American version after all this time. Most of Japan is a third-world country with a very shiny high-tech veneer of the first world overlaid upon it here and there.

Comment No real nuke freakouts on Japanese tv. (Score 0) 752

If it's all reactor news over there, there's not a whole lot going on over here in Japan on the local networks. Oh, wait. I just saw Fukushima Dai-ichi explode. That can't be good. I really need to move back to California. Yes, I know. It's not very much fun over here and I'm 500 km away from this. I wish I was 5000.

Comment Re:Wow. Deja vu. (Score 0, Flamebait) 468

That's funny. I travel to the US with my Japanese wife and my two small children annually. I've had nothing but a pleasant time flying into SFO. Then again, I'm an American, as are my children. Maybe they like having us back home and would rather you take your Anglo self through another country on your way to, I'm guessing, Canada. Or maybe it's because I know how to deal with American law enforcement types. Looks like it worked. One less family transiting the US.

Comment Don't Believe The Hype! (Score 1) 164

One of the only commercially successful consumer robots so far is made by an American company, iRobot Corp. The Roomba vacuum cleaner robot is self-propelled and can clean rooms without supervision. "We can pretty much make anything, but we have to ask, what are people actually going to buy?" said iRobot CEO Helen Greiner. The company has sold 2.5 million Roombas -- which retail for as little as $120 -- since the line was launched in 2002.
The way this was written leads you to the impression that good ol' merican Roombas are successful in Japan, when nothing could be further from the truth. lists the Roomba 530 at around ¥70,000 (~USD680), while a check at Amazon says I can buy the exact same model in the States for USD260. I'm guessing that extra $440 isn't import robot tax. Of course, a Roomba is rather useless in your average Japanese house, where there are often raised sills between rooms.

The Aizu Chuo Hospital spent about some $557,000 installing three of the robots in its waiting rooms to test patients' reactions. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, said spokesman Naoya Narita. "We feel this is a good division of labor. Robots won't ever become doctors, but they can be guides and receptionists," Narita said.
I've lived in Japan for most of my adult life, and this is not an indication of cool Japan. This truly is the beginning of the end for this country as a first-tier power, economic or otherwise. Where is there any mention of nurses in the above quote? My wife, an experienced nurse in her 30s, is the person whose job those $185,000 robots are trying to take. But there aren't any robot nurses here, nor will there be any here soon. Yet her salary is shockingly low (at least compared to what she could earn in the States), and hospitals are putting pressure on the government to let in nurses from the Philippines so they can pay them minimum wage to care for an aging population. Japan doesn't allow dual nationality, thereby forcing my children to choose between US and Japanese citizenship when they reach majority, much less any meaningful immigration. Robots are a Goverment of Japan red herring to keep the populace from worrying about 2050 when the population has dropped from the current 128m to 95m

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It is masked but always present. I don't know who built to it. It came before the first kernel.