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Prices in Japan    

Some Americans often say that in Japan all prices are expensive.
They are only partially right. For example, the price of beef is 4 times
higher, gasoline is also 4 times higher and house rental is 5 times as
much as in the US.
I was surprised that everything was so cheap when I came to the USA.
I converted in my head the dollars to Japanese YEN, for example $5.00
equals 500 YEN.
When I was a child, I heard that in America everything was expensive.
They weren't able to fix even a broken down car because the repair cost
was too expensive. They would leave it by the road.
For a long time one dollar was 360 YEN, but after the value of the dollar
decreased, the exchange rate fell step by step.
I think that if one dollar were 200 YEN, people wouldn't say that
"In Japan all prices are expensive."
My explanation is in Japan the prices of beef & house rental are not
expensive compared to averages of other countries with small land areas.
But prices are very cheap in America, because the country is so immense.
The American people can produce beef & housing with very low costs.

Some days ago, an interest report was published by one Swiss bank.
It was that how many times people work for get a Big Mac.
It means comparing of economical conditions of cities in the world.
If people can get the Big Mac shorter time than others,
the people are richer than others.
The result was that Tokyo was shortest all the world because it was only 9 minutes.
Ross was 11 minutes, New Yoke was 12 minutes, and Sydney was 13 minutes.
The longest city was Kenya (178 minutes)
Indonesia was 146 minutes, and Hungary was 82 minutes.
They mean that Japan has expensive prices but the wages are also higher.

Foreigners in Japan.  

There are foreigners above one percent of the population in Japan.
Their leading nationalities are Korea, China, Brazil, Philippines and U.S.
But about 20years ago, the foreigners were only a few because Japanese
society consisted of only Japanese except Koreans who had lived from before
the World War II.
Their ancestors came to Japan by forced from Korea which was annexed to Japan
because their country was occupied by Japan.
Many Koreans suffered in severe and dangerous labors in coal mines and 
munitions factories. Japanese bosses abused them with racial discrimination.
After the World War the racial prejudice remained in many aged Japanese.
This prejudice depended on positions of winners and losers of the war. 
Now due to change of generations the prejudice is disappearing gradually.

In the 1980s, many Japanese companies advanced overseas due to economical reason
because the exchange rate was changed the high yen-rate.
They needed to join with overseas companies then they organized new companies in
overseas. So many Japanese people and families began to stay in overseas countries. 
It will be make great future because their children also have experience overseas.
The children are transporting diverse cultures of values into Japanese society.

Other side a great number of labors came to Japan from South Asia and Brazil
because they were able to gain high money in Japan.
They helped simple and rough works because Japanese young people do not
want to do such as jobs. So Japanese society is not able to consist without them.
But some Japanese have prejudice with them who talk alien languages and cultures.
Some owners do not rent apartments to them. It is a shame in Japanese society. 
I think that the prejudice become no experience living with foreigners. 
Therefore they can not know that they are good or illegal and criminal. 

Any day ago, a governor of Tokyo said that he is afraid when a disaster would attack
in Tokyo, the illegal foreigners may make riot for example like looter.
For defend it the armies will be needed.
His opinion stir upped a lot criticisms.
Many people said that he had a prejudice to foreigners who all make troubles.
But others said that there are a lot illegal foreigners and they are making cruel
crimes in the peace town because about 20% of the atrocious criminals consist of
foreigners who are living illegally in Tokyo . 
The percentage is evidently high as compared with Japanese it.

Until 140 year ago, Japanese government had made national isolation. 
After the ended of the isolation, Japanese fascism and nationalism prevented
the international exchanges.
So Japanese society has no long history (about 20years only) living with 
multiracial people.
Now we have to have an new experience to live foreigners over the many difficulties.
It is a great problem on 2000s in Japanese society.

Conflict about smoking.

When you visit Japan, you can see many smokers everywhere.
Especially men who are above 50years old, very like smoking.
Why are they living with smoke?
It became from government policy which intended to get tax.
The government recommended to plant tobacco for farmers from ago,
because public corporation for tobacco have helped income of government.

In Japan old age women do not smoke because there was social
custom that woman who smokes seemed wrong girl.
Now social opinion turned to help non-smokers at last.
Many restaurants and public halls have to separate smokers and non-smokers.
The Japanese Ministry of Health made a plan that the amount consumed in Japan
shall reduce to half by the year 2005.
As soon as the plan was published, some member national assembly campaigned for
prevent it.
They said that many farmers would get serious economical damage.
And smoking is a luxury. It depend persons decision but not government policy.
The opposition was too strong, therefore the ministry plan was going smaller.

Women and non-smokers opined that

1.It is evident that smoking make cancer not 
   only the smoker but also nearby non-smokers.
   Social medical cost will be larger than income of the tax.

2.Smokeless society is a trend of all worlds.

I hate smoking so I agree on the opinion. but there are too much smokers.
We need more long time, about 10years when old age smokers will end their lives.

Live like Job.

There are many volcanoes and spa in Japan.
The Japanese symbol Mountain Fuji (Fujiyama) is it also.
Mantle is moving down in the deep ground around Japan.
And the mantle makes lava (molten rock) at many places.
So our land is floating on hot mantle like jelly.
The mantle moving often makes earthquakes also.
A strong earthquake attacked city Kobe in central Japan 5years ago.
About 6000 people were killed due to the disaster. 
We can feel small earthquakes everywhere and every year.
The disaster is like tornado of America.
But it is dangerous than tornados because earthquake attacks
suddenly without forecast.
Many scientists have effort to forecast earthquakes.
But they do not succeed in the forecasting yet.
The forecasting of the time, scale and location are so difficult.

The eruptions of volcanoes also destroy people lives.
Now in the north country, a famous spa place is going to disappear
due to the eruptions of volcano.
About 15000 people have to refuge from their homes.
They may lose their job also because many people were working at 
the spa places, hotels and shops for tourists.
Some people who live other town, ask them that why you are living 
such as dangerous town.
They say that "We have lived long time here."
"We were able to live here thanks of the volcano and spa."
"We do not hate the volcano."
I remember a chapter of Bible.
"The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord."

New Communication Tool.     

If you now visit Japan you may be surprised because many teenagers
are taking cellar phones.
If there are 20 young people on the town street, certainly 20 cellar phones
 are there. They are talking during walking and standing on corners.
Why they can take them? Because they can buy them with very low price.
And cellar phones are necessary for their communication.

Japanese cellar phone is smaller than it of America.
The size is about 1x3 inches.
If many Americans operate it they may press two tiny buttons together by their
thick fingers.

Usually young people are not using for business but only useless talking
with their friends.
Some old people are looking them with frown faces.
Because they are talking with noisy voices even in streetcars.
The old say their public manners are bad because the rings are noisy.
Now many young people began silent talking at public zones.
They don't talk to the phone but intently press buttons with amazing speed.
So they are exchanging massages by email.

Japanese Pride.           (3/5/2000)

One year ago, in Japanese Sea a small trouble happened with North Korea.
Japanese coast guard found two suspicious boats in Japanese territory.
The officers tried to investigate them, but the boats got away.
Some boats of the coast guard followed the boats.
It was a dramatic chase which was an new experience for Japanese officers.
The following boats threatened by machine guns and following airplanes
dropped small threatening bombs on sea in front of the escaping boats.
But finally the boats succeeded in the escaping. They disappeared into
North Korea territory. The boats were confirmed by US satellite entered
in a harbor in North Korea.
Japanese government said the boats were spy from North Korea.
They were working in coast of Japan. The boats had special engines.
But North Korea government said we were never connected with the boats.
Japanese constitution renounces war as a sovereign right of the nation
and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.
Therefore Japanese officers can't use weapons for an attacking.
They can use weapons to defense himself only.
Some Japanese people say that Japanese officers are like chicken.
It means Japanese defense organization is coward as compared with other
If the officers would have been used weapons for destruction the boats, 
the spy boats were arrested with some victims.
But I think that Japanese government was right because force makes
contrary force only.
We learned it from human history. Japanese Constitution is our pride.

The Gun Problem.        (3/2/2000)

In Japan, only policemen have pistols, so pistols are not sold everywhere
in Japan.
Around 400 years ago, the king who unified Japan, confiscated all weapons
from people to prevent a revolution.
The successive governments have enforced the same policy.
So, when a civilian wants to buy a gun for hunting, the officer inspects
the person very closely. He checks his mental and criminal records,
and also his immediate family and even relatives.
Now crimes involving hunting-guns are rare in Japan.
Now the USA has serious problems with guns, because many people are
killed or injured with guns.
But most people say that, a non-gun society would be impossible.
Japanese non-gun society is caused by past history. Also American gun
society is caused by historical tradition. I can understand it.
But I think, when humans even six years old can easily kill others with no remorse,
this is a tragic society.
I hope human intelligence and high technology will be able to develop new guns that
will be effective in protecting innocent people but won't kill anyone.
For example, a flash gun which blind the person, a skunk gun which is with awful
smell, an acid gun which make pain for the person's eyes and others. 

Religious Allergy in Japan.       (2/28/2000)

Some years ago, there was a terrible incident in Japan.
One cult group sprinkled poison gas in subway and a town.
About 12 civilians were killed due to the poison. 
Japanese society was trembled because the cult was producing abundant poison.
The quantity was enough for kill all the people in Japan.
The some believers practiced the incident.
They believed that their murders were right because the victims will be into
heaven without sinful karma.

Many people thought that new religions were dangerous.
Because cults use mind control then they will take away all money
from the believers.
So we do not touch unknown religions. 

We call it as religious allergy. The religions include Christian too,
because some cults are similar with traditional Christians.
The discrimination is not easy for many people unknown them.
Most Japanese are Buddhist, but they are not devout, they pray only at
If you ask to that "What is your religion?" many Japanese will say that,
"I have no-religion." So Buddhism is not religion for many Japanese but it is
like custom at funerals.

Many Japanese are losing their purpose on life. They gave up to think it.
"Why am I living here?" "Who am I?" "Why do I live for me?"
They quitted to think it because they didn't find the answer in their hearts.
There are gods in Japanese people too, but they are not clear.
For Japanese gods mean nature, for example sun, mountains, water, soil and
other everything. 
The philosophy was good when people were living with nature.
But now advances of civilization ruined to live with them.
Many Japanese may need to have their creator in their hearts.
But religious allergy is preventing to find their creator in them.