Nestle To Bail Out The City Of Yubari With Chocolates

nestle-to-save-yubari-cityI thought I’d seen everything when I read the headline in today’s paper that Nestle was going to bail out Yubari city from its bankruptcy. As it always turns out with these headlines, it was slightly exaggerated but I really do have to take my hat off to Nestle. It turns out that Nestle has decided to donate 10 yen to the city of Yubari from every pack sold of its latest brand of Kit Kat. Continue reading

Warmonger! Japan’s Rearming Plans Backfire

Japan and it’s sketchy relationship with nearby SEA countries
Japan reaches for “Planned-Rearming”

Japan has drawn world attention recently due to efforts aimed at increasing her defensive and offensive military strength. Two of the strongest opponents are South Korea and China. In part due to a poor history stemming from WWII and Japan’s strong connection with America, these countries view an armed Japan as a real threat. They often cite history of the war atrocities that Japan can not be trusted with such power, where as Japan stands to reason her military build-up is only a response to the changing political climate that surrounds the island. Continue reading

Stippy Was Hacked!

Stippy Was Hacked!As you may have noticed, we were down for the last 4 or 5 days. Some malicious person decided that hacking stippy would be a novel idea. Well, I was away for a week, and did not have access, and therefore not a chance to restore from backups until now, but this is the first time that a hacker has really, no I mean REALLY annoyed me. Someone found a way (god knows how) to modify almost every file in the directory where stippy is stored, without making any obvious changes. So, it was either compare each and every file with those in the backup, or just restore from the backup. Continue reading

Prison in Japan: Part 10 “Epilogue”

Stippy Prison in Japan SeriesThis is stippy’s final part in a ten part series (See also parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9) about one foreigner’s experience of being put in a Japanese prison (留置場 or “ryuchijyo”, a prison for locking up people for as long as 23 days until they are convicted, or cleared of a crime).

Below is the epilogue of George’s story written after he had spent 22 nights in a Japanese ryuchijyo. Finally George’s story has come to an end. I enjoyed putting it out there, and I hope that it may have changed just one or two aspects of your version of what is really important in life, and what should take a back seat. Continue reading

The Biofuel/Biogas Debate Reaches Japan

Biodiesel and Biofuel - What does it all mean for Japan?
Biodiesel and Biogas – What does it all mean for Japan?

Judging by some of the comments from readers over the past months, I get the feeling a lot of people are far more up to speed than me when it comes to things that are good for the planet. However, I had a bad day at work the other day and spent some time bouncing my way through the Internet to take my mind off the office. It so happened I bumped into some interesting things in the way of “green”, specifically, the controversy over “biofuels” and what they could mean for Japan. Continue reading

Prison in Japan: Part 9 “Light at the end of Tunnel”

Prison in Japan: Light at the end of the tunnelThis is stippy’s ninth part in a ten part series (yes, that’s right, only one to go! See also parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8) about one foreigner’s experience of being put in a Japanese prison (留置場 or “ryuchijyo”, a prison for locking up people for as long as 23 days until they are convicted, or cleared of a crime).

Below is the continuation of George’s story that he wrote in his diary while in the Japanese ryuchijyo. He goes into the final stage of his story, telling us when he finally felt wiped out by a wave of emotion in the courthouse, and how eventually after all that he had been though, he was found guilty of only what he had first admitted to when turning himself in to the police. Continue reading

Prison in Japan: Part 8 “Day 15″

Gaijin in Japanese PrisonThis is stippy’s eighth part in a ten part series (see also parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7) about one foreigner’s experience of being put in a Japanese prison (留置場 or “ryuchijyo”, a prison for locking up people for as long as 23 days until they are convicted, or cleared of a crime).

Below is the continuation of George’s story that he wrote in his diary while in the Japanese ryuchijyo. This time George reveals how he got through the hardest part of his imprisonment, the second and third week, and found peace only when reading manga from the prison book shelves. He also tells us more about the driver’s push for a “jidan”, or settlement for money, and how the urge to see his family again forced him to take this path of direct retribution. Continue reading

Happy Families in Japan – did you think about pre-marital counseling?

Marriage Counseling in Japan
Is pre-marital counseling for you?

Apparently 1 in 20 of Japanese weddings last year included at least one foreigner. As a recent addition to this growing group, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about what it means to be married to a Japanese person (国際結婚, kokusai kekkon) for me – a very stippy gaijin. Having a good time while chatting with Japanese friends is one thing, but living together 24-7 with someone who has grown up with a totally different set of morals, expectations and traditions is a pretty eye opening experience. It is easy to forget but, interestingly, all of my friends at home remind me that it is even pretty hard doing this back home where everyone speaks the same language! After a bunch of long phone calls with friends back home, my wife and I decided to try out pre-marital counseling Continue reading