Yakuza (Ryu ga Gotoku) and Tone

I would think that with the video “Why Yakuza 0 is a Masterclass on Managing Tone” this would have been put to rest (though that video is a little meandering and perhaps doesn’t state their thesis clearly enough for the casual viewer), but I was watching some video reviews for the Western release of Yakuza 6, and it’s a point that keeps coming up.  From Gamespot:

“The unambiguous objectification of women in these (cabaret and live-chat) mini-games continue to make their inclusion uncomfortable in their own right…but these kinds of mini-games have always perpetuated an unbeleivable inconsistency of character for Kiryu.  There’s a conflict between the canonical depiction of him as a strong, stoic, honorable saint, and a version who is a really creepy, bumbling perv.”

No, no, and no.

DSC04571 copy

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A Study in Bad Social Science, re: Immigration

Or, A Response to “Why Does Japan Need Immigrants” from VisualPolitik EN.

This video is just so mismatched between it’s slick presentation with its authoritative host, and it’s completely bonkers research methods that I couldn’t help but write up a post for it.

Research methods are important.  You have to consider where and how you’re getting your information from which you are drawing your conclusions.  This is true regardless of whether you’re sharing those conclusions in a scholarly paper for Nature, or simply with your friends over dinner.  With that in mind, let’s go through the video.


First line:

“Japan, a country that brags about two things:  the first is their used underwear vending machines, which yes you really can find on the streets,”

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Vox’s “Japan’s rising right-wing nationalism”

A commentary.

Meiji Shrine at New Years

I think what I dislike about Youtube channels like Vox most is their attitude.  It’s a attitude that says, “all you need to learn about this topic can be had in a seven minute video.”  They rarely leave room for doubt, or reserved judgement, or the need to educate yourself further.  No, trust them, they’ve looked into it and will give you all the information. Continue reading

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Misunderstanding Yasukuni

Mindy Kotler has, according to her on CV, made her entire career out of being critical of Japan.  Or, to put it another way, she has made a career out of Japan-bashing.  Which of these is more true is really for the observer to decide.  This post will deal simply with her total ignorance and wrongheadedness displayed in a piece on Yasukuni that I was unfortunate enough to come across.


The piece aims to compare Yasukuni Shrine, which is dedicated to the souls of the millions who have died in service of the Emperor, to Arlington National Cemetery, on which holds the remains of some select hundreds of thousands who have died in service of the US military.  As the title, “Sorry Japan:  Yasukuni is not Arlington” reveals, the aim of this comparison is to prove that they are fundamentally different places (with the “sorry” indicating that Yasukuni will come off unfavorably in this comparison).  So let’s have a look at the arguments in the order in which they are presented: Continue reading

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Pay for Parking?

Saw this comment on a Youtube video about biking in Japan.

pay bike parking

“Why does it cost to park?  In Sweden there’s places to park your bike all over the place, and if there aren’t any places where you are, you just put it wherever.”

Because nothing in life is free.  Bicycle parking economics work exactly the same as those for car parking.  That is, it costs money to create and maintain the parking facilities, and the space they physically occupy could be used for something else if the parking lot wasn’t there.  This is as true in some provincial town in Sweden as it is in Tokyo.  The two main differences are in terms of land cost and crowdedness (which obviously will go hand-in-hand), but I’ll come to those in a moment. Continue reading

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Peyoung Chocolate Yakisoba

Happy Valentines Day!


In a previous post I included a quote about how a country’s strengths are often its same weaknesses and vice versa.  I think that is largely true, and today I’d like to apply that to food and drink. Continue reading

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The Financial Times on Japanese Arcades

Let’s analyze this new video from the Financial Times.  It’s pretty much the archetype of stereotypical reporting on Japan, so I think it is worth looking at not so much to point out how dumb the Financial Times reporting is, but rather as a demonstration of all the typical elements of bad reporting on Japan.

First we have the title.  This is the most important decision to make because it is the main thing that will get people to click on your video.  The Financial Times shows us how to do it right:  just make an inflammatory lie.  They went with “The last of Japan’s video arcades.”  How is that even remotely true?  The one arcade the reporter went to is far from being “the last” one; there are about five thousand officially licensed arcades in Japan.  The trend since the peak in the mid-1980s has been to have fewer, larger, more centrally located arcades, but we are still a long way from some random SEGA Hi-Tech Land being the last one. Continue reading

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