Friday, May 09, 2008

English Schools Being Tainted by Sleaze

by Kevin Burns

Some websites are being slandered by sex sites and many of them
happen to be English schools all over Japan!

Sadly its part of the Google world.
They (contemptible websites) look for popular sites, and then snatch the keywords to put in their sleazy place and pop up when people are really looking for you.
I don`t actually know what you can do about it - except demand Google do something about them hi-jacking keywords and Google effectively promoting this kind of behaviour and sleaze. Some gentle hints about exposing the problem in the press - such as your regular column in Japanese media - may assist them in their actions.
--JL a computer programmer in the UK

One example of this kind of unfortunate sleaze takes place at this
undesirable site: Adult Videos Klikfeed Info

If you check the sourcecode of the above site, you will find
many English schools with their addresses and telephone
numbers right in the source code. Some popular
children`s textbook titles are also in this site`s

It`s amazing that Google
allows this to happen! I should think that a lawsuit
against the website or would be pursuable based
on damage to reputations.

Apparently people sell the above information to sites like
this sleazy adult video site, and then they put
it in their sourcecode.
It supposedly helps improve their internet rankings,
but damages the reputations of decent businesses,
and Google is allowing this to go on.

Requests for interviews with Google have met with
silence so far. I think teachers and school owners
should know however.

A month after it was raised during a session of the Search Engine Strategies show, and even longer since it was raised on various search forums, a bug allowing people to hijack listings at Google continues. Pandia has a nice summary: Spammers hijack web site listings in Google...Google bug allows 3rd party hijacking.--Search Engine

Hopefully Google will correct the problem before too many businesses
and people are hurt, and before I will add, Google looses more money
and prestige.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Kanagawa Police Force

by John Ward

"Hi Blog. Developing a case for police patterns of behavior. If it’s a foreigner allegedly committing a crime against Japanese (as in the Idubor Case), the police go after it even if there is no evidence. If a Japanese commits a crime against a foreigner, it’s either not pursued (see the Valentine Case, for the time being) or handled with different standards (see the Lucie Blackman Case).

And when it’s a foreigner on foreigner crime, free pass."

--Arudo Debito (Dave Aldwinkle)

From the Official site of the Kanagawa Police:

"How was your day?" Smiles appearing on faces of a family. Pleasant dinner with family members. Lively conversations at the table.
An everyday affair at home.
Day after day, we patrol in the community hoping smiles of the residents never vanish.

One Japanese friend living in Kanagawa complained
if you call the local police:

They will ask you if it`s an event.
If it isn`t they won`t come.

For a comic take on the Japanese police go to Kevin`s
Strait Jacket.

Just don`t make the mistake of asking them to stop
the bosozoku like I did.

The police routinely visit the houses of the area
to pay a visit
and get to know
the local residents. Two officers showed up at our home
one day to say hello and ask about who lives in our home,
which was fine. All was very friendly and cordial until
they asked if there was anything I was troubled
by. If there was to just let them know.

I thought, what better time than right now.
They were right in front of me afterall...

I proceeded to mention that cars travel very quickly
up and down our street and the bosozoku too make a racket
often on Friday and Saturday nights.
It`s dangerous.

You should have seen their faces drop...

Their smiles and friendliness instantly vanished. I had
been very polite all the way through, and friendly
to them as they had been to me, but as soon as
I mentioned that something might be amiss or
that things were out of sort, they immediately
became obviously uncomfortable and bid a hasty farewell.

I talked with several Japanese friends about it
afterwards, and they all agreed that the police don`t
like to be told what to do even in a polite
manner. Moreover, they feel embarrassed if
it seems they are not doing their job.

I think too, it is often unstated, but some Japanese
have a tendancy to feel inferior in front of Westerners.
It is silly but it still happens too often. So my
telling them the above, may have been too much for them.
Instead of taking me as a fellow citizen of the community,
I might have sounded like an arrogant Westerner.

It certainly wasn`t my intention to offend or cause
discomfort. I worry about my children and the children
of the neighbourhood. If bosozoku are driving
crazily down the street or people are rushing
to work in the morning when children are going to
school it is dangerous.

I think Canadian police--many of them anyway,
would have listened and perhaps commented on the above.
They probably would have made a comment to the fact
that they would do their best to stop it (of course
depending on the police person you were talking with).
My father would probably have disagreed but that is my take.

So to make a short story long, I found the
reaction of these two Kanagawa police quite
surprising....Oh well, another cultural difference?

At least I don`t see the Kanagawa Police spending
hours hunched over their gut horking down Tim Horton`s donuts.

We won't absolutely forgive the extreme left wing groups for their violent acts such as burning down or blowing away public buildings and private houses. They tend to go underground these days hiding in their friends' houses, private apartments, rented houses, company dormitories, and so on. When your neighbors act strangely, for example, being secretive more than necessarily or suspiciously looking around when entering or exiting their houses, let us know.
--from the Official Site of the Kanagawa Police

Note that in the above quote, they make no mention
of right wing groups. Groups for example, that have
shot at elected officials and the like. Interesting.

Does the above quote sound a little too eerily like
"1984" by George Orwell? I often look around when I
leave the house. I just think it is good sense.
There are breakins in the area so I take a look as I
leave. But according to the above quote, that could
look suspicious.

I made the mistake of noticing the flashing lights of
a police car in southeast Kanagawa one night walking
back from a jog. I merely glanced at the car as it
pulled up next to me at a stop light. I must have
looked surprised, which I was by the flashing lights.

Well they stopped in my path two times. Once they pulled
into a 7-11 parking lot and so I figured they were checking
out some problem there. Then they pulled out and stopped
in front of a liquor store (No joke!) and proceeded to
banter away about the prices of different kinds of beer in
the beer machine. Ostensibly they were checking me out
I surmised as I had looked surprised. But frankly who
wouldn`t be a little surprised at seeing flashing lights
right next to them when you are not expecting it.

To their credit they never stopped me. But it felt
intimidating to say the least. I felt that this
must be how some African Americans must feel in a
city fully of white folk. Some of my friends in Tokyo
have been stopped by the police and questioned. I never
have thankfully. Arudo Debito has written extensively
about this topic and what to do if stopped.

Now I know that the police of the area routinely drive around
with lights flashing, and if you look a little concerned
that makes you an "event." So I ignore the police cars.
Whereas before I might gaze at them out of interest--wondering
what`s going on.

Now I know better.

"One day I went for a walk in Odawara
and I came down this street. A couple of police on motorcyles stopped in my
path on the sidewalk and really stared me down. I hadn`t done anything
but the effect of these two police with guns staring at me very coldly
was chilling. I almost wanted to run away. But I had done
nothing wrong. Strange. They didn`t stop me. Another time a policeman
drove right at me with his motorcyle--also in Odawara. I was handing
out pamphlets for my boss for our school. I got out of the way but
I was angry with the policeman. These kind of tactics are dangerous
and offensive. I imagine they are against the law too!"

-Name Withheld Upon Request

The Kanagawa Police Force`s Official Site in English

Debito`s take on the Kanagawa Police

Kanagawa Governor Shigefumi Matsuzawa on Foreigners

"Foreigners are all sneaky thieves."
--Kanagawa Prefectual Governor Shigefumi Matsuzawa. This gets a bronze because there is some disagreement in press accounts about whether he said “all” or “those” foreigners. Either way, he later corrected it by saying he’d meant “some.” The truth is, he probably meant “All Chinese are sneaky thieves.” At the time he was commenting on Kanagawa’s increasing crime rate which he said is caused by Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara’s crackdown on Chinese crime syndicates in the Kabukicho red light district. (In order, your humble editor presumes, to make room for Japanese crime syndicates.) The Chinese syndicates are thus fleeing to Kanagawa and setting up shop there.

--from the Crazy Japan Times

More on Shigefumi Matsuzawa

Matsuzawa`s Official Homepage (in Japanese)

Expats in Fear of the Japanese Language Requirement

by Kevin Burns

How many Japanese can speak English well in
spite of years of study? Admittedly most of them
have never lived abroad.

I think it is fairly common
not to speak the language of the host
country well in spite of living
there for years--unfortunately.

Some people are simply not that good at
learning languages. Just like some people
can`t hit a tennis ball for the life of them.

We all get to a point where we are pretty comfortable and then stop
studying. This is regretable but understandable. If you work where
many people can speak English ie) at an English school or a university
you may stop studying for lack of need. If your
partner is fluent in English it further reinforces this.

I worked with many people in Canada who had lived there for years
but couldn`t speak English--Germans, Italians, Portuguese and Chinese
for example. They would go to work, could get by well enough with a
smattering of English, then go back to their family and speak the
language of their homeland. When they went out they went to enclaves
of their own language speakers--the Portuguese Residents Association,
the local Portuguese restaurant etc.

I think the expats that work in Japanese companies tend to be the best
Japanese speakers. They have to use it every day. I know people who
work for Hitachi and are amazing Japanese speakers. They have to be.

My Japanese was improving very quickly until we had children.
It stopped improving then because my focus became exposing them to
a lot of English. I would speak English to my wife in order for our
babies to hear it spoken.

My Japanese has started to improve again of late. My children are
learning English at a good pace so I feel I can again start speaking
Japanese with my wife. Moreover, at the university I get the
opportunity to speak Japanese with staff members, the university
restaurants and shops and I hear Japanese
all around me in the hallways and in the teacher`s room.

I am also making an effort to be more in the Japanese world. One way
is simply watching Japanese TV with my wife and children. And joining
in the local activities.

Yet it really is a shame that you
live in a country and don`t take part
in the local life of that nation.
I think we should all make an effort in that way.

I guess my point is that other real world concerns (like the ones I`ve
outlined above) can take precedence at times.

Regarding the proficiency test: I doubt anyone already living in Japan
is going to get deported for lack of Japanese ability. However,
they seem to be wanting to encourage people to study Japanese, in
order to come and live here. Basicly the analysis I`ve read is that Japan
is very quietly promoting immigration.

When I lived in Canada, multiculturalism was everywhere--on the
billboards, on TV, in commercials and was official government policy.
In Japan as always, things are much more subtle and quietly done.