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Old 11-16-2007, 09:56 AM   #31
Mockingbird
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That inspires fear in the heart of evil doers!

One thing that's kind of struck me as telling in Japan is the drug law. Speed and other 'uppers' carry a much lower sentence compared to marijuana use. I don't think they care what you do as long as you're nice and productive.

Shame, though. The one time I went to visit I remember telling my friends that if there was one place in the world that needed weed, it had to be Japan. It's crazy, the one connection I was able to find was a known member of the Yakuza and he charged about $500 US for an ounce. (!!!) Those folks just don't like chilling out.
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Old 11-16-2007, 10:09 AM   #32
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Indeed, the "zero-tolerance" idea has never caught on here. Funnily, a lot of the young posers aspire to the image of the drug culture but don't actually do (can't get, possibly) drugs. There are plenty of wannabes with dope-leaf jewelry or T-shirts, but who've never smoked in their lives.
Similarly when the ecstasy set in the west were all going on the dance floor with bottles of evian, the Tokyo set were going dancing with their evian bottles... without having drugs.
Drugs are available here, if you look hard enough, but I am not risking the law here. In South Australia, possession for personal use = on the spot fine, pay at the post office, no record. Here, the cops can hold you for 21 days on suspicion without bail or a lawyer, and any conviction would cost me my job, apartment, and visa, plus probable prison time. I'll pass, thanks.
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Old 11-16-2007, 10:39 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenGum View Post
Indeed, the "zero-tolerance" idea has never caught on here. Funnily, a lot of the young posers aspire to the image of the drug culture but don't actually do (can't get, possibly) drugs. There are plenty of wannabes with dope-leaf jewelry or T-shirts, but who've never smoked in their lives.
Similarly when the ecstasy set in the west were all going on the dance floor with bottles of evian, the Tokyo set were going dancing with their evian bottles... without having drugs.
Drugs are available here, if you look hard enough, but I am not risking the law here. In South Australia, possession for personal use = on the spot fine, pay at the post office, no record. Here, the cops can hold you for 21 days on suspicion without bail or a lawyer, and any conviction would cost me my job, apartment, and visa, plus probable prison time. I'll pass, thanks.
Yeah, it was risky but I was in country for ... similar activities. Did you ever read that blog about the guy that was detained for 21 days in Japan? I'll try to find it, it was an interesting look at the Japanese prison system.
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Old 11-16-2007, 10:48 AM   #34
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That's how they keep Japan elephant-free.
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Old 11-19-2007, 10:26 AM   #35
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Not content with heart-shaped bubble wrap, some genius came up with a bubble-wrap calendar:

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Japanese bubble wrap manufacturer Kawakami Sangyo Co., Ltd employee Ayaka Sugiyama shows the company's bubble-wrap calendar named "Puti puti calendar" in Tokyo November 12, 2007. Stress relief, diet aid, lucky charm: few can resist the allure of bubble wrap and now a Japanese company is finding new reasons to pop till you drop. Picture taken Nobember 12, 2007. REUTERS
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Old 11-23-2007, 12:39 PM   #36
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Cute toilet cleaning robot

From here.

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Cleaning grimy highway rest stops is a job barely fit for humans, but never fear: the disturbingly cute, talking Lady Bird robot will begin scrubbing Japanese public toilets in 2009!

Lady Bird was conceived and built by a consortium of robotics companies commissioned by the West Nippon Expressway Company Limited (NEXCO).

Lady Bird features obstacle sensors that help it avoid collisions with restroom fixtures and the occasional user. Speaking of the latter, Lady Bird is designed to be cute, friendly and helpful - this is Japan, after all. It displays a smiling face and a pair of stubby antennae that enable a very unique feature: speech recognition capability via a built-in voice synthesizer. Lady Bird can make conversation if spoken to!

Don't get too excited, you won't be engaging in any philosophical discussions with Lady Bird - but you're at a highway rest stop, remember? Instead, Lady Bird gives out useful information such as the latest traffic & weather conditions updated by Internet - probably "spoken" in a childlike female voice.

Choose to ignore Lady Bird and "she" will industriously go about the business of scrubbing toilets and the surrounding areas. At 39 inches tall, 56 inches long and equipped with an on-board water tank, Lady Bird is anything but small and that goes for the price as well: a cool $30,000 per robot.
So you're staggering home from a hard night on the town, and you stop by the public toilet ... and there is this giant, glowing-eyed robot lady bird that starts talking to you in Japanese about road weather and traffic conditions .... I tell you, the Japanese don't need drugs.
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Old 11-23-2007, 01:57 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenGum View Post
So you're staggering home from a hard night on the town, and you stop by the public toilet ... and there is this giant, glowing-eyed robot lady bird that starts talking to you in Japanese about road weather and traffic conditions .... I tell you, the Japanese don't need drugs.
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Old 11-23-2007, 02:02 PM   #38
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I don't get it??? She looks perfectly normal to me...
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Old 11-23-2007, 08:53 PM   #39
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I don't get it??? She looks perfectly normal to me...
You mean ... normal ... apart from the fact that she's talking to a giant lady bird toilet-cleaning robot with glowing red eyes?
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Old 11-25-2007, 10:12 AM   #40
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I can get round any number of toilets in a day for $30,000 thank you.
And I'll put on a childlike female voice if you like.

PM me for details!
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Old 11-25-2007, 04:30 PM   #41
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I'm wondering how that thing possibly cleans toilets. I guess oriental, hole-in-the-ground squatting toilets? it could just, you know, roll right over those. Otherwise, it would have to hop up onto western-style toilets.

and that would be just too disturbing.
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Old 11-25-2007, 05:05 PM   #42
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I was going to ask about the toilets there in Japan. More western style or squat type?

My only restroom experience in Japan was at Narita airport.

It was surely better than the Pakistan restrooms but much less than the US standard.

Don't even ask about the toilets here. It's scary.
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Old 11-25-2007, 05:09 PM   #43
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I'll wait for Zen but my understanding is within homes and hotels it's mostly Western style - better than Western because they include so many added extras. But a (small) majority of public toilets are still traditional.

But then I've used hole in the ground toilets in both France and Italy, so it's not just a East/ West divide.
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Old 11-25-2007, 05:29 PM   #44
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Yes, I've read stories about Japanese toilet accessories. Sounds like a wide variation from hole in the ground to cologne automatically sprayed on your rear when your done, sorta thing.
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Old 11-26-2007, 10:22 AM   #45
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I see I have some homework to do. I'll get back to you with photos.
Yes, I am going to go and take photos in public toilets.
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