Most read Community stories of 2014

Welfare for foreigners, bicultural names, pick-up artists . . . these were just a few of the topics explored in the most read Community stories of 2014.

 Let’s ensure no happy returns to Japan for this vile ‘dating coach’

One of the most reviled misogynist “pick-up artists” is coming to Japan this month. He may find he is not very welcome. It’s one thing to teach dubious techniques to socially inadequate men on how to bed women; it’s another thing to grab Japanese women and force their face into your crotch.

Think you’ve got rights as a foreigner in Japan? Well, it’s complicated

“Welfare ruling stuns foreigners.” That was the headline to The Japan Times On Sunday’s July 20 lead story about the Supreme Court’s ruling a couple of days earlier that non-Japanese residents do not have a right to access the nation’s welfare system.

I’m a foreigner, but the only thing that surprised me was the headline. To be honest, I don’t know how anyone who has been paying attention could have expected the court to rule any other way.

Japan: a haven for the psychologically troubled

At age 16 I was in counseling, and at 18 I was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder and depression. Just months before I moved to Japan, I was afraid to touch raw meat and couldn’t sleep at night for fear the freezer door was open (thus causing food poisoning and killing all of my flatmates).

Bicultural Japanese baby names can be double the trouble

What do the following names have in common: Ayeisha, December, Eli, Gabrielle, Haruki, Julie, Kaede, Koh, Leon, Louis, Lucia, Luke, Margaret, Olivia, Ryuken, Tobin and Tennis? They are all children’s names — all but one the sons and daughters of bicultural couples.

Kikokushijo: returnees to a country not yet ready for them

These returnees, or kikokushijo, are a diverse bunch, with varying levels of foreign- and native-language fluency, acculturation in one or more foreign countries, and education in Japanese. Upon their return to Japan, because they have typically picked up behavior, languages and even values that may be at odds with those traditionally practiced here, kikokushijo often face an intense re-acculturation period, during which they are expected to fall into line with Japanese societal norms.

36,000 don’t want ‘pick-up artist’ Julien Blanc to drop in on Japan

Blanc is “an executive coach for Real Social Dynamics,” which charges men up to $3,000 for a chance to learn his secret dating tricks — including lying, psychological manipulation and choking. One of his videos, which was independently subtitled in Japanese and posted online on Sept. 17, raised ire in Japan and internationally. The video shows him bragging about physically grabbing Japanese women and footage of Blanc apparently sexually assaulting some of them.

Don’t let ANA off the hook for that offensive ad

A commercial for All Nippon Airlines, one of Japan’s flagship carriers, has been making headlines recently. Released in January, the 30-second spot shows two Japanese men (one a comedian named Bakarhythm, but let’s call them A and B) standing by an airport observation-deck window, speaking English with Japanese subtitles.

Loved abroad, hated at home: the art of Japanese tattooing

On March 8, the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in Los Angeles opened the largest-ever exhibition dedicated to irezumi — Japanese tattooing. Titled “Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World,” the six-month show featured lectures, live tattooing and life-size photographs of irezumi inked by some of the most famous tattooists working in the world today.

Japan’s ‘no immigration principle’ looking as solid as ever

Hidenori Sakanaka’s message is very clear: Only immigration can save Japan. Sakanaka, a former Justice Ministry official and director of the Tokyo Immigration Bureau, proposes bringing in 10 million migrants over 50 years. In making his case for opening up the country, he cites a mountain of demographic evidence, specifically the declining and aging population and the shrinking workforce.

Is it time to bid bye-bye to ‘haro’?

When was the last time somebody used your presence as an excuse to say/shout/whisper “haro” whilst furtively glancing sideways at their companions to confirm they just made the funniest joke ever?

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