Posted on Jul 17, 2014.
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Posted by Jonathan on Jan 22, 2015
The Japanese have an old saying, “The frog in the well knows not the ocean.” I alywas understood this saying to mean, “The more you know, the less you know.” That if decision-makers were inundated by information, they would freeze like deer facing the headlights of an oncoming car and not be able to move out of sheer panic. Watching how the policy making process worked up close in several ministerial advisory committees (shingikai), I appreciated the simile. I was surprised to discover how hard-working and earnest the representative elites were in the decision-making process. They look abroad constantly — at the economic data, the polling data, the expert testimonies, the institutional structures, etc. They pondered the evidence, and thoughtfully answered it with….silence. I know. That may not sound entirely fair to them, but think about it. The power to change a multi-billion dollar economy rests in their hands. If you were in their shoes, what do you do? What would you change? How would you know that it would not make matters worse? I am not sure why any of us would be surprised by their reaction when the rest of the world is not quite sure either what generates lasting economic growth, increases investment opportunities, and protects personal income growth. There is no genuine consensus and, let’s face it, a nominal consensus (at least in the media) is what usually drives the agenda-setting and decision-making process. Everyone has different opinions about what is “wrong” with Japan and how to fix it. But that actually — in my opinion — is part of the problem, not part of the solution. The greatest analytical conceit is to claim that one understands what Japanese voters really want, when I think it is safe to say that the voters themselves are not quite sure yet. Starting from the 1980s, there was a clear move away from traditional partisan politics towards the rise of the “non party supporting strata” (mutouhasou). The LDP benefited from this arrangement by default, not because they captured the voters imaginations. Now, I keep my eyes faithfully trained on the Nikkei Shimbun’s Telephone Surveys in a time-series. I am waiting to see that things have really changed; that voters clearly know what they want; and that politicians and bureaucrats have some sense of what to do. That hasn’t happened yet. In the meantime, some analysts might point to the “potential” for change. Sure. Then again, I agree: anything is theoretically possible.
Posted by Dusan on Jan 20, 2015
KaraThis is absolutely inercdible! As the b-day boy’s wife, I feel a bit defeated how can I EVER possibly top this inercdible celebration?!!! The pressure’s on!!! You might want to seriously consider a professional career as a cake-master!!!
Posted by Masaru on Jan 19, 2015
Thanks, Kara! A lot of people have suegsgted I go into the baking business, but I think that as soon as I tried to have fun professionally it would stop being fun and start being work. Plus, this way if I completely screw up a cake I can just toss it and buy donuts instead. I don’t think that would go over so well at a wedding
Posted by robert j morgan on Dec 01, 2014
Posted by Evan on Aug 14, 2014
They believe they’re the boss, despite mere coworker status. Thanks.
Posted by Kristine Pavlik on Aug 01, 2014
She cries whenever no one is around except me when she does not get her way. Also if anyone mentions an idea she brings it up as her own at meetings.
Posted by Louise S on Jul 31, 2014
My co-worker is annoying when he clips his fingernails! and it takes FOREVER
Posted by Amy M on Jul 31, 2014
My coworker is so annoying because she has a profoundly small, profoundly boring life, and she talks about it in profoundly small, profoundly boring detail, all the time.
Posted by Lorraine Clayton on Jul 31, 2014
My coworker is so annoying because toe nails should be clipped at home and not at the office – EVERY DAY. I mean who’s nails grow that much overnight? And she’s a big woman! How can she reach them? But she does! Every single day! Winter – Summer it doesn’t matter. This woman has serious issues.
Posted by jennifer pickett on Jul 31, 2014
I don’t have a co-worker but when I did they were annoying because they talked too much, were slackers or worse yet, they sucked up to the boss. Sometimes it was all three.