Random Impressions about Japan

1) A very common way of people committing suicides is for people to throw themselves in front of trains. I can only imagine the social costs of this form of suicide in that the trains appear to be stopped for an hour or so. It would be interesting to compare the costs of say Americans committing suicide with the cost of Japanese. It is not clear why Japanese want to commit suicide in such a was as to inconvienence so many other people, with trains delayed by an hour during the busy rush hour.

2) The only English language programming that I can pick up on the TV is when they are showing American baseball. Right now I am watching Detroit play Boston. Possibly it is being covered because a former Japanese star seems to be pitching for Boston.

3) Japanese food is actually pretty cheap. If I had as much sushi in the US as I have had during the last couple of days, I would have had to take out an extra loan on my house. Instead here I have been quite stuffed and gotten to eat the food for around 1300 yen. But the food is great.

4) Japanese yell a lot when they do sports. Whether it is soccer or what appeared to be Lacrosse with huge goals, there was a lot of yelling going on.

5) I watched some Summo wrestling on TV and all I can say is that it goes by extremely fast. A match appears to take as little as 5 seconds sometimes and I don't think I saw anything longer than 15 seconds. They do it fast and then two other contestants come on. It makes it somewhat difficult to get very involved in watching a match.

Further point

6) Japan's crows are huge and extremely large and agressive. I have been told that they are originally from Africa, but wherever these crows are from, they certainly make an impression.

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Anonymous Rich Lafferty said...

It would be interesting to compare the costs of say Americans committing suicide with the cost of Japanese.

Japan being Japan, they do have cost-recovery practices: the cost of the cleanup, train damage, and more is billed to the family of the person who committed suicide by train -- to the tune of 100M JPY.

5/15/2007 11:58 AM  
Anonymous Scott Ganz said...

The pitcher you're referring to is Daisuke Matsuzaka. And having watched him pitch on TV here at home, I can tell you that it's a really big deal for the Japanese.

Behind the catcher, there are green screens that appear blank in the stadium but have ads screened on for TV. When Matsuzaka pitches, even on US TV broadcasts, those ads are all in Japanese.

5/15/2007 1:00 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Thakns, Rich and Scott.

Rich, that is very interesting and I will talk to people about the issue in the morning. But this is just a small part of the costs. For example, what about the time costs of everyone who is delayed getting to work. Those time costs on these major train lines, delaying everyone by a half hour or an hour.

5/15/2007 1:51 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Rich:

I did check on what you said, and you are correct. However, the 1 million yen payment doesn't come close to covering the costs imposed on everyone else. You delay a train by an hour at rush hour means that 10,000 plus people are late for work. I don't know what people's time costs are, but even if they are $20 per hour, that adds up to a lot pretty quickly.

5/26/2007 8:35 PM  

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