The Breakfast Club (Here Comes the Sun)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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AP’s Today in History for November 29th

President Johnson names commission to investigate JFK’s assassination; U.N. passes resolution calling for the British Mandate of Palestine to be partitioned; First flight over the South Pole; Natalie Wood, Cary Grant and George Harrison die. (Nov. 29)


Breakfast Tunes Beatles’/George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun” on 5-string Banjo


Something to Think about, Breakfast News & Blogs Below

Supreme Court justice blocks Native Hawaiian vote count
The Associated Press

A U.S. Supreme Court justice on Friday issued a temporary stay blocking the counting of votes in an election that would be a significant step toward Native Hawaiian self-governance.

Justice Anthony Kennedy’s order also stops the certification of any winners pending further direction from him or the entire court.

Native Hawaiians are voting to elect delegates for a convention next year to come up with a self-governance document to be ratified by Native Hawaiians. Voting ends Monday. …

Turkish human rights lawyer shot dead during press conference
The Associated Press

A prominent lawyer and human rights defender, who faced a criminal charge for supporting Kurdish rebels, has been killed in an attack in south-east Turkey in which a police officer also died, officials said.

Tahir Elci was shot on Saturday while he and other lawyers were making a press statement. Two policemen and a journalist were also injured.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack and there were conflicting reports about what led to the incident. …

Black Friday sales fall 10% from last year
The Associated Press

Total sales in the US on Black Friday fell 10% to $10.4bn this year, down from $11.6bn in 2014, according to research firm ShopperTrak.

The decline in sales on the traditional busiest shopping day of the year has been blamed on shops opening the day before. But this year, sales on Thanksgiving also dropped, and by the same percentage, to $1.8bn.

A big reason for the decline is increased online shopping, as Americans hunt down deals on their smartphones, tablets and computers. Many retailers are also offering bargains long before Thanksgiving, limiting the impact of Black Friday specials. …

Exposed: ‘Full Range of Collusion’ Between Big Oil and TTIP Trade Reps
Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams

Amid warnings that the proposed TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could undermine global attempts to rein in runaway climate change, new documents reveal that EU trade officials gave U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil access to confidential negotiating strategies considered too sensitive to be released to the European public.

The documents, obtained by the Guardian, offer “an extraordinary glimpse into the full degree of collusion between the European commission and multinational corporations seeking to use TTIP to increase U.S. exports of fossil fuels,” said John Hilary, the director of the UK organization War on Want. “The commission is allowing the oil majors to write the proposed energy chapter of TTIP in their favor.”

According to the Guardian: “Officials also asked one oil refinery association for ‘concrete input’ on the text of an energy chapter for the negotiations, as part of the EU’s bid to write unfettered imports of U.S. crude oil and gas into the trade deal.” …







Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Brazilian police hunt Santa Claus who stole Sao Paulo helicopter

RIO DE JANEIRO- Brazilian police are hunting for a Sao Paulo Santa Claus who kicked off the Christmas shopping season by stealing a helicopter.

The thief rented the aircraft late Friday from an air taxi service at the Campo Marte airport in Sao Paulo for a Black Friday “surprise,” the Sao Paulo state security secretariat said on Saturday.

During the flight, the Santa forced the pilot to fly to a small farm outside of Sao Paulo city, where they were met by a third person, the secretariat said. …

Six In The Morning Sunday November 29

COP21: Paris climate deal ‘more likely’ after terror attacks

Nearly 150 global leaders are gathering in Paris on Sunday for a critical UN climate meeting, amid tight security.

The conference, known as COP21, will attempt to craft a long-term deal to limit carbon emissions.

Observers say that the recent terror attacks on the French capital will increase the chances of a new agreement.

Around 40,000 people are expected to participate in the event, which runs until 11 December.

The gathering of 147 heads of state and government is set to be far bigger than the 115 or so who came to Copenhagen in 2009, the last time the world came close to agreeing a long term deal on climate change.

While many leaders including Presidents Obama and Xi Jinping were always set to attend this conference, the recent violent attacks in Paris have encouraged others to come in an expression of solidarity with the French people.

Unlike at Copenhagen, the French organisers are bringing the leaders in at the start of the conference rather than waiting for them to come in at the end, a tactic which failed spectacularly in the Danish capital.

Considerable differences

Delegates are in little doubt that the shadow cast over the city by the attacks will enhance the chances of agreement.

Hong Kong’s ‘pink’ dolphins under threat from airport and Macau bridge

Conservationists fear Hong Kong’s unique dolphins are at risk of disappearing due to loss of habitat and pollution from two major construction projects

Sunday 29 November 2015

Conservationists have warned that projects to expand Hong Kong’s airport and build a new bridge to Macau could result in the loss of the city’s beloved “pink” dolphins.

Dolphin numbers have declined sharply in Hong Kong harbour over the past few decades, and campaigners fear that the large-scale construction work will drive the mammals away for good.

The Chinese white dolphin – popularly known as the pink dolphin due to its pale pink colouring – draws scores of tourists daily to the waters north of Hong Kong’s Lantau island.

It became Hong Kong’s official mascot for the handover ceremony in 1997, when Britain returned the territory to China. But despite the affection felt towards the dolphin, there may soon be none left.

Isis: David Cameron plans to go to war, but has not produced realistic plans for defeating the group

Despite all the furious rhetoric after the Paris killings, Isis does not look as if is going to be under pressure that it cannot withstand

David Cameron made a reasonable case last week for Britain going to war with Isis in Syria; what he did not do is explain how this war is going to be won by Britain or anybody else. Even now, 18 months after Isis captured Mosul, there is a tendency by world leaders to underestimate its political and military strength.

Mr Cameron said that “military action [by the US, UK and others] seeks to degrade Isis’s capabilities, so that Iraqi security forces can effectively secure Iraq and moderate forces in Syria can defend the territory they control”.

It would certainly be nice if that happened, except that the Iraqi state security forces are demoralised, dysfunctional and have had difficulty finding new recruits since they have been repeatedly defeated by Isis over the past two years. In Syria, we are to look to 70,000 “moderate” fighters whose existence Mr Cameron revealed to the House of Commons, but nobody in Syria has ever heard of.

Europe’s Jihadists: What the Paris Attacks Tell Us about IS Strategy

The biographies of those behind the Paris attacks offer deep insight into the structures and organization of Islamic State in Europe. And they confirm what experts have long warned about: The new jihadists have our cities in their sights. By SPIEGEL Staff

On the horrific evening in Paris that only ended after 130 people had been slaughtered in jihadist attacks, something strange happened at 10:28 p.m., a development that only came to the attention of investigators much later. On the upper end of Boulevard Voltaire, where the Bataclan concert hall is located, three terrorists were in the process of gunning down people with their Kalashnikovs and exchanging salvos with the police, who were closing in on them. At the lower end of the street, another man exited from the Metro — Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected leader behind the attacks.

He had just been a part of the group that had killed 39 people at La Belle Équipe, Le Carillon and Le Petit Cambodge. For a while afterwards, he had driven around aimlessly in a black SEAT through the neighborhood’s streets, before parking it in the Montreuil suburb. He was then caught on CCTV cameras at 10:14 p.m. inside the Croix de Chavaux Metro station, as he jumped the turnstile to avoid paying and traveled back to the scene of the crime.

Modern-day Syria and ‘Antigone’: Syrian women find strength through acting

How female Syrian refugees use an ancient Greek play to reconcile their own tragic pasts. 

For Syrian women, “Antigone” is more than an ancient Greek tragedy.

It’s a way to come to terms with a brutal war that has torn apart their country and families. In a production put on by Syrian refugee women – none of whom have ever acted professionally – the women have chosen the play as a way to represent their stories.

“The play ‘Antigone’ was an opportunity for us to voice everything inside of us,” Wisam Succari, an actress in the production told NPR. “It’s a story which takes place in the context of a war and we, too, as Syrians, have fled a war.”

The production began running in December 2014 and was performed in Lebanon by an all-women cast of roughly 30 Syrian women. Most of the women are mothers and many are widows. And though they are relating to a play written by Sophocles 2,000 years ago, the themes from the play still resonate today.

Kenya arrests two men ‘linked to Iranian spy network’

Police detain two people they say were planning to carry out a “terror attack” in the capital, Nairobi.

Kenya has arrested two men it says are connected to an Iranian intelligence network that was planning an attack inside the country.

A Twitter account run by the Kenyan interior ministry said the men were planning a “terror attack” in the capital Nairobi and had travelled to Iran last month.

The men were identified as 69-year-old Abubakr Sadiq Louw and 25-year-old Yassin Sambair Juma, who it said were both from Nairobi.

A statement by the ministry described Louw as a “senior figure” in the city’s Shia Muslim community, adding the pair were working on behalf of Iranian state intelligence.


The men are accused of receiving training from Iranian Revolutionary guards, who allegedly told them to target Western interests in Kenya.

Louw is said to have admitted being approached by Iranian intelligence officials in 2012, and agreeing to recruit Kenyan youths to carry out attacks.


Late Night Karaoke


The Remains of the Day

Let’s talk about those leftovers that by now you are sick of eating. Remembe I told you not to toss that turkey carcass? That’s because it becomes the base for not only soups but the base for risotto and other dishes. So, we’ll start with getting that carcass out of the frig and into a pot. This is really easy.

Turkey Stock

1 turkey carcass, plus the neck if you kept it

6 quarts water (more if needed)

3 or 4 carrots, peeled and sliced

3 or 4 stalks celery, sliced

2 leeks, trimmed, cleaned, and sliced (optional)

1/2 head garlic, cut in half across the middle

2 bay leaves

6 sprigs parsley

4 sprigs thyme

12 peppercorns

1 teaspoon salt

1. Rinse the turkey, making sure to wash away any stuffing that may be sticking to the walls of the cavity. Break apart if necessary, so the wing bones and thigh bones are detached. Place in a large stockpot, and add the water. It should cover the carcass.

2. Place over medium heat, and bring to a simmer. The bubbles should just break gently on the surface. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Cover partially, turn the heat to very low and simmer two hours, skimming as necessary. Add the remaining ingredients, and simmer for another four hours, partially covered. Keep your eye on the pot, and skim as necessary.

3. Before draining such a big pot of stock, I find it easiest to remove the carcass and bones using tongs. Gently strain the soup through a strainer, colander or conical chinois into a very large bowl. Line a strainer with cheesecloth, and strain once again. Place in the refrigerator, uncovered, and chill. Lift off any fat that has congealed on the top, and discard. Keep in the refrigerator, or freeze in small containers.

Yield: Makes about 5 quarts.

Now for some recipes that use that delicious stock.

Turkey and Wild Rice Salad

This recipe uses about 3 and a half cups of stock to make the wild rice that adds a nutty favor to this warm salad.

Turkey French Dip

Use sliced turkey for the beef and thin left over gravy with the stock to thin it for dipping.

Risotto With Turkey, Mushrooms and Peas

Substitute about 5 cups of hot turkey stock to make this creamy arborio rice risotto.

Turkey (or Chicken) Soup With Lemon and Rice

This soup has a Middle Eastern flavor and can be made with just vegetables and rice.

Bon appétit


The Breakfast Club (Alive)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo 807561379_e6771a7c8e_zps7668d00e.jpg

This Day in History

Ferdinand Magellan reaches the Pacific Ocean; British prime minister Margaret Thatcher resigns; Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is beaten to death; The Grand Ole Opry makes its radio debut; Comedian Jon Stewart born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Happy Birthday, Jon

The Internet is just a world passing around notes in a classroom.

Jon Stewart

Breakfast News

Three dead after gunman storms Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado

Three people have been killed after a gunman armed with a rifle stormed a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs and opened fire before an hours-long standoff with police ended when he surrendered.

Two civilians and one police officer died, Colorado Springs police chief Peter Carey told reporters about an hour after the suspect had been arrested.

Another nine people were injured – five police officers and four civilians – but Carey said they were good condition at area hospitals.

Colorado Springs mayor John Suthers confirmed the arrest of the gunman and commended police for their work in drawing to a close what he called a “terrible tragedy”.

A Reuters photographer at the scene saw a man in a white T-shirt, with his hands cuffed behind his back, being placed in an unmarked squad car. Authorities said they did not know the suspect’s identity but believed he acted alone.

Anger Over Killing by Police Halts Shopping in Chicago

Hundreds of demonstrators on Friday marched down the middle of North Michigan Avenue, the city’s premier downtown shopping district, forcing the police to close the six-lane thoroughfare to vehicles and prompting some businesses to lock their doors for at least part of one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

A mix of ages and races, the protesters marched up and down the avenue, known here as the Magnificent Mile, for several hours, calling for justice in the shooting death of a black teenager by a white Chicago police officer. [..]

Groups demonstrated Friday in other cities, including Seattle, Minneapolis and New York, linking their protests over police conduct and the treatment of black people to a day when the nation’s focus is usually on the Black Friday shopping frenzy.

Tighter Lid on Records Threatens to Weaken Government Watchdogs

Justice Department watchdogs ran into an unexpected roadblock last year when they began examining the role of federal drug agents in the fatal shootings of unarmed civilians during raids in Honduras.

The Drug Enforcement Administration balked at turning over emails from senior officials tied to the raids, according to the department’s inspector general. It took nearly a year of wrangling before the D.E.A. was willing to turn over all its records in a case that the inspector general said raised “serious questions” about agents’ use of deadly force. [..]

The impasse has hampered investigations into an array of programs and abuse reports — from allegations of sexual assaults in the Peace Corps to the F.B.I.’s terrorism powers, officials said. And it has threatened to roll back more than three decades of policy giving the watchdogs unfettered access to “all records” in their investigations.

“The bottom line is that we’re no longer independent,” Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general, said in an interview.

The restrictions reflect a broader effort by the Obama administration to prevent unauthorized disclosures of sensitive information — at the expense, some watchdogs insist, of government oversight.

A decade in, DHS program to detect bio-threats may not be able to detect bio-threats, auditors say

More than a decade after the Department of Homeland Security began a program to fight biological terrorism, “considerable uncertainty” remains over whether the system can reliably detect biological threats, a new federal audit says.

The report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office is the latest blow to DHS’s BioWatch system, the agency’s marquee post-Sept. 11, 2001, effort to detect pathogens that could signal a devastating biological attack. After scientific studies and media reports raised concern about BioWatch’s effectiveness, DHS last year canceled the system’s planned next generation of sensors.

Now, GAO says the government still lacks reliable information about the current generation, first deployed in 2005, to determine if it is capable of detecting a biological attack. DHS’s testing of the current system — known as Generation-2, or Gen-2 — has been flawed, leaving the department unable to properly determine how to improve it, GAO found.

Turkey putting Syrian refugees ‘at serious risk of human rights abuse’

Dozens of Syrian refugees have been deported to Syria by the Turkish authorities, putting them at risk of serious human rights abuses, Amnesty International has said.

The human rights group said about 80 Syrian refugees who were previously held at a detention centre in the Turkish city of Erzurum had been expelled in violation of the non-refoulement principle of international law, which bans countries from returning refugees to conflict zones where their lives are in danger.

It said another 50 more Syrian refugees were being held at the EU-financed detention centre following their participation in peaceful protests against being banned from entering Greece in September, and all of them faced deportation.

Amazon deforestation report is major setback for Brazil ahead of climate talks

Trees covering an area more than seven times the territory of New York City have been cleared in the Brazilian Amazon over the past year, in a major setback for government efforts to combat deforestation.

The grim statistics from Brazil’s environment ministry, which were released on Thursday, underscore the growing climate threat posed by deforestation ahead of a United Nations conference in Paris that aims to reduce global carbon emissions.

Satellite data revealed that 5,831 square kilometers of land was cut down or burned in the Brazilian Amazon in year to 1 August: a 16% increase on the destruction of the previous 12 months.

Breakfast Bog posts

The Government Wants You To Forget It Will Still Collect Your Phone Records in Bulk emptywheel aka Marcy Wheeler, emptywheel

Black Friday: Walmart Spies On Workers As Fight For 15 Continues Dan Wright, ShadowProof

California Activists Target Nestlé, The ‘Grinch’ That Stole Water Kit O’Connell, ShadowProof

Why the FBI is on the scene of the Planned Parenthood shooting digby, Hullabaloo

Turkey’s Shootdown of Russian Jet Was a War Crime Washington’s Blog

Six In The Morning Saturday November 28

Obama has uses for Turkey-Russia tensions


Turkey may have succeeded in scuttling the idea of an international coalition under the United Nations auspices to fight the Islamic State (IS). The talks in Moscow on Friday between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the visiting French President Francois Hollande leave a gloomy impression.

Of course, Hollande conveyed his condolences over the death of the Russian pilot last Tuesday. It was a significant gesture and contrasted sharply with US President Barack Obama’s studied preference to express solidarity with Turkey. Hollande openly supported Russia’s determination to disrupt the nexus between Turkey and the IS in oil trade. He vowed to do what Russia is doing, namely, bomb relentlessly the IS’ convoys heading for the Turkish border carrying oil.

Again, the talks in Moscow signal that Russia intends to launch a sustained campaign internationally to expose Turkey’s covert links with the Islamic State. Putin disclosed that the region adjacent to the Turkish border in northern Syria (which Ankara profiles as the traditional homelands of Turkmen tribes) is actually a beehive of terrorists who have flocked to Syria from many countries, including Russia, and their Turkish mentors.

Beijing residents told to stay inside as smog levels soar

Air pollution in the Chinese capital has reached more than 15 times the safe level as smog engulfs large parts of the country

Beijing’s residents have been advised to stay indoors after air pollution in the Chinese capital reached hazardous levels.

The warning comes as the governments of more than 190 nations gather in Paris to discuss a possible new global agreement on climate change.

China, the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, is suffering from serious air pollution, largely attributed to smog from coal-fired power plants.

The onset of winter and the need for more heating of homes means the problem has intensified in the capital, which has an estimated population of 20 million.

At noon on Saturday, the US embassy in Beijing reported the level of the poisonous, tiny particles of PM2.5 at 391 micrograms per cubic metre.

Paris climate change talks: Activists placed under house arrest by French authorities using emergency laws

Thousands of climate campaigners have vowed to defy the blanket ban on demonstrations

At least 24 climate change activists have been put under house arrest by French police.

They are accused of defying a ban on organising protests during next week’s 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.

Three people have been placed under house arrest in Rens, two in Paris, two in Rouen and one in Lyons, according to a campaigns website collating information about police actions against activists.

They are only allowed to leave their houses three times a day to sign a post office register verifying their whereabouts.

Legal advisors to the activists told The Guardian warrants were issued under the country’s state of emergency laws, enacted after the terrorist attacks which murdered 130 people.

Climate change campaigner and author Naomi Klein accused French authorities of “a gross abuse of power that risks turning the summit into a farce”.

Godfather of terror: Saudi Arabia and ‘IS’

The ideology of the terror organization the “Islamic State” is inspired by Wahhabism, the official religion of Saudi Arabia. But there are other links.

Hatred against those of a different faith. A bizarre world view that sees Islam threatened in many kinds of ways. Mistrust against everyone who doesn’t think and believe like oneself: these are central ideological elements of the terror organization “Islamic State” (IS). It didn’t invent this world view, at least not alone. When ‘IS’ agitates against Shiites, Yazidis, Christians and Jews, it shows close parallels to the world view of Wahhabism, the radical-conservative interpretation of Sunni Islam, which is the state religion of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In actual fact there are unmistakable parallels between IS and Wahhabism. This is seen clearly if one looks at the text books used by schoolchildren in the Saudi kingdom, up until a few years ago, and where they got their religious world view.

“Every other religion apart from Islam is false”, they read in the introductory text book. Also in exercises which have to be solved by the schoolchildren. The following sentence has to be completed: “When those who live on the outside of the religion of Islam die, they go to…” According to the text book, the right word is “hell “. Another exercise reads: “Name examples of false religions, like Judaism, Christianity, Paganism.”

Eyewitness: ‘No IS group in Aleppo, so who is Russia bombing?

Rami Jara

Ever since Russia began its bombing campaign in Syria in September, it has claimed to be targeting the Islamic State (IS) organisation. However, using geolocation techniques, many analysts quickly realised that Russian jets overwhelmingly target rebel-held territory, and only rarely IS group positions. Shocked by the lack of reaction from the international community, a Syrian exile decided to return to his war-torn country to film the bombings.

When the conflict in Syria broke out in 2011, Rami Jarah, a young man from Damascus, became one of them most prominent citizen journalists keeping foreign media abreast of the developments, thanks to his perfect English. At the time, he went by the pseudonym “Alexander Page”. He fled the country at the end of 2011, first moving to Egypt, then Turkey. But he never stopped reporting on Syria: he founded a citizen media project, ANA Press, with a group of Syrian friends, and has taken regular trips back into his country to report on the situation.

He recently arrived in the rebel-held city of Aleppo in Syria, where he now plans to stay indefinitely. He has filmedseveral videos showing the aftermath of air raids, in which medics scramble to save victims from the rubble. He also filmed a video in which he asks various Aleppo residents whether the IS group is present in their city. They all answer an unequivocal “no”.

In Kenya, a changing role for a Catholic Church that avoids politics

Since the last papal visit in 1995, the Catholic Church has evolved into an institution that largely keeps silent about politics. But some say it’s critical voice is still needed.

As Pope Francis brings his message to Kenya this week, he is visiting a Roman Catholic Church whose role in society has shifted dramatically since the last papal visit.

Each of the three times Pope John Paul II came to Kenya – 1980, 1985, and 1995 – the country was in the iron grip of President Daniel Arap Moi, who clamped down on free expression and criminalized opposition groups.

Under his 24-year rule, the Catholic Church, known as a steadfast provider of social services, became one of the only avenues for dissent. In May 1992, it even called for Mr. Moi’s resignation at a time when speaking out against the president invited arrest and torture.

“When the pope came that time, the church was very strongly political, it was walking hand in hand with opposition leaders,” says Father Stephen Okello, a philosophy professor at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa and the coordinator for the papal visit.


Late Night Karaoke


Random Japan


Tokyo looks eerily awesome in the fog


Or should that be awesomely eerie?

Humidity in Japan reaches its peak in summer, then continues to drop as the temperature gets cooler. A late autumn Tokyo morning is usually crisp, cool, and clear, but things were very different this Friday in the capital.

The multi-day rainstorm that had been sitting over the city finally petered out on the night of November 26, but the low temperature meant a thick layer of fog was there to greet Tokyoites when they woke up.


  • 300,000: The number of Halloween-themed garbage bags the TMG gave away “in an effort to keep the capital’s streets clean amid the fun.”
  • 0.6 millimeter: Diameter of an artificial blood vessel developed by researchers at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center—the thinnest ever.
  • ¥980: Price of a 330-square-meter parcel of land in Fukagawa, Hokkaido. Officials are hoping the low cost will attract new residents.


  • The head of a post office in Nagano admitted to running a Ponzi scheme that bilked 180 customers out of ¥890 million.
  • Arbitrators in Stockholm ordered Osaka-based NTN Corp to pay $94.2 million to Volvo in a case involving defective ball bearings.
  • A government white paper found that police made a record-high 4,300 arrests for indecent assault in 2014.
  • McDonald’s Japan posted a $30 million loss from January to September—the worst result for the nine-month period since the company debuted on the TSE in 2001.


What’s The Most Appropriate Action While Driving Drunk? 

Hit Your Local Police Station With Your Car 

Comedians And The Yakuza. What Do They Have In Common?

It Isn’t Telling Jokes

They’ve Known No War

At Least Not Yet


Japan misunderstood: 3 stereotypes that live on

by Amy Chavez for RocketNews24

Every time I visit my home country and talk about my life in Japan, one thing becomes clear to me: Japan remains incredibly misunderstood overseas. With this in mind, today we’ll be discussing three stereotypes of Japan: the country’s apparent disdain for those who stand out from the crowd, the notion that Japan is a strict society, and that the idea of “losing face” is a quintessentially Asian concept.

1. The nail that stands up gets hammered down

This Japanese idiom is known world-wide among English speakers and is often used to show that conformity is valued, if not socially enforced, in Japan. People go on to apply the proverb to almost any situation they feel is exemplary. In the business world, Takafumi Horie is often cited as an example of a nail that was pounded back down. As the president of Livedoor, Horie rose to fame and fortune very quickly, outwitting most of his competition. But his competitors were not impressed with his quick rise to the top, his legal but “un-Japanese” business practices and his challenge to the status quo. They did everything they could to tear him down, eventually leading to accusations of falsifying accounts and misleading investors. “The nail that stands up,” right?





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