Underage drinking

I saw this add walking around Shibuya.

It says: “It’s the season of congratulations for your entrance to the University, but please refrain from drinking beer till you are 20”. It seems that Japanese like to start drinking alcohol when they start university when they are 18 even though it is not permitted to drink till 20. It’s a big problem that is even worse in Japan because their body doesn’t really tolerate big amounts of alcohol. They lack an enzyme called low-Km aldehyde dehydrogenase isoenzima that makes them to become drunk faster than other people

The previous ad is a campaign that wants to stop underage drinkers, they even have a website called stop-underagedrinking.com. The interesting point is that in the add they make special emphasizes in the word “beer” (ビール), and if you look more carefully the campaign is sponsored by many Japanese beer brewery companies. Suspicious, interesting, smart? If you were the president of a beer company would you pay to make a similar campaign against drinking? Do they want to clean their image?

Wealth inequality in Japan

The Gini index shows us that Japan is one of the countries with less wealth inequality in the world. Gini, is a ratio between the income from high classes and the income from low classes. It shows how big is the difference from rich to poor people, how well richness is shared among the country citizens. If Gini coefficient is 1 it indicates perfect inequality, if Gini is 0 it indicates perfect equality.

At this map you can see countries with Gini near 0 in dark green and as the countries become red their Gini coefficient approaches to 1.

Picture from wikipedia

At this other picture, near the bottom means more equality. For example, look at Hong Kong that is very near from the top, a place with many millionaires living near many poor Chinese people.

Detailed explanation

Japan, Sweden, Norway and Iceland are some of the countries with less inequality in the world. Japan was even more equal in the 70s and 80s, on those times homeless people were inexistent in Japanese territory. Lately, Japanese people are pretty worried because inequality is increasing, and also homeless people are.

Right now there are homeless, there is poor people… but its being more than two years living here and NEVER has anyone asked me for money while walking around Tokyo streets. Three weeks ago I was in Madrid, in it was just after five minutes since I went outside the airport when they asked me for money! In Japan, I even saw a homeless guy withdrawing some money with a credit card! It happens that many Japanese homeless have some money for food and other things but they don’t have enough for a rental. Most of them are retired people, receiving an insufficient pension. Japanese pension system is rotten, but that’s another history…

Japan is the second economy in the world but: Do you know any famous Japanese man or woman? No idea huuh? Me neither, I just searched in the Forbes list, and I found the first Japanese in the 129th position! He is the president of Softbank, and has a fortune of “only” 5.800 million dollars, that’s not a lot compared with American or Arab rich. “Japanese rich people are less rich than in those from other countries”.

On the other hand, in Japan nearly 1% of the population has a fortune of 1 million dollars or more. The third highest percentage after Luxembourg and Switzerland. Let’s improve the sentence I made before “Japanese rich people are less rich than in those from other countries but there are more rich people than in other places”.

In general I have the feeling that everything is pretty well shared in Japan compared with other countries, and money is not only for the big guys. The only thing that I don’t really like is the way the split the money: the older you are, the more money you earn, it doesn’t really matter if you are doing things well or not. But in other places it would be: the more friends you have in a company/organization the more money you earn.

Destroyed house in Tokyo only 400.000$

It says “we sell 72.25 square meters land with old house included! South oriented and five minutes walking to the train station. Everything 400.000$”. It’s normal that the land would cost more or less that price, the funny thing is the old crappy house they are using to “attract clients”.

Pictures from Mediatinker.