I appreciate Lisa Twaronite

Lisa is the Marketwatch.com Tokyo correspondent.

Today, she has a piece up about the new free high school policy by the ruling DPJ (Minshuto). What makes her great is that 19 times out of 20, she is writing an article about life in Japan that really tells it like it is. This is not someone who is being flown in, in order to snap a picture of an electronic ticker board at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities around the corner from the Tokyo station, and then act like an expert on the Japan market.

Lisa Twaronite has apparently been around Japan for some time, and has three kids in school here. So as Marketwatch’s Tokyo correspondent, she is very “real”. You know? This is not, “what kind of bullshit story can I write and file this week, so I get my dough. And my, what an exotic reporting assignment that I have!”

I am convinced that people who bullshit about Japan do no one any service. It’s funny, actually, and I think occasionally Debito picks up on this at his site. Someone will fly in to tell the world about Japan. There are hundreds and hundreds of gaijins here, quite a few so-called “lifers”, who could run circles around the reporting that the fly-ins do. Yet the news outfits continue to send the fly-ins, um, in.

It gets embarrassing to read the crap, whether that it’s I’m wasting time of my life, or for the person who actually got paid money to write it.

But on Marketwatch, you can learn that yes, the government is finally making high school available without direct charge to thousands and thousands of young Japanese. But honestly, doesn’t really have a way to pay for it.

Despite the headline horrors of 200% debt-to-GDP here, the reality is the number is more like a net 80%. Still high, though. Even if it’s financed at 1.5%. The actual problem is how much more debt can be issued to the general public? Will they keep buying it? Most all Japanese debt is held by Japanese, so there is no worry (like in America) about foreign investors having no appetite for government debt. The problem is that when Japanese themselves decide they have no more appetite for Japan Government Bonds (JGBs), the whole game changes.

So check out Lisa T. on Marketwatch when you can. She is worth the read.

8 thoughts on “I appreciate Lisa Twaronite

  1. “electronic ticker board at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities”

    ??? Do you mean Shinko Securities along the Sotobori Dori or the Nikko Cordial board catty corner to MUFJ’s main office on the 406? Or is there some place I haven’t come across?

    I will check out the article you posted.

  2. Chuckers, may be my mistake. When I was writing I happen to be thinking of the one in Marunouchi. I thought it was MUFJ, but maybe it is Nikko Cordial. It’s the one that looks like a video game.

    The Shinko one might now be a Mizuho. (This is the one right next to Yaesu Book Center.) That one usually made the press, and I maybe blogged about it three years ago.

  3. The one in Marunouchi is Nikko Cordial, catty cornder from MUFJ.

    And you are right, the Shinko (Mizuho after merge) one is the one they always show in the news.

    Wait, now that I think of it, there *is* one in the Mitsubishi building a bit further up the street from Tokyo Station, right across the street from where the Central Post Office used to be. I don’t walk by that one as often. You can’t see it in streetview on google maps because there is a rice truck parked right in front of it.

    1. It may be Nikko, but it sure looks like Mitsubishi-UFJ.

      The reason is, I walked to Chidorigafuchi today, because I wanted to see the cherry blossoms before they were all gone. Then, I took a swing into Marunouchi to get the train back home. And I specifically went to the market board, and took this picture:

      Unfortunately, my screwy camera has been cutting off parts of the pictures that I take. So it cut off the top where you might have been able to make out “Mitsubishi UFJ”. But I am confident that if you stand on the other side of the street from the Chuo Post Office (the one that is just a shell now), and go down to just before the that new building, you will also see this board. (All the information in the picture is from today, so it’s legit.)

  4. I just found this Googling myself. THANK YOU — I’ve been feeling somewhat burned out at my job lately, and you’ve reminded me why I wanted to do this in the first place.

    1. Lisa, thanks for visiting my site. I am always impressed by your work at Marketwatch, and please keep it up!

  5. What do you mean Japan finally pays for high school education directly? Haven’t they always like in Canada and the US? Lisa, try going to Japan and try talk to and get to know Japanese people. They are not backward like mainland Chinese. They are educated and as wealthy as Americans.

    1. He he! This is obviously a drive-by comment.

      The government of Japan did not guarantee a free public high school system “like in Canada and the US” until just last year (2010). If you read Lisa Twaronite on Dow Jones Marketwatch.com, what you’ll find is that she is very much in Japan, and knows. Has kids even. She would know.

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