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As you know, I started a new job at Gifu University this April. At the interview, they warned me that the pay was not very good, and they were right! My pay now is a lot lower than it was when I worked at a private university. To make things worse, my pay was cut by about 8% two months after I started. This was because of the government policy of reducing the pay of public servants, although national university teachers are not really public servants anymore.

Anyway, I love my job, so I can live with the bad pay, but I have been talking to a lot of people about this recently, and it seems that many of them are going through the same thing. Of course, everyone has heard on the news about the pay cuts at Sharp, and I think the same thing is happening at other electronics firms as well. And it’s not just the electronics sector; I have a friend whose husband works for one of the big Toyota Group companies, and she said his bonus is getting cut more and more every year. When I was in Hokkaido last week, I met a couple who work for the post office. They told me that both of them will have their winter bonus cut by 50% this year because of the weak economy.

The problem is not just one of falling pay. In April 2014, consumption tax in Japan is going to go up to 8%, and then it will rise to 10% the year after that. My worry is that with salaries falling and taxes rising, Japanese people are simply going to stop spending, and that will have a disastrous effect on the economy. I don’t understand why the politicians can’t see that, because exactly the same thing happened last time consumption tax was raised.

So, my questions this week are:

1) Have you heard any of your friends talking about having their salaries or bonuses cut recently?

2) Has the same thing happened to you or someone in your family?

3) Do you think raising the consumption tax is a good idea?

4) What effect do you think it will have on you?

Look forward to hearing your opinions.

54 Comments

  1. YU on Tuesday September 25th, 2012 at 01:30 AM

    Hi everyone,

    1) Have you heard any of your friends talking about having their salaries or bonuses cut recently?

    I have heard from my older brother that his salary was cut by about 10% after the quake last year, but it lasted only for a year. This April his pay has gone up again to the same sum as before the quake.

    2) Has the same thing happened to you or someone in your family?

    No, so far, fortunately.

    3) Do you think raising the consumption tax is a good idea?

    No.
    It is said that the consumption rate is much higher in other countries, and that is true in some items.
    Some politicians say that the consumption tax rate in Japan is very low, but I also hear that in many of other countries, the rates differ depending on the items. For example, the tax rate of living necessities like milk, bread, vegetabes,etc.. is set very low or even free, but the one of luxury items such as cars or cigarettes is set high.
    In Japan, every item is set at the same tax rate,
    so at first glance it looks very low, but in reality it is not, and it is actually almost same high as in other countries. Many politicians deceive Japanese people by this trick. This is actually not my idea, but the comment of an economist. I don’t know if it’s true or not.

    4) What effect do you think it will have on you?

    As you mentioned, I also think it will just cause a defration spiral as follows.

    1. We’ll stop spending,
    2. Goods don’t sell well
    3. Companies’ earnings shrink.
    4. Employee’s saraly is cut
    5. We’ll stop spending (= 1.)

    I also want to ask them why they want to make the same mistake.



  2. YU on Tuesday September 25th, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    Hi everyone,

    2) Has the same thing happened to you or someone in your family?

    No, so far, fortunately.

    – I want to correct my answer above, because it is maybe not true.
    My husband’s salary hasn’t been cut so far, but his company instructed all employees not to work overtime very much after the Lehman shock. As a natural consequence his salary has gone down since then. Is this a kind of “Job sharing”? Everyone today just accepts company’s policies like that as it’s better than being fired in this economic recession.

    I hear a lot of people who bought a house long time ago face to “住宅ローン破産” now. When they bought a house, their salaries weren’t as bad as they are now.
    By chance my family bought it two years and a half ago, and we manage to pay our housing loan somehow, though….



  3. Kyon on Tuesday September 25th, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    Hello everyone,
    Terrible accidents happened yesterday in Miyagi and Yokosuka. I feel relieved when I heard there were the dead in the train accident in Yokosuka. I hope missing fishermen will be rescued as soon as possible.

    My comments are as follows,
    1) Have you heard any of your friends talking about having their salaries or bonuses cut recently?
    -My nephew told me his salary fell by 10% when Lehman Shock occurred in 2008. He worked for a car parts company, so he was directly affected. I’m not sure about his present pay situation.
    2) Has the same thing happened to you or someone in your family?
    No, not really.
    3) Do you think raising the consumption tax is a good idea?
    No, not now. The consumption tax should be raised in the very near future as social security costs are swelling up and the government owe us a heap of debts (943 trillion yen, or more ). However, if the tax is raised now in the midst of the deflationary spiral, the Japanese economy will be in the turmoil. It would be the same situation like “applying an electric shock on a seriously ill person. Some economists say the Japanese economy should first make a shift to a bit inflation by increasing the money supply, so the economy would be vitalized and tax revenue would go up. It will be the perfect time to raise the consumption tax. I am not good at economics; however, I support this way, a little optimistic, though .
    There are many obstacles ahead such as the strong yen, hollowing-out phenomenon, the shrinking population and etc. all of which the next government(not DJP)has to tackle with.
    4) What effect do you think it will have on you?
    I wrote everything in the No,3.
    Thank you,
    Kyon



  4. Kyon on Tuesday September 25th, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    I made a terrible mistake.

    I feel relieved when I heard there were the dead in the train accident in Yokosuka.

    →・・・・・・・・there were’ not the dead’・・・・・

    sorry



  5. YU on Tuesday September 25th, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    Hi David,

    May I ask you a question?

    You wrote, “I love my job, so I can live with the bad pay, but I have been talking to a lot of people about this recently”

    But you of course don’t ask them how much they earn monthly, do you?
    Chinese friends of mine have asked me how much my older brother earned when we met for the first time. I was upset and didn’t answer it clearly.
    They told me that nobody in China mind being asked such things.
    As you know Japanese people tend to avoid asking questions like that with each other, but how about British people??



  6. YU on Tuesday September 25th, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    Hi Kyon,

    > No, not now. The consumption tax should be raised in the very near future as social security costs are swelling up and the government owe us a heap of debts (943 trillion yen, or more ). However, if the tax is raised now in the midst of the deflationary spiral, the Japanese economy will be in the turmoil.

    I couldn’t agree with you more.
    I’m not good at economics either, but I’m wondering “Why now?”.

    Also, the goverment should take measures for the low-income group before they raise up.
    I don’t think the flat rate system for all items like now is a very good idea for low-income earners.



  7. Kyon on Tuesday September 25th, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    Hi Yu,

    >I couldn’t agree with you more.
    >I’m not good at economics either, but I’m wondering “Why now?”.

    I didn’t say the tax should be raised ‘now’.
    Did you read all my comments?

    Kyon



  8. YU on Tuesday September 25th, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Hi Kyon,

    > Did you read all my comments?

    Yes, I read all.
    I’m not sure why you ask me that, though.
    Maybe I should have written “but I’m wondering “Why now?, EITHER.”, I’m sorry.
    I wrote, “I couldn’t agree with you more.”
    That means “あなたにこれ以上賛成できません=大賛成です”.



  9. Kyon on Tuesday September 25th, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    Hi Yu,

    Sorry for my poor understaning of English.

    I got it, thank you.
    Kyon



  10. YU on Tuesday September 25th, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    Hi Kyon,

    Please don’t worry about it.



  11. David Barker on Tuesday September 25th, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    Hi YU,

    Like Japanese people, British people do not usually ask about the amount of someone’s salary, but we might talk about pay cuts and pay rises in terms of percentages. I haven’t asked any of my friends how much they earn, but we have talked about things like overtime being reduced and bonuses being cut.

    By the way, when I lived in Singapore, I lived in a government housing block. If I ever met one of my neighbours, the two questions they asked first were:

    Where are you from?
    How much rent do you pay?

    It was a bit strange for me, but I guess it is quite normal to talk about money in Chinese culture.



  12. Biwa on Tuesday September 25th, 2012 at 01:33 PM

    Hi everyone,

    1) Have you heard any of your friends talking about having their salaries or bonuses cut recently?

    I’m not sure because we don’t talk about salaries so much.
    I don’t even know what company my friends’ husbands work for.

    2) Has the same thing happened to you or someone in your family?

    Fortunately, no.
    But my husband is getting busier and busier these days and I think it’s because that the company does not hire many new employees as before. That means more work for the same salary and that’s not fair!

    3) Do you think raising the consumption tax is a good idea?

    I don’t think this is the time, either.
    As lots of economists say, there are more things to be done before we raise the tax. For example, we don’t need so many Diet members. I heard that the U.K. has only half members of the Japanese. And they earn too much money! We also don’t need so many bridges or highways, either.
    Besides, I think we need to make more foreigners to live and work in Japan. For the coming population decline and aging society, we need more workers=tax payers. We might need to revise our regulations so that they can live and work more easily. This is your area of speciality, isn’t it David?

    4) What effect do you think it will have on you?

    My husband and I will just have to tighten up our wallets and work harder than ever!
    But on the other hand, we might become good purchasers and choose things that will last for a long time. And the companies might become to make better products. That will be eco-friendly.

    Anyway, I think the government should give us more specific visions and do the things they can do first. Then, we will be able to make the right decision.



  13. YU on Tuesday September 25th, 2012 at 02:24 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for answering my question.

    >By the way, when I lived in Singapore, I lived in a government housing block. If I ever met one of my neighbours, the two questions they asked first were:

    >Where are you from?
    >How much rent do you pay?

    And how did you answer them?
    Why do they want to know your rent?
    Because your rent differs depending on your salary when you live in a public housing?
    I wonder if it was their purpose of the question.

    > It was a bit strange for me, but I guess it is quite normal to talk about money in Chinese culture.

    I guess so, too.
    Probably those questions are nothing different from “Lovely weather, isn’t it?” for them.



  14. Yukako on Tuesday September 25th, 2012 at 05:56 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    I wrote my comment after an interval of one month! Sorry…

    1) Have you heard any of your friends talking about having their salaries or bonuses cut recently?

    No, I haven’t. Most of my friends have worked since this April, so they don’t know whether their salaries are high or low.

    2) Has the same thing happened to you or someone in your family?

    Yes… My father is a local government worker. His salary has been getting lower for some years. I don’t know how much he makes a month, but my mother complains that his salary is too low.

    3) Do you think raising the consumption tax is a good idea?

    I don’t think so. The politicians don’t take the future of Japan seriously. The social position means a lot to them.

    4) What effect do you think it will have on you?

    I’ll be worried about the tax when I buy something. The worry will deprive me of buying intention.

    See you!

    Yukako



  15. Anne on Tuesday September 25th, 2012 at 07:40 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    Here are my answers for this week’s topic:

    1) Have you heard any of your friends talking about having their salaries or bonuses cut recently?

    –Yes, I have. Some of my friends complained about her husband’s bonus cut, but I’m not sure about the exact rate, I mean, about what percentage of bonus cut they have had because I didn’t ask.

    2) Has the same thing happened to you or someone in your family?

    —yes, it has happened to my husband. My husband retired three years ago, but for several years before he retired, his pay got lower and lower. He worked for prefectural office, so the amount of monthly salary when he/she retires affects how much money he/she gets as a pension. Actually, the next year when my husband retired, employees had huge pay cut, and that means, they can’t expect the same amount of pension as people who retired have one year before. My husband’s friend was disappointed at it.

    3) Do you think raising the consumption tax is a good idea?

    —-No, not now, but the government would not be able to avoid raising tax in the near future even if they gave up passing the bill.
    Of course, I’m happy with it if the government would not raise the consumption tax, but Japan’s budget deficit is twelve hundred trillion yen(12兆円) and it means each Japanese, counting in from babies to senior citizens, owes over 9 million yen(954万円).
    If you are interested in the data, have a look at it from the site below:
    http://www.kh-web.org/fin/

    Anyway, the thing that the government needs to do now is to tackle with various kinds of problems in Tohoku area and to focus on rebuilding the economy. I’m not familiar with the economics or economy, so I can’t be confident about what kind of strategy the government should take,though…
    I don’t think the government draws such a huge amount of money just by reexamining the use of the budget and reducing it.
    If the government would continue this situation, these debts would leave the future generations worse off.

    4) What effect do you think it will have on you?

    —Well…the amount of money I can use is limited , so I have be stick to family expense.

    Bye for now,

    Anne



  16. David Barker on Tuesday September 25th, 2012 at 08:05 PM

    Hi Anne

    I often hear the argument that the government has to raise the tax because it has no money, but raising the tax does not necessarily mean more income. If they raise the tax to 10%, they will get more money only as long as people keep spending the same amount. If people start cutting their spending because of the rise in prices, the government could end up getting less than before. And of course, if people are not buying things, companies will have to cut salaries even more, which means people will cut their spending again, and so on. As I understand it, this is pretty much exactly what happened the last time they raised it.



  17. amo on Wednesday September 26th, 2012 at 12:32 AM

    Hi David and everyone,

    1) Have you heard any of your friends talking about having their salaries or bonuses cut recently?

    Yes. I worked as a temp at one of the major electronics companies for a few years and I still get in touch with friends from there. They mentioned their salaries cut when I met them several months ago.

    2) Has the same thing happened to you or someone in your family?

    Yes, one of my sisters said there was no bonus this summer due to a small benefit. Luckily, I still get a rise in my pay twice a year. Actually, I got a rise last month, of course it was modest increase though.

    3) Do you think raising the consumption tax is a good idea?

    No, I don’t think so, as others said.

    >I don’t understand why the politicians can’t see that, because exactly the same thing happened last time consumption tax was raised.

    I totally agree with you.

    4) What effect do you think it will have on you?

    Nobody would spend money for things they love. Maybe I can’t buy antiques or go abroad 🙁

    Good night,
    amo



  18. Anne on Wednesday September 26th, 2012 at 05:54 AM

    >訂正;
    twelve hundred trillion yen(12兆円)
    ーーーーtwelve hundred trillion yen(1200兆円)

    Hi David,
    I understand what you mean, that’s why I said,”no,not now.”
    There are lots of things for the government to tackle with before raising taxes you said, and yet, do you think the government can afford to reduce the debts that Japan has now and appropriate budget for welfare or health care spending?
    Again, I’m not familiar with the economy, so it’s just my understanding and thought. As you see the Greece crisis, isn’t japan following this road? I’m worried about that.

    Anne



  19. Fumie on Wednesday September 26th, 2012 at 05:54 AM

    Hi David,

    This week’s topic is very much related to what had happened to our family.
    My husband asked for demotion for health reason about one and a half years ago. Now he works less and he is healthier than before, so we are happy about that. But his salary and bonus got down sharply. He works at a post office. There are two reasons of a drop in his salary: his demotion and the company’s decision of reducing employees’ salary.
    Luckily at that time, I was given a job opportunity and I’m happy to help out our family financially. Still things are very tight: our eldest son will go to a private university from next year and we have to send other children to universities or some other schools in several years.

    I think raising the consumption tax is inevitable but as YU pointed out, the government should adopt the tax system that’s of like UK: some food, commodities, stationaries and clothes for children and dipers are tax free. Although it’s ridiculous that biscuits need 20 % tax but cakes don’t need any tax.
    I always try to tighten the purse strings and I warn my sons try not to waste money, electricity, water, etc…

    Fumie



  20. YU on Wednesday September 26th, 2012 at 08:45 AM

    Hi Anne,

    > do you think the government can afford to reduce the debts that Japan has now and appropriate budget for welfare or health care spending?
    > As you see the Greece crisis, isn’t japan following this road? I’m worried about that.

    I’m also very anxious about that.
    I’ve read in somewhere before that the big difference between the situation in Greece and Japan is that Greece borrows a lot of money from other countries(外債), but Japan borrows it only(or mainly!?)from Japanese people or companies(国債), therefore the situation in Japan isn’t as bad as the one in Greece. Some economic experts even declare that Japanese economy will not be collapsed as long as the government borrowed money only from people of their own country, but I don’t know if what they say is really true, because I’m not familiar with economics, either. However, there are some experts who oppose the idea above mentioned, so finally I’m sure about anything!!
    Anyway, for me “debt is debt”. It is not a good thing that Japan has a huge amount of debt. And it is not a normal situation, that’s very clear.

    Hi Fumie,

    Sorry for your husband, but I’m glad that he got much healthier now. Nothing is more important than your health, isn’t it?

    > Luckily at that time, I was given a job opportunity and I’m happy to help out our family financially.

    I agree with your ways of thinking.
    Some of my friends never think that way.
    I know it’s not my business, but I always wonder why they get married.

    > Although it’s ridiculous that biscuits need 20 % tax but cakes don’t need any tax.

    That’s interesting, I want to know the reasons!

    See you!



  21. Biwa on Wednesday September 26th, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    Hi everyone,

    >Anyway, for me “debt is debt”. It is not a good thing that Japan has a huge amount of debt. And it is not a normal situation, that’s very clear.

    I agree!

    And as many people know, the national bond issue is a great problem now. In Japan, (I don’t know about other countries…), they’re trying to issue some deficit-covering national bonds to cover up the lacking budjet. But they need approval by the parliament to be issued. That is what PM Noda is trying to do but he can’t because of the ねじれ国会.
    So, if my understanding is correct, that means we have to continue moving on without any money in our national wallet! That’s very scary and strange, isn’t it?

    So, naturally, they decided to raise the taxes.
    But why don’t they think of trying to get money in other ways?
    Making more people from other countries to live and work in Japan might be a choice, as I wrote before. Because it’s much faster than raising children to get old enough to work and pay taxes, I think this is worthwhile to consider.
    It’s also important to support investors from other countries to do business in Japan. In that way, the government can earn a lot of corporate tax. And the market will become more active and so on.

    I know that the government is trying to do things from various aspects but they just put too much energy on “raising” taxes.



  22. rinko on Wednesday September 26th, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Hi David and everyone.

    I’m sorry to hear your pay was cut,David. I’m afraid it’s quite common story in Japan last for some years.Lackily,my husband’s salary hasn’t been cut yet but he often tells me that a cost-reduction of his company is so severe to avoid cutting their salaries,such as turning off all lights of office all day,not using all the air-conditioners,cutback in temporary staffs and office equipments..somethig like that.He also told me that it’s only a matter of time until his salary is cut if Japan’s economy keeps to fall as it does.So the news of raising the consumption tax shocked me much although I’d expected it…

    >Do you think raising the consumption tax is a good idea?

    No,I don’t.
    I’m sure people are going to stop spending as David said.Especially expensive products like cars and houses,people are going to rush to buy them before the tax goes up and the sales of them may sharply go down after that.

    Whenever there is an argument of raising consumption tax,some politicians show us the example of higher tax in other countories, especially in Northern Europe.But as YU and Anne mentioned,the system of it is very different from Japan like rate of tax is not the same depends on the items.Also they have high-level welfare for life of their old age instead of paying high rate tax in Northern Europe.I don’t think Japanese people easily accept this situation that we have to pay higher tax still worring about cutback in salary and the problem of aging society in Japan.

    Have a great day everyone!

    rinko



  23. YU on Wednesday September 26th, 2012 at 02:40 PM

    Hi everyone,

    > Making more people from other countries to live and work in Japan might be a choice, as I wrote before. Because it’s much faster than raising children to get old enough to work and pay taxes, I think this is worthwhile to consider. It’s also important to support investors from other countries to do business in Japan. In that way, the government can earn a lot of corporate tax. And the market will become more active and so on.

    I agree with you.
    I’m not saying this because my husband is a foreigner!! 🙂
    Actually, I think the government already had new projects like that since while ago. They’re trying to invite “good”(優良) foreign companies and workers by providing “special economic zones”(国際戦略総合特区) in some areas in Japan. When I heard the news last year(or was it this year?) with my brother and husband at his apartment in Tokyo, we were all very surprised because one of the scheduled areas was only stone’s throw from my brother’s apartment!

    Here’s is the case of Tokyo.

    http://www.metro.tokyo.jp/INET/OSHIRASE/2011/09/DATA/20l9r800.pdf

    However, as you see in the site above, you should also mind that it will cost a huge amount of money to realize these projects. And we also need to discuss in advance whether we should also invite simple labor or whether we should limit their length of stay, etc…
    As you know, many foreign countries(France, USA, Germany…) that accepted foreign labor in the past are now facing many kinds of problems such as discrimination, religious conflicts, increase in crimes and social welfare spending(Some of 2nd and 3rd generations don’t work and only eat social security money).



  24. Biwa on Wednesday September 26th, 2012 at 04:06 PM

    Hi YU,

    Thanks for the information!
    This was all new to me. But I guess many other projects like this are going around everywhere in Japan. I also found a project named MICE構想 in a different page. It means “Meeting, Incentive-tour, Convention or Conference, Exhibition” used in the inbound travel business. It says that if there are many attractive business models in Japan, people from other countries will come to see them and the MICE-planners or suppliers will get lots of business chances. I wonder if these projects are really working, though.

    I understand what you say about all the cost we’ll have to pay and about the negative things that might happen to have many foreigners living in Japan, but you know, investigate first(including the risks) and the good effects come later! Something like raising children???
    I’m not sure because I haven’t finished raising children yet!
    I’m not just fooling, though.
    I think that there must be reasons for the negative situations. If the 2nd and 3rd generations were happy with there jobs or lives and were protected with appropriate laws, I don’t think they would easily commit crime. We’ll have to deal with the problems moment-to-moment.
    Anyway, I might be stepping away from the topic too much. Sorry for that!



  25. Biwa on Wednesday September 26th, 2012 at 04:41 PM

    Sorry, I made a mistake again.

    >investigate first,

    I wanted to say ,”invest first(先行投資)”



  26. Tomo on Thursday September 27th, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    Here are my answers to the questions.

    1) Have you heard any of your friends talking about having their salaries or bonuses cut recently?

    No, but last year, a friend of mine told me that her husband who works for an automobile company had to stay at home for weeks because the company had to reduce their production. I’m not sure if it had an affect on his salary, though.

    2) Has the same thing happened to you or someone in your family?

    Yes. It’s a long time ago, but my father didn’t get any bonuses when something bad happened to the economy. I can’t remember what it was, but I heard that it was because of the sharp hike in the yen.(He worked for a car company.) Fortunately, my husband’s salary hasn’t been cut so far, but his bonus was cut by about 20% when the bubble crashed. At my husband company, the employees get a little pay raise every year, but they have to reduce overtime(which is much higher than the rise), so their salaries have been down recently.

    3) Do you think raising the consumption tax is a good idea?

    As I said before, they should stop wasting our money before they rise the tax. I don’t think rising the consumption tax now is a good idea, either.

    4) What effect do you think it will have on you?

    I will try to cut our spending and save money. Speaking of saving money, I’m going to start working in a hospital for children next month. After summer vacation, I decided to start working and looked for a job. I thought of teaching English to junior high or high school students, but it means that I have to work in the evenings. I want to teach English to my children and my nieces first, so I chose another job I was interested in. I’ve never worked as a medical clerk, but they gave me a chance to learn, so I’m going to study hard to get a qualification. Wish me luck!

    Hi Anne,

    Thanks for the link. I knew Japan has a huge debt, but I was very surprised to see that the amount is going up every second!! I wonder how the government is going to pay it back… Can they??

    See you soon,

    Tomo



  27. YU on Thursday September 27th, 2012 at 02:27 PM

    Hi Tomo,

    Congratulations on getting a job!!

    > I’m going to start working in a hospital for children next month.

    That sounds great!
    Are you going to work as a 医療事務 staff?
    If so, that is one of the dream jobs for me too!
    I heard it is a very popular job among housewives.

    > so I’m going to study hard to get a qualification. Wish me luck!

    I know you can do it!
    Good luck with your new job!! 🙂

    By the way, I’m going to start working next month too, but I’m going to work at home.
    I’ll just correct students’ papers(junior high school English) by PC. (通信教育添削業務). A friend of mine from my English club used to do the job for seven years(but she used to teach 小学国語) when her kids were very small. And she recommended me to try the job exams a few months ago.
    I can’t earn much from the job, but I thought it might be an ideal job for a person like me. I mean, I have a small kid, so it’s not easy to work outside. And my English grammar is quite 怪しい, but I can learn English grammar through the job and even can get money a little bit.

    Anyway, I’m not sure if I can do the job propely, but I will see.



  28. Tomo on Thursday September 27th, 2012 at 04:18 PM

    Hi YU,

    Thank you! Yes, my job is 受付 & 医療事務, so I have to be careful not to say いらっしゃいませ like I did when I was working. 気をつけないと自然に出てきちゃいそうなので(笑)

    And you’ve got a job, too? Congratulations!! So you are going to be a 赤ペン先生? Actually, my middle son and my niece have been taking a correspondence course since they were in the first grade though they get their papers corrected by post. いつもお世話になってます 🙂

    I don’t think your grammar is 怪しい at all! Your future students are lucky to have their papers corrected by you, who is actually fluent in English. Good luck to you too!!

    Tomo



  29. YU on Thursday September 27th, 2012 at 04:56 PM

    Hi Tomo,

    > so I have to be careful not to say いらっしゃいませ like I did when I was working. 気をつけないと自然に出てきちゃいそうなので(笑)

    Indeed! Be careful!

    > So you are going to be a 赤ペン先生?

    I’m afraid, I can’t tell you the details about my job, sorry. 守秘義務があるんですって。ビックリです。

    By the way, I’m wondering how much transfer fee(移籍料) I will need to pay you when I decide to open my English school in the future!!
    Are you still interested in working for my future English school??
    I’m joking!! 😉

    See you !



  30. YU on Thursday September 27th, 2012 at 05:22 PM

    Hi everyone,

    > I think raising the consumption tax is inevitable but as YU pointed out, the government should adopt the tax system that’s of like UK:
    > Although it’s ridiculous that biscuits need 20 % tax but cakes don’t need any tax.

    Why the tax rate criteria are so incomprehensible (like the case in busicuits and cakes)??
    Are there any corruption between the politicians and the industries??
    I wonder how other countries solve the sense of unfairness in the tax rate between industries.
    If I were the boss in an industry, I would get to know the politicians in charge to ask them set the tax rate of my industry free or very low, so that people wouldn’t restrain purchasing things of my industry.



  31. Anne on Thursday September 27th, 2012 at 05:42 PM

    Hi Tomo &YU,

    Congratulations for getting a job.
    Your talks reminds me how I was working after marriage. Actually, I’ve been working to save money until I lived together to take care of my parents-in-law.
    YU, when my sons were small, I worked at home same as you; I corrected students’ English papers, but not by PC.( It’s an old story,30 years ago!)

    Tomo, when I was around your age, I restarted working at some hospital!(What a coincidence!) As you mentioned, I didn’t want to be away from home when my sons got back home, so for the same reason as you,I didn’t choose a job teaching at juku.
    Good luck for both of you.

    Anne



  32. David Barker on Thursday September 27th, 2012 at 05:43 PM

    Hi YU

    If I were the boss of an industry, I would start giving government officials very highly paid jobs in my industry after they retired. Their kohai would see this and know that if they treated my industry well, they would be able to get the same kinds of jobs when they retired. Welcome to the world of amakudari, or ‘legalized corruption’ to give it its proper name.

    Congratulations on your new job, by the way. And to Tomo too.



  33. Anne on Thursday September 27th, 2012 at 05:44 PM

    it’s me again.
    “Your talks reminds me ” should be “Your talks remind me.”

    Anne



  34. Anne on Thursday September 27th, 2012 at 05:47 PM

    Sorry, again!
    “I lived together to take care of my parents-in-law.” should be “I lived together with my parents-in-law to take care of them.”

    Anne



  35. YU on Thursday September 27th, 2012 at 06:35 PM

    Hi Anne,

    Thank you!

    > YU, when my sons were small, I worked at home same as you; I corrected students’ English papers, but not by PC.( It’s an old story,30 years ago!)

    Really?? What a coincidence!
    There are both by post(手書き添削) and by PC(デジタル添削) even today. I chose the latter one just because I’m anxious if my son might tear or dirt students’ papers.

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your message.

    > If I were the boss of an industry, I would start giving government officials very highly paid jobs in my industry

    Ah, that’s exactly what I thought.

    > Welcome to the world of amakudari, or ‘legalized corruption’ to give it its proper name.

    It seems that corruption is rampant among the government officials everywhere in the world !



  36. Tomo on Thursday September 27th, 2012 at 08:22 PM

    Hi Anne and David,

    Thanks for your messages!

    >when I was around your age, I restarted working at some hospital!

    Wow, we had the same job before we got married, and this time too?! What a coincidence!(← I wanted to use a different expression, but I couldn’t think of any other one. Do you have any suggestions, David?)

    >If I were the boss of an industry, I would start giving government officials very highly paid jobs in my industry after they retired. Their kohai would see this and know that if they treated my industry well, they would be able to get the same kinds of jobs when they retired.

    Ha ha ha. That’s how they ruined our society.

    Tomo

    PS YU, I’m still interested in your future English school 😉



  37. Biwa on Thursday September 27th, 2012 at 09:31 PM

    Hi everyone,

    Congratulations on your new jobs, Tomo and YU!
    I used to do the 赤ペン先生, too! Wow!
    But that was when I was a university student which was a very long time ago…(lol)

    I also admire all of you after reading some of the older entries. You are all very studious and hard workers! The comments you’ve made are very interesting and I’m trying to read as much as I can, but I guess I will never finish reading.

    Well, today, I found some charts related to the topic from the internet. If anyone is interested, I’d like to share them.

    This one shows the consumption tax rates (also the rate for food) in other countries.
    I don’t see any rate difference between cakes and biscuits, though…

    世界各国の消費税税率www.777money.com/torivia/syouhizei_world.htm

    This one shows the direct-taxes such as income tax or residential tax in other countries.
    I was a bit surprised to know that these taxes in Japan are not so high.

    税の国際比較 | 発展編 | 税の学習コーナーwww.nta.go.jp/shiraberu/ippanjoho/gakushu/…/page13.ht…

    The last one shows the rate for corporate tax.
    This is quite high in Japan now, because many countries tried to reduce it in order to invite foreign companies. And as YU mentioned before, they’re trying to do the same thing in Japan as in the project to invite foreign countries.
    But obviously, reducing tax means reducing national income.

    世界の法人税率www.777money.com/torivia/houjinzei_world.htm –

    How difficult it is to get out of the negative balance!



  38. Fumie on Thursday September 27th, 2012 at 09:47 PM

    Hi Tomo, and YU,

    Congratulations on your new job! Staying at home and doing some work is ideal for people whose children are still small. I once did some 内職 and delivering DMs but I gave up soon becuase the pay was too small yet they were hard jobs.
    Good luck with your new job!

    Fumie



  39. Tomo on Thursday September 27th, 2012 at 10:50 PM

    Hi Biwa and Fumie,

    Thanks for your messages! I’m going to the hospital tomorrow to try on my uniform. I’m a bit excited about that! LOL

    Biwa, I had a look at the links. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t see the second one. Anyway, I think Japanese people should learn about how other countries set the consumption tax depending on the items. I won’t complain if the tax rate of living necessities is set low like the one in other countries. As YU said, they are going to deceive us by this trick. They are too clever to miss this point.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing!

    Good night,

    Tomo



  40. Fumie on Friday September 28th, 2012 at 05:58 AM

    Hi Biwa,

    I looked at the sites you posted.( I couldn’t see the second one, too.) The site said that food is all tax free in the UK. Regarding the tax difference of cakes and biscuits, I just read one site. I don’t know if this site is believable one or not. Here is the link. http://blog.livedoor.jp/amenochi2ch/archives/6235584.html
    Is it correct, David? In the UK, products which are considered extravagant need tax and ones which are not, tax free?

    Fumie



  41. Biwa on Friday September 28th, 2012 at 07:38 AM

    Hi everyone,

    Sorry about the second link!
    Please try this one.

    http://www.nta.go.jp/shiraberu/ippanjoho/gakushu/…/page13

    Fumie, I took a look at the one you mentioned. How complicating it must be for the people if this was true! I’d like to hear from David, too!



  42. YU on Friday September 28th, 2012 at 09:32 AM

    Hi Biwa and Fumie,

    Thank you for your messages.

    Fumie, you used to do home work, too?
    Like you and Tomo, I want to work outside again in the future when my son gets a bit older.
    It’s been a while(almost five years!) since I stopped working because of pregnancy. And to be honest, recently I was obsessed with the idea that I’m only getting left behind in this society.
    So, my new job could be something like “rehabilitation” before returning to work in earnest. Anyway, it is nice to know that I’m still “useful” for someone else outside home!

    Biwa, you used to be a 赤ペン先生!? Wow!! LOL
    Unfortunately, I’m not going to be a 赤ペン先生, but I’m going to work for other company.
    Anyway, when I was a university student, I always looked for a job with a high payment. And I worked as a 家庭教師 after all. I taught Japanese, English and maths to a junior high school student. I still can’t believe that I managed to teach her maths, though….(I’m bad at mathmatics!)
    Anyway, I liked the job very much. Her mother always served tea and delicious sweets to me. And she drove me home!



  43. YU on Friday September 28th, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    Hi Biwa,

    I had a look at the site you mentioned, but again I couldn’t see it.
    I suspect a bit that it might be because of the last part of the URL.

    gakushu/…./page13

    I guess this “….” might be an omission of the original URL. I mean, the original URL could be much longer than the URL you mentioned.
    I might be wrong, though.

    Hi Fumie,

    “増税法案の審議に応じる、応じない、で延々と時間を費やしている永田町に比べ、
    ケーキかビスケットかの論争は有意義で、ずっとくらしに近い。”

    I don’t really think discussing “buiscuits and cakes” at the national assembly is that meaningful.
    In the UK, the confectionery industries get in each other’s way for their own benefit even involving politicians in their competition.
    In Japan, each political party always stands in the way of its competitor.

    I feel they are much alike. That’s just a 足の引っ張り合い.



  44. Tomo on Friday September 28th, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Hi YU,

    >And to be honest, recently I was obsessed with the idea that I’m only getting left behind in this society.

    I know exactly what you mean. I felt the same way as you when I was raising my first baby, but you know how to enjoy yourself and what you are doing, so I’m sure you can handle it. And you know what? It’s been more than 15 years since I became a full-time mom.

    >Anyway, it is nice to know that I’m still “useful” for someone else outside home!

    You are, you have been, and you will always be. The hospital I am going to work for can replace me with someone else anytime, but there is none who can be my children’s mother, and the same is true for you and your son. Your son is happy that you chose the job that allows you to stay with him 🙂

    Hi everyone,

    The discussion about “biscuits and cakes” is very interesting(in a way lol), but one thing I can’t get is that for me, biscuits are everyday snacks, and cakes are something I eat on a special occasion like birthdays. Why do British people regard biscuits as luxury items?? Sorry, I got off the track…

    Have a good day!

    Tomo

    PS Biwa, thanks for reposting the link, but I couldn’t see the site, either.



  45. YU on Friday September 28th, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    Hi Biwa,

    Is this perhaps the one you wanted to show us?

    http://www.nta.go.jp/shiraberu/ippanjoho/gakushu/hatten/page13.html



  46. YU on Friday September 28th, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Hi Tomo,

    Thank you for your kind words! 🙂

    > I can’t get is that for me, biscuits are everyday snacks, and cakes are something I eat on a special occasion like birthdays.

    I guess almost everyone in this world feel the same way as you. I’m one of them.
    So, when I read the article Fumie posted, I felt the discussion was certainly very interesting, but at the same time I saw it ridiculous and nonesense. That’s nothing but a competition between companies. And so it is not worth discussing in the parliament!



  47. Biwa on Friday September 28th, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    Hi everyone,

    Thank you so much for your help, YU! This is exactly the one I wanted to share.
    I’m terribly sorry, members! to waste all of your precious time.
    I think I can do it better next time!

    When I saw this chart, I wondered how those other countries(governments) persuaded the people to pay so much direct-taxes.
    I know that in many countries in Europe have a more sufficient social security system than Japan. But I think they had to give lots of specific figures to make the people understand and approve the high taxes.

    Why can’t the Japanese government learn from them? If they show more specific figures or visions how our taxes are going to be used and make us convinced, it might be easier for them to raise the taxes.
    If the people are guaranteed a comfortable future life without saving money themselves, I don’t think they will oppose to high taxes. Of course, there are limits, though…



  48. Biwa on Friday September 28th, 2012 at 01:34 PM

    Hi YU,

    You were a private tutor? I admire you! Some of my friends did private tutorings and they said it was really difficult to teach someone who doesn’t like to study at all. I bet you were a very good tutor!

    And I understand how you feel about being left in society because I felt exactly the same way when my sons were small, too.
    But as I wrote before, some of my park-friends told me to teach English to their children, and I started doing so. Gradually, many children in my neighborhood began to come to my house and are still coming every year! Unbelievable! I didn’t expect that I would become an English teacher at all but I actually am. I was kind of hesitating to write this here because all of you know my poor English!lol!
    But anyway, “Ask, and you shall recieve!”(求めよ、さらば与えられん。)
    I’m sure your dreams will come true!



  49. YU on Friday September 28th, 2012 at 02:40 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    > Thank you so much for your help, YU! This is exactly the one I wanted to share.

    I’m glad to be of some help!

    Hi Biwa and everyone,

    > If the people are guaranteed a comfortable future life without saving money themselves, I don’t think they will oppose to high taxes

    I agree.
    I think the Japan’s pension system is one of the biggest reasons why Japanese people feel so much anxiety for their future.
    When it was introduced first in the beginning of the 60’s, nobody expected that Japan would suffer from the low-birthrate and the aging sociey as now.(But maybe the government knew that!)
    People in my generation even never know if they would really receive the pension when they get older. So, no wonder they just stop spending and start saving money for their old age. And this makes another defration spiral, I think.

    By the way, I’ve seen the payslip of a German friend of mine. And what made me surprised at the time was an unfamiliar tax item, called “church tax”(教会税). Have you ever heard of it? I remember my friend was very angry about the weird tax!



  50. Fumie on Friday September 28th, 2012 at 02:41 PM

    Hi YU,

    >Fumie, you used to do home work, too?
    Yes, but only a very short time.(I didn’t know that homework has the meaning of 内職。)The reason I once tried home work is that I felt the same way as you. I felt I was left from the society. But Tomo’s words is so true!
    >The hospital I am going to work for can replace me with someone else anytime, but there is none who can be my children’s mother, and the same is true for you and your son. さすがTomo!

    Regarding bicuits and cakes, maybe biscuits are something special (important food) for British people?

    Fumie



  51. YU on Friday September 28th, 2012 at 03:00 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    I don’t really think I was a good teacher, but I still believe(!) that she liked me at least.
    Besides studying, she was interested in my hair style, fashion or my cumpus life. She even visited me at my university festival!

    > Unbelievable! I didn’t expect that I would become an English teacher at all but I actually am.

    Believable!!
    I think you can even teach high school students or adults.

    > I was kind of hesitating to write this here because all of you know my poor English!lol!

    No way! Your English is very good.
    I’m always impressed by your rich vocabulary and expressions!



  52. YU on Friday September 28th, 2012 at 03:03 PM

    Hi Fumie,

    > Regarding bicuits and cakes, maybe biscuits are something special (important food) for British people?

    I agree!! 🙂
    The reason is very simple after all!!



  53. YU on Friday September 28th, 2012 at 03:04 PM

    or my cumpus life => campus life



  54. Biwa on Friday September 28th, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    Hi YU,

    Thanks for your compliments!(*^-^)b

    I’ve never heard about the “church tax” but I guess the religious corporations are too much protected all over the world.
    In Japan, I’ve heard they are exempt from paying corporate tax or residential tax. I don’t know the exact things, but it is said that they are favorably treated in the way of paying taxes.
    Some people are saying they should pay more taxes before raising the consumption tax and I definitely agree.