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(Slightly, but not completely sarcastic)

They've learned plenty from the United States, but they haven't learned that in order to succeed, others must fail. They should be trying harder to make these businesses succeed hard or fail. After all, life isn't about living - it's about how much we can accumulate at the cost of others.

They should also learn the Unites Statesian way of "going out of business" for the purpose of selling the old company's assets to a newly create company for pennies on the dollar while defaulting on debt and loans. Heck - many Hollywood companies do this from one film to the next!

Gah! These Japanese people are amateurs!

Oh boy did I have a comment brewing for you, before I realized you were being sarcastic!

There is something refreshing about the feeling of permanence I got when I was in Japan. There is so much old infrastructure that's still working, because it's maintained. In the west, we assume we'll be replacing pretty much everything within 5-10 years so why bother with upkeep, and who cares if it doesn't even function that well when you built it.

Except for housing which in Japan is only expected to last for 30 yrs and who's value is like a car, the moment you buy a house it's now a "used house" and from their the price goes down.

This is primarily for the large cities and surrounding suburbs. Smaller cities and rural areas have many homes with significantly longer lifespans.

But totally not the case in American cities, where century plus old apartment buildings and houses are totally normal

In Australia, homes for the median house are tightly bound to land value. The house on the plot almost doesn't matter. The expectation is that land value will always go up as well. It means you can find used, run down houses selling for the same price as a brand new house next door. It's really strange. The value of housing isn't at all tied to it's usage as a home, but as a vehicle for investment.

They also build houses insanely fast too.

Pretty negative? Water and sewage infrastructure can last 100 years in the USA. The company that makes commercial pumps for cities is still around, and called upon to recreate 80-year-old pumps to replace ones still in use under New York streets.

Our electrical grid is unparalleled in the world. Our phone/internet.

These things are not so wonderful in other countries (when they even have them at all).

What infrastructure, exactly, in the US is not functioning well?

I mean, I'm a big fan and resident of the US, but it's accurate to say we're not doing the best job with our infrastructure.

We have a lot of trouble with aging bridges: https://www.artba.org/2018/01/29/54000-american-bridges-stru...

We have a lot of trouble with aging water systems: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/04/20/465545378...


A lot of the infrastructure that were built around the population boom post WWII are reaching the end of their lifespans and we don't have a plan and budget (despite 'infrastructure week') to get these upgraded.

That was my point. We built well back then.

Everybody seems to be excited to point out, that infrastructure investment is at a low now. E.g. Obama's 'shovel-ready' money didn't go to sewer and water, since those are 'invisible'. So pointless visible projects like cables-down-the-freeway-media got built instead.

This is of course obvious. This thread has become a place to vent about that, which is fine.

That decidedly was not your point. You added that point in a followup after someone conveniently fleshed it out for you, but try to read your original comment in a vacuum and find any trace of it.

The point that was sent across in your comment was that we have an “unparalleled” power grid (and Internet, apparently, which I could also easily take apart) and we should feel fortunate because outside of America, things like that are worse or nonexistent. Aside from the mild xenophobia and casual dismissal of cultures not your own, the overarching point you built out of this was: there isn’t really a problem and our infrastructure is world-leading. The words are right there for all of us to see, including you, and I feel on pretty firm ground about how I interpreted (and attempted to engage) your thinking. I even answered your call to action directly, pointed out counterexamples exactly as you requested, and you didn’t even bother to click the links. At all.

I don’t know why you’re calling this second point obvious (it certainly isn’t) or going after people passive aggressively who engaged you on the point you originally made, by saying those who disagree are venting. It’s okay to be wrong. Pretty much the entire comment was Americentric and a denial of reality with a backhand for the rest of the planet. It was wrong. That’s fine. Moving the goalposts like this just makes the whole thing stupid. Try this out: “You’re right, there might be a problem. I disagree with you on scope, but perhaps we can meet in the middle.” It isn’t hard. It won’t hurt.

Our infrastructure lasted for 100 years. That was how I opened. How is that invisible?

Now it's being neglected. Sure I didn't say anything about that, because to me that is obvious.

The world is more than 1st-world advanced countries. I see a bunch of first-worlders going on about who's dick is bigger. Not a reasonable discussion about infrastructure; a venting about how our world-class technology is not keeping up with expanding demand. Essentially a complaint about our plenty, not being enough.

And this bit about 'going after people' is really ripe irony. I've been gentle and respectful. Never addressed other commenters directly, but just the topic. Got to consider that comment trolling at best.

But enough of that. Let the pedantry thrive, I've not got any ego in this game.

> Sure I didn't say anything about that, because to me that is obvious

In writing, if you're truly trying to make your point across, never assume something is obvious. Obviously, no one is in your head to know what you know or presuppose.

Be generous with your readers and inform them of your moves. Again, if you're truly interested in making yourself clear.





Politicians like cutting ribbons in their district. They do not like investing in maintenance, and operators are left to scrape together budgets to make things work. They often make bad calls because they’re forced to.

This has been known for several decades.

The electrical grid in San Jose failed dramatically because someone, yet to be identified, hit a substation off 101 with a rifle. Power engineers constantly warn about incoming failures if we don’t invest in security and maintenance, and power grid security has recently become a Homeland Security concern. The power grid in California has evolved into literally killing people, and they have to turn it off when it’s windy. Yeah. Unparalleled. Your mildly xenophobic subtext of knocking power grids in non-American contexts is noted, but throwing stones and all.

I struggle to imagine a scenario where all of this is news to you.

I don't live in CA, so local news there doesn't get very far.

Well then it’s good I offered three major incidents, two outside of California, that received worldwide attention, but thanks for the detailed engagement on my point.

The California power grid fires were on the television in a pub in northern England last time I was there, not to put too fine a point on it. Speaking of, you should visit Europe and get back to me on infrastructure, especially continental transit. I’m an American and even I’m tired of Amerisuperiority, because it’s that kind of willful ignorance that drives said underinvestment.

But, our military needs to occupy Afghanistan for 18+ years! Minor bridge collapses should not faze your patriotism, citizen!

>Our electrical grid is unparalleled in the world

Our electrical grid is actually in a terrible state[0], and allegedly just one solar storm away from total failure. Our ancient power lines regularly cause forest fires and power companies don't seem to be held accountable.

Some 9.1% of bridges in the U.S. are in a dangerous state of disrepair[1]. Most major cities in the U.S. are known for having terrible roads under constant maintenance (not sure how roads in dense cities fair in other nations, but things seemed much more efficient in Korea).

It's pretty bad all around [2] and honestly I don't understand why no recent president has committed to a massive infrastructure project. It would likely have bipartisan support, create millions of semi-permanent, semi-technical jobs across the country, and simultaneously act as a public welfare project and a very much needed modernization/repair effort with people being paid to perform necessary work on massive scale. Not to get political, but it's one of the few things I like about Bernie, since he's at least mentioned such a commitment.


1. https://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/cat-item/bridges/

2. https://www.businessinsider.com/asce-gives-us-infrastructure...

The US doesn't actually have a national grid. It has three, an east one, a west one, and a Texas one.

The US phone system is plagued by robocalls at a far higher rate than is common in Europe, and phone and internet tend to cost much more due to local quasi-monopolies rather than a functioning market. People are always complaining about Comcast.

There's no doubt American built a huge amount of infrastructure. I'm personally from Australia, so I can't comment much more than that. I made a huge generalization in my original post, that much I admit. I'm sure it can be different in different towns, counties, states etc, let alone countries.

PS Happy to answers any questions about Tokyo life as an engineer/entrepreneur, just reply to my comment.

I get where you're coming from, but you can make the same one-sided joke post about Americans.

Having done both...

- started YC backed startup while in SF and worked at Uber for 4 years - in Tokyo for the past 2 years

I honestly think that the outcomes here in Tokyo are much better than in SF. Yes, incomes are lower, but your QAPP (quality-adjusted purchasing power) is significantly higher, at all income levels - https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2017/08/21/commentary/j...

Having a hard time finding clients currently as a digital agency in Tokyo targeting foreign companies, any ideas on what to try next?

> I get where you're coming from, but you can make the same one-sided joke post about Americans.

He _IS_ joking about Americans :-)))

Is it true Japanese companies pay software engineers peanuts compared to USA? How much Japanese do you need to speak to get by?

In general, yes. There are exceptions but in general Japanese tech companies pay very poorly.

For example, Yahoo Japan (still more popular than Google Japan AFAIK) pays collage grads $36k a year starting salary. I think USA Google Interns get ~3x that.


I know it's just one data point but it's not far from the average. For Sony, Sharp, Panasonic, Canon, Nikon, NEC, Rakuten, etc it will definitely be in the same ballpark. You can probably get 2x that if you have 10 years experience but if you're over 35 you're considered too old to code by many companies.

There are exceptions like maybe Mercari as they are doing well. And western companies, Google, Amazon, Goldman Sachs, pay well.

I have no idea if this is why but I'm guessing one reason is they have a captive market. If your only language is Japanese you can't work anywhere else in the world.

Depends on a company, as everywhere else. Some companies are willing to pay 10M+ annually which is more than enough to live peacefully in not so cheap area.

What kind of company move did you make to tokyo? Work at Google and then do a transfer or a Japanese startup?

In Japan there are plenty of old and young people working arubaito (part time) in the service industry. If you go to Disneyland for example, you can see obaachans (grandma) bringing food from the kitchen to the dining area.

Japan as a country is also hi tech. But it seems that they are not worried about the effect of automation and people losing jobs. There are plenty of jobs that machines still can’t do and the Japanese appreciate handcrafts. A lof of Japanese knives are still handmade. Candies, gifts, a lot of them are handmade.

Granted. Japan is the nation where it is mostly relatively closed compared to other far east Asian nation. They won’t give citizenship easily (around 10 to 20 years), they don’t take influx of immigrants, and they care about Japanese more other than non Japanese. All of this is motivated by the preservation of culture and the Japanese way. Japan would rather have their island sink than opening doors to more immigrants to avoid Eternal September that is plaguing the US and Europe.

More conformity meaning easier for the government in terms of economy, policy, etc. Less troublemakers, less lawyers and lawsuits, less crime. But in order to achieve social conformity Japan doesn’t have to be like China where they monitor and watch everything. Conformity is ingrained in every minds and hearts of the Japanese. That is the Japanese way.

>Granted. Japan is the nation where it is mostly relatively closed compared to other far east Asian nation. They won’t give citizenship easily (around 10 to 20 years), they don’t take influx of immigrants, and they care about Japanese more other than non Japanese. All of this is motivated by the preservation of culture and the Japanese way. Japan would rather have their island sink than opening doors to more immigrants to avoid Eternal September that is plaguing the US and Europe.

You should tell the Japanese lawmakers this ;)

Skilled immigration is now done on a point based system where most white collar working professionals could quality to residency with little effort.

Japanese naturalization is now a 5-10 year process, not 10-20. This is in line with the US process.

The slowing birth rates have resulted in Japan opening up significantly more to immigration and naturalization of these immigrants.

I was never brought up with the national myth of failure but it does explain a lot about how the United States works. Does this imply the need for revolution to fix things? Maybe we could get Japan to liberate us.

Disruption can’t be successful unless people are losing their jobs, pensions or housing. There has to be a cost for progress.

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