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Old 04-30-2010, 07:43 AM   #21
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There is more to the story smallguinea. Consider the form of gov't in Japan. Consider Mr Ozawa and the crazy scandals in which he involves himself. Consider Mr Hatoyama, who along with Mr Ozawa think that they can take Japan back to the good ol' days of the 1980s. I don't mean to get political here, but what I am trying to say is that Japan and its people have made their choices and sometimes those choices are visited upon the heads of several or many generations to come. I am afraid the America may find itself in the same boat in the coming years, having to pay off the debt of rampant consumerism, much like Japan is still paying off the debt of its own bubble of the 80s.

One of the problems of Japan though is that the people have voted for "change" rather than "substance". Of course, there has been no substance available for which to vote. Again without trying to be too political, is this or will this be the case in the US as well? Time will tell.

Smallguinea, believe me, I am not trying to be critical of your culture. You see, I live in Japan, and I have for many years. I know the differences of which you speak. I have also visited many countries around the world. There have been several occasions in which I have gone home for a visit, and I have looked around in the supermarket at the piles and piles of food, and I have actually had tears come to my eyes, thinking that my fellow Americans have NO idea how good they have it.

BTW, I do know what it is like to live in a 2K...each room a 4.5 mat room, with 2 kids. I did it for 8 years. We slept in a "yon-hon-gawa". Again, you will know what that means.

Finally, I have a hard time considering retiring here, because in the city, there is literally nothing for a retired man to do, and the typical Japanese DW doesn't want her husband home all day.


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Old 04-30-2010, 08:29 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by smallguinea View Post
The Japanese don't trust the stock market at all... especially after the 1990 crash. Yes, most hold their money in savings accounts and CDs. There were average people who got involved in the market just before the 1990 crash. Mostly speculating though. But not on a wide scale (like IRAs) since retirement was primarily funded by company pensions (cradle-to-grave). The biggest investors were the zaibatsu corporations.
Thanks for that background. I'd be interested in hearing a little more about yourself, if you don't mind sharing. (I'm from the UK and you can read more about me in my profile)

Have you lived in the USA for long and how long do you expect to stay here?

Do you invest in the stock market?

Any plans for retirement?

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Old 04-30-2010, 08:33 AM   #23
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The Japanese bubble was a LOT bigger than the US...

I remember reading that at some point, all the land in Japan was worth MORE than all the land in the US... crazy..

Also, I read that the Aussies had a big compound with their consolute... and sold part of it (like and acre or two) and balanced their budget that year!!!

Another problem is that the banks did not have to recognize their losses.. there was an article about this one man who owned a small machine shop.. he had borrowed a lot of money... (can not remember the amount, but let's say it was around $1 mill US dollars)... he said that every once in awhile he had to go to the center of town to the bank and sign papers that 'extended' his loan... he paid nothing, and could never pay anything... but the bank kept the loan on the books for many years... and who knows, he still might be trecking to the bank and extending it...

SOOO, the banks were 'dead', because they did not have funds to lend... but nobody wanted to borrow money anyhow.... and with an effective rate of zero... well....
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Old 04-30-2010, 08:58 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
SOOO, the banks were 'dead', because they did not have funds to lend... but nobody wanted to borrow money anyhow.... and with an effective rate of zero... well....
Yep. Paul Krugman and other Keynsians call this a liquidity trap. P.K. worries that we might be headed the same way.
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Old 04-30-2010, 09:59 AM   #25
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This is why I invest globally. I've already got too many eggs in the US basket as is.
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:01 AM   #26
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We can debate the similarities/dissimilarities between the US and Japan until the cows come home. Personally, I think the jury is still out on the US following Japan, and will be for quite some time. Regardless, years from now it will be fascinating to study the actual outcome. It will be particularly interesting to understand the reasons if the US avoids a Japan style lost decade or two.
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:04 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by IndependentlyPoor View Post
Yep. Paul Krugman and other Keynsians call this a liquidity trap. P.K. worries that we might be headed the same way.
Probably the next phase - if we are not in it already. Individuals paying off their debt, local governments trying to manage/reduce their debt, small/mid size companies debt adverse = low demand for debt, cut back on spending.

National governments are borrowing to finance their problems but it is offset by all the other items - so far.

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