*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Sunday 30 June 2013

"Summer's here and the time is right for fighting in the street"

Remember 'Occupy'?
An identified [DELETED] as of October planned to engage in sniper attacks against protestors (sic) in Houston, Texas if deemed necessary. An identified [DELETED] had received intelligence that indicated the protesters in New York and Seattle planned similar protests in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. [DELETED] planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest groups and obtain photographs, then formulate a plan to kill the leadership via suppressed sniper rifles. (Note: protests continued throughout the weekend with approximately 6000 persons in NYC. ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests have spread to about half of all states in the US, over a dozen European and Asian cities, including protests in Cleveland (10/6-8/11) at Willard Park which was initially attended by hundreds of protesters.)

Friday 28 June 2013

'You say you want a revolution...'

But what's going to make yours the one that works, as opposed to all those from history which have devoured martyrs to replace one lot of criminals with another?  Dying for a noble cause betrayed is getting old, and getting too expensive. To the 'Left' or the 'Right', so long as you can contain all political arguments within a framework that is an equitable and participatory democracy, we can discuss civilly and make compromises, with one key thing we have failed to do thus far...

I addressed the minimums a social-democracy needs to achieve two years back:
if it were possible for we wealth and status obsessed chimpanzees not to screw up every revolution in history, the result would look like:
- equal rule of law for all, requiring a public-only legal profession
- equal access to education, requiring a public-only educational system
- equal access to health care, requiring a public-only medical profession
- full internalization of 'externalities' to individuals and corporations
- punitive taxation on anyone earning twice the average; and ameliorative grants to those earning less than half
- estate tax, beyond the average value of a house to each beneficiary who does not yet own one
- start taxing religious institutions and wealthy political parties
- transparency in governments and organizations
- robust free speech laws which do not protect bigoted incitement, such as Fox 'News'
- better identification, and quarantine of, psychopathic 'A-type' personalities who lead societies into perversion

Achieve that and begin to wonder how to make democracy work.  You can call it 'socialism' if you'd prefer not to think at all, but anything less entrenches our simian elitism, which history has shown never has anything to do with worth, and everything to do with parasitism.  You give everyone, especially children, fully equal opportunity and you don't squander the talents of your majority, much less squander their lives.
You'd be entitled to argue most of the bullet points with me, though all but the points on taxation were the foundation for the best two decades of Canadian society as I was growing up (since betrayed) and supported by all mainline parties of the time, including the now defunct 'Progressive Conservatives' (murdered by the sellouts to America now running the joint).

However, not a thing you've read matters at all, except for the last of the bullet points, because the heart of the matter is very simple: we apes reward our tormentors.

And every 'revolution' or 'social change' won't be one until we address this, and end them.  There are three ways to address it, and being a 'carrot' and 'stick' kind of guy, I endorse them all, otherwise the worst predictions of our future are certainties, whatever the timeline:
- strictly limit financial reward during and following public service, and limit financial reward to some factor below ten times the average for any achievement
- identify sociopaths in positions of any authority at all, remove them, offer them monitoring, counselling and sterilization
- if they refuse or transgress jail them, and should they escape...

Oh my, eugenics!  Yes, for this group, and this one only: Down's Syndrome and others create a cost to society that it can and should absorb; sociopathy destroys.  Society only functions in the interests of all of its members, a democracy only operates in the interests of all of its residents, families only well serve all within them, if nobody games the system.  Game is all that they can do, having no empathy.  Do you see another solution?  Do you see another way ahead with all of the challenges humanity's brought upon itself, or at least part of humanity has had the charisma to lead us into?  You have a better idea?  I am all ears.

Tuesday 25 June 2013

America: number...

Since that's the message the US has given the world for a century, or better, it's somewhere far beyond 'in bad faith' to get outraged that other nations are taking the opportunity to shove that finger right back in the Ivy League faces of those who run the racket.

I am enjoying China, Russia and Ecuador running rings around the American 'security agencies' and spiriting that true patriot, Snowden, to safer haven.  The US are looking the bully too stupid not to put his 'shoes and socks on' in the other order:
- HK (China) delayed extradition long enough, and on a technicality, to get Snowden off of their hands
- Russia has played along with 'pass the hot potato', and added in some misdirection as he was not on the flight from Moscow to Cuba
- Ecuador sent an ambassador to the Moscow airport to search for Snowden, which is probably another misdirection, since he sure made a point of getting noticed by 'western' journalists

Where is he?  Who knows?  But I can bet that all of the governments who worked together to move him along are not communicating in any other way than through face-to-face meetings of their representatives.  When we all know all electronic media are monitored, then you've just made that monitoring besides the point, haven't you?  And there is a lot that they have failed to monitor: what radical Islamic groups use.  This raises and answers the question of what the monitoring can achieve: surveillance of law-abiding citizens.

For anyone wondering why he ran, rather than 'face the music', I suggest you see how brightly Michael Hasting's car burns in this video.  Note the subject line in his last email.  Times have changed since 'The Pentagon Papers'.

You may have noticed that a lot of my links go to 'the Guardian', and I have linked to Glenn Greenwald during and long before this affair: mainstream media in the US is locked down by those who wouldn't want us to know more, so I do not deign to use it.  The US' 'establishment journalists' are so bought, they have accused independent journalists of treason and 'aiding and abetting' just for reporting facts on the case, without Washington's cant: read Greenwald's tearing them a new asshole.  How do those people face off against a Greenwald: smarter, better, faster?  The usual unmerited vanity.

Note: US spooks stole Greenwald's partner's laptop, looking for a document he did not send after all.

So wake the fuck up if you think the US is either: a democracy or a republic.  It is a tyranny.  Maybe it always was.  It always was if you were Filipino or a Latin-American, or an American Native or Black.  However, I guess it looks a little different if you are a 'house-nigger' 9%er who serves the 1%:
China and Russia, not exactly the best records in terms of respecting human rights. And he goes to both of them? Really? Because the US is so bad on a relative basis? Dude is making money if you ask me. If you want to "whistle blow", that's your choice, but be a man and face the music for it.
That would be a message from a relative of mine, who worked for the 'Vampire-Squid', and admits to taking Ayn Rand seriously.  You shouldn't reason with such people, because that's not the state of mind that motivates them, so that one's blocked now, but I did put an addendum on my 'wall':
More like 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend.' I don't buy the money thing. Sadly, people like you cannot conceive of other motivations. In any case, 'right' or 'left', no government should be trusted with that kind of power.
Stupid bitches forget that 'come the revolution' the 1%ers have an exit-strategy; their collaborators go against the wall.

Can't have too many Rage Against the Machine videos.

Saturday 22 June 2013

So international cables going down weren't accidents?

At least not to the governments tapping them, in 2008 and 2011.

You think you need to sort all of that data to stop a few jihadi?  Hell no.  Stop letting oil-money run your governments, more like.  Use a little old style spy-craft.  Put the pressure on the Wahhabi governments, instead of letting their representatives get out of the US after 911 discreetly.

This is about us: you and me.
When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.
-  Thomas Jefferson
Except the issue is less government than the class which runs them.

Thursday 20 June 2013

Toronto tulips for sale!

New home sales across the GTA hit their lowest level on record for May as average prices were pushed to new highs of $644,427, according to RealNet Canada.
That's the only honest sentence in the entire article, but what do you expect from a real estate 'reporter'?  The rest of the article spins so fast in hope common sense will be sent into orbit; the comments to the article show that only the most indentured to their mortgages are buying it anymore.

High prices and a drop in sales means a price apex, which in Canadian and American markets has meant that four to five years out will be the nadir.  Anyone who's bought in the past five years is a spectacular idiot and deserves to live under a bridge when interest rates go back to historical averages and they cannot make their payments: it's made no financial sense to buy over rent for over a decade, there's been a history of two of these cycles spaced fifteen years apart in just my lifetime, and we had the recent American example FFS.  When someone tells you 'it's different here' get your money out of any market they are in.

I just hope we do not bail out banks or buyers with public money.  Greed I can comprehend, but fuck'em for stupidity.

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Establishment 'journalism'

The bought and paid for collaborators have been writing up a storm on Snowden.  Some of the voices in the link: know what they're talking about, understand the 'Rule of Law', and aren't paid to misdirect using 'security' at the loss of liberty.  As you'd expect, all of the rest (with one exception) are dressed in the neo-con apparatchik's uniform: business suit and unmerited vanity.

Don't go into security with ethics.

Or you're put in Snowden's position.  Not only do I honour his actions, but he's smart as a whip as it turns out: from 'the Guardian':
the NSA has hacked civilian infrastructure such as universities, hospitals, and private businesses because it is dangerous. These nakedly, aggressively criminal acts are wrong no matter the target. Not only that, when NSA makes a technical mistake during an exploitation operation, critical systems crash.
The reality is that due to the FISA Amendments Act and its section 702 authorities, Americans’ communications are collected and viewed on a daily basis on the certification of an analyst rather than a warrant. They excuse this as "incidental" collection
Suspicionless surveillance does not become okay simply because it's only victimizing 95% of the world instead of 100%. Our founders did not write that "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all US Persons are created equal.
Ask yourself: if I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn't I have flown directly into Beijing? I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now.
I'm being called a traitor by men like former Vice President Dick Cheney... Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American... If they had taught a class on how to be the kind of citizen Dick Cheney worries about, I would have finished high school. 
This disclosure provides Obama an opportunity to appeal for a return to sanity, constitutional policy, and the rule of law rather than men. He still has plenty of time to go down in history as the President who looked into the abyss and stepped back, rather than leaping forward into it.
This country is worth dying for. [May he not have to.]
Bravo Snowden.  If a child of mine joins police, military, 'security' or similar, no matter the opportunities,  I will acknowledge one child fewer.

Sunday 16 June 2013

"Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media"

Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media

FFS. Allegedly only other than in English, but makes you wonder if they understand the concept of 'killing the goose that laid the golden egg'?

Just die Blair.

Haven't you got enough blood on your hands?  What's your angle here?  Well, your angle is to get 'the West' into another war, but what is your personal angle?  Who's paying?
"Tony Blair calls for west to intervene in Syria conflict: Former PM says regime change inevitable and international community should consider installing no-fly zones"
Besides the fact that the rumours of your wife being an American plant make as much sense as any explanation for your sycophancy to 'the cousins' (so does lucre) and your murder of Labour, you've always seemed like a parson on the make in a rich parish who's interfering with his housekeeper's teen-aged daughter, because he knows nobody would believe her.

Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld were clearly what they are.  Even Obama was obviously bought if you tried to make sense of his speeches and realized quickly it was rhetoric only for its own sake.  Blair though is that special kind of liar who can sell his soul and your future entirely for his own gain and remain convinced of his own rectitude.  Fucking die.

Saturday 15 June 2013

Japanese diplomat gets laughed at for Japan's 'justice' system, yells "Shut up!", continues in broken English.

This is too good not to post:
- Japan sends a broken English speaker to the UN
- he is unable to address the foundation of Japanese police investigations, "not allowing defence lawyers to be present during interrogations of criminal suspects" (coerced confessions)
- his only defence is to 'protest too much', "Certainly Japan is not in the Middle Age(s)...  We are one of the most advanced countr(ies) in this field."
- and then to yell "Shut up!" when this is greeted with derision as if his status as an amakudari 'erai-hito' meant anything to an international audience

Keep flailing Japan.

Post script:  I blame 'kamo''s comment below, but the broken English reminded me of this Canadian 'Heritage' mandated cultural filler that seemed wrong to me even when first shown decades back.  Am I a bad man for laughing?  Yes.

Course, it ain't hard to lay into the US, either. Been a good week for it.

Friday 14 June 2013

I, 'hikikomiri'? Wierd anyway.

I think it's the horrible interior light that makes them go off.

Last night, with my family off to the in-law's for the weekend, my pizza delivery crossed paths with my parcel from here.  Today, I went to the nearest large station's up-market department stores for real beer, cheese, and peanut butter, and kept muttering to myself,
Why aren't all of these thousand fucking twats aimlessly cluttering the aisles out drinking on a Friday, passive-aggressively out-waiting their co-'workers', or at home?  And when is the demographic crash going to happen, because there are still clearly too fucking many people on these islands?!
So tonight I am again at home, and am going to do even more online ordering in future.  Too much annoyance even to go get ramen: bread, cheese and beer it is!

Overnight, I had the oddest fucking dream, which will sound much more sexy than it was experienced by me.  I need to tell it to someone, but can't tell the wife, can't put it on Facebook, and you will soon see I cannot tell it at work.  You are the audience.

I woke up, in the dream, in the same t-shirt and boxers I'd fallen asleep in, on the same futon in the same washitsu with three futons, but my subconscious had remembered that my J-wife and hybrids were at the in-laws.  It had not remembered that I do not have my office-mate naked in that room, with her legs affectionately draped over me at a 90 degree angle, very fucking often.  Très casual, not pre-, post- or whatever the prefix is for during coitus.  She's not a bad piece of, better than a decade younger, engaged to a Gaijin who can likely take me down, and a white girl herself.  White is not my favoured hue, as one might guess, though I've nothing against attractive in any complexion.

I've certainly not seen her naked, or in so little as a swimsuit!  Nor have I even been with a white woman for more than a decade (hey, been married for half of that, after all), but it's amazing what the mind stores, because it created an authentic and idiosyncratic bunch of images that mirrored no woman I have in truth been intimate with... or seen in porn.  The freckles on her back, and the way that a white woman's breasts look more attached-to than part-of her chest compared to an Asian's (it's a description, not a judgment) kind of surprised the hell out of me for their clarity when I woke.

As dreams do, this one disappointed the hell out of me.  An old and bearded Eastern European looking guy came in and took over massaging the nape of her freckled neck from me, without so much as taking off his cap and jacket.  Then a male coworker entered the room and he and I shared a laugh that Lindsay Lohan's daughter was going to enter our school.  The next moment there the blond girl was, with her grandmother in bottle-blond.  The dream ended without any nasty or even a good look at my co-worker's primary sexual characteristics, wtf?  Still, felt odd talking to her today...

You know, it's a real shame that humans cannot make polyamory work.  Too bad about emotions, STDs, pregnancies and property-laws, and the near certainty of her disinclination, because if it weren't for that trivia, I think I'd now have a go!

The truth about 'international school'

It's a racket, didn't you know?
Previous posts about 'international school'* in Tokyo:
- the Gaijin staff get screwed
- the Gaijin are kept 'soto'
- it costs $15K and up for less than you could get from that
- who want's to be a classist bastard anyway?

I have been back after JET in Tokyo as an 'international school' teacher for three school years now, and because I had not lined up work before I came, had not known I'd be here for the third year to secure employment for it ahead of time, had a conflict with a martinet curriculum coordinator at one school that led me to shorten my time there, and did daily substitute work and coverage of several months at different schools to make up the difference, I have a fair idea of the workings of four of them.  Unimpressed.

Would I send my kids to 'international school' if I were on an ex-pat package rather than to the local schools?  Fuck yes.  Would I pay for it out of pocket, now that most 'international schools' say they'll cover staff's children in their contracts, but make sure not to hire teachers with any so they do not have to honour this?  I am unsure.  Not that I have any respect for the local JHS or SHS (local elementary is not the worst), but where would a teacher come up with forty-large for two kids?  Fuck that: I'd do better to home school them and send the J-wife out to work.  No, fuck that: go home.  Summer 2014!!

With the exception of a few of the pre-war international schools (you won't be able to get your kid into those), the rest of them are profit-making enterprises, more than educational ones, and did you know they are owned and controlled by Japanese?  Yeah, that's good for educational integrity as a Japanese owner who made his money in construction (the mob) is going to prioritize the children's learning over his mistress' new mauve Benz: of the $20K you're spending, not much over half of it goes to anything but padding his mattress, as it were.

It's not that the staff are terrible: the Japanese owners make ignorant/selfish decisions the foreign administration are forced to implement on their foreign staff, and all the students.  Teaching staff in 'international schools' are better than what I know from the public system at home.  Let's not get into a social-democratic versus libertarian argument.  That's boring, and Randroids are fucking ignorant.  It's simple: all of the Anglophone countries have a glut of young teachers who cannot find work, only the hereditary-teachers get hired at home and are the worst, the others without any initiative to go abroad leave the profession within a year of desultory substitute teaching, for those with the initiative to go abroad Tokyo is a desirable posting (many teachers have fled 'international schools' in 'the Gulf', China or worse) which you're not going to get without a good resume, recommendations and interview.  The reality selects for better than the average.

You'd think Japan's future dooms 'international schools'.  You might be wrong.  A colleague recently attended a conference of Japanese private schools, which included 'international schools' and Japanese-language private schools, and the results of some research presented was interesting: Japanese private schools and universities are fucked, but 'international schools' are not; though the demographics doom all but the most prestigious Japanese private schools, the 'international schools' are going to survive because the percentage of Japanese kids in them increases faster than the decline in the youth population.  I have already seen this in just three years, though '311' was a big part of it.  To be blunt: smart Japanese parents know the Japanese system** is doomed, and those with the means are buying their kids a better future.  Hell, even if your kid stays in Japan in adulthood, better they went to a university in English (or other European language) where they're made to learn at all, and work in Japan for a foreign company so they can have any kind of life.

The same colleague told me it is illegal for Japanese parents to send their kids to an 'international school', except that 'The Law' means little in Japan, and this law is unenforced except verbal harassment by the ward office, but without any penalties.  Sounds believable.  If Japan did start to enforce it the 'international schools' would just have to get together to challenge that.***

For the ignorant Japanese parent with means, the good news is that no matter how stupid or lazy your kid is there will be plenty of places at 'good schools' open for your kid, because there will be few kids fighting for them.  On the other hand, everyone will know that, and there won't be many jobs...

*Single quotation marks because they ain't always that 'international': high proportions of local kids, especially since the quake.
**Education, business, society...
***Or buy off 'amakudari' and politicians, as it would be more effective.

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Learn languages young, because people are boring.

Learn languages young, because people are too fucking boring to bear once you have any judgment: advice I never got.

Learning languages to be able to communicate with a people is the province of naive youth.  Most people suck, in your own language and in others'.  Once you have the judgment of adulthood, if you do, you narrow who you spend time with, because everyone else is a waste of time for you.  Categorize your friends right now.  How many are not: your class, your gender, your race, are interested in your hobbies, do the same work as you.  Sure, few friends match all of these, but I bet they all match three of the five.  You could add more categories (politics, religion...) but the point is that your friends match the majority.

Remember youth when you could spend hours talking shit with anyone who'd listen to you; when, in fact, that is all you did with your time in high school and in college?  That was the time to talk in a second language to build your vocabulary and fluency.  It's too late now.  Sure, the mind is more elastic when you are younger, especially with language, but my guess is that the more relevant factor is the sheer amount of language input and output that young people do.  After all, which ESL students have you seen progress most quickly?  The ones who won't shut up, not the wall-flowers; the Brazilians, not the Japanese; the women, not the men...

It's the ten-thousand hours of practice meme (despise Gladwell, but it's a useful meme): whatever latent abilities you do, or do not, have, the more practice you get the better you will become, and more quickly.  There is just about no way you can recreate the amount of free time yourself, much less from others your adult age, that you had when you were much younger; nor can you recreate the oral/aurally intense environment of schooling and socializing.  You need to work, and will only be paid anything decent when working in your own language, and adults do not go out of their way looking for friendships with people they cannot communicate with so you can practice their language with them.  However, you're an English speaker reading a text-rich blog: good luck finding educated, interesting people who do not speak English better than you speak their language.  It happens, but not often.  You'll be speaking in English, or you'll be speaking with uninteresting people most often.

You still want to learn fluent conversational Japanese, or whatever language?  Three words:

       fuck - romantic relationship(s) in only the target language
      drink - your alcohol loosened tongue and their alcohol lubricated patience with your ineptitude
      play - a shared interest or hobby with target language speakers so there is some reason for them
       to tolerate the tediousness of communicating with you

All of these are much less available if you are married, have children, and/or are recovering from addiction or bad relationships.  Sounds like adulthood to me.

You can learn to read and write without social interactions, if you want to know the language like the Japanese know English...

Monday 10 June 2013

Who's afraid of the security state?

One of my once best friends took a job for CSIS more than a decade back.  He was the head spook for the Canadian Embassy in a S.E. Asian country (with Muslims, bien sûr) last time I communicated with him.  About five years ago I decided there was nothing consistent about me being in communication with someone whose employment assaulted most values I hold, so I told him that, and that he wouldn't hear from me again.  I regret losing a friend; I do not regret doing what I did.  He is lost.

It is interesting that he has no online presence at all, having checked just now.  When you're in the know...


If 'the Man' cared he'd have my number already.  More important than anything I say is that you read about this guy, before they disappear him.  Smart man to go public, because people asking questions if he's 'renditioned' is the only thing that might keep him alive.  There are 1% and 9% who would kill any of us 90% to keep what they have; just because they aren't doing it yet (maybe) doesn't mean shit.  Sad that only the dubious posturing of foreign governments will register in Washington; talk is cheap: one should host him.

At this point the only thing to do is to not matter to the 1% and 9% at all: we don't.  Or if you think you are going to matter because you have secrets to wake us all the fuck up, keep your online persona static, and send your data to multiple news-gatherers on a USB key or the like, and do everything you can never to be traced.  No good can come from two-way communication with journalists: if they are not in the pay of the state, someone will be incompetent enough to betray you.  You'd also want to send your information to non-US sources, or else it will never appear.

Yes, there's been Watergate, Pentagon Papers and more, but the level of US security state leads me to only one conclusion: they are afraid of us, but are many steps ahead.

Thursday 6 June 2013

Improved comment moderation

I did not realize you needed to sign into something like Google to comment here, and that shit's annoying.  Sorry.  You should no longer need to, allowing anyone to comment under any alias.  Of course, if you're signed in what little traffic I get can be passed on to your blog.

I am still moderating comments, lest any of the losers who could finally lose their virginity to a J-girl ('Japan Probe'...) come here to troll again.  Not sure why they would unless reading old Probe posts: I've been blocked there for ages.

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Final road bike gearing?

I bought the Lemond Croix de Fer triple, now eight years ago, and I have finally settled on and achieved a sensible gearing for: someone who rides alone, not in pelotons, needs gears for climbing passes, and can spin plenty fast enough to get speed out of a top gearing of 100".

It came with a 30/42/52 triple crank, and a 12-27 cassette: 30-116".  Not only did it have more in the high end than I needed, and less in the low than I wanted, but there was just about no use for the large ring in the riding I do.

I'd changed the cassette and the big ring: 30/42/46, an 11-27 cassette I assembled myself: 30-112".  I still didn't need the big ring, and the shift between the fourth and third largest sprockets was shit.

I've now settled on 26/39/46, 12-27: 26-103".  This is how it should have come from the builder, but everyone thinks they are Lance... Wiggins...  The gear inch range is better, and it shifts better, and the distribution is better.  I have a downwind ring, an upwind ring, and an uphill ring, and a good range of sprockets to use in each.  I had to move the derailleur down 6 mm, to match the radii of all three smaller rings, especially the middle which one uses as the benchmark.  I'd dreaded the futzing this would take, but in the end it was the work of just a half hour, once I'd moved it down to leave 1 to 2 mm clearance over the top ring, lined it up parallel to the chain when in the smallest sprocket, and adjusted the shifter-cable tension by eye.

Here are some of the other modifications I have made, and one I did not:
- accessories
- details
- steel fork
- never did get the Sugino OX801D crank to narrow the q-factor by a mere centimeter for $500

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Japan, you're done.

So, with Japanese feet growing larger, will we see more big-foot shops in the near future? Don’t hold your breath, says a spokesman at Ten’s Shinjuku shop. “Young people’s feet are growing bigger, it’s true, but the number of young people is decreasing year by year. I honestly don’t think the shoe market is going to change very much.”
As the population declines, intolerance of children and the noise they make is increasing in a society growing less accustomed to hearing them, some child care experts say...  this creates a self-perpetuating problem: Despite the falling birthrate, it is seen as less acceptable for parents to expect nonparents to put up with inconveniences caused by their offspring.

Monday 3 June 2013

Toronto... alas.

Here's a telling article about Toronto:

Why, in diverse Toronto, do different generations barely mix?

I'd add nobody socializes out of their caste there, however self-identified.  My sister-in-law pointed out  to me that all North American cities are like this, though I think she meant all Anglophone North American cities.  (She's also lived in New York).  And she added that it is worse outside the urban centres, by which I think she meant the suburbs: people mix across ages in the rural areas as there is nobody else...

She may be accurately damning English N. America by saying Toronto is no worse... Tokyo people stay in their own niches too, unless out drinking, which people do much more in Tokyo than Toronto. Come to think of it, people go out to drink and eat much more in Montreal also, and have wider circles of friends, and Montreal, like Tokyo, is an interesting city.  Toronto never will be. That's it, Anglos: drink more!

This thinking falls down, so to speak, when you know that Torontontians get falling-down-drunk only with people of their own tribe: jocks, Italian immigrants, whatever.  It reminds me that at every pub I have been to in England someone struck up a conversation.  Granted, I was a thirty-year-old travelling with his mother, which is odd, our accents were different, and it must have helped we are white.  Torontonians uniquely suck, even drunk?  True enough.  Maybe it is the lack of common 'social drinking', of which there is more in Montreal, Europe and in Japan - Japanese cannot hold enough for it to be more than 'social drinking'.  I am inclined to think this is it.  Torontonians are frosty, and aren't lit enough, often enough, to break the ice with any charm before they are so drunk to be belligerent or bores.