A_cross comments

Posted in: Bomb threats sent by fax to colleges in Yamanashi, Ibaraki, Hokkaido See in context

My kids' school reported that last Saturday a fax had been sent to the ward office targeting children. On about 10 occasions in 2022 they reported similar "suspicious email". Many schools & universities across Japan made similar reports. I assumed these all came from a malicious Trojan similar to “Emotet”, as documented here: https://www.ipa.go.jp/security/announce/20191202.html , but it looks like "fax-phishing" is also a real threat, see https://www.hoxhunt.com/blog/fax-phishing

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Posted in: Bar owner found stabbed to death in Tokyo See in context

Shimokita was recently placed #7 in the annual Time Out ‘world’s coolest neighbourhoods’ ranking.

and Shimokitazawa has been on the front page of CNN news for a few days now - for its "quality of life" including the local bars -

back to the sad death of worker in a bar behind on its rent. In Japan, "loan sharks", "yakuza", and "real estate companies" are each entirely different things, but they sometimes work together, especially in the case of delinquent tenants where property laws don't work. JT's report fails to mention that the victim had been dead for a couple of days. Even so, it's unusual that someone sent the bad boys in before the real estate guys checked that the victim hadn't actually paid his rent.

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Posted in: Japanese schools banning nicknames, mandating use of '-san' divides opinions See in context

What language is this article talking about?

My children, and their friends, call each other "- chan" if female and "- kun" if male.

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Posted in: Tokyo Olympics legacy venue proving a chronic headache See in context

The old stadium was rather a nice design. 

True, and well used, but it was rather old. This meant, besides wanting more seats and a roof:

it was not equipped for modern broadcast requirements - lighting, sound system, camera positions;

it did not meet modern requirements for fire exits or disabled access - seating and steps were uneven or too steep - a big disadvantage when you are hoping to host an event called the Paralympics;

it lacked the public access spaces with retail and restaurants that are part of a modern venue's business plan.

But, the old stadium did have an Olympic Cauldron you could light up during rock concerts, something the post-Zaha design forgot .....

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Posted in: Tokyo Olympics legacy venue proving a chronic headache See in context

For security reasons, the stadium's detailed plans could not be disclosed to interested businesses. 

I have a set of the stadium's detailed plans that local residents received showing Zaha's competition-winning entry. In accordance with the competition conditions, this had 85,000 seats and a retractable roof, because the stadium's business plan called for big-name concerts. It also included public spaces with retail and restaurants. We did not get anything about the revised plan, but the public were shown images, so we knew the roof was replaced by a canopy over the seating. We were not told that seating capacity had been reduced to less than the old stadium from 50 years ago, nor that the canopy cost was not included in the new revised price. I believe the quoted line should read as follows:

For political reasons, the stadium's detailed plans could not be disclosed to the public because they would show lower seat numbers. There were no interested businesses. 


Also part of the equation is the stadium's limited value as a concert venue, because they would have to cancel events when it rains. The operators had no concerns for its surrounding neighborhood.

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Posted in: Japan, U.S. agree impact of Russia's aggression goes beyond Europe See in context

expatToday  01:07 pm JST

Kind of obvious, isn't it, since Japan is not in Europe...

Japan is not in Europe, but Russia is only 24 km from Japan ...

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Posted in: Ghosn calls Japan's prosecution system discriminatory See in context

As someone who loves Japan, I recognize it has imperfections, especially in the legal system, left over from the mediaeval times that ended here several centuries later than they did in the west. The brutal treatment of victims is one such legacy, especially as it applies to foreigners. In spite of his huge contribution to rescuing a Japanese company from bankruptcy, Ghosn became its victim. He recognizing he faced insurmountable odds and used his wealth and position to get away.

Another victim of Japan's brutal treatment of foreigners is Wishma Rathnayake, a Sri Lankan girl whose dream was to teach English in Japan. She overcame many obstacles to fulfill that dream, but failed Japan's immigration laws on a technicality. She died - in a Japanese Prison:

Can we help keep her memory alive in a way that will help others, especially victims of Japan's brutal treatment of foreigners? Could we ask Carlos Ghosn to contribute to a fund for this? Could we even ask if we can call it the "Carlos Ghosn Fund?"

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Posted in: Kishida's debut on world stage offers few clues about his foreign policy See in context

Japan should of course lead the world in environmental concern, just like it did in 1997 when hosting the Kyoto Protocol ........ and what became of that?

So a flying visit was perhaps the diplomatic version of extending two fingers to all the nations who agreed a quarter-century ago that we faced a climate emergency, and then returned to their fossil fuels and profligate consumption.

Why should anyone think they get the message this time?

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Posted in: Tens of thousands of children to be allowed to attend Paralympics See in context

”School visit to Paralympics" has been on my kids' school calendar since April.

So the report is misleading. Koike is not planning something new, she just does not want to be responsible for cancelling it. Koike said that parents should 「まず家庭で健康観察を」"First, observe your health at home" .....

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Posted in: Suga thanks people for helping to hold safe Olympics during pandemic See in context


A building made of flammable materials, without proper fire exits, is not "safe" just because it did not burn down this week.

Suga and the IOC took a high-risk approach to staging the Olympics, putting people's health and lives at stake, and got lucky.

Will that luck hold for the Paralympics too?

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Posted in: Why Japan took the word 'mansion' and applied it to condominiums See in context

As Soldier2 says, multi-occupancy buildings with a name containing "Mansions" are fairly common in London, dating from 100 years ago or more. The units they contain would be called "flats" not apartments, and the word "condominium" was not used in Britain.

To return to the original article "Such a building collapse would be unthinkable in Japan" , but the reason is that we are in an earthquake zone, and structures get shake-tested every few weeks. During the Aneha-era "Such a building collapse" came close to being a possibility, and was only avoided by revisiting and re-calculating building structures and imposing re-inspections. Let's hope they continue to do this rigorously and that the authorities in Florida urgently start doing the same.

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Posted in: Japan trails world in COVID vaccine rollout 2 months after its start See in context

According to Shinjuku Ward, they will start shipping vaccination COUPONS for over-75s on 26th April, for 65-75s in late May and under-65s depending on how things go. Announcements of vaccination locations and schedules is planned for May 1st.

Also, since the pandemic started, schools in the area have been relatively safe. Now school kids are starting to catch the virus.

The 2020 Summer Olympics opening ceremony is scheduled to take place on 23 July 2021 at Olympic Stadium in Shinjuku.

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Posted in: Barring fans from abroad for Tokyo Olympics creates many questions See in context

The Olympic Charter (2017 version) states that nothing should be done to put the health of athletes at risk.

The Olympic organisers are currently selecting volunteers who will interact with those athletes, and do not require the volunteers to be vaccinated or tested.

Since there is a pandemic raging, and there is a vaccine , surely that is putting the athletes at unnecessary additional risk.

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Posted in: IOC, Tokyo Olympics to unveil rule book for beating pandemic See in context

One word missing from this entire discussion: "volunteers"

One year ago, Tokyo began to realise that their generally excellent transportation system could not handle the Olympic logistics. Then, as one of the volunteers, on which the entire event depended, I started training, and after that I was offered a position as, basically, an unpaid taxi driver. They even asked me if I had my own car. I thought about the risks of an accident versus the rewards (zero), and declined.

This year they have not even asked the volunteers to schedule the training yet. Would I accept the added risk of infection? Sorry, I was really excited about the Olympics and Paralympics 2020, but in 2021 I would prefer just to stay alive.

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Posted in: 78-year-old man, driving wrong way on expressway, crashes into car, killing driver See in context

Modern motor vehicle regulations are intended to prevent collision fatalities even at expressway speeds. Lightweight "kei jidosha" cars clearly cannot do this.

Keep them off the expressways ...

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Posted in: English mistake makes Kyoto the enemy of the world See in context

GWToday  10:55 am JST


Story I heard, those of you that have been here several decades may remember that Panasonic used Woody the Woodpecker as a mascot for the their laptops....

Anyway at some meeting in Tokyo where people from overseas were present in some numbers, a Japanese presenter presented the following slogan in speech:

Touch Woody the Internet Pecker


I heard about this from an American employee of Panasonic at the time. She only mentioned the phrase "Touch Woody", and the lengthy discussion that ensued about why it was not a good idea .....

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Posted in: Tokyo Olympic organizers unveil scaled-back Games plan See in context

When are they going to refund the money we paid for tickets?

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Posted in: Netflix woos Japan with new original series about a reporter's exchange with Suga See in context

"Japanese are too used to viewing TV for free" - surely this should read "Japanese are too used to viewing TV for the ¥25,000 per year NHK fee"?

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Posted in: Hide away in this mountain hut-themed yakitori restaurant in Yotsuya See in context


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Posted in: Abe faces backlash after Tokyo residents excluded from Go To travel campaign See in context

We live in Tokyo and would like to travel if it's safe. Our kids would like to visit their grandparents in the countryside. Sadly, the grandparents don't want us to come. They would love to see the children, but they are afraid of what their neighbors would say about having visitors from Tokyo. There are so many stories about people from Tokyo visiting their rural home towns and infecting their relatives there.

Now, if it was possible to get tested first, stay isolated enough and know we were not a safety risk, we would love to go. But it seems that testing is not widely available, and the results are not reliable. So we choose to stay here. The Go To campaign will not make a difference to that.

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Posted in: Abe's support slides as top prosecutor's resignation bites See in context

Stand by for Prime Minister Yuriko ...

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Posted in: Tokyo extends event cancellations, facility closures to May 6 See in context

So in Tokyo, attending public events, zoos and museums is not safe, attending school if you are over 15 is not safe, attending an international school in Tokyo at any age is not safe, but attending public schools if you are under 15 is perfectly safe?

My children’s school announced this week that they will re-open as normal on April 6th. Should I let my kids attend?

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Posted in: Clock's ticking for Nissan boss Uchida to show he has a plan See in context

What's missing from all this discussion - THE CARS

Ghosn had a plan - to move towards all-electric vehicles. The Leaf is without doubt a world leader in this field. Unfortunately, battery technology is still too expensive. That is why the best Nissan car you can buy right now, and the best-selling car in Japan, is the Note e-power, an electric car with a series-hybrid drivetrain. That means you get all the advantage of an electric car - phenomenal acceleration, one-pedal stress-free driving - but with an on-board gasoline-powered generator.

Nissan currently sells over 40 different models (although a few are manufactured by Mitsubishi or Renault). Reduce that to a dozen or so models, and fit them all with e-power. And sack all the executives who can talk for more than ten minutes without mentioning Nissan's cars and how good they are .....

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Posted in: Crane topples over onto cars, killing 1, injuring 6 in Miyagi Pref See in context

Looking at other reports, with images from different angles, the vehicle immediately behind the crane is a flatbed truck of a similar size to the crane. It has its side panels lowered, and seems to be touching the crane's left rear outrigger. The crane's boom is at more like 10 o'clock. I am sure, whatever the drivers of both vehicles were doing, the crane boom should not have been elevated and extended at the time.

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Posted in: JR East unveils luxury Saphir Odoriko express with all first-class seating See in context

Educator60Today  06:27 pm JST

“JR East unveils luxury Saphir Odoriko express with all first-class seating” 

“while the remaining cars feature standard Green Car or first class seating.”

The headline and article seem to be disagreeing with each other.

I think the report means “while the remaining cars feature standard first class seating, known on JR trains as Green Car”. So we have one "Green Car Premium", two "Green Car Private Compartments", one dining car and four (standard first class) "Green Car" carriages.

The problem with the train line down the Izu peninsula is that it is a slow, infrequent single-line service and in summer the express "Odoriko-go" trains are fully-booked. Replacing them with a more expensive "Saphir" version is just a way to make more profit from the inadequate service, instead of allowing more ordinary visitors to travel to the Shimoda and Minami Izu area.

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Posted in: Koike gives reluctant consent to Olympic race venue move but Tokyo won't pay for it See in context

I started serious running in the United Arab Emirates, just along the Gulf from Qatar. In summer temperatures reached 50˚C and humidity was close to 100%. We ran in the late afternoon or early morning.

In winter, daytime maximum temperatures went town to 35˚C and humidity went down to 75% - those are the midsummers conditions in Tokyo.

Quite apart from the folly of the IOC demanding such significant changes at such a late stage, if the Tokyo Olympics organizers had done their work properly, they would have produced a "Risk Analysis" document that the IOC would have to sign off in advance, showing the risk mitigation measures for climate conditions.

Remember, high temperatures do not kill marathon runners. Dehydration does, as it did for the first ever Marathon runner in ancient Greece. And given the IOC's bumbling efforts, there is still a chance that unprepared athletes will suffer from dehydration in Hokkaido.

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Posted in: Police say body may be hiker who fell on Mt Fuji while live-streaming See in context

zichi Oct. 30  11:37 pm JST


you were just abandoned by your friends? They would surly look for you or alert the authorities that you were missing?


Thanks for your concern. You are probably right, although I never thought of it like that. After I got back, I contacted them to make sure they weren't worried about me. I think the plan was to meet up with another car, which included the people I actually knew. They assumed I had gone back with them. This was a time when we did not have mobile phones or email and backpackers did not carry meishi, so they probably never even knew my full name .....

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Posted in: Police say body may be hiker who fell on Mt Fuji while live-streaming See in context

I almost died like he did. It was a long time ago, I did not speak much Japanese and my Japanese friends did not speak much English, but they suggested we drive to Mount Fuji to watch the sun rise. We got to the Fuji Skyline car park around 3:00 am, it was cold so we decided to walk around, and went up the trail. After a while I got ahead and waited, but they did not catch up. They had told me that the mountain was "closed", so I expected to come to a barrier and decided to go on until I reached it. When I hit snow I realised there was no barrier, but I kept climbing anyway. At one point I slipped and fell down, sliding down the mountain for hundreds of metres, but eventually managed to stop. My clothes were ripped and I was off the trail, so I knew I had to go back up to where I had fallen to find the trail again. It was getting light and not too far from there to the summit, where I watched, alone, as the sun rose over the skyscrapers of Shinjuku. As I descended I greeted climbers in full mountain gear coming up, and realised just how badly equipped I had been for such a climb. Luckily, I had enough money with me to get back to Tokyo.

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Posted in: IOC wants to move Tokyo Olympic marathons, walking races to Sapporo See in context

nandakandamandaToday  12:22 pm JST Failing Sapporo, run it partly underground ...


from Wikipedia:

The Yamate Tunnel (山手トンネル Yamate Tonneru) carries the Central Circular Route (C2) of the Shuto Expressway in Tokyo, Japan, from the Takamatsu on-ramp in Toshima to near the Ōi Junction in Shinagawa. The overall length is 18.2 km.

The Yamate Tunnel passes through Nishi Shinjuku Junction, which is 2.8975 km on foot from the New National Stadium Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic site. So a route from the stadium to Nishi Shinjuku, take the tunnel to Toshima, turn around and follow the tunnel to Shinagawa, and back via Nishi Shinjuku to the stadium would be a distance of 42.195 km. Just Right

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Posted in: IOC wants to move Tokyo Olympic marathons, walking races to Sapporo See in context

HeckleberryToday  10:58 am JST

Hmmm but don't the marathon runners usually finish their race by running into the main stadium on the final day?

If the weather conditions in Tokyo will make the event "too stressful" for the athletes, why not just run it over a shorter distance?

If the men's drop-out ratio of about 25% in Doha is applied, simply reduce the marathon distance to 30km.

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