Japan Today

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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.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

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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Posted in: Tokyo expressway to adjust tolls to curb traffic during 2020 Olympics See in context

No word on how they plan to provide "dedicated expressway lanes" for Olympic traffic when, for example, the two-lane expressway route between Athletes Village and National Stadium involves at least three junctions where the two lane traffic merges into a single lane. Perhaps they will have police patrol cars blocking traffic with burning flares for 10 minutes or so every time an athlete bus or official limo wants to pass, the way they do now for the Imperial Family ...........

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Posted in: Japan, U.S. seek to sign 'very big' trade deal in September See in context

There are 20+ products made from corn or the plant itself.

.... all of which add value to the product, so could the USA make those products themselves and export the

whisky, spark plugs, pharmaceuticals, drywall, pesticides, paint, toothpaste, shampoo, paper, tires, syrup, 

thereby creating US jobs and income?

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Posted in: Paralympics chief says Tokyo hotels 'biggest concern' See in context

Let's clear up a few points. The Olympic Village housing will apparently include enough disabled-access rooms for the Paralympics athletes and "some" of their support teams. Elsewhere, the disabled-access accommodation available is not sufficient for the rest of their support teams, or for spectators, journalists and coaches. This means that Tokyo's Olympics will also lack sufficient accommodation for these people. Next, AFAIK, there is no "Japanese legislation" regarding wheelchair-friendly rooms, it is all regional. In any case, moving from "one wheelchair-friendly option" in 50 rooms to "one percent of rooms" is not actually an improvement. In my experience, this "wheelchair-friendly option" is regarded as a tiresome intrusion by hotel operators who cannot wait to use it as a changing room for wedding guests, versus a negotiating point for local government bureaucrats trying to exert their authority. Both sides will need extensive training to actually provide useful facilities for people who will really need it just one year from now. And finally, if those disabled support teams, spectators, journalists and coaches need to travel on public transport, all travel will require advance planning, some journeys will be impossible and just forget the Ginza line .....

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Posted in: Can Tokyo's efficient rail system handle Olympic strain? See in context

As an indication of what to expect, my local station, JR Sendagaya, is one of the closest to the future Olympic Stadium. Before they demolished the old National Stadium, it was used for High School Soccer Finals. After a match, the whole area around the station became so clogged with people that it was impossible for anyone to move. They are now reinstating the second platform from 1964 and adding a few more ticket gates, but they cannot enlarge the surrounding streets. Guaranteed 2020 chaos .......

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Posted in: 16-year-old boy hit and killed by train in apparent suicide See in context

My kids joined 1st grade at the local school only a few weeks ago, and already there seem to be established patterns of bullying. The teachers appear either powerless or unwilling to do anything. However, the parents are hooked up on social media and seem to be addressing the issues. Let's hope this works .....

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Posted in: Olympic spectators may be allowed to bring own drinks to beat heat See in context

If only they had built a National Stadium with a roof .....

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Posted in: 2-year-old boy dies after being hit by train on crossing See in context

A tragedy, and every parent's nightmare. We did everything we could - short of chaining up our kids - barricades, locks, constant surveillance and strategically running ahead of them. Even so, their survival through ages two and three was also thanks to a careful driver who braked in time when one kid ran into the road, and training them to stop immediately when we yelled "STOP", as a taxi driver ran a red light outside their Shinjuku nursery school just missing them by centimetres.

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Posted in: Tokyo expressway to have variable tolls during 2020 Olympics See in context

This is all BS

To be allowed to host the Olympics, Tokyo is required to provide "dedicated" expressway lanes for Olympic athletes and officials. Most of the Tokyo expressway system was built in a hurry for the 1964 Olympics, and was at best a 2-lane system. For safety reasons, many expressway junctions were later made into single-lane traffic, so to comply with IOC requirements in theory the entire expressway system needs to be closed to non-Olympic traffic. That's where the idea of National Holidays on Opening and Closing Ceremony days came from. The suggestion of "variable pricing" now implies two things:

the IOC has not accepted extra National Holidays as good enough and

as an alternative, we can make the ETC system detect various categories of vehicles. The report describes Olympic and non-Olympic traffic. If the IOC agrees to consider this, look out for a three-category system: Olympic, non-Olympic Premium and non-Olympic regular traffic, with perhaps a ¥10,000 toll for the Premium category and further access restrictions on the cheaper ¥1,000 toll non-Olympic regular traffic.

Whatever happens, the result will of course be more traffic on non-expressway roads, and everyone is hoping that, as in London, drivers will stay at home instead.

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Posted in: Man’s body found in burned-out car; wife’s body found at home See in context

It seems to be more common than you might think, for a "burned-out car" to mean a suicide. A couple of years ago I was cycling and found the road blocked by fire trucks and police tape about 50 meters ahead of a burning vehicle. Both police and fire officials seemed to know what to do, which besides extinguishing the fire was to prevent people seeing a burning body in the vehicle.

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Posted in: Car hits group of preschoolers in Shiga Pref; 2 dead See in context

Heartbreaking report. Not the same, but I almost saw my kids killed at a T-junction near their Hoikuen (pre-school). We tried to train them to look both ways and walk, not run, at intersections, and to stop immediately if we shouted "STOP". They were waiting, holding hands with a friend, and when the lights changed they started to cross, running. I noticed that a taxi was jumping the lights and had turned after the lights had changed, and I yelled "STOP". They did, and I watched the taxi drive past just a few centimeters ahead of the three children.

Shinjuku-ku has recently re-modelled a number of road junctions in the area to prevent drivers taking them at speed, but not this one. I don't know if this is what happened in Otsu, but I do think that drivers in Japan seem to try to speed pass the traffic lights even after they have changed, rather than waiting in safety for the next cycle, and that drivers of taxis, foreign cars and those using their mobile phones are especially to blame. RIP those kids and let's hope Otsu does a lessons-learned study that is implemented nationwide.

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