as_the_crow_flies comments

Posted in: Over 75s top 15% of Japan's population for 1st time See in context

While productive age group in Japan count 75 million, so for two pension payer they need to pay for pension person more and less.

Over half of 65-70 year-olds are working, therefore 'productive'. If you work, you don't draw (full) pension, and you continue to pay in, including for aged care. So, it's not exactly like you put it @sakurasaki. Even so, the numbers are scary!

I could see myself as an early retiree, or part-time worker in Japan, but yes @ssrp, the prospect of being a helpless and frail very elderly person in a care home here is a bit scary.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Care home in Kanagawa tried to cover up abuse of disabled resident See in context

The picture I get from the location, off the Tomei in a semi-rural area of Kanagawa, is of an out-of-sight and out of mind place, where families can send people with difficult behaviour. What happens once they're there is truly unknown, and the patients themselves may feel abandoned and desperate. If they have been violent with family in the past, it's understandable that staff having to deal with this, specially if they aren't properly trained, may feel they can do what they like, even more so if the management look the other way. This sounds like a large chain that does a job others in society don't want to do. Staff are most likely underpaid, not supported, and most important, maybe not even properly vetted to see if they are suitable for the work. A disaster waiting to happen. Unfortunately it can also appeal to bullies and sadists who suspect they can get away with doing nasty stuff to the patients.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Care home in Kanagawa tried to cover up abuse of disabled resident See in context

But is it really any different in other countries?

And your point is ...?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Britain to see 80% spike in energy bills as crisis worsens See in context

What the article doesn't make clear is that the scale of the price hikes is a Brit government special, as other countries around the EU are facing the same energy supply squeeze, if anything worse, but aren't hitting their populations with these massive rises. So we are supposed to believe this is entirely because of the war in Ukraine, despite other countries' populations not being made to suffer in the same way. Now what else could possibly explain this unique British sickness. Don't say 'Br...'! And the other problem of course is the raving ideologues jockeying for control of the ruling party right at this moment, abandoning the population to catastrophe.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Posted in: Japan reports 253,265 new coronavirus cases; 25,277 in Tokyo See in context

Different counting systems don't make much odds. Unless the counting sustem has the effect of masking the true spread of Covid, and as a result make mitigating it harder. Like downgrading it to a lesser category. Although that would help more sick people get treated. As Worldometers shows, this week has seen record cases and also record daily deaths.

Wish it was over, but understand it's not. Stay safe, everyone. It's hard to deal with, or see someone you care about, struggling with COVID.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Posted in: Public elementary school in Aichi offers rare English-immersion program See in context

I’ve only been to the Philippines for two months, but is the native language Queens English?

Do tell, remind us in which country this 'Queen's English', which you seem to believe Japanese students ought to learn, is actually spoken? Disclosure: I'm English.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan reports 178,356 coronavirus cases; 22,740 in Tokyo See in context

It does look like the new cases in the seventh wave may be peaking, but they'll probably get bumped up again as a result of O-Bon socialising and travel. That might not be the case in Tokyo, which looked virtually empty in normally busy areas yesterday. But who knows, as the high rates around the country might mean people importing infection back into Tokyo.

On the other hand, deaths look like heading for the highest daily rates yet seen in the entire pandemic. They are nearly as high as the sixth wave, which in turn caused way more deaths than the fifth.

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/japan/

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

Posted in: Nearly 370 mil disposable cups used by coffee chains in Japan in 2020 See in context

Experience of the last few years has shown that 'urging' or 'encouraging' many businesses who make money out of damaging practices has no effect. The only way is to legislate to make them do it. With shopping bags, shops being obligated by law to charge separately for them has made a huge difference, despite the token two/five yen extra charge. Force them to charge 25 yen more for a throwaway cup, and to clearly display the policy, and you will see most customers voting with their wallets, even if they don't give a toss for the environment. Make coffee sellers by law use eco-friendlier materials for disposable cups. Make them clearly promote a meaningful discount if you order your coffee with your own flask or mug, and advertise this clearly so customers are aware of the benefit. Install new coffee machines that make it easy and safe (minimal handling) for staff to prepare the coffee directly in customers' flasks. Install eco-friendly dishwashers that use minimal water, energy and that also minimise staff handling of china cups. By law, make the conbinis do the same, and ensure that the coffee machines (when new ones are installed) make it easy to put taller flasks in them.

Those would all be proactive ways to help wean customers off one-use stuff. Many chains' goals are far too timid and slow.

At least many shopping bags get one more use as trash bags. These (cups) just go straight in the bin.

I've found, since the charge came in, my partner has finally stopped bringing home plastic bags. It does speak to people who are not too fussed about environmental damage! And as we have steadily been cutting down on the amount of one-use plastics coming into the house e.g. by bulk buying, avoiding over-packaged products, we have found our nama gomi easily fits into other plastic food bags, e.g that had potato crisps, or frozen vegetables, so at least that one-use plastic is becoming two-use. Baby steps. And the garbage collectors have no problem with taking away our rubbish in these bags.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan reports 168,826 coronavirus cases; 20,401 in Tokyo See in context

Not being prophetic, but looking at Worldometers, the daily deaths are approaching levels in the sixth wave, and I wouldn't make a prediction about which way that trend is going. What is certain is that strain on hospital services is bound to cause an increase in deaths from other causes, like heart problems/stroke, delayed cancer treatment, and complications could be in everything from diabetics to pregnant women who are unable to access the care they could normally expect, as a result of the current strain on the healthcare system.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan reports record high 250,403 coronavirus cases; 34,243 in Tokyo See in context

And in case anyone doubts the strain on the health system, people needing medical attention are having to wait as much as 24 hours:

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14692078

I was part of that statistic, falling unconscious at a clinic and needing to be transferred to an A&E. I 'only' had to wait about 2 hours in the ambulance, was put on oxygen and a drip, and prescribed anti-virals (as a priority case, not everyone is entitled to this). After patching me up, they originally wanted me to walk home (mid-afternoon, over 30 degrees), not use a taxi, because all the special taxis were already in use. After they decided it might be a bad look, I had another two hour wait before they found a community ambulance to get me home.

Three weeks on, I am able to go out, but it's not a steady recovery, my hearing is affected, I have headaches and currently low oxygen levels (at least I was lucky because my partner 'qualified' for an oximeter).

My partner has a different range of symptoms, but he's by no means back to health.

These are two examples of so-called mild cases.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan reports record high 250,403 coronavirus cases; 34,243 in Tokyo See in context

For context, 250,403 got it, 250 died, so thats 0.1%.

Like flu.

Around 3,000 people in Japan die from flu in an average year - which would, if spread evenly throughout the year (which it's not of course) be 8-9 deaths a day. Currently Covid deaths are around 250 daily. Which is probably why the Ministry of Health thinks that just relabelling Covid as a little sniffles is unlikely to magically melt away sick and dying people in the hospitals. Magical thinkers who can't cope with reality might like to hear that it doesn't exist any more, but most sane people want the government to equip the health system to deal with the situation the best it can. @Nepalibabu has explained very clearly why recognising reality helps hospitals to cope with the pressure they're under. In countries with less enlightened health policies, sickness can bankrupt not only the sick, but entire families of a sick person. We all know there are certain countries where people avoid going to hospital because they can't afford to be treated. I for one am thankful that Japan is more enlightened.

It's also a basic public health measure, which applies to other dangerous contagious illnesses like TB, that recognises that untreated infectious sick people are a risk to the whole community and the whole health system, again as @Nepalibabu explains.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan to offer Omicron COVID shot to at least twice-vaccinated people See in context

But it depends upon the source you choose to get your information.

If you just choose social media, like youtube, facebook and JT, then of course you have to continue with Google to answer your questions.

Erm ... considering you post almost daily on JT, you might ask yourself why you continue to come here and rail against it not meeting your expectations. It's as pointless as shouting at your cat for not behaving like a dog. It's a cat.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan to offer Omicron COVID shot to at least twice-vaccinated people See in context

What's to say a new variant won't become prominent by the time this "special" iteration of the vaccine becomes available?

@wolfshine - That's an interesting philosophical question. In order to avoid mental health problems, it's important to learn to grapple with uncertainty, because uncertainty is the nature of human existence. Science can help to keep asking questions and extending our knowledge of a particular field, but we are human, and will never have absolute knowledge. Good science acknowledges that, and iterations are a sign of knowledge and capacity developing. So back to your questions, researchers are working hard to develop vaccines which are as effective as possible and mitigate risks and damage as threats develop and inevitably change. As @virusrex always painstakingly explains how the scientific method is applied to dealing with the pandemic, by logical reasoning, and caution when uncertain.

I think wanting existence to be black and white is likely to give anyone serious stress, as this impossible wish is hit by reality.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan to offer Omicron COVID shot to at least twice-vaccinated people See in context

Does nobody else think it's weird that this won't be available to people who haven't been vaccinated? Or at least that's how the article reads to me...

I very much doubt that is the case @Wobot. I have had all my vaccinations through a non-Japan route, and when I asked the local Covid hotline (I was hoping to become registered within the Japanese system as well as under that of the country that vaccinated me, in order to get future boosters locally), they said, if you are not yet registered in the Japan system but want a vaccine under the Japan system, just contact us, and we will work out the appropriate action for your case. So if you are thinking about being vaccinated for the first time, just contact the relevant local authority and ask for it. I am sure they will be very accomodating.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Keep calm, cut the air con - Japan's energy saving is model for Europe See in context

Bizarre to see these discussions of 'Europe', with dozens of countries and hundreds of millions of people. Imagine if I made the same generalisations about 'the Americas' (35 countries, 1.014 billion inhabitants), for example that many city dwellers live in uninsulated tin-roofed single brick walled shanty dwellings without a window.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: 2nd Japan case of monkeypox confirmed in Tokyo See in context

And because it's not an STD, 'safer sex', like wearing a condom, will not protect you.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

Posted in: 2nd Japan case of monkeypox confirmed in Tokyo See in context

 Basically if you're not gay/bisexual then you have nothing to worry about.

Wrong. Misinformation. Sexual contact is an easy way to spread it, but it is not an STD. All close contact can lead to infection. That's why people who live with an infected person are also at high risk.

4 ( +17 / -13 )

Posted in: Japan tops global new COVID cases in week to Sunday: WHO See in context

The health system is creaking at the seams. My partner should have been admitted to hospital with Covid last week, but has had to stay home with minimal home monitoring, and that is only down to one amazing doctor who has gone above and beyond, calling every two to three days to check on him and me. I collapsed with low oxygen but was also sent home with meds. My care would also have limited to been a daily call from an app, if not for the dedication of this doctor to check up on me. This is the reality of triage. Even if you collapse, even if you are immunocompromised, you cannot get personal treatment because the system is so overrun.

We are giving thanks that we got our meds, got an oximeter, as these are also rationed, are more or less stable, if not actually improving, and had the luck to have been tested by an outstanding doctor. These are down to luck, and I worry for those less fortunate who find themselves abandoned and untreated at home, with no monitoring to check on those who take a sudden turn for the worse. Just like last year during the Olympics, this situation will lead to some dying untreated at home.

So do all you can to avoid getting infected, to keep you and those around you safe, and to try not to burden the system any more right now.

13 ( +27 / -14 )

Posted in: 2nd Japan case of monkeypox confirmed in Tokyo See in context

It would be more accurate to say 'second confirmed case' rather than 'confirmed its second case', as you can bet that there are more than a few cases passing under the radar. And it that way it will spread uncontrolled. Please be careful out there, stay safe, avoid risky behaviours and help slow the spread. I agree that in Japan, young people are likely to be a high risk group, because of lack of proper health education. Sex workers and those who buy sex are likely to be other major vectors. This is the danger of not learning from history, even recent history. Hoping I'm wrong, but quietly pessimistic.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 22,387 coronavirus cases See in context

Well I think I have the current version of the virus from Sunday and it is the worst yet for me. Terrible fever, headache, body ache, sore throat and non-stop coughing. Take care everyone.

I hope you managed to get Lagevrio anti-viral medicine. It seemed in A&E that they are prescribing it if you are at risk. I hit 39.1 and found the headaches and body aches the worst. For my partner it was more like a regular cold, and as I almost certainly got it from him, it has different strokes for different folks. Keep taking the fluids, try to eat well to keep your strength up, and hope you start to come through it soon, Reckless.

I also hope some of the chronic idiocy regurgitated on here keeps you amused ;)

4 ( +12 / -8 )

Posted in: Japanese firm seeks halal approval for non-alcohol udon soup stock See in context

Good for you Arum. You are making a great business case to convince your company it's possible to expand its overseas markets, and also to make life easier for the growing numbers of Muslim residents of Japan. Also shows the way for many other Japanese food producers, restaurants etc, that it's not rocket science to innovate and cater to different dietary needs, while still keeping traditional flavours. Rigid thinking and refusal to innovate and respond are the death of any business, so the company are intelligent to diversify their staff and listen to them.

Remember even 10 or 15 years ago, it would be normal in this country to be met with a blank stare if you asked whether a product contained meat or animal products? Things are changing, and it's thanks to small moves by people with vision, persistence and energy. Gives a bit of hope.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Posted in: Japan reports 176,554 coronavirus cases See in context

Meanwhile, Japan is content to supply free testing--and a free ride home from the hospital if you are sick but don't meet their daily changing requirements to be hospitalized.

Actually, the testing is not so easy to come by. My local clinic has been flooded, so the testing slots filled up quickly and it took 3 days of being symptomatic before I got the chance. And they said, forget trying to get tested round at other local clinics if you're not symptomatic.

The free ride home depends on availability. Taxis were all fully booked, so I got stranded waiting for a community ambulance. Actually, they tried to convince me to walk home first. After losing consciousness.

You forgot to add, you get a 2 minute daily interaction with a phone bot that asks you if you have a pulse oximeter. Though I will say, my partner got a live person coming to the door, as he's high risk. Also, I did get the anti-virals during my couple of hours in A&E, in recognition of my age. Sort of a backhanded nod of respect for entering my golden years?

All of which I am grateful for, when I look at those shocking maps where huge swaths of the globe are still strangers to vaccines, and health staff are triaging effectively with the stretched resources they have. Things would look way worse if I was in many other parts of the world.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan baby hatch hospital offers mothers last resort See in context

The real reason Japan is at 116 on the world gender rankings and is I think the lowest in East Asia, despite being among the most economically powerful, are the feudal attitudes to women laid bare in this story. It still never fails to shock when you read about the consequences of these inhumane ideas. What is heartening is that the Catholic organisation that has run the baby hatch system for 15 years is trying to address the immediate crisis facing newborns, as well as trying to support the mothers, and even trying to prevent some of the situations arising in the first place, all in a caring, non-judgemental way.

And for those surprised that it is a Catholic organisation doing this, maybe you never heard of liberation theology? This has been a powerful current within the church dating back at least to the 1960's, and having a powerful impact on many young, idealistic and humanistic priests and nuns, particularly in the Americas, many of whom have been in the lead in progressive social activism across the continent.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Posted in: Japan reports 200,975 coronavirus cases See in context

e heard good thing about Paxlovid - I wonder how difficult it is to get prescribed though?

In the US it's pretty easy, but here I'm not so sure of its availability - can a clinic prescribe it or only a hospital?

I'd guess they are triaging it - the clinic didn't prescribe it, but the large hospital A&E did. My immunocompromised partner is also on it since yesterday, prescribed by a transplant centre. It's  4 x 200g Lagevrio® (molnupiravir), twice a day.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan reports 200,975 coronavirus cases See in context

Thanks for all the well-wishes. I consider myself averagely robust, but I can say the past three days with this have been anything but fun. Ironically, I actually feel better today, but even so, since my partner got the pulse oximeter yesterday, my oxygen saturation has stayed at 93%. Apart from the 2 hours I was hooked up to oxygen in the ambulance. The leaflet they gave us with the oximeter says call 119 if your saturation is at 93% or below, but when the health worker dropped by the house to deliver it, she said basically disregard the leaflet, the number is now below 90%. And that, my friends, is how you can reduce the number of 'serious' cases at a stroke - just massage the numbers. Online resources tell me below 95% is considered problematic, and needing constant monitoring. Now personally, I am much more comfortable in my own home, it's not like I really want to be in some nicotine-smelling Apa place, much less a hospital, but it is kind of scary being one of these 'mild-not-mild' cases. And the words of the health staff and ambulance staff make very clear they don't want to send people home.

Normally Japanese healthcare is very conservative. Any of us who have experienced it pre-corona know that they kept people in far longer than in other countries. So it's even more notable that despite giving me guidelines of what is a dangerously low oxygen saturation on their own leaflet, in practice, they find themselves forced to deny care. You would think my partner and I's case would be a clear candidate for at least one of us to isolate at an oxygen station (ie hotel with daily live check ups), but we are stuck together in a small space at home. We need to report daily to an answering machine on Line.

In fact, the only reason they kept me occupying a hospital bed so long is that after asking me if I could walk home (!), they drew back, but all the special taxis were fully booked, so they had to wait to ship me home in an community care ambulance. Having me pass out again on the street in the afternoon heat would not be a good look I guess. Just to restate what I said in earlier posts, when waiting at the clinic where I collapsed to take me to hospital, the nurse said that all Covid beds in Yokohama and Kawasaki were full.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Posted in: Japan reports 200,975 coronavirus cases See in context

Surely the strain on the hospital system is basically due to government mismanagement? 

My impression today is of a system of triage which is well set up and works extremely smoothly. The paramedic just explained that there are so many cases, so many calls, that their system of triage is pretty ruthless. It has to be. I don't know whether this is despite government mismanagement, but it seemed to me that actual healthcare institutions are doing a fantastic job. But right now, there are just too many cases to give everyone the care they need. For everyone who's had light symptoms, I'm really pleased for you, but please don't assume that because you got off lightly, everyone is, and believe that the healthcare system is struggling to cope with the sheer numbers right now. Whatever the reason.

11 ( +17 / -6 )

Posted in: Japan reports 200,975 coronavirus cases See in context

It's not complicated to understand. If a variant is massively more infectious, then statistically, even if it's a a low percentage of cases, the absolute number of people doing poorly rockets. Doctors and nurses have just sent me home saying good luck, call the health centre. Health centre just has an automated msging service.

11 ( +19 / -8 )

Posted in: Japan reports 200,975 coronavirus cases See in context

Stop disinforming. Hospitalisation is not low. Hospitals are turning Covid patients away because there are no beds. I was sat in an ambulance for hours as there was no space inside the hospital. Then the doctor apologised for sending me home, saying very sorry, no room. Take care.

11 ( +21 / -10 )

Posted in: Japan reports 200,975 coronavirus cases See in context

Yes, absolutely hard to believe. I have just come back from hospital. Despite collapsing with Covid and being taken to Casualty (A&E), I was told the hospitals here in Kanagawa are absolutely full, and there are no beds available. Now if collapsing and needing oxygen, as I did, is a mild case, and my immunocompromised partner has also been refused admission, this gives you an idea of the scale of the pressure on the health system. The paramedics, the nurses and doctors said, we're very sorry, there are no beds, we will give you an ambulance ride home with some meds, then you're on your own. My oxygen levels are low, but still no beds, and just a couple of hours on a drip and with oxygen.

Please, do not minimise the scale of the problem and the pressure the health system is under. The health workers are all doing the very best they can, super efficiently, but there are just not enough resources to treat everyone. Do not minimise the seriousness of this disease, deaths are already heading upwards, and if treatment is effectively being rationed (no hotel quarantine and no oxygen for me despite low oxygen saturation and none for my partner despite being in a vulnerable group), people will die from lack of treatment. And not just Covid patients, anyone who needs emergency care is at risk. So don't have a heart attack, get heatstroke, have an accident, as the health system is under critical strain.

24 ( +37 / -13 )

Posted in: Japan gets 120,400 foreign visitors in June, but only 252 tourists See in context

It would help if the article used less confusing terms. It's confusing calling someone who is going to come and live here for three, four, five years a 'foreign visitor'. It would make much more sense to use 'visitor' to mean someone coming on holiday, to see family, or on business, and call the others inbound foreign students or workers. For the average Japanese, a furriner is a furriner, and they make no distinctions, but this kind of article is confusing and perpetuates mistaken ideas about the situation. It would make sense for inbound workers/students to quarantine at their workplace or campus for a few days, to help slow down the spread of new variants and protect the health system in the current situation of soaring infections.

The North Korea-style 'guided tour' idea was dumb from the start, and even dumber with the current soaring figures.

The Japanese government response is spectacularly out of sync with reality, and even the advice of their own experts - stupendous dithering in sporadic dysfunctional flip-flops, as someone above put it so well.

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

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