as_the_crow_flies comments

Posted in: Japan reports 95,308 new coronavirus cases See in context

Time to stop counting cases.

That should be enough to declare the pandemic over, because if you don't count cases, people will stop dying of Covid, right? Simple. Why didn't anyone think of that before?

Or do you propose to stop counting Covid deaths too? They're at record levels, according to the Mainichi:

Alarm bells are sounding in Japan over a sudden sharp increase in the pace of deaths linked to COVID-19.

The number of COVID-19 fatalities exceeded 50,000 on Dec. 1 after new deaths climbed by 10,000 every three or four months. But in a little over a month, the figure is closing in on 60,000.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Posted in: Volunteers taking outsized role in Japanese language support See in context

It isn't hard. Even tiny kids speak it fluently with no effort, there's no reason a motivated adult cannot do at least as well.

Not only motivated, but who knows how to learn and stay motivated. If so, you can make use of lots of self study resources and do language exchanges with all those people who want to practise English. I study a European language and mentioned in my profile that I also speak Japanese. Loads of Brazilian wannabe Japanese speakers, and Japanese wannabe English speakers contacted me to do an exchange.

I think the government should get with the times and fund an online language exchange, language class programme that could cover the whole country and cost a fraction of in-person sessions. But that takes imagination, creativity and the ability to take their heads out from where the sun don't shine, so it might take a few decades or so before anything happens.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Volunteers taking outsized role in Japanese language support See in context

Thanks to these volunteers, who give their time and their goodwill to make non-Japanese feel welcome in Japan. Many immigrants are in low-wage jobs and can't afford the time or money to go to privately run classes.

From my own experience of my first year in Japan, I attended this type of class and yes, the results were mixed, as you would expect with a virtually un-resourced programme and untrained teachers. Any country that is serious about sustaining its economy for the long term needs to put the resources in for immigrants to learn the language and integrate, and Japan is no exception. If it fails to improve, it is shooting itself in the foot.

They could for a modest investment create modern materials based on communicative teaching methods and designed for teachers with limited experience. MEXT (Ministry of Education) could centrally fund quality training sessions for a paid lead teacher in each local area, who could in turn run sessions for volunteers. They've already been doing this for elementary school English teaching for years now, so it's not as if they don't have the know-how to set it up.

But the biggest problem is not accepting that there is a need, and the willingness to finance it. Japanese as a foreign language teaching has for years been ridiculously underfunded, so that people keen to teach the language get disillusioned and quit, their skills totally wasted. It's very frustrating.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: End of Japan COVID curbs triggers surge in visitors to nearly 1 million in November See in context

This 'tail end of the pandemic' looks to be likely to have the biggest sting so far. Just check Worldometers, and you will see Japan currently ranks 7th in overall cases, and is head and shoulders above any country for daily deaths at the moment. The latest daily figure for Japan is 339 deaths, while the closest 'rival' is South Korea at 62. Up to now, the highest daily deaths figure has been 347.

Everyone getting excited over the return of mass tourism here, specially if it's likely to come from China, which is in the middle of a surge of unknown proportions, (they have dodgy reporting system to massage their figures, so noone really knows) might like to think of what it might mean if your health system gets overrun again this winter. Even if you have something mild, get injured or have some other health issue, you might find you don't get the medical attention you need. Having been turned away over this summer, I can tell you that's scary.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: New Zealand announces changes to agricultural emissions scheme to help farmers See in context

... long-lived gases and biogenic methane that mainly comes from cow and sheep burps.

Funny, I could have sworn burps came out of the mouth. Or maybe, like the way water drains down a plughole, they work the other way down under???

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: New Zealand announces changes to agricultural emissions scheme to help farmers See in context

 How about they scrap it completely as well as the other undemocratic policies like three waters and co-governance, this is nothing more than a power grab trying to take away people's ability to farm and live.

No it's not. The article clearly states the government is talking with farmers' groups. That is the definition of democracy. The government is clearly committed to its green policies, but is recognising that they need to work with affected groups as they move in a greener direction. Undemocratic would be a disastrous approach like the one in Sri Lanka, where you had a ruling caste unilaterally introducing radical changes to agriculture without working with those working in it. And it was a total disaster that brought the government down. Doesn't mean that greener farming is a failure - it means the need for governments to find a way to work with people democratically.

If governments worldwide abandon the attempt to stop the disastrous course we are all on, there will be no 'ability to farm and live' all over the world as the climate crisis bites harder and harder.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Posted in: Lawson opens 1st avatar-staffed convenience store in Tokyo See in context

Just a tiny problemette with the business model here. If too many jobs are automated and people can't work, how will enough people earn money to buy (overpriced) goods in convenience stores?

... And green my Aunt Sue.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Over 80% of Japanese adults find tobacco smoke unpleasant: survey See in context

There is one useful property of tobacco - as an insecticide. Think of it like glyphosate - for pest control, not for human consumption. Smoking is just straight up bad for everyone's health, whether it's first, second or third hand (e.g when it soaks into fabrics that give off the noxious fumes).

On the other hand, cannabis has some proven medicinal benefits. But, big but, it is purposely being developed to have more and more powerful strains, which have more potential health risks. Of course, you can make similar arguments against smoking it as tobacco. Even if it doesn't contain tar, nicotine etc, I don't imagine it is exactly good for the lungs, but if it is managed as a controlled drug, we should be able to make the most of the medicinal benefits like relief of chronic pain. and for those who want to use it recreationally, there should be similar warnings to alcohol. It is dangerous if abused, overdosing is a risk, and some people are more vulnerable than others to unwanted effects like psychosis. Taking it and driving, or operating dangerous machinery that might harm others should be sanctioned just as drink driving is. Personally I think alcohol abuse is currently a bigger issue than cannabis abuse, but that might just be because alcohol is so widely socially accepted, so the scale of the abuse is way bigger e.g domestic violence, child abuse.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Britain's political turmoil shatters its standing in the world See in context

without the peoples mandate to government, and the people’s democratic right to remove those leaders from office.  

The Truss’s of this world never gained office as a result of Brexit

Not sure what you're smoking, but Truss had no democratic mandate, and even though many in the UK believe there should be a general election immediately for this very reason, the Tories have fixed the system so that they can keep up this farce, with as many unelected PMs as they can get through, for another two years, without the people having any democratic right to challenge them.

Not sure what the second bit is supposed to be saying, only that an empty vessel like Truss has no position on Brexit, she has just worn whatever colours fit her personal ambition in that moment. She was probably no more pro-Europe than she makes out to be anti-Europe now. It's all just a power play for the likes of her and Boris.

But at least he's probably bestirring himself off of his sun lounger somewhere in the Caribbean, drooling at the prospect of a re-run to see if a few thousand Tory voters found him entertaining enough to give him another shot. The smashing of the economy over the past few weeks is just another jolly jape for Bullingdon Boyo.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Worker compensation cases due to mental stress up 60% in Japan in 10 years See in context

The report does seem to suggest that the rise in the number of cases is due to people feeling more able to come forward, rather than that the problem is worsening, so if true, the shift in attitudes can only be positive.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

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 )

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