el comments

Posted in: 3 Japan PM hopefuls urge elderly to stay on job for pension system See in context

All well and good, but what are you supposed to do when your company boots you out at 60 just because you've turned that age, regardless of experience, the work you're producing and so on? Not to mention that some companies in fact mandate retirement at 60, not 65.....

No wonder this country can be such a joyless place at times.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Posted in: Flame lighting events for Paralympic torch relay begin in Japan See in context

”Brain paralysis”??? I’m guessing this is a really bad translation of cerebral palsy, but you’d think they could at least get their terms right.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Posted in: Interpreters make sure nothing gets lost in translation at Olympics See in context

Very nice, but some of the interpreters on the ground at the venues are not very good. I’ve felt fortunate I speak Japanese

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: How will the state of emergency affect Tokyo Olympics? See in context

Now it just remains to persuade those young people to vote, which will likely be much harder than persuading them to drink.

Unfortunately there's been a growing trend of young people voting for the LDP, so this wouldn't necessarily lead to the desired changes. The biggest problem here is lack of a creditable opposition, which was partly just bad luck - the Dems were running the government when 3/11 happened. I personally don't think the LDP would have handled things any better, but the Dems have been tainted in the minds of the people and discredited as a government force. Sad but true. A friend once described Japanese elections as "re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic" and that's going to be more true than ever this fall.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: IOC chief Bach arrives in Japan for Tokyo Olympics See in context

If it's so safe and secure, why is Herr Bach wearing an N-95 mask?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to halt company applications for workplace vaccinations See in context

The vaccines they donated were AstraZeneca, which while approved won’t be used here because of the very slight chance of danger. Unfortunately for Japan a huge part of the doses they secured were AstraZeneca.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Posted in: Tokyo Governor Koike hospitalized due to fatigue See in context

She’s done way better as governor than her predecessors, and it’s hard not to conclude so much of the bashing here is misogyny. I mean, her two predecessors both quit due to SCANDALS - haven’t seen any here. She’s had to deal with the pandemic and Olympics and been more decisive than a lot of oyajis would have been - better than Abe, certainly.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Posted in: Warning to athletes: Follow the rules at Tokyo Olympics, or else See in context

The thing that everybody's forgetting is that the athletes desperately want to be here - it's their profession, they've trained for it, and they only have a small window of time in many cases. Does that mean all of them will obey the rules? I'll believe it when I see it. But though from outside it seems as though the IOC is pulling all the strings, the athletes are more than happy in most cases to go along. One reason the Olympics were postponed last year was big athlete groups, whole nations, refusing to go. Not this year.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Posted in: Members of media from abroad covering Olympics to be tracked by GPS See in context

Actually, Tokyo 2020 people have said before, as has Suga, that journalists who break the quarantine rules would have their coverage accreditation taken, and could be deported. Again, this may all just be talk, but.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: As Olympics loom, Japan's health care in turmoil See in context

What this article also doesn’t mention is that while the Osaka situation is definitely bad, it’s actually getting better....

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Posted in: Olympic puppet See in context

Nightmarish. But then, entirely appropriate to these Games.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: Restaurants, hotels in Osaka, Hyogo and Miyagi prefectures disappointed at stricter COVID-19 steps See in context

Yeah well, of course they're disappointed. I'm more disappointed that my own sacrifices - working from home for a year, limiting travel, not seeing my boyfriend who lives in a different part of Japan - aren't being matched by a big part of the population, so that we have this situation with the virus still going on, with NO VACCINE IN SIGHT for most of us for months. My 29-year-old cousin in the US is getting hers, and she has no pre-existing conditions. If the government had taken this more seriously earlier, maybe more of the population would have too, and we'd have fewer cases. And the torch relay wouldn't be having sections cancelled due to viral infections rising.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Posted in: Some medical experts unconvinced about holding Tokyo Olympics See in context

Well, okay, everything put together perhaps 20,000 foreigners will come to Japan - "tens of thousands" a bit of a stretch - but most of THEM are likely to be vaccinated. The danger will come from everybody here at home. Even Bangladesh has begun vaccinating ordinary people.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Posted in: In landmark ruling, Japanese court says same-sex marriage ban 'unconstitutional' See in context

With homosexual role models on tv variety shows just about every night I wonder if the person who wrote this article even lives in Japan. Homosexuality has been very open in Japan regardless of how conservative people believe the nation to be.

What role models are you referring to, "Hard Gay"? I agree there are more than there were, but those on TV variety shows are often really exaggerated examples that kind of serve to make straights feel more comfortable, sort of the way they seem to prefer foreigners who seem stereotypically foreign. When people who run bars in Ni-chome aren't even out to their own families, and many long-term couples prefer not to be out in their companies, I'd say it's a socially conservative country.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan decides not to procure insulin syringes for COVID-19 vaccinations See in context

Actually diabetic syringes would mainly deliver the vaccines subcutaneously, not intramuscularly as they’re supposed to. This sounds to me as if it’s a way to avoid a potentially dangerous situation and I’m glad to hear it. I’m not excusing Japan, I’m furious about the delays, but I’d rather get a proper shot than one that doesn’t protect me.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan marks 10 years since earthquake, tsunami See in context

Dothehustle, walking home and sleeping in offices were hardships, not tragedy.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Symbols stand as reminder of disaster for future generations See in context

They have replanted the forest, but they’re still only saplings.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Ex-transport minister Hata, 53, dies from COVID-19 after falling ill on Dec 24 See in context

As for Hata's death seeming quick even for Covid, I wonder if he didn't have a blood clot that made its way to his lungs; the reports I've read of him in the car going for his Covid test, all of a sudden getting short of breath and then losing consciousness, kind of fit that description. Blood clots are a known side effect of Covid, and with diabetes, even more so.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: 93% of airline passengers in Asia-Pacific say their travel routines have changed forever See in context

Meh. Once there's a vaccine and things are under control, this will all change. Right now, given the situation, it's hard to imagine travel as we did before, so of course people say "forever." Ask again in a year.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Suicides in Japan rise in October for 4th straight month See in context

While Japan has a long, long way to go on this issue, the government had brought down the number of suicides by 40 percent between 2003 and 2019, which is pretty substantial even if it's not yet enough. Also, compared to the old days - and I've lived here for 30-some years - people are a lot more open to the idea of counseling and there are more resources, certainly more help lines. Now a lot of places are reaching out on SNS and the net as well. I know somebody who works in a local government where several folks in the office have taken mental health leave, so it's much less of a taboo than it used to be. Obviously efforts need to be further tailored, and the youth suicide problem is sadly seeing no improvement. (Actually, even youth suicides are lower than they were in the mid-1980s). By contrast, the US was seeing a steep rise in its suicide rate even before corona. So, while Japan has a lot more work to do, they've already done a lot.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan eyes exempting short-term business travelers from quarantine See in context

The only thing that's good about this is that with a few more of these exemptions, the discrimination against foreign residents will start to seem even more blatantly stupid and may change.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Death toll rises to 56 as rain damage widens in southwest Japan See in context

These situations are far from ideal, but the problem is that a lot of these areas are isolated and largely rural - and while it may be hard to imagine from the comfort of cities, there aren't always hotels nearby, not even love hotels. There are always schools and/or community halls. I'm not sure any nation can manage to put up vast numbers of people in individual rooms during a disaster situation, which by its very nature tends to come on suddenly. Then there's the logistical challenge of moving vast numbers of people away from a dangerous location under conditions that may be dangerous in and of themselves. Also, a lot of these folks are older and may refuse to leave.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Koike to declare candidacy for re-election as Tokyo governor See in context

Are you kidding? How could the voters forget that she wanted the marathon (and other long-distance races) to be in Tokyo in the July/August sweltering heat? Athletes would have died! And then she refused to delay the Olympics until PM Abe stepped in to agree with the IOC to delay until next year. Can you imagine if the Olympics would have begun next month?

You have a very selective memory; ABE was no more eager than she to delay, the IOC completely forced his hand and he was only their mouthpiece. She wanted the marathon to STAY in Tokyo, a decision that was made behind her back by Mori et al (who really hate her guts), because that's where it should be, really. It's not her fault the 2020 Organizing Committee completely misrepresented Tokyo's weather in the summer and the IOC had a collective moment of stupidity. She wasn't even governor when the Olympics were won. So, blame her for all you want but don't blame her for these two things, they weren't her fault.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Virus travel bans separate families even as restrictions ease See in context

I also read somewhere about "vital" foreign trainees - ie as needed to work on fishing ships - being allowed into the country but subjected to the two weeks' quarantine. Whereas I as a permanent resident wouldn't even be allowed in. My mother is 85 and while she's very healthy right now, there are no guarantees she'll stay that way and I'd like to see her this year.

Meanwhile, I hear that when they loosen restrictions, business travelers will have priority. What a surprise. Whereas a 33-years-resident, paying taxes all the time, permanent resident still doesn't. Nice message for a country trying to lure foreign residents to bolster its labour supply.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

Posted in: Abe's virus-relief ¥100,000 cash program faces barrage of criticism See in context

The US response to the pandemic and the behavior of Trump is beyond belief and embarrassing. Yet I got my U.S. stimulus check in the mail the other day even though I live here in Japan, without doing anything at all, simply because I filed my tax forms last year. I have yet to receive either my Abenomasks or the application form from my city (no, I don't have the My Number card).

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Express train knocks suicide jumper back onto platform, injuring 3 people See in context

This particular case is very sad and horrible, and Japan's suicide rate still remains much higher than it should, but the truth is that it's down by close to 30 percent over around 12 years, with suicides in all age groups except youths falling.


1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Parents, teachers scramble to cope after Abe urges school shutdown See in context

Yes, closing the schools is a strange choice to make - but it allows Abe to look powerful and in charge, and nobody can complain about "for the sake of the children." Kids do not get the coronavirus as much. Meanwhile, teachers will still have to go to school....

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Power line trouble seen as possible cause of Okinawa castle fire See in context

What I'm still struggling to understand is why there weren't better fire suppression measures in place. I understand that it was completely in line with regulations, and had sprinkler-type equipment on the outside walls, but it's hard to believe there wasn't more inside that could have prevented this, especially since it was rebuilt relatively recently.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: 'Superfan' of Japan's royals has followed them for decades See in context

How is it all that different from a lot of other social activities? Some older people play gateball, she has an activity that requires physical movement AND she has friends she sees regularly; using the camera uses her brain and it's also a bit creative. As for the possible stalker-y aspects of it, stars (who are also followed by okkake) and, dare I say, even the imperial family rely on this sort of admiration/trust/whatever as part of the deal. You can't be revered if you aren't seen. It's symbiotic.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Incoming emperor's life filled with breaks from tradition See in context

Well, okay, so they don't have to ride the trains and work eight-hour days and pay taxes. In that sense their life isn't tough. However, they have a pretty busy schedule of what we'd see as inane and boring duties - National Red Cross Association meetings, anybody? - and no freedom to go outside the palace, travel or do anything else. For a while, if Masako went out to visit an expensive restaurant she came in for really fierce criticism in the press. She was supposed to have a baby BOY and was pressured to do that, to such an extent she wasn't allowed to go overseas for a while "just in case" she was pregnant. When she and the Crown Prince went on a "family" visit to Holland she was criticized. Constantly in the spotlight. Nope, I think that's pretty tough myself.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

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