jpn_guy comments

Posted in: COVID-19 infections in Tokyo may have jumped nine-fold, antibody survey shows See in context

At the very least, you have to explain why this "pandemic" virus has not reached 99.09% of the population after circulating openly in the air for over a year.

Because measures, like wearing masks and not meeting in large numbers in crowded spaces are working?

If we went back to normal the rate would shoot up, wouldn't it?

In fact , we have seen infection does rise signficiantly up every time measures are weakened. It went up due to "Go Travel". It went up massively around January 10, 10 days after more people were breaking restrictions to spend New Year with there family. It goes down when an SOE is imposed and goes back up when the SOE is lifted.

We can see from else where what happens if we let it get worse - in other parts of the world, like North Italy and NY last year and Manaus, Brazil now, so many people are dying that the health system is under severe strain.

But, OK, maybe you are right and many more have been infected (not sure where you are getting 10 mil. from though) - this would mean that we are lucky that we have a weaker strain here in Japan for whatever reason and even if we let up all restrictions, we would not end up with a NY or Manaus like situation. How confident are you of that?

It's a pretty risky proposition isn't it? - you would literally be betting people's lives that the reasons we have not seen so many deaths is not the success of measures taken, but rather a fundamental difference between infectiousness in Japan and in those other areas where it has gone very, very wrong. Where is the evidence your would require to gamble with lives like that ?

A further point to bare in mind is that the more transmissions there are the greater the change of mutation into something even worse, which we are now seeing with the variants that have emerged from places like the UK that did not get their response together. Mutation-wise, the more people that have the disease, the more you are rolling the dice.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Posted in: COVID-19 infections in Tokyo may have jumped nine-fold, antibody survey shows See in context

And basically everybody is doing just fine.

Many of us already got Covid but didn’t even notice.

It’s a pandemic of positives but not of serious illness.

@Burning Bush - Really mate? Really? Are you still banging that drum?

Let's do some maths, shall we, if you can deal with that on a Saturday morning (well, this isn't even really "maths" is it, it's just basic arithmetic...)

The survey say 0.91% of people have antibodies. Let's call that 1% for simplicity.

Let's say around 10,000,000 people live in Tokyo (it's 9 and a bit). So give or take, 100,000 people in Tokyo or thereabouts have had COVID (it might be 80,000 or 110,000 but its in that ballpark).

Now, what is the COVID death rate? We have frequently been told throughout the pandemic that it is about 2%. However, estimates are difficult as some people have no symptoms whatsoever so are not included in the calculation. So maybe the 2% is or is not true...

The antibody tests, though, should catch these symptomless people (maybe not all depending on how long the antibody lasts and shows up in testing).

If we have around 100,000 infected people and the death rate is the 2% that has been reported, we would expect 2000 deaths in Tokyo.

The actual recorded number of dead is just under 1000. This may be half of the estimate of 2000 , but again it shows we are in the right ball park. This quick calculation did not produce an answer of 2, or 20 or 20,000 or even 200,0000 deaths.

The order of magnitude is correct. We should also remember that the figure of 1000 dead is missing those that died undiagnosed - so the actual number may be higher.

So, to recap we have uncertainty over whether the antibody test numbers include those who had short-lived antibodies, and we have uncertainty over whether the death figures catch everyone (such as those who died at home with no medical investigation) and this means that if we are working out a fraction to figure out the death rate, both the number on top and the number on the bottom (numerator and denominator) could well be too small and we are not entirely sure which direction the inaccuracy goes in.

But what is clear is that, despite these inaccuracies and uncertainties a death rate of around 1 to 3% is not completely off. Observation, experience and those statistics that we do have tell us that the death rate is not 10 to 30% but then neither is it 0.1 to 0.3% or 0.01% to 0.03 %.

So now, we can also imagine that, (if you do live in Tokyo) with just 1000 recorded deaths in a city of 10 million, you probably don't know anyone who has been ill with COVID, and since it is not happening around you, you think it is not really a thing.

But let's get back to our arithmetic and assume we follow your advice and do nothing. Let's say everyone gets COVID. How does that work out mate?

1% of 120 million is 1.2 million and we are looking at more than 1 million dead. If the whole population of the planet got COVID we are looking at north of 70 million dead - of course absolutely everyone getting the disease may be unrealistic, but if no measures at all are taken then what is there to stop the stats heading in that direction?

So @burning bush - I would argue that your comments deny reality, have no justification or evidence to back them up, and are completely irresponsible.

The reason Japan is surviving this pandemic so far is not because the disease is not serious - it kills upwards of 1 in 100 people who get it - it is simply that only around 1 in 100 people have had it so far so the total dead are around 1 in 10,000.

The reason for that is because people are successfully taking the measures that you have been arguing against (mask up, keep your distance, stay in, avoid unnecessary mingling)

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Posted in: Naomi Osaka becomes part owner of U.S. women's pro soccer club See in context

The only thing I have learned from this thread is that there will always be small-minded people who want to criticize and nitpick the life choices of other people, and for some reason this tendency goes into overdrive when talking about minorities and mixed race people. What ever happened to live and let live?

The criticisms leveled against Osaka here are ridiculous, and more evidence of the double standards that ethnic minorities in the public eye, particularly sportspeople, face.

Some people are simply never happy. Raheem Sterling, the Williams sisters, Lewis Hamilton, Colin Kaepernick (when did kneeling become a disrespectful act? - that's right, as soon as a black dude did it...); all hauled over the coals in public for nothing.

Why do people need to get up in the face of black and mixed race public figures. Away from sport, look at the hyper-criticism faced by Megan Merkle or Diane Abbot (one of the UK's first black women politicians who has for long years been the subject of cruel and unfounded abuse) every time she did anything.

Of course, the nitpickers and naysayers will deny what they are doing.

All together now; "we're not racist...."

How about y'all stop trying to drag people down?

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Posted in: Japanese approval of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine unlikely until May See in context

Troy, you write

Japanese people are (not special but different):

It is a a given fact the medicines affect different racial groups differently.

Yes, it is true that some pharmaceuticals may possibly affect different racial groups differently.

But do you genuinely believe that pharmaceutical companies and regulatory agencies agreed to roll out this vaccine in the US, with its multi-ethnic population, without bothering to include a significant portion of people of East Asian heritage in the trials? Come on now.

Admittedly the sample size might be smaller, but we have seen this play out over and over. Japan, eventually, three, five, 10 years down the line rolls out a foreign drug in the domestic market after further trials that "discover" it is safe for people of East Asian heritage; exactly the same discovery that must to take place before the roll out in the US which has nearly 1 million people of Japanese heritage, more than 2 million of Japanese or Korean heritage, and more than 5 million people of Japanese, Korean or Chinese heritage.

Then there are your reservations about the vaccine because of what happened to one unfortunately individual.

(one single individual) ‘healthy’ doctor died two weeks after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. I think Japan has it about right.

Do you even science, bro?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese architectural craft approved as UNESCO intangible heritage See in context

There is nothing wrong with being proud of your heritage, as long as you don't think it makes your people better than anyone else's people. 

> I asked no question.

Your post invites us to consider whether Japan's repeated appeals to the UN to register all and sundry are, or are not indicative of a desire to suggest that Japanese culture is "better" than other cultures. If you have never run into this attitude, then perhaps you don't live here?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese architectural craft approved as UNESCO intangible heritage See in context

Mocking [a nation's] pride [in its heritage] just makes people seem very petty, even jealous.

True.

There is nothing wrong with being proud of your heritage, as long as you don't think it makes your people better than anyone else's people. 

Ah...

You answer yourself better than I could answer you.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Posted in: 密 chosen as kanji character best representing 2020 See in context

If you have not clicked on the twitter link kindly posted by noriahojanen, you should!

Thank you noriahojanen, that is certainly an iconic (and ironic) photo. No doubt it will be much reproduced. I don't often click on random posted links, but I am glad I did. I think you are underselling this one!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan rugby coach Joseph looking forward to England challenge See in context

Japan a different story away from home.

Indeed. The legendary victory against SA took place in the well-known Japanese town of Brighton.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Do you think the media reporting details of suicides, especially by celebrities, causes an increase in suicides among the general public? See in context

Suppressing the news of suicides will only result in increasing them.

You are confusing suppressing the news (i.e. note reporting at all) with not mentioning details. Clearly we do not need details. A Japan Today article the other day literally spelling out the implement the individual used to hang themselves. Surely this level of detail is not required.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Body of missing 14-year-old Nara girl found in mountains near her home See in context

Hi Japan Today. It is well established that reporting suicide causes more suicide. Yes, that is correct. Research shows that when there are more stories of suicide in the news, suicide rates go up.

As other posters have mentioned, it is standard practice to include helpful contact information for suicidal people in a piece like this. All news organizations that wish to be taken seriously do this.

Similarly, it is now standard practice not to provide details on how the deceased passed since it may encourage people to copy the method. It is certainly completely unacceptable to provide information on the precise tool used to carry out the act as you have done here.

Please take a look at how the BBC, for example, reports these tragedies.

Of course, this approach will sometimes leave the more certain readers wondering about the details, but if it is proven that leaving out the details saves lives, perhaps you might want to follow this approach.

As I am not a journalist or a professional in a related field, I cannot point you to the precise research that concluded detailed reports on suicide literally result in more people dying, but I am sure the various journalistic and professional associations to which you belong to can point you in the right direction so as to bring your reporting into line with international standards.

Thank you. I hope you can take this on board.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Posted in: Hunter Biden facing federal investigation over 'tax affairs' See in context

You've been jumping up and down about Trump's family for years. Now the shoes is on the other foot, you don't like it.

We don't know the results of the investigation. But sure, if he has been up to no good and is guilty, then he should not receive special treatment.

I think most "on the left" feel this way. We don't like special favors and cronyism.

But let me ask you questions... Is Biden planning to employ his son at the White House? Have him sit along side him in photocalls with world leaders? Give him negotiating roles for which he is not qualified? Make hims a "special advisor?" Provide him with a government salary (funded by taxpayers?) Appoint him to manage this or that project?

The answer to all these questions is no, isn't it?

So how can you possibly compare Biden's son, who will be completely uninvolved in his father's administration, with the Trump family and their nepotistic appointments?

Are you really looking at these two situations and concluding "these are exactly the same, just with the roles reversed?"

Cannot you not see the difference here? Serious question.

6 ( +17 / -11 )

Posted in: Nike ad addresses bullying and racism in Japan; riles up debate online See in context

I don't see mixed race people being "glamorized" here at all. I would suggest that interpretation is mostly in your own imagination. Perhaps you could expand a little more on why you see this as "glamorization", and that might make your position easier to understand.

It also seems a stretch to suggest the ad is painting all average Japanese people as bigoted. If you are to show minorities being bullied, then by definition there will be some portrayal of those who are causing the bullying them. This does not imply all Japanese people are bigots now, does it?

However, under the logic you present, we would never be able to highlight the bullying problems faced by minorities, since you could always employ the same counter-argument irrespective of the circumstances, namely that the perpetrators are being depicted in an unfairly bad light. Surely this logic applies consistently and would allows you to reject any attempt to address the topic on these same grounds. That is why, if we accepted your position, we find ourselves with a perfect recipe for sweeping unfair treatment of minorities under the rug, ensuring the problem never gets addressed and therefore never gets solved.

Another perspective worth baring in mind is this: under what circumstances is criticism, or indeed even simply reference to, Japan's treatment of minorities ever met with sincere introspection? The answer is pretty much never. Again, this is a recipe for prolonging problems by sweeping them under the rug. You want to make a case that this ad paints Japanese people in an unfairly bad light, but if you have been in Japan for sometime, it quickly becomes clear that any discussion at all on this topic raises hackles, no matter how it is presented or couched. That surely suggests the greater problem lies not with the source material but with the reaction to it, wouldn't you agree?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Posted in: JRFU rules certain Japan passport holders will be regarded as non-Japanes See in context

Thier motivations were probably more on the whole competition side of things.

Maybe, maybe not. But we need to rank concepts in order of importance.

International rugby is one thing. Human rights is another.

The law says their is only one type of citizen, no-subclasses allowed. Historically, there are good reasons for not subdividing citizens at all (and keeping discrimination against non-citizens to the bare necessary minimum).

Standing firm to say that a given organization cannot suddenly wake up one day and say "you may be a citizen but you are not a citizen" is too important a concept to start making exceptions.

Whatever the personal histories of the gentlemen involved, and whatever motivations other people may decide they had for naturalizing, Japan Rugby are absolutely and unequivocally breaking the law here.

If you try to argue this with many local people they may respond "but they are foreign so it can't be helped". This attitude in itself is at the route of many of Japan's problems, and Japan Rugby behaving in this way is not helping.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Coming to a cinema near you: the life of UK's Captain Tom See in context

I fully expect this film to provide an in-depth explanation and impartial analysis of the British Army presence in Southeast Asia. As we know, the good British people never discuss the war against Japan without full awareness of the morality and justice underlying their own country's actions.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Posted in: JRFU rules certain Japan passport holders will be regarded as non-Japanes See in context

removing the strict limits on non-Japanese players (and now some newly minted citizens who've played abroad) would lead to teams replacing more Japanese players with international players

This sentence does not make logical sense. What do you mean by replacing "more Japanese players?". The newly minted citizes are "Japanese players". That's the whole point. When you naturalize, you are Japanese. That is not my opinion. That is the law of Japan which the Japanese people made themselves. Do you think the law is wrong?

So in your above sentence, you are replacing "Japanese players" with... "Japanese players". This is the problem with the stance of the Rugby Association. It encourages divisive thinking and a "them and us" mentality that is to the detriment of society as a whole.

These individuals have given up their old citizenship, demonstrated commitment to Japan, moved across the world and made sacrifices...and this is how you reward them? You are not "really" Japanese because you don't look right. We can't let you play because you are too big and strong. It's ridiculous.

But think of the children you say!!

In order to grow rugby as a sport in Japan they need to hook young Japanese fans to attend the games, idolize their favourite players, and buy the shirts. This becomes increasingly difficult if all the top scoring stars don't look like the fans, don't speak their language well, have unpronounceable names, and a backstory which is completely unrelatable for any Japanese person.

Wait, now you are actually arguing that Japanese people don't like or want to associate with foreign, or foreign-looking people? Are you saying that young ethnic Japanese don't like people who don't look like them? That they can't relate to people who grew up overseas? This seems to be quite a dangerous game to play and rather at odds with the usual rhetoric we here about how there is "no racism" in Japan.

Besides which, there is also no evidence for this besides what you have invented.

Some kids want to be Spiderman, don't they? Kid's don't really care. I think you should give them more credit.

Kids love Hollywood movies and actors. The only reason the music industry here is dominated by local faces is because of vested interests and what is pushed on the public. The most successful soccer league in the world, the English Premier league, is based in England but welcomes allcomers, including "top scoring stars who don't look like the fans, players who don't speak their language well, and player who have unpronounceable names".

None of what you say stands up to scrutiny.

Rugby maybe struggling in Japan. There are many reasons for this, not least of which is the reluctance of parents to let their children play a game in which they think they might be injured. Then there is the lack of clubs which produces a chicken and egg problem. The fact that the leadership of most Japanese sports organizations are more senior people who are not in touch with modern methods of advertising and PR probably does not help either. Then, in the specific case of rugby, there is the shambles with the top league and the Sunwolves. I am sure there are other problems.

"Children don't want to play because the top Japanese players are not the right type of Japanese".

Is that really the one obstacle you have identified to the future development of rugby in Japan?

Play by the rules Japan.

No pass. No kid gloves. No racism.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: JRFU rules certain Japan passport holders will be regarded as non-Japanes See in context

M3M3M3 -

Think very carefully about what you are saying here.

Firstly, shall we agree to leave aside arguments above quotas for women or physically disabled people since this is a question of race and ethnicity.

Let's focus on that and on your comparison with affirmative action in the US.

How can you draw equivalence here?

Which groups of people in Japan is denied are housing? Which groups of people are denied credit cards even when earning double the average salary? Who is automatically deemed to be at fault when two races fight in the street? I'll give you a clue. It is not local-born people of the majority ethnicity people. Who benefits from majority privilege in Japan? It is not the foreign born.

Which groups were recently denied the ability to return to their place of habitual residence during the COVID crisis? I think you know the answer. Shall we go on?

Think about your argument. Do you not realize that you are equating the following two things:

measures designed to protect minorities (affirmative action to give opportunities to Black people)

measures designed to disadvantage minorities (restrictions on the employment of foreign-born Japanese, who are in this case also all ethnic minorities).

The principle is fundamentally the same.

Is it though?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: JRFU rules certain Japan passport holders will be regarded as non-Japanes See in context

How Japanese is that?

How illegal is that?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: JRFU rules certain Japan passport holders will be regarded as non-Japanes See in context

Well, there are arguments back and forth about sporting illegibility.

However, the legal and constitutional argument is clear and the precedent is extremely dangerous.

Those of you guys posting above in support of this are thinking too narrowly. Think beyond rugby and what this implies. An organization can create sub-classes of citizens and treat one subclass worse.

I doubt the players will read this, but they should sue. There is no way this can stand up in court. In Japan, despite what people may say about your ethnicity and belonging, if you are a citizen, you are a citizen.

This incidentally, is one of the reasons the government does not collect data on mixed-race Japanese and therefore has no evidence one way or the other on whether they face discrimination in the job market or housing market. etc.

Japan Today - do you employ journalists? Please ask a member of the ruling party why they don't collect data on discrimination against mixed race Japanese. They will no doubt reply "because Japan is a free and fair democratic country. All of its citizens are equal before the law and subclasses citizen would go against the constitution". Then ask then about this rugby question and watch them about face.

It is sad that these illegal and hypocritical actions are allowed to go unchallenged.

I believe that the sumo association also has similar unconstitutional rules. Perhaps a lawyer could get on this pro bono.

And fellow JT posters - in your desire to diss Japan's rugby team, have another think about what you are actually supporting here. Shall we get some ID cards for the Japanese citizens who are not quite "Japanese" enough maybe?

This is blatant discrimination. Call it out. How just Japan get to demand to be a member of the global community and then refuse to play by the rules?

Japan should not get a pass.

No pass. No kid gloves. No racism.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Posted in: If you are currently teleworking, to what extent do you miss interacting with your work colleagues, having lunch with them, deskside chats and the energy of the workplace? See in context

However, I do miss meeting gaijin friends from other companies for lunch or after work for beers.

Interesting that you specific "gaijin friends". Do you have Japanese colleagues and friends that you hang out with or who encourage you join in their circle?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan confirms 1,512 new coronavirus infections See in context

But if he jogged in an open uncrowded riverside, how does he know that the parks are fully packed?

I am not sure you are writing this as if it proves some major point.

People can use their eyes to see into the distance, and look at other places.

How hard is it to imagine someone jogging in a huge park, keeping away from everyone else, and observing a crowd of people close together in another part of the park?

I keep seeing versions of this comment as some kind of "gotcha" response every time someone makes a comment about being outside and seeing other people not social distancing.

The flaw in the logic of these comments seems obvious. It is possible to observe a crowd without being in it.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese government to urge more teleworking as coronavirus cases surge See in context

Zichi wrote "Bahamas are offering a one year visa to teleworkers"

This is actually incorrect mate. It is Barbados, which is a separate country.

Here is the article showing it is Barbados not the Bahamas.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-53385227

(I corrected this before and the moderator bizarrely removed it as "off topic". In an article entitled "Japanese government to urge more teleworking" how can you be more on topic than mentioning a country offering a new teleworking visa?).

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Posted in: 'The Simpsons' ends white actors voicing characters of color See in context

To claim that only a black actor can do a 'black' voice, only an Asian actor can do an 'Asian' voice - isn't that in itself pandering to racial stereotypes and therefore racist?

The issue is complicated. Basically, I agree that saying only Black people can play Black people actually highlights racial differences and goes against what Dr. King said about struggling until the importance of skin color is of no more importance than eye color. So yes, in an ideal world, where no-one cared about race, there are lots of ethical, practical and strategic reasons to say that everyone should be able to play everybody.

The problem, as some posters either don't seem to know, or do know but are willfully ignoring, is that this is not how the history of the arts has played out. In many fields, both artistic and non-artistic, ethnic minorities have been frequently been shut out of work due to discrimination.

(As an aside, this is might be why the Williams sisters, Lewis Hamilton and Tiger Woods dominated their respective sports, despite being among the first minorities (in Hamilton's case the very first individual) to enter the elite level of their respective fields. What are the statistical chances of that happening? It just goes to show that in many fields, to even get a chance, minorities have had to be very, very good. The massive success achieved by these pioneers as soon as they could take part is testament to all the other talent that went by the wayside and never got a chance).

So how does this relate to the entertainment industry? Well, chances and opportunities for minority actors, directors and producers have been few and far between down the years. Of course, this is changing now, certainly. There is much more representation and a more even playing field than in days gone by. But, up until now, minorities have been shut out of many roles.

Here is just one example. Brits and Australians may remember, for example the soap operas Home and Away and Neighbors. Starting in the 80s (I think) and watched by millions, they became staples of the TV schedule, particularly in the UK. Despite the mixed racial makeup of Australia, these shows were almost 100% white. I know white people are the majority in Australia, but not to this extent. If you were an ethnic minority actor in Australia and wanted a part in a popular Australian soap opera, well, it would not have mattered how good your acting skills were because there were no roles for you to begin with.

There are thousands of examples like this. You can probably think of some yourself. Surely this is the context that led to people complaining about white actors taking roles written for ethnic minority characters or voicing ethnic minority cartoon characters.

The complaint was this - 'we are being shut out of the mainstream, it is hard to find roles, or to find funding for our own projects, and now you are not even going to give us the "ethnic" roles either?? Are you kidding me? Do you just want us to disappear altogether?'

The claim

isn't it racist to say that only a black actor can do a 'black' voice?

is rather different since a white actor in a Western country who might what to do a "black voice" is unlikely to be a marginalized figure struggling for mainstream work despite having the talent, and is unlikely to be short of work for reasons related their race.

So in an ideal world, yes, everyone would play everyone, and no-one would care. I agree that, in the long-run, this is not a great road to go down - it highlights racial difference and makes everyone hyper-sensitive. But it is worth considering how and why we got to this point.

One ongoing problem is that many people shouting that this is "PC gone mad" are denying the real histories of discriminatory treatment while simplifying the issue to claim that the whole thing is absurd.

And unfortunately a subset of these people shouting "PC gone mad" would in fact be quite happy to reverse the clock a few years to keep ethnic minority actors permanently on the sidelines.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Posted in: Naomi Osaka called racist after posting meme in response to COVID-19 cases See in context

There isnt a week that goes by where I dont hear somebody in a restaurant or event kitchen, when yours truly arrives on scene, and while sitting while being gaijin, all sorts of "gaijin blah blah" suddenly are heard

I hear you. Keep you head up. I'm going to guess that you have near native Japanese listening skills after long years here and can understand random quiet comments from across a room even when someone is not speaking to you directly, so you hear stuff all the time.

It can be a problem, can't it? It is one of the reasons why people who don't speak much Japanese are sometimes a little blind to the ubiquity of the "them" and "us" distinction that is raised frequently in the most irrelevant of places. It can be hard to deal with when it goes on and on. Each little incident is minor, but they have a cumulative weight. It can be hard constantly being told, or hearing indirectly, "you are not one of us" day after day after day, even after doing your best to integrate. And since these little incidents are inevitably minor when considered in isolation, you may get people trying to tell you there is no issue which is doubly wearying.

Anyway, just recently I was in a store and the person I was speaking to had to call another colleague on her little walkie-talkie to get him to come and deal with my request. I am not in this situation often, but when I am the relayed request often (not always of course) starts "there is a foreign customer here and he..." as if it is rude to the colleague to summon them without first telling them the person they will have to speak to is not (or does not appear to be) Japanese. But this time, there was no mention of my race just "a customer wants..." as she would have said for anyone else.

I nearly found myself saying thank you for just passing on my request like I am a regular person, but in the end I thought if she isn't mentioning it, it kind of defeats the object mentioning it myself. If the guy was surprised when he turned up, he also managed to hide it, showing that the usual "warning" is not necessary. But I was grateful to these two people, who kindly helped me find what I need without asking me where I am from, complementing my Japanese, asking why I could speak Japanese etc. We just did quick business, no fuss. This is progress of a sort.

Before coming to Japan, I could never have even imagined myself noticing and being grateful for what is by global standards very normal behavior.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Many Japanese defy appeals to stay home to curb virus See in context

@Burning Bush

"The individual choice, liberty and freedom path is the right one.Let people make their own choices.

People who want to stay at home because they fear the virus are absolutely free to do so".

I have seen you and other like you make versions of this argument in various articles on JT. "Let people have their choice". "Go out if you want". "Stay in if you want".

But there is a hole in this argument, is there not? Some people go out because they are medical workers. Some people go out because they are doing other essentials tasks. Some people go out because they need to feed themselves. If those who could simply stay in work from home and get by economically simply decide they are going to go out "because it is their right" then they are putting at greater risk all those who go out because they have not choice.

Was it you who posted elsewhere that if you want to have a party in the park with your friends you will? I can't remember. One posters was saying said that no-one should be able to stop you going out to party/picnic and that if others did not like it, well the others were free not to participate and stay in, just the same as the participants are free to go out.

Well, that's a bit dumb isn't? What if one of the party and passes it to his friend who then goes back home and give it to his family. What if that family member is a doctor or nurse?. Well now they've got it, haven't they, thanks to your party. People are now at risk of dying because of your "rights". Let's hope they find out they have it before they spread it among their colleagues and further reduce the number of available healthy medical staff.

Honestly, what kind of person thinks their right to go out and do what they like comes before the rights of other people not to have callous individuals get them infected with a deadly disease?

Your decision to prioritize your "rights" and do whatever you want directly affects others, sometimes fatally. I don't understand what is hard to understand about this.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Posted in: Guide to reduce virus risks issued for schools before reopening See in context

"The guidelines also request that students and staff avoid conversing with others at close quarters".

How is this possible in a classroom when the desks are about 50 cm apart.

I know Japanese teachers do a lot of teaching from the front of the room, but if the teacher wants to move among the class and check on the kids' work is she going to levitate?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Answering the tricky 'Where are you from?' question in Japan See in context

It provides a frame of reference in finding something out about other people.

If the above is TLDR, consider this. Why can the frame of reference not be that I have been a regular, honest, hard-working member of your society, just like you, for the past quarter of a century?

Why does your reference need to be a place I left decades ago and do not have a life in?

My life is here, can you not make that your reference point?

Again, the question itself is innocuous, but it often comes from a place of doubting certain people's qualifications as a paid up member of society.

Of course, it goes without saying that this is not the same for everyone.

But you cannot deny that there exist those who, on hearing your home country, reference everything back to that and have seemingly little interest in treating you as a regular member of the community (particularly the free English lesson seekers)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Answering the tricky 'Where are you from?' question in Japan See in context

"If someone says 'hey where are you from', and you get weird about it, you're the weird one here. Not the person asking".

Strangerland

The idea that "Where are you from?" is a tricky question seems almost ridiculous to me. Particularly in Japan.

Zones to Surf

These are interesting quotes. I agree to a point. The question is very innocuous and it is crazy to fly off the handle when asked it. I do think your responses lack a little nuanced understanding, though, for why the situation is not so simple.

I have found that answering with my home country, which I left more than 20 years ago and rarely visit, leads to people talking about that country and their experiences on holiday there or having met its people. Sometimes this talking points are based stereotypes, sometimes we might have an interesting conversation.

So I am not rejecting out of hand going down this conversational road.

The main problem, though, is what we miss out on in this situation. If the conversation can be steered on to other ground, which it often can, again, all is well and good.

However, I am sure that many non-Japanese people in Japan have experienced people who are determined to put non-Japanese people in a box, and want to talk about "foreigner" and "foreign" things, almost in denial that the person they are talking to has been an active member of the community in Japan for decades.

When our lives, both personal and professional, are based here, why are we constantly required to refer to ourselves in the context of a place we no longer live in in a way that denies our connection to the society we are currently part of?

People who are determined to press on in bad English. People who express ridiculous surprise when a non-Japanese looking face tries to discuss anything Japanese-related in any detail. People who cannot just relax and let a non-Japanese person join in whatever they are taking about without making a deal over their "foreigness".

Now "where are you from?" is clearly a simple question that should not be reacted to with vitriol or a "chip on your shoulder". Sometimes, though, after you've been asked, you just know where the conversation is going and what little box you are going to be categorized into.

I think it is this attitude, which is extremely widespread in Japan, that causes the backlash, rather than the innocent question itself.

Good luck integrating everybody (because if you can't it's clearly your fault for not doing it properly and absolutely nothing to do with the hurdles placed in your way by the attitude of many local people....)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Subway manners See in context

This is why context is everything.

By itself, it looks like only a serial complainer could find something wrong with this poster. But if you live in Japan, you will have noticed a trend that has emerged in recent years. Information on products is only sometimes, and not often, available in store in other languages. Likewise information on membership schemes, discounts, special offers, promotions, local events, coupons, or numerous schemes of various varieties that can make life more comfortable. Of course, this is Japan and we should learn Japanese, so the above is I guess not necessary.

But do you have advice on how to behave properly? A lesson in manners? A security notice telling people not to steal things? A notification that security cameras are watching you? Then, for some reason, the text is most often available in every language under the sun. I have seen the "shoplifting will be prosecuted" warning in everything from Vietnamese to Russian in the depths of the countryside where, by contrast, there is absolutlye no helpful information that could actually assist the non-Japanese speaker.

"Non-Japanese are immoral. Non-Japanese are not to be trusted. Non-Japanese are to be looked down on."

Of course, Japan is full of great people and not everyone thinks like this, but that message - the message that we not not customers or clients, but rather bothersome interlopers who need to be told how to behave - it comes across extremely clearly if you look at what kind of information is, and is not, rendered in foreign languages in public in Japan.

I notice this trend becoming more pronounced too. I wonder if any other readers agree with this? I would be happy to be told I have got this all wrong.

(Note that I am not saying there is never any helpful foreign language information ever, it is a matter of degree).

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: Department store reviews plan for staff to wear menstruation badges after outcry See in context

Thanks Dervish. Brevity not my strong point, unfortunately. It is a bit of a problem...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Department store reviews plan for staff to wear menstruation badges after outcry See in context

生理に対する理解を深めたい」と、若手女性社員から提案され

So let's set this straight, shall we?

As has been pointed out above by hiragino4410, this sentence in Japanese is 100% unambiguous and means that (the company is claiming) a young woman proposed the plan.

As far as the grammar of this sentence goes the 生理に対する理解を深めたい」と... part of the sentence can be translated as "in order to promote deeper understanding over [employees who have to work while suffering discomfort due to their] period"...

“と” , in this usage, links a reason with an action by a designated party, in this case the proposal.

The first part of the sentence before the “と” is complete and self-contained, setting out the reason for the proposal. When we get to 若手女性社員から提案され, the question of what is being proposed (the 提案)can only logically refer back to the original plan, and the sentence cannot be interpreted as an unrelated woman (who was not the proposer) simply making a comment about the system.

Consider the example sentence;

JPN: 若い人にもっと運動してもらうと、新しい体育館の建設が市から提案された。

ENG: In order to encourage young people to do more exercise, the city authorities proposed the construction of a new sports hall.

Now imagine that the entire topic of conversation is the new sports hall and everyone involves in the discussion shares that awareness. Then you can simply write

若い人にもっと運動してもらうと、市から提案された。

Even though the reference to the sports hall has been removed from the sentence, the English translation does not change.  Assuming we are still discussing the sports hall, the sentence has not become ambiguous nor is another interpretation is possible, even though the subject has gone completely.

If subjectless sentences like these are completely unambiguous, why do we see people complaining that subjectless sentences lead to ambiguity in Japanese?

To explain this, we can look at an example of where an ambiguity could actually occur using a subjectless construction when discussing a proposal. For example, if you had a sub proposal within a larger proposal, so you are literally discussing both in the same context, there would be room for confusion, depending on the details.

JPN: 新しい区画整理がはじまり、その一環として体育館の建設もすすめられている。

若い人にもっと運動してもらうと、市から発案された。

ENG: A new urban renewal program has begun including the construction of a sports hall.

The city came up with the idea [to build the sports hall] to promote exercise among young people.

The above is unambiguous.

However;

JPN: 新しい区画整理がはじまり、その一環として公園の建設もすすめられている。

町の魅力を向上させるため、市から発案された。

ENG: A new urban renewal program has begun including the construction of a park.

The city came up with the idea [of the urban renewal? of the park?} to improve the appeal of the city.

This one is a little more ambiguous (forgive the strained example, it is a little hard to think of these kind of sentences on the fly. Even here, the most natural interpretation probably leans towards the park as the subject).

Despite the slight potential for confusion when discussing nested topics, these constructions are a regular feature of written Japanese.

In complex topics and technical writing (such as patent applications) it is not a great idea to use constructions like this as they can be deliberately misread by people with malevolent intent.

However, where there is only one relatively simply topic, the

( [reason for action] と [details of action left out] [party taking action] [verb describing action] )

construction works quite nicely.

So, to return to the topic, a grammatical analysis reveals there is no potential whatsoever for ambiguity and the badge was (it is claimed) proposed by female staff.

Thanks if you made it this far!

12 ( +12 / -0 )

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