O'Brien comments

Posted in: Japan extends virus emergency to Sept 12; weighs legal options to enforce restrictions See in context

that is the state you want?

Absolutely. I would feel far better going to a bar, supermarket, restaurant, etc., if I knew that all the customers there were civic-minded people who take a moment to consider other people, rather than selfish, ignorant vermin.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Posted in: Japanese media reports have estimated up to 40% of bars and restaurants in some parts of Tokyo are flouting anti-virus measures that restrict them from selling alcohol and require them to close by 8 p.m. What do you think of this? See in context

Pay them PROPERLY to close - including 80% of staff wages, then they might comply. It's not hard.

And don't make it practically impossible to claim compensation for lost business ("please fill out and hanko the following 454679408469406 forms, in triplicate, then fax them one at a time to the following number, between 15:00 and 16:00 every eighth of the month excluding months beginning with "M" or "J")

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan's largest Paralympic team formed, gearing up for success See in context

Be interesting to see what happens, in terms of public support, if Japan isn't as successful with these games as it was in the main games.

The large number of medals won in the regular games seemed to have the effect the government wanted: the easily-distracted peasantry dutifully swooned over the nice shiny medals and temporarily forgot about the fact that their government was making a complete hash of their Covid strategy. It was probably more than enough to guarantee another LDP landslide later this year.

But if the paralympics don't work out the same way, wonder if there will be a backlash?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Texas governor tests positive for COVID-19 See in context

And we think we have bad politicians in Japan. The difference is that most of the politicians in Japan are merely inept, whereas guys like this and the Florida governor seem to be corrupt to the core and aren't particularly bothered about it.

At least that's my non-US-citizen take on it. We've got some bad ones in the UK too, but in terms of flat-out conflict-of-interest nastiness, I think certain of the US states have us whipped.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan extends virus emergency to Sept 12; weighs legal options to enforce restrictions See in context

Shigeru Omi, an infectious disease expert who is the nation's top COVID-19 adviser, said members of an advisory panel for the government are calling for legislation enabling tougher restrictions on people's movements.

It's a slightly oblique way of looking at it, but if the government did somehow manage to find a legal basis to do this, and they enforced it, it would at least show initiative, rather than the almost completely useless declarations of "states of hemi-semi-demi-emergency, please follow them, oh go on, pur-leeeeease!".

It's like a parent with a kid who keeps sneaking out and going partying. The parent keeps asking the kid to not go out, but the kid continues to do it because he doesn't take the parent's threats seriously. So the parent snaps and literally locks the kid in his room for eight hours a day.

Kid won't like it, but he might finally realise that the parent has done something decisive.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Posted in: Bob Dylan sued for allegedly sexually abusing girl in 1965 See in context

I have no idea whether this is legally possible, but ask the accuser how much she wants. Confirm this number with her until she's adamant about it. Then tell her that if her claims are proven false, she has to pay Dylan the same amount for slandering him. See how seriously she takes it then.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Suga says Japan has secured enough COVID-19 'antibody cocktails' See in context

According to a recent poll, just over 20% of Americans identify as antivaxxers.

They would appear to be well represented on JapanToday.

It's really baffling to me, as a non-American.

You'd think they'd be proud that the vaccines which are considered (by actual scientists and medical experts) to be the safest and most effective are all made by US companies. (I'm saying that on the understanding that the Astrazeneca vaccine is not quite considered to be in the same league, but I'm not an expert).

What really chills my blood is that they are surely aware that their attempts at disinformation will, statistically, work on some people, who will then refuse to get vaccinated and potentially get sicker than they have to.

That there are people out there who invest all this time into trying to ensure such outcomes is surprising even to me, and I have a very pessimistic view of human nature in general anyway.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Posted in: New island discovered south of Tokyo after submarine volcano erupts See in context

Monday: Island discovered.

Tuesday: China claim it, on the grounds that 'it is in the Chinese hemisphere'. 4 Chinese fishing boats sighted fishing in its waters, Chinese navy arrives.

Wednesday: Japanese helicopter lands flag, webcam, nervous guy in mascot costume & quake sensor on the island. Family Mart announces that a new store will be opened there soon. North Korea launches a missile at the island, destroying the Vladivostok Holiday Inn.

Thursday: SDF arrive and face off with Chinese navy. South Korea also claim the island. Australia considers a claim, sending survey team to look for coal deposits. Island appears on Facebook and has 1.2m friends by tea time. Donald Trump claims the island was his idea all along.

Friday: US destroyer arrives and collides with island. Island sinks. US declare victory and vanish in the night.

Saturday: The Island Incident becomes a point of contention between China, South Korea and Japan for the next two centuries.

Respectfully, you may be overthinking this.

Monday: Island discovered

Tuesday: Team dispatched to island to find out if there is any oishii food there

Wednesday: Wide show featuring talentos eating the oishii food from the island

Thursday: Bookings to the island go through the roof

Friday: Thousands of people arrive on the island

Saturday: The island's ecosystem is declared destroyed.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

Posted in: Suga cabinet's support rate drops to record-low 31.8% See in context

Just freaking unbelievable.

It's the classic domestic violence routine. The police arrive, but by that point it's already at "he didn't mean to hit me, officer. He's a good man. He can change".

(Tragically I think I have to actually explain this, as it seems like any posts which use analogy or other figures of speech get deleted for being too abstract / off-topic: this is a comparative example. The abusive husband represents the LDP, and the victim represents the voters. The police represent the election. The abusive husband abusing his wife is like the LDP governing in an incompetent fashion. The wife ringing the police is like the voters giving the government bad figures in the polls, but finally telling the police that they think the government's heart is in the right place even though it regularly slaps them around. I hope this now makes things clearer and thank you warmly for your forbearance).

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan extends, expands state of emergency as cases surge See in context

Wow, it seems the government has unified everyone behind hating them

Yeah, but you know how it's going to end up. "I hate this government, but I hate thinking, and I hate change even more, so I'll keep voting for them"

19 ( +19 / -0 )

Posted in: Suga cabinet's support rate drops to record-low 31.8% See in context

Kinda odd for a man who (according to one of our esteemed posters, whose "partner"'s brother apparently "personally knows" Suga) is a "dynamic" man who "works tirelessly 7 days a week".

Heck. I work five days a week and never more than eight hours a day, and I've never had a word of complaint from my bosses.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan extends, expands state of emergency as cases surge See in context

This is a great opportunity for English teachers to explain how to use words sarcastically.

"Students, what does "yeah" mean?"

"It means yes"

"Correct. Now what does yeah, yeah mean?"

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Posted in: Paralympian arrested for assaulting hotel security guard See in context

OK, the guy should be on the first plane out of here and his sporting career should be ruined.

But this is part of something larger.

We had Cornelius the school bully, some dude with holocaust gags, incompetence at the triathlon, people refusing to compete against each other on the grounds of nationality...and now we've got athletes attacking people twice their age.

Japan really doesn't know when to cut its losses when it comes to the PR disasters of these olympic events.

12 ( +17 / -5 )

Posted in: Japan to evacuate embassy in Kabul See in context

I have exactly zero military experience and couldn't tell one end of a gun from the other, but I read a fascinating book by an ex-military guy. A SEAL, to be precise. He was stationed in Iraq, and one day his superiors handed down an order that all missions were to be executed in co-operation with local Iraqi troops, or "jundhi".

Our guy found this hard to understand, because the local troops were, for the most part, absolutely terrible soldiers: undertrained, often cowardly, and lacking in decent equipment, although they found that they could be useful in other ways through their deeper knowledge of the local culture.

After trying to work out why this order had come down, he had a flash of insight, which he shared with the men under him: roughly speaking, "If we don't get the Iraqi soldiers up to a level where they can defend their own country against insurgents, then who's going to do it? The next generation of soldiers. And the next. And the next". The implication being that it would never end.

Trouble is, it seems like the Afghan forces, even with whatever help they got, just didn't have whatever it took to beat back the Taliban. So that leaves a question mark over either the quality of the Afghan soldiers, the quality of the help they got, or both.

All said, a right mess.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

Posted in: Number of severe COVID patients in Japan hits record for 4th day in row See in context

Koike wearing a tracksuit doesn’t seem to be working.

There's a mental image I can live without.

Maybe this tracksuit wasn't sufficiently decorated with cute characters exhorting Tokyo residents to do their best.

22 ( +26 / -4 )

Posted in: Number of severe COVID patients in Japan hits record for 4th day in row See in context

Just to pre-empt the inevitable catcalls from the usual quarters:

"Yes, but did any of them die?"

2 ( +14 / -12 )

Posted in: 3 foreign media test positive for COVID after returning from Olympics See in context

Wow. Three members of the media out of how many who covered the Olympics? A few thousand?

Do the math. I don't need to.

The media's corona-hysteria continues.

You could have at least used the template I provided you.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: 3 foreign media test positive for COVID after returning from Olympics See in context

I'd like to proffer a template for a certain-leaning faction of our expat brother-and-sisterhood: Slashes indicate "delete as applicable"

*"(current number of infected foreign media) out of a total of (total number of foreign media)? Call that a cluster / crisis / big deal? It's not as if any of them died / mattered / were from my country / won medals. Anyway, the games were amazing fun and I particularly enjoyed watching the athletics / tennis / weightlifting / other. I can't wait for the *Beijing / Paris / Milan / Los Angeles winter / summer games!

*We must stop allowing people's misfortune to get in the way of our lives / drinking plans / travel / personal pleasure!"*

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Posted in: We aim to promote vaccinations by giving incentives. See in context

"We aim to convince people in their 20s and 30s not to be selfish and stupid by bribing them".

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Posted in: Australian swimmer who took 'misogyny' stance says it was worth missing Olympics See in context

I doubt many athletes would want their obituary to read "had a chance to compete at the 2020 Olympics but instead had a hissy fit because heterosexual men are designed by nature to be attracted to women".

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Posted in: Olympics now ended, Suga pinning his hopes on vaccinations See in context

However, as long as we can blame the Olympics, we won't have the question our own behavior.

No, I think that's a fair point. You can't blame the Olympics entirely for the spike.

You can of course blame them for incredibly poor choices: a musician who boasted about being a psycho and terrorising a disabled student, a man who made jokes about the holocaust, several displays of gargantuan incompetence, and so on.

But those don't result in cases or dead people so I guess we can ignore them.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Concerns mount over possible collapse of Japan's medical system See in context

Enough of this bad news - please, just remember we had the greatest, best ever Olympics when you feel down reading this sort of news.

Exactly! The wonderful athletes from scary gaikoku and our own athletes brightened the faces of the innocent children and showed the world the power of love! We can all be international friends (except with the Chinese because they got more golds than we did and Koreans because, well, we just don't like them) and coexist under a permanent rainbow.

Cornelius? Who? There has never been such a person. You are slandering Japan.

And this is all thanks to the glorious leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party! Hail to the Liberal Democratic Party!

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Posted in: Although there were pros and cons over Bach’s visit, we judged that paying for the security costs would obtain support from local residents. See in context

It's funny. If the olympics are the ultimate case of "bringing the world together through sport in a spirit of brotherhood", and so on, surely Bach would be the most popular man in the world and wouldn't need an entire phalanx of security men and hangers-on to visit Hiroshima. He could just buy himself a shinkansen ticket (heck, he could probably buy the train itself with his pocket change) and grab a cab at the station. He'd be given a hero's welcome.

It's almost as if the whole charade is falling apart.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Posted in: Olympics now ended, Suga pinning his hopes on vaccinations See in context

Olympics are not over why does everyone keep forgetting about the Paralympics?

Because, compared to the regular games, very few people care about the paralympics.

I'm not saying that the paralympics are worth less than the regular games (personally I couldn't care less about either), but there's likely a "poor cousin" perception of the paralympics due to a bias, either conscious or subconscious, against the disabled (I don't know what the official description is these days...when I was a kid, there was a charity shop in the UK called "The Spastics Society", and now using that word is almost like using the n-word to talk about black people). Anyway, you get my point. I'd say that, all the platitudes notwithstanding, the main olympics are a chance for most people to brandish their inferiority complex towards the athletes, and the paralympics are a chance for those same people to make a big show of how tolerant and progressive they are.

Call me a cynic.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Paralympic head warns against complacency toward Tokyo's COVID surge See in context

I didn't watch a single moment of the main games, and I'm not going to watch a single moment of these either.

But if, as I read, the opening ceremony for the main games featured the ultimate naive-idealist-hippy song ("Imagine"), I shudder to think what kind of nauseating rainbow-coloured sentimental sludge they're going to come up with for this. I'd bet heavily that it will (probably unintentionally) be incredibly patronising to the athletes.

I wonder what the opinion polls say about these paralympics. Those for the main games apparently changed over time from "I'm really quite annoyed at the government for holding these games in a pandemic" to "Japan won lots of medals so my self esteem has risen and I will consequently vote for the LDP". However, I'd hazard a a guess that the "honne" of these games is that most people don't really care because, whether it's true or not, the paralympics are still seen as a token gesture rather than a legitimate sporting event.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 4,989 coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 18,822 See in context

If deaths are anywhere near as bad as the doom mongers on here would have use believe, then having someone copy/paste their comment from JT will be the least of their worries.

I can't speak for the poster who does this (posts other posters' posts...did I just use "post" three times?), but there's nothing wrong with keeping people honest. If they claim that "we've got the virus beat" or "cases going down from here on out", and then it can be demonstrated that they are wrong while continuing to make such claims, I think it's justifiable to point it out.

And I really don't understand this obsession you have with deaths. Still, takes all sorts.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: Experts warn Japan's coronavirus fight in critical phase See in context

If on one side you have scientist and experts with detailed data saying one thing, while in the opposite side you have people that repeatedly bring false information that is easily debunked saying you should not trust the science because "bad things" will happen, I think is very clear which of those sides it is fine to ignore.

I'm equally intrigued by the motivation of the "opposite side" you refer to.

Do they want attention?

Do they see themselves as independent, free thinkers, who won't be held down by the man?

Do they actually want to see people suffer as a result of their disinformation?

Are they just bored and trolling?

Still, I'm closer to the "man is fundamentally bad" argument than the "man is fundamentally good" one (although I actually favour "man is fundamentally incredibly stupid"), so the presence of these people does not particularly surprise me.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: COVID-19 vaccine discounts for customers catch on at eateries, hotels See in context

I like the idea, even though I haven't even been able to book my first shot yet, let alone my second. But the anti-vaccination / troll movement we see everywhere, including here, has convinced me even more of the accuracy of 性悪説.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

Posted in: What are your feelings about the upcoming Paralympics which begin on Aug 24? See in context

Best summed up with the word "meh". Same as with the regular games.

Of course it's impossible to criticise the Paralympics, because doing so gets you labeled as discriminatory against the "alternatively enabled" or whatever the official expression is these days.

I will take the exact approach I took to the regular games: not watch a single moment of them.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Posted in: Measures that made Tokyo Olympics possible also left public disconnected See in context

The world is thanking Japan for shining a very bright light to show there is a way forward and bring some enjoyment in these difficult times.

If you were a very rich (although simultaneously very in debt) country and you had some cash to flash, would you:

a) Do everything possible to get as many of your citizens vaccinated as possible, and invest anything that may be left over into things which benefit as many people as possible, be that through education, culture, healthcare, etc.


b) Host a bloated folly of a glorified sports-day-cum-nationalist-rally, featuring bullies, racists, incompetence and controversy, while saddling your citizens with yet further debt and wittering about "the children", "Fukushima", and "hopes and dreams"?

(I ask this question rhetorically; I know your answer already).

15 ( +18 / -3 )

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