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Robert Rÿker comments

Posted in: Gov't to hold meeting Dec 1 to discuss emperor's abdication date See in context

The Emperor took the dramatic step of telling the nation that he felt he was becoming too old to properly carry out his official duties on behalf of the people of Japan and wished therefore to step aside in favour of his successor. That was more than a year ago, in 2016.

The Government of Japan and Imperial Household Agency need time of course to absorb his message and act upon it.

A year would seem to be adequate to formulate legal procedures and devise a dignified ceremony to address his request . Two years to get it in place seems excessive. Three years to do so seems to put bureaucratic inertia completely before the wishes of the Emperor of Japan.

I cannot help but feel sorry for His Imperial Highness.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: U.S. troops in Okinawa banned from drinking, restricted to base after fatal crash See in context

Military personnel stationed in a host nation are guests in that nation. Young service men and women need to be guided on basic principles of behaviour -- especially in Japan. That is incumbent upon the Officer corps, in loco parentis.

I suggest that every service man returning to any military base in Japan should be required to pass through a breathalyser test at the gate. There will still be abuses, but if it helps avoid this kind a tragedy, that would be better for all.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan likely to tolerate smoking at restaurants after LDP's resistance See in context

The Government of Japan receives tax monies from the tobacco industry. At the same time, the Government of Japan uses citizen's tax monies for tobacco-related health care, hospital care, loss of personal income, and death. And there are not enough doctors. Does this make sense?

Smoking is a personal decision, but do not let it affect society in general. If someone near me lights up, anywhere, I am of course affected, and incensed. Which of us is right?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Posted in: In tsunami-hit city, people power turns disaster into opportunity See in context


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese engineer sought out by concert halls to shape sound See in context

I'll comment. Toyota-san's work on Suntory Hall was splendid, and that was in 1986 when he was just beginning to make his reputation in the world. It is a great hall to this day, one of the greatest concert halls of the world. It is always a delight for artists and audience alike to have the luxury of the great performances this wonderful hall incubates. Let us not forget Suntory's visionary chairman, Saji-san, who believed in Toyota's work and had the determination to pursue the project to completion despite the financial challenges the Suntory corporation was then suffering from the competition of shochu. Great concert halls are great achievements in part because so often they survive so many, so varied, so entrenched obstacles. Robert Rÿker Tokyo Sinfonia

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Gov't eyes indoor smoking ban as early as next year See in context

The smoking ban is long overdue.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: The Kong Show: This summer's concert calender See in context

That's one view. It is not, perhaps, the only one.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: A life well lived See in context

Inspiring. Brava, Atsuko!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Youth orchestra from Fukushima to make U.S. debut See in context

The Tokyo Sinfonia greatly encourages this wonderful, dramatic, concrete encouragement for the youth of Fukushima. Their performance in Boston is bound to generate positive support for the long process of building which remains before Fukushima. This once-in-a-lifetime experience that will make the members of the orchestra aspirational models for other young people in Japan, the generation who are the future hope for rebuilding in the devastated region. And the music itself will remain in their hearts forever.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Will scandals simply overwhelm Hillary Clinton? See in context

Once again in American politics, it seems to be a case of whom do you want to vote against the most.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Ron Haigh: Chairman of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan See in context

It certainly is wonderful to see such an up-beat presence in Japan for the Canadians. The Canadian Chamber has been virtually invisible here these past several decades. I do hope that Ron Haigh can actually make a difference, and wish him every success.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo Sinfonia presents Beethoven Serenade champagne concert See in context

Incidentally, December 16 is Beethoven's birthday. We'll all drink a champagne toast to the composer most loved in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese ears open to UK composers See in context

We wish the young lady well. The Tokyo Sinfonia's imaginative programming in Oji Hall (Ginza) and the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan has become a by-word with our audiences. It certainly is a challenge though to capture the attention of the general audience and bring them into the hall to experience all of those neglected masterpieces. Whatever happened to the seven liberal arts and sciences of the ancient Greeks -- grammar, rhetoric, logic, mathematics, geometry, astronomy, and music. Music is here included as an art (actually a science), please note, not as pablum for the masses. The Tokyo Sinfonia's next programme on Beethoven's birthday explores the genius of opus 115, and opus 35, opus 16, splendid works of great music which most of our audience will be hearing for the first time ever. Pity that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Robert De Niro scores one for baby-boomers as 'The Intern' See in context

Only 72?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: The invisible expats: Support for trailing spouses and children See in context

Always keep in mind your audience when you perform! And keep your material timely. This article seems to have clearly missed the audience who took the time to read it and respond. I suggest that it should be entirely rethought, and brought up to date.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: High school students form union to fight 'black baito' companies See in context

Bravo, guys!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Fukuoka high school baseball players are all class, immediately cleaning stadium after loss See in context

I admire the sentiment.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Airline, travel site sue over 'hacked' airfares See in context

Brilliance and morality are not the same, are they young man? You clearly do not subscribe to "one for all and all for one." I hope we never meet.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Posted in: Healing tunes: What surgeons should and shouldn't play at work See in context

Actually, the best music to steady the brain waves is baroque music, particularly music by Italian baroque composers such as Corelli and Vivaldi. It is the best music to read to, to study to, to calm those waiting in doctors' and bank managers' offices, and to steady the minds and hands of surgeons in the operating theatre. It all has been beautifully recorded many times too, so it costs only modestly to equip a study room, waiting room, or operating theatre with an endless supply of ever changing music of this kind.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Toyota Youth Orchestra Camp to be held in Okinawa for first time See in context


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese violinist aims to bring British classical music closer to Japan See in context

Michael, it is well said that language reflects culture. The English language is the language of Great Britain, the United States, most of Canada, Australia and other countries. Do you not hear the characteristic inflections in their speaking that distinguish which English-speaking nation a person might come from? The same distinguishing characteristics are certainly true in music. It is charming that this pretty young violinist is so taken with British-English music inspired by folksong. She wishes to share her perceptions with the audience here, and she is highly clear-thinking and articulate. The British Council and the Japan-British Society are impressed with her enough to have put their cachet on the performance. I recommend that you buy a ticket and hear what she has to say, and what she has to play. Then comment.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Asia's rising tobacco epidemic See in context

The stupidity of allowing smoking in public places in Japan is sure to become a point of constant criticism. But the essential point is simple: people vote with their feet: I liked the proposals above (and thank you for enumerating them): (1) Ban smoking in public places, except for areas that are clearly designated and have approved ventilation. (2) Ban smoking in restaurant franchises and bars. (3) Let privately owned restaurants and bars choose either non-smoking or smoking, but not both -- their customers will sort them out.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Breaking the rules See in context

Years ago, when I was at Indiana University as a young music student, our conductor escorted a group of brass players over to the Medical Department, where he had a friend who was a Professor of Anatomy. The kind professor was gracious enough to pull open the drawers of a cadaver and show us the inner anatomy of a human being (dead, of course). Wind players rely on efficient use of the chest and diaphragm for breath to play their instruments well, and it was really interesting. You may not have guessed yet where I am going with this little vignette. The kind professor then walked over to pull open the drawer of another cadaver so we could see the insides of another chest cavity. "Now this fellow," he said, "smoked two packs a day," and he rapped his knuckles on the membrane of the lungs. The lungs were coal black and bone solid, and the rap of his knuckles sounded like a xylophone. None of us even smoked again.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese variety show stumbles into interview with a Grand Master of Freemasonry See in context

The Freemasons in Japan contribute over $1 million a year to disaster relief and other charitable works, all without any publicity.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: The future is Clear for Unilever Japan See in context

Bravo, Ray.


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo, named best hotel in world by Institutional Investor See in context

Congratulations, Jens!


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Hermione should have married Harry Potter, Rowling admits See in context

I rarely wade in to these inane exchanges, but I will go on record as saying that I did read each and every Harry Potter books with great enjoyment and appreciation. They are filled with delightful little intricacies which become relevant to further developments later on. They stood up at least as well on re-reading as did the Wizard of Oz books I devoured as a youngster.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Business cocktail party etiquette See in context

All very sensible. Applied "Making Friends and Influencing People."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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