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Posted in: Japan to trial small group tours from 4 countries See in context

kurisupisu -- As long as the police don’t try to detain me thinking that I have escaped my tour group then I am fine with the Japanese government showing their true colors to the world…

I was just thinking about how interesting it would be to be on a short, group tour to Japan.

Is that even still a thing? when I travel I dont do "group tours". I plan where I go and stay and what I do when I am there. It's all part of the fun. Doing "group touristy" stuff ensures you pay premium prices and dont necessarily get premium products. Doing everything by someone else's timelines is not my idea of a good holiday.

Actually, I was wondering what it would be like to be on the short, group tour to Japan and then, on the last day, skip the tour and take off on my own - as a trial. How long would it take the tour group to find out that I was missing? How long would it take for it to make the national news? If I stopped at a Hard-Off and bought a tent and sleeping bag, and went camping, would I be able to avoid any video cameras and facial recognition? Would kurisupisu and all other gaikokujin-looking people be stopped repeatedly, and put under surveillance to see if some unknown and suspicious-looking person came to visit? It might make a good short story.

Alas, after being caught, I would either be banned from ever returning to Japan again, or put in prison so that I would never be able to leave Japan again. But it would be a nice challenge and would be fun to see what happened until I got caught. Where would I go that would be easiest to stay at without standing out too much? Near a military base? Near a university? In a small town? Out in the wilderness?

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Posted in: 18,000 police officers to be mobilized during Biden's visit to Tokyo See in context

And there will also probably be 18,000 less public accessible trash receptacles and toilets as result of these escalating preemptive security measures for one foreign dignitary’s temporary visit.

This was a misleading headline - this is not just for Biden's visit, it is for the visit of leaders and their hanger-ons from three countries.

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Posted in: Divers find no sign of missing people in sunken boat off Hokkaido See in context

Were there any lifeboats on board? Spare life jackets? Sounds like all passengers may have egressed before the boat sank.

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Posted in: Lessons I learned about body positivity after visiting a Japanese hot spring See in context

I prefer when the bath is empty.

Not me. I prefer it to be full of nice hot water, and outdoors in nature.

I couldn't care less about body positivity. I would prefer everyone to soap up and wash their bodies thoroughly before stepping into the tub.

Body positivity seems to be important to many women, my wife included. And the realization that no one is scrutinizing your body, and that few have "perfect" bodies, or meet the images of perfect bodies, allows people to relax.

Yeah I am sick of this body positivity crap, enough already, just get clean, then get in the onsen, relax & stop talking about it!

Agree with the sentiments that people get clean before getting in the tub.

I wonder if this writer and her sister will ever take the next step and enter the world of mixed bathing. For those uninitiated, it is similar to the baby step to being able to go to the sento or onsen in the first place. There is safety in numbers, even if it is just psychological.

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Posted in: Osaka Expo mascot needs name; organizers ask for suggestions See in context


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Posted in: BOJ's commitment to easy policy keeps yen on relentless slide See in context

Remembering the 360 yen to a dollar era, the dollar falling to under 200 yen to a dollar, the dollar falling below 125 to a dollar, then down to about 80 yen to a dollar for a short time, it is interesting to see the yen fall back to around 130 to a dollar. More than worrying about what the exchange rate is, it is helpful to see a stable exchange rate so that industry and individuals can plan. I think it is time to buy more akiya and property in rural Japan now that the rate is so favorable to me.

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Posted in: Film challenges assumptions about life of severely disabled in Japan See in context

Is this film available for overseas viewing? One of the few times that I wish Kyodo or Japan Today gave information on where to go for greater details.

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Posted in: Kurobe Gorge crossing See in context

One of my most fun adventures was hiking Shimonoroka from the Kurobe Dam to the terminus of the Kurobe Railway and then riding out of the gorge on this train. What a nice train for visiting hot springs.

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Posted in: Hayashi concerned about human rights abuses against Russians in Japan See in context

Would really hurt to have a last name like Putin right now and be living Anywhere.

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Posted in: Japan to lift COVID nonresident foreigner entry ban for 106 nations; tourists still barred See in context

gogogoToday  07:45 am JST: Articles from other sites have already pointed out there is no change. They just reclassified 106 counties but are still not giving out visas so it is 100% meaningless!

Me: The reclassification is not 100% meaningless; it just seems meaningless. This is a signal of things to come, just oh so slow. Incrementalism at its finest. Incrementalism is so frustrating when seen in the short-term. and in the long-term, as Keynes said once, we are all dead. Hopefully, change in this case is somewhere closer to short-term than the long-term to which Keynes referred.

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Posted in: Japan to lift COVID nonresident foreigner entry ban for 106 nations; tourists still barred See in context

So President Biden isn't coming to Japan either. Fine. And stop all US diplomats going to Japan, and all other "exceptional" US citizens until the anti-US tourist sentiment is lifted. What's good for the geese is good for the gander.

I was a tourist in Japan when the travel ban was imposed, and made it back to the United States when it wasn't clear that all international travel worldwide wasn't about to be closed. I've missed touring in Japan and spending my retirement income there ever since. I miss the charms of Japan and my Japanese friends, but I am not missing the bureaucracy and anti-foreign devil attitudes that seem to be so pervasive in these travel policies. And now that I can spend even more and things are cheaper, it is still hard to convince myself that those Japanese grapes are sour.

Sigh, I miss touring around rural Japan. Soon I will be too old. This has been a long two years. Condolences to all those who are afraid to travel abroad to visit family or who can't bring family to Japan for visits or go and visit friends in Japan. Looking forward to the travel bans to ease up.

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Posted in: Man found naked in Sapporo laundromat in middle of the night See in context

Yup, many of us have been there, or tempted to be there. I'd rather be caught naked in a laundry late at night than caught in a sento washing my clothes any time. When traveling with minimal clothing, it is tempting to have all your clothes clean at once. I usually keep out one pair of running shorts.

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Posted in: 37-year-old man arrested after father’s body found at home See in context

I don't understand the charge of corpse abandonment that we read about several times a year on JT. In this case, it looks like the old man may have been beaten, in which case this may have been a different crime, but in most cases it is some old person who seems to have died and the other person in the household not being able to cope with what to do with the corpse and leaving it in the house for an extended period of time. I could see fraud if the failure to report a death leads to continued collection of old age pension, or some other crime being covered up (homicide). I could understand corpse abandonment if the corpse was taken out and dumped some place in the forest or on a mountainside. But what is the deal with having a corpse in the house for a long time?

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Posted in: Keeping up with the kids: Japanese high schoolers’ most popular slang See in context

and are any of these words making it into useful Japanese? If we use these words, will we end up having to explain them to our Japanese friends, and looking even more like the language geeks that many of us are? Will anyone over the age of 15 understand these phrases?

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Posted in: Half of 7-Elevens in Japan to start selling 100-yen Daiso products this month See in context

Each time I arrive in Japan I head for Daiso to stock up on things that I will use for the time I am in Japan, things that I can just throw away before I get on the plane to come back to the states. It makes it so that I don't have to worry about checked bags and being overweight on my carry-on. The dollar stores in the US do not compare well with Daiso and CanDo.

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Posted in: Hong Kong airport bans transit passengers from 153 countries See in context

Gone Kong maybe? Glad I spent time there before the reversion. Sad to see it go

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Posted in: Monkeying around See in context

Unmasked, closely socializing, and unvaccinated. Ahhhh, the life of a monkey.

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Posted in: Firefighter docked pay for making over a million yen from game streaming See in context

So if his hobby is water colour, he can paint all he wants, but if he ever sells something he paints he has crossed the line? He can make all the Youtube videos he wants, but if he gets renumeration because of youtube ad revenue, he has crossed the line? He can drink all he wants, but only if his drinking brings him money (somehow) he has crossed the line? Seems like what does not impair his work or the fire station's reputation should be allowed. In this case, the fire station (or the local government) has made itself look silly and petty, and damaged its own reputation.

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Posted in: Gundam lingerie is a way to show your love for giant robots and their handsome anime boy pilots See in context

Girls things for guys. SMH, I wonder what marketing study was done before this went into production.

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Posted in: Teenager 1st to use hospital's 'confidential birth' system See in context

My wife and I adopted two children when we lived in Japan, one through the "special adoption" process in 1991. As I recall it then, we were not supposed to know the mother's name, nor she ours. We also adopted a child in the United States. For the American-born child, we received a letter from her birth mum that we gave to our daughter when she started asking questions. Our 35 yo American-born child is the only one who later found her birth mum (through DNA testing with Ancestory), and they have a good relationship today, with grandchildren having three grandmothers.

With the special adoption process, all legal ties to the birth parent(s) are severed, meaning that the child has no obligations to support the parents in their old age.

One of our children was born stateless, as neither parent was a Japanese citizen. She traveled abroad on a stateless Japanese re-entry permit booklet until we readopted her in the States and procured American citizenship for her. She is now a 31 yo.

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Posted in: Protest held in Okinawa 3 years after start of landfill for U.S. base See in context

Has anyone here actually been to the bay? LoL the coral there has been dead for decades. At least since early 90’s. While the bay is still beautiful, it’s not the “sanctuary” it’s painted to be. Also, a large majority of the “protesters” are paid by special interests groups to be there. Transportation is even provided in many cases.

I've been out to Camp Schwab, both before and after the 1996 announcement. I visited Futenma several times around 1980-1982. Futenma was not in a greatly populated area when it was first used as a Marine Corps base, but by the early 1980s the Okinawa population had expanded such that just outside the fence lines were many houses, schools, and accrutrements of population. Even in the 1980s there was a lot of talk about moving Futenma to a less populated area. People complained about helicopters having parts fall off around the base. The 1996 rape had nothing to do with the Futenma base. It was a heinous act and the US Ambassador at the time, Walter Mondale, called the perps animals, which they were. He was chastised by the USG for speaking out when they were arrested and before they were convicted, but his words reflected the attitudes of many of us who were aware of the Marines and their motto "a few good men" and wonderd why it was the bad ones who seemed to end up in Okinawa (again, not at Futenma, but at other Marine Corps bases).

When I saw the picture, I counted 10 people in kayaks. I know the article says there were 20, and I am surprised that the picture doesn't show them all. I have been at anti-American protests when navy ships have come into Japanese ports, and I've seen all the people cram together and the news cameramen zoom in to make it seem like they are getting a small part of a large crowd while the photo op is staged with all the protesters crammed into the photo. As soon as the cameramen go away, the people get back on their busses, collect their pay, and go away. Seldom are the protestors from the local community, most are paid to stage the protests. I have spoken with the protestors and asked where they've come from, and asked the news reporters if they are going to report on the total number of protestors or show the bus they came on, and the reporters laugh and tell me where to go. That doesn't make for compelling news. At least I let them know that I knew what was going on.

It is high time that Camp Schab's runways are built and the Futenma base closed down. Who would have thought that finally, after 20 years of searching for solutions before the agreement was reached in 1996, that it would have been another 30 years or more before the move was completed? it is really a stupidly long process that benefits no one except the professional protestors and complainers.

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Posted in: Saury catch See in context

Who would have thought that there would be so many comments on a rather dull picture of the day. Thanks, guys, for chiming in.

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Posted in: Saury catch See in context


Yes, I knew (at one time) that mackeral is saba. I thought that saury looked like sanma, and thoughty that it didn't look like a mackeral. I just misread when I looked up saury, and misread the English, which says mackeral pike.

Two of the things that I am weaker in English than in Japanese is fish names (before I lived in Japan I was aware of catfish, bass, trout, and the generic fish only) and some plant names. Kiku and ajisai are so much easier than their English equivalents, and all of these wonderful greens that we don't have in other places, and gobo, etc.

I am glad to be reminded that mackeral is saba, and should have recognized from the picture that that wasn't a mackeral. I have no idea of how 'saury' came to be called such. In the states I have never seen it for sale except at asian markets, where it is quite expensive relative to what you can get it for in Japan. I am glad to be reminded that mackeral is saba, and should have recognized from the picture that that wasn't a mackeral.

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Posted in: Saury catch See in context

For those who don't know English names for fish, saury is a mackeral or サンマ

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Posted in: City living vs country living in Japan: Which is better? See in context

Seems like Japan would have experienced a similar ‘great migration to the countryside’ ie those that have chosen to escape California after the 2020-2021 debacles.


The answer is to have two houses, one in the city and one in the country. That way you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

I know of some retired couples who did I-turns and sold their city condos and moved to the countryside where living is slower. Of course, if this were a large event, it would raise the age of people in the countryside even further. The largest difficulty with this seems to be the paucity of medical care in rural areas. If I could talk my wife into Japanese country living, we would move back to Japan, probably rural Oita or Kumamoto, and keep our house in the States for occasional visits. She prefers Japanese city conveniences and even more living close to grandchildren in America. Family comes first when you are retired.

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Posted in: How crowded is Kyoto now without international tourists? See in context

Still this report looks like a fluff piece. It would be much more interesting with interviews of the local chamber of commerce, or the merchants on the path to Kiyomizudera, or those in charge of the sites themselves. How is business? Do Japanese tourists buy more than foreign tourists? Are they less bother? What are the local lodging occupancy rates this year compared to past years?

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Posted in: Cabinet adopts new roadmap of coronavirus measures See in context

Great, preparing for the Go to Trouble set to start up again in February. Hospital beds on the ready.

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Posted in: Name of former Princess Mako's husband not on New York bar exam pass list See in context

Hmmm, looking at the NY bar exam pass list, my name isn't there either, nor anyones associated with the Japan Today. What does this mean?

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Posted in: Kurobe Dam to open to public in 2024 See in context

An interesting topic - the brief article leaves a major question unanswered, namely, how will this route affect the hiking route along the Kurobe river from the dam to Keyakidaira Station? I hiked the 32 kilometer Shimonorouka trail seven years ago and it was a gorgeous route. It is known as one of the most remote routes in Japan and in several places is a narrow path carved into the cliffside above the Kurobe river. Will the hiking route, only open for about two months in late summer before the first snowfalls in the area, continue to be maintained? This is worth a good article about this route and travel ideas for those who would like to take the trip.

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Posted in: Whither thou goest, 'terebi'? See in context

Shouldn’t it be “Whither goest thou…”?

Precisely. "Whither thou goest, I will follow" is from the Old Testament Book of Ruth and was not a question. This misquote comes from a lack of cultural knowledge, perhaps caused by too much television and not enough reading.

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