smartacus comments

Posted in: 'The greatest honor': Osaka lights Olympic cauldron See in context

It was pretty obvious Osaka was going to light the cauldron when they announced earlier in the day that her tennis match on Saturday had been rescheduled for Sunday.

Personally, I have no problem with Osaka, as many people who post on JT seem to, but I would have chosen swimmer Rikako Ikee.

18 ( +26 / -8 )

Posted in: 'The greatest honor': Osaka lights Olympic cauldron See in context

I don't think it was boring. The cauldron-lighting ceremony was somber and low-key to reflect the coronavirus impact on the Games. Being powered by hydrogen makes it a first for the Olympics.

I quite liked the final few minutes when the three baseball players gave the flame to the two healthcare workers who have it to the children of Tohoku, who in turn gave it to Osaka.

0 ( +19 / -19 )

Posted in: Tokyo Olympic opening ceremony begins See in context

I was hoping to see 500 taiko drummers open the ceremony. One can only wonder what the pre-pandemic plan for the opening ceremony was.

I think that for overseas audiences, who are not familiar with anime and manga, the music and references would have been lost on them, unless the TV commentators from their respective countries were able to explain it to them.

At least, the athletes seemed to be enjoying themselves. I think they will focus on the games we will see some good competitive events.

For myself, I welcome the distraction from the coronavirus and will watch a lot of events on TV. And I fervently hope that the Games do not result in a spike in coronavirus cases.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Posted in: Brisbane embraces 'bright light' of 2032 Olympics See in context

Coates was out of line saying what he did to the premier at a press conference. The ironic thing is neither of them are likely to be in any position of power in 2032. Coates is 71, so he will be 82 and unlikely to be in the IOC, and Palaszczuk will not be premier in 2032.

By the way, the temperature today in Brisbane was about 4 degrees in the morning. Holding the summer Olympics in winter (starting July 23, 2032) is sure going to be interesting.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Brisbane picked to host 2032 Olympics without a rival bid See in context

Interesting that the summer Olympics will be held in winter. If I remember correctly, the Sydney Olympics were held in September which seems better than July. But Brisbane's winters are not usually too cold, although this week temps have been around 14 degrees during the day.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Who do you think will light the Olympic cauldron at Friday night's Tokyo Olympic opening ceremony? See in context

I know it is usually an athlete but I'd like to see a group of health care workers who have been on the front line battling the coronavirus for the past 18 months, light the cauldron.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Bach urges Japanese to support Olympics See in context

It's interesting that all the vitriol and hatred is directed at Bach, the IOC and the Japanese government but not at the national olympic committees of the 160-plus countries sending athletes. North Korea is the only country to withdraw, as far as I know. A few golfers, tennis players and others have withdrawn, but that's about all. Last year in March, it was the withdrawal of a few countries that set the ball rolling for the Games to be postponed.

This time, nothing. I've seen TV interviews with Australian swimmers, U.S. gymnasts, British rowers, and athletes from several other countries, and while they acknowledged the tremendous challenge of holding an Olympics amid a pandemic, they were all looking forward to the competition. In fact, they seemed more disappointed that there wouldn't be any fans in the arenas rather than the Games actually being held.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: What aspects of Japanese history, culture, lifestyle and tradition do you think will be showcased in the opening ceremony for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics? See in context

I'm sure the ceremony has changed a lot since the pre-pandemic planning. At that time, there was talk of a simulated meteor show created by satellites in space.

I'd love to see the ceremony start with 500 taiko drummers. I remember just the two drummers playing before each Rugby World Cup match and it was thrilling. Difficult to say how the ceremony will be toned down due to corona.

I'll definitely tune in on TV for part of the opening ceremony, though not all 3-4 hours of it.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese gov't backs 4-day workweek, but experts split See in context

Not a very practical or desirable (for me) idea. What's the point if you work four days a week and have to take a pay cut? You will probably have to look for a side job on the fifth day to make up the difference. Or instead of working 8 hours a day for five days at your regular job, you end up working 10 hours a day for four days.

I love my job and sometimes work six days a week and still have/had (pre-pandemic) to meet friends, play sports and do my hobbies. As my dad used to say, if you love your job, you'll never work a day in your life.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

Posted in: Bored Games: Aussie softball team finds Olympic bubble challenging See in context

Since they are fully vaccinated and are being tested each day, I don't see why they can't go out for a walk, or at least take a bus ride into the mountains and then go on a nature walk there.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Australian Olympic softball team arrives in Japan See in context

I wonder why they came so early. I think they'll get bored very quickly. They've trained in Ota three times before and know the city but being cooped up in their hotel and training at the baseball ground every day until they play some warm-up games in July will be an ordeal.

At least, it's good for the hotel. The team has three floors booked out, plus meals, etc, until July 17. That should help the various local businesses that supply the hotel.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Are you in favor of vaccination passports for international travel? See in context

I'd prefer a stamp in the passport, like a visa, certifying that you have been vaccinated. Of course, it might be possible to forge such a thing, but I'd still prefer it to a vaccine passport, whatever it is, or a smartphone app.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Posted in: If the Tokyo Olympics are held, will you watch any of it on TV? See in context

I'll watch the opening ceremony because I am curious to see what it will look like with 180 countries' athletes marching into an almost empty stadium. Maybe there will be fake crowd sound effects like some countries did at sporting events last year.

I am also curious to see what kind of entertainment spectacle organizers will put on. Before the pandemic, I had heard a report that a fake meteor shower from satellites in space would have been produced over the stadium. It would have been interesting to see the entertainment and presentation of Japanese culture. I'm sure there will be something but considerably scaled back.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Australia sticks by plan not to reopen int'l border until mid-2022 See in context

I disagree with mid-2022. It should be around October this year, especially if most Australians have been vaccinated.

Here is another reason, which I posted last night. The Australian Formula One Grand Prix is scheduled for November 21. The race before that is the Brazilian Grand Prix on November. How are they going to manage that with closed borders. Currently, anyone coming to Australia has to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks at their own expense. With the F1, that will be impossible. How many drivers, mechanics, support staff with be coming from Brazil. They can't stay in hotel for two weeks. They have to be fine-tuning their cars and practicing at the track.

There were a lot of complaints when the Australian Open tennis went ahead, allowing players and their support teams into the country. Letting F1 teams into the country while Australian citizen can't get back home will cause an even greater outcry.

The government needs to open its borders from October. The tourism industry is gutted and the universities are losing billions of dollars because foreign students can't get into the country.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: Turkish F1 canceled, replaced by second Austrian GP See in context

It's going to be another strange year for F1. I'll be really interested to see what happens with the Australian Grand Prix in November. The prime minister says international borders are unlikely to reopen until mid-2022, but is under pressure from all the expat Aussies wanting to return home. But their numbers have been capped each month and they have to quarantine for two weeks at their own expense.

Now what happens with all the F1 drivers and support staff who have to come to Australia to quarantine for at least two weeks before the Nov 21 GP? Will the government let them in and not Aussie citizens still stuck abroad. There was a huge outcry when they did the same thing with the Australian Open tennis in February.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Wealthy nations, once praised for success against virus, lag in vaccinations See in context

Australia and New Zealand have virtually eliminated the virus, but there are definitely concerns about the slow pace of vaccinations and the possible side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine, especially in Australia. No question about it, if you read their newspapers each day. They need to open their borders and to do that, they need to vaccinate their population, or they will remain isolated from the rest of the world.

Australia's tourism industry has been gutted and it also needs the millions of dollars that foreign students contribute to the economy each year. If they can't go to Australia, they'll go to Britain (which is already campaigning to get them) or Canada.

Qantas had hoped the government would reopen international borders from October and had started taking reservations. Then the treasurer pulled the rug out from beneath them on Tuesday when he said that international borders might not reopen until mid-2022.

So, yes, Australia and NZ get top marks for eliminating the virus but an average mark on vaccinations.

Japan, on the other hand, has been a disaster in every aspect of dealing with the pandemic. I sure wish embassies could be authorized to vaccinate their citizens living in Japan.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to vaccinate Olympic athletes: reports See in context

I think we are past the point of no return now with 10 weeks to go. Athletes all over the world are vaccinating, teams have been selected, uniforms unveiled, etc. Except for North Korea, no country has said they are not coming.

My attitude now is let's get the damned thing over with.

Strangely enough, the Paralympics seem to get overlooked in all this. They begin two weeks after the Olympics end, and don't finish until September. So that will be another factor in the drawn-out process.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Posted in: If you have been working remotely since the pandemic began, what kind of work style would you prefer after (if) the pandemic has been eliminated? See in context

I voted once or twice a week because I like chatting with my co-workers and having lunch with them. I can only deduce from the number of people who said they would prefer never to go back to their offices that they don't like their colleagues or their company. A long commute would not be a reasonable excuse to never go to the office. But perhaps they are in the wrong job.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Posted in: Nurses say they are needed elsewhere, not at Tokyo Olympics See in context

I think most of the countries with big Olympic delegations do bring their own medical teams and support staff.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 698 new coronavirus cases; 1,043 in Osaka See in context

I don't know why so many people want to know the number of tests each day. I gave up being interested in that a long time ago. Whether it is 1,000, 10,000 or 100,000 tested each day makes no difference to me. I long ago assumed the numbers of infections are high and that many of us may even be asymptomatic. All we can is take the proper precautions.

At this stage, the number of tests is not important. The number of deaths due to coronavirus and the number of people hospitalized with severe symptoms are more important.

But most of all, the vaccination program is of paramount importance. That is what I am most concerned about and that is what I would like more information on.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan to introduce 'vaccine passports' for international travel See in context

I still don't understand how this works. How does an app prove that you have been vaccinated?

Also, I agree with the posters above passengers who don't have smartphones or who don't know how to download apps. Surely, some sort of stamp from a doctor or clinic stamped on your passport page would be better, stating that you have been vaccinated or that you are unable to be vaccinated because of some underlying medical condition.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan to open large vaccination centers in Tokyo, Osaka: report See in context

I'd like to see Tokyo Dome and all the other domes used as vaccination centers. Places like Saitama Super Arena would be suitable, too. Of course, the owners would squawk. The baseball teams would complain about lost revenue from not being able to have home games, but this is a national crisis and it is all for the public good, isn't it?

Some people above suggested the Olympic Stadium but it doesn't have a roof and would not be suitable, especially with the rainy season and a humid summer coming.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: 107 victims of 2005 fatal train derailment in Hyogo remembered See in context

I still vividly remember this tragedy. Probably because NHK did a series of stories on some of the victims afterwards. One was a young woman heading to the airport to leave for Europe where she was going to study to an opera singer. Her dream shattered. Another story was about a young man who was on his way to a luxury hotel to begin his first day on the job as a pastry chef. His dream gone. The third story I remember was about a husband and wife in their 60s who had operated a barber shop for about 30 years. Both killed in the accident and their business ended. The people that had come to them for years to get haircuts felt like they had lost family members.

Those kinds of stories make such accidents real to me. Too often, we read about plane crashes, natural disaster victims and we are just given numbers of dead. We tend to forget these were real people who lived, laughed and cried just as we all do.

Everyone has a story to tell but we seldom hear them.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Posted in: 3rd COVID-19 state of emergency begins in Tokyo, Osaka, Hyogo See in context

There is a lot of confusion about who is supposed to close and who can remain open with this SOE. What about gyms and sports clubs?

I also just saw two yakatabune sailing up the river, full of customers. I bet they are serving alcohol. But the poor bars and restaurants have to take a hit again.

How about coffee shops like Starbucks, etc and fast food places? At Tokyo Midtown this morning, I saw an Italian coffee shop closed, but diagonally opposite it, Dean & Deluca was open.

And why department stores? They are meticulous with their anti-virus measures. I've never felt unsafe in Ginza Mitsukoshi, for example.

There is no consistency.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese astronaut joins biggest space station crowd in decade after SpaceX arrival See in context

What an exciting adventure and a refreshing change to read about instead of all the bad news on Earth. Congratulations to Commander Hoshide.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Posted in: Many older music fans miss the complete ‘album experience’ such as cover art, liner notes and photos that have disappeared due to streaming. What's your view on that? See in context

I miss albums. Which groups or singers record albums today? None, right? Imagine, if there had been streaming in the 1960s when all those iconic groups burst onto the scene like The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd etc. There were so many wonderful songs on Side B of many of their albums that would never have been heard, if streaming had been the norm.

I reluctantly replaced my albums with CDs but that's as far as I am going. I have never streamed a song in my life.

It's the same with books. I have a small library of about 100 books at home, and I will never replace them with an e-reader or whatever they are called.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Lead singer of Bay City Rollers, Les McKeown, dies at 65 See in context

Ever since I read this story, the song "Saturday Night" have been stuck inside my head. RIP.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 711 coronavirus cases; Osaka records 1,153 See in context

I went for a walk at about 9 p.m. last night in Tokyo and I passed a park in which there were several groups of young people (mostly men) drinking alcohol that they most likely bought from convenience stories or vending machines. No doubt this is a familiar scene all over Japan. So it is unlikely that closing bars at 8 p.m. will have much effect, unfortunately.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Posted in: Osaka request for emergency will include store closures, online school classes See in context

But Zoroto, how can you force parents to stay at home if their work requires them to be at their workplace? Would you like me to list at least 20 occupations that cannot be done from home? Not everyone can telework, you know.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Posted in: Osaka request for emergency will include store closures, online school classes See in context

Closing elementary and junior high schools will cause enormous problems for working and single parents, as it did last year. Children that young have to be supervised to make sure they pay attention to the teacher. If one or both parents have to work at home themselves, then they will get very little done. Also, for families with, say two young children, living in a 2LDK, for example, that would mean a lack of workspace, not to mention few families would have four computers.

And if the parents have occupations that require them to be at their workplace (hospitals, clinics and about 30 other jobs I can think of), then who will supervise their children?

And what's the point anyway? Young children aren't being infected in such great numbers. It's people in their 20s, 30s and 40s who are doing the spreading.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

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