smartacus comments

Posted in: IOC Tokyo Olympic marathon edict should give pause to other cities See in context

How come no mention has ever been made about the women's marathon? They have to run in the same Tokyo heat one week before the men's race.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: South Africa beat England 32-12 to win 3rd World Cup See in context


I noticed that, too. Most of the English players took their medals off as soon as Bill Beaumont put it around their necks. Mario Itoje wouldn't even let him do that; he didn't want to wear it even for a second. I suspect most of those medals will end up in the rubbish bins in their hotel rooms.

Too bad it couldn't have been an All Blacks-South Africa final.

Overall, not a great spectacle, though the South african defense in the latter part of the first half on their own line was outstanding. The game was marred by too many penalties (especially in the first half) and too many stoppages (the scrums are a blight on the game). I don't think a minute went by without hearing the referee's whistle. The game is in need of some serious rule changes (especially in the rucks) to make it more flowing.

That's why I enjoyed watching Japan's style. Like some other readers above, I also think the Japan-Scotland game was the most exciting and fun game of the tournament.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Posted in: Do you have an emergency survival kit for use in the event of an earthquake or some other natural disaster? See in context


If there is an earthquake or flood warning and you have to leave the house quickly, how are you going to carry all that stuff with you? If your house is destroyed by a quake or flood or landslide, most of those items you mention won't be of use to you.

In my opinion, an emergency survival kit is something you keep in a bag by the door that you can grab at a minute's notice as you evacuate from your home.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Koike remains defiant over IOC decision to move events to Sapporo See in context

I’m starting to side with Koike. I think the IOC has been heavy-handed and made this decision without considering the following four points.

Who pays for the cost of moving and staging the events in Sapporo? I read today the estimated costs will be about 35 billion yen. Tokyo should not have to pay for that. Sapporo Dome has to be altered so runners can enter it from the street; an oval course has been laid down and then everything has to be put back the way it was after the event.

Volunteers. A marathon needs several hundred volunteers; people giving out water bottles to runners every 100 meters along the 46-kilometer route; volunteers helping with transport; others helping at the start and finish lines. Can Sapporo recruit such a huge number of volunteers?

Accommodation. Where do the marathon and walking race runners, their support staff, media and IOC officials stay. We’re looking at a minimum of about 1,000 people flying into Sapporo. There is no athletes village or enough hotels, so where will everyone stay?

Tickets. It’s already a complicated process, so who will buy tickets to sit in Sapporo Dome at 8 a.m. and watch the runners come in. How much will a ticket to that cost? After the race is over, the winners are flown back to Tokyo where they will receive their medals in the afternoon before the closing ceremony. The whole point of the marathon is that there are events going on in the stadium through the day and people buy their tickets for that and then cheer on the marathon winner as he comes into the stadium, to be followed by the medal ceremony and the closing ceremony. Will 45,000 people pack into Sapporo Dome just to see marathon runners come in and then leave?

By the way, what about the women's marathon?

The IOC meeting in Tokyo tomorrow and Thursday should be interesting.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Posted in: Situation Room: 2 photos capture vastly different presidents See in context

One person conspicuously missing from that photo is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: England totally outplay All Blacks 19-7 to reach World Cup final See in context

England were unlucky not to have scored a few more tries. They were completely dominant. But it won't hurt the All Blacks to lose. You can't win forever. Tonight, they proved the old sports adage that the team that makes the most mistakes lose. They gave up at least 15 turnovers and more crucially they gave away four penalties within kicking distance.

They now have to turn up for the meaningless third-place playoff game next Friday.

I'm predicting an England-South Africa final.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo 2020 marathon move decision 'final', says IOC's Coates See in context

There is still the question of who is going to pay for the cost of staging the marathon in Sapporo. Koike is adamant that Tokyo won't. Also, I read the other day that Sapporo will require a ton of money to make the necessary alterations to Sapporo Dome for the marathon. They need to create a large entrance for runners to enter the dome from the street at the end of the race and they need to lay down an oval running course around the dome for the final lap. After the Olympics, they then have to put everything back to how it was.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Posted in: Which country's national anthems do you find the most stirring? Do you know the words to your country's? See in context

I like the French and Russian ones best. Watching the teams during the Rugby World Cup when their anthems were played, quite a few players did know or seemed to know some of the words, while others hardly knew any. I don't know the words to mine, either.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Emperor Naruhito proclaims ascendancy to throne; pledges to fulfill his duty as symbol of the state See in context

It's a shame the emperor's parents weren't there. Not allowed to attend, I guess, due to some archaic rule. But they are still living in the imperial palace, so they probably had to stay in their room and watch it on TV.

I wish they could have made the ceremony more modern. Why does it have to be Heian era? Imagine if the British coronations were modeled on historical ones. Prince Charles would have to dress like Henry VIII.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Posted in: S African ref triggers anger for 'mocking' France red card See in context

The red card was certainly deserved but a referee should not be fraternizing with fans of the team whose game he just refereed the same day. I thought overall his performance was quite poor and the winning try by Wales near the end of the game was a questionable call, too.

Anyway, I hope he is not given another game to referee. I'd like to see Nigel Owens get the NZ-England game and a New Zealand ref for the Wales-South Africa clash.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: IOC apologizes for abrupt plan to move Tokyo Olympic races; Sapporo mayor not notified See in context

I bet Tokyo Governor Koike is furious about this, not having been informed about it in advance. Especially since the marathon is the one event that really takes runners (and TV viewers) through the city’s best spots.

Actually, it’s a kick in the teeth for a lot of people. Think of the several hundred volunteers assigned to the marathon who stand along the route handing out water, etc. They’ll be heartbroken. And the officials at the starting and end points.

Can they recruit enough volunteers in Sapporo for these races? I doubt it.

And what about the runners, their support staff, IOC and JOC officials, not to mention TV media? We’re talking about more than 1,000 people. Does Sapporo have enough hotels for such an influx?

It’s also a kick in the teeth for the runners because it robs them of the triumph of running into the main stadium for the finale and then receiving their medals before the closing ceremony. What are they going to do? Fly them back to Tokyo right after the race so they can receive their medals at the New National Stadium?

Personally, I think marathon runners can handle the heat of Tokyo. And as for spectators, well, they'll stand along the route for about half an hour until all the runners have gone past their particular spot, and then leave.

I would hate to the liaison people for the IOC, JOC, Tokyo metropolitan and Sapporo governments who will have to work out all these details.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Posted in: Suzuka on typhoon lockdown as F1 bosses hope Japan GP can go ahead See in context

Does anyone know Formula One's rules on cancelled races? I'm assuming that if the Japanese Grand Prix is cancelled, it cannot be rescheduled because there are four races to go in the season and the cars, drivers, crew, maintenance staff, etc., have to head off to the country where the next race takes place.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: World Rugby to decide on Sunday games 'as soon as possible' after typhoon See in context

Moving the Japan-Scotland game to Monday might be an option, but it would be giving Japan and Scotland an unfair opportunity that was denied to England, France, New Zealand and Italy. I personally wanted to see England play France. If you move one game, then all three games should have been moved. My solution would have been to have the New Zealand-Italy and England-France games played yesterday since they were already at their stadium cities anyway. Then it would have been acceptable to move the Japan-Scotland game to Monday if necessary.

The rules have to be the same for all teams.

But it's up to the organizers, not the Scottish Rugby Federation and definitely thankfully not to some of the readers who think a game can be moved easily.

I hope the worst of the typhoon is over by early morning and that the field and stadium are OK and that trains are running because I want to see the match, too.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Why does U.S. President Donald Trump keep mispronouncing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's name as "Abi?" On Monday, he mistakenly wished Prime Minister "Abi" a happy birthday, when in fact Monday was Russian President Vladimir Putin's birthday. Abe's birthday is Sept 21. See in context

Those of you defending Trump on this really need to be a bit more objective. There is no excuse for him is pronouncing Abe's name, especially when they are together at a press conference. Someone from the State Department should brief him before he meets another country's leader on the correct pronunciation. It's protocol. Nothing difficult about it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Rugby World Cup organizers cancel 2 games due to typhoon See in context

I wonder why they couldn't have played both games tomorrow, for example. I'm sure many ticket-holders would have still gone, even if they were working, especially if the games were in the evening. England-France at 7:30 p.m. might have worked. I know it would have involved logistics problems for broadcasters but less so for hotels. England and France were already here anyway. Too bad.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Typhoon heads nearer Tokyo ahead of big Rugby World Cup weekend See in context

It's a shame they can't move the England-France and Japan-Scotland games to Sapporo Dome, but of course that's impossible.

Once again, as with the 2020 Olympics, we see the folly of picking the wrong time of year for the tournament. Instead of starting it in September when it is the typhoon season and still hot and humid, it should have started around October 18.

I know England hosted the 2015 World Cup from Sept 18 onward but they don't have typhoons, not is it hot and humid this time of year.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Winning streak See in context

My goodness. I haven't seen a streaker at a rugby game since the 1970s when it was quite common, as I recall.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Kiwis bristle as beloved haka cops Rugby World Cup flak See in context

I remember when David Campese was playing for Australia. Every time the All Blacks did their haka, he would be at the other end of the field by himself, fooling around, kicking the ball up in the air and catching it, just having fun. He never even took notice of the haka.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: What can newspapers still offer that digitally delivered journalism cannot? See in context

Crossword puzzles and comics...much better in paper form than digital. Also, I used to love the big thick Saturday and Sunday newspapers in Australia, with all sorts of interesting features. You could spend a couple of hours on the sofa reading them.

I enjoyed pullout features for special events. I could go straight to the section I wanted to read without the hassle of clicking on a story and waiting for the page to download.

I really miss the golden age of newspapers and so do friends of mine who use to work at newspapers.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: All Blacks quash Sonny Bill injury rumors See in context

Unfortunately, the forecast is for rain on Saturday afternoon, which will ruin one of the most anticipated pool games as a spectacle. Lots of high kicks to test the fullbacks. The timing of this World Cup is almost as bad as the 2020 Olympics. It should have been held out of typhoon season, from around Oct 11-Nov 23.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Two elderly sisters found dead of apparent heatstroke in their home See in context

I don't know if it's true or not but I've heard and read news stories that many elderly Japanese people actually don't like to use air conditioning, especially when they sleep. I wonder why.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: 11-month-old girl dies of heatstroke after mother leaves her in car See in context

Very strange story. I read about this on some Japanese news sites but they weren't very clear about it either. I'm guessing the designated driver brought the family home, parked the car and maybe said good night and left without waiting to see if all three got out of the car. The little boy probably jumped out by himself and the drunken mother, if she can be called a mother, probably just staggered into the apartment with her son.

What I also don't understand is why she took the kids with her when she went out drinking in the first place. Her husband was out of town. Couldn't she stay at home with them? Surely she didn't leave them in the car while she was drinking with her friends.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Black lawmaker says white man told her 'Go back where you came from' See in context

Trump is like a virus and as it spreads, it brings out the worst in some people, deep prejudices that have mostly been suppressed. I've read of incidents like this before since Trump came to power. There was one video on YouTube, maybe two years ago, I think, about a woman in a beauty salon being berated or yelled out by a another woman who worked there, in which she used strong racial language. I think it ended with her saying something like "President Trump said so," in reference to whatever her rant was about, to justify what she was saying.

7 ( +14 / -7 )

Posted in: Asia-Pacific meth drug trade worth up to $61 billion, U.N. says See in context

Toasted Heretic

Sorry, I can't agree with you about legalizing all drugs. I'm OK with marijuana but definitely not harder drugs. I just came back from Australia and the city I stayed is experiencing an ice epidemic in the 17-30 age group. These junkies are commiting murders, assaults, stealing cars, crashing them, breaking and entering, commiting vandalism. It's out of control. Most of the time, when they are caught, their brains are so addled, they don't even know if they are on earth. And I had a cousin, a 17-year-old girl who died from a heroin overdose. I saw her arm about three months before she died. It looked like a pin cushion. Her father wanted to go out and kill her ex-boyfriend who got her started.

Hard drugs are a scourge on society.

I'd be really interested to hear from any reader who is a recovering drug addict on this topic of whether they think it is a good idea to legalize all drugs.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: Tottori wagyu - the rising star of beef - shines at Hotel New Otani Tokyo See in context

I love wagyu, but unfortunately it's a bit out of my budget range. But the New Otani is definitely worth a visit, if only to go walking in its beautiful gardens and see the carp ponds. You'd never know you were in the middle of a big city. It is so serene.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Man stabs police officer, steals his gun in Osaka Pref; 33-year-old suspect sought See in context

The guy certainly planned it well. First the hoax call, and then he knew where to stab the officer who was wearing a stab-proof vest.

I wonder what he wants the gun for. It has five bullets in it. Random shooting of a group of people? Convenience store robberies? I'm afraid to think.

Not sure it's a good idea to cancel classes at schools tomorrow. If he's not caught, then what about the next day and the day after that?

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Posted in: Couple arrested over murder of 54-year-old woman in Kawasaki See in context

In defense of the police, they didn't know that a murder had been committed. All they knew was that a neighbor had reported loud voices, which sounded like an argument, coming from the apartment. I don't believe that is sufficient grounds for breaking down the door which was locked. Maybe they thought the resident had gone out and decided to come back later, which they did, to check on what had happened.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Posted in: Mother, boyfriend sent to prosecutors over death of 2-year-old girl See in context

The police and authorities certainly dropped the ball again on this poor little girl but the main problem is still the initial abuse. No child welfare center, police, teacher or anyone else can stop a parent from abusing a child. All they can do is be vigilant for signs of abuse and then act.

For me, the continuing question is why parents do this to children, thinking it is discipline. I have no doubt that as I type this, right now, somewhere in Japan, a parent is physically hurting his/her child in the name of discipline.

I wonder what the couple in the story above thought when they saw on TV or read about the girl in Chiba who was fatally abused this year or that little girl last year who wrote letters pleading with her parents to stop hurting her. Did they shake their heads in disbelief and wonder how anyone could do that to their children?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Trump calls London mayor 'stone cold loser' as he arrives in Britain See in context

I saw some brief coverage of Trump's arrival on TV. Melania wouldn't hold his hand as they walked down the steps off the plane and finally, he grabbed her by the wrist but she never smiled once. Not a very good impression.

As for insulting the London mayor, that just shows he has no respect for his own office. I read somewhere that the only good relationship he has is with his Twitter account.

What a disgrace to the once-great U.S. that man is. Prince William and Harry forgotten what he said about their mother, either.

16 ( +25 / -9 )

Posted in: White House wanted USS McCain out of sight while Trump was at Yokosuka See in context

Trump probably didn't know about it, but given what we know about the White House and the sycophants he has surrounded himself, I have no doubt the story is true. Certainly, if I were the Wall Street Journal editor, I wouldn't publish such a story unless it had been verified by more than one source, and apparently it has.

The main issue is not whether or not tarps were used or not but whether any instructions to keep the USS John S McCain out of sight were issued.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

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