smartacus comments

Posted in: Whenever you read about random knife attacks in public places or on trains, does it make you more attentive to what people around you are doing when you are walking along the street, waiting on train platforms, aboard trains or shopping? See in context

I never stand at the edge of the platform at train stations in case there is a pusher lurking behind me. On train, most people (including me) are usually engrossed in their cell phones, listening to music or dozing, so they would be oblivious to an attack until it happens.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 72 coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 731 See in context

The number of cases in Osaka is inching up and Aomori has been unusually high for the last two days. I wonder why Aomori.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Posted in: As the long-delayed James Bond film "No Time to Die" debuts in cinemas worldwide, here are some questions for 007 fans. Which actor is your favorite James Bond? Best Bond villain? Best henchman/woman for a Bond villain? Best Bond title song and last but not least, the best Bond film? See in context

Let's see. Best Bond actor: Sean Connery. Best Bond villain: A tie between Goldfinger and Blofeld (as played by Donald Pleasance). Best henchman: Oddjob. Best title song: Live and Let Die; Best Bond film: Goldfinger.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Kishida becomes Japan's 100th prime minister See in context

It's amusing to see that one guy in front of Kishida is the only one not looking at him during the applause.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan bids to host 2025 world athletics championships See in context

Japan might the sympathy vote to host the event since corona spoiled the Tokyo Games, just as Sapporo might get the sympathy vote for the 2030 Winter Olympics. In any case, the world athletics event is a big deal; it is like the Olympics just for track and field. Japan will always be popular for major sporting events. Next May, Fukuoka hosts the World Swimming Championships, again the Olympics of swimming.

I know there there has been a lot of discussion on Japanese media about what the National Stadium can be used for. At first there was talk of it being turned into a field for soccer and rugby which would ensure plenty of use. However, if it is to be used for the 2025 world athletics, they will need to keep it as it is until then.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: 3 Japan PM hopefuls urge elderly to stay on job for pension system See in context

Even though I have lived inJapan for more than 35 years, the pension system is the reason I will never retire here. I don't know how much I will be eligible for at 65, but I know it won't be enough to live on. I am a full-time company employee and I choke each month when I see how much is deducted from my pay and knowing I won't get a big enough pension to live on.

I like my job and I would like to continue working into the 70s, as long as I am healthy. But I still wish I could invest the money deducted each month into an interest-bearing fund in my home country, so I could plan for the future.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Posted in: What do you think it is going to be like at airports as more international travel starts? Do you think there will be hassles at check-in terminals and departure gates over whether passengers have or haven't got the right vaccination passports or apps, or proof of having tested negative for the coronavirus and so on? See in context

I can see all sorts of complications, starting with having to arrive at the airport much earlier that usual before departure.

I'd prefer to have nothing digital. Just a stamp in my passport showing I have been vaccinated. However, for children and unvaccinated people, it is going to be a major hassle. Also, will some vaccines be recognized by some countries upon entry, while others are not?

What will happen when you reserve a ticket online? Will you be asked to show proof of vaccination online before proceeding to buy your ticket?

I just can't see any smooth process in all this.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Posted in: Seniors account for record 29.1% of Japan's population See in context

Social security is going to become a massive problem in Japan (if it isn't already). My colleagues (both Japanese and foreign) and I have discussed this many times over the past few years. Will we receive a pension that is enough to live on? Probably not. I'm planning on retiring back to my home country which has a pension agreement with Japan, so my pension will be paid into my bank account there. But I know it is not going to be enough.

I know so many temp and nonregular workers are worried about their future, while young people don't seem to think that far ahead.

The way it is going, if I retire, I'll probably have to look for a part-time job here or in my home country to make ends meet, or stay in Japan and work until I'm into my 70s, if the company will allow me.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Posted in: Pandemic-hit travel agency JTB sells Tokyo HQ to raise funds See in context


You're probably right but there are still a lot of Japanese people, mainly elderly, who like to use travel agents. If they are going on a cruise or tour, they like to see the glossy brochures and chat with travel agents. Many people, including myself, still prefer some human-to-human contact. When I go to an airport, I never use the self check-in, but always go to the check-in counter and chat with the airline employee.

Travel agencies will have to diversify but there will always be a demand for personalized service.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Paralympic closing marks end of Tokyo's 8-year Olympic saga See in context

I'm kind of sad to see the Paralympics and Olympics end. At first, I didn't want them to be held but once the Olympics started, they were like a tonic and morale booster, as well as a distraction from corona. Many people who are in lockdown in my home country said they enjoyed the TV coverage also.

I was lucky enough to meet a few volunteers. They were wonderful people, so dedicated and thrilled to be a part of the most challenging Olympics every. One of them was a woman in her 70s who had spent the past two years learning English.

I don't believe the Olympics or Paralympics were responsible for the spike in coronavius cases, though of course I can't prove it.

Anyway, I say thank you to the athletes and volunteers. Tokyo 2020 will not be remember as the worst Olympics and Paralympics but as the most challenging Olympics and Paralympics.

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

Posted in: Tokyo Paralympics to open as Japan battles virus surge See in context

Watching the opening ceremony on TV now, here are my observations. It’s so sad to see so many athletes in wheelchairs. Was it because of accidents land mines or some other tragedy in their lives?

That 2-meter-tall tall Iranian athlete is a giant.

It was a shame to see the Afghanistan flag held by a volunteer since the team couldn’t get to Tokyo.

I think some of the New Zealand team, stuck in the athletes village, might have regretted their decision to skip the opening ceremony. Since they came all the way to Japan, it would have been no more dangerous taking part in the ceremony than staying in the village and competing in the events.

What were the Japanese greeters wearing on their heads?

Finally, all the athletes looked happy and proud to be here. Good for them.  

It makes me feel that some of us so-called “normal” people are in worse shape than they are, especially when you read some of the comments on this discussion board. Our disabilities are on the inside.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: Foot traffic still high despite state of emergency See in context


Stopping the trains is impossible and I really don't know why people even suggest it. I could name 20 or 30 occupations where it is essential for staff to be on site and they need trains to get there. How do you expect hospital staff to go to work, emergency workers, employees in food production, delivery, logistics, convenience stores and supermarkets, airports, cargo ship terminals, delivery personnel, etc, etc.

We need trains

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Posted in: Why do English-speaking people write RIP when they read about someone's death? Is it a religious or cultural tradition? See in context

I sometimes winder about that. I post it a lot, too. If you think about it from a religious point of view, the deceased person is in heaven enjoying eternal life, hardly resting. If you think about it from a non-religious perspective, the person has ceased to exist and buried or cremated; hardly resting.

Does anyone know if there are similar expressions in Japanese or other languages?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Taliban sweep across Afghanistan's south; take 4 more cities See in context

Burning Bush and Mr Kipling

I doubt that educated Afghan women and young girls are looking forward to Taliban rule again.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 5,773 coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 20,293 See in context

Sadly, I have to admit I have become numb to these figures. I look at the number of cases each day the same way I look at the temperature. Today it's 33 degrees, tomorrow 34 and maybe Sunday 36 degrees.

But I really wish that after vaccinating health care workers, the government would have targeted people in their 20s, 30s and 40s next for vaccination. They've had the highest numbers every day for the past 16 months.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Posted in: Tens of thousands urged to evacuate as heavy rain hits western Japan See in context

A double problem - evacuating people from floods and finding a shelter for them that will enable them to maintain social distance.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

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

When are we going to start seeing some effects of the vaccine rollout?

Also, I' m starting to think the spike in cases over the past few weeks really isn't due to the Olympics. At first, I thought they might be, but how would the Olympics be responsible for skyrocketing infections in places like Fukuoka, Okinawa, Aichi, Osaka and Hyogo? I know some of those prefectures hosted training camps for some athletes but surely the athletes were supposedly fully vaccinated and being tested every day, and did not have much contact with locals. So why the high numbers? I'm baffled.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Posted in: How do you feel now that the Tokyo Olympics have concluded? See in context

I felt a bit flat today because there were no more events to watch on TV. At first, I didn't want the Olympics to be held but once they started, it was a good distraction for corona news all the time. I really enjoyed the swimming and track and field.

Also, a lot of people on JT criticized the opening and closing ceremonies but they had to be low key considering the pandemic. Anyway, the Olympics aren't about the opening and closing ceremonies. They are about the contests and in that sense, I think the competition was excellent.

I just wish they could have allowed domestic fans to attend. If attendance at baseball and other events could be capped at 50%, then I don't see why they couldn't have done the same for the Olympics.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

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 )

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