smartacus comments

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 )

Posted in: Koike says Tokyo Olympics will rekindle hope like 1920 Games after war, Spanish flu See in context

What puzzles me is that at this late stage, no country, apart from North Korea, has said they will not participate. In fact, some countries have already begun vaccinating their athletes and I am certain many more countries will do so before July.

I believe that if the Games go ahead, it will have to be done similar to the same Australian Open tennis model. No fun for anybody. It will be a TV Olympics.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: IOC chief Bach to visit Japan in May for relay ceremony, Suga meeting See in context

There will certainly be a lot of speculation leading up to this meeting. Will this be how the Olympics are canceled? A joint press conference with IOC head Bach, Prime Minister Suga and Tokyo Governor Koike.

Should prove interesting.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese study finds that writing by hand increases brain activity more than electronic memos See in context

I hardly write anything anymore but when I do, it is atrocious. Since the advent of digitalization, my handwriting has become almost childlike. Whenever I sign my name to anything, I can hardly bear to look at it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 570 coronavirus cases; 918 in Osaka See in context

I wonder what's really causing the surge in Osaka. It can't be just people going out eating and drinking at night. People are going out at night in other big cities, too, such as Sapporo, Hiroshima, Fukuoka and Chiba, but their infection numbers seem to have been around 100 or so for the past week.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Name some movies that left you so confused at the end that you couldn't really figure out what they were about. See in context

Some of David Lynch's movies, especially Mulholland Drive; 2001: A Space Odyssey, and The Matrix films.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 555 coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 3,449 See in context

The only encouraging figure in this story is the number of hospitalizations for Tokyo -- 41, down three from yesterday.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Do you feel that you have become complacent about anti-coronavirus measures in one way or another? See in context

Yes, I have to admit I have become complacent. I look at the daily count of virus infections on the news each night or on Japan Today as if they were sports results or today's temperatures. Last year, it was more urgent and we didn't know if it would be of plague-like proportions. Then we started to hear that most people who get infected usually have mild symptoms which go away after they spend two weeks at home or in quarantine. That's what I thought last night when Osaka reported 666 cases. I thought: Can't we assume that 665 of them have mild symptoms that require no hospitalization?

Like many people, I am weary of restrictions, not being able to travel overseas, wearing a mask (which I still do), but I just feel some days as if I am on auto-pilot, going through the same routine, and not particularly worried by the numbers.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Police officer overtakes athlete as top profession for Japanese boys See in context

When I was young, I wanted to be a police officer. It probably came from watching too much TV – my heroes were Kojak, Columbo, McGarrett, Ironside, etc. I thought it was a noble profession and I still do. I admire honest police, especially those on the beat, tremendously.

Even though Japanese police come in for a lot of derision from Japan-bashers on this forum, they do a lot more than any of you could imagine, a lot of it unpleasant.

My cousin was a police officer. In the course of his career, he had to call parents in the middle of the night to tell them their son had been killed in a car crash, or their daughter had been raped and murdered. At the scene of accidents, he and his colleagues had to sift through the wreckage for body parts; they would have to deal with teenagers with drug-addled brains; pull over a speeding car and walk up to the driver, not knowing the driver could be a felon ready to gun them down to get away.

The police have my respect.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Posted in: If you could live in any city in the world (post-pandemic), other than where you live now, which one would you choose and why? See in context

In Japan, I'd pick Sapporo (I thrive in cold weather and have to see snow every winter). Yokohama would be my next choice. Overseas, I'd go for Dublin, Seattle or the Swiss town of Interlaken. I love the Swiss Alps.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Osaka leg of Olympic torch relay should be canceled, governor says See in context

I'm at the point now where I just wish they'd get the Olympics over with. The Games are going to be held no matter what. Hopefully, all the athletes, officials and media coming from overseas will already have been vaccinated.

The strange thing is that this time last year, or just before the torch relay was scheduled to begin, several countries said they would not attend. But this year, not one country's Olympic committee has said they won't be coming. Australia unveiled their team uniforms yesterday, so they are coming.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Man uses rope to lower himself from building roof in Pokemon card theft See in context


This is just a guess but he could have taken an elevator to the sixth floor and then the stairs to the roof.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 234 coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 1,339 See in context

I know this is a dumb question but I would be grateful if someone could answer it without insulting me.

Every day for the past 12 months, Japan Today has been reporting these numbers and the highest number of infections are always people in their 20s and 30s. So why not vaccinate the general population first? It seems to be that people in their 20s and 30s, though their symptoms may only be mild, must be the ones infecting older people. They go home to their parents and grandparents and infect them.

Is one reason because there are not enough vaccine supplies to begin inoculating the general population?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

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