Japan Today

Stefan Drapeaufaux comments

Posted in: Which is more popular in Japan: British English or American English? See in context

I remember reading an article online about an American ALT working in a school somewhere or other. She was asked to help prepare some kind of test, maybe a listening test.

During the preparation of the test, a town called "Carmel" in California turned up in one of the questions. The Japanese teacher apparently pronounced it incorrectly - stress on the wrong syllable, or something. The ALT politely corrected the teacher's pronunciation. The teacher brought out a book which apparently proved their pronunciation correct, and would not be persuaded otherwise.

The ALT was from California.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Mizuho Bank suffers 5th Japan-wide system failure of 2021 See in context

Not directly on topic, but yesterday Mizuho sent me a request to update proof I had an alien card(after 15 years of banking and investment with them). I had to photocopy my card, take the scissors and cut out a copy of each side, paste it on an A4 sheet they had supplied and then snail mail it to them.

i felt like i was back in the 1970’s. Perhaps the problem is much wider and deeper than just IT.

Likewise only tangentially related, but a few months back I got a letter from the Post Office Bank, which is one of a number of banks where I hold an account. It asked - well, technically, demanded - that I provide a whole bunch of information to prove that I wasn't a money launderer. "OK, fair enough" I thought, and gave them what they wanted. I mentioned this to my wife, who's a Japanese national. "I never got one of those" she said, and rang the bank's call centre. Now, my wife has, for a Japanese person, a pretty blunt manner when she thinks something's not right. At first she simply asked the call centre operator why her husband, a foreigner, received such a letter while she, a Japanese national, did not. The operator stated that the letters were being sent out in a particular sequence. Putting aside the fact that we live at the same address. my wife then added (in Japanese, of course, but with more than a hint of sarcasm) "You can understand why it might seem like discrimination if my husband gets one and I don't", to which the operator started sounding extremely nervous and swore up and down that it was nothing to do with any form of discrimination.

Fast forward to today, at least two months later, and she still hasn't received a letter addressed to her.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Posted in: ‘Star Wars: Visions’ trailer reveals the 'Star Wars' universe envisioned by 7 Japanese anime studios See in context

Let me guess. At the end of each episode, the good guys and bad guys get together, eat delicious food, and sing "Imagine".

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan's governors call for COVID lockdown See in context

I bet the central government was secretly delighted to hear this request from the governors.

"Yay! More meetings!"

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Posted in: Biden picks Emanuel for Japan ambassador; Burns for China See in context

Like anyone knows who Emanuel is

I do, and I'm not even American. His name came up a lot in Bill Clinton's and Barack Obama's autobiographies. He seems sort of, I dunno, temperamentally unsuited to Japan, from what I read: he doesn't mince words.

Assuming he does not speak Japanese, or doesn't speak enough to do his job, his interpreter's going to have an easy job: "Yes". "No". "No way". "Forget it".

22 ( +22 / -0 )

Posted in: Hackers steal $97 mil from Japanese crypto exchange See in context

I be the elderly people in Japan with millions of yen under their futon are having a good giggle at this.

16 ( +20 / -4 )

Posted in: Half of Japan's population has received at least 1 dose of COVID-19 vaccine See in context

I debunked you on this point only a day or two ago. Either you missed it, or you're lying intentionally.

The problem with the internet is that most people simply don't care if you disprove their claims, even if you present water-tight proof of them being wrong. They either ignore it or just keep repeating their original message. I don't know if it's the anonymity, or something else, but people's sense of right and wrong, and of shame at being wrong, basically just disappears.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Posted in: Australia's Qantas to make vaccines mandatory for staff See in context

Is that because a vaccinated flight crew cannot possibly pass on the virus to you?


It's because it shows a commitment to doing as much as possible to mitigate the risks.

Imagine you had two taxi companies, company A and company B

Company A insisted that all its drivers took a breathalyser test before starting work. Company B does not, as its drivers keep bleating about their "rights".

Which company would you use?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: Australia's Qantas to make vaccines mandatory for staff See in context

Next time I'm going to take a flight anywhere, the very first thing I'm going to check, even before the price, is the airline's policy regarding its staff and vaccination.

Any airline which doesn't mandate vaccinations, for its staff, like Qantas has done, is out instantly.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Posted in: Vaccination site for younger people to open in Tokyo's Shibuya district See in context

Otemachi was run extremely well.

If you're referring to the actual site, I'll take your word for it, but if you're referring to the online reservation system for it, the impression I get is quite the opposite.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Posted in: Woman arrested over drowning of 2-year-old grandson See in context

Horrific stuff.

People unfamiliar with Japan get the impression that it is a country of low crime. And in many ways it is. But when crimes do happen, they are shocking to those people because they're so extreme. I mean drowning a 2 year old? That's beyond warped.

I always try and explain it by comparing it to a volcano. People get more and more stressed and don't let it out, until it explodes, at which point they have literally lost the capacity to reason and consequently end up doing things like this.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

Posted in: UK Labour Party kicks out veteran filmmaker Ken Loach See in context

Stefan Tony Blair was and still is a war criminal. The stuff he did whilst in power is still causing trouble now.

I can agree with that at least in part. I thought that he was actually a pretty decent PM until he went along with Bush on Iraq, and that didn't just blot his copybook, it spilled an entire bottle of indelible ink over it.

If my politics has a lable then it is Anarchist and I do not think ether of the big parties are worth the 80 grand per MP and I have spoilt my ballot paper in every election

I lived just outside Brighton and voted Green every time - one of the few places where it's actually really worth doing so.

As for Loach those who have watched his films will know that they are hard to get through. 

I had to sit through "Kes" at school. I don't think I've ever been closer to death through boredom.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Posted in: UK Labour Party kicks out veteran filmmaker Ken Loach See in context

*I'm not a Brit but if this leads the way for Bozo to throw his weight around some more, *that doesn't look good at all.

Part of the problem is that Johnson is a very smart man who plays the role of the village idiot. That makes him exceptionally dangerous. The leader of the Labour party, Keir Starmer, is an experienced lawyer who has been knighted for his services to the legal profession. In other words, he's easily an intellectual match for Johnson, but he doesn't know how to play the voters like Johnson does.

Modern politics is a game of perception and image, and right now neither party is playing the game well, but the conservatives are slightly less awful at it.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Posted in: M7.2 magnitude earthquake hits Haiti; at least 304 killed See in context

I'll tell you a story about Japan and charity.

A couple of years after I got to Japan, the earthquake hit in the Indian Ocean - the Sumatra quake.

I was an ALT at the time, and when I got in that day, it was explained to me (my Japanese was still pretty rudimentary back then) that the teachers were collecting donations for the relief efforts - entirely voluntary of course.

At the time I only had a 5000 yen note and some loose change on me. 5000 yen's not much by any stretch of the imagination, even for an ALT, and loose change would be an insult, so I dropped the note into the envelope. The reaction was as if Bill Gates had just paid off the entire national debt of another country.

If you want to turn a gesture of help into a political issue, you're welcome too. And I'm usually pretty cynical about these things, but in this case I can't see a reason to analyse it to death.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: M7.2 magnitude earthquake hits Haiti; at least 304 killed See in context

Naomi Osaka just tweeted that she is going to donate her prize money from her next tournament to the relief efforts. For all the controversy surrounding her, that is laudable and I hope she wins the whole thing.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Posted in: UK Labour Party kicks out veteran filmmaker Ken Loach See in context

Like him or hate him, Tony Blair understood how to make Labour both attractive and viable, and it was by brining the party closer to the centre and either getting rid of the uber-socialist fruitcakes or marginalising them so much that they were essentially neutralised and could exist in their own little bubble, wearing pastel jumpers and stroking their beards thoughtfully.

Reading posts on this subject on Facebook and so on, it's like reading badly written protests by sixth form students. "Our comrade Ken Loach has been expelled by the backstabbing leader of the so-called Labour party!" It's like a bad version of Animal Farm without the literary merit.

Poll a hundred Labour voters under the age of 40 and see how many have even heard of Ken Loach.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 5,094 coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 20,151 See in context

I guess the government is going to have to shrug extra hard today.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

Posted in: Olympics now ended, Suga pinning his hopes on vaccinations See in context

Lots of abuse towards Mr Suga who has done an admirable job in difficult circumstances.

His approval rating suggests otherwise, but I'm sure he's relieved that you think he's wonderful and is looking forward to receiving your vote.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Posted in: Australian swimmer who took 'misogyny' stance says it was worth missing Olympics See in context

Maybe the organisers of the Paris games, if she intends to compete with all those charming French men about, can offer to allow her to swim fully clothed and wearing a paper bag over her head with a couple of cutouts for the eyes.

People will still be looking at her, but not in the way that seems to bother her so much.

2 ( +17 / -15 )

Posted in: 7,943 taken to hospital to be treated for heatstroke from Aug 2-8 See in context

It's OK to drink lots of beer in the middle of the day in the peak of summer, as long as you are not old or fat! Just lose some weight or be younger, and you're fine! People who are young and thin are immortal!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Posted in: NBC touts Olympics viewership amid declines See in context

I'm not religious, but that bit about the love of money being the root of evil? That's right on the button.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Posted in: Biden commends Suga on 'successful' Tokyo Olympics See in context

Huh, that's disappointing. I quite like Joe Biden. (I'm not American, so I won't get dragged into a childish name-calling thread that goes on for ever - just a heads-up). I guess he has to say something nice to Suga as a matter of politics...

-2 ( +13 / -15 )

Posted in: Sayonara Tokyo, bonjour Paris: Summer Olympic focus switches to 2024 See in context

Be interesting to see the fate of any Chinese athlete who did not win gold. Anything less is considerable an abject failure and unleashes their social media bad mouthing.

Bet the North Korean athletes were glad that they were ordered to boycott these games. "You did not win a medal. Report to the Dear Leader at 9 sharp tomorrow morning to explain yourself. Make peace with your creator beforehand".

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan has its best Olympic medal haul: 27 gold, 58 overall See in context

What is they gonna do with the Olympics stadium, after it was barely use

I'm guessing the government has plans for it, in decreasing order of likelihood:

1) Sell it to some incredibly rich company or individual who will probably do nothing with it

2) Turn it into a super-mega-kawaii theme park to distract people from the consumption tax going up to 15%

3) Let it sit there as a symbol of extravagance, waste and bureaucratic incompetence

4) Turn it into a mass vaccination center.

(That last one was a joke).

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Posted in: Counting the coronavirus cost at Tokyo Olympics See in context

Give it a rest. We love Japan just not the corruption the LDP and the jijis pocketing the hard earned money of the Japanese tax payers and using the tragedy of Tohoku to line more of their cronies pockets while doing nothing for them.

This guy gets it.

It's actually the weeaboos who won't see a single thing wrong with Japan who are the most disrespectful to the country, by putting it on a pedestal and yet being patronising at the same time.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 4,066 coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 14,472 See in context

So do we now trust the same LDP government?

Stepping out of character for a moment...

I wouldn't trust that brigade of jijis as far as I could throw them.

But then again, the older we get the more we realise that the significant majority of politicians are among the worst people in the entire world.

I don't think I'm in quite the same age bracket as Mr. Antiquesaving, but I've been around a bit and I can honestly say that the number of politicians I've come across who are in it for genuinely good reasons can be counted on the fingers of two hands. And that assumes those hands belong to incompetent yakuza, if you know what I mean.

I would wager that the figures being reported from Japan are so far out as to be meaningless. Unfortunately, I would also wager that if this is ever made public and official, the general reaction in Japan will be a shrug, because the level of political apathy here is really quite staggering...

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Posted in: As pandemic Olympics come to a close, Japan asks: What did Games mean? See in context

There is no mention of 130K lunch boxes costing more than 120M yen discarded by the organizing committee instead of giving it to the homeless or homes for under privelege kids etc.

Nothing to do with me!

Rah rah rah!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: As pandemic Olympics come to a close, Japan asks: What did Games mean? See in context

The games meant that I got to watch them on TV, I got to go to the pub and get wrecked with the chaps, I got to, I got to, I got to, I got to...

What's that? Positive cases went through the roof? Doesn't affect me

Hmm? Bullying scandals, holocaust jokes, punching horses? Nothing to do with me

Taxes likely to be hiked for years to come? What does that have to do with me? Oh...I pay taxes. Guess I'll just ignore that part.

Basically I got to enjoy the Olympics, and frankly that's the only thing that matters! Me!

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 4,566 coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 15,753 See in context

Nothing to see here, all cases are down, no young people are going to be affected unless they're grossly fat and every single person in Japan has had six vaccinations. Mr Suga said so.

Now when's the izakaya open?

8 ( +23 / -15 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 4,515 coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 15,645 See in context

I hope the government doesn't use these figures to make any more draconian restrictions. I want to go to the pub and drink myself unconscious. After all, I'm not old or fat.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

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