Taki Mata comments

Posted in: Japan is simply keeping the stable door shut long after the horse has bolted. Alpha, Delta and Omicron all found their way in despite a lack of tourists. See in context

I agree with the assessment of the commenters above: At this point, Japan is neither willing nor able to deal with the medical responsibility of an unrestricted influx of tourists. It would be brutal, but also honest to say "we would love to have you, we really do, but we can't guarantee your wellbeing, so in both our best interest let's take a raincheck on your visit."

If only Japan could be bothered to spell out their plans. But the deafening silence leads to the whole world wondering how xenophobic Japan is after all, coming to possibly undeserved conclusions.

The tourist situation will probably get better if there's widespread availability of actual Covid medication, once isolation and hospitalisation are not the only available treatment options.

All that being said, what must happen soon is non-tourist immigration aside from students and short-term business travels, both of which are not an option for anyone whose life plans include a relocation to Japan. International couples and families are suffering hard and are getting close to their breaking point.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Posted in: Japanese business established to rent out ad space on lazy comedian’s backpack See in context

The moment you realize that this article is an ad for an ad company.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to lift COVID nonresident foreigner entry ban for 106 nations; tourists still barred See in context

Japan removed one of their two border measures, and since the two measures have been redundant, effectively nothing changes: Visa excemptions have not been reinstated, old visa remain invalid, new visa are only given out in homeopathic quantities.

Starting Sunday, Japan will raise the daily cap on overseas arrivals to around 10,000 from the current 7,000.

Easy for them to declare, they could as well make it 100,000 or a million if only a few hundred per day are actually being used. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno confirmed that, in the entire month of March, just about 10,000 students managed to enter Japan.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Who really needs a second COVID booster? Here's what to know See in context

Last year at this time it was just 1.

That is a fact. It is a thing that is verifiably true.

Next year at this time it will be 7.

And that is conjecture. It is a thing you imagine.

It could become so, of course. Not very likely, seeing as the vaccine has served its purpose and the world collectively isn't naive to Covid anymore. And it's (a bit prematurely maybe, but not unjustifiably) moving beyond Covid measures and restrictions. But if it happens, I will reevaluate my position based on the new circumstances. As of right now, I am not expected to have the 4th shot with no indication that this will be the case anytime soon.

Last year at this time it was just 1.

So which number was okay for you? Which number was too many? And why? Because I guessing you have a more fundamental problem with the vaccine, not just the number of shots or Pfizer's profit margin.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Posted in: Who really needs a second COVID booster? Here's what to know See in context

Bronco Today 07:21 am JST

80 years * 3 vaccinations per year = 240 mRNA vaccinations.

Correct. Four shots in two years can only mean one thing: it will continue forever in the same interval. That's the reason why everyone receives more than 150 tetanus shots in their life.

The correct result is of course: four. It might become five, maybe even six. As of right now, it is four.

But 240 is only in your mind. If you want to get outraged over a number you made up, go ahead. It's a bit weird and may lead to wrong decisionmaking, but you do you. Just be aware that you're getting outraged over a fact you yourself invented.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Posted in: Man arrested after crashing car into Foreign Ministry building See in context

Well, he crashed into a pillar of the building canopy, not the building itself.

No need for guesswork about who did what, there is video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yz6EQM4voo (I feel confident this is okay to post here, it's Kyodo's youtube channel.)

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: Tokyu railway to be 1st in Japan to run all lines on green energy See in context

diagonalslip Today 07:36 am JST

can anyone explain this to me?

Sure. Tokyo Railway cannot possibly pick out the "green" electrons from the power grid, so they pay the power company to produce green energy to the amount they require. Of course they could just get a more environmentally friendly, more expensive tariff. But that is not how the industry do.

The power company invests into green energy, gets that investment certified, and then gets a corresponding amount of certificates (in Japan fittingly named "Green Power Certificates"). They sell the certificates to a broker, the broker sells it to Tokyo Railway.

It seems a bit roundabout, but this way, Tokyo Railway doesn't have to constantly check and modify their multitude of contracts for environmental friendliness, yet they are still paying for their suppliers to become more environmentally friendly.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Posted in: Gov't lifts power outage warning for Tokyo area, but supply outlook fragile See in context

Renewable energy being popular do not make it wrong the fact that is is not even close to being a replacement at this point for fossils and nuclear.

I feel that noone wants to address the elephant in the room. Our current rate of energy consumption is just not sustainable anymore, we are simply overspending our energetic budget. That's not an assessment by tree-hugging hippies, it's not only for ecological reasons. As has been rather painfully demonstrated in the last few weeks, the suppliers that fuel our energetically extravagant lifestyle can also cause huge political problems, which in turn lead to economic problems.

Until we solved how to produce sufficient amounts of energy in an ecologically, politically, and economically sustainable way -- and I am sure we will eventually get there! -- we may have to get familiar with the idea of cutting down on our energy consumption. We may have to accept a slight decrease in our energetic quality of life. We may simply have to make due with a smaller energy budget.

You will of course never hear that from any politician. Publically uttering such a preposterous thing as "we will have to tighten our belts, first world" amounts to political suicide. But the writing is on the wall.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Giant nagashi-somen waterslide brings flowing noodle restaurant to your home noodle parties See in context

@3RENSHO: Doshita Marché sells it for ~ ¥6,600. Not painfully expensive, still too much for a toy that gets used exactly twice in ten years and inbetween takes up half a cubic meter in storage.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 8,461 new coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 53,587 See in context

stickman1760 Today 10:01 pm JST

I was at a reception in Tokyo last night with over 200 people. Food and drink served. It’s time to get back to normal and it IS happening.

But I really have to wonder how you square this in your mind.

You went to an event with 200 people, fully accepting that going to an event with 200 people is one of the very things that eventually caused close to 200 people to die yesterday.

And according to you this is ... fine? Or is it fine as long as it doesn't happen to you?

I'm certainly not preaching to never return to a sense of normalcy. In fact every fiber of me wants to return to normalcy. But your idea of normalcy seems rather callous to me.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 8,461 new coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 53,587 See in context

The number of coronavirus-related deaths reported nationwide was 171.

And that number gives me pause. Not only because it is still way too high to be comfortable. But also because it doesn't gel with a reported newly infected count of around 50,000. 171 deaths would, in other countries, be the result of some 150,000 to 200,000 daily new cases a week or two earlier. It stands to reason that the number of new cases is still massively underreported, probably as a result of very, very limited testing.

Now that doesn't change anything about the situation. Two years into the pandemic, "it is what it is" seems to be the stance the whole world will go into spring and summer. There is no evolutionary pressure on Covid to become milder, that was sheer luck. And I hope that we remain so lucky as to be confronted by relatively mild strains as Omicron in next autumn and winter.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Posted in: Why some women are traveling to South Korea to find boyfriends See in context

Sure there will be lots of disappointments, but when is that not the case ever? I mean, it's not like lots of people come or even move to Japan in pursuit of their imagination of an anime technopolis wonderland ... with a rather harsh awakening to follow.

I say, let everyone try to be happy, let everyone pursue their dreams. Also let everyone make their own mistakes. If it takes this to discover that television is not real life, so be it. Disappointments and setbacks are an inevitable -- and arguably necessary -- part of life. And if they actually find what they are looking for, hey, more power to them.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan eyes entry of most foreign students on waiting list by end of May See in context

The new per-day limit of 7,000 entrants, compared to the pre-March limit of 3,500, means 3,500 students and business travelers can enter every day. A best (worst?) case 150,000 students, divided by the roughly 80 days until end of May, makes 1875 students per day.

So what is the news here? "Government mastered all four basic arithmetic functions"? "Officially confirmed: 280,000 is more than 150,000"?

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Posted in: Tokyo stocks fall for 4th day after U.S. decision on Russian oil ban See in context


Normal people and normal business are going to suffer.

In war, everyone loses. That is one of fundamental truths of war, even if you are not one of the warring parties.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Signaling a shift, 'Drive My Car' rides into the Oscars See in context

Drive my car ... signaling ... a shift. Headline author really earned their oyaji gyagu medal today.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Posted in: Finnair to resume Helsinki-Tokyo flights on March 9, avoiding Russian airspace See in context

For those interested: The flights will be routed around the southern borders of Russia, Georgia and Ukraine (natch), roughly via Turkey, Kazachstan and Mongolia. ANA is already taking that route today.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Posted in: Kishida says Japan to relax COVID border controls, give priority entry to students See in context

Aly RustomToday 08:58 am JST

There's been a lot of talk on the internet about many prospective students switching from Japan to S Korea. Does anyone have any info on that?

Well, that's what a few of the more outspoken students on Twitter, Facebook (or whatever the cool kids are using nowadays ... Tiktok? Tinder? Excel?) are saying. Others say they went to Hong Kong (because that's certainly fun these days). Even others went to even other places, a lot gave up on Asia altogether. I mean it makes sense, if you can't study where you want to study you study elsewhere. According to some surveys that's not a small fractuion but about 40 to 50% of all those who applied for a Japanese uni, but online surveys need to be taken with a full shaker of salt.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Kishida says Japan to relax COVID border controls, give priority entry to students See in context

"We will help students come to Japan by giving them (use of) vacant seats, especially on weekdays when there are not many business travelers," Kishida said, adding that around 1,000 will be allowed on top of the 7,000 daily cap.

Honestly, I feel stupid reading this, there must be something I don't get. Someone please explain to me how this would possibly work.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Japan isn't managing how "vacant seats" are filled, airlines are. And if on a random slow week the planes haven't been full to their allowed capacity, then what? Is the government calling up ANA and asking them, "Oy, do you, perchance, have some students camping in front of your check-in counter? Well, bring them in!" Are the airlines supposed to have random-chance waiting lists if someone orders and (last I checked airlines are not asking for your profession when booking) randomly entered "student" into the form field for the birthdate?

What am I missing? Am I having a stroke? Do you smell burnt toast, too?

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Posted in: Over 407,000 on entry waiting list as Japan eases border controls See in context

So 407,000 waiting, some for years now....

I know I am repeating myself, but that number is unrealistic. It may be statistically true, the cumulative number of unsuccessful visa applications and CoE holders since March 2020 when the borders closed (minus a few hundred that managed to squeeze in while Japan was slightly-less-closed for 28 days in last November.)

But that doesn't mean that 407,000 are still waiting now, almost two years later, scratching at the embassies' doors. The purpose for entering Japan has passed for a significant part of those people. Business travelers usually come for a reason, for many that reason was imminent two years ago. Students have missed their entry exams, missed their semester abroad, or outright finished their studies online. A lot of students will even miss this year, entry exams were in February, the spring semester starts in less than a month.

I would be surprised if the real number is even close to half of that.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Posted in: Europe, Canada close their airspace to Russian aircraft See in context

Mr Kipling Today 01:27 pm JST

The UK has banned Aeroflot so Russia will follow suit and ban BA.

They already have, 3 days ago. Not that they would have had to: By that time, BA already announced they will avoid Russian airspace.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Europe, Canada close their airspace to Russian aircraft See in context

that leaves what? Finnair?

I have to correct myself, I forgot about the obvious ones: ANA, JAL and the Chinese carriers are still in the air over Siberia. For now.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Europe, Canada close their airspace to Russian aircraft See in context

Mr Kipling Today 07:09 am JST

Russia will follow suit and ban those countries from its considerably large airspace.

They actually don't even have to. Lufthansa and KLM/Air France have officially suspended all flights going through Russian airspace. With Aeroflot not landing in Europe anymore, and low-cost carriers never having a Russian flyover permission in the first place that leaves what? Finnair? Finland also banned Russian airlines and they are now pretty much waiting to be banned from Russian air space.

For the foreseeable future air travel between Europe and Asia will be ... difficult. Emirates is probably as happy about the situation as morality allows.

But also: No flyover travel, none of the (apparantly significant) flyover fees for Russia.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Sleng Teng: How a Japanese woman influenced Jamaica's reggae See in context

Very pertinent video if you are interested in hearing the actual sound and a bit of history (along with a nice review of the keyboard itself):


8 ( +9 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan to cut 7-day quarantine period for those entering country to 3 days See in context

Ubesh Today 04:49 pm JST

The should keep the borders closed until the prospect of a lockdown or emergency declaration is over.

What are closed borders keeping out that's not already in? Only xenophobic answers allowed.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan to cut 7-day quarantine period for those entering country to 3 days See in context

Some 150,000 foreign students who hold Japan visas

There are no foreign students holding Japan visas.

They may keep them in a folder for sentimental value, but all previously issued visas have been invalidated. These students at best hold CoEs. And applications for new visas with CoE are, as of today, still suspended.

Question is, do they actually, seriously believe there will be an inrush of 150,000 students the moment they open the borders? Besides the fact that a large part of them will not come, the rest of them will have to get new visas, no doubt in a staggered process like we saw in late 2021. And with embassies and MoFA heavily backlogged that will take somewhere between weeks and months.

So even if they open to a theoretical 5000 people a day, reality is that at least for the following few weeks the airports will still look like in the cover picture.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Teacher arrested for making 440 false emergency calls in Sendai See in context

Antiquesaving Feb. 10 11:00 am JST

he may have been hiding his caller ID and forgot to do so at some point

Nope, that's not it. Few people are aware that, even if you choose to "block your caller ID", your caller ID is actually still transmitted throughout the whole telephone network and only marked as "not to be displayed". Police and emergency services do override this marker, they will always get your CNID, for good and obvious reasons.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Floating hologram registers coming to Japanese convenience stores See in context

Let's try it out, I say. It seems like a novel experience and I certainly want to try how it feels in actual use. If it doesn't work well or if it's inconvenient ... it will be gone as fast as it appeared.

But, honestly, I'm a tiny bit tired of the reasoning. Don't sell this as a way to "reduce coronavirus infection." We have known for the better part of two years now that smear infection does not significantly contribute to the infection process, and that minor problem being completely eradicated by a 100円 bottle of sanitizer (or, if you are really insecure about it, a pair of gloves). And you can see the touchpad on the card reader and the hand scanner, right?

I'm all for infection countermeasures (as my comment history shows I'm anything but a denialist). But it's getting tiresome to have any innovation labeled as "coronavirus countermeasure."

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Tests of HIV vaccine using mRNA technology have begun See in context

kyushubill Today 09:13 am JST

How many dogs and monkeys did they kill testing this?

Dogs were not used at all, of course. Of the 14 rhesus monkeys used, none died during the trials. The most common side-effect of the vaccine was loss of appetite. 12 of them may still die of AIDS of course, the monkeys were subsequently deliberately infected with HIV after all. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-021-01574-5

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 8,503 new coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 44,810 See in context

Elvis is hereToday 05:45 pm JST

“It’s plausible that the region is moving towards a kind of pandemic endgame,” Hans Kluge told AFP, adding that Omicron could infect 60% of Europeans by March.

Given that Europe started the Omicron wave with a cumulative 10% of the population infected, right now stands at around 15% and is currently aching at a 0.2% infection rate per day, getting those remaining 50% infected in little more than 30 days to fulfill his prophecy sounds like a fun party I can't wait to join.

Oh, and depending on isolation regulations, a 1% infection rate per day means 7 to 14% of the population missing from their workplace at any time, even more if whole households have to quarantine.

Yeah, sounds like an enticing prospect by Mr. Kluge.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Posted in: Is it better to wear an N95 or cloth mask? See in context

Dave Today 12:49 pm JST

Breathing in your old waste air ALL DAY cannot be good.

Honestly, this is one of the weakest arguments against masks you can possibly make. Regular breathing moves about 300 to 500 ml of air through your mouth (the so-called "tidal volume"). The dead space volume between your headform and an N95 mask is around 100 ml. It is physically impossible for a mask to store enough air for you to exclusively, or even to a major extent, re-breathe your own "waste".

5 ( +7 / -2 )

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