smartacus comments

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.

0 ( +2 / -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 RikiWeb 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, RikiWeb 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 )

Posted in: Which songs make you nostalgic for your youth or childhood, when you hear them? See in context

So many songs from the early 1960s to the mid-1970s -- the Beatles, Rolling Stones and The Who. The Beach Boys bring back wonderful memories, and a Beach Boy-like song called "I Live for the Sun." I still isten to instrumentals from that era -- The Shadows, Herb Alpert, and orchestra music by Paul Mauriat ("Love Is Blue"), Bert Kaempfert and Henry Mancini. That was such a rich period for music. I still have dozens of CDS of songs from the '60s and '70s. They take me back in time.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: What are some things that you recall hearing or seeing men say or do to women decades ago, which would be considered sexual harassment today, but which were not then (or at least no one spoke up about it then)? See in context

Telling a woman how nice she looks used to be common, especially when going out on a date. I used to say it all the time to my dates in the 1980s and they seemed to appreciate it. Now, a guy could probably get into trouble by saying it. How about girls being kissed under the mistletoe at Christmas parties? I remember seeing that in old TV shows and movies.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 323 coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 1,499 See in context

What's happening in Miyagi? Numbers have exploded there this week. Must be clusters.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Increasing numbers of people eating and drinking out during daylight hours is a major reason for the slowdown in declining coronavirus infection numbers in and around the Japanese capital, despite the ongoing state of emergency. See in context

I think it is a bit much to ask people not to eat out during the daytime. I remember the president of Saizeriya a few months ago called the request nonsense. Millions of people still have to go to the workplace. What are they supposed to do? Sit at their desk or in the cafeteria while having lunch and not say a word. And I suspect people teleworking also like to take a break and get out during the day to go to a coffee shop. And on weekends and holidays, people are naturally going to venture out.

Such a request by Omi would kill the food and beverage industry, already crippled by limited night trading hours.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: IOC members worry about banning overseas fans from Olympics See in context

Nagoya Chris and Aly Rustom

And what are you going to do if your wife or children want to watch a bit of the Olympics on TV? Send them to their rooms and tell them they can't?

I think both of you will be a little curious to see what an Olympics with very few, if any, spectators, will look like, especially the opening ceremony. I know I'll be interested to see how it will look.

Also, Japan bashers won't be able to resist watching the opening ceremony, just so they can rant about it on the RikiWeb discussion board.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Fukushima fish, rice sellers still struggling to overcome consumer concerns See in context

I've been buying products from Fukushima Prefecture every year since 2011, especially peaches in the summer. That's my small way of supporting them. I also buy from pop-up stores whenever there is one in Tokyo. People forget how big the prefecture is. It wasn't all contaminated. Refusing to buy any food product because you're afraid you'll get cancer is irrational.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Posted in: Arguments for 'right to disconnect' from work draw more attention amid pandemic See in context

It’s not just Japanese workers. Most foreign execs or employers I know, and I do as well, have told me they check their emails at night and on weekends, even at times when they are overseas. It’s become a habit. If it’s not urgent, I reply by saying, “I’ll get back to you tomorrow or on Monday.”

I can think of several examples when it might be necessary for a manager or boss to contact an employee after hours. It depends on the industry, of course. There might be someone suddenly sick and an employee has to be notified to fill in for that person tomorrow; or there has been a technical problem at the office, for example, the server crashed; or a meeting has suddenly come up that you need to attend, so please go directly there before coming to the office. Or I didn’t get a chance to see you this afternoon before you left. Is everything ready for the presentation or meeting tomorrow morning? And so on.

And for those people saying just turn off the phone, that might be doable if you have a company cell phone as well as your own. If not, it hardly makes sense to turn off your phone on weekends or at night. Then no one can call you. Not friends or family.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Luxury hotel’s month-long stay plan lets you live Yokohama life with amazing twist See in context

I like living in in Tokyo. I think it is one of the best cities in the world for dining out. But if I had to choose another city in Japan, my top three would be Yokohama, Kobe or Fukuoka.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo area governors eye extension of state of emergency by 2 weeks See in context

I doubt an extra two weeks will make any difference to the number of infections in Tokyo. And it's only two weeks so that people can go out and have hanami parties in parks, which they missed out on last year.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Robert Kennedy confronts communist hecklers at Waseda University in 1962 See in context

I think Robert Kennedy changed after his brother's assassination and became much more likeable and appealing to blacks, Hispanics and Asian-Americans. He made some profound speeches and had a huge appeal in 1968. I think if he had lived, he would have defeated Nixon in the 1968 presidential race and been a great president. Imagine how different the world would have been in the late 1960s and 1970s if he ad been president.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: 2 American men wanted for aiding Ghosn's escape arrive in Japan See in context

Well, I hope they had a chance to spend some of their $1.3 million because they’ll probably be spending the next few years in Japan. I’ll bet the elder Taylor was so pleased with himself when Ghosn escaped. I can just picture him, Ghosn and the other planners after the escape making fun of how lax Japanese immigration was. I doubt Taylor will be laughing now. Anyway, mercenaries take their chances and know a plan can fall apart. Why he decided to return and live in America, where he knew he could be arrested, I’ll never know.

Meanwhile, Ghosn lives in luxury in Beirut, while the Taylors are in Japan, Greg Kelly’s trial continues and those four men in Turkey are in jail. Still, he’s a prisoner himself, albeit in a luxury condo. But he can’t leave Lebanon, the French are investigating him for tax irregularities and he still has that Interpol red notice stapled to his name for the rest of his life.

Having said all that, I still don’t think what Ghosn did merited this farce. If he was doing something dodgy, the Nissan board should have just removed him. A lot of people would have been spared considerable grief.

23 ( +35 / -12 )

Posted in: TV series 'Frasier' latest '90s hit to get a revival See in context

"Frasier" is one of my all-time favorite series and I have all 11 seasons on DVD. But like so many great shows of the past (and some movies, too), I don't think the magic can be recreated in a reboot, especially after 17 years. The characters will have aged and we won't have seen them while they were aging. The chemistry won't be there anymore.

I think when a great series ends, that's it. If you collect TV series as I do, they become a gift in time, left to the fans by the cast. We age but they never will, except during the length of the series. Even when the stars pass away, they remain with us forever as loved them. That's the way I like to remember them.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Posted in: What are some past TV shows that could no longer be aired because they would be considered politically incorrect? See in context

Benny Hill, even though I have most of his shows on DVD and I still find his ribald humor funny. All in the Family would probably not be acceptable. If you look at a lot of old TV shows (and movies), in the context of when they were made and the cultural norms of the time, then some of them are still watchable, despite the outdated fashion, technology, customs and so on. I think there are more old movies than TV shows that would be considered unacceptable today.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Posted in: If a decision is made to cancel the Tokyo Olympics, how, when and where will the announcement be made public and who do you think will make it? See in context

The IOC will make the announcement, as they did last year when they announce the postponement. Bach may do it at a press conference in Lausanne with a video link to Tokyo where the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee will be on hand.

As for when, since the torch relay is scheduled to start on March 25, it has to be before then, no later than a week before.

On the other hand, I think they'll move heaven and earth to have the games. All athletes and their support staff will have to be vaccinated, as will IOC officials, media, Japanese volunteers, athletes village workers and bus drivers etc who will take the athletes to and from their bubble to the event venues. No fans will be allowed at the events.

It's ridiculous but it is doable.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Melbourne enters snap 5-day lockdown over virus; spectators barred from Australian Open See in context

Lockdown, open up, lockdown, open up. It guts the economy, angers people and is demoralizing.

Every single problem Australia has had with managing the virus in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth since last August can be summed up with one word: quarantine. They haven't been able to get it right.

I think Australia has done a terrific job and I am envious when I see people going about and enjoying a relatively normal life but the economy is being hammered with every lockdown. I think when the Jobkeeper program ends (in March, I believe?), we'll get a better idea of the true economic fallout and unemployment.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan’s households, firms continue to hoard cash as pandemic persists See in context

I've been trying to save money, too, though I wouldn't call it hoarding. But when the pandemic is over, like most people, I'm going to spend spend, spend. I'll travel and buy things that I need for my apartment, dine out more. Saving now will be good for the economy later.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan to set guidelines for flying car tests by March 2022 See in context

I keep thinking of the Jetsons, too. I can't even imagine privately-owned flying cars becoming popular. The potential for accidents in the sky and for people and property on the ground is too immense to imagine. Fortunately, I won't see it in my lifetime.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Which music from the past 70 years do you think people will still be listening to 100 years from now? See in context

Interesting question. I'd say music historians in 2021 will be interested in the birth of rock 'n' roll. I think music of the groups from the 1960s have stood the test of time -- the Beatles, Rolling Stones, to name just two. I'd also imagine jazz, R&B will still be popular. Plus maybe Frank Sinatra, and will Bing be still crooning "White Christmas" in 2021?

I wonder what music from 1921 we would be listening to today if there had been recording technology then.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Melania didn't 'care,' but Jill Biden wants to show she does See in context

I always thought Melania Trump was like an iceberg. Body language reveals so much about her. I can't count the number of times she looked uncomfortable holding Trump's hand and sometimes she pulled her hand away when he tried to hold her hand.

But what really appalled me was the expletive outburst she came out with about not wanting to decorate the White House for Christmas... as if she has do the decorating herself.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Looking back at Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's first five months in office, do you miss former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe? See in context

I do miss Abe a little bit. Although he didn't achieve much domestically, he did give Japan a face on the international stage over five years after a period of revolving door PMs. Even my relatives and friends overseas knew who the Japanese prime minister was. And at least Abe could smile. I don't think I have ever seen Suga smile. He is a non-entity.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

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