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All posts by Masayuki (Yuki) Kawagishi

I live in Japan. I have bank accounts in Japan to get a monthly income and make regular payments. Besides, I have bank accounts in the United States and Hong Kong to put some of my money into different banks in different places with different currencies to minimize the risk. I manage my assets in these countries because there are more options for investment than in Japan.

A consideration is how to transfer the money you get in Japan to a foreign bank account. Wire transfer at a banking institute in Japan costs very much. I tried some online international money transfer services. All of these services require no less than 2,000 JPY of fee per transaction, so sending tens of thousand Yen with these services is costly.

Having two Paypal accounts can resolve this problem. I got two Paypal accounts with my different email addresses and linked one of the Paypal accounts to a debit card of the bank account in Japan and the other to the bank account in the US. When money was credited to the Japan bank account, I logged in to the Paypal account linked to the debit card and sent money with the debit card to the Paypal account linked to the US bank account. Then I logged out and logged in to the other Paypal account, and I withdrew money credited to the account to the US bank account linked to the Paypal account. The fee is cheaper as long as you send a small amount of money. However, you cannot send money from Japan to Hong Kong because if you live in Japan, your Paypal account does not allow you to link to any bank accounts in Hong Kong.

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コロナが世界中に広まっていますね。ジョンズ・ホプキンス大学によると4月29日時点で3百10万人以上が感染して、20万人以上が亡くなっているそうです。ここ東京も例外ではありません。

そのせいで、世界中の人々が行動変容を迫られ、何ヶ月も外出禁止になったり、医療関係者、消防士、警察官、スーパーの店員、清掃作業員、配達人、公共交通機関に従事する人などのエッセンシャルワーカーは感染の恐怖に直面しながら外で働いているわけです。

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COVID-19 is dreadfully spreading throughout the world, hospitalizing more than 3,100,000 people and taking the lives of more than 200,000 patients as of April 29, according to Johns Hopkins University. It is no exceptions here in Tokyo.

The virus is forcing all people in the world to change their lifestyles. Many have been grounded for months. Essential workers, such as doctors, healthcare workers, firefighters, law enforcement officers, supermarket clerks, garbage collectors, delivery servicepersons, and staff involved in public transportation, work outside facing the fear of infection.

I’ve been staying at my house in Tokyo for almost two months. Although the confirmed cases and the death toll in Japan are lower than those in the United States, there are hundreds of cases tested positive and dozens of casualties every day. People are requested to refrain from non-essential journeys and maintain proper social distancing like the US and other countries to avoid causing overshooting of patients. These days I work from home, watch TV, surf the internet, read e-books, have meals delivered at the door, eat them, and sleep in the bed.

Nobody knows when this inconvenience ends. Some say that it will take 18 months for everything to get back to normal. Others say that it will never return to what it was before the outbreak. Since public health specialists say that the situation in Tokyo is three weeks behind that in New York City, the Metropolitan Government will probably lift the de facto lockdown no sooner than three weeks after NYC. As of today, no countries reopened business yet.

I’m at home all day long, unless I buy foods at the grocery store or wash my laundry at the laundromat. I have much more time to think about what the world will become in forthcoming years. Here’s what I think the world will change:

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令和二年は悪夢で始まったようです。正確に言うと年のはじめには、2ヶ月後にこうなってるなどと誰も予測し得なかったのです。言うまでもなく、いま世界全体が戦っているもの、つまりコロナウイルスの話です。

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The second year of the Reiwa period began with a nightmare. More precisely, at the beginning of the year, nobody could predict what would be going on just two months later. I am talking about what the entire world is fighting against—COVID-19.

The coronavirus outbreak has been an urgent global issue. It was just the case of people in a limited area of a particular country, or poor, rich travelers within a trapped gorgeous cruise ship in February. Only a few weeks later, however, it became the case relevant in most parts of the world. Now the situation is changing day by day. For days, thousands of people around the world have been newly hospitalized due to this disease. More than 10,000 patients have died from it in China, Japan, Iran, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, the United States, and more.

The World Health Organization declared a pandemic. Lockdown is underway in many cities and even nationwide in some countries. Going out for non-essential reasons is banned or discouraged. People are forced to stay home and keep six feet away from others so as not to be six feet under.

The lockdown has had a massive impact on the world economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by around 1,000 points this month with circuit breakers taking effect many times. The share price of Boeing has become less than a third for weeks. This financial crisis is even worse than those in the great depression in 1929.

That is true with Japan. Here in Tokyo, the governor stated that lockdown in Tokyo is likely because patients tested positive are increasing every day by more than the number of cases a day before. She requested Tokyoites for being home this weekend except for essential business.

People in Japan look afraid of a state of emergency being declared and lockdown being issued. I hate to say that, but I’m sure that these will be near. I think lockdown orders will be released in weeks or even in days because we see other civilized countries being already like this.

Lockdown being inevitable, how should we do? Most people will be forced to stay away from their workplaces, such as offices, farms, fishing grounds, milk plants, and factories. Then it is likely to run short of various things needed for daily life. As a result, the production of foods and groceries will be severely restricted.

Once supply cease, panic buying is likely to take place. This action must be blamed as antisocial behavior since not all households have enough money or means to get what they need. It will be difficult to supply daily necessities if panic buying occurs, because the distribution system will be burdened more than usual, and the distribution of domestic inventory will be unfair. Participating in such panic buying is nothing but not only exposing your low awareness of social solidarity, that is, lack of knowledge that society will not be established if we do our own things, but also proving that you have neglected to be prepared and save in case of an emergency.

We have no choice but to secure the needed supplies for the time being before lockdown takes effect. It would help us a lot to find out what people in countries where lockdown is already in place are doing.

This experience gives us the following important suggestions and lessons: the fact that even the most rights-sensitive liberal nations can easily and quickly control individual’s rights and freedom before the impending crisis. It means that, once an emergency happens, the rights of individuals are insignificant and vulnerable.

What is happening in front of us now seems like a dry run exercise for the third world war. I think it is likely to occur in the coming decades because it is a very similar situation where a big earthquake occurred in 1923, the world financial crisis in 1929, and WWII 12 years later. Likewise, the big earthquake and tsunami happened in 2011, and the economic crisis derived from the coronavirus epidemic eight years later. Now the world is divided. Each country is isolated and closing its borders. How many years is left for us to see those countries to collide?

The time is right to be prepared for in the future. Divide your assets into some pieces and save them in different countries. If possible, have multiple places to live and jobs in two or more countries. Having as many life options as possible will save you in this volatile future with many uncertainties.

Looking back on what I experienced in the year 2019, the words of this year are: Hokkaido, Mercari, and Grand Cherokee.

I’ve traveled to Hokkaido three times this year alone for both business and private. In February, I visited Sapporo to conduct a system test, and I went to Hakodate one week later to see a friend of mine. In September, I was in Sapporo again for the system test. I’m revisiting Sapporo next month, too (It won’t be “this year,” though!). In spring and summer, NHK broadcast a morning TV drama set in Tokachi area, which became very popular. I had more opportunities to get in touch with Hokkaido.

I started e-commerce this year through the Mercari marketplace app. It allows users to buy and sell items quickly and easily from their smartphones. I sold a briefcase I wouldn’t use any longer, one of the bottles of hand sanitizer I bought too much to use up all, and even a socket of an iPhone charger. I purchased an antique bookshelf, English soaps, and a sixpence coin for comparatively lower prices with several taps on the screen.

I sold my 2013 Jeep Compass Sport and bought a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo in April. The new Jeep’s odometer reading was about 21,000 miles when I found it at the Jeep car dealer, and I have driven more than 6,000 miles for about eight months since I bought it. It is a big, comfortable, good-conditioned, and powerful SUV, excellent for both short-howl and long-howl drive.  

The words of the year 2001 were getting a flat within the Tokyo metropolitan areaa position change at the office, and Soarer. The word of the year 2002 was America. The words of the year 2003 were the airplane and the musical. The words of the year 2004 were the blogAsian countries (Singapore and Hong Kong), and the GSM mobile phone. The words of the year 2005 were dartsthe GSM and WCDMA mobile phone, and visiting Hong Kong again. The words of the year 2006 were the US stock and the mutual fund. The words of the year 2007 were changing my car and visiting Hawaii. The words of the year 2008 were England and Fukagawa. The words of the year 2009 were office position changeMacBook Pro and JR Seishun 18 Ticket. The words of the year 2010 were Taiwan, Singapore and MalaysiaiPhone and the credit card. The words of the year 2011 were the carthe British culture and China. The words of the year 2012 were Ojithe mahjongthe flight attendant and Facebook. The words of the year 2013 were AyurvedaKoreahigh school alumni and Tsuyoshi Takashiro. The words of the year 2014 were England and Android. The words of the year 2015 were Maine, United States; Estonia and transfer of workplace. The words of the year 2016 were traveling to places in Japanmapping and Jeep. The words of the year 2017 were Yurie OmiNHKshingles, and English exams. The words of the year 2018 were cashlessJapanese language and comeback.

It is becoming more and more difficult to bump into new things over time, because the older one becomes, the more satisfied with what he is and the more reluctant to change. That being said, changing with the changing times is absolutely essential to keep pace with the future, and it would be fun.

Visiting US military bases is fun for me. The US Army, US Navy, US Air Force and US Marine Corps use 75 facilities within Japan and Okinawa, 51 of which are dedicated and the rest 24 shared with Japan Self Defense Force. Though those facilities are usually closed to civilians, they are open to residents around them once or twice a year, and you can get inside the military places during these festivals.

Visiting those facilities is one of the few occasions to get in touch with the United States. You can eat American-made hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks, turkey legs, and other American foods. You can pay foods, sodas, beer, sweets, and souvenirs with US dollars. You can talk to Americans in English. And, you can find out how average Americans live their daily life. What kind of groceries do they buy? What kind of foods do they eat? What kind of newspapers do they read? What kind of school do they make their children attend? You can catch a glimpse of those things without flying more than 12 hours to get to mainland America.

I have visited US bases and facilities in Japan and Okinawa for more than 15 years. With respect to what I have experienced, I’m grading each of these out of 5 by categories of accessibility, smoothness of entry and exit, freedom of movement, and availability of on-base building. 5 is the most excellent, and 0 the worst.

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8月31日に青山一丁目のNHK文化センターで近江友里恵さんの講演会があったので行ってきました。こちらのエントリにも書いたように、私は近江友里恵アナウンサーのファンで、一昨年には名古屋での講演会に出かけていったことがあります。今回は東京で行きやすいので、受講募集があったときに速攻で申し込みました。

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On August 31, I went to NHK Culture Center at Aoyama-itchome in Tokyo to attend a lecture presentation of Ms. Yurie Omi. As I wrote in this entry, I have been a fan of the NHK Announcer, and once met her at her talk show in Nagoya two years ago. This time it was held in Tokyo and it was much easier to have access to the venue, so I applied to this lecture presentation as soon as NHK Culture Center began selling the tickets.

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