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American Lifestyle 米国ライフスタイル British Lifestyle 英国ライフスタイル Business and the Economy ビジネスと経済 China 中国情勢 Emergent Democracy 新興国の民主主義 Global Politics 国際政治 Global Voices 世界の声 Human Rights 人権 Japanese Policy 日本の制度 Japanese Politics 日本の政治 People 人 Privacy プライバシー Reforming Japanese Democracy 民主主義改革 Traveling 旅行 US Policy and Politics 米国の制度と政治 Warblogging 戦争 Yuki's Diary 日記

Prelude to WWIII

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.

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Visiting United States military bases in Japan

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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Gender ジェンダー Information and Media 情報とメディア Media and Journalism メディアとジャーナリズム People 人 Video 動画 Yuki's Diary 日記

Another Asadora: a talk show by Yurie Omi

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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Art アート Creativity クリエイティブ Humor ユーモア Japanese Culture 日本の文化 People 人 Yuki's Diary 日記

Shofukutei Riko

Shofukutei Riko (笑福亭里光) is a professional rakugo artist who speaks Kansai-dialect rakugo stories. Rakugo is, as written in Wikipedia, a form of Japanese verbal entertainment where the lone storyteller sits on stage and depicts a long and complicated comical (or sometimes sentimental) story using only a paper fan and a small cloth as props.

He was one of my classmates when we were junior high school students. Besides, he was one of my best friends. In junior high I talked him a lot, played with him a lot, belonged the same club as he did, and resigned from the club together with him on the same day. He sometimes played rakugo on stage in school events. His performance was rising above the level of amateur, so he was called shisho, a title which is used to a professional rakugo storytellers.

After we graduated from junior high, we went to different high school. We didn’t see each other for ages.

One day in 2012 I was staying in a hotel room watching an entertainment program on TV, where several rakugo artists who had just promoted to the shin’uchi rank were on stage and they were giving speeches in turn to show their thankful feelings for the promotion. The program reminded me of the wanted-to-be-a-rakugo-storyteller classmate. I wondered if he still kept up his hobby. Watching TV, I thought he might appear on such an entertainment program someday. To my surprise, he really did it in the very program that day.

According to the information online, after graduating from university he became one of the disciples of Shofukutei Tsuruko (笑福亭鶴光), one of well-known rakugo artists, to start his rakugo career in 1998. He promoted to the futatsume rank in July 2002 and became a shin’uchi in May 2012.

I tried to contact to him. Since he had a Twitter account, I sent a direct message to him. He replied to me soon. We talked a bit on Twitter for a while. Several months later we met face-to-face for the first time in more than 25 years. He had not changed at all since we saw in the junior high.

Now I sometimes go to his stage to listen to his story, and see him offstage. Last night I saw him in Shinjuku and went for a drink with him at an izakaya in the westgate area of Shinjuku. He was fine. We talked a lot. I drank too much and I have hangover this morning, though.

I think that being friends with public figures might help me have a chance to see the celebrity world, and maybe it would even change my life.

Art アート Books 本 Eating and Cooking 食・料理 Japanese Culture 日本の文化 Media and Journalism メディアとジャーナリズム People 人 Yuki's Diary 日記







Books 本 Eating and Cooking 食・料理 Japanese Culture 日本の文化 Media and Journalism メディアとジャーナリズム People 人 Yuki's Diary 日記

Yurie Omi

According to Wikipedia, “Yurie Omi (born July 27, 1988) is a Japanese female announcer, television reporter, television personality, and news anchor for NHK. Omi is one of the hosts of NHK morning news show NHK News Ohayō Nippon. She is also the co-host of NHK television series Bura Tamori aired from April 2016.”

I’ve been a big fan of Yurie Omi since the beginning of this year when I sat in front of the TV by chance at my parents’ house and watched her for the first time in Bura Tamori (I had rarely seen it before, though). This program is a travel show where NHK’s broadcaster strolls Japan’s particular town or area with Tamori, one of Japan’s renowned TV personalities, and a geophysicist, a local historian, or a curator, to investigate the place’s topics such as terrain features, history, culture, and civil engineering.

Why do I think she is so attractive? I think the reason is three-fold. Firstly, she sometimes shows goofy behavior in her TV programs, although she is actually very smart and good-looking. She wore her dress back to front in the news show. In Bura Tamori, she read the thermometer incorrectly. (She said the temperature of hot spring water was 940 degrees Celcius while it really pointed 94.0 degrees.) Such slight weaknesses mean imperfection, which is what Japanese people value in tradition. This mentality makes the Japanese regard her weaknesses as charming. Secondly, she acts or speaks less highhandedly than average so-called “joshi-ana” and TV personalities. They often show off, but she doesn’t. They often speak aggressively, but she never does it. Her attitude like this gives a favorable impression to many Japanese viewers. Thirdly, most of her personality looks so similar to mine that I find something congenial in her. I don’t think she is such a personality that is good at thinking on her feet and speaking off the cuff with a ready wit. Rather, she looks genuine, and she can only do diligently what she has to do with simple honesty. Such characteristics are just like mine.

For those reasons, I got fascinated by her. I watch every TV program she appears in. I get up at five in the morning on weekdays to watch NHK’s morning news show she hosts. In Saturday evening I watch Bura Tamori to see her traveling with Tamori.

In addition to watching her on TV, I had a chance to see her with the naked eye. One day I got the information that she was going to hold a lecture presentation at Nagoya on September 30 and was requesting for audience. I applied for it because it might be my once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet her up.

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