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Hi Blog. As was expected (since this sort of thing is happening worldwide), the bigots unfettered by any laws against racial discrimination in Japan are doing what they do best — bigotry. While I’m aware that in a time of pandemic it’s nice to have more uplifting articles, this blog has been designed to catalog life and human rights issues in Japan. Let’s keep at it, showing how racists are portraying Covid-19 as a “foreign” virus, and making sure that foreigners don’t get the same public service or protections against it:
Local government in Japan excludes Chosen Gakko from public mask distribution
By Cho Ki-weon, Tokyo correspondent, Hankyoreh (Korean Independent Newspaper)
Posted on Mar. 12, 2020
PHOTO: Korean-Japanese and Japanese citizens protest the Japanese government’s decision to exclude Chosen Gakko schools from its complimentary children’s education policy in November 2019. (Hankyoreh archives)
A decision by a local government in Japan not to include Chosen Gakko (Korean school) kindergartners in its distribution of masks for novel coronavirus prevention has sparked protests from affected communities.
According to a Mar. 11 report in the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon) newspaper Choson Sinbo, the city of Saitama in Saitama Prefecture excluded Saitama Korean Kindergarten and private academies from its plans to distribute 240,000 of the city’s stockpile of masks to employees working in daycare centers, kindergarten, after-school academies, and senior citizen facilities in Saitama. Upon learning of this, the principal of Saitama Korean Kindergarten inquired with the city on Mar. 10 and was told by a city official that the Korean kindergarten “is not considered a facility under Saitama city guidance and oversight, and instruction cannot be provided in cases where the masks are used inappropriately,” the newspaper reported. Representatives of the Korean kindergarten visited the city hall on Mar. 11 to protest, describing the measure as an “unforgivable action” that “cannot be ignored in human rights or humanitarian terms,” the newspaper said.
Difficulties in acquiring masks have become an issue in Japan due to the effects of the novel coronavirus outbreak. The Japanese government is currently planning to purchase 20 million masks in bulk for distribution to senior citizen facilities and daycare centers.
Kyodo News also reported a Saitama city employee as suggesting that masks might be “sold off” if provided to Korean kindergartens. A city official apologized for the remarks to the principal on Mar. 11, calling them “inappropriate,” the agency reported. It also reported a Saitama city official as expressing that the mask distribution targets may be reconsidered.
さいたま市 マスク配布、朝鮮学校幼稚部を除外 「転売されるかも」職員発言に市幹部謝罪
Rest behind paywall at https://mainichi.jp/articles/20200311/k00/00m/040/328000c
朝日新聞 2020年3月11日 23時36分
Tokyo Ramen Restaurant Won’t Allow Foreigners Because Of Coronavirus
By Brian Ashcraft, Kotaku.com, 2/20/20
Ueno Sanji, a ramen restaurant in Tokyo, is only allowing Japanese customers due to COVID-19 concerns. The owner (pictured) claims that this is not discrimination but his duty to protect his family, his employees and his loyal customers.
There have been around 75,000 cases of people infected with coronavirus in China, followed by 104 in South Korea and another 87 in Japan. Internationally, coronavirus has led to incidents of anti-Asian discrimination and xenophobia. However, the same is also happening within Asia towards Chinese people:
At Ueno Sanji, a ramen restaurant in Tokyo, an English language sign was posted reading, “Sorry!! Japanese Only Sorry!!”
The above tweet reads: “Starting today, as a countermeasure to the coronavirus, [this restaurant] is Japanese only. I have a responsibility to protect my family, my staff and Sanji junkies. Please understand that this is not discrimination.”
On Twitter, people replied in Japanese that this was in fact discrimination and even hate speech. Others pointed out that viruses don’t pay attention to nationality.
Considering that Japan has the third most cases in the world of the virus, with Japanese nationals infected with coronavirus, Ueno Sanji’s proclamation seems especially odd.
Wrote one Twitter user in Japanese, “If you are really worried about the coronavirus, then you should refuse all customers.”
They are not alone:
(Click on image to expand in your browser. H/T to SM)
The Japanese sign below it reads:
“INFORMATION ABOUT POLICIES TAKEN AGAINST CORONAVIRUS
“Thank you very much for being a loyal patron of our establishment.
“At the moment the Coronavirus is also greatly infecting Japan. As far as our establishment goes, our foremost thoughts are on everyone’s safety, so our staff is periodically cleaning and disinfecting everything.
“Additional measures include (largely illegible to these 55-year-old eyes, but nothing mentioning foreigners; anyone with sharper vision than mine is welcome to translate). Please understand in advance that in rare circumstances there will be a bit of a smell, but this will have no physical effect on you.
“Finally, we shall make every effort to prevent the spread of infection, so we would appreciate your understanding and cooperation.”
COMMENT: In other words, to this restaurant this is a “foreign virus” that warrants careful cleanliness for the sake of Japanese customers but outright exclusion for foreigners, including foreign residents who pose the same risk factors as any Japanese who hasn’t traveled abroad (and not including Japanese who have).
I contacted the person who tweeted these pictures, Sam Byford, a week ago for more information about the location of these signs, but no response. It might be in Kichijouji, so keep an eye out. Debito Arudou, Ph.D.
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24 comments on “Japan’s reaction to coronavirus: Bigots excluding NJ residents from restaurants. Saitama Korean schools denied protective mask distribution because they might “sell off” the masks.”
So ONLY NJ people are infected with CORVID-19 in Japan? NOBODY else visited China or Korea during the past few weeks? So it’s perfectly OK to let normal Japanese people eat out because the virus won’t spread that way.
This is going to bite Japan in the butt.
Bite Japan in the butt?
Why would that happen. Japanese always look out for a way to discriminate based on race and culture using any flimsy pretext. It has been happening for decades, and no ones ass gets bitten.
Japan always gets a free pass from the apologists.
Reposting for posterity:
Just in case Sanji later tries to claim “Japanese Language Only”
the archived evidence shows he stated “Japanese PEOPLE Only”
— Your archive link is blank beyond the standard Twitter header and sidebar.
I’m seeing it fine. That archive link also has a screenshot:
And here’s the original, still currently up at Sanji’s twitter:
BTW, almost 100% of the many 100s of reactions are logical:
Props again to Debito commenter IgirisuJinNagoya for sharing:
Wow, Hotel Raizan in Osaka offered a “J-people only” floor:
Sadly, almost 100% of the 100s of YahooNews reactions APPROVE:
Doesn‘t surprise me. Yahoo News was always a cesspool of racist bigots. Even in other countries like the US, or Germany Yahoo News is among the worst. I don‘t know why (probably because it‘s not moderated), but right wingers love Yahoo News for some reason.
Props to @chloexkuroe for photographing & sharing the shop
Chloe refers to the shop as:
“Kikanbou Nakano Shimbashi Ten”
And props to @lindanewnham for calling & sharing the shop
Linda refers to the shop as:
“Kikanbou Nakano Ten”
The shop’s official sign says:
“Sengyu Kikanbou Daimarushou Ten”
鮮魚 きかん坊 大丸商店 東京都 中野区 本町3-3-4
Tel: 03-6908-7447 “No Tourists” is their current claim.
(Their original sign implied: all Foreigners are Travelers)
(They now claim RESIDENT Non-Tourist Foreigners can enter)
(Perhaps their current Residents-OK claim is due to calls)
(Still, even “no tourists” entry denial isn’t acceptable IMO)
@345triangle “Sam Byford” refused to publicly name the shop.
@TheAndySan “The Andy San” refused to publicly name the shop.
They both simply didn’t want to reveal their Nakano location. 🙂
And yet they wanted and received the increased view counts. 😉
Sam Byford works for the verge (a very popular tech website) so I think thats why he wanted to hide where he lives. Not saying he is right or wrong, I just think thats the reason.
— We are not asking where he lives. We are asking where the restaurant is. Drop the other shoe.
Hi all, this is my recent history with coronavirus while dealing with Japanese here.
I gig (baito) as kitchen staff at an izakaya in Gifu city. For the last three weeks, as we all were learning how covid-19 infections started to spread into Japan and abroad, I began wearing a mask and washing hands more often at work. Unfortunately, I was the only employee (and also the only non-Japanese) at the entire place taking any sort of sanitary precautions.
About a week ago, also noticed that several people started to show respiratory symptoms at work and yet going about their shifts without wearing masks or trying to hide their symptoms. There was even one guy (a seishain) loudly coughing his lungs out all over when coming into the kitchen, so I used the shop’s LINE group to raise my complaint and warn about such an irresponsible and insensitive behaviour. I specifically said that “people with these symptoms should stay home , as advised by the government”. The guy apologized and claimed it to be a simple allergy. The following days, other than a couple of “unfriendly” looks from other staff, things just didn’t change much.
Later on, I saw more staff members suspiciously beginning to sneeze and cough, including the kitchen manager (my direct supervisor, and whom I work extremely close with). At some point, and under a great deal of stress almost bordering with panic, I was left in the awkward position of having to storm at one of the hall bimbos (one of those young college students, who part-time as servers). I yelled at her something sort of: “please do not come into the confined environment of this kitchen coughing because that is plainly ABUNAI! “. All these happened before the indifferent eyes of the store manager and kitchen supervisor. Ignoring as much as possible, shutting up and gambare as corporate policy!
The next morning, the first infection in Gifu was reported. I took it as the sign to pull the trigger and abandon ship. I rapidly messaged them that this was going to be my last day of work. Then when I showed up that evening, the next few hours were surreal. My supervisor appeared evidently sick this time and with a mask in his face. In fact his symptoms had worsened and had to run to the hospital that same morning where he was told that it “was not corona” , was just given some meds and advised to wear a mask at work?!!
I don’t know how I contained the impulse of getting out of this madhouse on the spot. I guess because the place actually had started to experience an increase in business and reservations since the increase of this covit-19 surge (yes, as counterintuitive as is sounds), but primarily because of my good relationship and consideration to that very guy. Anyhow as I stayed I just couldn’t believe my eyes at the spectacle of him making sushis and salads while sweating, coughing, and sneezing all over the place, not just potentially infecting us, the staff, but also the store’s precious “okyakusama”; whom btw are just as culpable of any impending health catastrophe, carelessly gathering (in a frenzy of drinking, eating, kampaying, throwing up, etc.) so close to each other in such a dark, poorly ventilated and closed environment as the jap izakayas are. As if thousands of people were not already infected and dying all over the world. Honestly, rather than frustrated and angry as in many circumstances in my over 15 years in this “unique” land, I was rather disappoint and disgusted at the disgraceful expectable. Ultimately, all I could resort to doing that evening was stay as far as possible from anyone, refrain from talking, eating, even drinking, finish the job as soon as possible and say “bye-bye”.
I’m on voluntary self-isolation now. Also my wife (an extremely smart and capable woman and erai hito member of this government herself) and me have developed symptoms as well. The topic has become the invisible but huge elephant in our home. I know she get stressed out at my refusal to engage in denial and my criticism of the culture and systems that led to this circumstances. Any potential for tarnish of Japan immaculate (domestic and international) image would rather be avoided. Gamman, and suck it up. Whether we all end up hospitalized and connected to a ventilator in the next couple days is not the main issue apparently. This is Japan.
— Wow. Sorry for the platitude, but be as well as you can. Please keep us posted on your recovery at home.
That’s terrible news. I hope that you and your wife recover fully and quickly.
I’m constantly sickened by the appallingly low standard of personal hygiene I see in Japanese men’s public toilets. If anything, men brush the fingertips of one hand under a cold water only faucet before touching their hair. Most don’t even do this.
It’s my constant peeve in Japan. I never even heard of norovirus before I went to Japan, where it’s an annual fact of life like influenza. The cognitive dissonance required to maintain the ‘clean Japan’ myth is mind-boggling. There is no way on earth Japan has dodged the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s just a lack of testing. I’ve heard directly from friends in Japan of hospital staff with fevers being refused testing, and younger people who believe that it’s not dangerous for them, so they don’t have to change their behavior.
Mythical Japan…”Japan is not a real place, there is no such country” said Oscar Wilde. He was referring to the Myth, the western idealization of the place, from afar. This has always been encouraged by the Japanese PR machine itself.
Thus the economic miracle is put down to Japanese business practices when the reality is more mundane; The USA sweetheart deals and one way flow of technology, trade etc.
Similarly, omotenashi Japan.
Similarly this, “clean” Japan myth which I have always doubted judging by the varied personal hygiene one encounters on public transport etc. Thus, the rise of “Smell Harrassment” and “Kareishu” etc.
So Neveragains post is very important and revealing.
It just shows they want to keep on making money in a crisis, whatever the health cost and will “gaman” til they drop.
Or maybe, this virus doesnt affect Japanese? The myth making is already in full swing.
That Oscar Wilde quote is spot-on. I used it in my dissertation way back.
As for the ‘myth of Japanese cleanliness and social distancing as norm’ for explaining Japan’s outlier status of low infection numbers (see below), that’s just been blown out of the water.
Coincidentally (gosh, really? Eyeroll), the very day after the Olympics are postponed, the news is this;
‘Infections rampant in Japan’. Let that sink in. Now let’s see a couple of weeks of half-assed non-enforced lockdowns until policy makers get the message about how serious this is.
Oh, the myth source;
Thanks guys. We are feeling better, my wife actually never stop going to work. As erai hito it’s her role to lead the gaman, I guess. And also when discussing the topic of work attendance. I was hit with the realization that from all types of institution in this country, the public and governmental ones are the least prepared or willing to implement telecommuting. There is not system in place at all. The rationale comes down to purely bureaucratic and the deeply ingrained cultural resistance to chance at this institutions.
Also here in the inaka, it’s obvious that people just don’t give a heck about whatever goes outside their little rural bubble. I still can feel this false sense of safe disconnection from the current conditions in the rest country and the world. There is very little or no social distancing or mask wearing visible now in the streets. The wajin redneck’s level of denial is just beyond mindboggling…
Absolutely concur with everything you said and more. I’ve lived and worked in several countries. From firsthand experience can tell that standards here (not just in the food industry) can fall down to the worst very easily or are normalized operations to start with. As long as no one finds out, and the erai hito consents or even encourage…anything goes.
Yeah, and what’s with the cold water in winter in all public washroom; spending hours in the ofuro to on the other hand maintaing the worst mouth hygiene in both men and women; the sharing of filthy slipper in indoor public places; the lightly wiping of luggage wheels with simple wet towels to then rolling them into the homes as “sanitized” items; medicians never using gloves when touching you for an inspections? Etc.. All symbolic. Nothing is deep or truly committed.
I have hundreds of bad practice examples. On restaurants again. All I can say is the same thing I tell to my wife and close ones. Refrain from eating outside as much as possible, and if you have to for any reason, please do not ever eat anything raw in Japan if you don’t know the place as well as your own mom’s cooking. I know there are horror stories in every country, but here it is just more dangerous because products and services are carefully crafted to deceive and hide their true nature, so you lower your guards under the illusion of japan as safe and clean. Deception is the real master, not the customers, in yamato service industry. The check and balances system, as you would find in other developed countries simply do not exist or work. When standards in establishments are subpar ( labour wise , sanitation , safety, etc.), regulating and inspecting institutions will easily and/or complicitly look the other way; employees will never dare to blow the whistle; and even customers won’t complain (openly least) in order to avoid meiwaku. This together with the ruthless competition among inshokugyo companies, particularly those of the keiretsu type, with their solely obsession with cost and the bottom line, is really a horrible combination.
To share a recent anecdote. When we moved into Gifu last year, we were offered a premium cleaning service by the agent. Meaning extra sanitation of all points that undergo the heaviest manipulation and touching, such as door knobs and light switches. We took the offer. Fair price and the seemingly the perfect timing to go extra mile on this. What could go wrong after all, right? But I know my wajins better… So, the first I did when arrived at the new place was to carefully open all the fancy plastic covers and taping placed on the serviced spots, and surprise, surprise. Each one was nasty and visibly covered with filth. Obviously nothing has been done other that nicely placing those tapes with the writing “sanitized” and “sterilized” on them. Easy money they though. Ha-ha. I enjoyed so much taking the pictures, all in different illumination and angles; so there would be absolutely no room for doubt or denial and sent them right way. At the end they blamed on the subcontractor but never really apologized . So much for omotenashi and ethics, once they felt exposed. Kabukiland at its best! We did get the money back though.
BTW, have you noticed how just the day after the Olympics were cancelled, the infections cases finally started to shootout, coincidence?
The thing is that now the Olympics aren’t coming the government have suddenly decided to acknowledge that there is probably a large number of people with the new coronavirus.
The kicker is that since tourism has dwindled to nothing over the past few months, which some nationalists have been celebrated, it has just been Japanese people infecting other Japanese people due to a combination of government inaction and complacency amongst the general population…
That’s not what the news says! Get this, last night the reporters were at Narita airport filming Japanese returning from the US and implying this was responsible for the sudden increase in cases in Japan (as opposed to Abe trying to ignore the problem, deny testing, protect the olympics).
It’s all ‘abunai gaikoku’s’ fault.
I just received notice that I MUST show up to work wearing a WHITE mask. Colored masks are not acceptable. I suppose NV 95 masks are unacceptable as they would cause jealousy among co-workers unable to obtain the higher quality masks.
This reminds me of the ‘officials’ on the Diamond Princess directing the contaminated, infected passengers how to properly separate their trash.
Does anybody here realize where this is going?
Link. Surge of arrivals from abroad to blame for Japan’s worsening Covid-19 stats, allegedly.
Experts: Rush of arrivals from abroad worsens virus situation
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, March 26, 2020
The spike in COVID-19 patients in Japan is likely being fueled by a surge in arrivals of Japanese and foreign travelers from abroad, particularly those who ignore requests to self-quarantine, health experts said.
As of March 23, 134 people who arrived in Japan from overseas tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
In Tokyo, about 80 new coronavirus cases were confirmed over the eight-day period to March 24, and about a quarter of them had recently been abroad.
The number of entrants to Japan from the United States and European countries has been rising as travelers try to get ahead of tighter entry restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
One problem, the experts say, is that arrivals can simply refuse government requests for them to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Such defiant travelers could unknowingly be carrying the virus and spreading it around Japan.
“If this goes on, the infected people coming from abroad could end up worsening the domestic outbreak,” said Hitoshi Oshitani, professor of virology at Tohoku University and a member of the government’s panel of experts. “It is important to keep tabs on the entrants’ health conditions and make sure they are taking measures to prevent transmitting the disease to others.”
According to the health ministry and other sources, fewer than 10 arrivals a week tested positive for the virus until March 8.
But the number jumped to 35 for the period from March 9 to 15, followed by 66 from March 16 to 22.
Of the 134 arrivals who tested positive, 11 had been in China, where the virus is believed to have originated.
Recently and increasingly, returnees and travelers from other parts of the world have joined the list.
Twenty-four of the 134 patients have stayed in Egypt, while 22 were in France, 12 in Spain, nine in Britain and eight each in the United States and the Philippines.
Some have stayed in countries in Africa, where COVID-19 cases have not spread as much as on other continents.
So far, 64 people in Japan are believed to have been infected by the arrivals.
The government on Feb. 1 started refusing entry of people who had stayed in China’s Hubei province.
Entry restrictions were then expanded to cover travelers from all of China, South Korea, Iran, Egypt and European countries.
With the exception of travelers from some hot spots in China and South Korea, those who land in Japan are asked to self-quarantine in their homes or hotels for two weeks and avoid public transportation.
The government, however, cannot force the arrivals to comply with the request.
A female student traveled to Spain and returned to Japan on March 20. She was tested for the virus at Narita International Airport’s quarantine station and asked to wait until the result came back.
But she instead went to her home in Okinawa Prefecture by taking a flight from Haneda International Airport.
Her test result later came back positive.
The request to self-quarantine for two weeks will be made to all entrants from the United States, regardless of nationality, who arrive on planes and vessels that have departed on and after March 26.
The government is also expected to soon deny entry to foreign nationals arriving from European countries.
Many people were expected to land in Japan around March 25 to avoid the coming ban.
Atsuo Hamada, a professor at Tokyo Medical University who specializes in travel medicine, said the influx of returnees could cause an “overshoot,” or an explosive surge in the number of COVID-19 patients.
Hamada believes that Japanese nationals who live overseas or traveled abroad during the spring break vacation are returning to Japan without knowing that they are infected.
He said the spread from their infections could exacerbate what is already a dire situation in the largest population center in the country.
“Especially in Tokyo, where many people have had contact with foreign countries, it is already considered a COVID-19 epidemic,” he said.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike on March 25 urged residents to work from home and refrain from going out at night and during the weekend.
Oshitani of Tohoku University welcomed Koike’s measures.
“It is commendable that the governor has gone further and urged residents to avoid not only large-scale gatherings but also nonessential outings at night,” he said. “In fact, cases of becoming infected at nighttime gatherings are on the rise.”
Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a virology professor at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Medical Science who is also a member of the government’s panel, said the cases being reported now are the people who were infected about a week ago.
Over the three-day weekend last week, many people were seen outdoors in crowds while more people were returning to and arriving in Japan from the United States and other countries.
“I expect the number of patients will further increase within the next one to two weeks. Japan is in an extremely dangerous situation right now,” Kawaoka said.
Koji Wada, a professor at the International University of Health and Welfare and an expert in public health, said eliminating occasions when people can gather would stem the spread of the virus.
“That has been proved in Hokkaido and China,” Wada said. “It is likely that (officials) will urge people not to enter areas where the spread is likely, and then ease the restrictions when the risk ebbs down.”
“”Kyodo News also reported a Saitama city employee as suggesting that masks might be “sold off” if provided to Korean kindergartens. “”
Trumpish/ right-winger projection. We already know how this works. “Employee” should be investigated to see if any masks he has admin control over have disappeared.
And here it is;
‘ Abe cited experts as saying a big reason for the recent rise is the growing number of cases that can’t be linked and a jump in infections from abroad’
A jump in infections from abroad. Nothing to do with ignoring the problem until the olympics got postponed at all!
I smell whiffs of Great Kanto Earthquake anti-foreigner blaming here. When Tokyo’s less than 200 ICU beds reach capacity this week and people start dying before they get to a vacant ventilator, I wouldn’t want to be an NJ on the streets of Japan.
Saga prefecture governor condemns restaurants for banning foreigners
I didn‘t expect that to be fair. High ranking politicians usually don‘t speak out for stuff like this. So kudos to him. On another note, this article was shared on reddit, and just take a look at the first comment there. Absolutely disgusting and illegal behaviour.
This was exactly what I feared when I heard that the virus is spreading in Japan and more and more people are panicking. I really hope that that person is going to sue the hotel.
Governor condemns restaurants in Japan for banning foreigners amid virus fears
March 28, 2020 (Mainichi Japan)
SAGA — A governor in southwest Japan has slammed local businesses for reportedly refusing to serve foreign customers due to fears over the coronavirus pandemic, telling them to refrain from “heartless acts.”
During a meeting of the Saga Prefectural Government’s coronavirus countermeasure task force on March 27, Saga Gov. Yoshinori Yamaguchi mentioned that some restaurants in the prefecture were refusing to serve foreign customers. Blasting their actions, Yamaguchi said it was “extremely nonsensical” to refuse customers merely because they are foreign nationals.
According to the prefectural government’s International Affairs Division, a foreign assistant language teacher recently visited a restaurant in the prefectural city of Takeo and found a sign in several languages including English, Chinese and Korean saying that it had stopped accepting customers from overseas. After being contacted about the sign, the division checked other businesses to see if there were similar cases and found that at least one eatery in the city of Karatsu had refused entry by foreigners.
There were 7,208 foreign nationals living in Saga Prefecture as of Jan. 1, 2020.
“I don’t want to see incidents where businesses refuse people’s entries just because they’re foreigners,” Gov. Yamaguchi said. “There are many non-Japanese residents living in our prefecture, and it’s not desirable to build walls in such places.”
(Japanese original by Mio Ikeda and Shizuka Takebayashi, Saga Bureau)
LDP Politician Kimi Onoda, (born in Chicago to an American dad and Japanese mom) argues for giving cash only to Japanese people, excluding taxpaying foreign residents. Link to her Tweet and the resulting thread, filled with Nationalist bile, at Reddit. This should be picked up by the International Press. Apparently Onoda concealed her American dual citizenship for a time which raises the question as to whether she had been paying American taxes. https://www.reddit.com/r/hapas/comments/fty36m/hafu_ldp_representative_kimi_onoda_born_in/
Direct link to Onoda’s Tweet & thread:
Longer thread on Reddit about Kimi Onoda’s proposal: