Vacationing for the summer for a little while


Hi Blog. It’s summer, a time for campfires and taking a little time off the digital environment. So it’s time for to take a little summer break. Sorry it’s during the Olympics. Barring nothing too dramatic to cover, I’ll be back shortly before it finishes. Comments might take a little time to be approved, so please be patient. Thanks for reading, everyone! Debito Arudou, Ph.D.

12 comments on “Vacationing for the summer for a little while

  • I welcome anyone to reply to my comment. Dr. Arudou’s opinion would be highly appreciated as well.

    The big question everyone is asking right now is “when will Japan reopen for tourism?” There is no shortage of speculation on that and it ranges from overly optimistic to insanely pessimistic. Early fall 2021 to summer 2023 respectively.

    My concern is that racism in Japan against foreigners will prolong the time line for re-opening. Is there an objective number/key indicator that can be agreed upon internationally for a reasonable re-opening time? For example, let’s say that Japan reaches 70% to 80% in terms of total population vaccination numbers, is that a reasonable number to then re-open?

    My final concern, and I admit that the outcome will not be truly fair, is that Japan will have imbalanced passport and visa agreements. Japan will be asking for more than it is willing to give in return. Japan will demand proof of vaccination, mandatory quarantine, and who knows what else in terms of tracking while in the country. At the same time, Japan will be demanding much more freedom for Japanese nationals to travel abroad for business/tourism.

    After Debito returns from vacation and the Olympics are over the dust will have settled. What now? The Olympics will be a memory and Japan will sit idle as students, family members, business people, potential workers, and tourists wait to enter Japan without any road-map of what to look forward to.

    What is next? Is there any criteria? Or is Japan moving on to a new future with less foreigners?

    • I don’t think we should speculate at all. Makes no sense to me. There’s honestly nothing you can do about it, except wait for the GOJ to announce a date when tourism will be allowed again.

      “My concern is that racism in Japan against foreigners will prolong the time line for re-opening”

      That’s already happening, the majority of countries, especially in Europe are already open to tourists around the world, the only thing you have to do is prove that you’re vaccined or have a negative test. I don’t see that happening in Japan, since blaming the pandemic on foreigners has been Japan’s number 1 sport for more than a year now.

      “My final concern, and I admit that the outcome will not be truly fair, is that Japan will have imbalanced passport and visa agreements. Japan will be asking for more than it is willing to give in return. Japan will demand proof of vaccination, mandatory quarantine, and who knows what else in terms of tracking while in the country. At the same time, Japan will be demanding much more freedom for Japanese nationals to travel abroad for business/tourism.”

      Again, already happening and Debito wrote about it here:

      If you ask me, Japan will be one of the last countries to fully open its borders again. But I don’t see a way to predict an exact time frame or a way to pinpoint any exact criteria. I mean, when has the Japanese government ever used any kind of logical criteria when it comes to foreigner rights? Last year they flat out banned all residents (even people with permanent residency) for 5 months. I don’t see a world in which they would treat tourists any better.

    • Personally I am not bothered about tourists in the slightest. We all saw what happened to the UK more than once when they decided to ignore people coming in. After the initial mistake of allowing Japanese citizens to enter with no restrictions, I think Japan has done a reasonable job of managing the border.

      I do think Japan should move faster to let visa holders in, particularly international students, family members, and workers.

      But it would be better for Japan and the world if we had a long hard think about what sustainable tourism looks like in the future, beyond simply aiming to increase the numbers perpetually.

    • Robert De Zero says:

      It certainly feels as if Japan is gravitating toward a sakoku 2.0 type society. They are in need of manual laborers, mainly to fill various 3K jobs (kikken, kitsui, kitanai), so I think they’ll make a number of exemptions and loopholes to facilitate the inflow of “technical trainees” on time-limited visas (basically virtually modern day indentured laborers).

      Otherwise, I think they’ll close themselves off almost completely to the rest of the world. The issuance of new visas will be limited at best and tourism may happen only in a limited capacity.

      Japan has started moving toward a kind of isolationism sometime during Abe’s tenure and Covid-19 seems to have been a great excuse to speed up that plan. Of course, Covid-19 related concerns conveniently disappear when they inconvenience the connected insiders, as is obvious in the case of the Olympics.

      Additionally, the continual and growing harassment and street shakedowns of visible foreigners by the Japanese police, last year’s re-entry ban for people who have spent their entire life in Japan, the growing fascism in the form of deputizing all kinds of unauthorized randos to feel empowered to check your residence card and so on — it all seems designed with the intention of making foreign people’s life difficult and sending the message “We’re making your life hard and you’re still here. Why? Just go home already.”

      At least that’s my takeaway from all this. I ended up leaving after a decade because it simply wasn’t worth putting up with a constantly falling quality of life on a year to year basis. In other words, not enough bang for my buck compared with what I can get in other parts of the world, given that I don’t depend on Japan for my income.

      • -constantly falling quality of life
        -compared with what I can get in other parts of the world

        This is all anyone needs to say, to decide to leave. But how the Mighty Nippon is fallen from its 80 glory days.
        Oh, the irony.

        N.b. I would add the behavioural weirdness and exceptionalism of Japan, Tokyo in particular, which all the olympic gaffes have revealed, (bullying of disabled, perversion, racism, sexism all normalized otherwise), but this is a sub category of “falling quality of life”

      • I agree. I’ve been here less than a decade, so I can’t judge how much things have changed long-term. My personal anecdotal experience is that things have been deteriorating rapidly during the pandemic. Much more casual racism, such as talk about the Japanese having dodged the bullet (which wasn’t even true from the beginning) by being “majime” and washing their hands, not understanding just how insulting it is to say that to an NJ’s face.

        Starting perhaps with the re-entry ban, the government has been getting more and more creative about how it can mess with NJ. That’s how they came up with the ID scanning app and other ideas that, as you say, encourage anyone who doesn’t have legal right to do so to check NJ at their discretion. I don’t want to get paranoid, but I do know what Nippon Kaigi stands for. They literally want an ethnically clean population with the NJ, at best, serving as semi-slaves. That’s what their role models and grandfathers did, and they have never learnt to think of it as wrong.

        Also, working in education gives me little hope Japan is becoming a 21st-century country connected with the rest of the world. I’ve met some of the most wonderful young people, but I’ve also seen a system of authoritarian, nationalist brainwashing that sometimes sends shivers down my spine.

  • One more for the reading list…

    Olympic Boss Wanted Flame Lit by ‘Pure Japanese’ Ex-Yankee Player, Not Osaka
    By Jake Adelstein
    Tue, August 3, 2021 Yahoo News/The Daily Beast

    TOKYO—The 2020 Olympics delighted the world when, at the opening ceremony on July 23, biracial tennis superstar Naomi Osaka—with a rose-gold torch in her hand—lit the Olympic cauldron.

    But that wasn’t the original plan. According to Olympic insiders who spoke to The Daily Beast, disgraced former Tokyo Organizing Committee chair Yoshiro Mori was pushing to have someone else do the honors.

    “Mori wanted ‘Godzilla’ to light the Olympic flame at the end, not Naomi Osaka, ” an employee for the committee, who spoke on conditions of anonymity due to a punitive non-disclosure agreement, told The Daily Beast.

    “Godzilla” is the nickname for Hideki Matsui, a legendary Japanese baseball outfielder who played for the Yomiuri Giants and the New York Yankees, with a total of 507 home runs in his two-decade career. The nickname is an homage to his batting power. Matsui is a good sport about his nickname, even making a guest appearance in the film “Godzilla Versus Mechagodzilla.”

    Japan’s Ex-Prime Minister Is Behind This Hateful Olympic Scandal

    Many of the top dogs involved in the Tokyo Olympics, including Governor Yuriko Koike, had special requests for the event, and Mori was among them. The Olympics employee said that Mori was insistent on Matsui lighting the “sacred fire.” Worth noting, too, is that Mori has served as the honorary chairman of Matsui’s fan club in Ishikawa Prefecture, where the baseball player was born.

    According to the employee, Mori had told the staff: “[Matsui] is a pure Japanese man and a baseball champion in the U.S. and Japan—the embodiment of fighting spirit.”

    Mori allegedly also just thought Matsui’s nickname was funny, given the occasion. “Funny in the sense that Godzilla breathes flames, and Matsui would be lighting the cauldron,” the staffer said.

    There were other suggestions for the final person in the torch relay, but Mori was allegedly not open to any of them. An employee with Dentsu, a PR firm exclusively partnered with the Games, who worked on the opening ceremony told The Daily Beast that “Mori wanted Matsui. If he wanted something changed or something done, then it was done. Mori was practically the voice of God.”

    Speaking of gods, even after Matsui was decided upon, there was grave concern that the chair would make an inappropriate remark about it. When Mori was Japan’s prime minister in 2000, he had said in a speech, “Japan is a nation of the gods, with the emperor in the center,” a controversial statement that echoed militarist sentiments of imperial Japan.

    The actual emperor of Japan, despite his concerns that the games would directly or indirectly spread the coronavirus, was also at the opening. He gave an unenthusiastic 14-second speech, in which he changed the word “celebrate” to “commemorate.”

    Mori, too, was there for the opening, but not as chairman. He had been forced to resign on Feb. 12, after making sexist remarks. With him gone, the committee decided that Osaka was perfect.

    Osaka wasn’t formally approached until March, but thankfully she took the job. She was a spark of light in an opening ceremony that was depressing as hell.

    Naomi Osaka is not only a celebrated biracial athlete in an all too often xenophobic and sexist society but also an outspoken advocate of Black Lives Matter and a champion of mental health awareness. No matter how it happened, the choice to have her wield the rose-gold torch was laudable.

    In the end, Matsui also took part in the opening ceremonies as a torchbearer.

    The Daily Beast reached out to the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee and Yoshihiro Mori for comment, but have not received a reply. The Tokyo Olympics have been beset by scandal since Japan won the bid in 2013, and the infighting and squabbles surrounding the opening ceremony have been endless.

    In the process, important messages that many in Japan hoped to see expressed were snuffed out.

    The International Olympic Committee wasn’t interested in anything promoting the restoration of Fukushima, a northern prefecture of Japan devastated by natural disasters and a nuclear meltdown. An earlier plan to have a moment of silence for the victims of the disaster was nixed by the IOC, which had also canceled plans to have a moment of silence for Hiroshima on Aug. 6.

    The reconstruction and revival of the area was the original pretext for applying to host the Olympics in the first place. “The IOC didn’t give a fart about Fukushima,” the Tokyo Organizing Committee source added. So much for the “Restoration Olympics.”

    The IOC did, however, request John Lennon’s “Imagine” be put in the show. If we imagine hard enough, we could also maybe believe that the president of the IOC, Thomas Bach, really cares more about the safety of the Japanese people than he does about the IOC collecting $1 billion in TV broadcasting rights fees.

    And thanks to the decision to have Naomi Osaka take part in the ceremony, we can almost imagine that the scandal-plagued Tokyo Olympics were always actually about “diversity and unity.” Imagine that.


    • Jim Di Griz says:

      Well this is exactly the joke, isn’t it;
      The sheer hypocrisy/naievety/ignorance and lack of curiosity displayed by ‘woke’/activist-athletes taking the knee/turning away from the flag/‘highlighting mental health issues’ when they are in fact participating in (and therefore directly endorsing the IOC) the Olympics; an event that rewards human rights abusing states by giving them globally prestigious events to host and associated positive coverage and global soft-power boost, whilst the leaders of the host nation pillage the national coffers to enrich themselves and the IOC and impoverish citizenry.
      The fact of the citizenry being too stupid to realize this massive con is taking place doesn’t give athletes a pass on their moral conscience.
      Unless athletes are in for the opportunity for increased name recognition and associated sponsorship deals…I guess they value that more than ‘doing the right thing’.
      The whole thing is rotten to the core.
      I wouldn’t want my kids to have any of these athletes as role-models.

    • Jim Di Griz says:

      In fact, the Olympics is so toxic that no one wants to host it. Only L.A. and Paris bid to host 2024, so L.A. was given 2024, and Paris 2028 with no bid process.
      Brisbane was last month awarded the 2032 Olympics because no other city expressed an interest.
      Of course, Japan still can’t get enough and wants another;

      But it’s getting harder to persuade citizens of democratic countries to let their governments blatantly steal from them. After that, who’s left? What nations are desperate for the validation and recognition, but at the same time can abuse the human rights of their citizens with impunity?
      North Korea or Saudi Arabia for 2036?
      Maybe by then the Taliban will put in a bid to host in Afghanistan, they’ve got that execution ground/stadium infrastructure in place already.

      • Lol a few days ago I said Japan will bid for the winter Olympics in a few decades. I didn‘t expect that I would be proven right so early. It‘s amazing how far removed Japanese politicians are from reality. Every time I think they can‘t surprise me anymore they still manage to do it!

        —- Ditto. But the syntax of the article says to me that these plans were pre-Covid.

    • Jim Di Griz says:

      Speaking of ‘reconstruction Olympics’, this is how little the reconstruction and revitalization of Tohoku has been reduced to;
      ‘ Atsushi Muramatsu’s handmade flyers are the size of a business card, written in several languages. “Welcome to Miyagi Stadium,” one reads. “The gymnasium next door was the largest morgue for tsunami victims.”’

      A handwritten business card that says the gym next door was the biggest morgue.
      And horrifying at the same time. I want to cry for this guy writing these cards and handing them out.
      But hey, 22 gold medals so all’s good, right?


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