Category Archives: SOCIETY

JT/JIJI: Japan plans new surveillance system to centralize NJ residents’ data. (Actually, it’s to justify police budgets as crime overall continues to drop.)


JIJI: Japan plans to set up a system to centrally manage information on foreign residents to prevent overstayers from growing as the national labor crunch worsens, officials said. The Justice Ministry will play a key role in handling the information, which will include records on employment, tax payments and marriage that is currently being separately managed by central and local government agencies. The system is intended to strengthen government surveillance of overstayers as the nation imports more foreign labor to ease a severe nationwide labor shortage. As part of the effort, a new organization might be set up within the ministry to collect and analyze information on foreign residents.

DEBITO.ORG READER JDG: Government plans to take responsibility for ‘managing’ NJ away from city halls and ‘centralize’ the management of all NJ by the Justice Ministry in order to ‘increase surveillance’. To this end, the police will have access to all NJ info; addresses, employment, tax, marital status, visa information, etc. Imagine that the police will now demand to see your residence card so that they can radio the office and check all your details. ‘Increased surveillance’? Why are NJ being surveilled at all to start with? Here’s a top tip for the police; detect crime, and then investigate it.

[Yet according to this Irish Times article, there may in fact be too many cops in Japan vis-a-vis the ever-decreasing amount of crime.] With fewer crimes, and more police than ever before, Japanese police are getting ‘inventive’ in order to look busy; investigating crimes way beyond the level of resources that the crime warrants, and setting up intensive sting operations for minor offenses. The police are looking to criminalize people in order to defend their budgets. I guess the Japanese won’t mind hundreds of officers …continue reading


10 Unique Date Spots In Tokyo (That Don’t Involve Rowing Boats Or Sushi)


When it comes to planning a date in Tokyo, there’s no end to the number of stylish cafes and restaurants, massive shopping centers, entertainment hot spots, or beautiful parks with boats to choose from. But, where can you go if you’d rather have a date less ordinary in Tokyo? Here are a few recommended relatively off-the-beaten-romance-path spots in the capital where you can go to as part of a longer date course, or as a one-stop date location.

1. Hinokicho Park (Roppongi)

A post shared by TMK (@heppoko1002) on Jun 6, 2018 at 7:44am PDT

Found near Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi, Hinokicho Park (檜町公園) is the perfect place to go either before or after a lunch date or a lovely, romantic space to visit in the evening. This Japanese garden is surrounded by cypress trees, features a large natural pond, and of course, has an easy access to all of Roppongi’s hotspots. Plus there are some fabulous sunset views here if you’re into photography.

Access: Roppongi or Nogizaka stations

2. Crossing View (Shibuya)

A post shared by Ms. R (@foodie_roro) on May 30, 2018 at 11:10pm PDT

Crossing View, which opened in April this year, is the latest addition to Shibuya, so it’s still relatively unpopulated. Located on the rooftop of the former 109 Men’s shopping complex (which now goes by the name Magnet 109), this open-air observation deck offers the best yet aerial view of the famous Shibuya crossing. The deck is also equipped with a photo booth where you two can save the memory of your date and take a snap with the Scramble as a backdrop. The rooftop itself is surrounded by graffiti-tagged walls and serves as an event space where various artworks will be displayed throughout …continue reading


This is what was waiting for me in my office at school after the recent earthquake in Osaka...

It could have been much worse as seen here. I went around and took photos of the damage in some of my colleagues’ offices, especially those who are currently out of the country. Something for them to look forward to when they return (insert sad/sarcastic emoji here).

Link to news about the earthquake (The Japan Times, 6/18/18):

Link to “Osaka earthquake: Useful links and resources (The Japan Times, 6/18/18):

My dissertation was damaged and an important teaching folder has disappeared. The biggest casualty was a souvenir from Germany.

My office now smells like old Hefeweizen…

…continue reading


After the Quake: Two Years on, Kumamoto Stands Strong

Source: Gaijin Pot
After the Quake: Two Years on, Kumamoto Stands Strong

The world turned upside down for Kumamoto on April 14, 2016. An earthquake measuring Shindo (degree of shaking) 6.5 on the Japan Meteorological Agency seismic intensity scale (near the upper end) was followed by an even stronger one of magnitude 7.3 two days after the initial tremor (as a reference, the March 11, 2011 Fukushima quake registered 7.1 on the Shindo scale), resulting in 50 deaths and over 3,000 injuries. More than 1,000 buildings were seriously damaged and water, gas and other utilities stopped due to the tremors.

Fast forward two years later and I finally had a chance to visit the prefecture and see how the area and its people were doing — including visits to popular tourist attractions and witnessing the earthquake ruins.

The city

Photo by Cara Lam

A crumbling stone wall on the grounds of Kumamoto Castle.

Kumamoto City was the first destination in my trip. When I visited during this year’s Golden Week holidays, its shopping streets were packed with tourists, restaurants were packed with tables available by reservation only and an Oktoberfest beer festival was pumping festive energies throughout the main streets of the city. At first, it looked like the city had mostly returned to its pre-earthquake condition, but encountering a big area of scaffolding at Kumamoto Castle convinced me otherwise.

Originally one of Japan’s top three castles (alongside those in Himeji and Matsumoto) — with 98-square-meter grounds — the hilltop Kumamoto Castle is one of the sites that suffered the most damage from the 2016 earthquake. Currently, more than 80 percent of the castle grounds are inaccessible and covered in scaffolding. Throughout the recommended walking route, one can see numerous structures that have collapsed, walls that have crumbled and rock pieces that have piled up.

<img src=”” sizes=”(max-width: 1600px) 100vw, 1600px” srcset=” 1600w,×188.jpg 300w,×640.jpg 1024w, …continue reading