Category Archives: SOCIETY

Last word on NJ hotel passport checks (thanks to a lawyer): It’s as has said for more than a decade: NJ Residents are exempt from showing any ID.

Source: Reader Mamoru sends along a recent poster produced by the Shizuoka Police confirming that there are two separate tracks for guest at Japanese hotel check-ins: One for Foreign Tourists, and another one for ALL Residents of Japan regardless of nationality (Japanese and NJ):

Confirmed is that Foreign Tourists with no address in Japan must show ID, meaning a passport. Some places will require, as per local ordinance, that passport to be photocopied. (Despite various governments criticizing the potential dangers of this practice, including fraud and identity theft: The Canadian Government, for example, explicitly says, “You take all responsibility for giving information in your passport to a third party”.)

But then the Shizuoka Police use “weasel words” in this poster that make it look like hoteliers must check the ID of ALL guests. (In practice, however, this will only mean NJ will be checked.) However, still NOWHERE in the law requires NJ Residents of Japan to show any ID after writing down their details in the hotel Guest Book.

The fact that even this Shizuoka Police poster is being intentionally confusing and misleading about the law (or ministerial directive) indicates once again that, despite well over a decade of corrections and clarifications via The Japan Times,, and even the US Embassy, the Japanese Police are continuing to bend the law, and encouraging hotels to racially profile their “foreign” guests. …continue reading


The Truth about Kore-eda

by Kaori Shoji

If you missed last year’s Cannes Palme D’Or winner Shoplifters here’s another opportunity to see filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda in action. Kore-eda’s latest is Shinjitsu (international title: The Truth),which marks a celebratory first foray into working with an international cast and staff. And what a cast: the leads are French femme fatale extraordinaire(s) Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche, joined by American indies icon Ethan Hawke.

The Truth (真実) is that Kore-eda transcends Japan’s boundaries to produce great films.

Don’t let the Kanji character title fool you – nothing about “Shinjitsu is even remotely Japanese. To my relief and Kore-eda’s credit, he’s not pandering to western ideas of ‘Japanese-ness’ here, Not even a mention of a sushi restaurant. And he never shows signs that he’s a bit awed by the exalted figures walking around on his set. He simply goes about doing what he does best, which is portraying women in the family circle. (He does that with men too, but with women his gaze is warmer and far less analytical.) The filmmaker is especially adept at observing the emotional tug-of-war that inevitably erupts between older mothers and middle-aged daughters, the gentle power-mongering between husbands and wives, or the family matriarch quietly exerting her influence on the rest of her family. In Shoplifters, Kore-eda paid special attention and tribute to Kirin Kiki who starred as a sly, feisty old woman on the brink of destitution, surrounded by a family that subsisted on theft and shoplifting. Kiki died last year at the age of 75, – the same age that Catherine Deneuve is now. Kore-eda has said in interviews that he finds older women fascinating, not just because of the lifetime of stories they harbor but because they don’t capitulate easily to his directions, and has their own opinions.

With Catherine …continue reading


Tweet of the Week #50: Typhoon Hagibis Causes Panic Buying of Tape

Source: Gaijin Pot
Tweet of the Week

Chiba Prefecture is still recovering from the massive power outages and damages caused by Typhoon Faxai last month, but now Japan is bracing itself for yet another potentially destructive typhoon. Called Hagibis—a Tagalog word for “velocity”—the typhoon is set to be one of the most powerful on record.

Typhoon Hagibis is no joke

The forecast for wind and torrential rain is getting grimmer by the hour. Categorized as a violent typhoon, the highest category on the Japanese scale, Hagibis is making landfall today. Matches for the Rugby World Cup, the F1 race and the long-awaited return of the Backstreet Boys in a special concert have either been canceled or postponed. Airlines and train companies have also announced the suspension of some services until Sunday.

As the second most powerful storm to hit planet earth in 2019, the Japan Meteorological Agency is urging the public to take precautions. The size, speed, and timing of the storm makes it a serious danger for coastal areas, as well as the Tokyo region.

What to do

Well, for starters, avoid going out when the typhoon lands in your area. If there’s a lesson we learned with Typhoon Faxai last month, it’s that the danger comes from sudden flooding and/or flying or falling objects. Trees, branches, roofs and even garden walls can give in to the strong winds.

If you haven’t gotten yourself a nicely packed emergency kit, it’s probably a good time to put together a simple pack that can keep you going in the event of a natural disaster. Store some snacks, emergency food, and water, as well as batteries for flashlights and fully charged portable batteries for your phone. Nothing worse than a dying phone during a power outage!

Now, let’s talk windows

Fear of broken windows and flying pieces of glass has …continue reading


Letters from Japan: “Sex Isn’t Fun Anymore!”

Letters from Japan- “Sex Isn't Fun Anymore!”

Dear Hilary,

I’m an American woman. I’ve lived in Japan for seven years and have been dating the same Japanese man for four years—living together for two. We have a great relationship. We go out to events regularly, see movies together, we’re like any other couple.

During the last year, our sex life has gotten out of control. We go through these roller coasters of either having sex all the time or having none at all. Right now we’re in the middle of a month-long dry spell. Neither of us has any physical issues (perfect health checks this year!) we both work long hours like everybody else, but otherwise, we are fine.

When things are good, we both initiate and have no trouble functioning, but then it’s like we get tired of sex. For me, I start feeling like sex gets boring and I don’t want to be the one to initiate. Then I guess my boyfriend gets tired of initiating, and we just stop having sex. When we aren’t having sex we’re still close but then we get frustrated, have these huge fights, and then have make up sex, and start a new cycle all over again.

I’m tired of dealing with this. I know it’s not healthy, but when I talk to my married friends they say that it’s just normal for sex to drop off, or they tell me that in Japan sexless marriages are normal. I don’t want that, and I don’t think my boyfriend does either. How do I break this cycle? Is there something either of us can do to even things out again? – Sorta Sexless In Tokyo

Dear Sexless In Tokyo,

Judging from your email alone, it sounds like you both are attracted to each other and are capable of initiating and enjoying sex. But, you said …continue reading


What Do Japanese People Think About Japan’s Return to Commercial Whaling?

Source: Gaijin Pot
What do Japanese people think of whaling in Japan

In January and July of this year, several news outlets ran reports of Japan dropping out of the whale conservationist organization IWC (International Whaling Commission) and resuming its commercial whaling industry. This change in stance sparked a tirade of criticism from environmental conservation groups abroad. But rather than helping the cause, it may have made things worse as some have dismissed these claims as a form of cultural imperialism.

The issue of whaling in Japan has been fraught with controversy for years, even when Japan was a member of the IWC. Much of the friction arose due to Japan’s whaling for questionably “scientific” purposes—which is allowed under the IWC—in the Antarctic Ocean and Southern Hemisphere, and as a result, often getting called out by animal protection groups.

However, under Japan’s new commercial whaling policy, the country will concentrate on whaling minke and other whales off its own coast and leave their previous hunting grounds in international waters alone.

Feeble curiosity in Japan

Local reactions were largely unaffected at first, with the general sentiment being mild support and mostly curiosity about what whale even tastes like.

Despite what the whaling interests would have you believe, whale meat is actually quite rare in Japan. During the U.S. occupation following World War II, American authorities encouraged Japan to introduce whale meat into food markets and school lunches as a cheap source of protein. Still, the majority of the younger generation has never tried it.

While 233,000 tons of whale meat were consumed in Japan in 1962, that number plummeted to just 3,000 tons by 2016, according to government data reported by The New York Times.

In response to the new commercial whaling initiative, many Japanese Twitter users took to the platform to voice their curiosity, including user @rQI9ot583PtNqE0:


— トワインブルーム (@rQI9ot583PtNqE0) July 4, 2019

“Is …continue reading