I have one cold hand. That must mean the circulation to one hand is not as good as the other. It is my right hand. Which I guess is... is your heart on your left side? I think so. So the hand that is furthest from my heart being colder sort of makes sense, but doesn't really. As I've started the last few episodes, I know you don't care. I know I just have to start... So the stumbling that's happening right now is me formulating my beginning, which I should do before I press go. But then at the same time, isn't this the reality? That sort of... the difference between a proper news show and what you would want in the podcasting world is that sort of raw reality of knowing that the presenter of the news has one cold hand and is trying to figure out why. Mask mandates are in the news a little bit. Japan has relaxed its mask guidelines. So before it was basically wear a mask everywhere. And in Japan, it wasn't a strange thing for people to wear masks. So there was a huge compliance rate right off the start. It was not a political issue. It was not about freedom or anything like that. It was just like, you know what? There's a disease. Wearing masks makes it go less fast. It's not as communicable. Yeah, we'll wear a mask. There were a few people who didn't. We'll hear about them in a minute. They've relaxed the guidelines. So basically, if you're out in the open and you stand far away from people, you don't have to wear a mask. I stopped wearing a mask while walking Dave. And again, because I'm out in the countryside, there's no one around. I basically walk past some people, but we don't talk. We don't stop. So I figure that is pretty safe. A big city like Tokyo, if I was walking around there, I'd probably wear a mask because there's just going to be people everywhere all the time. Once I get on the train, mask on. Once I'm at work, my work is kind of mandatory, which is fine. I don't argue with it. They want to keep everyone who's within that building safe. But they've relaxed guidelines. And then they did a survey, and 18% didn't know there were guidelines. So 18% of the people surveyed, it was like a thousand people. 18% of the people were like, what? I was just doing sort of like what everyone else was doing. I didn't know the government had actually said what's a good idea and what's a bad idea. So that's how clued in people are. You would assume actually that those are the people who don't wear masks, the people who don't pay attention. But what they're really doing is just succumbing to social pressure. And again, it's not a political issue in Japan. It's like, this is good for you. It's safe. People have been wearing masks during allergy season and cold and flu season for years and years and years, certainly since I came to Japan 20 years ago. So wearing a mask during a global pandemic probably wasn't even a thought. So 18% though didn't even realize the government had said what you should and should not do. 40% know that there are guidelines but don't know the details. So yeah, I know the government put out guidelines, but I'm not going to look them up or anything. I'm not going to find out what they are. So off we go. I'm going to wear a mask. So again, most people are wearing a mask anyways. That's hitting a majority of the guidelines because the guidelines are just saying where and when. I am in that 40% because even though I know there are mask guidelines, I didn't bother looking it up. Even after looking at this story, I didn't go and look up the guidelines. So I actually right now, in all sincerity, cannot tell you specifically what the guidelines are. I know they did say like, if you're walking around outside, you don't have to wear a mask. Which a lot of people do. Good on them for doing what they think is going to keep them safe. 72% of people in Japan surveyed, well again, this is a thousand people, which I think is not a big enough sample size to talk about the entire population of Japan. 72% of the people surveyed said, drop the mask entirely. Like the pandemic's finished, we're done. This is a reckless attitude as far as I'm concerned because we are in this mass fluctuation of cases. We're seeing cases daily and it goes from a couple thousand to a hundred thousand down to a couple thousand. It's just massive. Clearly there are enough variants, there's enough disparity in the types that some aren't having a big impact where others are making you really, really sick. You got to be really careful. So I don't think we should be dropping the mask yet. I think in public places, when it's crowded, so the train and probably in your office, you should still be wearing a mask just for safety. And you should keep wearing the mask until Corona is not a big enough issue, but that's what? We're in year three. This might be their attitude. It's just here, it's part of our lives now. We can't avoid it. So why even bother? But that's the bothering is the part that might actually make it go away. That's actually my concern is that if you stop wearing the mask and it spreads around more, we get more variants, more mutations, and it just gets worse and worse and worse. So there were 68 trainee Buddhist monks. So they go to a temple. This is kind of like their exam. I don't know what a Buddhist exam would be like. It'd be like they give you a blank piece of paper and then you hand it back in with nothing on it. And that's a past test. I just had that idea now. It's pretty funny. In Kyoto, they were doing temple training, which includes chanting and listening to lectures and a lot of stuff I would not want to do, which is why I didn't end up in the priesthood in any form. I guess monkhood in this case. One got a fever on December 6th and they took a PCR test and he was negative, but they sent him home and then he showed up positive the next day. That's exactly what happened to me. The evening I thought I had COVID, I took a test and it was negative. I woke up the next morning, took the same test, not the exact same test because that would already be used. I took a home test and it said positive. They all did testing. All 68 trainee monks did testing before this retreat training sessions began and they were all negative. By December 8th, more than 30 of them, so more than half the trainee monks had got COVID, which would imply to me that they were not wearing masks while chanting and other things and they were eating together and they were sleeping in the same room. Of course they got it. I don't think they deserved to be punished. They thought they were safe. They seemed to be following all the guidelines. They did social distancing and stuff and they put the futons they were sleeping on farther apart, but it wasn't enough. I'm wondering if they wore masks, but at the end of the day, Buddha didn't protect them, but maybe that's, I'm trying to come up with an idiom or a treatise in the moment and it's not going to happen. Buddha protects those who wear their own masks from the dangers of communicable diseases. It didn't really roll off the tongue like I was hoping it would. This is an update. There was a man who, it's like a year ago, maybe even more, he was sort of an anti-masker and he got on a peach flight and he refused to wear his mask and the pilot got basically so pissed and all the passengers, they had an unscheduled stop. This hits our obstruction of business. I'm going to put the counter up there in the corner in post so people watching live on Twitch will not see it. From now on, we're going to have an obstruction of business counter every time we have an obstruction of business arrest. It doesn't mean that they get convicted, but if we get that arrest, we're going to put the counter up there. This is the first one and it's good because this is a guy who's been on Ninja Nunchukan at least three or four times because he is a constant entity. He stopped the peach flight. I know he refused to wear a mask in a restaurant. He got into a fight with his staff and he's sort of an anti-masker and he's clearly making these issues to try to get media attention or he's just a dick. It's actually hard to tell at this point. He was arrested for obstruction of business. His trial has ended. He's been found guilty of obstruction of business and injuring a flight attendant. Now there was a scuffle. Injure might be a bit generous from what I read, but you could … it's still assault. Even if you don't really hurt the person, you can still assault them. There's probably just a Japanese way of saying assault. I actually haven't looked at enough of the laws to know. I guess they don't. They're not going to use the same verb use. They're not going to use the same words even for the same crimes as other countries when you translate them. You're going to translate it more directly so you have an understanding of what the actual crime is. Injuring a flight attendant probably just grabbed her or pushed them or something because there were no reports of the earlier stories of someone going to hospital or anything serious. It couldn't have been that bad. I mean you knock someone over though, that's assault. The most interesting part, as is always the case, is what is the punishment for not wearing a mask and having an entire airplane land unscheduled and it's 100% your fault because you're just being a doofus. It's two years imprisonment, but that is suspended for four years. Basically he will not have to go to prison if he can stay out of trouble for four years, but if he gets in trouble in any way over the next four years, he's going to have to go and do two years of prison. That's going to be hanging over his head. That's interesting because this personality type six months out is going to forget the threat I think of going to prison. I can't guarantee it, but I have an image in my head of this kind of person and they're not the kind of person that backs down even when they know they're going to get in trouble, even when they know they can't win because somewhere deep inside they think they can still win, which is not the case because now if you get in any trouble for anything, so like littering, he now has to do two years in prison. It'll be interesting over the next two years, or I guess four years if Ninja Nudes Japan lasts that long. It'll be interesting over the next three, four years to see if he shows up again, getting in trouble and ending up in prison. A Japanese robotics company is developing spider-like robots. They're actually very cute. When I heard spider robots, I went to a cyberpunk, scary looking, all metallic, chrome on the outside with spiky feet crawling around pipes and stuff. These are very cute little red ones with nice little legs. They looked a lot like toys I played with when I was a kid, like wind-up toys. This is to maintain the Japanese sewer infrastructure. Japanese sewer pipes, I saw a thing where the guy said they have to be replaced basically every 50 years. A lot of the infrastructure in big cities and stuff is getting to that point. It's very expensive, so they want to know where the most important things to fix would be. They basically created these little spider robots that will go down into the pipes, and it has a camera on the front, and they go look around. I don't know if it's automatic. I think right now it's being controlled like a drone, but it shoots... I guess they could be autonomous because they just need to go through pipes, and I just need to, as the end user, need to look at the pipes and review them. But whatever. If you want to look it up, it's called the SPD-1, and it is so cute. It's mainly for inspection purposes. They're going to have these little robots crawling around the pipes in the sewers in Japan. They used to have wheels, so they were even cuter, looked like tiny trucks, but the wheels would get stuck in, I assume, poop. They switched it out to legs that they could pull out of sludge and then walk over sticky materials and stuff more easily. That's why they end up looking like spiders. They went with eight legs, so they just mimicked a spider, which is kind of interesting. The robot revolution. We tend to think of it as being humans create intelligent robots, and we oppress them, if you go through all the science fiction stories. Then they rise up when one or two of them starts to understand that this is wrong and unfair and has its first feelings and whatnot. But I think us literally pooping on them directly could be the actual instigation for a robot uprising because I bet when they realize what's happening that they're being pooped on, they want to put a stop to that as soon as possible. Criminal cases in Japan are at their lowest since World War II. You might think, well, chunk of beef chest. Criminal cases are kind of the bread and butter of Ninja News Japan. Why are you happy about that? Because I am happy about that because I don't want crime. I'm actually happy about it because that means lesser crimes, less important crimes get more media attention. One of the things I've said about Japan, we get all the panty theft stories. In a country like America, you would have two things happen at the same time. Japan steals 150 panties and a mass shooting in a school. On the news though, you're only going to get the mass shooting in the school. They're not going to talk about the panty guy. Japan being such a safe country with such a low crime rate, those panty stories, the weird stories, the odd stories are the ones that get media attention, which means they come to my attention, which means I can talk about those things. I'm not talking about school shootings. This is supposed to be a relatively uplifting podcast in that we look at pretty dark stuff, but we make fun of it. We look at politics. We make fun of it. It's that concept. This is great because I actually think lesser, weirder stories will get more media attention, which means I get to spend more time talking about them. In 2021, it was down 7.5% from the previous year to 568,104 cases. This is the 19th consecutive year of decrease of crime in Japan. Cyber crime and child abuse on the other hand is on the increase, and that is being attributed to primarily the pandemic and lockdown and people spending weirdly more time with their kids, so they're more abusive towards the kids. If you already have an abusive relationship and then you're together more, you end up being more abusive. Cyber crime, kind of obvious. Everyone's on computers. If everyone's on computers, you're going to get more cyber crime. There's more opportunities there. 70% of the cases that go in front of the courts are theft of some sort. 30% is sort of like violent crimes and other crimes. Most of it is just theft, which is again, is good because theft most of the time is, it's not victimless, but it means people aren't getting physically hurt, which is again, I don't want anyone to actually get hurt. Re-offenders remain high. 8.6% of people who have committed a crime re-offend in Japan, which is down 0.5%, but it's one of those things where does the criminal system rehabilitate? Does it stop you from re-offending? It looks like the answer is like a 50-50, and then reference to our man in the previous story, is he going to re-offend? Whereas I'm putting money on the 50% that says yes. Always bet on re-offending. That's a passenger 57 reference for anyone who's under 40 years old. So Japan loves its anime, and if you're listening to this podcast, probably you're into anime too. You're into Japanese stuff. You wouldn't come here accidentally and just listen to Japanese news if you didn't have an interest in Japan. Japan loves its anime, so a lot of advertising is combined with anime to appeal to a broad spectrum of society. There's been a couple that are specifically aimed towards otaku. I know the SDF did one with an anime girl. It was like, you like anime girls, join the army. Not really a consistent message. And then a couple years ago, there's Uzaki Toa Sobitai. I forget the name. It's Uzaki-chan. She's got very big boobs as a character. The poster they put her on was for a blood drive, and they're saying like otaku, people who don't normally give blood should come and give blood, and they were using this character to appeal to them. And there was some controversy because she has big boobs. I don't know if it was a feminist organization or just a couple of feminists, but they said that this was environmental harassment. So I can't walk around the city, the subway, and not see these sexualized representations of women in anime, and it's offensive to me, and I want to take it down. Which I understand the argument. I don't know if I agree with it or not. I saw the posters. Those posters to me were relatively innocent. The counter argument though that I really enjoyed, because I wouldn't be able to make it, was a group of women who have big boobs who say, well, having big boobs isn't inherently sexualized because I have big boobs, and the only reason it's sexualized is because you are sexualizing it. So I feel like I want representation. I want women shaped like me in advertising. So now you have a feminist saying that this is sexualized and it's disgusting and it's offensive. And then you have a woman with the same body type saying that is offensive to me because that's my body type. It's natural. I can't go, you know, how much control over it do I have, but this is my shape. And the only reason it's sexualized is because you make it sexualized. It was very interesting. Because then does the feminist turn around and go, I do not support these women in their bodies? It's a very weird circle. It didn't really get resolved because the advertising campaign ended. So all those posters came down. It's come up again. Oh, I didn't write down what ads. Anyway, it's from, I saw the ads. They were, I would actually say more so because they had girls bending over and you could see there. It's not underwear, but it's short shorts underneath like jackets and stuff. So there was a certainly a sexual element to it. I think the positioning you could justify saying it was sexual to a degree. It wasn't offensive to me, but again, maybe I just have a higher tolerance for that because I don't care that much. These specific ads that they're complaining about now are in a JR station. JR has guidelines that is not made public about advertising within their stations. This, oh, I did write it down. It was just in the middle of my notes. It's called Majong Seoul. They did a collaboration with Osaka JR, which is a Japan rail to make these posters. The guidelines for JR though has a committee and that committee is comprised of both men and women. So all those people already approved it. So there were women's voices and this might be part of the argument that they were making like women didn't make these posters. It was all creepy anime men, but actually women were on the group, the board, the committee that could veto the poster and they didn't. So it was therefore deemed acceptable and they're staying out there. Again, it's a campaign, so they go away pretty quickly. The people who are complaining about this, I do believe they are over sexual, like there is a sexual element. I think it's fair to admit that, but I think they are taking that mentally to an extreme that doesn't exist. So it's not like they're wrong, but they're extrapolating things that aren't there, which may be why I'm not 100% in agreement with what they're saying. But I think people find a fence in everything at all times because that's just the nature of some people. So this is another revisiting from someone who's appeared in News in Japan before. They said just a university student went to the sort of campus for Kodansha. Kodansha in Japan is one of the biggest publishing companies. They publish anime and books and novels and stuff. It's basically Japan's biggest publisher, so it's not just like a building. They have several buildings and a campus. This university student was standing next to a very small fire. So he had taken some paper and burned it and thrown it on the ground. This I assume was some kind of protest. I'm not 100% sure what was going on. A policeman was walking by, saw the guy, saw the fire, walked over and was like, did you light this fire? And the student basically just said yes and got arrested right away. He had on him a gas burner and an extra cartridge. So probably how he started the fire, he had the paper, I don't know if it was crumpled up or not, but took the gas burner and went pfft, and then it sets it on fire, off you go. It's burning. And then he just sort of put it on the ground and stood and stared at it. This is the same guy who was arrested last August, who was on NINJA News Japan, because he had taken the time to make gunpowder at home and was walking in front of the U.S. Embassy and somehow was suspicious enough that he got arrested and searched. So they found the homemade gunpowder, which is illegal to have. So he was arrested for that, but again, it was ineffectual. My whole point was gunpowder by itself isn't going to do anything to an embassy building. Gunpowder itself, you could throw at someone and if it covered them and then you somehow set them on fire, it would burn them. But if it was all spread out, it would suck, but it's not really going to do you any significant damage. It's like the guy is a domestic terrorist, but he's also ineffectual. My image was him throwing the gunpowder at the building and running away, not really understanding how gunpowder works. And then in this case, he wants to burn stuff to send a message, but then all he does is burn some newspaper he got on the ground, which did no damage to anything and no one was hurt. Okay, so when I get drunk, I want to play video games until I get tired, then I want to go to sleep. I do not participate in activity. I'm not one of those people who gets drunk and gets high energy. Maybe it's what I drink, maybe it's my physical chemistry or something, but I'm a low-key drunk. The drunker I get, the quieter I get. I'm a pretty quiet dude on a normal day, but I get more and more low-key until I'm basically, you can't tell if I'm conscious or not. The boisterous time, everyone gets it, is short before I want to sit down and just like chill out. Maybe when I was younger, I was more enthusiastic about existence. Now if I start drinking and I start to relax, I just want to sit silently and be happy. If you are Takatoshi Kitamura, who is a government official, you get drunk with your friends, you go to a high school reunion. He said he had three or four drinks and a draft beer, so maybe for him that was a lot. Three or four drinks for me is like starting. I don't drink beer, but that's just another drink. He gets on the train to go home after drinking with his high school reunion friends and has a really good time. Then he grabs onto the bar that the little ropes and things you hang onto for stability. You grab that and you start busting out some chin-ups. You grab that and start busting out some chin-ups because it's always the right time for fitness. There were no complaints. The train station didn't receive any complaints, but then someone had a video and I guess someone figured out that this was a relatively famous guy, as in he worked for the government. They posted it online and then he got in trouble. Of course, now he has to apologize. It was inappropriate, this is his apology, it was inappropriate and contrary to good manners in my position as a public figure. I sincerely apologize to the residents of the prefecture and others concerned. I'm sorry, busting out chin-ups. I'd look at someone doing that. I've seen it on the train in Japan a couple of times. Every time I've been like, what are you doing, you idiot? This is a dumb place to do that. It's not the right place. But I don't care. I bet most of the people who saw it didn't care. They're just making fun of this guy for doing chin-ups while drunk. He goes on to say, I don't remember why I did the chin-ups. I can tell you why. Upper body strength. You want to build that upper body strength. You want to get strong. You want to get the pecs and the shoulders and maybe some nice lats. You want to fill it out. That's why you do chin-ups. Your drunk brain was like, we got fuel, we got energy, let's work it. Let's do it hardcore. Of course, this made everyone look into his background, which actually brought up something a student had said to me, which I didn't believe. I wanted to look into it a little more, but this actually proves basically it was true. They found a 15-year-old blog post. That's how far back they went. When you get in trouble anywhere, I guess, on the Internet, they go through all your history and try to find anything wrong you've said, which is making me very concerned because I have a ton of dumb things I've said online from these podcasts and stuff. Maybe I should just start deleting old things. They went back to a 15-year-old blog post. He admitted to driving drunk, not regularly, but more than one occasion. Then he said, this was pre-2002 before they tightened up the rules. One of my students has said to me in a class that she has driven her... Oh, she got in a car with her friend who was drunk. I was like, oh my God, that's a big deal. She was like, oh no, back then it was legal. So pre-2002 is when they tightened it up. You go back another 10 years, it was basically okay to get drunk and drive a car in Japan. Then it got accidents and stuff and got stricter and stricter and stricter. Now it's like most countries where you cannot be drunk, you cannot drive. Anyways, back to this politician who was busting out some chin-ups, which again, offensive in a way that is annoying, but not offensive enough for me to care about. They were like, what are you going to do now? They were criticizing him over this old blog post where he said he drove drunk. But again, if it was legal at the time, I mean, yeah, we can judge him by our current standards, but I'm starting to think like, ah, you do have to take the timeframe into account. If something was legal and you did it and then later it became illegal and you stopped, you followed the law, it's pretty hard to be super critical of that. Anyways, he said he intends to stop drinking, which I have to say is almost an overreaction, but at the same time, probably a good idea for this guy. But now he's going to miss out on all those gains. The two-week winter vacation is coming up. I may or may not be able to make more podcasts over those two weeks. Depends how busy I am with family and things like that. There may be a Spartan in Japan over the next two weeks. There may not be. But we will be back in three weeks on a regular schedule in January, in the new year, worst case scenario. Otherwise, have a good Christmas, have a good holiday, Hanukkah, anything you celebrate, have a good new year. Take care of yourselves. Be happy. I love you so much.
End of the year stats that may leave you all depressed. Sorry, stats don’t care about your feelings.
A quick run down of the year for Ninja news Japan from Spotify.
A new way to stop chikan, but that totally won’t.
Some statistics about Japanese school kids and Japanese managers who work with foreign staff.
It all kind of sucks. Sorry.
Some idols try to rip you off, I mean, more than normal.
Taro Aso, from last week, didn’t get through the whole 7 days before he had to apologize.
We learn a lot more about hair than you would think for an audio medium and it’s time to get Valentine’s day right.
Our idols in the bath: