Archive for the ‘Law & Order’ Category

News Bits & Bobs

A couple of news stories have been running about in my mind today, so I hope people don’t mind if I just blab on about them here for a bit…

I had always thought their was a ban on casino type gambling in Japan… hence those crazy little holes in the wall where you sell back the pen you won at the pachinko parlour for cash. That being the case, it looks like the government is finally admitting the truth… people love to gamble in this country. reports that Japan is in talks with major global casino operators. I assume some gaudy monstrosity will pop up in Tokyo in the not so distant future… what will that mean for the tourism industry in Korea etc, where many serious Japanese casino fans go to “holiday”?

Is a head of lettuce going to be costing us 400yen soon? Do any of you remember when the rainy season was long and with conditions similar to this year a few years ago? It was around that time that vegetable prices skyrocketed and a humble lettuce was around 400yen at my local Akafudado. I heard on TV that the rain is doing serious damage to crops and then read on The Daily Yomiuri Online that the lack of sunlight, as the rainy season drags on, is stunting veggie growth and pushing prices up! Oh joy! They said prices will probably go up 30% by mid-august.

Am I wrong to think she is tying up resources? Megumi Ogawa is a Japanese PhD student who has been studying in Australia since 1999. Recently her visa ran out and she failed in several legal actions to be allowed to stay in Australia, so she was to be deported. It now seems (as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald) that she has applied for asylum!!! She has stated she has no fear of the Japanese government… I guess she really likes Australia. This story stays with me for two very different reasons. One, asylum is a very necessary process and I worry that her stalling process is at the determent to real asylum seekers in Australian Detention Centres (and I believe there are plenty of them thanks to Australia’s John Howard) and two, I was out with an Australian the other week who was telling me how “easy it is to migrate to Australia”… I guess Megumi would disagree.

Sorry if you weren’t interested, but I’ve posted it now…

Alien Registration Card

I assume that most foreigners in Japan already know this, but I didn’t realise fully until today. It is obligatory to have your alien registration card (“Gaijin card”) on you at all times in Japan. If you are stopped by the Police and they ask to see your Gaijin card, you’d better have it on you: otherwise you can receive a court summons, a financial penalty or even end up deported or in jail…
Pachipro, writing over at Jeff‘s Sushicam has a nightmare story of popping out one evening without his card.
Arudou Debito has a whole section on Gaijin Cards and the laws involved, but the simple advice is carry it with you, or face the consequences…

Thanks to Blogd for the image

Declare your love in style

Write her name on a board, climb 100m up Tokyo Tower and hang the board from your feet.
I hope she’s worth getting arrested for…

Shinjuku bans smoking on all public streets

Mr. Richard Smoker Starting today, you can no longer legally stroll the streets of Shinjuku while smoking a cigarette. Or while holding a lit cigarette. Or while dangling a lit cigarette from one hand while holding your mobile phone in the other and talking on it, completely oblivious to the people around you.

Because I live and work in Shinjuku, this news makes me kind of happy.

But I guess a few smokers will be made unhappy — especially the ones who enjoy smoking so much that they like to share their smoke with everybody else wherever they go: on the streets, in even the finest restaurants, etc. But they have the comfort of knowing that Shinjuku officials have prepared enclosed smoking lounges in a few areas — places where smokers can step off the street for a while, gather together, and share their smoke with one another freely.

One suggestion I’ve heard is that the doors on the smoking lounges should have bolts on them. Ones that lock from the outside.

Update: I replaced the previous image (lame Shinjuku-ku logo) with the current “No smoker” one, from a pocket tissue packet my friend Daisuke picked up.


Coco, you stole my post! Okay, I’ll attempt to augment your post with information on the Law for the Promotion of Sorted Collection and Recycling of Containers and Packaging (Container and Packaging Recycling Law). The law (PDF):

The key message of the law is the “shared responsibility” of consumers, local governments and industry. Consumers will be actively involved in the sorting and collection system. Local governments will operate a system of sorting and collecting packaging and containers waste. Industry, i.e. manufacturers and their clients, will finally be obliged to recycle a percentage of the waste packaging sorted and collected by local governments. The costs are to be shared according to the quantity to be manufactured and used. Importing companies will also be affected.

The law partly came into force in April,1997 for glass bottles and PET bottles. It became fully in force in April 2000 extending the coverage to paper and plastic containers and packaging.

This led to that convoluted calendar and bag system Coco posted. But there is a key to sorting your garbage. I am going to share that key with you.

There are 7 recycling marks (PDF). Five are required by law. Here are the required marks:


Car Navi – Insanity or Mind Control

For those of you who don’t live in Japan, this week is Golden Week. A week speckled with holidays where most people leave on vacation for the whole week. Usually the city is deserted, but lately more people work. Anyway, I decided to drive into the office today from my home in Chiba. The drive can range from 30 min to 2.5 hours depending on traffic. I usually rely on my car navigation system to navigate the fastest path. Before I left, the traffic web site told me that there was nearly no traffic. I was surprised when the navigation system kept trying to steer my away from the expressway. It was SO insistent that it kept trying to make me take every possible exit off of the freeway. For all practical purposes, it was insane. Except for a bit of traffic getting onto the expressway, I had almost no traffic.

On the way home it did the same thing. Tried to make me drive all the way without getting on the expressway.

The inner-conspiracy-theorist wants to say that the police were controlling my navigation system to stay away from expressways to try to prevent some kind of weird traffic that might occur because of a large number of people deciding to travel… or it was some kind of strange test to conduct when most businesses were shut down. Anyway, it was totally annoying and I was lucky I was driving a familiar route. Did anyone else notice this today?

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Racism in Japan

In today’s Japan times there is an article on page 13 entitled “Racism is bad business.” It addresses the issue of foreigners being barred entry to certain Japanese establishments and how this hurts international business in Japan. Over my 3 years in Japan I have seen many articles and pieces devoted to this issue and I would like to get some feedback from you other Japan ex-pats out there. We all know that racism is not good but for the sake of sport, I would like to argue against all this whining from ex-pats about the racism issue. So without further delay let’s start the debate.

I have never experienced being barred from any Japanese establishments (of course I lived in Tokyo and it may differ in the countryside) and I’m tired of all this ex-pat whining. Japan is a homogenous country and they have very specific customs and rules of behavior that most foreigners cannot understand. Most of us ex-pats are good hard working people and try to understand Japan from the inside. But then you have the other type of “gaijin” like in Shibuya or Roppongi that are extremely shady and are suspect. If I was Japanese I would bar these people too.

Further, I (like many of us) got my start in Japan teaching English. We used to go to Watami, get extremely drunk and make a wreck of the place. Some gaijins commented that many of us go crazy because we are not in our home country and think that acceptable forms of behavior no longer apply. There were food fights, vegetarians that gave the waiters hell if they could not understand that they wanted their salads with no bacon bits and got angry when the food came with a bit of meat, and drunkards spilling their beers all over the place. I’ve noticed that the Japanese do not resort to this type of behavior no matter how drunk they are. Just go to any of the foreigner areas in Tokyo and you’ll be sure to see a gaijin making a mess of himself.

Most Japanese in the countryside do not know how to deal with foreigners and a few bad apples have spoiled it for the rest of us. I think that on the overall and circumstances being what they are here in Japan, the Japanese do a very good job of hosting the foreigner. Sure there are hard times and I too have been rejected from many apartments because I was a foreigner. But once you learn the ropes of dealing with the Japanese and speak the language, many of these obstacles dissapear into thin air. Don’t get me wrong, I almost lost my sanity a few times dealing with apartment rental and university life where they do not know how to deal with foreigners. But after being here for three years and learning the language, my life has become 300% easier. I think that if gaijins made more of an effort to understand Japan and the Japanese instead of trying to have Japan adjust to them, this racism stuff would ease up a bit.

The article lists a website at that apparently catalogs pictures of foreigners being barred entry. Might be worth a look but not getting too angry over.

I’ve always wanted to do that…

It looks like somebody just couldn’t take it any more.

New Bills

Have we all handled or seen the new yen notes yet? What do we think? Sitting here comparing an old thousand yen note with a new note, I have decided that I like the new notes better. The new notes have that layered feeling, pretty colors, Mt. Fuji (Those stupid cranes on the old notes never sat right with me.), and some sort of shiny sheen to them in places. The old notes were just dull green with some stupid birds on them – Good riddance. Anyway, here is the BOJ’s Valid Notes of Japan pdf.

There is one other thing I would like to point out. Everyone, look at the black bars located in the bottom corners of both the one-thousand and ten-thousand yen notes and the dot in the same corners on the five-thousand note. These are the new braille bars for the blind, so they can id how much they are holding. Again, this is far better than those stupid indented/raised dots on the old notes, which I could never really feel.

Good job BOJ. Good job.

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