Facing the music: Can Japan's vibrant record culture survive the COVID-19 pandemic?

(www.japantimes.co.jp)

Masaru Ono doesn’t know how he will feel when he closes the doors of RECOfan Shibuya BEAM, the iconic Tokyo record store he has managed for the past 20 years, for the final time at 9 p.m. on Sunday.

This record shop is known worldwide. When musicians come to Japan, they make it a point to visit this store and pick up some vinyl. This store closure will likely result in the creation of some tribute tracks in the club scene …

Playing chess for charity, RZA and GZA of Wu-Tang reflect on the science of the game and life

(www.washingtonpost.com)

For as long as the two leaders of the Wu-Tang Clan have known each other, it still shocks GZA that he never played chess with RZA as a kid. […] The pair are busy practicing this week for their Twitch debut on Saturday, where they will play and compete in a chess tournament hosted by Chess.com and Hennessy. It’s to benefit Black, Latinx and Asian small businesses struggling with the pandemic.

WuTang have always been awesome. This is just more to appreciate 👍🏻

Suicide spike in Japan shows mental health toll of COVID-19

(www.japantimes.co.jp)

The number of suicides rose in Japan in August due to more women and school-aged children taking their own lives — offering a first glimpse into the consequences of the mental health strain brought about by COVID-19 around the globe. […] Sociologists have long warned that the economic and social disruption wrought by measures to contain the coronavirus could cause more deaths than the pathogen itself. In Japan, the suicide rate has been falling but it remains a top cause of premature deaths — this year, suicide has taken over 13,000 lives, while total COVID-19 fatalities number less than 2,000.1

This is something that I’ve been pointing out to government offices and whatnot for darn near six months. More people take their own life per month than have passed away as a result of COVID. This isn’t just a matter of finances or “the economy”, but a consequence of the breakdown in community — exacerbating the isolation people feel — and a complete loss of purpose as a result of being idle or feeling imprisoned in their homes for so long.

The country will see more of this as winter approaches …


  1. Emphasis is mine.

Japan airline ANA eyes 30% average cut in annual pay for employees amid pandemic

(www.japantimes.co.jp)

All Nippon Airways has notified its labor union of a plan to slash annual pay for its about 15,000 ordinary employees by 30 percent on average, sources have said. […] In the April-June quarter, ANA Holdings suffered a group net loss of ¥108.8 billion, due to a plunge in income from passenger flights as many international flights were canceled.

Part of that giant loss is the complete closures of most of the company’s travel agencies in the country. This isn’t surprising in the least. Rarely do I see more than three planes in the distant sky at once anymore. In January one couldn’t go more than a minute or two without hearing a jet fly overhead …

Video of Black teenager being arrested by police sparks outrage and allegations of excessive force

(www.thespec.com)

A video circulating on social media of a young Black man being arrested by Waterloo Regional Police officers in the parking lot of a Kitchener plaza is sparking outrage and allegations of excessive force. […] The post says family and friends are outraged with the use of force and the lack of masks.

What would be considered “an appropriate use of force” in this situation?

Let’s see …

  1. The kid and his friends were doing something at a mall to warrant security to ask them to leave. They didn’t.
  2. The cops are called and three of the four kids run off. One doesn’t.
  3. The straggler proceeds to taunt the cops to act, walking into traffic on a busy road, hurling insults, and issuing threats.
  4. The cop calls for support, then the kid spits at him before running off.
  5. A short chase later, he’s surrounded and arrested, most likely resisting the whole time.

Let’s see what options the cops have here:

  1. Tase the kid (Canadian cops rarely shoot their guns. Too much paperwork after the fact.) and take him into custody for being a dipshit.
  2. Use brute force and numbers to take him into custody for being a dipshit.
  3. Let him walk, because nobody had a weapon waved in their face, emboldening the dipshit to step up his antics until a reaction is recorded.

The cops would have all had body cameras on and active for the duration of the event. This arrest has nothing to do with the colour of someone’s skin and everything to do with the youth needing a good smack upside the head, ideally from his parents and alternatively by someone else who cares about him. If the kid were white or Asian or from Alpha Centauri, he would still have been taken down and cuffed for being a dipshit.

If people want to be outraged, that’s their business. It does nobody any good to misdirect it, though.

WHO says 10% of world's people may have been infected

(www.thestar.com)

8:21 a.m. The head of emergencies at the World Health Organization says its “best estimates” indicate that roughly 1 in 10 people worldwide may have been infected by the coronavirus.

Dr. Michael Ryan, speaking Monday to a meeting of the WHO’s 34-member executive board focusing on COVID-19, said the figures vary from urban to rural, and between different groups, but that ultimately it means “the vast majority of the world remains at risk.”

The estimate — which would amount to more than 760 million people based on current world population of about 7.6 billion — far outstrips the number of confirmed cases as tallied by both WHO and Johns Hopkins University, now more than 35 million worldwide.

We’re almost at our first full year of COVID and I find these statements to be unnecessarily provocative. Fuck off with the “may” and “might” and “could”. There’s so much half-spoken “information” on this shit that people are burnt out. The numbers do not reflect what has been reported. Not even close. Could 759-million people be non-symptomatic carriers? Sure. But even then, let’s put this into context: 7 in 152 show serious flu-like symptoms and, of those, 1 in 35 have succumbed to the virus.

Somebody is embellishing. Either “the media”, the WHO, or the dissenting doctors. Yes, COVID is something to be cautious of. No, we are not all going to die. Yes, we should improve our unconscious hygiene practices. The scaremongering, however, has got to stop. Say what is or what will happen, as impossible as that may be. Cushion words are fucking cop-outs.

Hamilton family sues sperm bank after son's 'heartbreaking' diagnosis

(www.thespec.com)

Seven Canadian families are suing an Ontario sperm bank, alleging they were misled about their donor’s background, including a potentially debilitating genetic condition.

“As a result of the conduct of the of the defendants … the plaintiffs sustained injuries in the form of physical and emotional pain,” reads a statement of claim filed by Louise Frame and Kristy Kokoski, one of the families taking legal action.

If the plaintiffs win millions in damages from this case, will it also open up the door to lawsuits from people engaged in one-night stands or short-lived flings where a child born is not a perfect specimen of the homo sapien genus? I do not mean to make light of the seriousness of the situation, but sperm banks are hardly swarming with olympic champions and Ph.D-holding professors intent on passing on their genetic profiles to all who are willing to conceive of a “superior” human being.

Microsoft outlines recent Edge browser improvements

(www.engadget.com)

Microsoft’s Edge browser recently overtook Firefox as the most popular Chrome alternative, according to NetMarketshare stats. Chrome still has the lion’s share of the market with over a 70 percent share, and Firefox isn’t that far behind, but Microsoft’s contender has been slowly gaining popularity.

How does that math work? Chrome accounts for 70% of the market, leaving 30% for everyone else. If Edge has overtaken FireFox, that means that Edge could account for 15.1% and FireFox 14.9%. However, there are dozens of other browsers out there, including Safari, Opera, Brave, Vivaldi, NetFront, and the like. So there’s no way FireFox can have 14.9% because it’s mathematically impossible.

So back to that problematic statement:

Chrome still has the lion’s share of the market with over a 70 percent share, and Firefox isn’t that far behind …

The gap between 70% and whatever number FireFox might have is far behind. Very, very, very far behind. 🙄

Spotifyâs dilemma: Censor Joe Rogan or call his podcast free speech?

(nationalpost.com)

Rogan has a habit of spreading misinformation, sharing his feelings as facts, and he's a big fan of conspiracy theories.

There is so much misinformation in this article. The author is clearly sharing their feelings as though they’re facts. If I didn’t know better, I’d say this was an active attempt to rouse support to force Spotify to renege on their contract.

I’m not 100% on board with what Rogan says, but he deserves the freedom to say it — even when it’s “wrong”. The more recent episodes where he invited Alex Jones on did more to discredit Jones than anything else. The episode with Gavin McInnes was to better understand the arguments on a current issue, not propose definitive action against any group of people.

If we are opposed to hearing anything that does not align with our worldview, that is for us to decide and control. However, under no circumstances does it make sense to control what others may or may not say. Let lunatics out themselves as lunatics. Let the intolerant out themselves as intolerant. Let the insightful do the same.

Only by exploring the various aspects of a topic can any real progress or understanding be found 😑

Number of influenza patients in Japan remains low

(www.japantimes.co.jp)

According to the ministry, only seven influenza cases were reported in the two weeks to Sept. 13. The figure is less than a thousandth of the year-before total and about a hundredth of the average-year level.

This year, the number came to three in the week to Sept. 6 and four in the following week. There were two patients in Chiba Prefecture, and one each in Gifu, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo and Okinawa prefectures.

By contrast, the number stood at 3,813 in the first week of September last year and 5,738 in the second week for a total of 9,551, reflecting an outbreak in Okinawa Prefecture. In usual years, the total in the period stands at several hundred to 2,000.

Mhmm. I figured this would happen, too, given the reduced number of interactions with people. It’ll be interesting to see what the full result is when spring returns next year. I figure this will give people a lot of data on how to drastically reduce cases of seasonal influenza nationwide 😷