Security software in home computers

This survey from @nifty into security software found a surprisingly large number of people paying for their virus protection.

A long time ago I used to use paid-for virus checking, but ever since Microsoft moved into the business I’ve never felt the need for extra protections that don’t do much except permanently slow down the computer. At the office we have Virus Buster which runs every day at 12 noon and would bring slightly older machines to their knees for the following two hours, which is enough to put me off ever voluntarily installing such software.

How Japanese are living with COVID-19

This survey is ancient in terms of the progression of COVID-19, but there’s still interesting figures in this survey from @nifty conducted at the end of March into COVID-19. This survey was conducted before the Olympics were postponed and the state of emergency declared.

So far I’d put myself in the not really worried category; it is of course a serious disease and lockdowns are a justified response, but at the moment in Japan things seem reasonably under control and the collapse of the medical system seems to have been largely avoided, although in-hospital infections are a bit too widespread for my liking.

About the only thing I’ve avoided is going to the ENT clinic for my hayfever this season as I didn’t fancy sitting in a packed waiting room breathing potentially virus-laden air, so luckily first I had a bottle of nose spray left over from last year, and second an OTC version of the identical medicine was approved this year, so I could just visit my much quieter local chemist to replenish my supply.

The exceptionally poor state of Japan-Korea relations

Japan-Korea relations are going through a bit of a rough patch right now, as this survey into Japan-Korea relations from @Nifty shows.

I’m surprised by quite how negative the outcome is here; my impression is that people are just fed up with Korea rather than what seems to be active dislike; I took my opinion from various television news programs, but perhaps in the interest of balance, and that people are more measured when on TV versus doing a survey in the privacy of their own home I have been misled.

Anyway, here’s a charming poster from Korea about one of the triggers of Japn-Korea animosity.

Dokdo / Takeshima propaganda poster

Almost all Japanese like pork

Let’s celebrate the Chinese New Year of the pig by a survey from @nifty looking at pigs and their meat.

In Japan the year’s animal is a wild boar rather than a pig, but as far as I am aware wild boar meat (and game in general) is not very popular at all in Japan, despite the massive pig love. In fact (although I’m not going to go back to check) I think pork is the most popular of all these “Do you like…?” questions.

Anyway, for all you bacon fans, bacon doesn’t appear explicitly on the list, in fact in my experience bacon is a rarity, although thinly-sliced fatty belly pork does feature in many dishes here.

Here’s a typical example of the pig-themed mosquito coil holder:

Mosquito-Repellent Incense

Two-thirds of Japanese rate President Trump poorly

This interesting survey from @Nifty looked at international relations, focusing on the most important coutries of China, the two Koreas and the USA.

I share the pessimistic view of Trump and his “successes” with his personal brand, with the China relationship, and with his dearest friend, Kim Jong Un of North Korea. For the average Japanese, though, I think the one thing they know the most about is Trump’s ill-founded remarks on car imports. With zero tariffs I’m sure more cars would be sold, of course, but the figures would still be microscopic as America simply does not build cars Japan either wants or needs in any significant numbers.

The Northern Territories are four islands that were invaded (or liberated, depending on your stand-point) by the Soviet Union between the dropping of the atomic bombs and the surrender of Japan.

The conscripted (or slave, depending again on your point of view) labour from the Korean pensinsula issue is from the average Japanese person’s point of view yet another example of Korea stirring things up with Japan just for the sake of internal politics.

Mr Maniacal, Mr Abhorrent, Mr Meddle (more…)

Almost two in three liked their middle-schooldays

This survey from @nifty looked at people’s middle-school days, when aged between 12 and 15 years old.

I had a uniform, I went home for lunch, liked maths and science, did great in the few tests that there were, and life was good, I suppose, although I haven’t really got too many strong memories from there.

Note that in Japan on the whole there is no dinner hall like most western schools; instead food gets brought to the classroom and everyone eats as a group with their classmates. If there are no catered meals, people are expected to bring their own lunch, and again everyone eats together.

I couldn’t find a picture of a middle school, but here’s an interesting circular primary school:

round school building (old meirin primary school)

Women more sceptical about the progress of gender equality

This interesting survey from @nifty looked at gender equality, with a bonus question at the end about same-sex marriage.

I’m for equality in general, of course, but against gender equality in election candidates. More women should be encouraged into politics, but the approach should be more about making it less of a boys club, and adopting sensible hours for conducting business.

Coping with the summer heat

The last weekend has provided a welcome break from the 35℃ heat so I’ve now got a little energy to update the blog with this appropriate survey from @nifty into coping with the summer heat.

Anything lower than about 26℃ on the air conditioning is too cold for me, but my wife prefers a degree or so less, so I’m sure you can guess who wins… I don’t go out without my hat as my father has recurring melanoma on the top of his head from too much tropical sun, and my Airism T-shirt. Fans just irritate me; the fap-fap-fap as people wave them about and brush them against things in the train, and the second-hand breeze from them just doesn’t feel right. I’m also not convinced that they do anything useful in a train that already has strong air conditioning, and the typical user is a podgy middle-aged man that would be cooler if they lost a few kilos rather than working themselves into more of a sweat with their paper fan. I might want to use a parasol, but as a bloke it doesn’t quite feel right and I’ve not seen sufficiently manly parasols that I might want to use.

One way Japanese cool down is by visiting a Haunted House; these appear in midsummer rather than Halloween as the chill that runs down your spine allegedly has a cooling effect. Here is a typical advertising board for a Haunted House:


Expectations for North Korea and their USA summit

This very timely survey from @Nifty looks at the Korean peninsula situation, and shows Japanese very interested, but little expectation of change.

I too share the general views expressed here; I want something positive to happen, but I’m not sure it will, especially since we are talking about a heartless and corrupt dictator surrounded with sycophants who would be happy to see the destruction of American democracy, and Kim is no better. The summit is turning into no more than a TV spectacle; “maximum pressure” has been dropped from the American lexicon, and rather than expecting results, it is now a “process”, and the summit seems now to be no more than a social get-to-know-you session.

Furthermore, Trump will be coming from a G6+1 meeting where he’ll be actively disliked and out of his depth, so no doubt the Kim side will exploit that with much buttering up and flat-out bribery, as that worked for China. My prediction for an outcome will be the continuation of North Korean claims and apparent actions towards denuclearisation but without inspections, whereas USA will draw down troop numbers in South Korea, a McDonalds in Pyongyang and the renaming of the Trump Ryugyong Hotel.

Almost everyone follows North Korea news, majority affected by it

@nifty released this timely survey on North Korea.

It is interesting to see what bothers the Japanese about North Korea. Note that in Q1 the wooden boats refers to wooden fishing boats that get swept to the Japanese coast.

Here’s a detail from a mural in a film studio in North Korea – I think the guy with the rifle is Japanese holding North Koreans prisoner:

Detail of Film Studios Mural