Sharp started today (April 21, 2020) to sell masks online.
Priced at 2980 Yen for 50 masks (+ shipment Cost), it is standard pricing and much appreciated.

Only problem is that “everyone” are trying to access the online site at the same time.
It was obvious it is going to happen, but I am still surprised it does. Can’t IT organizations plan for such events better? Registration method, better scaling .

I just need to wait and click Refresh once in a while and hope to get through.

SHARP online mask Site

Covid-19 Concert Cancellations

As expected, Concerts are being canceled due to the Covid-19 Situation.

MGMT were supposed to come to Japan in May for a music festival and two more concerts, which are obviously not going to happen.
The process of getting my money back is a bit annoying, but I trust it will come and I am sure it is more painful to the organizers.

Fuji Rock is still pretending it is going to happen, which I doubt.

Below is a screen capture of MGMT notification on twitter. Why did people “like” this post. ?

Covid-19 Genomic detective work

We often here in Japan that a high percentage of new patients are 経路不明 meaning cannot trace how they got the Corona Virus. Either because they do not know, or that the patients do not want to tell.

With all due respect to Privacy laws in Japan, I think the government can do more to track and analyze.

First and most obvious is Cellular Phone location. Government can get cellular phone location of patients, track their location and try to find common places and source.

Second, which is probably less effective, but is interesting for me is genomic tracking of the Corona Virus. Apparently, the mutation of the virus and analysis of that can track the source and spread. Twitter and internet are discuss and quote Trevor Bredford’s twitter and analysis.

Looking at some genomic analysis of the virus in patients in Japan, can see clearly the second wave coming from Europe, US and other countries

Two Examples:

Virus path: China, Europe (UK, Italy, Spain) and then to Japan
Virus Path: China, Australia, US and to Japan

Power of IT in the battle with Covid-19

(Almost) Everyone carry a smartphone, which is used in some countries for monitoring and alerts about Corona virus, Quarantine, etc.

I like what Line did with a friendly application which can collect information as well as assist with consultancy and recent recommendations.

I registered for both Tokyo and Kanagawa … not sure why.

The screenshot is from Kanagawa prefecture, which pings me periodically to ask about my health status

Trump against WHO

Read in the news that Trump is slamming WHO over handling of the Corona Virus .

As always, decide to read WHO Recommendations and analysis of the Corona Virus. All WHO situation reports are online from the first report January 21. Focused in the first few reports to understand how WHO handled the situation and what were the recommendations.

In my opinion, the following advisory published January 24th is problematic :

“With the information currently available for the novel coronavirus, WHO advises that measures to limit the risk of exportation or importation of the disease should be implemented, without unnecessary restrictions of international traffic.

The advisory recommend screening people in exit and entrance of international ports, when there was not enough information if all patients are symptomatic.

This argument is quite political right now, and obviously the most important thing is to contain the virus and get back to our normal lives, but I certainly hope WHO and the international community will study from this and react faster in the future.

And a word about Taiwan, which is not a member of the WHO .
Taiwan learned SARS lessons and reacted faster, closing borders, monitoring and containing faster than other countries while not getting any assistance or information from WHO.

Movie “Parasite”

The Korean movie Parasite won the Oscar and attracted a lot of attention world wide and also in Japan.

I do watch Korean movies once in a while, mostly on Korean Air flights, so I am not strange to their style (and quality).

But I feel this move is over-rated, and could not explain to myself why it won the Oscar.

It is a good movie, but I wished it had some more depth in it.

The good:

  1. Social issues: The movie addresses some Korean social issues like importance of education, getting into the right school.
    The social gap between the rich and educated to people who cannot escape the poverty line.
    The cost of failure: Taking loans and the need to go underground to stay alive
  2. Photography, feeling of almost watching a play as most of the movie takes place inside of two houses, the rich and the poor

I wish it had more:

The rich are not that bad. Obviously in one of the last scenes the rich prefer to take care of a child which just fainted rather than handle a stabbing wound. But I wish there was more connection between the rich and the poor. For example, the rich owning lands and forcing the poor out of their home
While the son fantasizes about marrying the rich Daughter, I wish she was more cruel. Just playing with him as a diversion. There was a hint of that in the movie, but I wanted it to be stronger

SmartNews CoronaVirus Tab

SmartNews, an application aggregating news, has now a new tab of Covid-19, or as the tab calls it “New Virus”, which has information on number of infected people worldwide and Japan.

Japan numbers do not include the Cruise Ship.

Hotel Service or why hotels in Israel are expensive

Was on business trip to both Tel Aviv and Osaka in February. I wanted to write I was surprised to notice the differences in service between hotels, but thinking more about it, it is not surprising, just annoying.

Comparing Tel Aviv Herods to Osaka New Otani:

  1. Price – Herods was 50% more expensive than New Otani !!!
  2. Service – Impeccable in New Otani.
    Quite bad in Herods with several examples:
    a. Room was not cleaned on my first night. Called and asked for towels. Someone came over, just gave me the towels without offering any explanation or apology
    b. Extended one night and paid, without getting a receipt for the payment. They were busy and wanted to serve customer behind me
    c. Breakfast was delayed
  3. When passing staff in the Corridor, I was greeted in New Otani while completely ignored in Tel Aviv. In Herods, the service cart was always next to the elevator even when the staff was not there, while in New Otani staff waited for me to pass before opening and entering the service room

As you can understand, I can go on and on to explain the differences, which makes me think again about different cultures, pricing and what I get back for my money .

Hotel New Otani Osaka, Highly Recommended !!!

No tourists

Was on a business trip to Osaka last week.

Although surprisingly the Shinkansen was packed, the lack of tourists was obvious.
Had 30 minutes to walk around Osaka Castle, but could hardly see foreign tourists.

Corona Virus is definitely taking it’s toll on Japanese Economy


My next Camera ? Fujifilm X100V

I have been very happy with Ricoh GR for street photography, carrying it with me all the time.

But as it is aging and new models coming out I considered moving to Ricoh GR3. Tested, compared to previous models, compared to Fujifilm X100f, but then decided to wait for the X100V.

It is out and looks quite impressive, and I want it so much.
Since I am on a business trip, will have to wait till I come back to Japan to test it and then make a final decision, but most chances are that I will buy it.