I got back from stocking up at the market just in the nick …

I’ll be 😆 tomorrow when #Tokyo starts up again from the Summer holiday. Also, this is a test of quill.

New Haneda flight paths over residential areas to begin in March 2020 in bid to boost capacity ahead of Olympics:

The government on Thursday announced a date for the introduction of new flight paths over Tokyo to increase capacity at Haneda airport in the run-up to the 2020 Olympics.

On March 29, planes will be able for the first time to descend and climb over densely populated Shibuya, Shinjuku and Shinagawa wards in central Tokyo.

The change could have a large impact on residents. Current approach and departure paths pass only over Tokyo Bay and aircraft are at high altitude when they cross built-up areas. […]

Sensitive to the impact on residents, the ministry drew up measures to minimise noise. These include revising the angle of approach when landing and bringing planes in more steeply.

It also addressed the potential problem of objects falling from aircraft and held briefing sessions with residents.

Yikes! If my assignment in Japan extends, my house hunting will definitely take this into account. My building is tall and I’m on the top floor, so really not looking forward to this.

Thank goodness I’ll be able to judge things in advance:

Trials of the new routes will take place later this month, when the government will use a small aircraft to fly the paths and check airport facilities. Tests with a passenger plane will begin in late January.


(Via Japan Times latest articles)

Watch: sights and sounds of Tokyo in 1934 / Boing Boing:

Everything in this restored film about Tokyo is interesting — the street celebrations, the sporting events, the children’s swordplay drill — but the standout is listening to Japanese ambassador Hiroshi Saito talk about the country’s desire to remain on good terms with the United States.

Significant Digits For Tuesday, July 30, 2019:

Chaser, a Border collie known as the world’s smartest dog, has died of natural causes at the age of 15. Chaser’s owner, a psychology professor named John Pilley, used “800 cloth animal toys, 116 balls, 26 Frisbees and an assortment of plastic items” to teach Chaser 1,022 nouns. Chaser is also said to have understood sentences including a prepositional object, verb and direct object. Rest in peace. I’m gonna go figure out how many nouns I know. [The New York Times]

(Via Features – FiveThirtyEight)

Not feeling great about my progress learning Japanese for some reason. /me looks for a Shinjuku store that sells cloth animal toys, balls, Frisbees, and assorted plastic items.

Recipes for Food that Appear in Makoto Shinkai’s New Film Tenki no Ko:

Makoto Shinkai, whose hit animated feature film Kimi no Na Wa (Your Name) put him on the global map, has a new film that just landed in theaters in Japan. For those outside Japan, you’ll have to wait until early 2020 to see Tenki no Ko (Weathering With You) but for fans looking to get just a little taste of the film, you’re in luck.

In the film, there is a scene where the the heroine, Hina Amano, prepares a series of creative dishes for protagonist Hodaka Morishima. They include potato chip fried rice and instant ramen salad.

The odd yet alluring dishes were created in collaboration with recipe website Kurashiru, who has released the recipes for anyone to try.

Potato Chip Fried Rice | のり塩すごもりチャーハン レシピ・作り方

Rice | ごはん 200 g
Potato chips (preferably salt & seaweed) | ポテトチップ (のり塩味) 15 g
Onion | 玉ねぎ 1/4個
Sprouts | 豆苗 1/4 pack | パック
Soy sauce | ①しょうゆ 1 tsp | 小さじ
Chicken stock concentrate | ①鶏ガラスープの素 1/2 tsp | 小さじ
Grated ginger | すりおろし生姜 1/2 tsp | 小さじ
Sesame oil | ごま油 1 tblsp | 大さじ
Egg | 卵黄 1個

Directions (serves 1)

  1. Prepare the vegetables by chopping the onion and cutting off the stem from the sprouts. Chop sprouts into 2cm widths.
  2. Heat frying pan on low with sesame oil and ginger. Then add onions. Raise to medium heat and cook onions until translucent.
  3. Add rice, soy sauce and half of the sprouts and continue to cook
  4. Crush potato chips by hand and mix into dish, then quickly remove from heat and serve
  5. Separate egg yolk from whites. Create dimple in rice and add egg yolk


  1. 玉ねぎはみじん切りにします。
  2. 豆苗は根元を切り落としたら、2cm幅に切ります。
  3. フライパンにごま油、すりおろし生姜を入れ、弱火にかけます。
  4. すりおろし生姜の香りが立ったら、1を加え中火にします。
  5. 玉ねぎがしんなりするまで炒めたら、ごはん、①と2の半量を入れます。
  6. 全体が馴染むまで炒めたら、ポテトチップを手で砕きながら加えます。手早く混ぜ合わせたら、器に盛り中央をくぼませます。
  7. くぼみを囲うように残りの2を添えて、卵黄を中央にのせたら完成です。

(Via Spoon & Tamago: picture from Kurashiru)

Yum? It looks interesting. Any chance to have some Japanese potato chips/crisps in a recipe is a-ok with me.

There’s another recipe in the article, one for salad. Brooklyn Nine Nine fans will get the gist.

It’s hard to find public trash cans in Tokyo / Boing Boing:

It’s not easy to find public trash cans in Tokyo (other than
bottle-and-can recycling bins next to drink vending machines). Even so,
there’s hardly any litter on the ground. When I travel to Japan, I
always keep a plastic bag in my knapsack to store trash until I come
across a rare public gomibako (Tip: There’s one in front of the Kiddy Land toy store in Harajuku).

Better tip: right inside the doors of most combini (convenience stores) there are trash cans. Still, it’s a good idea to keep a plastic bag with you.

Right now, I think for the first time in my Japan life, I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) off of Genesis’ 1972 album Selling England By The Pound is playing in the wild – in this case in the pub I’m in for lunch this rainy Sunday.

QR Codes and Big Data:

After the 7pay QR Code launch and security meltdown, Twitter is full of Japanese tweets asking ‘why do we need QR when we already have fast secure FeliCa services like Apple Pay Suica?’

… As Suzuki san points out, from the convenience store point of view, the problem with customers using Suica, nanaco or T-Point is that they don’t have personal data attached to them. Anybody can buy a Suica card at a JR station or a nanaco card at 7-Eleven and use it on the spot. The only piece of data going into the system is the card id#. They can’t get your name, phone, etc. and profile the customer. With QR Code apps and an account signup/sign in, QR Code platform operators get the information they want to profile customers and plug it into Big Data.

The customer ends up being the product. It’s not about offering better service or technology.

(Via Ata Distance)

Yet again Joel nails the situation, along with Junya Suzuki (link in Japanese). All of these QR Code releases seem so slap-dash (poorly planned and executed). I avoid these things point programs.

Read the whole article for more insight and details.

Apple Pay Suica Service Mode by Joel Breckinridge Bassett:

Apple Pay Suica Service Mode is a weird function that doesn’t have a counterpart on the Android Suica side. The JR East Apple Pay Suica help page mentions this. The iPhone Service Mode explanation says, “Service Mode will allow station agents and kiosks to help with any issues with your card.” The street reality is that station agents don’t need you to put the device in Service Mode, just fork it over and they can fix any Suica issue for you.
This difference exists because Osaifu Keitai smartphones (and the candy wrapper Google Pay Suica) have a dedicated FeliCa chip. Apple created it’s own custom FeliCa implementation hosted on the iPhone A Series and Apple Watch S Series SOC. But the Apple implementation did not really mature until A12 Bionic and the Express Card (Student ID)/Express Transit cards with power reserve feature. The A12 Bionic Secure Enclave supports limited NFC transactions that bypass iOS. It’s the same way a dedicated FeliCa chip works on Android.
This means that Apple Pay Suica on non-A12 devices requires iOS/watchOS to be up and running for Suica to work. Unfortunately this also means that different iOS versions sometimes have performance issues on non-A12 devices and that iOS occasionally drops the ball. Fortunately iOS 12.3 fixes all issues and has great Apple Pay Suica Express Transit performance. iOS 12.3 is a highly recommended update.
The Dead Suica Notifications/No Suica Balance Update problem happened occasionally and the way to fix it is to turn on Service Mode and leave it until it turns off automatically in 60 seconds or the screen goes dark, whichever comes first.
In this case Service Mode syncs and reconciles iOS with the Suica Stored Fare (SF) balance information from the FeliCa embedded Secure Element implemented inside the A Series/S Series Secure Enclave.
Service Mode seems pretty useless on A12 Bionic devices. I imagine it’s there more for show than actual functionality, although Service Mode is useful for cash recharge on 7-Eleven ATM machines where you have to put the device upside down to capture the ATM NFC antenna hit area.

It’s been odd the last few times I’ve needed assistance that I didn’t need to put my watch or iPhone in service mode. Which is good, because I can never remember how to do it.

The service mode tip could have fixed my last snafu, and I had no idea about 7-11 ATMs!

Joel, keep up the great work!