Cool posters of the Japanese Communist Party

Japanese Communist Party raised fist poster
Japanese Communist Party poster advocating compensation for people (and business establishments) exercising self-restraint regarding the Covid pandemic

Nice logo kanji, too.

I’m no communist (but what does not being a communist even mean?)–I prefer European socialism with Japanese characteristics–but I must admit the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) has some really cool posters, especially when compared with the bland ones put out by the ruling parties.

I’ve been wanting to take photos of these posters that I always see on the way to work but only recently have I been able to do so. Must of these posters can be downloaded as PDFs from JCP’s website, by the way.

Japanese Communist Party poster collage
Japanese Communist Party poster collage

Clockwise from upper-left: 1. Kazuo Shii, the face of the JCP; 2. “Don’t turn off the lights of izakaya”; 3. “Scrap the Tōkai No.2 Power Station” (JCP is anti-nuclear energy); 4. “Let’s protect Article 9” (JCP advocates pacifism)

The famous Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution states:

(1) Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

(2) In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

Despite this, however, Japan actually maintains the world’s 5th most powerful military.

Warm mouse for the cold Covid winters

Heated warm mouse
Heated warm mouse from Amazon

Due to the ongoing Covid pandemic, workplaces everywhere in Japan are required to have enough ventilation to prevent the virus from concentrating in closed spaces. Which means much colder workplaces in the winter.

And with the winter in full swing, our office often feels frigid, with exhaust fans on, doors open and the air-conditioning system not powerful enough to cope.

The mouse I use in the office feels especially cold to the touch so after a little bit of searching around, I bought this heated mouse (暖かいマウス) from Amazon for JPY1,899. I actually kind of surprised that heated mouse is not a common PC accessory in temperate countries: mouse makers like Logitech and Microsoft, or Elecom and Buffalo in Japan don’t sell them.

So is it warm? It’s advertised as warming to 41 to 55°C and it certainly feels warm in the palm of my hand, sometimes even getting a little too hoth. I expect a mouse to work for at least 3 years and only time would tell if this mouse would last that long but it should get me through this winter.

Heated warm mouse
Heated warm mouse from Amazon; the mouse glows a reassuring pink and orange.

Population of Filipinos in Japan from 1964 to 2021

Filipino athletes in Tokyo, Japan
Filipino athletes in Tokyo, Japan for the 1930 Far Eastern Championship Games. US Library of Congress photo provided by John Tewell; photo info by Paul Eric Darvin.

After digging through the figures available from the Immigration Services Agency, I made a chart of the rise of Filipino population in Japan.

In 1964, the earliest year of available data, the population of Filipinos in Japan was just 527 individuals, barely showing as a thin line in the chart below. Five years later, in 1964, it added just 150 Filipinos more, for a total of 677.

Another five years later, in 1974, we see a significant change: there were now 3,129 Filipinos in Japan, men (1,970) outnumbering the women (1,159) almost 2 to 1. This would be the last year men would outnumber women.

1974 is just two years after kleptocrat Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in the Philippines. By this time the country was already struggling from high rates of unemployment, political instability and economic mismanagement, driving people to seek better opportunities abroad.

A decade later, in 1984, the Filipino population in Japan has tripled to 9,618 with the women outnumbering men almost 4 to 1. The Philippine economy has reached its lowest point by this time, due to the endemic corruption of the Marcos presidency, producing the country’s worst recession in 1984 and 1985.

The 80s is also the decade when female entertainers entered Japan in large numbers, skewing the female to male ratio.

From the 80s, the Filipino population would increase until it surpassed 300,000 in 2018 and reached its greatest extent (329,465) in 2019, the year coronavirus was first detected in China and spread around the globe producing the ongoing Covid pandemic. By this time, technical intern trainees have surpassed entertainers as the main group of Filipinos entering Japan.

In response to the pandemic, Japan closed its borders to most foreigners, including technical intern trainees. Most trainees return home after their contract expires in three years, which would explain the population decline in 2020 and 2021.

In the short term, Filipino (and overall foreigner) numbers in Japan would largely depend on when (or whether) the global pandemic could be controlled, and in the long term, how many workers Japan needs to support its graying population.

Population of Filipinos in Japan from 1964 to 2021
Population of Filipinos in Japan from 1964 to 2021, with figures from the Immigration Services Agency of Japan.

Breakfast with rice, fried egg, tomatoes and nattō

Nattō, tomatoes, fried egg and rice
Nattō, tomatoes, fried egg and rice

I don’t know what’s the equivalent of bangsilog or longsilog in Japan, but this is a fairly typical breafast in our house. We don’t have bagoong so the tomatoes are seasoned with regular Italian salad dressing. Nattō (fermented soy beans) is always a good (and protein-rich) addition to white rice.

Now, having seen photos of bangsilog, I suddenly got the urge to marinate some milk fish in vinegar and garlic.

2022 winter snowfall

Snow over railroad tracks at Arakawaoki, Tsuchiura
Snow over railroad tracks at Arakawaoki, Tsuchiura, just after sunrise.

So Tokyo and the surrounding prefectures of the Kantō area had an unusually heavy snowfall yesterday (first in 4 years), disrupting traffic and causing accidents and general inconvenience to motorists everywhere.

However, most of the snow have already melted at the end of the day, leaving just patches of dangerous hardened ice on shady places along the roads.

Patches of hardened ice at an intersection
Patches of hardened ice at an intersection.