Category Archives: general

Swine Flu in Osaka, the situation and facts

Bear in mind that I’m writing this on the morning of 20th May, the situation will change with regards to numbers.

There have been about 130 reported cases of swine flu in Japan.  In Japan it is referred to as 新型インフルエンザ which roughly translates to new form of flu.  There has been wide spread panic about the situation so if you don’t read or understand Japanese it may be alarming.  Here are some of the facts:

  • The new strain of flu is very infectious.  This is the primary reason for the panic, especially in the densely populated areas of Kobe and Osaka, where public transport is the main form of transport for most of the population.
  • It isn’t deadly and can be treated but like seasonal flu if not properly treated there are cases of fatalities.  Again like seasonal flu, old and young are the most vulnerable.
  • Masks, are very effective at preventing the spread, hence the panic buying and stores being out of stock.  As been pointed out by Janne in the comments, only anti-viral masks used properly can prevent infection.  But the official advice is that even the cheapest masks are effective at reducing the spread (since they cut down the distance air-borne particles carrying the virus travel).
  • If you get it you are advised not to go to your local hospital but instead call the specially set-up hotline (06-6944-6791 Japanese or 06-6943-8530 Foreign Languages) where they will advise you as to where to go.
  • Schools have been closed for 7 days, because this is takes into consideration the incubation period of the virus.  The theory being that if children are not showing symptoms after a period of 7 days, they probably aren’t infected.  However, you shouldn’t go out with your kids to say USJ as if you catch it during this time, your kids may spread it when they return to school. Stay home as much as possible.
  • Washing your hands properly is also effective at preventing the spread.  Washing with soap, and rubbing each digit individually is the recommended method.
  • You are also advised to take your temperature before going out.  If you have a temperature of 38C or more then you should call the hotline for advice.
  • Sleeping well and eating regularly keep  your immune system in a good state and makes you better prepared to fend off the flu.  Common sense I know, but some people I know are still pulling all-nighters.

There is some speculation that various vaccination programmes in Japan reduce your susceptibility in catching the swine flu.  This hasn’t been proven but maybe explain why teenagers are more likely, twenty-somethings less likely, and thirty-somethings again a bit more likely. If you are like me, only recently arrived in Japan then these patterns don’t apply.  And they are only casually observed patterns and not proof of immunity.

Take care everyone, I’ll try to update this post if there is any further news.  If you can please take this post and translate it into your own language to post on your own blog or facebook, even just the hotline numbers.

Ikea Shuttle Bus from Taisho cancelled

Ikea Bus by Mitikusa via flickr

Ikea Bus by Mitikusa via flickr

Unfortunately from today, the shuttle bus from Taisho to Ikea will be cancelled.  I can only imagine that it is due to cost cutting or problems with parking permissions, as there were definitely enough people using the service. I’ve been Ikea a few times and bought way too much stuff and always took the shuttle bus from Taisho (Sangenya) so it is sad news for me.  You can still get the 108A or 72A city bus to Tsuruhama though.  Unfortunately those buses take a long time because they make a lot of stops.

The shuttle bus from Namba is still operating.  More details here:

Added new web cams side bar links

As I mentioned in the comments in this post I was thinking of adding the web cams to the side bar if I ever found or received links to others.  Just yesterday I came across the one in the Expo Park so now I’ve added the list to the right side bar under the Osaka Photos links.

The web cams are best during the day time and the Takatsuki one is my favourite.  As always if there are any others (I’m sure there are more than 3), please leave us a comment.  Thanks!

Rant about USJ (Universal Studios Japan) English Site

This was going to be a short post about the special offer of yearly pass tickets of Universal Studios Japan (USJ) but incredibly their site is so poor I feel like ranting a bit.  (I’ll post details of the offer in a separate post)

  • First of all, they don’t mention the offer on their English site at all.
  • Second, their info seems not to have been updated for at least a year.  For example the regular price is still listed as 18,000 Yen not 22,000Yen.  More importantly there are some exception dates but the English version is still  last year’s info  vs the Japanese up-to-date info.
  • Third, you can’t actually buy the tickets on-line unless you use the Japanese site.
  • Bonus sad points are the information pages for the special events and attractions.  Example, this is the info page for Universal Valentine in English vs Universal Valentine in Japanese.

I can’t believe an organisation with the money and resources like Universal Studios are building such disfunctional sites for their non-Japanese speaking customers.

If you feel similarly please leave a comment or pass on a link to this post to friends.

Places around the Hyatt (reply to email question)

I got an email asking about places around the Hyatt are within walking distance (apart from the ATC and WTC). I can’t find the mail so I thought I would post my reply here.

The only places I can think of are the Outlet Shops, the bird park and the Wine Museum. There are also some events that are held at Intex just on the doorstep of the Hyatt. Close but not walking distance are the places around Osakako (Kaiyukan, Suntory Musuem with IMAX cinema and the big ferris wheel.

If anyone has other suggestions, please leave a comment on this post.  Thanks!

Merry Christmas!

I would just like to wish every who reads this blog a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  (even if you are working today) (like me) :p