Cases of coronavirus have reached new records in Tokyo following last week’s announcement that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games would be postponed. This prompted authorities to hold several urgent press conferences to tell journalists what everyone already knew.
Avoid the three Cs
So far, communications from the Japanese government have been insufficient in helping folks living in Japan grasp how serious the situation is.
The Prime Minister Cabinet summed up social distancing with a word game, 3つの密 which is pronounced mittsu no mitsu. It’s a clever kanji trick with 密 which translates to “close” or “intimate.” The cabinet office invented three key expressions to invite people living in Japan to avoid “confined spaces,” “crowded places,” and “close contact with people.” Thus the “three Cs” was born.
— 首相官邸(災害・危機管理情報) (@Kantei_Saigai) March 28, 2020
[#Caution] We are providing #NovelCoronavirus outbreak prevention flyers. Avoid the three “intimate situations” which are closed spaces, crowded places, close contact.
You can download the flyer here. Feel free to reprint and use it to inform those around you ▼
If Japan seemed spared by the pandemic up until now, the jump in cases of coronavirus in Tokyo has raised strong concerns the city could follow a scenario similar to what happened in New York. Obviously, the three Cs strategy is failing hard to prevent an outbreak in Japan’s capital city.
For the first time last week, Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike hinted at a possible lockdown of Tokyo and asked people to avoid all unnecessary outings and stay home during the weekend.
Because legally, she cannot actually enforce a ban on going outside. She can only ask nicely.
Do as I say, not as I do
With the rumors of an incoming lockdown of Tokyo swirling on social media, the announcement of an urgent press conference from Governor Yuriko Koike Monday night added fuel to the fire. A lot of folks expected the conference to be a turning point, with the authorities taking important steps to ensure Tokyo peeps’ safety.
After a 30 min delay, the conference started in a crowded, confined room and viewers could hear ominous coughs. Turns out it was all for nothing.
Governor Yuriko Koike, along with government medical experts, repeatedly invited people, in particular young people, to refrain from non-essential outings, such as going out to bars, night clubs, live houses. And that’s all folks.
Japanese people turned to social media to point out the irony of the situation right away:
自粛対象の事業者は怒りを通り越して脱力してるぜ… 雇用保険未加入の失業者が増えそうだな… pic.twitter.com/xXWzRfKiWm
— ブラック企業アナリスト 新田 龍 (@nittaryo) March 30, 2020
・The not urgent, not essential press conference respects the three C’s
・Have journalists come at night to request people “not to go out at night”
・Kill industries by naming them directly
・Till the end “restrain yourself”, of course without financial help
・Still, they never say “don’t go to the pachinko parlor”
Businesses targeted by self restraining measures are weakening passed anger… Unemployment without employment insurance is likely to increase…
The twitter user plays with the “facepalming Grace” meme often used by Japanese people to laugh at decision-makers. In the meme, taken from the manga Emma, the character of Grace says:
which means, “Why!? Why are you so quick to make a weird decision?!”
A sarcastic journalist present pointed out the elephant in the room and point-blank asked what was the point of organizing a press conference late at night with no important news to communicate except to tell people not to go out… late at night.
— Kat "Join Your Union, Ask Me How" Callahan (@JezebelKat) March 30, 2020
小池都知事ですね = This is governor Koike, right.
Next time an urgent press conference is scheduled, we’ll pass and watch Netflix.
Using the Japanese imperative form to give orders
In order to follow your local authorities’ recommendations, you’d better understand the Japanese way to give orders. The easiest one you’ll learn is the polite suffix しなさい. Attached to the verb stem, なさい allows you to order people around in a polite way.
お知らせください = (please) share
The actual Japanese imperative form to order someone “to do something” is so harsh that you’re better off not using it at all.
- Ru-verbs: る becomes ろ (考える→ 考えろ = Think!)
- U-verbs: the last う-vowel becomes the え-vowel equivalent (書く→書け = Write!)
- する becomes しろ (Do!)
- くる becomes こい (Come!)
- And finally, くれる exceptionally changes to くれ (Give!)
When you want to command someone not to do something, you simply attach the suffix な to the verb stem:
夜に繰り出すな = don’t go out at night!
パチンコ行くな = don’t go to the pachinko parlor!
While Tokyo isn’t officially on lockdown, please stay home to stop the novel coronavirus from spreading further in Japan. Social distancing is one of the most effective ways to flatten the curve and protect yourselves and everyone around us. Let’s hope Japan figures it out sooner rather than later.
|新型コロナウイルス||shingata koronauirusu||new coronavirus|
|集団発生防止||shyuudan hassei boushi||outbreak prevention|
|不要不急||fuyoufukyuu||non essential non-urgent|
|記者会見||kishya kaiken||press conference|
|夜に呼び出し||yoru ni yobidashi||call out at night|
|繰り出す||kuridasu||go out, send out|
|業種||gyoushyu||type of industry|
|殺しにかかる||koroshi ni kakaru||kill|
|補償ナシ||hoshouu nashi||no compensation|
|未加入||mikanyuu||not enrolled in|
|そう変な方向に||sou henna houkou ni||toward such strange directions|
|思い切り||omoikiri||be quick to make decision|
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