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Tweet of the Week #75: Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike Trolls Media with ‘Urgent’ Press Conference

Are we doing this social distancing thing right?

By 5 min read

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つみっつみつ which is pronounced mittsu no mitsu. It’s a clever kanji trick with  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.

#注意喚起ちゅういかんき#新型しんがたコロナウイルス集団発生防止しゅうだんはっせいぼうしかんするチラシを掲載けいさいしています。

密閉空間みっぺいくうかん密集場所みっしゅうばしょ密接場面みっせつばめん」の3つみっつの「みつ」をけましょう。

チラシはこちらからダウンロードできます。ご自由じゆう転載てんさい印刷いんさつしてお使つかいいただき、身近みぢかかたへもぜひおらせください▼

=

[#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:

不要不急ふようふきゅうの「3密」記者会見きしゃかいけん

・記者をよるし「夜にすな」と要請ようせい

特定とくてい業種ぎょうしゅ指名しめいしでころしにかかる

・あくまで「自粛じしゅく」、もちろん補償ほしょうナシ

・それでもして「パチンコくな」とはわない

自粛対象たいしょう事業者じぎょうしゃいかりをとうして脱力だつりょくしてるぜ… 雇用保険こようほけん未加入みかにゅう失業者しつぎょうしゃえそうだな…

=

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:

なんで, なんでそう変な方向ほうこうにばかり思い切りがいいのよ

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.

To sum-up:

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.

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: becomes (かんがえる→ 考えろ = Think!)
  • U-verbs: the last -vowel becomes the -vowel equivalent (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 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.

Vocabulary

Japanese Romaji English
注意喚起ちゅういかんき chyuuikanki alert
新型しんがたコロナウイルス shingata koronauirusu new coronavirus
集団発生防止しゅうだんはっせいぼうし shyuudan hassei boushi outbreak prevention
不要不急ふようふきゅう  fuyoufukyuu non essential non-urgent
 記者会見きしゃかいけん kishya kaiken press conference
  記者きしゃ kishya journalist
 よる yoru ni yobidashi call out at night
kuridasu go out, send out
 要請ようせい yousei request
 特定とくてい tokutei specific
 業種ぎょうしゅ gyoushyu type of industry
 指名しめいする shimei suru nominate
ころしにかかる koroshi ni kakaru kill
あくまで akumade only, merely
自粛じしゅく jijyuku self restrain
 もちろん mochiron of course
 補償ほしょうナシ hoshouu nashi no compensation
 それでも soredemo but
 して keshite never
 パチンコ pachinko pachinko
  iu  tell
対象たいしょう taishyou target
 事業者じぎょうしゃ jigyousha business person
 脱力だつりょくする datsuryoku suru weaken
 雇用保険こようほけん koyouhoken employment insurance
 未加入みかにゅう mikanyuu not enrolled in
 失業者しつぎょうしゃ shitsugyousha  unemployed person
 える fueru increase
なんで nande why
そう変な方向ほうこう sou henna houkou ni toward such strange directions
思い切り omoikiri be quick to make decision

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