Philip Patrick

Philip Patrick

Philip Patrick is an exiled Scot, who lectures at a Tokyo university and contributes to the Japan Times

Can a government dating app solve Japan’s birth crisis?

The Tokyo metropolitan government has announced that it will soon be in the online matchmaking business. It is launching a dating app, which will hopefully appear in the summer, its latest attempt to get people to do their duty to the nation by finding a partner, getting married and procreating ASAP. The rules of the

What’s behind the boom in Japanese fiction?

‘There are two things that I can simply not tolerate: feminists and margarine’.  This is a quote from the novel Butter by Japanese writer Asako Yuzuki, which was published in translation last month to great acclaim. It’s billed as ‘a novel of food and murder’, inspired by the true story of a gourmet chef/serial killer and the

How to quit like the Japanese

Tokyo For many, the idea of quitting a job they hate, of walking into their boss’s office and telling him or her in no uncertain terms what they think of it (and them perhaps), and then striding out without a backward glance, is a delicious one, a pleasant daydream to be enjoyed on the dreary

Will this stop players mobbing the referee?

The European football governing body Uefa has informed competing nations at this summer’s Euros that only team captains will be allowed to approach referees to dispute decisions. It is hoped this will reduce the amount of pressure placed on referees and allow for smoother and more orderly officiating. So, two’s company but three or more

Why are the yakuza stealing Pokemon cards?

A high-ranking member of the yakuza (Japanese mafia) has been arrested in Tokyo for selling stolen Pokemon cards. Keita Saito was taken into custody in April after the theft of goods worth 1,600 dollars, which included a stack of the popular ‘Pocket Monster’ trading cards. What a comedown for the once fearsome lords of the underworld

Why are the Japanese so bad at English?

Tokyo, Japan ‘Shhh! Now on face to respectable great eels life’. How’s that for the first line of an article? I spotted this gem written on a sign in the window of a seafood restaurant in the Hibiya Midtown shopping centre in Tokyo recently. I was delighted. I’ve spent 25 years in Japan and have

Japan won’t forgive Joe Biden for his xenophobia gaffe

Joe Biden just threw a particularly nasty insult the way of Japan, a close ally of the United States, at a campaign event. The president accused the Japanese, along with China, Russia, and India, of being ‘xenophobic’ in their reluctance to admit large numbers of immigrants, and of damaging their economies as a consequence: ‘Why

Scrapping replays could be the beginning of the end for the FA Cup

Is time running out for the oldest knock-out tournament of them all? The FA cup‘s obituary has been written a few times in recent years but the much-loved competition has somehow survived. But, with the latest downgrade imposed by the game’s authorities, its status as a major footballing competition and treasured cultural artefact could be

It’s time for Ronaldo to retire

All good things must come to an end, and that surely now ought to include the footballing career of Cristiano Ronaldo, who disgraced himself again on Monday after being sent off for appearing to stamp on and elbow an opponent in his team Al-Nassr’s Saudi Super Cup defeat by Al-Hilal. He then seemed to come

The curiously quiet reaction to Oppenheimer in Japan

Finally, eight months after its US premiere and a month after it triumphed at the Oscars, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer has opened here in Japan. The film had been mysteriously delayed and there were rumours it would never be screened in the only country to suffer the consequences of a nuclear bomb. No definitive explanation was

Japan is no country for young men

Another week, another fun fact about Japan’s declining birthrate and ageing population to startle and amuse us. Japan has now recorded a full decade where sales of adult nappies outstripped those of baby nappies. Thanks to the surfeit of geriatric incontinents, one well-known manufacturer, Oji Holdings, has made headlines by giving up on tots entirely

Football is in enough trouble without a ‘regulator’

Unlike David Cameron – who famously got in a muddle about which team he supported – Rishi Sunak is a genuine football fan. But this makes the government’s latest wheeze of introducing a football regulator hard to take. Sunak says the outfit will help to prevent the ‘financial mismanagement’ of ‘unscrupulous owners’. It is, he

Japanese toilets aren’t all they’re cracked up to be

What is the world’s best city in which to be caught short? You can imagine a lively discussion on this question on a TripAdvisor forum. A strong candidate would be Tokyo, which has recently added to its long list of otherworldly attractions, a collection of 17 high-tech architect designed public lavatories. The toilets feature, and

Liverpool fans should stop booing the national anthem

Liverpool fans, a significant number at least, booed the national anthem at the Carabao Cup final at Wembley yesterday. It wasn’t the first time this has happened – it’s been going on since the 1980s – but it was the first time since the monarch was diagnosed with cancer. This added a certain poignancy to the ‘save’ bit of the anthem, and might have

Why are Japan’s trains so much better than ours?

With six more months of train strikes recently announced it is getting hard to imagine a punctual, anxiety-free railway journey in the UK. Over in Japan it’s hard to imagine the opposite. Japan is one of those blessed countries where people understand the value of a modern, reliable, affordable and extensive railway network. In a

Who cancelled Miss Japan?

Karolina Shiino, a 26-year-old naturalised Japanese woman originally from Ukraine, has been obliged to give up her Miss Japan title after confessing to an affair with a married man. Shiino, whose parents are Ukrainian and who came to Japan aged 5, was awarded the title just two weeks ago. As the first non-ethnically Japanese woman

Philip Patrick

Japan’s naked men are no longer sacred

For the first time in its 1,250 year history, Japan’s Naked Man Festival is to admit women to its sacred rites and rituals – well, one sacred ritual anyway. Later this month, a cohort of 40 women, clothed, will be allowed to participate in the naoizasa ritual where they will carry bamboo grass wrapped in

Not everyone will miss Jurgen Klopp

So, farewell then Jurgen Klopp. What memories you will leave us. You were exuberant, passionate and unorthodox. You ran up and down the touchline, gesticulating manically. You had a nice, albeit cosmetically enhanced, smile. You could be charming and witty. You won. seven trophies in nine years for Liverpool, most significantly the Premier League title