The Japan Times of the future?

And this is a link to the article I mentioned pm the advisory committee’s recommendations to the Japan Times about how it should position itself from here on out:

Board examines the future direction of news coverage

The people in this group had ideas about what should go on the paper’s front page, how to reach global readers more effectively, and more. One of their conclusions:

The advisory board members agreed the articles published in the paper should show a more in-depth look at Japan’s social structure, values or Japan’s presence on the global stage.

American elections

This week I mentioned the Democratic–supporting “blue states” and Republican-supporting “red states.” The map makes it very clear which regions are which:


The map shows the numbers of electors (in the Electoral College) for each state; you need 270 electoral votes to win.

Here are the results for the 2012 election, when Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney to win reelection:


Similar results to 2016, but some key states (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan) made a big difference.

The popular vote is somewhat different from the Electoral College vote, though. Here’s a map that shows the votes by county, not state, with the county sizes altered to show their population.


On the West Coast, you can see that Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle are big spots of blue; on the East Coast, the same is true for Miami, Washington DC, and New York. This map explains why Hillary Clinton can come out ahead in the popular vote while still not getting the numbers in the Electoral College that she needs to win.

Even in a state like California, which chose Clinton (8.6 million votes) over Trump (4.4 million votes), the map is more complicated. This map shows the Democratic (blue) vs. Republican (red) composition in the state assembly (州議会).


Section A is the Bay Area, San Francisco and its surrounding areas. Section B is southern California from San Diego on the Mexican border up through Ventura on the coast north of Los Angeles. And section C is the central part of Los Angeles. There’s a lot of red on the map, but the red sections are very big, which means not many people live there. (The biggest red section, on the Nevada border, includes places like Death Valley and a lot of mountains more than 4,000 meters high. Nobody wants to be in places like that!)

Election statistics

I mentioned today that it wasn’t poor, white, rural voters who put Donald Trump in the White House. Here are some figures that are very popular on Twitter right now:

White voters definitely supported Trump, but this was all white voters—including college-educated ones—not just the poor ones outside of cities. (And actually, poor voters went for Clinton instead.)

A good article on what President Trump means for Asia as a whole is this:

Donald Trump Won. Prepare For Uncharted Geopolitical Waters in Asia

And this one is a good look at the situation in Japan in particular:

What President Trump means for Japan

Donald Trump in translation

Today I mentioned Donald Trump’s speeches, and the difficulties they give to translators and interpreters around the world. One article on this topic is here:

“Interpreters say it’s nearly “impossible” to translate Donald Trump’s rhetoric into other languages”

This article links to a blog post by Agness Kaku on LinkedIn. (Remember, the new journalism means finding what other people have already reported and reformatting it!) In that piece, she talks about a Trump statement and the way it was translated into Japanese:

“[S]he probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say, you tell me, but plenty of people have written that.” —Donald Trump on ABC News

「おそらく彼女は発言することを許されなかったのだろう」| “She likely wasn’t allowed to give a statement.” —NHK

「発言を許されていなかったのかもしれない」| “It could be she wasn’t allowed to speak.” —CNN Japan

Defensible? Absolutely. But it doesn’t tell the whole story, does it? And if Trump should backpedal from the comment, the translation will have to be enlarged to include those escape hatches he installed in the first place. When it comes to someone as accomplished as Trump is at committing himself to nothing, the current approach to translating his statements will only make it harder for those outside the English-speaking world to get an accurate picture of what the hell is going on with this runaway train of a presidential race.

As Kaku notes, “maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say” is the only thing that made it into Japanese. But when Trump talks, he gives himself those “escape hatches”—ways to evade responsibility. (It wasn’t me who said it, it was all those other people whose argument I was repeating!)

Another article on the same subject is “Foreign reporters can’t translate him: Why Trump’s hyperbolic speech fascinates linguists.” Have a look!

Museum translation