Sunday, 30 November 2008

Iain Dale's Diary: Ten New Blogs

Iain Dale's Diary: Ten New Blogs

Our Man's on the political map, thanks to Iain Dale. Must get round to putting a link to his blog on the left.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

More satisfying fare

Our Man took a couple of days off from the virtual world after a hectic week, but he's back now raring to go. He's been busy collating more blogs and websites to increase the range of sources so the daily briefings can focus more on the meat and potatoes of the Japanese experience (should that be fish and rice?), rather than the sidedish of miso soup that no matter how tasty (problems with polar bear sex or useless doors, for example) isn't ultimately very satisfying.

One main course that Our Man can heartily recommend that won't leave you hungry is Observing Japan, a blog by Tobias Harris, a self-described fledgling Japan hand. His latest post, The LDP will lose the next general election, sums up the political situation in Japan perfectly. In fact, Our Man was so satisfied with the blog, he is willing to name it the inaugural Blog of the Week. A worthy winner indeed.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Need to know basis

So what do you know about Japan?
  • What of its history? OK, you know about World War II - the Japs were the evil baddies, right? There was also a period of samurai, geisha and tea ceremonies in the olden days. OK, what else?
  • How about popular culture? Yes, there's geeky manga comics and computer games, karaoke, sushi and inane quiz shows. Is that it?
  • Business. Ah yes, you know about the big conglomerates that run the show and the salarymen who work like machines. Is that the whole story?
  • Oh, and then there's politics. You know the place has an emperor and a parliamentary system, so therefore has a prime minister. Well reasoned. What's his name (prime minister or emperor)? What party is in charge? What parties are in opposition?
I'm guessing there are some pretty basic gaps in your knowledge of a nation of 130 million people with an economy second in the world only to the United States.

You might need a little help. Allow me to introduce Our Man in Abiko. He's a mostly reliable chap, who formerly did sterling work for Britain, but is now plying his trade on the other side of the world. He could show you a few things. Some of them might even be useful.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Encyclopedia Ourmanica version 2.0

Welcome to the Encyclopedia Ourmanica, here to provide guidance on reading and thinking about Japanese politics (mainly for Our Man's benefit. His memory isn't what it used to be). It will grow over time, case by case, as Japanese are fond of saying, to eventually provide something of an overview of the Japanese political scene. Maybe. Disagree with any of the entries? feel free to leave a comment on any of the posts and Our Man might incorporate the points. Or not, depending on how he feels. Click on a link below to see the full entry.

Why so ugly?

A good question. Have you noticed how every blog these days kind of looks the same? Have a look at a few in the links list on the left. Nice clean lines, pretty pastel colour scheme, nothing to upset gran if she happened upon one while looking for a cheap yoga class close to her favourite needle shop. Most blogs are two column affairs - the central bit for the posts - and the right or left for favourite links and fascinating biographical details. STOP! OUR MAN HAS THREE COLUMNS. Why? Our Man likes ugly! In fact, that point is so important, he highlighted it in red. Why? Why the hell not? Oh, and why the ugly typeface that looks a bit like a typewriter? Because this is journalism, baby, THE FIRST DRAFT OF HISTORY. And that ain't always pretty. Or grammatical. That's why.