So, did y'all see that Haruki Murakami is working on his third 1Q84 book? (Secret handshake to Japan Probe). This should come as no surprise to regular Our Man readers (nothing surprises them anymore) because Our Man tipped 'em off that another was in the works right here. Don'tcha love it when Our Man gets it right?
In other book "news", Our Man has finished reading Dogs and Demons by Alex Kerr and can concur (dang, that was clever) that it is indeed a great take on all that is wrong with Japan. But, it is showing its age a little. D&D makes the case that Japan's ills are largely down to its own misguided effort to maintain its Japanese spirit with Western tools. The result, as should be clear to any clear-headed observer is the mess that Japan is in today - stuck with a 1960s technocratic vision of the future, allied to an outdated sense of morality and inability to move on. Something like that.
But then the DPJ swept in and what seemed an impossibility back when the book was written in 2000 or so, has come to pass - the smashing of the LDP machine and maybe the end of the road for the construction state, stifling bureaucracy, deficient education and Japanese fatalism.
Sacred cows of Those Who Know Japan are being put out to pasture day by day - the rule that women had to change their names to marry was scrapped just the other day for example - which makes Our Man think that everything we think of as being quintessentially Japanese is nothing of the sort. All the odious qualities of sheepish conformity, obedience to the loudspeaker and Ganbatte! (struggle through) spirit are not the true qualities of Japan, but are simply the qualities of its inflated bureaucracy.
But what would Our Man know? He's just a regular gaijin with a blog, an eight-year-old book on the place and loads of red ink. Oh, and a virtual fuzzbox.
Pic lifted from here.