Saturday, 28 February 2009

Look who came to dinner

Our Man knows this is off-topic, but he thought it was marginally amusing to hear the saviour of the universe talk about peach cobblers:

Lifted from here.

They show you mine, I'll show you theirs

Our Man was racking (wracking? Dang, where's the subs bench when you need it) his brains to come up with something interesting to say about Japan or failing that, well, just to say something interesting about anything... and crapped out. So instead, why not check out two other sites that recently linked to Yours Truly and deserve a Saturday Swap Shop mention:

  • Japan Probe (nothing to do with Uranus, but a damned good, well-read round-up of all the sublime and ridiculous goings-on that pass for life in Japan, but then dear readers, you already knew that). 
  • Blue Lotus (a tasty treat of a blog - WRITTEN BY A WOMAN).
Do not adjust your set, normal service will resume shortly.

Friday, 27 February 2009

The internet is not a big truck

Lifted from here.

A summit like no other

No, not Mt Fuji silly, the Obama-Aso summit of course. Here's what happened, in broadsheet headline form for all the smart cookies out there:

US vows to humour Japan on obsession with North Korean kidnappings

Japan agrees to supply US troops in Afghanistan with napkins

Er, that's about the size of it.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Useless economic tip on China

Our Man don't know much 'bout economics nor China neither, but if you're looking for some good economic news, how 'bout this: China's construction industry is suddenly active again, has been for a week too. You read it here first (apologies if this is old news to those in the know, Our Man wouldn't know, being out of just about every loop going, but he reckons it is a glimmer of hope for the world economy).  

Final editions

It's grim in the world of newspapers. Our Man just got word that his old mates on the subs bench (that's copy editors to you colonials) are facing the chop. Thirty of 68 editing jobs across three titles - The Leicester Mercury (Our Man grew up reading), the Nottingham Evening Post (kept Our Man gainfully employed in the early noughties, as well as a certain Graham Greene in an earlier era) and the Derby Evening Telegraph (gave Our Man his first stab at management and designing tabloid front pages) are being axed. Who cares apart from sozzzled journos? Well, Our Man could drone on about local democracy dying, the death of good editing and so on, but he won't. Newspapers may die, but journalism won't. Our Man just wonders how many of the higher-ups will be losing their jobs? Go on, take a wild guess...

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

A proper political cartoon

Lifted from here.

Unhealthy dose of reality

Don't worry, Our Man's put his pencil away for a bit. He was going to find out what came of Aso's epic meeting with Mr O., but then got sidetracked by matters closer to home: sorting out his health insurance. Yes, Britain's highly inefficient, bureaucratic nightmare that is the National Health Service was a pain in the arse - all too literally. But here in Japan, you have to pay up front for the privelege of having doctors tell you to take a couple of aspirin. Actually, there are no GP gatekeepers here, when you are ill, you decide which specialist doc to see - all by yourself. The only problem is when you have to be hospitalised for something serious - hospitals seem to be under no obligation to accept you - if they are full, which they frequently are, sling your hook - even if it means death.

Then there's the insurance malarchy. Take your pick - lowish monthly payments (¥5,000) but they don't cover the three biggest killers - cancer, heart disease and car accidents - or choose which nasty ways to die you reckon will get you and pay a premium.

It amounts to: I bet you 50 quid that I'll snuff it this month v. the bookie's 5,000 quid that you won't. The odds get worse as you get older though.

The bookie always wins this game.

Odd picture sort of symbolic of something or other lifted from here.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Monday, 23 February 2009

Haven't I seen you someplace before?


Hey, hey looky here. Seems the latest issue of Japan Times Weekly (cover shown here) has been getting funky. Nice take on that iconic Obama poster. Wherever could they have got an idea like that from? Er, try here or  here.

Oh, found that lost link to the site in German that kindly linked to Our Man - Shitamachi - well worth a read if you can handle putting the verb in the second position all the time. If not, just look at the pictures, they're good 'uns of everyday life in Japan. 

A geisha with balls

Our Man had a lovely, but hectic weekend and enjoyed meeting up with an old friend who pointed Our Man toward Raw Japan, the stab at a blog by those nice folk at Reuters. (Question to the pros at the dead tree press and the wire services: why don't you ever have hit counters on your sites - do you have something to hide?) Our Man reckons Reuters overwrites, but hey, what does he know? They are Reuters with a capital R. Because of this (the overwriting, not the capital R) they sadly don't qualify for Our Man's oft forgotten (by himself) BLOG OF THE WEEK. Instead, that honour goes to Green-Eyed Geisha. But that's not a very political blog, you say. True, but it is written by a foreign woman (remember them?) who works in a Japanese company. She's got things to say about her lot in life (check out her latest post here (about foreign women moaning about being unable to find a foreign date in Japan) and it ain't always pretty, but is usually interesting and rarely right-on. Remember - personal is political. You go girl! Tell it like it is.

By the way, image lifted from here.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

First Abiko, then the world

In Our Man's continuing, if somewhat ambitious task, of conquering the world (wide web), he is pleased to see the gospel according to St Ourmani Nabiko is spreading, if not like an Australian wildfire, then at least like a warm breeze from Our Woman's hairdryer. Recent converts, or at least misguided folk who have taken pity on Our Man and have linked to him include:
  • Observing Japan (the Japan policy-wonk's policy wonk)
  • Shisaku (the insider's insider)
  • Global Talk21 (the formerly-insider-now-outsider's formerly-insider-now-outsider)
  • Japan. A blog. By a Penguin (like it says)
  • Japan without the Sugar (good posts, but frequently without the headlines too)
  • The Ghost Letters (written by an honest chap, but with worse spelling than OMIA agent provocateur Dr Datsun Kildare)
  • Let's Do English (please explain the difference between a particle and an article)
  • Foreign Salaryman (a very funny blog by a Swede out of water)
  • There were also a bunch of German sites that linked to Our Man, but he can't find them now, which is a crying shame because he was going to make hilarious puns referring to Kennedy's speech (you know, the Ich bin ein Abikoer one).
  • Is that the time, must go to bed.

By the way, it is a policy of Our Man's not to seek nor to accept you-link-to-me-me-link-to-you requests, and he never asks for a link, nor gives one in return. Well, he did once accept a reciprocal request when he was young and naive (two months ago), but has now removed that link. The only links that you see are ones that Our Man genuinely reads (when he has time) or links to for good reason. Well, apart from the political parties, they are just there to add some gravitas and a laugh when their words might be used against them for comic effect. 

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Putting Japan on the map

old map of Japan

It's been a while to read The Onion, America's finest news source, and purveyor of amusing T-shirts. Our Man is so long in the tooth, he remembers the print version. Anyway, they have a lovely feature on Japan running right here. Thanks to Tokyo Mango for the link that set Our Man off on an Onion posting frenzy (see Ourmani's Daily Specials for more). Who says Brits are the only ones with an overdeveloped sense of irony?

Friday, 20 February 2009

Never too soon to say I told you so

Is it too soon to say Our Man told you so? Seems like two of his Nostrodamusuvian predictions for the Obama Administration have come true - already. OK, they weren't exactly hard calls: bi-partisanship won't work out like it said on the packet (Republicans don't like working for Democrats shock) and a foreign adventure will turn into a nightmare. Eh? What foreign adventure? This one. Redeploying 17,000 troops from Iraq to Afghanistan. Give the fella a chance, it might work out just fine in the end. Our Man begs to differ.

History is against him.

The Brits at the height of the Empire failed to subdue the place, the Commies failed to do it, the Bush baby with help from NATO failed to do it, why should it be different this time? Because Mr O. promises change. Hmmm. It's nice to believe we can always forge our own path, but no respect for the past means we are forever doomed to repeat the same mistakes, proving that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Here's a little video, offered free to Our Man's keen students of history:

By the way, many thanks to Motsamai for this link here, proving that a little historical perspective and copious amounts of alcohol are not always a bad thing. Take, hic, heart Nakagawa-san.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Intercepted telegram to North Korea


Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Last dregs

Ooh, Our Man took his eye off the ball again, looks like Nakagawa did in fact finally offer to resign forthwith yesterday evening - after intense pressure from other legislators sick of the sight of him. Apologies for Our Man getting his knickers in a twist again. Our high Finance Minister was hardly gracious in his eventual fall from grace. Does this sound like the regrets of a contrite man?:

"I deeply apologize for immensely having troubled the prime minister, the people and other related parties due to my carelessness of health management."

Enough already. Our Man's tired of the whole sorry affair, and is actually beginning to almost feel sorry for the chap. Besides, Our Man may have health management issues of his own that may affect related parties (translation: he might have a beer tonight while Our Woman watches the telly).

Sober reflections on taking the piss

If only the high Finance Minister had followed the public information posters on the Tokyo underground, he wouldn't have to quit his job. Oh wait, he promised to quit his cabinet post after the budget passes, that would be sometime shortly before his party, the LDP, loses the next election and he loses his job anyway. Oh come on, don't be so heartless, Our Man, he's clearly a man with problems (requiring an awful lot of cough syrup) why kick him when he's down? Our Man likes a drop of cough syrup as much as the next guy, but then the next guy isn't jet-setting off to Rome, getting tanked up in first class, making an arse of himself, telling some cock and bull story to save his skin, then when he is found out, promising to resign when he gets round to it ALL AT THE TAXPAYERS' EXPENSE while decent folk who manage to turn up for work sober everyday are losing their jobs. Damn right, he deserves a kicking. The British have a quaint old expression that sums up his actions: He's taking the piss.

Besides, he could always get a second career flogging whisky. Here's a brand he might like.

Oh, real public information poster lifted from here.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

The definitive, 100-proof truth

Click here for the full, and interesting story, on how the drunk as a skunk story unfolded over what's his name at the Finance Ministry. Our Man joined the fray shortly after ABC broke the story, which was picked up by fuckedgaijin. Ain't journalism fun? 

More news just in...

Somebody or other once, er, famously said "all politics is local," Our Man thinks. But he or she or it might just as well have said (and maybe did say) "all journalism is local." If you are one of the odd folk like Our Man who lives in a house out in the sticks (not many do, preferring to live 9.734 minutes from the nearest commuter train station in dingy concrete flats - known as "mansions" in Japanese) then you will be familiar with the kairanban - council newsletter pouch - that makes its way round the houses once a month or so. A kindly neighbour drops it off, you then give it a cursory glance and stamp it with your family crest and pass it on to the next neighbour on the list. As you can see from the Third Reich/Hello Kitty artwork, it's very much a top-down approach to information - the council disseminates what it sees as fit for the citizenry who then dutifully register their acceptance.  Though having said that, it contains the same sort of "news" councils the world over love producing - sewing circles at the library and police advice to lock your bike. And there is great need for that advice: in the last two years, one bike was nicked in Our Man's neighbourhood. As the recession bites, will the crime rates rise (to like, two or three)? Mind you, the kairanban is still a better read than the Daily Gomiuri. Ooh, ooh, how about this link here for some real news about the black market you wouldn't find in either publication.

A blast of the truth serum

Just a quick note. Our Man had taken far too much cough medicine so was unable to post anything of much import this late in the evening, or early, depending on how your brain works. Or not. Our Man was going to write about democracy and such but his ability to think as fast as he can type has been severely impaired by that evil Australian truth serum (red variety). Any jobs going in the Finance Ministry that Our Man could do? 

Monday, 16 February 2009

You're all my bessht friendssh

Drunk? Under the influence of a cold medicine? Or just plain bored with the constant need to answer questions? You be the judge on the Japanese Finance Minister's winning entry in the George Bush Oratory Awards at the, admittedly, rather dull G-7 meetings. There sure seem to be a lot of empties on the tables:

Lifted from Fuckedgaijin here.

Our Man manages to contain himself

News photo

Can't you feel it? The excitement? You know, all about Hillary coming over for a flying visit on the way to China? "Tokyo juiced up for Clinton visit" is an actual headline in the Japan Times. A very disturbing image indeed and not one that Our Man wishes to pursue much further. Must be something to do with Japan being run by 80-year-old men. Still, nice to see that in the Skype age we can still get excited by a personal visit from the extended family. Did Our Man ever tell you about his one and only near brush with greatness? The time he was working at a local paper in Arkansas and covered Bill's speech and would have had a chance to shake the first couple's hands, but Our Man had popped out for a quick smoke? It was back to breakfast fetching, weather reports and obits for our intrepid reporter. There's more than one reason Our Man has it in for the tobacco companies.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Sunday best and worst

Here's a little high culture in a low place to lift your spirits this post-Valentine's Day. Our Man was frequenting a newly discovered haunt by the lake this afternoon - the Saizeriya "Italian" family restaurant (famed for its ¥500 lunch sets and poisonous Chinese-made pizza dough) when he happened to notice the ceilings. Yes, every bit as impressive as the Vatican's originals, Our Man is sure you'll agree. There was even that famous picture, whose name Our Man has forgotten, where God is touching fingers with man (help me out here Anon...) Our Man would have taken a picture of it too, but it was in the smoking section and he didn't fancy soaking up the nicotine with the culture. What is it with Japanese restaurants and tobacco?

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Love (of power) conquers all

Has Our Man got a treat for you? Worried that in these hard times maybe, just maybe, hate will beat love in the world? Worry not, here's a timely reminder of the power of love (or the love of power) to tie two former enemies together in a passionate embrace that can't fail to warm the coldest of hearts...

Gordon + Tony = Love

Hillary + Barack = Love

Taro + Japan = ?????

See full size image

Happy Valentine's Day, politics lovers.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Work's work, wherever you can get it

Well, here's a tough call. As Our Man in Abiko, should Our Man be happy or sad over this story of awarding a 7.5 billion-quid contract for trains to a Japanese-led consortium? Well, nice work if you can get it. The cartoon is the Grauniad's excellent Steve Bell's take on the story. Our Man says, work's work. Maybe Japan will reciprocate by keeping the Toyota lines running in Derby, where the Bombardier trains would have been made.

Incompetent? Unpopular? Show me the money

It's nice when Our Man's efforts are appreciated. The most he usually gets is an are-you-still-on-the-computer look from the mrs. So, many thanks to the frequent comment-leaver and owner of the Holden Cauldfield-esque blog The Ghost Letters, who saw fit to name Our Man's humble efforts worthy of his Blog of the Week. He made the comments that Our Man posts frequently (true), is knowledgeable about politics (not true), always has something interesting to say (hmmm, doubt it) and deserves to be widely read (you'll make him blush). Our Man's global daily readership averages a stunning 31 hits a day, which as any self-respecting blogger who knows his or her salt would say is er, what's the technical expression, oh yes, piss poor. Should Our Man throw in the towel? Change his style? Change the typeface? Learn something worthwhile to blog about? Hell no, he'll just fiddle with the stats! See, those 31 hits a day represent a 310 percent increase over three months (there were 10 hits on the first day). But Our Man can't be too careful, he might be ruling himself out of a multi-billion-dollar bailout if he is successful.

Ruffling feathers

Gosh, another day, another EXCLUSIVE for Our Man. He can EXCLUSIVELY reveal the sorry state of Abiko's once feared Dreadnought (swan vesta class) flagship. Here she is, HMS Tori-nikku at the Teganuma bridge, gateway to Abiko, looking as resplendent as ever. But wait, she's not as tough as she looks: 

She is in fact dry-docked and the remainder of the Abikan Maritime Self-Defence Force fleet is all at sea. Who will stop the North Korean infiltrators now? (go on, click on that link - the video has an added heavy metal soundtrack to add, er, drama to the video). Somebody get Hillary on the blower. 

Thursday, 12 February 2009

The dead party sketch

Hey, Japan politics watchers (and Our Man's Dad) there's a new game in town. Well, a new old blog brought back to life with its first post since October: Can an Angel save a Zombie? Yes, it's a well-written piece (OK, OK, enough brown-nosing) by a Times hack, which argues the LDP's celebrated demise is far from imminent. This party is not dead, it's only sleeping.

Do ultra-nationalists have darts nights?

So, there was Our Man yesterday in Kashiwa, Chiba, doing what every good family man does on the many national holidays Japan has, traipse around the shops following the womenfolk wondering if he shouldn't be digging a hole or hammering a nail or something, when the normal cacophony that is shopping in Japan was interrupted by an even more grating noise, yes, Our Man was privy to a mini-convoy of right wingers. Presumably they were celebrating National Foundation Day, but Our Man didn't flag them down to ask. Something about the 1940s music, black bus daubed with slogans and imperial Japanese flags said: "Not the best time to make small talk." So now, these folk would be the uyoku dantai (right wingers). According to wikipedia, there are 100,000 such folk in Japan who share three core beliefs: nationalism, hatred of communism, and hatred of the main teachers' union. Bit like Tories, then? Maybe Our Man could sign up, they probably have good darts nights. Oh, there are the other minor issues of being in bed with the yakuza, exulting the emperor and explaining away Japan's imperial past as no more than a noisy picnic that the neighbours complained about. Hmmm. You know, maybe the old LDP ain't so bad after all.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

To be continued...

Ooh, it's getting late and Our Man hasn't posted anything. Well, if the newspaper world can take a day off, don't see why Our Man can't (it is a national holiday here after all). He had a lovely time doing non-political shopping things until he was rudely interrupted by one of those black-battle-bus, praise-the-emperor-convoys in Kashiwa, a couple of stops down the Joban Line. No idea what Our Man's on about? Give Our Man an hour or two to get the kids into bed and he'll explain all - with another VIDEO EXCLUSIVE!!! Betcha can't wait, eh? 

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

News just in...

Abandon ship! There's an iceberg dead ahead (click here). Somebody get Celine Dion and a box of hankies. (Link lifted from the kind folks at Japan Probe). 

The day there was no news (again)

Should Our Man laugh or cry? See, he likes his newspaper in the morning. Yes, yes, they are terribly archaic wastes of resources and so old school, not down with the kids of the blogosphere and all that, but if Our Man can't enjoy a smoke anymore (well, it would be hypocritical, wouldn't it after this post and this one too), can't he at least enjoy the remains of a great 18th Century revolutionary institution before it goes the way of the codpiece? Anyway, yesterday there was no newspaper - anywhere in Japan. It was a newspaper holiday (Our Man kids you not - there are such things every other month or so to "give delivery staff a day off.") Fine, Our Man will just check the Google newsfeed thingy for the latest posts from the least objectionable of the English language papers in Japan, The Japan Times... that's funny. They didn't post a single thing for the whole of the newspaper holiday. Er, message to the editor: The internet doesn't need delivery boys. You just click on a button. It's almost like the papers don't want to survive, eh readers?

Think you can do better than the Fourth Estate? Make your own paper here.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Why not be friend of one's bosom with Our Man?

Our Man would have just hit the send button to share this story in Ourmani Nabiko's Daily Specials (above left), but it is just too funny not to be a main course all its own. What are you on about Our Man? This link out here  goes to show why learning English can be such a minefield for the long-suffering Japanese. How are the West's most loyal lap dogs in Asia supposed to learn passable (let alone the Queen's) English usage of "good friends" when the first suggested associated meanings are: "ace boon coon/ asshole (buttfuck) buddy friend."

Here's that dictionary entry in full: 
  • 親友
    Good Friends // ace boon coon〈米俗〉 // ace buddy〈米・黒人俗〉 // asshole [buttfuck]buddy [friend]〈米俗・卑〉 // bezzy mate〈俗〉 // bosom buddy // bosom friend // bosompal // buddy-buddy // buddyroo〈米俗〉 // buddy〈米話〉 // bud【語源】buddyの略〕 //buscar〈米俗〉 // buttfucker〈米俗・卑〉 // chum // close friend // closest friend //compadre〈米南西部〉 // confidante〔男の親友=confidant〕 // confidant(秘密や心配事などを) // crony〔悪い意味で用いることが多い〕 // cut-dub // dawg〈米黒人俗〉 //familiar // familiar friend // fast friend // fine-feathered friend // friend of one's bosom //good friend // gumbah // hail-fellow // hail-fellow-well-met // home slice〈俗〉〔【参考】homie〕 // homeskillet【直訳】家庭用フライパン〕 // inseparable friends //intimate // main man〈米俗〉 // my dearest friend // near friend // one's great friend //palsy-walsy // road dog〈米黒人俗〉 // sidekick【語源】"kick"がズボンの前ポケットを意味し、そこがスリに会わない安全な場所だったことから。〕 // special friend // warmfriend

Struttin' his stuff

Just a quick note today as Our Man's a bit busy (darn that pesky day job) but here is a site worth a perusal - Loco in Yokohama. Yeah, OK, it's an English teacher in Japan blog, but with a couple of small differences - it's by a New Yorker who is not easily impressed by big cities - and he is black. He has a few good things to say about being an Obama supporter in Japan in two parts (one here and the other here). That's it. Oh, the picture is of a Yokohama (that's a kind of chicken apparently, though our Loco is far from one of those, it has to be said).

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Oh happy day

Our Man's not the most religious of chaps. He's got about as much time for religion as he has for salesmen popping round to tell him his house needs painting (how very observant of them) or to enquire whether his kids might want English lessons (how very unobservant of them). But that's not to say Our Woman doesn't have a soft spot for spirituality. In fact, this weekend she nipped off to the local gospel church to get some uplifting music, and it got Our Man thinking... Our Local Gospel Church? Wasn't Japan supposed to be a monolithic "we're all Japanese here, hit the nail that sticks out" society unwelcoming of minorities? Well, if you check the figures (Our Man couldn't be bothered to, this being a day of rest and all) Japan comprises about 98 percent ethnic Japanese, with the rest mostly Koreans, Chinese, filipinos and a tiny proportion of "others". OK, hardly a melting pot of multiculturalism, but still, in a country of 130 million folk, that means there are about 2.6 million card-carrying non-ethnic Japanese. Quite a few of them are naturalised citizens and are able to vote here. Fancy that! Our Man senses a significant minority, that might vote for him! While he dreams of the good life living off the public purse, why not check out a Japanese lesson in how to play gospel from a nail that definitely sticks out:

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Changing more than rhetoric

Hey, want a view from the left, from Uncle Sam's red-headed stepchild? Course you do, check out this here link here for a fella preaching change on a bigger scale than Obama could imagine, or anyone this side of the big pond. Want a Japanese angle to this story? Er, you're outta luck. Try this here link to a Japan eco-blog, but Our Man fears it has more of a let's-change-the-lightbulbs approach to saving the world from catastrophe.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Even more exciting new exciting things

The more observant of you at the front of the class may have noticed a new thingy on the left above Our Man's head. It's a Blogger thingy which links to all the best stories on the web that are vaguely Japan-politics related or that just plain tickled Our Man's fancy, as chosen by Our Man's fair hand. As the even more observant may have also noticed, there's only one story in there and the fonts and what-nots clash terribly with the rest of the site's, er, style (Our Man's colour scheme is based on the original Cat in the Hat, have you noticed that, sat on the mat?) All Our Man can say is, it's a work in progress. Ultimately, it will mean no more tedious daily briefings, freeing Our Man to focus on the meat and potatoes of J-blogging: talking out his arse. As you were chaps.

Buy foreign, now damn it

Here's Our Man's bid to help Abiko's workshops' sagging order book with his BUY FOREIGN ad campaign, which he paid for with an old Lehman Brothers credit card he found in his wife's purse. This ad is featured on buses in the East Midlands. Next time someone buys a Nintendo in Nottingham, a Lexus in Leicester or a, er, Datsun in Derby, you'll know who to thank. Do you think this might help Our Man's on-again/off-again bid for Aso's job?

(OK, it's just another toy Our Man is spending his invaluable beauty sleep time on. Yes, it's the generate your own bus advert from here. Thanks to the comment-leaver on Jason's Random Thoughts for the link).

Thursday, 5 February 2009

The obligatory manga piece

Sheesh, Our Man's been blogging for OVER two months now, and hasn't mentioned manga (that's comic books to you and me, or graphic novels to the poncey). Well, he did mention 'em once but he thinks he got away with it. Call yourself a J-blogger? Er, 'spose so. So where's your obligatory manga piece waxing lyrical about how so-not-for-kids-or-geeks-who-can't-get-a-girlfriend these comic books are? OK, OK, here's one with a political, satirical side (that sounds like a Supertramp lyric):

The 1st volume of 聖おにいさん

It's all about what would happen if Jesus and Buddha came back and were roomies in Tokyo. Sounds suitably satirical, political... so go forth with Our Man's blessing to where he lifteth the pic from, right here, and get the gospel truth straight from the, er, prophet? oracle? sutra? holy horse's mouth?

Well, Our Man sure felt closer to god watching this Spinning Lady IQ test, and it helped him understand The Way Things Are Done. Perhaps you should read it while having a virtual Buddhist manga priest do his thing at Super Deformed Sutras. Or, you could just catch up on some politics - why Newsweek knows nowt about Japan in Flaccid Power and why Japan should quit worrying about whether Auntie Hillary is popping round for tea before or after her Feng Shui class - in Japan Passing?

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Party like it's 1929

Just when he thought it couldn't get worse... this here article right here dropped into Our Man's hazy consciousness care of Gen Kanai's endeavours. True, Our Man's interest was piqued by the blog's name - Naked Capitalism - but sadly it was "ironically naked" like Jamie Oliver (is he still alive?). There wasn't much in the way of erotic economists on offer, instead a stimulating - in all the wrong ways - talk about Japan being on the edge of the abyss. The line of thought, as far as Our Man could follow it (counting all his fingers and toes) is thus (DANGER - bullets approaching):

  • The economic data coming out of Japan right now is dire.
  • In fact it's double-dire with brass nobs on.
  • And even worse than that - never in the course of human history have so many lost so much in so short a time by so few.
  • And there's worse to come: The current woes are based on the rest of the world messing up from a few months back. Once the insanely inflated value of the yen starts to hit exports - the figures will get even worse.

...which means the party's over.

Our Man might need that drink from the Seven-11 now...

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Just the tonic

Here's a tipple at Our Man's nearest Seven-11 worth a second look. Do you think it's made of real Tory voters? Sure looks to be full of blue-rinse. Think Our Man should stick to the cheap Aussie and Chile red on the shelf above. Speaking of tonic, here's the latest post on western celebs from yesteryear whoring themselves for yen. OK, so it was a slow news day. Hey, how about this almost totally un-Japan related vid (but it was on a J-blogger's site, m'lud) of the late, great Bill Hicks:

To see the background, and interview with Bill's mom on Letterman, click here.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Brown is the new Blair

Turns out Our Glorious leader, Taro Aso, (pictured above sharing a joke with himself) got his Browns and his Blairs confused at the Davos conference. He kept referring to Tony Blair (the former British Prime Minister) as Tony Brown. Our Man actually feels sorry for him though, it is hard to tell the difference with the current plonker, Gordon Brown. Here's a little free advice for him: Gordon Brown is the unpopular fat one, Tony Blair is the unpopular thin one. Charlie Brown is the popular American manga character, and shouldn't be confused with either. What Our Man wants to know though is, wasn't Davos the head of the Daleks in Dr Who? If so, someone should warn Our Glorious Leaders, it could be a trap. By the way, Our Man gives humble thanks to JapanSoc for highlighting the story. Our Man missed it, as he was still busy playing with his Obamiconme toy. It's not time to put away childish things yet, is it? 

Instant satire...

Ooh, ooh, how about this one? Christmas has come early to Our Man's house as you can see. Hope Our Man doesn't break his new toy before lunchtime though... (that's a picture of Japan's man of yesteryear, Prime Minister Taro Aso, by the way. And the slogan is a clever play on words because... er, oh, never mind).

"I believe in a place called..."

Howdy there. How do ya'll like the new Obama-friendly logo? Pretty darned snazzy, Our Man thinks ya'll agree. Well, why not get your own one done with your very own mugshot and slogan too? Just pop on over to Obamiconme with your best passport size photo. Thanks to Coming Anarchy for the discovery.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Our Man could be wrong...

Here's an equation Our Man is reluctant to complete:

Democracy minus (recession plus unemployment plus years of bad press for foreigners plus intolerance plus scapegoating) = ?

And so it begins. This from the BBC on strikers upset about "British jobs" going to Italians. Our Man sympathises with the strikers, but he would be a hypocrite if he backed them, being something of a foreign worker himself. Besides, don't Italians just want to feed their families too? We're all in favour of globalisation when it means we can lecture the rest of the world on the joys of the free market, but as soon as the going gets tough it's back to NIMBYism and blame-the-foreigner. Our Man hopes more liberal attitudes prevail, because if they don't, all it takes is the above equation* with the addition of a demagogue espousing easy solutions to complex problems, as Janne in Osaka puts it, to turn the global crisis into a nightmare. Fortunate then, that there's no-one remotely charismatic in British or Japanese national politics to lead us down the road to Mugabe-ism. Yet.

*Don't worry readers, Our Man could be wrong, maths was never his strong point.