Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Just another Michael Jackson post. Nothing to see here

LDP to dump Aso, go for August poll (if they wanna win)

So will it be an August poll or a last ditch September circling of the wagons for the LDP? Will it be Aso rallying the Forces of Evil or some other joker? These are the questions that are vexing the J-pol-blogorama's brightest and best. Our Man is neither. All he can do is look out the window, practise his typing, and cover the gaps in his knowledge with the odd T-shirt and retro rock soundtrack. Besides, he can't see much now since it's after midnight Abiko Mean Time, so allow him to showcase more of his ignorance:

August is hot in Japan. Real sweat-fest hot. Who in their right mind would want to vote then? Plus the first week of August is the Bon festival, when everyone takes a week off and goes back to the rice paddies of home to visit the in-laws. If you called an election then, none of the city folks would be home. Gosh, then you'd only get the small-town wrinklies voting.

Ooooh. Now Our Man gets it. Why, small-town wrinklies are the LDP's meal ticket. But even the party faithful think Aso's a plonker.

Hey how about this - keep whipping boy Aso around for the drubbing the party will get in the Tokyo local elections next month - dump him when the LDP is slaughtered in the polls then bring in some new smiling bumbling idiot and hey presto -

low turnout + new face = LDP by a nose.

The LDP wouldn't be so cynical, would they readers?

Pic lifted from here.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Hey, this works on political bullshit too

Sure this little video was designed to combat bogus claims of the paranormal (and they are all bogus - so far), but it strikes Our Man that the tests could equally be applied to politics. Would the Iraq debacle have happened if we had applied these criteria to the WMD claims and the preposterous notion that Iraq was 45 minutes from nuking Britain? Maybe it just would have made the higher-ups work harder on an excuse for war, but that wouldn't have been a bad thing. Just remember the 10 tests the next time we are told some pol is about to generate a million new jobs, the Norks are about to invade Hawaii or the LDP has what it takes to rule Japan for another five years.
Vid lifted from here.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Death of a pop star? How about a rebirth?

Now, back to the faux tributes.

Excess of Evel

Pic lifted from here. Inspired by headline here.

At least Michael Jackson was safe from swine flu

Do you think Our Man can sit on his hands while the biggest story in the world drowns out Iran, North Korea and the new Star Trek movie on Twitter? Now, Our Man was desperate to find a local angle so he could jump on the Jacko bandwagon, but he can't. The good folk of Abiko noted his passing with little more than a "Yeah, he was a weird one."

Well, Our Man lives locally, so let him share a few well-thought-out thoughts. Those of you who are pre-pubescent girls and people with a defective music gene, stop reading now.

Still here? Right: Sure, it's bad form to have a go at the recently dead, but for chrissakes, we're not talking your dear old grandma here, we're talking Wacko Jacko, kiddie fiddler, monkey-loving freakface. Now, out of some residual sense of decency, Our Man was very restrained in his coverage yesterday, but after a proper period of mourning (one news cycle) it's time to speak candidly.

Thriller sucked. The video was rubbish. His records were shite. Sure, they made a lot of money, but so did Boney M.

Our Man could go on, but it's all said far more eloquently right here, sent in by an agent provocateuress back in Blighty who once dropped a pint of Guinness on Our Man's shoes without even pausing the conversation. One classy broad!

Friday, 26 June 2009

Michael Jackson: Abiko in mourning

(Editor's note: Headline should read: Abiko in the morning. And that's not Abiko, it's Kamakura. And that looks suspiciously like dusk, not dawn, but good enough).

Who will win the Japanese general election

The Cookie Monster is pissed

When in doubt, ask the audience. Yes, Our Man is a bit stumped, and he needs a little advice. Sure, Our Man markets himself as something of an authority on Japanese politics, but actually, as the soberer readers will appreciate, he knows veeeeeeeery little about the subject, just finds it marginally more interesting than Japanese telly. Now, Our Man confesses, this coming election will be the first in Japan that he has ever paid even the slightest attention to, so, he doesn't know what to expect. Here are some scenarios he's cobbled together from reading the first sentence or two from posts at Observing Japan every now and again and the headlines on Page 2 (the boringest one) of the Japan Times:

1. The dark side (LDP) will run screaming to the hills as the DPJ feels the force and takes over the reins of power, marking a new beginning for truth, justice and the Abikan way.
2. The DPJ will power share (bit like power walking for seniors at the mall) with the Japan Lawn Croquet Party holding the balance of power.
3. The Japan Communist Party will sneak in, opening a new era in tourism opportunities to North Korea.
4. The LDP will sneak in thanks to a) voter confusion, b) Fear of Nork attack c) opposition nincompoopery and d) Bribery on a scale not seen before.

Our Man's plumping for option 4, but what do you think, folks?

Pic lifted from here.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

T-shirt for Our Man's times

Lifted from here.

Yosano and the mother-in-law

Our Man is a day late and a dollar short - because he just read it here in the Japan Times - on the story of the finance minister Kaoru Yosano taking ¥55 million (about 350,000 quid or so) over 10 years from a trading company through a dummy firm. Allegedly. But allow Our Man to offer a few thoughts:

1. "I might pay it back, but I'm not resigning" does not sound like the protestations of an innocent man.
2. You'd think a finance minister would be a bit better at hiding his kick-backs.
3. So, not only is he corrupt, he's also incompetent.
4. What is it with finance minsters (remember the last guy, Nakagawa the Drunk?)
5. Perhaps Our Man can help. His mother-in-law is a sprightly 67, she gets by on less than ¥60,000 (about 400 quid) a month. She could do the job (she knows how to budget).
6. Oh, sorry she couldn't. She has a thing about not associating with criminals.

Facebook follies and an Ode to Aso

Our Man's never had so much information at his fingertips, so little time, and such a poor memory. He has a foggy recollection that some China human rights campaigner is proposing everyone should stop using the internet in China on July 1st for a day to protest the government's control of the internet. Talk about meaningless gesture politics, LET'S PROTEST BY DOING EXACTLY WHAT HE GOVERNMENT WOULD WANT US TO DO ANYWAY! But Our Man can't remember whether he read it in the Japan Times, saw a Tweet about it, noticed it on someone's blog, clicked on it on his RSS reader, or if it crawled out from the roach motel behind the beer empties bag. So no link, sorry. Speaking of links, how about this one. It's to Our Man's Facebook page. Eh? You've got one of them too? Well actually it's to Our Man's alter ego - Ourmani Nabiko - his mafia-connected Catholic altar boy. How do you find the time? Well, apart from having no mates, a little thing called Tweetdeck which allows Our Man to post his "best" Tweets on Facebook at the flick of a wrist. Why bother? Well, some folk are allergic to Twitter, some to YouTube, Google blogs and others to Facebook. If Our Man is going to conquer the world, he can't be limiting himself to one medium, now can he? (And two folk have already signed up to be his Facebook friends, so he ought to give 'em something).

It's not the media, baby, it's the message.

Anyway, did you tune in for a bit of Japan politics intel? Our Man has composed this little limerick (to fox the censors) based on this (getting kinda old by now) story:

There once was a prime minister of little standing,
Whose stump speeches were less than commanding.
When asked "Will you win?"
"A defeat by a close margin,"
he said, "was what the people are demanding."

So, be Ourmani's Facebook friend, and he'll stop writing poems. Maybe.

Pic lifted from here.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Social media venn diagram

Lifted from here.

Free piano wire for every politician!

Quite clearly, this chap has issues. He seems to think dangling by a hook and harness constitutes hanging. Not sure if any of Our Man's readers have the get-up-and-go required to type in his url, but fair play to him, he got Our Man to link to him and his business. But it got Our Man thinking again...

May he offer some free advice to Our Dear Leader, Taro Aso? You remember him? He's the Prime Minister. Still have yet to see his sardonically smiling hard-liquor lined mug gracing these parts. Funny that, because every other party has got its election bills posted at strategic spots (derelict buildings and rubbish collection points being a favourite).

He needs to raise his profile. Maybe if he just hanged himself, the LDP would rise in the polls? In the selfless interests of political objectivity, Our Man would like to make this generous offer:

Free piano wire for every politician.

Ask not what Our Man can do for you...

Vid lifted from here.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Conservative tossers going though a bad spell

This (from here) is too funny:

How do you spell irony?

Secret handshake to the Rev. Paperboy

Analogue blogging for a rainy day

It's rainy season here in Greater Abiko, and Our Man has run out of smart or funny things to say at this time of day/night/mid-morning, other than to note rather unoriginally that no news is good news -

Seems that the nutters running the North Korean show are intent on handing the Japanese nationalists a reason to expand the military it'll get a lot worse in Iran before it gets better Salarymen will have had their miserly summer bonuses by now.

Anyway, what's with the pic of the analogue blogger? That would be Alfred in Liberia who has taken blogging to its low-tech roots - a blackboard by a busy street. Secret handshake to agent provocateur Motsamai for the story that Our Man had been saving up for a rainy day. Check out the full, and interesting, story (and pic) lifted from here.

Monday, 22 June 2009

A little pre-dinner music

Worth watching to the end.

Lifted from here.

North Korea: New video from a different perspective

We all know North Korea, right? Well, watch this little video that an agent provocateur sent Our Man:

Where are all the starving peasants, massed ranks of synchronised swimmers and shots of stern looking Stalinists in badly fitting hats? Dunno. Must've been their day off. This little gem was crafted by the fair hand of Tessa, an academic who shot lots of video while on holiday in North Korea (hey, it takes all sorts). Oh, so it's a censor-approved-Nork-appologist piece of propoganda... actually not. Our Man was so intrigued he got off his virtual arse and did some deeply investigative investigations, probing every angle of the video. Well, actually he just sent Tessa an e-mail, and she replied. And here's what she said:

I took the footage (and a lot more that isn't included in that snippet) on two visits - one last year to Kumgangsan from South Korea, shortly before the unfortunate Ms. Pak was shot and that route was shut down, and one this year via China to Pyongyang and various other places. I was allowed to take a video camera in - visitors generally can bring video cameras. None of the filming was seriously undercover or concealed, though I guess it may not always have been obvious that the camera was rolling.

I think most of the footage would have been acceptable to the authorities had they seen it (which they didn't), except for perhaps about two or three bits (you can probably guess which ones).

Politics apart, I actually love North Korea - beautiful scenery, a very fascinating history, and some wonderful people who survive in the most extraordinarily difficult circumstances.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Joys of renting in Japan

Going green and other bad ideas

Sure he's a kind of blue collar Sting, holier than thou with a Stratocaster instead of a double bass, but Our Man has a soft spot for Bruce Springsteen. Yes, yes, he's getting on a bit and seems to enjoy those tedious right-on Rock to the Converted events that lefties seem to think will change the world. Red Wedge Rock the Vote Thrash against Thrush. Shave the bears (no really, click on it, it's real. Kinda.)

But Our Man was reminded of the let's do the right thing, as long as we don't have to actually do anything side of folk over this whole Iranian thing. Sure, Our Man has recently joined Twitter and is enjoying it. But really, changing your location to Tehran to fox the Iranian censors and making your little picture green to show your solidarity with the slightly less odious tosser who wants to be closer to the Ayatollah, well, what's the point?

Speaking of what's the point, Our Man notices that the good folk of the J-blogosphere are being wooed to write reviews of tourist spots in exchange for free travel and accommodation. Win, win situation? Nahhhh. Try as you might to write an honest review, it's hard for most folk to slag off something they got for free, so what happens is you get a slew of boring, positive coverage. Readers get bored and lose faith, writers get bored, and honest good old fashioned journalistic calling bullshit for what it is gets forgotten. Then you might as well shave your arse, teach yourself to walk backwards and call yourself a member of the mainstream media, for that is what you have become.

But you do get some lovely views.

Anyway, here's Our Man's favourite boss clip, from the glory days:

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Japan makes it to the moon. Cheese? Mochi? You make the call

Lifted from here.

Yakuza on the set, someone call the cops!

Now regular losers, er, readers will know, Our Man cares as much for TV talents (for that is how the gormless skinny things on the telly are known in Japan) as he does for manga comic books. But, here's a little tale of both to tickle your downmarket desires.

One of Our Man's Tokyo agent provocateur had just nipped off from her office for a quick lunch, when she ran into a horde of teenage girls cordoned off from a main street where none other than Katori Shingo of SMAP fame (an aging boy band, one of whose, er, members showed his arse a couple of weeks back when he got pissed in a park) was shooting a scene for The Police Box In Front Of Kameari-Park, a live-action remake of the famous manga (which Our Man had never heard of until he saw this here about 30 minutes ago) of the same name. (GET ON WITH IT - Ed.)

Anyway, there were loads of security bouncer types around to control the crowd and didn't let anyone near the talents doing their acting thing. Apart from one chap, that is. One good fella with tattoos. Yes, a yakuza hoodlum was snapping happily away with his digi-cam, parting the bouncers like Moses late for a meeting with the MD.

Now, Our Man isn't suggesting that our golden talent of the silver screen (I'm losing my patience with you - Ed) is up to his scrawny neck in underworld connections, merely that perhaps he should change his bodyguard.

Our Man hears that chap in Libya (sorry, don't know how to spell Qaddafi) has quite a unique one.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Just had to share this (again)

Sure this is old, but Our Man has just had a curry at lunch and couldn't get this out of his head. Welcome to Our Man's head:

Originally lifted many moons ago from here.

Better than Our Man? You betcha! (Sob)

You know those tosser kind of gaijin, the ones who compare Japanese language ability like it's equivalent to who can piss above head height; the ones who don't acknowledge the presence of other gaijin, in case, OMG, others might not be so impressed when they say "I'm from a suburb of Basingstoke," you know, the ones who think they are rock stars because Japanese girls giggle in their presence and say kawaii and kakuii*

Well, Our Man has a confession to make.

He kinda thought he was the only journo (ex-journo actually) blogger with a skewed take on J-politics and low boredom threshold in these here parts.

Er, guess again. A real live person told Our Man face-to-face about this site here - the Woodshed. Written by a practising hack in Japan, his blog's smarter than Our Man's, it's been going longer, it's funnier and better looking. But it is Canadian and doesn't appear to use green and red ink. The smarter ones among you may have noticed Our Man has lifted a vid from it and a widget thingy about the sponging bankers (it's down there on the right below the tedious Global Voices feed).

Anyway, Our Man reckons it's a more than worthy winner of his oft forgotten BLOG OF THE WEEK prize and heartily recommends you take a peek at it.

Just don't forget who sent ya, sob.

* Commonly translated as "cool" and "cute", these words actually mean "whaddatwat" and "wanker".

Thursday, 18 June 2009

What have the unions ever done for us?

Lifted from here.

Idiot's guide to Murakami's 1Q84

It's so tiring to be a non-conformist like everyone else, but Our Man does like a little Haruki Murakami, like the rest of the J-hip folks. Now, the blogo-whatsit and MSM are all going ape about his latest novel in two books - IQ84 - and you can read all about the lack of marketing and the sales figures and so on, and probably have already, by popping over to Raw Japan here, but if (like Our Man) your Japanese ain't up to actually reading the darn thing, here's a little non-spoiler dip into its pages, care of a writer friend of Our Man's who was laid up in hospital for a week and had enough time on her hands, and ability, to read both books, twice.

The novel is set in 1984 and has a parallel story world set in 1Q84, a world with two moons.

It features a hero who is an aspiring writer and a trademark suicidal heroine.

The novel is concerned with cults.

Our intrepid characters get stuck in the parallel fantasy world.

So far, so Murakami. But, there are no well shafts in the book.

And, despite cursory reviews that find it merely rehashes his other work, actually it does break new ground - Murakami delves seriously into family relationships for the first time.

Given away too much? Don't worry, Our Man's Japanese reader (and loads of folk on Amazon) reckons there must be a sequel to tie up the dangling plot threads.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Top 10 ways to budget for Japanese politicians

10. Give everyone a ¥12,000 bribe with their own money!
9. Sell off Japan Post properties for next to nothing to your mates.
8. Retire and give your job to your idiot son.
7. Hmmm. A hundred thousand more teachers or a couple of F-22 "Budget Busters" from the Yanks? Decisions, decisions.
6. Stiff the taxpayers by claiming disability allowances for mass mailings. Pocket the difference.
5. Free drinks bar for Finance Ministers on long-haul flights.
4. Build a couple more airports an hour's drive from anywhere.
3. Hey, how about a national manga museum?
2. Take a bullet train on the public purse to go shag your mistress. 
1. If all else fails, stuff ¥134 billion into a suitcase and bugger off to Italy.

NB - this was Our Man's humble effort for the June blog matsuri "Living on a budget in Japan." Can he collect his ¥500 book token now?

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Post-it notes from the edge

Secret handshake to Kara Casto

Number's up for Aso & Co.

Look, Our Man was only messing around when he suggested the Dark Side were ready to ditch Our Dear Leader T. Aso. But, now that looks like that could come to pass. Seems Aso's cabinet's "popularity" has sunk again to 17.5 percent, which watchers of auspicious numbers will appreciate, was the VAT (sales tax) rate in the UK before the shit hit the financial fan. The same poll found that 47.8 percent of voters were plumping for the opposition (coincidentally the same percentage of Japanese who committed suicide in 2004 who were unemployed), while the Dark Side can only muster 18.7 percent backing (coincidentally almost the exact same percentage of residents of Our Man's household who pee standing up).

Dang, gotta get rid of this bracelet thing, it's playing havoc with Our Man's logic. (And that's a picture of Legs and Co., lifted from here, not Aso and Co. - Editor. Oh and while we're at it, how many links do you need in one post, who do you think you are Observing Japan or something?)

Monday, 15 June 2009

Just lacking some Benny Hill chase music

Lifted from here.

Uri Geller flogs magic bracelet in Japan

Hey, there was Our Man minding his own business, when look what dropped into his letterbox yesterday - a kind invitation from  Uri Geller to turn Our Man's sorry life around. Wasn't Geller exposed years ago as a complete fraud? No matter, apparently all Our Man has to do is send ¥12,980 (about 100 quid) to Spoonbender-san's Swiss bank account and he will send Our Man his very own magic bracelet (comes in two sizes), then Our Man can dangle it out the window on the 11th of July at 11 minutes past 11am (presumably Abiko standard time, not at 11.11 GMT or whatever time the banks are open in Switzerland), and Lo, Our Man will receive the power of Uri Geller.

Not sure how it works? Here's a handy free poster included to show how it's done (about the size of an average Earth child):  

Still not convinced? Well, don't take Our Man's word for it, here're some testimonials from other satisfied morons, er, including Uri's dog:

Thank you! Uri Geller. Sadly, Our Woman has already spent Aso's ¥12,000 so you'll have to find some other sucker to buy your wares.

Now rot in hell, you skinny spoonbending scam artist.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Imagine if this talent were put to good use

Lifted from here.

Love of politics

Love is in the air. Not the airy fairy, romantic kind, but the strong, muscular manly kind. Yes, my fraternal J-politics watchers, we're talking BROTHERLY LOVE - Yukio and Kunio Hatoyamas'. The PM isn't loving either of the brothers right now as one quit his cabinet and the other is head of the opposition DPJ. Yes, yes, you knew that already, so what's new? Dunno, but blood is thicker than water, Confucius say. Story here.

In other issues of love, the Shanghai Gay Pride week looks to be getting the cold shoulder from local bureaucrats who unsportingly keep closing down venues for the luvees - though they can't stop the Japan Times or Our Man for that matter running gratuitous pictures of lesbians kissing (lifted from here).

And finally, what could be better than a little poetry - this by the British Poet Laureate, whose first poem has caught the zeitgeist of the public falling out of love with their pilfering pols. Here is her poem "Politics" in full (lifted from here lovely!):

How it makes of your face a stone

that aches to weep, of your heart a fist,

clenched or thumping, sweating blood, of your tongue

an iron latch with no door. How it makes of your right hand

a gauntlet, a glove-puppet of the left, of your laugh

a dry leaf blowing in the wind, of your desert island discs

hiss hiss hiss, makes of the words on your lips dice

that can throw no six. How it takes the breath

away, the piss, makes of your kiss a dropped pound coin,

makes of your promises latin, gibberish, feedback, static,

of your hair a wig, of your gait a plankwalk. How it says this –

politics – to your education education education; shouts this –

Politics! – to your health and wealth; how it roars, to your

conscience moral compass truth, POLITICS POLITICS POLITICS.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Thank God someone is awake

He's been dormant for a week, but he's back with a bang right here. The mighty MTC explains the Hatoyama resignation (so Our Man doesn't have to. Phew, don't think he could have).

Back to the silly videos folks!

Tokyo Night; or the Metropolis Down the Road

Lifted from here. (Oh, at 2.12 it livens up).

Where's Aso?; and not bad for a blind kid, huh?

In his journeys, though sadly without his camera, Our Man has spied a whole bunch of exciting posters of the J-pols, with, naturally, new ones of Hatoyama smiling, sort of, with the local DPJ (roughly translated stands for Truth, Justice and the Abikan Way) candidate; a friendly looking one of that pudgy Commie, and the New Komeito chap, looking, er, bureaucratic. But there are no new pictures of Taro Aso around. Strange. He being the Prime Minister and all. Are the LDP (Forces Of Evil) up to something here? Are they that ashamed of him? Or are they planning to ditch him before the election?*

Anyway, what's with the blind kid playing the piano? Dunno. But he's good, he won a prize and he's kinda allegorical - the misfit who came good, the wunderkind who beat the odds or er, oh dunno. But thought it was time for a little high culture. Just for a bit mind.

*Load of bollocks, just put there to shake the tree and see what falls out.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Pop psychology

Ohh, don't mean to break radio silence, but just read this rant here about the Japanese penchant for "case-by-case" rulings and why in this country, if you want to do anything vaguely fun, you are best off doing it first, and asking permission later. Enjoy.

Screw the worthy but dull experiments

Lifted from here.

Apologies to Chibi Maruko-chan and Mr Fish

Inspired by original cartoon here.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Get that Hyundai reject out of the kitchen!

Are the journo drones at the Japan Times trying to piss off Our Man? He'd managed to forget their last love-in with the futuristists when it was BACK TO THE FUTURE 2.0 with a front page pic and story just here all about those high-tech J-bots. Yes, the brave new world of sushi-making robots has dawned... er, not quite:
The M-430iA robot arm, developed by Fanuc Ltd., can't make sushi but can handle the pieces with a delicate touch.

Right. Great. Quick Master-san, get the robot arm, the restaurant's filling up, we need to handle some sushi with a delicate touch! Now!

But there's more. Another robot (let's call it Sebastian)...

...developed by Osaka-based Toyo Riki Co., boasted its prowess in cooking "okonomiyaki" — Osaka's trademark meat, vegetable and seafood pancake.

The robot, about the size of a human, skillfully uses its two arms to mix the dough, oil up a pan and flip the okonomiyaki when the time is right.

It can even communicate verbally, asking the audience questions such as whether they want mayonnaise on their okonomiyaki.

You think that's cool, Sebastian? That's nothing. Can you down a pint of Guinness in one and fart the first three notes of the national anthem?

Do that, then Our Man will admit defeat. 

Vote for the LDP because...

nakano sdf poster 001 by Made in DNA.

So, noticed this morning that despite Aso's (Our Dear Leader) protestations to not stand for amakudari - the practice of giving cushy top jobs in private industry to bureaucrats who were supposed to be watching for wrong-doing in the same companies - he was in fact lying or just writing cheques that his body politic just couldn't cash. Or something. The story is here if you care to see in black and white more evidence that money talks. Incidentally, amakudari sounds a bit like the kind of sake brewed in Okinawa which Our Man is making heavy weather of getting through (much like this post, eh readers?).

Anyway, Our Man was wondering just what the hell the LDP (Aso's gang) is going to stand for in the general election (which must be just weeks away now). For the DPJ, it's a no-brainer:

We're the party of change (ish).

For the LDP????

Pic lifted from here.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Nationalism you can get your teeth into

Lifted from here.

Norks put wrong pair behind bars

Our Man likes to poke fun. He likes to be contrary. He likes to be wrong. In short, he enjoys his freedom to f*ck up. Pity the two reporters (above) sentenced to 12 years hard labour by the Norks for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, something Our Man has been guilty of most of his life. Here's hoping their f*ck up proves to be the Norks' undoing, not theirs.

Pics lifted from here and here.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Dedicated to David Carradine

Half Japanese? Whatever. Death to all TV talents

If there's one thing Our Man can't abide, it's inane Japanese cooking shows. Well, OK, there are an awful lot of other things Our Man doesn't care for, but come the revolution, it will be the Japanese TV "talents" lined up against the Odiaba studio wall first. Death by diakon grater! Er, but Our Man digresses, oh yes, today's sermon is on tolerance and diversity. Can't we all just get along? Probably not, but here's hoping. Three things to consider (let's turn this sermon into a PowerPoint presentation):

1. We're all a minority. Our Man's old man mentioned this little nugget of truth the other day. Consider Our Man. He's a Brit (minority here). He pees standing up (minority in his household). He didn't graduate from a swanky university (minority among J-bloggers).

2. Minorities ROCK. Consider this very smart chap who wrestled with his identity as a Korean born in Japan, until he decided to say f*ck it, I am what I am, and he started using his Korean name and refused to be fingerprinted as a resident alien. That little act of rebellion opened doors and now he's a top political pundit and Todai (like Oxford or Cambridge) uni prof too.

3. The truth is out there, baby. Consider this future smart cookie, Hina, who has written a thoughtful treatise on growing up half white, half Japanese in the US. Her post is on Our Man's favourite sassy feminist blog, Rotten Little Girls, right here.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Political cartoon lovers: Whatcha doin' this Saturday?

Hey folks. A political cartoonist of some import (that means he's pretty good) is in Tokyo for a talk next Saturday. Tokyo's that big city 40 minutes by train from Abiko. That is one of his cartoons above. Anyway, if you want to see him, details here.

Secret handshake to Shane Sakata of The Nihon Sun.

C is for Commies - the Japan Communist Party

So folks, are you sitting on the edge of your seats for the great epoch-defining general election that has to be called before September is out? That was a rhetorical question (that means only smart arses are supposed to answer). Well, see, it could be epoch-defining if the DPJ (go on look 'em up in Our Man's Stylebook) win. If they don't, then the reactionary party of government, the LDP (aka the forces of evil), will continue their almost unbroken reign since the war and the pundits will then say the next election or the election-after-next will be truly epoch-making.

Er, perhaps you might like to know who else you could vote for, if you had citizenship and if you gave a shit. Well, there are the Communists. Our Man kind of likes them just for the boldfaced cheek of still calling themselves followers of such an outmoded idea that government could sort out our problems. Imagine that! Now, you may come across some well-meaning (or hate-filled propagandist) reports on the unstoppable rise of the Commies thanks to the recession and a manga cartoon book of Marx's Das Kapital (typical such report here from French TV). Let Our Man set the record straight for non-Japanese residents alarmed at Commies in Our Midst: 

The Japanese hate the Norks and nobody out of full-time education bought the damn Marx manga book.

DON'T PANIC! If the Reds were a British Party, they would be the Lib Dems - forever holier than thou, occasionally spot-on, but always benefitting when the powers that be are in the doldrums.

For American voters, think Ross Perot or possibly Michael Moore on a bad, humourless day. So, if you see propogandist vids like the one below, just remember it was from 50 years ago. Sure, the Reds don't like having the Yankee imperialists stationed in Japan, but they also aren't too keen on the emperor, so it's all square on the democracy front. Japan has moved on, and so have the Commies.

Vid lifted from Japan Probe here.

Tokyo underground (not a radical political movement)

Lifted from here.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

All part of the plan

By the way, dear blog readers, just because Our Man has gone all a-Twittering, you are still his favourites. The new baby just required a bit more attention, but now that it is up and running, you will be getting all the best stuff. You know, pointless posts like this one, pics lifted from other J-blogs and funny videos lifted from god-only-knows where. It's all part of the plan*, don't worry.

*As soon as Our Man comes up with one, he'll let you know. Pic lifted from here.

North Korea (and Our Man in Abiko) on Twitter

Our Man was in a funk last night. Not a Sly and the Family Stone kinda funk, more a workshy-wish-I-was-doing-something-else kinda funk. So he imagineered a solution (do tossers really say such things or is that sooo 90s now?) Why not get down with the kids and join the Twitter community? (er, because it's a massive waste of time, and who in their right mind is interested in what Our Man is doing right now anyway? Actually, he is drinking a Santory Malts if you must know). Well anyway, despite not really understanding what it is and how to do it, he's jumped head first into the molasses. You can follow his fascinating musings in 140 letters or less on Twitter here and there is now a slightly delayed update to this high-tech haiku on the right-hand column under the readers' comments.

Anyway, to mark this auspicious occasion, here is a random roundup of what other folk are saying on Twitter about the issue of the day: North Korea. Take it away Twitterers...

Al Gore, CurrentTV Chair May Go to North Korea to Help US Reporters - yes, we were waiting for this, go and go quick!!!

north korea needs to stop being so rude

I'm certain the United Nations and Hillary have North Korea's Kim just worried sick

Vigils Held for US Reporters on Trial

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha looking at north korea through google map?! u r seriously random but i still love u haha

Wondering why they are sending Al Gore to North Korea for negotiations. Isn't that Carter or B. Clinton's realm?

Can we send Rush to North Korea, it may be a good home for him

North Korea's Coat of Arms has a hydro electric power plant in it. Now how awesome is that?

One thing that will stop rocket to Alaska?? Threaten to deport Palin to North Korea.

By the way, the earliest Twitter post (Tweet?) about the trial of the two reporters was five days ago. First Our Man heard about it was yesterday in the Japan Times. Maybe there is something to this Twitter thing, eh readers?

Pic lifted from here.

How to survive economic collapse

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Ask a Correspondent - Economic Collapse
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

Lifted from here.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Deja swine vu

Is it time to bunker down again? There are nasty rumours (spreading like a virus) that one person has caught swine flu in Abiko. As a result, the city hall loudspeakers have been blaring warnings, though what we should do, Our Man is not sure, though he could have sworn the loudspeakers said "drop the wieners".

Ho hum. Hope we all can get a week off this time... 

Democratic Party of Japan goes prime time. Kind of.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

If Our Man were a woman, 20 years younger and a cartoon...

Lifted from here.

Another inbred in charge? Yes We Kim (gedddittt?)

What did Our Man achieve today? This absurd question would be posed daily by the publisher of Our Man's first newspaper -the Log Cabin Democrat. The publisher had one of those mock-aristo names that bizarrely Americans (who fought a war against having to follow the diktats of some effete inbred) are fond of - Frank E. Robbins III. He had a daughter and no son, so the world was spared a fourth reincarnation of the name. Anyway, Our Man has achieved enlightenment today with the realisation that the mantra Same Shit, Different Day can be applied through the ages. Eh? The perpetual circle of bollocks can continue unbroken -

Not only will the next prime minister of Japan (be it Aso or Hatoyama) be the grandson of a former prime minister, but so too will the probable next leader of those anti-imperialist Norks - Kim Jong un. And in the UK, we have Hilary Benn, a fourth generation pol who looks to be rising up the ranks of the soon to be decimated Labour Party. They've got so much in common, we could sit them at the same table at a wedding party. Actually not, Our Mr Benn is the only one of the elective majesties who has never fiddled his expenses, made money from slave labour or had a patriotic song penned for him. Yet.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Japanese food nationalism, or something

Let's show those Commies how we do it here

Our Man does enjoy a bit of contraryism. How about this from the home of neoconism in Japan. Not quite sure what Ampontan's argument is on what to do with the Norks (the best suggestion Our Man has heard was from a medical doctor who prescribed sewing prawns in their curtains when they are not looking), but he did enjoy A-man's rant against those pinko free-thinkin' journos. Yeah, those asswipes, exercising their freedom to be contrary!

Enforce conformity, that'll show the Norks we're superior to their Stalinist state, eh readers?

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Hitler, Brown... Aso?

Secret handshake to Dr Datsun Kildare (lifted from here).

Top 10 useless searches that linked here

Our Man is all Norked out, you'll be relieved to hear. So, instead of incisive political incisiveness about places he's never been, er, here's a list (by date) of the Top 10 Honest to God Recent Google Searches that Folk have Entered to find Our Man in Abiko:

10. Asian geisha balls (Location unknown, March 25th)
9. Norks from Bucharest, Romania (March 30)

8. Ten top tips to keep fit (Scarborough Sixth Form College,  March 25)

7. Ozawa Japanese Onion (USA, April 1st)

6. EFL sex Tokyo (Dublin, April 15)

5. Yawn booze (Noisy-le-Sec, France, April 21)

4. TEFL codswallop (Prague, April 22)

3. facts about nice weather (NY, NY, April 25)

2. Tony Blair feng shui (Yokohama, April 26)

and tied for first place (Our Man couldn't pick between them)

1. Polite ways to say shit or get off the pot (USA, May 21)
1. Bus timing for today from omia to narita (Kashiwa, Chiba June 1st).

That is all. Back to the bunker everyone.

Sexist Japanese Ad? Dunno, it's funny though

Monday, 1 June 2009

Korea: Like a candle in the wind

So, continuing the Our-Man-Solves-the-Korea-Question-Series - he has just remembered that apparently there are two Koreas - one, an unstable military-dominated state led by a clique of loons and an unstable military-dominated state led by a clique of loons on the other. Clear? Well now, Our Man understands that the higher ups in the US who worry about such things are really worried this time because the clique of loons in the South (henceforth to be referred to as The Goodies) are worried about what to do about the mass hysteria surrounding the death of the last leader who jumped off a cliff rather than face uncomfortable questions about where he got his money from. Allow Our Man to offer some free advice: Don't worry about it!

  • Sure, 500,000 folk attended his funeral
  • Sure, everybody reckons it was a conspiracy by the powers that be
  • Sure, everybody can hardly think of anything else (including immanent Nork attack...)

But, the same was true of the mass hysteria surrounding Princess Di's death. Did it change anything? Nope. Hanky sales went up for a while, but Charlie's still in line to the throne and shagging his mistress.

Our Man just prays that Elton John doesn't re-release Candle in the Wind. Dear God, no!

Tokyo from the air (you're not in Abiko anymore)

Lifted from here.