Monday, 31 August 2009

Japan Election: The morning after

Phew, that was fun.

Our Man wants to set the record straight(ish), in the heat of the Election Night, he got some of his numbers wrong. here are the correct ones, for those who care about such things:

Democratic Party of Japan (good guys) 308
Liberal Democratic Party (bad guys) 119
New Komeito (bad guys Lite) 21
Commies: 9
SDP: 7
People's New Party: 3
New Party Nippon: 1
Japan Renaissance Party (no, really): 0
Your Party: 5
Small Parties(?? That's what it says at Kyodo, sorry): 1
Independents: 6

Oh, turnout 69 percent, up a little on 2005.

Meaning: Forces of evil: 140 vs United Federation of Good Planets: 340.

Clear? No? Check out here for more betterer coverage. Our Man needs to lie down again. And, yes, you can still vote over there on the left.

Japan election: What it all means (Errr...)

Had a great time watching the Japanese general election, even though the result seemed foregone about 15 minutes into Our Man's shift. BTW, many thanks to the good folks at TransPacific Radio who live-video-streamed throughout the night, giving plenty of tips that Our Man could pass off as his own on the Twitter feed (above). Likewise, a secret handshake to Kyodo News. They may be old school, but they rocked. Likewise, all the folk who stopped by and left a cryptic comment or two. So what does it all mean?

1. The Liberal Democratic Party lost, and lost big time. They never lose. Well, once in 50 years, Until now. (131 seats out of 480 as of Our Man's bedtime)
2. The Democratic Party of Japan won big time, and they never win. Well they did yesterday. (329 seats)
3. Say sayonara to massive, pointless construction projects.
4. Say konichiwa to small-time pointless payouts to We the People.
5. Japan politics has finally entered a post 1960s existence.

Beyond that, Our Man doesn't know what it all means tonight.

Footballers are fond of saying you can only beat the team you are up against, well the good folks of Greater Abiko did that. They may not be big fans of the DPJ, but they were the only team on the field worthy of support, and what a stunning first half they played!

Now for the difficult second half - running the game.

Japan Election: Proportional representation never looked so good




Rejoice! Kumiko Hayakawa (pictured with friends) may well have lost her race, but fear not thanks to the Buddha of proportional representation, she should be sitting pretty in parliament. And here she is again:



Secret handshake to Soma.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Japan Election: Koike's History

What a shame, LDP's Yuriko Koike is Kaput -


Japan Election: Key figures to watch

480 - the total number of seats in the Lower House.
241- majority to run the show
373 - A magic number - if DPJ got this, they would have two-thirds of all seats in both houses, meaning they could do what the hell they want - staying up late every night!!

Another key figure to watch:



Gratuitous shots of DPJ candidate Kumiko Hayakawa, but hey, Our Man's not here just to inform.

Japanese Election: Watch it here (sort of) live, baby live!



For all of you, like Our Man, with a vague interest in politics and/or a vague interest in Japan - tonight's the night! Yes, it's the big election hoo hah. Our Man will be LIVE BLOGGING and Tweeting like a twat from 9pm or so Abiko Standard Time (1pm London, 8am NY).

So, follow him on Twitter here, or just pop back here and you can see all the Tweets above.

Or go watch the telly or something. By the way, the pic is presumably Google Japan's homage to the democratic process, and not , as Our Man first thought, a pervy peep show.

Japanese Election: Five politicians we'd love to win

Your opponent is an aging Liberal Democratic Party bigwig; he has been returned to parliament for as long as anyone can remember, and has connections and name recognition coming out the wazoo. How do you beat him (and they are always a him)?

Run a complete beginner against him who looks like this:


or like these:



Yep, the opposition Democratic Party of Japan has a secret weapon. Women. And good looking ones at that.

Whatever will they think of next, eh readers?

Pics lifted from here.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

LDP's last hope: A kamikaze attack (it could happen)

kamikaze girls.jpg

Seems the news keeps getting worse for the incumbent LDP. If they thought their "October surprise" of SMAP calling for impressionable 30-somethings to vote for the powers that be (may Our Man state once more for the record what complete tossers SMAP are) was going to rescue them, they didn't account for the masses of folk who have already voted. As Global Talk 21 points out here, the numbers of ballots already cast is pretty staggering - a record 10 million folk - about 10 percent of the electorate - which spells bad news for the LDP who would want a low turnout to limit their losses. Our Man can vouch that he has heard of queues at Abiko City Hall where absentee ballots could be cast all this week - something previously unheard of.

But if you are a closet LDP-backer (what the hell are you doing here, haven't you been paying attention?) you could hope that a divine wind (the fabled kamikaze) saves the higher-ups. This actually may be the LDP's best bet - a typhoon has been forecast to hit sometime in the next 24 hours.

Wait a minute though, remind Our Man, does bad weather benefit the incumbents or challengers?

Pic lifted from here.

Why Our Man hates boy bands part 327

Another reason to hate aging boy band SMAP - they want us to vote LDP!

Japanese Election Coverage: Right here, LIVE! all night (possibly)

Just what exactly is Our Man going to do for you fine people gagging for up-to-the-second updates on the Japanese election (on Sunday, remember?)

True to form, he's only just started thinking about it, but here are some possibilities:

1. Set the Sumometer on autopilot and take the night off.
2. Re-direct all readers to TransPacific Radio for their all-night podcast streaming video thing and take the night off.
3. Just take the night off, go to bed early and read about the election in the afternoon papers like any sane person.
4. Tweet throughout the night with updates as the LDP bigwigs fall by the wayside.

Well, Our Man can't find the sumometer, thinks streaming video is probably illegal in 48 states, and is allergic to going to bed early, so it looks like it will be option 4 folks, though Our Man reserves the right to take the night off at any time.

The fun will start after Our Man gets the kids to bed, about 9pm Abiko Standard Time (1pm London, 8am NY) , or shortly thereafter.

BTW, talk about political commercials most likely to end your campaign, this takes the biscuit (secret handshake to TransPacific Radio):



Moral of the story? Always carry cash.

How to enjoy election night in Japan on Sunday

It's all right here, honest.

Secret handshake to Japan Probe.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Five Japanese politicians we'd all love to see booted out


5. Yoshiro Mori, 72-ish, ex-PM: "The DPJ must believe anyone is fine. That's why it put up a candidate who says nothing and only waves her hand," he said, referring to his 33-year-old rival, Mieko Tanaka. "We'd all be better off if that's all you did, you pompous prick," Our Man said.

4. Yasuo Fukuda, 72-ish, another ex-PM - this one wimpier than most, up against TV reporter Yukiko Miyake, 44. An official in his camp said, "He is truly desperate. It would be miserable for a former prime minister to be defeated by a novice candidate who is a complete stranger (to this constituency)." "Miserable? It would be fuckin' magic," Our Man said.

3. Kaoru Yosano, 72-ish, the pocket-lining new Finance Minister who replaced...


2. Shoichi "you're-my-beshhht-mate-you-arrrrre" Nakagawa, you remember, he got pissed up at a G7 press conference and wandered off and sat on a statue in the Vatican (actually, Our Man has a soft spot for him).

1. Taro "Mr Charisma" Aso, current PM, descended from a long line of tossers, blessed with the ability to simultaneously insult the electorate accidentally and intentionally.

Ahhh, Our Man can dream...

Pic of Nakagawa the Drunk lifted from here.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Japan - a warning: Don't let the sensible parties in

Hey, what with the big election (you know, in Japan, on Sunday?) Our Man is running out of time (and patience) with his opinion poll thing up there on the left now. Our Man reserves the right to yank it arbitrarily when he feels like it (he's talking about the poll, Doc, the POLL) so if you want to vote for your favourite, or yourself or the bloke who used to run Nova, do it now. (You can vote as many times as you like, which possibly explains why the misspelt Offical Monster Raving Looney Party (UK) is in the lead).

Come on you Happies!

More reasons to subscribe to the Japan Times... er...

Remember this (from here)?:


Well, true to form the Japan Times has now covered the story in today's paper. That would be FOUR days after Our Man - and he doesn't even have a staff, just a link to Japan Probe.

Well done the press, at least you got it in the paper before deadline - BTW newshounds, the election is on Sunday, don't forget.

BTW II: Japan probe is carrying this stunning piece of political advertising for the LDP starring everyone's least favourite PM. No wonder they are losing. (Reproduced here for those who can't wait a week to find out the campaign news):

Japanese General Election: Clock is ticking to LDP oblivion

Fans of countdown clocks will be delighted to see one on this blog, just to the right. Yep, even Our (professionally cynical) Man in Abiko has allowed himself to be swept along with the euphoria abroad in the country, that, actually, really, in fact, the institutionally corrupt, morally bankrupt, machine-politics-as-usual cronies who run Japan are gonna be thrown out on their arses this Sunday. Not only are the media predicting a landslide for the DPJ, but real live folk who can actually vote and everything have told Our Man the LDP is toast.

But don't take Our Man's word for it, check out this summary of the scene by Al Jazeera (lifted from here):



Sure, the current lot will be replaced with earnest pols who will turn out to be cut from the same cloth, but until then, let's enjoy the moment. Ooh, which big time tossers will lose their seats first?

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Power to the people (if they fill out the relevant forms in triplicate)

Master Harris, the go-to-guy for all things to do with the DPJ (the opposition good guys who are about to end 50 years of one-party rule in Japan on Sunday, remember?) makes the argument here that the pragmatists are the true revolutionaries - it's all very well declaring war on the bureaucrats, you still need some of the pencil pushers around to get anything done.

Maybe so, but then you find yourself in a Blairite mishmash - the rhetoric sounds fresh, but the song remains the same and you end up wondering a couple of months later, what was all the fuss about?

Still, Japan deserves its (brief) moment of belief that something of substance will change.

How the other half lives



Sure the folk ain't walking backwards, but keep watching, there's a great little song in there (but what else would you expect from JJ of Fatblueman fame?).

LDP: "Vote for us, you losers, or else the other guys are gonna win"


Stay calm, there are only five days left of campaigning till the bums in charge of Japan are thrown out on their Aso's - yes the Big Election's real soon. Everyone who is anyone has decided the Liberal Democratic Party's bouncy castle is so certain to deflate on Sunday that the only sport to be had is guessing which of the Democratic Party's asses get their tails pinned to Cabinet seats. But Our Man says, there's still life in this old nags' race yet. Why, just look at how well the Prime Minister and pals are doing wooing the punters:

Aso puts foot in mouth with 'If you don't have money, better not get married' gaffe

Is this the LDP's double bluff game plan - slag off voters and talk up the opposition?

Brilliant.

Pic lifted from here.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Perils of adding your boss as a Facebook friend



Lifted from here. Speaking of Facebook perils, check out this eye-opener about those stupid Facebook quizzes (in the form of a stupid Facebook quiz). Secret handshake to Hiroko Tabuchi.

It's not a popularity contest (but Our Man won)



Our Man is all choked up. His latest video has amassed more than a thousand hits. But he couldn't have done it without you. In fact, his success is really your success. For all the little folk growing up in the Abiko's all over the world, those who never stopped believing that walking backwards was their route out of the ghetto; for the children in school whose teachers told them their thinking was backwards; but most of all, for those accused of getting everything arse-about-face,

This is for you.

Anyone know where he can pick up his bag of cash from now?

Monday, 24 August 2009

Backwards Japan - the proof

Using the latest in CGI computer motion technology only available here in Abiko, Japan, may Our Man present REWOUND:



OK, OK, it wasn't super-high tech equipment, Our Man just paid off 20,000 passing Japanese to walk backwards. Pretty nifty huh? Some notes:

All the footage (meterage?) was shot over the last 10 days or so.
In a great leap forward for Our Man's movie-making, it stars a real live person - Our Man's Little Sister, over here on a visit.
There may be a bloopers (Forwards Fails?) vid if Our Man has some spare time next weekend.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Two parties in one day? Too stressful in Japan

Another reason not to subscribe to a newspaper, you can find Philip Brasor's Japan Times Media Mix columns on the net. Here's his latest. There, he argues a DPJ victory is important, not for the unrealistic policies they are promising, but because it will usher in a two-party system.

Our Man would have agreed a few months ago, but these days he thinks 50-odd years of one-party politics is a habit too hard for Japan to break. Watch for plenty of defections from the LDP and a renaming of the new mishmash party, and hey presto you have the one party state maintained, just with a "different" party in charge (though with many of the same old faces). Hopefully, Our Man is wrong on this as he is on so many things. But if not, think of the fun we can have thinking up a new name for the party. Suggestions on a postcard please.

BTW, there are some (rather good) attack cartoon ads from the LDP. See them here, or wait for them to make the TV news tomorrow or the Japan Times sometime next week.

Creationism and evolution - the rules

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Backwards is the new forwards, Japan!

Our Woman joins the struggle against LDP tyranny



Our Man is well aware that every man and his dog have been calling the election on August 30th for the opposition Democratic Party of Japan. He still will believe it when he sees it, but he's more inclined to have faith - Our Woman in Abiko got her postcard the other day telling her where to do her duty, and blow me if she didn't say she was going to vote (something she hasn't done since, er, EVER) and to top it all, she was going to put her mark by the DPJ candidate's name. Why? "Sick of the current lot".

Here! Here!

Certainly the incumbents have been playing a poor game so far - getting their buddies in the press to push happy clappy stories about the economy and keeping Taro Aso (the PM remember?) out the public glare, just isn't enough. Sure hope the party coffers can stretch to some more nationwide bribery like their ¥12,000 ruse. Trouble is, this time round, the price has gone up. Hey Taro, buy the missus a car, and she might consider voting for you.

Meanwhile, back in Shibuya, there's a chap giving the Happiness Realization Party a run for our money. Story here.

Pic lifted from here.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Nice little ditty about Facebook



Lifted from an Ourmani Facebook friend.

Japanese General Election - meet the caricatures

So, the Japanese General Election is on August 30th. Well, Our Man doesn't have the patience to figure out the numbers and such for who's gonna win (if you want that kind of thing, try this here post at the Mutant Travel Frog thing, which sure has lots of convincing figures and such).

Did Our Man mention he's back from his hols? He actually had a lovely time despite not making it to the summit of Fuji. He read loads, played with the kids, shot some vid for his next blockbuster, and drank a little too, and as light relief, he snapped these fine fellows who are vying to represent Mount Fuji in the Japanese parliament:


Now, of course Our Man would never dream of reducing the Democratic Process to a caricature, BUT... when your choice is between Porky Pig, Old Mother Hubbard, Jean Luc Picard and Donny Osmond's half brother, what choice does Our Man have, people?

Thursday, 20 August 2009

More sterling journalism from the Daily Yomiuri


Well, made it back from Mount Fuji in one piece. Almost made it to the top (just before level 8) before Our Man realised if he kept going, a) his trainers wouldn't hold out much longer, b) he'd miss the bus back to his hotel c) If he missed the bus, he'd miss supper with the family back at base camp - a swanky Italian restaurant. He'd like to do a MacArthur and vow I will return, but he doesn't fancy doing battle with the waves of tourist groups going up the beaten track, all dressed in the proper gear, plus touristy Fuji Climbing Stick (¥1,200), so he probably won't return, if he can help it thank you very much.

Anyway, Our Man had the misfortune to have five minutes spare and read this in the Daily Gomiuri and was instantly reminded how glad he was he doesn't work there anymore:

Prime Minister Taro Aso, who also serves as president of the Liberal Democratic Party, chose Obihiro, Hokkaido, to begin his campaigning Wednesday.

Obihiro is located in the electoral district of Shoichi Nakagawa, a close friend of Aso's who served as the finance minister and state minister in charge of financial services in the Aso Cabinet. Nakagawa resigned from his post in February to take responsibility for causing controversy by slurring his words, appearing to be dazed and dozing off during a press conference held after a Group of Seven finance ministers and central bank governors' meeting in Rome. Nakagawa is now facing a tough campaign.

Slurring his words, appearing to be dazed and dozing off????? The man was pissed as a fart, as any cursory glance at the video record will show (oh, naturally YouTube has pulled the evidence from its vaults, wimps, but they missed this one here, tee hee). Way to go Daily Yom, talk about calling a spade a digging implement used to sift earth, eh readers?

Pic taken by Our Man of the highest point he got to before beating a hasty retreat for antipasta.

Methinks thou doth protesteth too much


Lifted from here.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Speaking of squirrels...



Yeah, it may be a rip-off, but it's still funny. Lifted from here.

Japan summer reading for survivors

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

As you read this, Our Man is either:

a) Getting rescued on the slopes of Mount Fuji after losing one of his mountain flip flops.
b) Being drowned in spray from his daughters' backstroke swimming demonstration.
c) Supping a white wine while reading one of his new books.

Here's hoping for option c) because Our Man picked up a couple of good un's the other day for his jolly holidays -

Alex Kerr's Dogs and Demons (all about how Japan has been sold down the river by the pols), Tokyo Underworld by Robert Whiting (all about Da Yakuza and such) and What I talk about when I talk about running by Haruki Murakami (all about, er, like it says).

Book reports may follow, if he makes it back alive.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

For every door that closes...



Lifted from here.

Top 10 tourist things to do in Japan. Or not.



Our Man knows the posts have been a bit thin lately, sorry. Well, actually, he's not at all sorry, he's been having a fun time with his Little Sister visiting from the motherland, so he's been busy inductifying her into the Way of the Gaijin in Japan. That has included trips to Onjuku to gawp at the topless mermaids of yesteryear, to Asakusa to gawp at the tourist nick nacks, and Shibuya to gawp at the young fashion victims and geeky gaijin gawping at the young fashion victims.

What's left to do, to do Japan? Well, the budget doesn't spring to a trip to Kyoto, so instead it's three days at the foot of Mount Fuji next to a big ol' lake. If that ain't tourist, Japan, don't know what is, mothafukka.

Anyway, so Our Man will be away from a computer for three whole days (he's sure you are as relieved as he is), so the Japanese General Election and official campaigning starting and all that will just have to jolly well wait until he gets back, but he does intend to name his election campaign team shortly...

He has set the blog to autopilot, so there still will be posts hitting the place at strategic intervals, it's just that there's nobody here to check your comments and what-not, so be nice, OK?, and remember to vote twice a day in the poll above. And you can keep anything left in the fridge.

Hey, what are your top 10 favourite touristy things in Japan???? Joking, Our Man couldn't give a rat's ass.

Pic lifted from here.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Yasukuni Shrine - no nuts this year

Apparently, everyone's doing it, so here's Our Man's contribution to the crasher squirrel genre:



(This would of course be about the annual should-we-or-shouldn't-we-piss-off-China at the Yasukuni Shrine thing). Seems everyone figured Japan needs China buying Japanese cameras more than ever, so only the Minister for Interior Decorating and Do it Yourself Furniture (excluding Flatpacks) attended this year.

Make your own crasher squirrel here.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Politicians' hair. The TRUTH

The Rev. Paperboy gives as good as he gets. His sermons are a bit preachy though:

Happiness Realization Party gets another light roasting




Our Man just doesn't get it. If you get the chance to interview the Head Loon, or Wife of Head Loon, to use her correct title, why pussyfoot around with polite questions about how the Happiness Realization Party offers a "third alternative" to Japanese voters, and has a stunning policy to launch a pre-emptive strike against Kim Jong Il before he snuffs it? If Our Man had been working for the Daily Telegraph that day, these questions would be at the top of his list:

1. So, how's the goal of rearming Japan to take over Asia playing in Beijing and Seoul?
2. When your husband interviewed Obama's guardian spirit last November, did he check his birth certificate?
3. Do you cut Master Okawa's hair, or does he go to the guy that does all the mormons?

Just curious like, because the mainstream media is doing such a crap job of its primary task of explaining important stuff to stupid people, thought Our Man would help out. Oh, pic of Master Okawa's posters, which have replaced all the ones of his missus in Abiko. Buddha moves in mysterious ways, eh readers?

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Six party talks on Korea? It's all here, baby

All hail the Topless Warrior Lobster Princess of Onjuku

So, been off for a bit. Our Man was in Onjuku these past couple of days. You might not have heard of the place. It's kind of Abiko-by-the-Sea, your Atlantic City to New York, or Skegness to Derby, if you will. Filled with Japanese surfer dudes (the closest to scroats* Japan gets) it's a pleasant enough place with a nice beach. Actually, Our Man knows more about it than Wikipedia (although they know more about its population density than Our Man). For one thing, Our Man saw more DPJ posters than LDP (although the fella with his hands out to receive a bung for New Komeito was all over the place). But who wants to see boring old posters of boring old pols? Not Our Man when he's on holiday. And certainly not when posters like this are all over the place:



This would be the Topless Warrior Lobster Princess who ruled Chiba in the late Monochome Period. So much more charismatic than our current catch, eh readers?

* Not sure how to spell this tasty bit of Northern English slang, but it rhymes with oats and means, well, how you say - an urban redneck?

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

TV news: more of the ugly truth



Aaah, the beautiful people. Lifted from here.

How to smuggle cheese by Our Little Sister in Abiko


Posts might get a bit sporadic and lightweight round here (so, same as usual then, huh?) because Our Man's Little Sister is visiting from Blighty and Our Man has to prioritize, OK? So, forget the super important thing (you know, the Japanese General Election on August 30th, remember?) it's time to impart some imported wisdom from Our Lil Sis in Abiko. Duck, bullets incoming:

1. When smuggling in Red Leicester and Davidstow Cheddar, wrapping the blocks in foil ("to fool the cheese dogs") tends to get them flagged up on the Heathrow anti-bomb x-ray machines.
2. There are more classes in All Nippon Airways than the Indian caste system. While staring blankly at the various lines at the check-in counter, Our Lil Sis was shunted into the queue for the "Premier Economy", distinct from the Economy, Business, Premier Business, Premium Business and First Class, and really really Top Class First Class.
3. Being bumped up to Premier Economy (for no apparent reason) means you get an uncomfortably large seat, slippers, a curtain to separate you from the untouchables in economy and your choice of fish or chicken is presented to you on a La-di-da menu.
4. Being told incessantly in two languages the bleeding obvious - to fasten your seat belt - is not conducive to sleep.
5. When told to show your bag of toiletries in a clear plastic bag (this prevents terrorism), do not mistakenly show your bag of sanitary towels (this does not prevent terrorism).

That is all, for now. Cheese pic lifted from here.

Monday, 10 August 2009

News is an ugly business

Happiness Realization Party projected to win Japanese General Election

Rejoice, democracy lives! Yes, a quick snap-shot of the ballots so far, after only six days since Our Man's virtual polling station (up above this post) opened, and Oooh La La, we've got these exciting numbers to crunch:


If, like Our Man you can't read these numbers, because they are too small, let him demonstrate what it would mean if the Japanese Election were held tomorrow and if the results of the three people who bothered to click on their favourite candidates several times were repeated nationwide - with the aid of the Sumometer (patent pending) and a passing child:

(Notes: Taro Aso (LDP) is in purple, Harry Hatoyama (DPJ) is in blue, Keith Richards in leopard skin, and His Guruship Lord Buddha (Happiness Realization Party) in green)

video

The winner is Lord Buddha!

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Why does Our Man subscribe to the Japan Times?

More reasons to subscribe to the Japan Times!

1. We learn today that an ex-minister has started his own party called "Party for Everyone". Ironic really, because there are only three members.
2. This rather good cartoon by Roger Dahl:


One reason not to:
You can read 'em free on the Net. Double Doohhhh!

Rules to live by

The Rev. Paperboy expounds upon the virtues of women named after months, and followers of state pride:

Saturday night in Abiko stream of consciousness

Sotomayor, CNN, dozy chick, Lost, Jack Bauer, regimented dancing, fan, Chile wine, PIZZA-LA, nothing on the box, Sting's
getting old, Cold Play video, U2 Hello, Hello, I remember Las Vegas, Korean movie with Japanese subtitles is hard to follow. Ice?

Saturday, 8 August 2009

How to spend two weeks

Can hardly believe it. Our Man, good hard-working member of Japan Inc. that he is, actually has time off work for good (or at least average) behaviour. Two weeks off - from tonight. What shall he do? This video springs to mind, though the ladies in his household have other ideas for doing something more productive. As usual. Ho hum.

Scooby Doo and what he teaches us about Japanese politics

scooby-doo-tv-01.jpg

Our Man has finally figured out how it all works, with the help of a cartoon dog and his hippy pals. Here goes:

The Japanese Economy is the Haunted Fairground.
The DPJ are the Disgruntled Janitor.
The LDP are the fairground operators who are in danger of losing their livelihood, if the public learns of the ghoul running around.
Cue Velma (the electorate) who will unmask the ghoul to reveal none other than the Disgruntled Janitor!
But in a further twist, Shaggy (Our Man in Abiko) bumps into the janitor and beneath that mask is the face of Taro Aso!

The moral of the story: Whoever loses the election, the Government will still win. They always get away with it too, despite us meddling kids!

Picture lifted from here, a literal-minded linguist's dream.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Hiroshima mayor is sooo 2008

Nice sentiments, mayor, but, er, do we really have to say Obamajority?

We don't, do we.

Free shit? Hey, you get what you pay for



Hands up who has been reciting the mantra "everything is free on the Net." Well it ain't, or at least it comes at a price. What are you on about, Our Man? Lemme enlighten you, in a Noam Chomskyesque way:

Our Man subscribed happily the other day to his new favourite source of funny vids - Everything is Terrible. One of the vids they featured was the absurdly hilarious one of a clapped-out hands-on yogi farmer with a bloke in a Rastafarian cockerel outfit teaching kids yoga positions, which Our Man linked to here. Now, it looks as though not only has the yogi got no sense of humour (getting YouTube to pull the video, no doubt citing dubious copyright infringement claims, which translates as me don't like people laughing at me, me want my ball back!), but neither has YouTube, yanking all Everything is Terrible's videos from its vaults. Talk about pneumatic drills to crack a nut. But anyway, the episode should serve as a gentle reminder:

The advertiser pays the bills. YouTube wants the advertising buck. YouTube will happily side with the tossers of this world and pull the plug on anything the tossers deem not their cup of tea. How long before Our Man is blacklisted by YouTube?

Can't be long, huh readers? Hey aren't YouTube and Google bum chums? And Blogger is a Google platform. And Our Man is on Blogger... Gulp!

For the background on the YouTube blacklist see here, and checkout the comments. Dolphin drama lifted from here.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Hiroshima



August 6th means one thing in Japan. Hiroshima. It's easy to be cynical as a Westerner. We grow up knowing that the A-bomb saved millions of Allied lives; it ended the war; the Japs deserved it - look how they treated POWs. Watch the History Channel, and you see the mushroom cloud rising and think "awesome" or "job done" or "it happened a long time ago, far away." Look at the picture above in the Abiko library, Our Man doesn't see someone far away, long ago.

He sees his neighbour.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

But what if they don't want to go back with Bill Clinton?



Tee hee by Peter Broelman. Lifted from right here.

God Bless America (remember to breathe)



Lifted from here.

Tweet = street, gedddittt?

To airlines, fliers' complaints are a 2-way tweet

International Herald Tribune, July 31st.

Oh, and see here, from the leader of the Conservative Party, the next Prime Minister of Great Britain. Hmmm, he may be a toff, but he speaketh the truth:


Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Happy Birthday Mr President

Your chance to vote in Japan!

So, you're a gaijin. You're a legal alien. You're an illegal alien. Or, you can vote, but don't know how to. Our Man doesn't care - now you too can vote right here, right now! See the big red ballot box up the top there? You can vote for whoever you want. Don't like the available choices? Write in your preferred candidate. (Our Man has written himself in - you can too!) Don't like being limited to one person, one vote? You can vote as often as you like - FOR DIFFERENT FOLK! Talk about democracy, it's right here, baby, right here. Just don't abuse it. Remember - with rights, come responsibility!

Vote early, vote often, just vote dammit!

Monday, 3 August 2009

Japan: Where did everyone go?

Maybe you'll laugh, maybe you'll cry. Whatever. Here's the latest installment in Our Man's self-taught movie-making course:



Some notes:

Keith Richards remarked once that you don't just write songs in a vacuum, there's a riff in the air and you just have to hear it. Something like that. Well, Our Man shot the video on the spur of the moment then checked t'internet for some facts (from the Daily Mainichi) to give it some umph, and bugger him if the boys at Mutant Frog didn't write a post that evening about the same topic. (Keith also famously answered an interviewer's question about why the Stones called their album Some Girls, to which he replied: "Because we forgot all their fuckin' names" but that's an entirely irrelevant, inappropriate story and not one worth repeating here).
By the way, the inspiration came from Jim the Realtor's latest, it's just that Our Man has no car, doesn't live in California and likes a bit of music on his travels (today, Ravel's Bolero):


Sunday, 2 August 2009

Japan Times: Two steps forward, one back

Two reasons to subscribe to the Japan Times:

1. Great book review of a book Our Man wants to read.
2. Ted Rall's columns.

One reason not to:
You can read 'em free on the Net. Dohhhh!

For those about to shop (in Tokyo)


By the way, the latest installment of Our Man does Abiko should be ready for adult viewers by tomorrow. Its working title is "Returns" and was inspired by a real estate video here. But unlike Our Man's last epic, this one is short and sweet(ish) - took just an hour to shoot, an hour to edit and just two minutes to watch. And if the YouTube copyright police are sleeping,it will feature a classical music soundtrack. You have been warned.

LDP's secret weapon to woo the 2-D sex fetish voters



Our Man nearly knocked to the ground the local candidate for the Diet (that means Parliament, though presumably they changed the name so as not to confuse folk with a classical education who thought that parliament is the collective noun for owls, something Our Man didn't learn until today, but he digresses...) Yep, while wandering around looking for a Korean restaurant on the mean streets of Kashiwa (two stops from Abiko) he was startled to be met face-to-face, man-to-man if you will, with a life-size cutout of LDP candidate Yoshitaka Sakurada. Is this one of those new 2-D fetishes the geeks are into? Perhaps the NY Times should investigate.

Speaking of whoring, self-centred politicos, the LDP launched its election manifesto yesterday or the day before. All the pundits are up in arms because it is too far sighted, lacks detail and, er, oh it's too dull to contemplate, but if you must, contemplate it here. Our Man just wants to know, can he get another stimulus package or two?

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Why can't Japanese weddings be like this?



Secret handshake to Agent Provocateur Red Mamma.

Time to start a Twit watch

Our Man reckons it's time for a Twitter pun watch. Seems the powers that be at the dead tree press (Our Man prefers the term "aged news") have realised that the kids are now tweeting, twitting and generally twatting about with Twitter. The President's doing it, the British Civil Service is doing it, oh and a handful of J-pols are twying it out twoo. Even Our Man's doing it. So, without further ado here is the inaugural Twit Watch winner:

All that Twitters...

A teaser from the Japan Times on Monday, July 24th.

Seen any others, readers? Drop Our Man a line.