Saturday, 31 October 2009

Top 10 Halloween in Japan nightmares

10. Preparing for countless children's parties.
9. Having countless children's parties cancelled at the last minute because of fear of flu.
8. Finding there's still one that wasn't cancelled.
7. Getting roped into going to Tokyo Disneyland with your Japanese friends to "enjoy" the festivities.
6. Orange overload.
5. Discovering you can't fit into the suave dracula outfit you bought, as it's cut for a Japanese salaryman circa 1978.
4. Finding your best Halloween outfit is actually a crotchless pervy little number.
3. Being Japanese and getting stuck with a bunch of obnoxious drunk foreigners in drag on the last carriage of a Yamanote Line train.
2. Being a lone foreigner in your best Halloween outfit getting stuck on the last-but-one carriage of a Yamanote Line train.
1. Having to answer impossible questions, like: "Excuse me gaijin-san, could you tell me the point of Halloween?"

Friday, 30 October 2009

Finally, sanity on dolphin hunts and such



Screw James Thurber, South Park's where it's at. This latest episode here, handles the delicate politics of Japanese whale and dolphin hunts with a harpoon and an A-bomb or two. It's well worth 20 minutes of your time. Actually, the Japanese come out of it all quite well. Sort of.

Secret handshake to James at Japan Probe.

Who do they think they are anyway?

They say you shouldn't write a blog entry unless you have something to say, but it's never stopped Our Man before, so here goes nothing - in semi-stream of consciousness form. Put the free-form jazz record on and dive in:

in the driving seat for first time in 30 months American Shogun smart guys leave the majority be your output's only as good as your input, paper tigers folding

Thursday, 29 October 2009

How to be James Thurber without really trying

Our Man wishes he could draw. Scratch that. He wishes he was James Thurber. Well, by the power of the interweb (and rampant self-promotional contests) he can be! You can be too! Just go to The New Yorker and enter their cartoon competition and you could do something like Our Man cobbled together here:


or here:

Japanese Prime Minister: Interest rates to go up (the Swahili remix)



Pay attention Japan-politics-watchers! the Prime Minister has finished giving his stump speech again. Yep, Hotairyama was in the Japanese Parliament the other day to open it for an extraordinary (Our Man doubts it) session. And he gave a speech. A verrrrrrry long one. It sounded good though, according to the English translation Our Man saw in his favourite chipwrapper here. Here was the most interesting sentence (or one near the beginning, more like - Ed.):

We will undertake a transformation of national politics with the enthusiasm that now is the time to change Japanese history, in order to live up to each citizen's strong wishes and impassioned expectations.

Not very interesting, huh? Well, Our Man would have sexed it up ala the Gates-Okada bout, but in these days of automation, why do the work yourself, when you can get Google to do it for you? So Our Man ran the English translation through Google Translate into Swahili, back into Japanese, then to English, getting this result (key hidden meaning revealed in red):

State politics and we are now, until you change the history of Japan, time to live passionately in the power of hope and expectation that all citizens will be to change interest rates.

So there you have it. Put all your chips on interest rates to go up.*

*Brought to you by the same people who brought you Sumometer. Pic lifted from here.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

More bliss, hot off the presses

With this lead headline in Our Man's Japan Times today:

Sumitomo Trust, Chuo Mitsui to wed


- should Our Man say "Many Happy Returns"?

Journalists' Halloween horror - a true story

Bloody Halloween

Horrifying figures for print journalists right here. So, that's it then for the newspaper? Our Man has to say, yep, 'fraid so. Time to move on for all those creatures of the night still with ink running though their veins. Suck up some wisdom from here, and join the undead of the black arts - the bloggerati.

The pay sucks, but it's a lot more fun than print.

Pic lifted from here.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Japan's lost decades: Anyone looked in the sofa?

You know all this talk about Japan's Lost Decades and such? Well, have they looked very hard for them? When Our Man loses things (like his keys, marbles the plot etc) he looks:

1) In the folds of his sofa (by the way, apparently the Japanese prime minister is looking for a stronger sofa according to the Japan Times. Our Man's tip: Sofas are tricky, don't buy one at IKEA unless you are 7ft tall)
2) On the back of an envelope.
3) In the sticky patch behind the fridge.

Anyway, Our Man can't pretend to understand all that Mish the Bish (is that right Dr Kildare?) says just here, but Our Man likes the sound of his retort don't believe the Monetarist mumbo-jumbo or the Keynesian Krap (Our Man may be paraphrasing a bit here) about Lessons to be Learned from Japan's lost decade(s). Could it be that this chap who knows a fair bit about finance and such actually supports the dambusters of the DPJ?

Nahh, couldn't be that someone in the DPJ knows what they are doing.

Speaking of lost decades, anyone remember this from one of Our Man's many lost years?
Card catalogues, ahh the Dewey Decimal system. That's how you find stuff.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Half marathon - the movie (aka Teganuma half-marathon)

For all those who have ever wondered what it is like to run around a big old lake with seven or eight thousand Japanese runners to keep you company - wonder no more. And, in a special bonus, here is the view from the "athlete's foot" if you like. Apologies for the shaky camera work, but if you think it makes you dizzy to watch, imagine what it was like to film, so quit bitching and prepare to be dazzled for four minutes or so. Sheesh, some people...

Asean summit - the musical



"You put your left foot in... left out... in, out, in, out, shake it all about..."

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Our Man lives to fight another day

Yep, Our Man made it to the finish line in the half-marathon this morning, and even ran all the way. He's had his after-race banana, hot shower, 30 minute nap and now it's time to pop over to the second hand car dealership. This running everywhere business is for losers.

Oh, will be working on a worm's eye view of the race for the Monday Movie, so stay tuned.

Demise of Our Man will be televised!

By the time you see this, dear reader, Our Man may well be dead (half marathon today, remember?) After a quick couple of glasses of Explorer wine, Our Man came up with another of his brilliant ideas - take the digi cam with you and film key bits of the race as you race it! Seemed like a good idea at the time (shortly after midnight).

The last stand of Our Man will be televised (unless it rains a lot). Reminds Our Man of this:



Right, must rest up, wouldn't want to miss the starting gun...

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Countdown to death by marathon... with a Japanese lesson!

How would you spend your last 24 hours on this Earth? Be like Our Man and burn up 90 minutes with a Japanese lesson. Today, his class turned into a virtual daytime TV cooking show (Yay!). He learnt:

The worst thing about a Japanese wife taking a trip with her friends is the husband has to cook for himself.
This can be hard work if you don't like seven-11.
Fried eggs are the hardest.
Thai fried eggs are better.
English cannot cook and their beer tastes funny.
Kyoto is very beautiful and old.
Chinese ketchup is not at all the same thing.

Got that? Repeat after me...

Our Man's marathon - AKA dead man walking



Party now, for tomorrow Our Man may die. Yep, what seemed an eternity away when he signed up for it is now upon him - the Half Marathon from Hell* starts at 9am on Sunday, Central Standard Abiko Time.

And Our Man has hardly trained at all these last couple of weeks, although he is right this very moment keepng himself lubricated with a high energy sports drink known in these parts as Suntory Malts, just to keep his body loosened up for the 21km Great Trek round the Abikan Dead Sea.

Before he meets his pacemaker, he would just like to say a hearty thanks to all those kind souls who have donated cash to Our Man's charity to shut him up, but it didn't work. See, there are folk in Africa and such places who still need your help. For every two quid (three bucks or so) you donate on your credit card, a brand new book wings its way to some unfortunate sod who could do great things. Oh yeah? Yeah. Like this chap here who should be all the proof you need of the value of a good old book.

So, if you haven't coughed up some virtual loose change skinflints of the world, do it now, and send it to Our Man's Swiss bank account, er, donation page here. And then Our Man will shut up about it. Probably.

*Also known as the Teganuma Eco Marathon. Really.

Friday, 23 October 2009

What happened to the brotherly love, Hatoyama?


So much for fraternity, equality and the chocolate eclairs of world peace and global cooling uniting those good buddies Hatoyama (the "centre left" guy in Japan) and Obama (the "centre left" saviour of the world). Seems the US Defence Secretary's insistence that the DPJ honour all of the previous regime's Uncle Sam ass-kissing (BTW who thought that was a good idea sending in Gunboat Gates to a foreign country to berate the locals?) is causing more than a little friction (that's the view from Washington, but you have to sign up with an e-mail address) and the Japanese are taking it none-too kindly (Secret handshake to James at Japan Probe).

Whoa, whoa take a chill pill everyone! Here's some free Ourmanican advice for the bitching powers:

1. America - be nice to Japan. Who else would put up with being occupied by troops of another nation for 64 years (apart from the British)? At least let them think they have some say in their own country.
2. Japan - have you seen how many Hello Kitty Commies China's got? You may have forgotten the Rape of Nanking, but you can bet your last couple of pachinko balls they sure as hell haven't.

Pachinko America logo lifted from here.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Making a song and dance - ripe for Abiko?

Our Man hates musicals, but if you have to make a song and dance about something, you could do worse than this, which he came across the other day.



Hmmm. The Abiko Seven-11 looks ripe for an impromptu performance...

Japan US relations, aka Okada-Gates transcript - the director's cut



This just in. An Agent Provocateur raided the diplomatic pouches left outside Abiko Central Station and found this (bona fide) transcript. Our Man took the liberty of interpreting it (in red) for folk not nuanced in diplo-speak like-wot-Our-Man-talks:

The following is the gist of the meeting between Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Oct. 20.

Japan-U.S. relations

Okada:
The Hatoyama administration fully understands the importance of the Japan-U.S. alliance. You got no money, you got no money, fatso.

Gates: The Japan-U.S. alliance is the cornerstone of U.S. security policy in Asia. Yeah? Next time that Nork nut fires off a few nukes, talk to someone who cares, ass-wipe.

U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) realignment

Gates:
The current plan for the relocation of the USFJ's Futenma Air Station is the result of a long process of deliberations between Japan and the U.S. and is the only feasible plan. We hope for a decision in line with the Japan-U.S. agreement as soon as possible.
You gonna pay for Uncle Sam's pizza or what, pencil dick.

Okada: We are currently examining the process that led to the current plan. We are aware of the Japan-U.S. agreement. On the other hand, the political situation in Japan has changed. We ask for your understanding of the difficult political situation.
No. Suck my dick, Master Sergeant.

Afghan aid

Gates:
It is for Japan to decide what form of aid it will provide to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Shit or get off the pot, fish breath.

Okada: We are drawing up aid plans that will take full advantage Japan's fortes but we have not yet reached the stage of submitting bills on logistics support to the extraordinary Diet session.
Yeah, who's gonna pay for your guns now, cowboy? The China boys? Bend over now Brokeback Mountain boy!

Nuclear issue

Okada:
The investigation into the secret nuclear agreement is Japan's internal affair. The government is studying the question of no-first-use of nuclear weapons.
You been dickin' with the wrong Asian Tiger, whitey.

Gates: The two countries share the common goal of achieving a nuclear-free world, but the flexibility of deterrence is also necessary.
Come here and say that and I'll smack you upside the head, checkout boy.

(A meeting by Okada, Gates, and two other officials was held after this, but the exchanges have not been made public.)

Pics lifted from here and here.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

10 reasons not to give up on the DPJ just yet



Our Man has been asleep at the wheel again. He missed that V. Important Anniversary - you know One Month of the new PM? Well, don't worry, everyone else hasn't. It must be time for the Hatoyama honeymoon to end! That seems to be Ampantin's point here. At least Our Man thinks so, but he finds it hard to make it all the way to the end of his posts in one piece, models of erudition and modest quoting as they are. Funny isn't it, journalists are pressured to write concisely, but bloggers need more and more length to prove their, er, point. Ahhh well, mysteries of the universe and all...

Well, sure, after one whole month, the economy is still in the doldrums, the Norks still have nukes and Kumiko Hayakawa (pictured above with Uncle Sato of Sato's Bait and Tackle Superstore) still hasn't posted any more pics on her blog.

So, should we all jack it in on the DPJ Project and go back to the good ol' boys at the LDP OK Corral? Time for 10 reasons to say Hell No, We Won't Go (Back)! - now with added links!:

10. It's far too entertaining to watch the old school Build-it-and-My-Kickback-Will-Come boys bitch and moan about their 30-year-old dam project getting canned.
9. Hatoyama's still popular - getting approval ratings in the lower 70s.
8. There's something about Miyuki.
7. Have you seen the New LDP? Inspiring it is not.
6. Women can get married and keep their own names under the new regime.
5. Bye, bye stupid waste of money manga museum.
4. Compare and contrast: UK's treatment of its posties, and Japan's under the new brooms.
3. That would be down to the singing minister for Financial Services Shizuka Kamei. (Go on click on it, it's great!)
2. Foreigners living here for ages (ie Korean-Japanese, and one day Our Man, maybe) just might get to vote real soon.
1. Our Man's monthly cash payouts for having procreated (twice, baby, twice!) are still on the table!

Rejoice there is still a reason or two to believe!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Robot post on autopilot

While Our Man girds his loins to write about the DPJ and such (and pick up his eldest from ballet lessons, yawn), may he leave you with this piece of utter pointlessness from last year:


Our Man thinks it is supposed to show the resilience of Japanese robots, but to Our Man it proves that even the best and the brightest can't amuse a passing kid, who you can see, is dying to stick that toothbrush in the robot's works to see if he can screw it up.

Go Little Kid Go!

Monday, 19 October 2009

This is (insert town name here)!

If you've never been to (insert town name here), then you can't imagine what you're missing! (Insert town name here) is a crazy mix of old and new, young and old and little and large, but most of all (insert town name here) could do with your cash. So come, spend some money at our thriving center of excellence that's in the middle of everything, yet also, more critically, in the middle of nowhere!

But don't take Our Man's word for it, see for yourself in this handy (insert town name here) videologue!!:

Sunday, 18 October 2009

How to get more sustenance from religion

Well, Our Man's heard a lot more direct suggestions for Papal action from the terraces of Ibrox by the Glasgow Rangers faithful. But why stop with the Vatican? Seen a few opulent mosques that could do with a little redistributing and OTT temples in this neck of the woods. Still, stick with the low-hanging fruit for now, eh Sarah, you've got quite a congregation to titillate. Besides, the poor would only spend it on junk from Seven-11.



By the way, the Rev. Paperboy will return, just wanted to give his holiness a chance to build up a head of steam so we can get a Rules to Live By rule-a-thon going one day soon. Catch his latest, here.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Less is more when it comes to Japanese lessons

No Japanese lesson today for Our Man, so let him review his notes from last week:

fukai = deep
atsui = shallow
Old wooden castles in Japan are made of concrete.
The snow in Hokkaido is one metre deep.
There is no snow in China.

Got that? Now commit it all to memory. Ohmmmmmmmmmmm.

Help Our Man list the Top 10 Secret Pacts between US and Japan



Pssst! Let Our Man let you, trusted confidante reader, into an open secret: He's run out of ammo yet again on the old post-writing front. When this happens he usually reverts to one of three tried and tested acts of subterfuge: 1. Post someone else's work. 2. Do a Top 10 List or 3. Do a Readers' Competition. Well, this time he's gonna combine all three for the mother of all guerrilla tactics: A rehash of other people's opinions into a Readers Top 10! Nifty huh? Here's the deal:

Our Man was reading through his e-mail the other day (he does that sometimes) when he came across some nuanced discussion (folk who went to good colleges mouthing off) about the "secret" 1960 nuclear pact that states (in invisible ink) that the Yanks can park their nuke-powered, nuke armed Flatops (lets call them "Buicks") in the ports of Japan, without Japan kicking up a fuss (Japan, you remember has a thing about nukes and all). Well, can't be that secret if Our Man knows about it.

Anyway, it got Our Man to thinking: What other secret pacts have Japan and the US signed/not signed/done with a secret handshake/but doesn't count cos Kissinger had his fingers crossed? It's crying out for a Top 10, donntcha think? Our Man will get you started:

10. You can park your nukes here, Uncle Sam. When you say USS Kitty Hawk, we'll just say Hello Kitty.

Er, can you help with the next nine?

As always, free lifetime subscription to Our Man in Abiko for every suggestion. Pic lifted from here.

Friday, 16 October 2009

DPJ vs LDP - different colours, same flavour




Those bloomin' policos. No matter what colour the packet they come in, they all end up tasting the same. Eh? Well, looks like Our Man's $500 a month payment for reproducing twice is to be nixed (as they say in newspaper headline world) Darn those fiscal conservative socialists! And, sit down this may shock you, those DPJ payouts at strip clubs and such were probably not so business-related.

You learn something new every day, huh readers?

Pic lifted from here.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Britain's Telegraph discovers it's best to turn the TV off in Japan

Britain's Daily Telegraph (renowned for Royalty good, Youths of today bad, Cricket worthy of more coverage stories) has just discovered here that Japanese telly - here "Panic Face King" is a bit off. Here, we see a chap fooled into thinking his colleagues have been gunned down. Tee hee.



You can see why Japan gets a bad name when this is the face they present - to themselves. Is it funny? Our Man admits he was morbidly fascinated by the reactions of the poor chap. If he had known who the chap was, it might have been amusing, but over all it confirms his belief that you are best off switching the telly off. Especially in Japan.

Still, a little Little England Outrage can't hurt the hits counter, eh Telegraph subs? (Come to think of it, might be good for Our Man - Lord knows he could do with a hit or two).

Secret handshake to Dr Datsun Kildare, rapidly becoming something of a Japan handyman.

Meanwhile, over in Paris...

More completely inconsequential stuff, but made Our Man laugh:

Dream world not all its cracked up to be



Some of the joys of having a stinking cold and fever are the forced eight hours or more in bed, copious amounts of drugs, and the orders to leave Our Man alone to all embedded agents. As a result, Our Man has been having a vivid recurring dream that he can actually recall (for the first time since he came to this neck of the woods). Sadly, he goes to bed hoping Diana Rigg (pic lifted from here) will make a brief appearance when in fact he keeps ending up in a smoky bar ala Bladerunner, but with a far less exotic cast. It's the sub-editors bench at the Derby Evening Telegraph who keep interrupting Our Man to tell him about somebody or other is on his deathbed. And Our Man NEVER GETS TO SIP HIS BEER standing invitingly on the bar.

Night, night all. (This message was set on autopilot, so Our Man should be just about to order his beer as the chief-sub leans over, with fag in hand; "Hey, you know Baz had cancer? Well, the editor needs three pars for page 2...")

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Now that's what Our Man calls news



Looking at the feed from former Our Man in Abiko blog of the week winners on the right there, Our Man can only conclude: It's time for some fresh blood. And, while its been around for a while, you've gotta agree The Tokyo Reporter has plenty of that. In amongst the tabloid tales of lust and debauchery are some political stories of, er, lust and debauchery. Just what the doctor ordered.

So, without further ado, arise Sir Tokyo Reporter, take your seat on the blog roll.

TWO HOURS LATER - NEWS JUST IN
Incidentally, another recent addition, Insular, Extraordinary seems to be in the process of moving or else Our Man's head isn't working again, but the new site here looks interesting whenever it is fit for company.

Oppressed rejoice! We have hit the target!


All hail the bourgeois traitors to their class!
Your selfless acts will not be forgotten by your oppressed Brothers and Sisters!
You have nothing to lose but your (loose) change!
Run before you can walk!
Eat to the beat!

(OK, that's enough - Ed!)

Yes, many thanks to all who have sponsored Our Man's trek round the Abikan Sea - he's now hit his target of 100 quid! But as all those students of Bolshevik Five-year tractor production plans know, a target is meaningless! You can never have enough tractors, comrades! Donations still being accepted here!

Image lifted from here!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Our Man's not dead, only sleeping

Sorry posts have been a bit lamer than usual round here recently. Our Man has been hobbled with a nasty cold so hasn't been able to devote as much attention to this particular waste of time, having little energy left over from all the other wastes of time that make up Our Man's life. No matter. Have been meaning to write something about the most interesting character in the cabinet, Kamei, but everyone has already beaten Our Man to the post, so he'll hold his spotty tongue for a bit. Meanwhile, enjoy this (set your light sabres on stun):

Hokkaido Highway Blues: Worth a dip, but not the trek

Hey it's Tuesday. That means only one thing round here, right? Yeah, it's Book Talk Tuesday (also known as Naff All Else to Write About Tuesday). True to form, Our Man has been reading a 10-year old book again, and hasn't actually finished it either, but since when has that stopped him writing a review? (Never when he was a paid-up journo!) Well Our Man has been making his leisurely way through Will Ferguson's Hokkaido Highway Blues and can report it is a) funny b) written by a Canadian c) a bit long.

Our Man likes the idea of hitchhiking round Japan following the cherry blossoms as they bloom. And Mr F. is a witty, smart companion. And Japan is a pretty interesting place and all. But 433 pages?

In other more newsworthy book news, looky there at the donation total in the top right hand corner - 90% people! That means 45 books will be making their way out to poor folk in Africa and such places where books are actually a valued commodity, not something to prop up your armchair. Many thanks to those who have donated. But Our Man is still happy to take more of your cash for his efforts. Read all about it (and then donate) here.

That's it. Back to your iPhones people.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Quick thought on more Olympic glory seeking

Not content to see Tokyo's shoddy bid for the Olympics get shot down in flames, Hiroshima and Nagasaki want a piece of the 2020 Olympic pie. Let's hope the organisers read the Japan Times which had a great told-you-so column explaining just exactly where Tokyo went wrong yesterday. (Sorry, can't find a link today). Our Man would just like to say, haven't those two cities suffered enough?

Gather round everyone. it's called t-e-l-e-v-s-i-o-n

Our Man's still feeling a bit under the weather with this pesky cold, so he hasn't finished his latest blockbuster video or thought up anything very funny himself. Well, if in doubt laugh at others, as Our Man's Grandpappy might well have said. Here's a very funny clip of Irish politicians gathering round a TV reporter (for warmth?) that tickled Our Man in his darkest hours. David, don't fluff your link:



Lifted from here.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Albatross? Nahh, Obama can give Peace the Bird

Most of the reaction to Obama getting the Nobel has been that he's not worthy (yet) but it could help the cause of peace or be an albatross round his neck - as he will be forever judged by how far he has lived up to the high ideals of the Nobel.

Our Man says, what a load of bollocks. In much the same way that Nixon could negotiate with China freely (and Reagan with the Soviet Union) because none could accuse the two red-bashers of being Commie lovers, now Our Man in the Whitehouse can do what the Hell he likes in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan because he is now A Man of Peace. What Our Man means is,

He can give Peace the Bird.

If so, say hello to more body bags. But Our Man could be wrong, he's running a temperature and needs to lie down.

Aspiring to be a respected creationist? Pay attention, or go to Hell



OK, the case for the defence was provided by JJ over at Fatblueman, who posted a long, but good lecture (sadly by a fella with a beard and not very funky accent, sorry) arguing in favour of moderate religion. You make the call (right here)!

But remember, whichever side you're on, Our Man is always welcoming of lost sheep. Especially rich ones willing to sponsor him here.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Can Our Man pick up his Nobel now?

Our Man is still recovering from attending his youngest's undokai - sports festival - which, as anyone who lives in Japan and has school age kids will know - is the height of tedium.

Can Our Man pick up his Nobel Prize for Patience?

No? Howabout a video then?

Friday, 9 October 2009

Obama won what?



For Our Man's opinion, consult his religious master right here, there is no air between them on this one.

Caption competition (or Our Man's run out of juice)

Our Man doesn't usually hang out at art museums, but maybe he should - this odd picture being from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York:



An Agent Provocateur sent it in thinking Our Man could do it justice with a pithy caption, but after a day and a half, he can't think of anything worthy of the silliness of the picture. Can you do better? Free subscription to Our Man in Abiko for every caption suggested.

Top 10 tips for a good Obama-Hatoyama meeting

Since Barack's coming round to Yukio's this November, may Our Man offer some free advice to keep everyone happy:

10. Yukio: Don't ask if his travel insurance includes health care.
9. Barack: Don't offer to say a few words on behalf of Tokyo 2016.
8. Yukio: Do blame the translators if anyone mentions the America is the great Satan speech.
7. Barack: When Yukio takes you to a swanky sushi restaurant, don't remark that Flipper was your favourite TV show.
6. Yukio: Two words: Peach Cobblers.
5. Barack: When Yukio does his Eddie Murphy impression, just smile politely.
4. Yukio: Why not try your Different Strokes "Watchya talkin 'bout Willis?" impression. That one won't fall flat.
3. Michelle: Don't tell Miyuki, "Your dress is out of this world!"
2. Miyuki: Don't tell Michelle, "We're having a whale of a time!"
1. And all of you, for christsakes - Don't mention the war (Pacific or Afghan)!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Something intellectual on telly, now the typhoon's gone

Well, the typhoon and "live blogging it" and all turned out to be a damp sqiub. It's just a bit windy and sunny and warm now. Hmmm. anything good on PBS?


Er, no.

Google misses a trick celebrating the barcode in Japan

How naff is this?


Yes, apparently it is some kind of anniversary of the barcode (imagine the parties going on around the world), which meant Google thought it would be neato to feature a barcode instead of its logo on all its incarnations (this one from the .co.jp domain)

Just a quick note to all those less knowledgeable about Japanese than Our Man (can't be many of you out there, the Lord Buddha knows):

Did you know that in Japanese slang, "barcode" is used to describe those sad combover chaps' hairstyles? Perhaps Google Japan should have used this image instead (hastily cobbled together by the boys in the Our Man Ministry of Technology):


Perhaps not.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Typhoon!

By the way, there is a big old typhoon with an unpronounceable name (Meteor? Me Too or Mellor, bollocks - no. 18) heading for Greater Abiko that is supposed to be the baddest in a decade, so if you are anything like Our Man, you are beside yourself with excitement. There is nothing like the full power of nature beating down promising mayhem and chaos to bring out the latent intrepid reporter in Our Man. The kids' school has promised to stay shut tomorrow and Our Man is hoping to use that as an excuse to blow off work and head out into the great unknown armed only with his digi cam and foolish curiosity.

He will of course be live Tweeting the impending disaster, if it's any good.

The Mandelson lectures: or Thank the Lord for his invisible hand



How about this one, folks? British Trade Secretary Lord Mandelson (Shifty Pete to his mates) is in Japan to lecture his hosts on economics and freedom and such. According to the FT:

In remarks to journalists after his speech, Lord Mandelson said the greatest frustration, “is what is not seen, that invisible hand that frustrates and slows access to Japan’s markets. We know that Japan has been a past practitioner par excellence in operating behind the border barriers that prevent access to its markets.”

He said his impression was that the new government would be more open. “I think there is a growing realisation that for the Japanese economy to maintain its strength, its vitality, its dynamism it needs a greater spur that comes from foreign competition, as well as needing a different economic model that attracts rather than shuns foreign capital and ownership,” he said.

Our Man will admit High Finance is not one of his strong points. If it was, do you think he'd be spending his time doing this, and not something more profitable like flogging fags to third world kids or guns to Iraqis? But, he does have a reasonable nose for bullshit.

Er, nice one, Little Lord Mandy. You'd know all about free market competition, being an unelected lord and the former Minister in charge of the Millennium Dome, that beacon of free market enterprise that ended up costing UK voters 628 million quid.

Our Man should keep quiet though, everyone hates to be told what to think by know-it-all foreigners, eh readers? Wouldn't want the Japanese to tell Mandy where to shove his invisible hand would we?

Picture of the Lord's throne lifted from here. Secret handshake to Mrjeffu

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Pay up, or the cute kid gets it



Hey, it's Tuesday and that means Book Talk Tuesday. (?) Well, Our Man was determined to do his bit for literacy and the flagging book industry, so wanted to highlight a good read at least once a week. Trouble is, this week Our Man has read naff all. So instead, may he remind you good freeloading folk of the internet, Our Man is doing his bit for charidee by running round the lake in a half marathon on October 25th, and he needs your cash to make it all worthwhile. You can check out his charity widget (legal in most states) at the top right there, or click here to find out more (it's for a terribly good cause - books for poor kids).

Many thanks to Kara and Jane and Anon, but really, is that the best you Our Man readers can do? Come on, people need your help to boldly avoid splitting infinitives and ending sentences with prepositions in.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Politics meets porn in Japan? Er, not really, sadly



Extra, extra, read all about it here! Women elected to Diet not as qualified as the establishment chaps! Why, they even think they are entitled to get involved in politics just because they have experienced being unemployed, infected with Hepatitis C or making ends meet by appearing in a (barely) erotic movie. How dare they have opinions! Our Man bets SOME OF THEM DIDN'T EVEN GRADUATE FROM A TOP 5 UNIVERSITY! Imagine that!

Now, Our Man wouldn't dream of doing an Amipastitman and slag a reporter for writing a story (damn those journos!) with a slightly misleading headline "Politics meets Porn in Japan" BUT... you don't get to see much in the YouTube clip of the allegedly topless Mieko Tanaka (now you click on the link, huh?).

Our Man hopes that was an out-take, because, frankly, it was about as erotic as a Hatoyama speech on emissions targets for 2020.

Speaking of life, death and apologies...

... here's a good way to say you're sorry:

Death of Shoichi Nakagawa: An apology

Our Man is sorry.

As a self-appointed satirist, his job is to take the piss out of the pompous, the incompetent and the hypocrites deserving of public ridicule. His job is not to cause mindless hurt, to badmouth those less fortunate than himself or to cause the innocent to suffer.

For these reasons, Our Man would like to issue a public apology concerning Shoichi Nakagawa, 56, the former Finance Minister who was found dead in his bed Sunday morning by his wife.

Our Man is sorry for his wife. He is sorry for their kids, if they had any (none of the reports Our Man has read mentioned this). He is sorry that he doesn't know more about Japanese politics. He is sorry that the press in Japan revels in its castration.

Because if Our Man had been just a little better at his job...

...he would have taken the piss out of the drunken old China-baiting, give-us-the-bomb tosser a lot more and a lot sooner. If his career had been halted a lot sooner he wouldn't have had so far to fall. It might have saved his life.

It's bad form to speak ill of the dead, so let Our Man say a nice thing about him: There was no-one else in the world Our Man would rather have gone around the Vatican Museum with than Nakagawa. Seriously.

Anyway, back to the crocodile tear obits you'll get in today's Yomiuri - no doubt skirting around his alcoholism, focussing on the "tragedy" of lost potential. Well, what choices you make in life define you, and the choices he made sucked.

Our Man has said too much on this sorry chap. Shame much fewer words will be spent in public mourning someone of real substance, dying for naught. A final thought. When our Man's liver finally packs its bags for the 7-11 in the sky, he hopes his eulogy will be even half as good as this one:

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Nakagawa dead. Kids in the bath.

So, Nakagawa the drunken ex-finance minister has been found dead. Our Man read about it here. Got kids to bathe, but after that, Our Man will get to work on an obit fitting for the occasion. Priorities you know.

There are no men called Josh over 35, and other rules to live by

Exciting news, fellow lost sheep. The Rev. Paperboy has seen fit to record more rules to live by. Go check out his youtube site here. Or, if like Our Man, you forget what you were doing, where you were and what your name is after more than one click, just watch the last of the year-old re-runs right here without leaving the comfort of this page:

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Our Man: Better read than ever, and he would have gotten away with it if it weren't for you pesky kids



Sheesh, what's going on round here? First Our Man posts a picture of a map, then a bloody graph? Don't think of it as statistics, think of it as Stat Porn, as Guido Fawkes puts it. So, what's your money shot, Our Man? Err, well. It's this:

Sure, total visitor numbers and page views are pretty stunningly low considering the buckets of ink Our Man has been throwing at the screen, but, hey look at the pretty shapes: More folk drop by and more folk hang around for a chat, and have done month-on-month for almost a year.

That's quite a feat considering that the General Election (remember that?) was last month, and this month there was little action, short of some shirty comments from Ampontin's lapdog here, which boosted visitor numbers. But mainly, it was a bizarre interest in Scooby Doo from kids in Poland and such places that garnered 300 or more hits for this post here.

September: 3,727 visits, 5,486 page views

That's gotta be worth a scooby snack or two, huh Scrappy?

Highs and lows of Tweeting the Olympics - or Tokyo 2016 and all that

(NB: Read the Tweets from the bottom up to re-live the LIVE FROM COPENHAGEN feeling.)



Well, that was, er, exciting? That was Our Man's live tweets, intercepted for your viewing pleasure from here. By the way, this was the build-up:

Friday, 2 October 2009

When the comments are better than the story

This just in. For anyone who has ever lived, worked or passed through Nottingham; for anyone who has ever had to write-up chip pan fires for the local paper; for anyone who has ever doubted the sanity of the great British public, this comments thread is for you.

As you were.

(Oh, secret handshake to Blighty Agent Provocateur Red Hot Momma).

Abiko's impassioned plea for Olympic-sized payouts

Madrid Mayor makes an impassioned plea to hold the Olympics on behalf of, er, Madrid.

US President makes an impassioned plea to hold the Olympics on behalf of, er, the United States.

Brazilian President makes an impassioned plea to hold the Olympics on behalf of South America.

Japanese Prime Minister makes an impassioned plea to hold the Olympics on behalf of the world.

Is it too late for Our Man to make an impassioned plea on behalf of the good people of Greater Abiko? Lord knows we could do with a couple more stadiums round here for folk to throw sticks and balls and run and jump and such.

Mr Hatoyama: When we said we wanted a 'good party', that's not quite what we meant

Deja vous, as the poncey say, but Our Man thought we were supposed to enjoy a little of that sweet smell of freedom for a little longer than a month. But, no seems our new improved whiter than white politicians have been up to their grubby necks in it all along. Yep, remember the white knights (that would be the Democratic Party of Japan) who came to slay the evil taxpayer-wasting pols of the Liberal Democratic Party (you know, Aso and the evil ones?)...

Er, well turns out Satsuki Eda, the DPJ head of the Upper House, and a couple of his mates have been blowing millions of yen at hostess clubs and then having the barefaced cheek (so to speak) to claim them as legit political expenses (they claimed about $25,000). But don't worry, no taxpayer money was used for this purpose, we are assured by party bigwigs.

Uh-huh. Well, we can take that as gospel then. Money (whose?) well spent. Let's hope they did indeed use their own salary. Oh, wait that would be paid for by us - even us gaijin who can't vote and haven't been to a good hostess club in donkeys' years :(

And what a salary they do get - around $110,000 a year, if Our Man remembers right from Ampontin here - who when he's not berating journos for writing entertaining copy or deleting Our Man's comments, can actually make a good point or two.

OK, the case for the defence:

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Video killed the TV star; or why Joani doesn't love Chachi anymore

Well, Our Man thought long and hard whether to run this video, but then after 10 seconds he just figured even if you have seen it, it's worth a giggle or two.



Lifted from here.

Smarter than Our Man? You betcha!

Hey, can you guess what these maps mean? -



a) Some pisshead's been messing with his iMac again?
b) Our Man has run out of Fail Blog videos to post?
c) It's a map of where Our Man's comment leavers live and where they get their internet porn from?
d) All of the above?

Hmmm. Guess again. It's actually a view of the biggest culprits of global warming (fig A) compared to those who will suffer the most from global warming (fig B).

It's pretty interesting, don't ya think? What it means to Our Man is, our pols can keep talking earnestly about cutting global warming, but do nothing about it because the worst of it won't come back to bite their voters in the ass until it is waaaaay tooooo late. Yikes.

For a more nuanced (as smart folk say) explanation of what it all means, go here, where Our Man lifted this map from. In fact, there (where it says go here) is sooo good, Our Man reckons the blog is more than worthy of being named Our Man Blog of the Week. Welcome to Our Man's blog roll on the right there. Long may you continue to post smarter stuff than Our Man (so he doesn't have to).

Oh, the blog's name? Insular, Extraordinary.