Monday, 30 November 2009

Keep smiling, they'll never notice



Lifted from here. Secret handshake to karacasto.

Getting to grips with Big Isses no. 432

From Our Man's Japan Times this morning:

Taiwanese grope for solution
to world's lowest birthrate

Good idea, but if they want a solution, the Taiwanese need to do more than groping.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Do battle with the zealots, armed only with cups and T-shirts

We interrupt this stream of bat's piss to bring you a message from Our Sponsors. That is, if Our Man cost anything, and if anyone ever paid anything to read this nonsense. Have faith, lost sheep, it'll never happen.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Weather forecast: Dry all over

Sure it's old, but it still amuses Our Man.



Did Our Man ever tell you how his first job in papers used to be to fake weather reports? Now, he never believes anything he reads in the paper, except the horoscopes of course.

Will the real DPJ please stand up?



OK, so Our Man is starting to sound like some rabid right-wing reactionary (don't worry too much gentle readers, he can't write more than 10 sentences or so before he gets tired of the sound of his own voice, so he'll never turn into Ampontin).

In recent days, you may have noticed Our Man slagging the Earl of Bridgestone for losing track of all his yen; the DPJ for promising open government with one hand, then sticking the other in the petty cash box; giving only a luke-warm defence of Our Saviour Obama's bowing, and then slagging Our Lord and Saviour for trying to end the War in Afghanistan by, er, expanding it. (Kissinger, how we're missin ya).

But there is another interpretation: The DPJ is getting the bad press because they are actually hitting their mark. MTC puts the case for the defence here - that their show trials slashing bumbling bureacrats' bloated budgets prove the DPJ are doing what they were elected to do. James at Japan Probe may be in two minds about the budget cuts, but if anyone wants to do something about the chronic overspending that is about to cripple Japan's future, this is job 1.

Sure, the press is crying a croc over cuts to scientists' Phd projects (boo hoo), and Our Man was going to search for more attempts to slag the DPJ in the establishment Daily Gomiuri, but frankly their turgid website made Our Man long for the speed of his old ZX Spectrum, though he did find this story - apparently the LDP (remember them?) are considering re-branding themselves.

Then it struck Our Man - show trials, Obama kissing emperor ass, the establishment press looking for Hatoyama dirt, the LDP identity crisis - shit -

---the DPJ really must be doing something right---

But Obama's still way wrong on Afghanistan. It will be the bitch that kills the lady he really loves. Pic lifted from here.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Welcome return

Nice find, Reverend, but our Man prefers this:

Finish the job?




Expect 34,000 more to join the fight for the Karzai.

Happy Thanksgiving, America.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Tedious post about website and such

Just so you know, if you ever wonder where on earth Our Man came up with his latest erroneous nonsense, you can check out his sources on Delicious whenever your heart desires. The link is also in the sidebar to the left above his head. In other exciting site news, former blog of the week winner Insular, Extraordinary's new blog, Archduke! or something, is in its rightful place in the Field Agents section on the right. Sorry to be so late posting it, the blog's hyper cool layout had fooled Our Man into thinking it wasn't ready yet. Our Man's getting old...

Pardon us: Hatoyama and the DPJ's first full-length talkie



Here's a post that shows up Our Man's complete lack of knowledge (agaiiiin?) about what he ostensibly writes about - Japanese politics. Well, see here, the Mainichi Daily News (pedants will note that "mainichi" means daily, so really the virtual newspaper's name is tautologically "The Daily Daily News", which is just silly silly, but Our Man says: damn you pedants, you've ruined this sentence) has a little of the continuing saga of the Japanese Prime Minister's minion's missing millions:


Our Man invites you to read the story. Looking bad for the PM? You're darn tootin'. Because if he's found guilty he could face a fine of ¥500,000!!!!! (That's about $5,000). Yikes, where's the heir of the Bridgestone fortune gonna find that kind of money? Oh wait, he could dip into the secret cabinet fund here.

BTW, did anyone catch the puff piece in the Japan Times about Alistair Campbell, Tony Blair's spin bowler, praising the DPJ's PR? Perhaps he should remind Hatoyama of Blair's winning slogan: Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime.
Maybe Hatoyama should turn himself in now, eh readers, saving us all the tedious manhunt?

Pic lifted from here.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Real is not real, unreality is. Really

Tuesday. Bollocks. Quick. Write something about books. Maybe even Japan-related. Got it. Try here. (Summary: Unreality is more real than reality - something Our Man figured out a looooooooooong time ago).

One year of Our Man: The celebrations go on (and on)

So, the one-year* birthday celebrations continue throughout this fair land and as far afield as, er, Eastern Europe as folk misspell porn actresses' names and end up with this sorry post here. Allow Our Man a little leeway in spending a post reminiscing, not so much because one year of Our Man in Abiko is worthy of much consideration, but more because he's got sod all else to write about.

In the space of 12 short months** Our Man has gone from trying to explain Japanese culture and politics, to filming folk walking backwards and pretending they are going forwards; from arguing against LDP tyranny to, er, arguing against DPJ tyranny; and from drawing amateurish cartoons to, well, continuing to draw amateurish cartoons.

*One year of OMIA is equivalent to what you can learn from 12 minutes spent here.
** or 10 months, metric, whichever comes first.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Almost missed it...

It was exactly one year ago today that Our Man in Abiko was born.

Don't time fly when you're having fun? Perhaps Our Man should scour the archives for something cool and representative to post, but frankly he's far too busy. Got any favourite posts? Fond memories of Our Man, or interesting tales of how you discovered him, how he has changed your life, or stuff he's done that really, really sucked? A problem shared is a problem halved, you know.


DPJ scandals vs LDP scandals

Apologies to the older folk (like Our Man) who can't see the little writing. Might help if you click on the image. Hey, it's new ground for Our Man, give him time to make it work, pleeeeease.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Chewing the fat on whales with the locals



Our Man had a lovely time fraternising with the natives last night, deep undercover in an Abiko izakaya (the closest western equivalent would be a pub/tapas bar). While there, he noticed whale was on the menu, so duly ordered a dish of raw whale tongue, purely for scientific research reasons.

He can confirm:

1) It tasted nothing like chicken.
2) It didn't taste fishy - more like how you might imagine a raw tongue to taste.
3) Well, imagine spam with the texture of beef jerky and throw in an aftertaste of roadkill, and you are still only halfway to explaining how unappetising a dish it was.

No other bits of the whale were available for further testing. Phew.

For more dated in-depth philosophical discussion on whaling, er, go somewhere else. Our Man did write this (a while ago) though.

Pic lifted from here.

You should only hate people you know (and other additions to the Gospel according to St. Ourmani)

This is probably old hat, but just discovered these gems on the twinterweb the other night: A BBC comedy series that, get this, pokes fun at religions in an enlightened way.
This was great:



This was even better:



But this next un gets bonus points (despite the soundtrack being out sync) for having the balls to take the piss out of moderates and Muslim fundamentalists for a change:


Saturday, 21 November 2009

Everyone in a coke-fuelled 24/7 news cycle? Nahhh, folks would never believe it



Crikey. It's been three posts in a row with no mention of Japan once. Our Man better rectify that or all his Twitter followers with names like GeoffinJapan and Mangajerry will be getting antsy. Japan, Japan, Japan, Japan. There. Happy? BTW, Glad to see D. at Japan without the sugar is writing again.

When Our Man is short of an idea or two, he links to others (see above) or digs deep and, er, writes shallowly about himself. This post is one of the latter ones.

Did you know (or care?) that Our Man came up with an outline a couple of years ago for that cult novel he always imagined he had in him? It followed a cynical hack (!) who lived in a world in the near future in which news was instant and to stay ahead of the game, he wired himself into a sort of half-biological internet and had to take designer drugs to handle the speed of the news cycle. There was also a flimsy celeb murder plot thrown in and gratuitous sex every third chapter or so to keep you reading.

Our Man got busy blogging and then, bloody Twitter happened, and the radically askew scenario suddenly became a dull reality for most folk. Apart from the murder. And gratuitous sex, sadly.

Ho hum. Back to the typewriter.

Yes, yes, it's not not strictly speaking Tuesday. So sue me OK?

Friday, 20 November 2009

Forget the fourth estate, now the future's for sale

Looks like little Lord Mandleson has been back up to his usual meddling. This time it is a lot more sinister - forget the Great Firewall of China, Britain's selling its future to the corporate lawyers - for a song.

Our Man wants to know, when did the socialists join The Man? Sheesh.

What Our Man wishes he was doing right now

Our Man came across this the other night and couldn't get it out of his head. Now it'll be in yours. Tee hee.



So Fucking Marcel Marceau, more like, eh readers? But still, looks more fun than Our Man's Friday afternoon.

Ode to the impending energy crisis


Our Man isn't worried about global warming,
He reckons it's far too late now to heed the warnings.

The end of blue fin tuna and the relative decline of the American nation
Don't cause him much consternation.
(The row over Obama's bow to the emperor is somehow not worth worrying about now)

He's not even that fussed about gaijin in Japan, the place of women in the home
or his own metabolic syndrome.

Because he has no doubt
the oil's running out
and so is uranium (which rhymes with cranium, but little else).

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Collaborate for Christmas - JJ needs your best bits

Calling all Our Man in Abiko agent provocateurs, true believers and undecideds -

JJ needs you! (for the mother of all Christmas vids!)

You may remember the awesome Christmas in Japan vid from last year. This year, our JJ has opened it up for collaborators from around the globe (he says Japan in the vid, but he means the world, honest) to send in their, er, best bits. But don't take it from Our Man, take it from the horse's mouth:


More details here.

Sometimes the Japan Times gets it right

Some days Our Man wonders why he gives a damn about the press. Then he reads a feature piece like this in today's Japan Times, and he remembers what good journalism is - personal as political, historical strife as key to understanding the contemporary world.

And then he skips to the funnies.

Essential reading to get you through swine flu

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Something to read when the last paper folds?

Good news for Tokyo ex-pats? Probably. But isn't the correct term webterpreneurialsoultionizerista?

Secret handshake to 1Rick.com.

Obama bow: The Japanese perspective

Our Man talked to three (highly unrepresentative) Japanese folk about the Obama bow. All three wondered what the fuss was about. None of them thought he had humiliated the US by bowing too deeply or shaking hands, or not crossing his fingers behind his back. None of them could understand why the right in America acted like America's honour had been besmirched.*

Enough already.

But it's true, Mr O. didn't bow to the Queen. The cad.

*In fact, Our Man, as resident alien, found himself trying to explain why anyone in America would be offended. Our Man tried, in order, a) because the emperor is the son of the guy that was emperor in the war (this got shrugs) and b) because no American should bow to anyone, because, er, America is so much more important than anywhere else. Which got resigned knowing looks. Then Our Man got it: c) Dunno, they must be mad. This was the correct answer, as far as the locals can ascertain.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Obama and the emperor: Nothing to see here

Keep thinking Our Man should offer his two pence on the Obama bow, but it's getting a little old now, and Japan Probe and the LA Times have done the business on it. How times have changed since MacArthur's day, huh readers?

Technology (mind how you go)

No doubt the "discovery" in Our Man's NEW VIDEO!! is just new to Our Man, and not anyone else who lives in Japan in a place just a little more up to date (and less drafty) than Our Man's 32-year-old secret base.



And yes, Our Man is aware it is not Monday (aka Monday at the movies), but he was a bit busy, OK? He may even be able to do Book Talk Tuesday today, and not on Wednesday as is looking likely. Whadda you cares anyways?

Monday, 16 November 2009

Message from the front

What? Gone 20:00 hours, and still no post? Sorry folks, the cover life has been intervening. However, Our Man is hopeful of developing his TOP SECRET digi cam video to reveal some cutting edge Japanese high technology in action. Expect the unexpected. Defend the indefensible. Read the unreadable... etc

Meanwhile, here's a movie to entertain and educate.



Message ends.


Sunday, 15 November 2009

Uncovering Westminster wildlife

It's Sunday. That means either God stuff or nature documentaries on telly, right? Well, regulars will know how much Our Man loves his spirituality on a Sunday, but to give you fellow sinners a break from Our Man's stump sermon ("Religion is rubbish"), here's a wildlife documentary filmed undercover in the wilds of Westminster:


To see how religion and politics fit in an ostensibly Buddhist country like Japan, check this out on a top Japan pol allegedly slagging Christianity to get the votes. He gets Our Man's, if he could vote that is.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Hatoyama: Obama half-brother shocker!



So, you smarty pants members of the US-Japan Deep Thought Bloggerati reckoned nothing of substance would come from the Hatobama Mindmeld, huh? (you know, Obama and Hatoyama swapping pics of the kids in a Dotour Coffee shop) Well, how wrong you were. Here's the scoop of the year buried in the depths of an AFP wire report:

A visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the cities bombed by the United States in World War II, "is something that would be meaningful to me" during his presidency, he added. Obama to meet half-brother Hatoyama, who, after ending half a century of conservative political domination, has vowed that Japan will be more assertive in its US alliance.

Yep, you read it here first -

Hatoyama is Obama's half-brother.

No doubt, the search is on for the birth certificate as we speak.

Pic lifted from here.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Our Man's a patient reader

Lead headline in Our Man's print edition of the Japan Times today:

AMR, TPG
eye hefty JAL
investment

Question: Are they trying to tell me a news story or give me an eye exam? I'm leaning towards the latter. Our Man's OK with the last line, but he can't read the first two, Doc. Time for bifocals?

Obama and Hatoyama: Free advice before that hot date



Everyone's offering their two penneth on the hot Hatobama date tonight, so let our Man offer his advice for a successful first date.

1. Obama may be in charge of a country 100 percent up to its eyeballs in debt, but Hatoyama's even worse off - the NYT has a sobering article here by the talented Tabuchi on how Japan owes a mountain more. So, why don't you both go Dutch at the Chinese banquet?

2. Our Man is fond of saying shit or get off the pot, but on Afghanistan, the message has to be GET OFF THE POT! Obama, you can't win this one, so stop trying. Listen to the civilians for a bit, huh? And wipe your nose and clean your fingernails.

3. Hato-baby. Read this here and tell us you'll still be in charge of something this time next year. Believe in yourself, or else no one else will!

4. If world domination is important to y'all and you want it to be speaking English, have you considered the Philippines as the future global superpower (that is after China and India's stars have waned once the oil dries up, circa 2020?). And no arguing, OK?

But hey, enjoy your date. Don't stay out too late. Secret handshake to Doctor Kildare for the NYT link. Pic lifted from here.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Yamaha singing robot, haven't we met somewhere cheesey before?

Quick, someone get the net, Billy Bob's Japanese cousin's escaped from Showbiz Pizza again:



Compare and contrast:



Sorry, but think the '80s American robots still just edge it. And they could make pizza. Oh, screw it, pass Our Man his shotgun.

Secret handshake to Japan Pulse.

Google Wave: Making a splash or just wet behind the ears?



Hey folks, Our Man's bleeding edge, doncha know. Not only has he recently discovered Delicious.com where he can have his very own virtual library, but he just went and got himself co-opted into the Google Wave machine. ? you might well be thinking. Well, Our Man isn't sure (as usual) but he reckons it is Google's latest plan to take over the world. It seems to be Facebook on steroids. You can chat and post videos and such with your contacts, but all in real time.

Hmmm.

While Our Man can't work out all the permutations, he realised how few real friends he has, and the prospect of sharing a Wave with folk he barely knows, made him feel kind of, well, too old for this game. Still, surf on you early adopters, no doubt Our Man will rejoin the wave when it has become comfortably old hat.

BTW, what's with the super-duper re-tweet button on Twitter? It doesn't retweet the tweet on your own feed and doesn't allow you to comment on the re-tweet, which is half the fun. EDITED FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE - Just found the re-tweet does appear on your own feed, just an hour after you've retweeted it.

BTW 2.0: If none of this post has made the slightest bit of sense to you, Our Man congratulates you. You pass.

Wave pic lifted from here.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Jokes on Fox, again

It's getting too easy to see through Fox News. But it's still funny:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Sean Hannity Uses Glenn Beck's Protest Footage
http://www.thedailyshow.com/
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Secret handshake to DougDeLong.

It's Obamayama time (some background)

So, in the interests of consummating a special relationship between Hatoyama and Obama on their hot Friday night date (which do you like better - Hatobama or Obamayama? Our Man can't decide) here's a little vid Our Man discovered the other day while avoiding doing some work. It may be a year old but it goes some way to demonstrating the mutual love and understanding, (some might even say yuai) between the two great Pacific rimmers. Take it away Kate:

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Gotcha!

Book him, Danno.

Story here.

How to read without reading

Oh, it's Tuesday, and Our Man still hasn't finished reading American Shogun, so not much to add on the book reading front. Sheesh, and you wonder why book sales are declining. But, Our Man has been reading. Yeah? Yeah. Here's the proof - the start of Our Man's very own online library of stuff tagged to Delicious.com. What it means (maybe, not sure) is you, dear reader, can see what "inputs" go to make the wonderful "output" that is this blog, Why you'd want to is beyond Our Man, but it takes all sorts. Just click here, OK?

Secret handshake to Our Man's favourite Webternet guru - Rick Martin (no, not Ricky, sorry ladies).

10 reasons why Tokyo should get the 2020 Olympics



Brilliant. Not only is Hiroshima and Nagasaki bidding for the Olympics in 2020 (cf. haven't they suffered enough?) but so is Tokyo under completely sane Mayor Shintaro Ishihara according to here. (Secret handshake to tokyorich). The Japanese Olympic Committee No. 2 remarked: "It is truly great."

Our Man remarked: "It's truly a pile of Olympic-sized horseshit".

Let's recap, shall we sports lovers, the top 10 things Tokyo's bid has got going for it:

10. Er, it's hugely popular with folk enamoured with 12-year-old girls chucking ribbons about.
9. Tokyo knows how to mix concrete.
8. There are hundreds of yakuza who need the cash flow.
7. There just isn't enough women's volleyball and figure skating on Japanese TV.
6. Travel and accommodation costs are so high in Tokyo, it'll keep out athletes from those pesky poor countries good at winning things (China, Ethiopia, USA etc).
5. Tokyo has never held it before. Honest.
4. Who can forget the lovable 2002 World Cup mascots from Japan?
3. Er, Tokyo knows noodles!
2. And raw fish.
1. Because please, please, pretty please, Tokyo so needs it cause we are the world, we are the melting pot of, er, the Greater Kanto region, we have sexed up cartoon pop stars and karaoke and robots and concrete beaches and we love nature, we have four seasons, and we have no danger of being consumed by a massive earthquake anytime soon. We love the environment. And world peace. And concrete.

Pic lifted from AltJapan here, which has more examples of the wit and wisdom of the mayor who doesn't know the meaning of pack it in. Now.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Tokyo Metro manner poster advice for Hatoyama and Obama

First Our Man saw this, then this, and came up with this:


A classic case of 1+1=3?

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Gates makes more friends in Asia

From the pictures tell a thousand words file:



Hot off his Making Friends and Influencing People tour '09 of Japan, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates (the chubby one on the left) works his magic last weekend with China's No. 2 General Xu Caihou in Hawaii. Story from here.

Return of the Reverend!

How about these pics, proving that evolution has a sense of humour:


or:


(lifted from here)

Secret handshake to KenYN here.

Anyway, back to the prepared text, ahem, the Rev. Paperboy is off in Hawaii, so hopefully he won't notice if Our Man nicks one of his recent sermons. Here it is here (featuring new improved intros and outros too):



By the way, Our Man thinks, but isn't sure, that he isn't wearing his "when the rapture comes, we get all their stuff" T-Shirt underneath his dressing gown.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Asian Correspondent - where's your man in Japan?

Normally when young folk e-mail Our Man a news tip he can look forward to a funny picture of a farmyard animal or a link to a politician saying something particularly inane; so imagine his disappointment when his latest "news tip" was in fact a blatant ad for a new website - Asian Correspondent. Sadly, it seems to carry an awful lot of AP copy and no correspondents for Japan, but it is trying to be a newspaper on the web, Our Man supposes, like the Huffington Post. It seems to talk the talk, but can it walk the walk? Or snark the snark and stalk the stalk? The copy is a bit dull, but might be one to keep an eye on once it finds its feet as it proclaims itself to be the future of liberal journalism (thought that was Our Man?) Also, who foots the bills, no matter how small they may be?

Enquiring minds want to know...

Friday, 6 November 2009

Please do it at home gets hip soundtrack

Sure, you hip Japanophiles know all there is to know about the manner posters that cajole Tokyo underground passengers not to do anti-social things (though no mention of serious problems like gropers and suicides, naturally). But did you know someone has put the nannystate notices to a driving YouTube beat? Take it away ItBaganInWuhan:

LDP hits a homer and other poorly executed politics-as-baseball metaphors


Guess Our Man ought to write something about Japanese politics in the style of a smart person who knows about baseball (?). Things must be bad for the home team if:

1. The journeymen in rival Team LDP can hit a homer or two (is that the right terminolgy? - Ed.) by gently pointing out that the new Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's got so much money he can't keep track of who has been failing to stash it under which mattresses - and that Hatoyama himself has even been calling for his own resignation in a bizarre timeslip wormhole from 2003.
2. Even fiesty critics of the LDP are throwing the odd curve-ball (that's more like it - Ed) by conceding that Hotairyama is dithering badly. Our Man can see he's dropping the ball on Okinawa (Yo, Mr H. - stop campaigning and start leading, lol) and sounding like a sap on the whole East Asian C0-Prosperity II - this time it's for love thing.

But, so far, it's still his money we're talking about (not Our Man's) and there is still time to kiss and make up when Obama pops over next week for the Hatobama Mindmeld. And let's face it, Mr H. hasn't actually done anything really bad yet - because he hasn't done much of anything.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Remember, remember

Americans celebrate the success of their revolution on July 4th. Britons celebrate the failure of theirs on November 5th. Sure there is something deep and meaningful in there somewhere.

Angry people in local newspapers (while they still exist)



Far too busy to think up funny stuff when others can do it better than Our Man anyway - case in point - Angry People in Local Newspapers - the blog! Haven't laughed so hard since coming across FakeAPstylebook on Twitter. Enjoy, all, and leave Our Man be. He's got to tend to his cover job today. Grrrr.

What the hell, let's call it an honorary blog of the week, why not?

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Agony aunt advice for Yukio and Katsuya

What a postbag Auntie Ourmani got this morning! I don't have time to solve everyone's problems, but I picked two from these young men:

Yukio H., 19: I recently started a new job as an assistant manager and with the extra income, I promised to spend it on my friends, only with all the exrta work, I've been having trouble keeping track of my cash again. I try to put my money in envelopes under my mattress, only I misplaced some which I was supposed to give to my mam for room and board. What should I do?

Auntie Ourmani: You should pay your mother first thing, then with what's left you can do some of the things you've been promising your mates, but not all. Remember, real friends don't want money, just your fraternal love.

Katsuya O., 17: I'm going on my first study trip to Washington DC on Friday and I'm really worried! I've heard that the city seems welcoming at first, but is unpalatable after a while. Will Americans be able to understand me? I tried talking to an American tourist called Robert G., but he didn't listen to me and got very aggressive when I talked about where he should go in Okinawa. Please help!

Auntie Ourmani: Don't worry Katsutya, Americans are your friends! Remember, the Americans who come over here are often a little odd and seem overbearing, but on their own territory they couldn't be friendlier! My advice is speak up, don't be afraid to ask questions and if you can't find anything good to eat, just tell your hosts you'd be happier with Chinese, they'll soon get the message!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

American shogun: A yankee doodle dandy of a book



Almost forgot. It's Tuesday, that means Our Man's gotta come up with something smart to say about books 'n' such. Well, actually he is reading a book at the minute - American Shogun by Robert Harvey. It's pretty good, informative but not snottily written, though true to form, Our Man hasn't finished it yet, but he can relate that it is a comparative history/biography of Hirohito and MacArthur. Three or four things Our Man didn't know or had forgotten:

1. Hirohito was actually against Japan's rise of the military.
2. The founder of the Asahi newspaper attempted to overthrow the prime minister of the day (back when Japanese journalists had balls).
3. Nissan was formed as a conglomerate to advance Japanese commercial aims in occupied Manchuria.
4. Douglas MacArthur wore girls' clothes as a boy (as was the fashion).

Pic lifted from here.

Screw the poor kids, Our Man's got a T-shirt shop now


Time's up for the kids of Africa, Our Man has taken down the donate widget (you know for books for poor folk to get Our Man to run round the Abikan Dead Sea the other day?) So, once again a hearty thanks to all those who donated some spare change. And if anyone else wants to help out, you still can for a month or so right here. For the rest of you freeloading skinflints, rot in hell you tight fuckers.

Which reminds Our Man, now he's done his bit for charity, he's in it for himself from now on. He has heard that Google ads and other ways to prostitute your blog don't work (certainly at the microscopic level of hits Our Man gets) so he's gone and opened a tacky virtual merchandise shop instead (just click on the SHOPPING WITH OUR MAN link up top right, er left). There's only one exorbitantly priced T-shirt on the pegs now, but expect more "quality" products when the whim strikes Our Man. Meanwhile, give us a twirl, Kari, the T-shirt's got a backprint you know.

Monday, 2 November 2009

News in Japan? Nahh, we're just a newspaper


Our Man gets the feeling that newspapers don't want to survive. What with putting silly barcodes on their pages that you are supposed to hold up to your web cam (so absurd, Our Man forgot where he read this) methinks they've forgotten the basics.

You know, news - stuff that happens to folk, er, recently.

Case in point - the unofficial Halloween party ghost trains that run every year in Tokyo on the Yamanote Line. Only this year, a bunch of right wing nationalist praise-the-emperor-down-with-whitey protesters broke the wa of JR by shouting stuff at foreigners. Hmmm. Stuff that happens to folk, recently. Yep, that's newsworthy. The kind of news that would be of interest to Japan Times readers (foreigners and foreigner-sympathisers).

Er, nothing in Our Man's JT yesterday or today. If Our Man knows about the story (and he lives in semi-splendid isolation in the buttfuckegypt-ville of Abiko) then you'd think the big city media types would know about it. Wait! The Gomiuri had a piece about Halloween trains... er, oh it was a fluff feature piece probably written a week ago (secret handshake to James at Japan Probe).

Maybe the good folk at the JT just missed the story (but your star columnist didn't). Hey, it happens, Lord Buddha knows Our Man has made a career of missing the big one, but a word of advice dear sub-editors of the dead tree press: When you are checking the AP, AFP, Kyodo and Reuters wires, even if you don't know your RSS feed from your bird feed, just spend a minute to check in with Japan Probe. In amongst the monkey-on-the-loose stories are some real good 'uns that you might have missed. Like the Halloween train story here.

Back to the crossword folks. Pic lifted from here.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Sugar-highs and atheism: The facts

Before St. Ourmani Nabiko imparts his latest spiritual insights, may he apologise to the congregation for the slightness of some of his latest posts, notably the forgettable and shameless attempt to keep the hits coming Halloween Top 10 he wrote while grabbing 10 minutes for a coffee before racing off to lead a children's party for 40 sugar-high primary schoolers. He has since emerged from rehab and will be ready to take on the world of political ineptitude, philosophical irony and bad haircuts that is Japanese Politics very shortly.

In the meantime, how about this - as usual - excellent column from the Japan Times - here about how the Japan food safety watchdogs exist to help companies' bottom lines, not consumers' waistlines.

OK, back to the sermon, brought to you by brother Non-Stamp Collector: