Sunday, 28 February 2010

Japan Tsunami: The facts

Hokkaido was worst affected. Waves as high as 30cm were sighted. This
is equivalent to the height of one American short hair tabby or half
an out-of-favour Hollywood leading man.

How to prepare for the Japan tsunami

10. Sit in front of TV and watch shots of a grey overcast sky.
9. Do not panic buy. NHK said all trains have been stopped so the
shops will get no new stuff tomorrow. Gee honey, guess we'll just stay
home and not stock up on perishables (cheese, Chile wine, choco chip
energy bars)
8. Run a bath and have plenty of towels available.
7. Clog up vital communications channels with inane Twitter top ten
6. Panic buy.
5. Three-metre-high waves are equivalent to the height of 12 American
Short Hair tabby cats standing on each other.
4. Or Tom Cruise standing on Robert Downey Jr's shoulders.
3. Or one and a half Jude Laws.
2. Panic!
1. Go shopping for kitchenware at about 1.30 pm when the wave is due
as parking will be a doddle.

Airs and graces

It's always unwise to post when one has been drinking, but Our Man can't help but comment when he notices someone found their way here from lil Ol' Humble, Texas.

Yes, the novel is slow-going. Do miss the instant gratification of breaking wind in public on the blog here, as opposed to being stuck all alone with a lingerer. Expect some windy prose from Our Man when he's all done novelisin'

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Kim, Mao, Cameron, you ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow

Can't find the link now, but this front page headline in Our Man's Japan Times this morning made him feel even more out of it than usual:

Kim keeps eye on Mao
as titanic battle looms

If you are like Our Man (Jeeeezus, what's wrong with you?), you would have immediately thought the story was about the North Korean dictator hoping to piss-higher than the Chinese Chairman in legacy stakes, and not, as the story was actually about, a couple of waifs flitting about on an ice rink. (I was hoping it was about that James Cameron director chappee - ed.)

Monday, 22 February 2010

Welcome to Hatoyama Hall (you can leave your shoes on)

And who do you think lives in a house like this? (C'mon that's waaaaay too easy, the clue is in the headline - ed.)

Lord and Lady M'aladjust'd? Ozzy Osbourne? Toad of Toad Hall?

Close enough, yes it's the home of Yukio Hatoyama when he was a teen. You remember Hatoyama? He's the People's Princess, the man with his finger on the public purse, er, pulse. You know, the PM in touch with modern Japan. Well he's since moved out of this pokey 26-LDK 1924 Tokyo rabbit warren and no doubt has found somewhere a bit more spacious with room for a Prius to come to a safe halt. If, like Our Man's nosey neighbour you fancy a poke around the Earl of Bridgestone's teen-den, you can by the power of the intertwat right here. Our Man's neighbour thought it a bit unwelcoming - you had to traipse around WITH YOUR SHOES ON like an oikey gaijin. How frightfully common.

Saturday, 20 February 2010


Nothing to see here. Nope, nothing at all. Hey, what's that on the TV, some scruffy Yanks winning medals and some dainty Japanese figure skaters not. Ahem.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Toyota thoughts on the move

The super rich, both old and nouveau, are very small. Something to do
with the inbreeding. Case in point. One of the toyoda nephews who
inspected the plant in derby a year or two ago has to have his suits
ordermade and jas a special set of steps to climb onto the podium. He
also drives a Yaris or Vitz as they are known in japan because his
feet dont teach the pedals of Avensis cars. Jist thought you all
should know.

Sent from mobile, hence sloppy typing.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Instant Our Man karma (just add hot air)

Finding it hard to live without the genuine Our Man? Then why not try his
patented Instant Ourmani Post-in-a-bag. Just follow these instructions for the real taste of Our Man, just with more e numbers.

1. Take any old thing vaguely related to Japan or journos or pols or
all three if you can mange it
2. Add a full tablespoon of cynicism
3. Add a few words illegal in at least three states
4. Randomly
supersize words here and there
5. Link to a picture or two of political cleavage
6. Add snotty comment from your conscience (hardly imagine anyone
gives a damn about this - ed
7. Change typewriter ribbon
8. Stir around until alcohol fumes have wafted off
9. Nobody ever gets this far in a list
10. Repeat above points or engineer a flame war with amigonnagettothepointanytimesoon just
for kicks, or not. Whatever. Where's the corkscrew?

Or you could just click here for a fresh take or here for a chap who's been out-Our-Manning Our Man since before he was born.

Pic lifted from here.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Love what you do for me, Toyota

Regina Golf magazine

Just a few thoughts on Toyota's woes and such.

1. They fucked up the PR battle long before they tried to cover up their sticky accelerator pedal with a floor mat.
2. Ask anyone at Toyota UK. One of the top execs so enraged the UK workforce by calling them useless goodfornothings (sometimes the truth doesn't set you free) that now he can no longer travel to the Derby plant for fear of being pelted by eggs from his own staff.
3. Ask the UK government, constantly being browbeaten by the Toyota Overlords warning that staying outside the euro would jeopardise survival of the factory, oh but please more tax subsidies and roads to service the plant.
Here's a little story from two years ago, by way of demonstration. Everyone on the Corolla and Avensis lines in Derby had to take every second Friday off (YAY!) with no pay (BOO!), oh, and a mandatory 10 percent pay cut. Well, times are tough in the metal bashing world. Sure thing. So when 20 executives from Toyoda City arrived at the plant unannounced, the workers feared the worst. Imagine their relief when it turned out that they had just popped over to play golf at St Andrews! Yes, the belt-tightening we're-all-suffering- together family firm somehow managed to find enough change under the futon to fly 20 execs first class to Blighty, have them picked up by limousine, and play a few rounds in Scotland.

Our Man is sure it was money well spent. Why, just imagine the positive effect it must have had on morale! Our Man is sure that kind of thing doesn't happen these days, huh?

Pic lifted from here.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Can't live without Our Man

Our Man is trying hard to carry on his cover life and do something creative with his time instead of, how you say goof off online, but then JAL falls out the sky, Toyota hits a PR landmine and Hatoyama and co. lose the plot.

You guys just can't live without Our Man. Sheesh. Does he have to sort everything out for you?

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Changing (Our) Man

This song has been speaking volumes to Our Man recently:

What I can't be today, I can be tomorrow? Check. Shifting sands? Check. Bad haircut? Check.

How did I get here?

(Yamanote Line to Nippori, Joban Line to Abiko, 40 mins tops - ed.)

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Is that dead or alive?

Ozawa, wife worth ¥2 billion

From today's Japan Times. Sorry, Our Man couldn't help himself. Back to the novel.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

The Long Goodbye? Nope. Just getting off the news cycle for a bit

Jake Adelstein's Tokyo Vice has had a profound effect on Our Man. And he's only read the first 35 pages.

Our Man's first instinct was to be suspicious. C'mon, you can't wipe your gaijin arse in this country without reading a gushing review of the the book. Being the (unpaid) professional cynic that Our Man is, he wasn't gonna buy the hype, much less the book.

But dammit, the fella can write. Anybody who writes a post like this, deserves a second look. And he writes back to every comment leaver, Our Man included, amazingly. (Reminiscent of the aura of Bill Clinton - he never forgot a name... MON-EE-KA (er, ignore that - ed.)

Actually, Our Man once met Mr A., about 12 years ago, when Ourmani Nabiko was a wet-behind-the-ears copy editor at the Daily Yomiuri. Mr A. wanted to check the edited version of one of his stories which he had written in Japanese, had been translated into dictionary English by a Japanese translator and re-molded into semi-readable bollocks by yours truly.

Can't remember what the story was about, or what changes he wanted (though naturally we Copy Idiotors didn't take kindly to being told what to write by a mere reporter - even a frustratingly fluent-in-Japanese one who was working for the hallowed shimbun not the chip-wrapper, red-headed stepchild English-only Daily Yomuiri, but Our Man digresses... oh yeah, think "noble", think "honour" think "reciprocal hits") anyway, it now makes Our Man wonder about fate and such.

Being a scientific kinda bloke, that's some admission to make.

For example. Did Our Man ever tell you how he ended up in Abiko? Well, the official bollocks is right here if you can be arsed, but the reality is much more out there. You wanna know the Jake's honest truth? Our Man consulted a broke fortune teller over the phone who dangled a crystal pendant over place names in the Kanto region, and Abiko resonated baby. Shallow huh? But a lot of things the lady said have come to pass.

Anyway, you can see Our Man is uncharacteristically straying from the point. The point? The point is Jake's done something. He has a cracking story to tell and, here's the rub, he actually told it. How many of us have the balls to do that? He could snuff it tomorrow (and probably will if he doesn't knock those clove fags on the head) but so what if he does? He's left his mark. Like that fella (Bill Pukkman? - ed.) in that gawdawful Independence Day movie, he hasn't gone quietly into the night.

So anyway, thanks to Jake, Our Man is inspired. Our Man wants to do something more than stating the daily obvious that Japanese pols are a bunch of crooks, and occasionally comical ones at that.

Our Man's got a great idea for a novel. Well, he thinks so, and he thinks he can write it. He already has if you add up all the words he has spouted since this blog began. Our Man would like to do for Abiko what Jake Adelstein has done for the yakuza. No wait, what Alexander McCall Smith has done for Botswana.

But Abiko wasn't built in a day. Writing something worthwhile takes time, effort and lots of Yosemite Red. But Our Man is short on time (his accountant warned him he has less than 40 years left to live, give or take).

So, while it pains the journo in Our Man to not file a post every day (as he has since November 22nd, 2008) something has got to give. Make no mistake, Our Man is still out there, watching, waiting, lying comatose, but he's not going to be posting every day from now on, and cut him some slack if he gets a little tardy in replying to comments or posting funny vids of journos screwing up. In newspaper terms, Our Man is going from a daily to a weekly. At least until he gets a first draft done anyway.

Over (but not out).


(Funny way of going about cutting down your blogging time by writing the longest post of your career, sheesh - ed.)

Friday, 5 February 2010

More to come

There's a big post brewing, but you ain't gonna like it.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Listen to the Japanese children, for they speak the truth

JAL doesn't fly.
Toyotas can't stop.

The Prime Minister is wet
The country is in debt

Oh dear, Japan.
Why oh why?

Ourmani Nabiko
(age 7)

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

They are not called a bunch of bankers for nothing

Oh, but Our Man can make time to post this evidence of the uses of TV news.

Edited for your viewing pleasure at 19:34:

There's the vid. Actually, Our Man doesn't see that it was that bad a thing, Christ the news report and his job look pretty stultifyingly boring. If Our Man were smarter, he'd superimpose an image of Our Man in Abiko and Ozawa the Fox on his screen just for laughs.

If only Japanese TV news were half as bad...

Ah shucks, Our Man's cover life is being most demanding lately, so here's something that you might like by someone else, if you are not one of the million or so folk that has already seen it:

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Debito and Our Man: The Truth is out there

After reading (well, OK, skim reading) Debito's piece in the Japan Times today, Our Man wonders if the great one was reading Our Man the other day.

(Keep wondering Abikoboy - you is in the laugh zone, while he is in the Times - ed.)

Talk about blue movies - this is Avatar

This isn't the best review of Avatar...

...Part II is:

Lifted from here.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Sorry, but foreigners bloody well should vote in Japan, so there

Christ on a bike. Another day, another post (even the normally sane Mutant Frog boys were siding with the bone-heads the other day) by a foreign resident arguing AGAINST giving foreign residents the right to vote in Japan. What is wrong with you people (not the Japanese, the foreigners here)? Are you trying to be all reasonable - hey look at me I'm a foreigner but I like to think of myself as a second class citizen, because I, like, CHOSE to live here. Give Our Man a break.

Go ahead and read the two articles to why having the right to vote in local elections will lead to the space-time continuum imploding, Our Man can't face trying to rehash the arguments for him to knock them down. Let him get straight to the point.

Our Man lives here. He works here. He pays all his taxes here. He drives on the roads here. He shops here. His kids go to the schools here. He eats here. He drinks here. He buys shit here. His family is here. His friends are here. He sprinkles salt water on the genkan here. You get the point? His life is here. But his vote is 10,000km away.

Yeah yeah yeah yeah his papers say he ain't from round here, and he wants to keep it that way. So what, Kommandant?

Our Man seems to recall a certain similar argument from folk in Boston a while ago, what was their slogan again? Oh yeah:

No taxation without representation.

Look, Our Man doesn't particularly want to man the barricades on this one, it's just come on you blogerati, get some radical fire in your belly before you die of worthy-but-dull-I-sucked-up-all-my-life-because-I-could-itis.

Pic of miffed gaijin tossing green tea into Abiko Harbour lifted from here.