Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Some newspapers deserve to die

Our Man too is in two minds. On the one hand, the Daily Mail is a hateful piece of shit. On the other, his old company pension relies on its success. Oh well, Our Man has made a pretty pathetic career out of biting the hand that feeds, why stop now?

BTW, secReT HaNDsHaKe to oUR Woman IN BlIGHty.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Sky Tree and other abominations

Three thoughts on modern Japanese architecture while Our Man is waiting for his pancake hot plate to warm up.

1. In what sense is the Tokyo Sky Tree anything like a tree?
2. Is it just Our Man or has the Prickstick Prize for modern architecture gone to a multi-storey carpark that looks like a yoghurt pot?
3. If you are a famous archi-tect and the press pop round to take your picture, shouldn't you tuck your shirt in? (you'll have to see the front page of the Japan Times to see the pic, sorry).

Look what Our Man found in his sock drawer

Our Man does enjoy a good definition. Take hagiography for example:

(hag-ee-OG-ruh-fee, hay-jee-)

1. A biography of a saint.
2. An uncritical biogra
phy, treating its subject with undue reverence.

From Greek hagio- (holy) + -graphy (writing). A related word is hagiocracy (a government by holy persons; also a place thus governed).

Still not clear? Here's the helpful illustration that goes with the definition.

Lifted from here a few moons ago. Yes, yes, Our Man is still getting on with the novel, thanks for asking.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Don't ask Our Man what's going on

Now, Our Man loves his Chinese dumplings (gyoza as they are called in these parts), and he, like all good folk with no particular knowledge of anything (see vox pops at end of article here)  is happy to hear the Chinese authorities have arrested a temp worker for injecting gyoza with pesticide. BUT is Our Man the only one a little suspicious? These are the same authorities after all who are the source of all evil, remember? For two years, we've heard nothing about the Dumpling Question, and then there's a little "diplomatic pressure" added to the mix and some itinerant worker is arrested and confesses.

No matter, Our Man is sure the fella will receive a fair trial. Smile you're on death row.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Fact or fiction?

You hear it all the time. That journo didn't stick to the facts; that blogger is untrustworthy, he's making up stories. The problem with cyberspace is it's full of interpretation not facts facts and more facts.

As if facts existed on a golden prairie of sweetness protected by the omnipotent Jolly Green Gradgrind. Our Man would just like to point out It's a facts world but it wouldn't be nothin without an opinion or a sirl*.

Any academic fuckwit can make some bollocks argument backed by citations, stats and snotty asides from dead authorities. Facts are not sacred, they are 10 a penny. It's the insight that counts.

And that's one reason why a well-written story is more truthful than a mountain of fact-checked pages of a factual book based on a bollocks premise. And here's Our Man's evidence. A fictional review of a factual book. It's up to you, but which is more truthful?

Secret handshake to Shinpuren for the link and Nassim whatsit whose book Black Swan has got Our Man thinking and all muddled up.

(* That doesn't work. Ed.)

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Undercover in Kanda - Tokyo's book town

Our Man went deep undercover on Her Majesty's Secret Service into Kanda yesterday to do some recon on the corpse that is the bookselling business. Well, he can report back to GCHQ that the old dear is still twitching. (For those future students of history reading this born Anno Twitteri - think of Kanda as an early version of the iPhone. Bookshops were analog apps and books, of course, were non-audible podcasts).

Anyway, here's what the all-seeing i of his iPhone captured:

A book that used to be on his brother's shelf back in Blighty when Our Man was just His Mother's Infant:

A feminist book that was on his mother' shelf (though, she wouldn't have kept it in the same box as the other titles here. Degraded by Dogs and Replenishing Jennifer were not set texts at gender studies departments back in the '70s)

Our Man shouldn't have spent any of his college days on books like this:

and a lot more on this:




How about a $1,500 picture for Our Woman in Abiko?

Maybe not. Howabout a $450 Hitler etching?

Nein danke. Our Man will just settle for a little light reading instead:

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Nobody loves Japan and other sorry excuses

So here's some good reading about the meeeejah and things Japanesee and politicaleseee:

1. All about how the Japanese establishment thinks Toyota got a raw deal from a blogger who's been uncharacteristically quiet these last few weeks.
2. How the bluefin tuna thing plays over here by the Japan Times' best columnist and by a J-blogger bloke here.
3. Rare good sense on the whole newspaper media tech guru media tech thing.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

No fin compares to blue

Our Man is taking a day off from his busy schedule of, er, getting taken for a ride on Twitter and writing crap to toss into the virtual dumpster that is his novel (you sell it so well - ed) to bring you some breaking news of great import.

No, not that. But, get this. Our Man was interviewed for a news service to offer his two-yen's-worth on the whole let's-fish-every-last-blue-fin-tuna-because-we-can stance of the Japanese government. Like so much else in life, Our Man knows little about it, but managed to bullshit his way through the interview.

Our Man's take was that the average Japanese Joe doesn't give a fin's flip about conservation as such, as long as there's something cold and chewy still left to stick in his rice ball. Although, chatting about it the next day with a neighbour, apparently bluefin tuna is too expensive for anyone in Greater Abiko to eat anyway so the Japanese government could do the right thing by the international community and stop fishing the blue fin to extinction. Mind you, it's one thing to be responsible for the extinction of a species, and quite another to be told to stop doing something by a bunch of whinging foreigners, huh? Who won the bloody war anyway? Huh? Er, OK, howabout this line...

It's not like there aren't plenty more fish in the sea, right? Right?

Friday, 19 March 2010

Info is the new currency and other bollocks

Figured Our Man should risk breaking radio silence just to let you all
know he is still alive. This message was being hastily sent by his
mobile iCypher while deep undercover, so excuse the odd paragraph
breaks and lack of colour.

Deep thought for the day: you know all that "we're in the infomation
age baby, info is the new currency blah blah" - it's all hooey. We all
got info coming out our collective wazoos now and you can't make a
living off what folk are giving away for free.

But if ya can't beat em, join em. So Our Man has - from now on, every
link Our Man makes on Delicious, every video he favourites on YouRude
and every comment You The Jury make here gets posted to his Twitter
account. Automatically. So be nice, be outrageous, or just be and
you'll get your 15 seconds of virtual fame.

BTW, did ya see that Hatoyama is following Our Man on Twitter now?
Should Our Man call the cops?

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Our Man inks link to turgid head; eyes set to seek sorry OK'd - Toyoda

Jeepers, Our Man must have been at the juniper juice again, because stare as he might, this Japan Times headline makes no sense to him:

Maybe he should consider wearing safety goggles, huh?

In other news, Mr Toyota's Mr Toyoda apologizes to Dave Letterman and the American People:

Secret handshake to Ken YN.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Tokyo Vice book review @jakeadelstein whatever blahhh

Lord knows it's tedious when journos (or anyone else fired up with the righteousness of their own indignation) get into an orgy of backslapping, but, well... it's an occupational hazard m'lud, and let's face it, if they didn't have a bit of good old truth, justice and the getthefuckouttamy way in their belly, journos would have nothing else to show for their labours, except a few good yarns. (What are you on about? - ed.)

Well, the Shiraz is kicking in so Our Man'll be brief. Finished reading Jake Whats-his-stein's Tokyo Vice and tell you what (Get the buckets out, luv - ed.) Our Man loved it. Forget the cliched top 10 list, let's do an abc list in honour of it being a bit of lit-ra-chore and all:

a) If you read Tokyo Vice and don't immediately want to down a bottle of Jack Daniels and run off to journo school to do battle with the forces of evil, please, please, please unfriend Our Man on Facebook, unfollow Our Man on Twitter and un-, er, just fuck off, cos Our Man has no time for you.
b) Tell you what. You want the narrative voice of Holden Caulfield, with the wit of Huckleberry Finn (if Huck Finn were a Jewish geek with a Japan fixation and Nigger Jim were his ex-Yakuza bodyguard) then this is the yarn for you. Oh and it was kinda Catch 22 too, but don't ask Our Man to explain that right now he's feeling a little worse for wear and tear.
c) By the way, whole chunks of it are true, in fact, probably all of it, give or take.
d) What you'll never say after reading it: "Japan is so much safer than the West."
e) Journos are no better or worse than the civvies they write about. OK, they are worse and better too.

NB edited 8.40am to remove the worst effects of 7-11's finest Shiraz. Hic.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

A little piece of Guantanamo Bay in Japan

Hey take a peek here. If Our Man's eyes aren't deceiving him, this is a piece of investigative journalism (buried on the community pages of the Japan Times, but still) showing up the underbelly, fluff and all, of that Friend to All Refugees and Lover of International Rights, Modern Peace-loving, Law-abiding Japan. Funny, looks remarkably like a detention centre for darkies and A-rabs. Couldn't be, not here.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Making a splash at the Daily Yomiuri, oh, and how is that cult novel coming along Ourmani?

Anybody still reading this blog? Actually quite a few, according to the hits counter down there on the left. In fact, if you could be arsed to click on it, you'd see a nice little spike in hits that looks like this:

Golly gosh, what happened on March 1st or so that got everyone so excited? The tsunami that wasn't? Could it have been Our Man's hilarious metaphor joke? (Er, guess again Mr Popular. Hits started crashing from the 4th when you posted that - ed.) No, it was the SCOOP OF THE WEEK. You know, the post about the Daily Yomiuri that all the media types already knew, but Our Man thought was about time that ordinary readers might ought to possibly maybe just a teensy bit be told.

Our Man can only imagine the bollocking that the Daily Gomiuri bucho got after the bean counters read about their own exploits on Japan Probe. Funny how papers love dishing the dirt on others, but not themselves, huh readers? Moral of the story - don't hold on to information, pass it on - in the net age, we all have the keys to the printing press. No matter, Our Man is sure that all the money the Daily Gomiuri is saving from laying off print journos and cutting editions will go into making their English language website the best darned tootin' RESOURCE this side of Japan Times Towers.

Anyway, Our Man just wanted to break (wind? - ed.) radio silence to wallow in self-indulgent twaddle that he'd like to share with his loyal readers all about how his novel is getting on. For those not interested, here's a picture of a Japanese Prime Minister in erotic manga form (oh, sure that will increase the hits - ed.):

Anyway, to make this less tedious for folk who don't like to read more than 140 characters at a time, here's how the novel's going in numerical form:

300 - words Our Man's been trying to write every day
200 - actual words he's been able to write every day
24 - posts he's published (Yes, it's all being written on a blog, though a private one that you can't see. Yet.)
19 - days he's actually written anything for the novel
12 - chapters Our Man reckons he needs to write
5 - pages written on his iPhone
3 - main characters
2 - working titles (Abiko Confidential/That Piece of Shit)
1.5 - chapters written already
0 - pages Our Man is happy with.

That is all for now. As you were.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Pretty good joke about middle aged women authors by Our Woman in Abiko

What's the hardest thing about being a middle aged female author?

You've gotta go through the metaphors.


Monday, 1 March 2010

Days numbered at the Daily Yomiuri

Holy crap, who would have thought the real world (you know the one of falling newspaper circulations and no ad revenue) would have entered the Pravda of Japan, the Daily Yomiuri. Well, the hard times have unofficially hit. Here's what Our Man knows:

1. The boss has been told to trim staff by 25%
2. The paper will be going to one edition in April from the current four.
3. About 10 Yomiuri staff will be shifted out to other parts of the company and 10 contract employees have volunteered to quit.
4. The latest ABC figures for the Daily Yomiuri are down 4,500 to 30,093, probably due to airlines stopping taking the paper for free (if you can't even give it away, what does that tell you about the future of papers?)
5. With only a handful of foreigners left to mop up, Our Man can't wait to see the quality of the writing this April.
6. The poor deluded folk at the Japan Times seem to think there will be a bump in their circulation, and maybe there will be. But, since the Times' ABC figures were down 2,000 to 33,814, the smart money has to be on short-term outlook: brief respite, long-term: YOU IS TOAST.

On a personal note, Our Man has to say he's sorry for the good journos who staff the place, and would heartily advise those left to TAKE THE MONEY WHILE THEY STILL HAVE SOME.

And to all those who find themselves on the other side of the newspaper fold, Our Man can assure you life goes on and is even better than you can possibly imagine, just apply the skills you have learnt to something that pays better (Lord knows that ain't blogging).

Or else, you'll be stuck with this lot - the new Japan Times in-crowd - as the only way to pay the rent. Unless you have the keys to the fancy dress cupboard, you may want to consider a new career.

Pic shows old-school journo looking for jobs in the classifieds. Remember them? (Classifieds or jobs? - ed.)