Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Who's YOUR Abiko employee of the week????

Forgive Our Man for getting his angles wrong on this photo, but he was doing all he could not to lose his identity to the soggy salt-pretzel the Abiko rainy season turns everyone into. He's not sure what he snapped. He reckons it's one of two options:

a) The candidates for election on July 11th to the Upper House of Thingamies that sort of does what the House of Lords does in Britain, except they vote for their time-servers over here.

b) A brilliant new cheap but highly motivating Employee of the Week competition for Abiko's Convenience Store of Choice, 7-11, to motivate their brilliant cheap new employees.

Either way, it always worries Our Man that in these promo pics, you can never see what these worthies are doing with their hands.

Enquiring minds would like to know.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Naoto Kan and the empty jars under the kitchen sink

Hey, folks remember Our Man? He barely does, what with all the humidity and that competition that Bully Beef England and the Yankee Doodles are not so good at, but rest assured, there is a proper post in the making (that'll be the day - ed.)

Our Man was catching up on his philosophy the other day. Some lesson about filling a glass jar with golf balls, stones, sand and cups of coffee. He forgets now what each item represented, but the moral of the story was: if you fill your jar with sand, you won't have enough room for all your golf balls.

Our Man doesn't own any golf balls, though he does have a lot of empty glass jars. He's fairly sure one of these days Our Woman will find a use for them other than as items to decorate the shelf under the kitchen sink.

While you're waiting for Our Man to finish his novel, here's a serious link about Blair's legacy on Kan and Japanese politics, and here's a saucy one about aging OL sex in Japan. Oh, the ying and the yang of which one to click on. Ohhhhhm.

Pic lifted from here.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Naoto Kan and the hot Ramen Girl of Democracy

A week in Abiko is a long time (especially if you spend it getting up at 3.30am to watch England draw with ex-colonies in the World Cup). Here is all the news printed to fit. With NO SUBLIMINAL ADVERTISING AT ALL:

1. Our Man would like to report that Abikans are excited about the forthcoming elections for the Upper House of Thingamies in July. He'd like to, but they are not.
2. He did spot one Happiness Realization Party poster, and even an LDP poster, though think that has been there since the last proper elections back in August.
3. Our Man noticed the DPJ poster (above, on the side of a ramen noodle shop next to his local 7-11), because their candidate is HOT. Saw her at Abiko Grand Central Station shouting her name into a microphone recently, and while his second Vulcan earlid instantly blocked out the racket, he could not so easily ignore the image of her white-gloved fingers caressing her microphone. Ahhh, democracy.
4. The Kan factor. So Greater Abiko had a new leader, Naoto Kan. He's not wildly unpopular, has not done or said anything stupid and Jake Adelstein, author of the bestselling Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan, thanks to his immersive reporting, readers suffer with him through the choice between personal safety and a chance to confront the evil inhabiting his city available at all good bookstores and online at Amazon and probably Jake's eBay store too, has met him twice and reckons he's a sound bloke.
5. That's good enough to crack Our Man, but his fellow Abikans have tougher nuts.
6. See, what exactly is Kan gonna do? Nobody cares about Futenma, so forget whatever he has or hasn't said about that. There is talk of doubling consumption tax (VAT) to 10 percent AFTER the election. This apparently is such a brilliant idea, because, er, the LDP were gonna do it but chickened out. Because it is a shite idea. Poor folks (like Our Man) will just buy less while the corporations get a tax break. More on that here.
7. Also, why can't we have candidates in Greater Abiko more like this fella from the Home Of Democracy:

8. Oh God. Run out of things to say, and still two more bullet points to go.
9. Hey, Our Man was asked the other day what his favourite Japan Times page was, and he of course answered the World Page, but no, think it's gotta be the Time Out page on Sundays, mainly because it carries columns by Philip Brasor (including this excellent roundup of envelopes stuffed with cash to journos - chance would be a fine thing - ed.) and a new one by Michael Hoffman that looks like it might get good.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Kan't we all just get along?

Now, Our Man wouldn't want to be accused of bashing the Japan Times. He does, after all, subscribe and often even reads it. So, in the interests of editorial balance (aka kissing up to the Media Elite - ed.) he will say this - he enjoyed these two headlines:

Belgian waffle (teaser today about a Belgian pol giving up on the bilingual nation)

Citizen Kan (couldn't fathom the Monday column's biblical metaphors, but liked the headline)

Monday, 14 June 2010

World Cup: A letter to the Sports Editor of the Japan Times

To: Jack Gallagher, Sports Editor, Japan Times
From: Ourmani Nabiko

I just wanted to commend The Japan Times' coverage of minority sports.

I have been a subscriber for almost three years now, and I have always been impressed with the number of back page leads devoted to figure skating, volleyball and sports played only in one country.

I am mightily impressed that this devotion to minority interest games has not diminished with the advent of the so-called World Cup. That the rest of the world (and even some fanatics in the USA) has been waiting four years for this occasion, that nationalities, accounting for damn near your entire newspapers' readership have sent teams and that sports lovers from all those countries spend so much of their time talking about their respective teams' merits, it is fantastic that you have devoted your department's energies to the oft neglected sports.

On the eve of the World Cup, rather than produce a lavish pullout-and-keep World Cup special, with all its tiresome ad revenue and giving readers what they want, you instead took the brave decision to devote your valuable newsprint real estate to a chap with a stick and a ball who had hit the ball a lot. Or caught lots of balls, I forget which now. And rather than produce a wall chart with fun facts and figures that your loyal readers could stick on their workplace cubicles, effectively advertising the Japan Times to all who pop round to talk about the World Cup (or maybe even that chap who had hit or caught a lot of balls) you wittily stuffed a stock AP graphic beneath the stick man and his ball and called it a "wallchart". How funny, because it actually was the right size (without folding) to fit straight into my office wastepaper bin.

However, I note with distaste that for two days running now you have devoted the back page to that mainstream sport (soccer?) I do hope this trend does not continue. Just imagine if your newspaper consistently led the back page with non-stock-wire analyses of the games ahead; that you had a witty daily column written by, let's say for argument's sake, a fan of soccer; or that you had a fun where-to-watch-the-game-tonight that could be sponsored by local bars and restaurants.

Just Imagine!

Never mind, Japan will probably be out of the tournament in a week, followed shortly afterwards by the rest of the English speaking world, so when you do grudgingly have to cover the latter stages of the Cup, only Spanish, Portuguese and German speakers will be left in the tournament, and your English language readers will no longer care.

Excellent strategy, well played!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Japan Times sports desk: Another own goal

This all will be old hat if you have been keeping up with Our Man's pebble-dash Twitter flow, but just thought you old school blog readers might need something for the weekend.

1. All this BP oil in the ocean. Is it any worse for the planet that it's polluting the sea, rather than being burnt and polluting the air (or smeltified into Barbie dolls and polluting my daughters' impressionable minds?) (It's not an either or - we can still do both! - ed.)
2. Whoever is in charge of the Japan Times sports coverage needs re-educating in a News gulag. Our Man couldn't give a monkey's whether the JT thinks doing a proper World Cup wallchart is beneath them; that baseball or ice hockey is more worthy of their attention - YOU ARE WRONG. With a capital R. Yanks may be luke warm about the whole silly "soccer" thing. Fine. They are more than welcome to their interminable baseball stats and golf stories and ice skating and whatnot every day for the next four years, but please please find someone in the department with a clue about footy. If you can't find an American with the patience for it, just grab any Japanese/European/African/S. American off the street and get them to layout the sports pages for the next month. They couldn't do any worse.
3. Even the Daily Yomiuri understands the simple equation: World Cup pullouts sell ads and papers, keeping everyone in Otemachi in shochu.
4. Is the JT trying to drive everyone to their nearest iPhone free World Cup app?
5. Memo to JT: You are in a penalty shoot-out for your survival. So stop scuffing the ball up your own backside.
6. Something or other about Naoto Kan. Oh, another day.

And, yes Our Man shall be writing a strongly worded letter to the JT sports editor shortly.

Pic lifted from here.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Mr K - are you A-Team or B-Team?

Sorry, got nothing funny for you folks today, but felt the urge to post something as the Kan Kan girl is showing her, er, age.

Why not try two equally valid but opposite views on Greater Abiko's new top banana Naoto Kan:

You want Our Man to decide who's right? Jeez, Our Man Solomon says cut these babies down the middle and take your pick. His heart says the A-Team, his head says the B-Team.

You be the judge, fool.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Punning the PM: Threat Alert Levels set (aka We Kan Do Better)

So looks like Naoto Kan will be annointed "leader" of the DPJ rabble sometime today and Lo, formerly lost sheep Japan will be on course for the promised land again.

Now, Our Man is a forgiving sort. He says go in peace to all those who have made the Wrath of Kan pun. Not bad. Great movie poster spoof, up to a point (Our Man didn't get the wrath bit, or the flying diet building, but at short notice it was a damned good effort by the J-boggerati. OK, Our Man admits it. He's pissed off he didn't think of it first).

But this "Yes we Kan" business has got to stop. Enough already. If we simply must pun his name (oh, we simply must - ed.), Kan headline writers be a bit more original? With this in mind here's Our Man's handy traffic-light themed pun Threat Alert Level guide for journos and discerning readers alike:

Yes we Kan!
Who can? Naoto Kan!

Wrath of Kan
Kan I get a witness?
Do the Kan Kan

Kan of worms
Kan recycled
Kan festival
Tin Kan ally

Pic lifted from here.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Last chance to write Hatoyama in a headline

Wow, a day in Japanese politics is a long time. Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama quit Wednesday lunchtime and the nation is (slightly maybe a bit) more rudderless than before. Shame, because Our Man had just in the last few days been able to write his first name without having to check it wasn't his brother, Harry, the Second Earl of Bridgestone. A skill that sadly will no longer be needed, now that the word "Hatoyama" will ne'er be spake again outside of learned academic J-blogs. The talk is already on to who will be his replacement.

But before we move on, let's take a moment to appreciate all that Hatoyama has achieved:


Our Man is all Hatoyama'd out so, may he leave it to the good folk of Twitter who had the best lines (James in Japan wins the free subscription to Our Man for best line of the day):

Click here and sift through Our Man's Twitter bin if you can't read the iddy biddy text. Oh, but let's go straight to the horse's mouth (lifted from Politicomix)

*Actually Our Man can think of two things: 1. He stopped the dam building, maybe for a bit. 2. He is going to put ¥26,000 in the post every month for Our Man's drin... children's education, maybe for a bit.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Hey, you still here Hatoyama?

Apparently so. But everyone reckons his hours are numbered. Gosh, Our Man will have outlived two Japanese Prime Ministers, one British one and a US President in the last two years.

Liking those stats, LOL (that's not OMIA style, you're supposed to say "tee hee", ass wipe - ed.)