Friday, 31 December 2010

MASAYUKI TAKAYAMA: PINA COLADA OF WAR CRIME DENIERS



You know, one of the many joys of being here at the helm of this virtual bunker, apart from the freedom to mix metaphors along with the cocktails (what Mildred doesn't know about malt and condensed milk isn't worth knowing, chums), is coming across someone that other English speakers (and Americans) might not be aware of. It seems a shame that we speakers of the global language have missed out on the wit and wisdom of one Masayuki Takayama.

Funny that he has no Wikipedia page in English, him being such a prolific author in Japanese and all. To get a measure of the man, here are some of his published works, with their English titles in tag cloud format, though you can't click on any of them 'cos, Our Man can't seem to find them on Amazon for some reason:

Sadam Hussein Was a Great Man (2007) Is Aung San Suu Kyi a Good Person? (2008) George Bush Saved Japan (2008) Is President Obama a Black? (2009) Lincoln The Great Liked Slaves (2010) How Good is Japan? (2008) How Awful is the US? (2009)

You could say the chap likes to be contrary, and that's a quality Our Man certainly approves of, although unlike Takayama, Our Man also likes to blend contrariness with, er, how you say, the truth. But this chap is a published writer, a journo no less, and gets regular paying gigs.

Anyway, thank goodness for the diligent folk at The Point, a Washington think tank that actually appears to do a bit of thinking, rather than tanking up at neo-con hors d'heuvre-athons. They have a full translation of Takayama's latest masterwork about the Bataan Death March. But here, gentle reader, are a few bits taken from the start of his piece that give you a taste of a master at the height of his powers:

Jewish people are assiduous and are never slack in their studies... the so-called Bataan Death March... Japan was eventually provoked into a war... It was obvious the U.S. had Japan in the palm of its hand. And so as scheduled, war broke out.

Oh yeah, and the Japanese didn't torture anyone. Gary Cooper did. Japanese don't torture people. Yanks do. Like Gary Cooper. And US troops in Iraq. (OK, by the law of averages, he got one right). Japan was the true victim in the war. The folk who claim otherwise are liars.

So he's a loon, and is entitled to his corner of the internut, just like OUR MAN, you say. Only his contrarian bollocks was carried in the national weekly magazine Shukan Shincho, which folk can buy at any station news kiosk or 7-11 in the land.

Now, Takayama is free to build a large, ignorant audience by arguing Japan was the victim of the war, always treated its prisoners with the utmost decorum, has no need to apologise or believe pesky foreigners who for some reason are not satisfied with Japan's lack of reckoning with its own past...

He is also free to stick an umbrella up his arse and call himself a pina colada, but that doesn't make it so.

Anyway, Our Man hopes he has done his bit for international understanding by bringing such a talented chap to a wider, international audience.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

TOP 10 LIST, YAWN, BUT IT'S BETTER THAN NOTHING. MAYBE



Look, Our Man realises neither you, nor he, nor your dog, wants a sodding reheated Top 10 list. But it's so easy to do. Anyway, here are the Top 10 favourite posts this year, or possibly all time, according to you, the clicking public, according to Our Man's Blogger widget thing. But not the favourites according to the Japan Times sports department, methinks. Ho Hum. It's the people's choice, baby, it's out of Our Man's hands.

Anyway, make do with these reheated leftovers, and Our Man will unopen something as yet unopened.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

DON'T SAY OUR MAN NEVER GIVES YOU ANYTHING



Yeah it's Christmas, but you didn't need Our Man to tell you that. It's customary at this time of year to suss out what happened of great import over the year (not a lot) and make pointless predictions about next year (can't be bothered). Instead, here are a couple of things to look out for in the coming exciting weeks here on Our Man in Abiko:

Hoping for an OurmaniLeaks series into the happy clappy antics of your favourite (and Our Man's) lay Buddhist sects.
An in-depth piss-take of a popular Japanese Nationalist who thinks Japanese war atrocities are the fault of Garry Cooper (Our Man kids you not).

An in-depth, no holds barred grappling with the race for Abiko Mayor in January. That's pretty soon, so better figure out who is running.


In the meantime, Merry Christmas.



Tuesday, 21 December 2010

ON HEARING ASSANGE HAS SOLD MEMOIRS

NOTHING ON CABLE 'BOUT JAPAN




OK, Our Man realises that you are sick to the back teeth of the WikiLeaks line dance; it's like natto - you either love it or hate it. But in the interests of BALANCE on this left leaning blog, here's why you should hate Wikileaks:

1) Assangawhatshisface is an arrogant arse, a sort of tuneless good-looking younger Bono, the self-appointed demi-god of DDOS (no, don't know what that means either- Ed.)
2) The Cables ENDANGER LIVES - such as the bloke accused of leaking the files and St. Julian. The hundreds of thousands of ordinary folk killed in Iraq and Afghanistan remain dead, thank God, so they won't be endangered by this highly irresponsible leakage of information that, if anyone gave a shit, would kill DEAD a few political careers at least.
3) You cannot trust the public to understand the subtleties of Great Power politics; why it is necessary to prop up Tyranicalsurus Rexes to protect the democratic dinosaur is beyond the average punter. So for goodness sake, don't CLICK HERE and search the database of cables made public for anything you care about.
5) Because then you would be self-educating yo'self back to the stone age. Democracy isn't about that. You might not understand so stop trying to figure it out. You might make the wrong conclusions.
6) Democracy is too valuable a concept to actually practice.
4) Just keep pumping the gas in the minivan, drive to the mall and buy some plastic shit for Christmas. You put the boy in cowboy. Don't tread on my Galaxy.
5) PayPal is great.
6) And Mastercard.
7) And Bank of America.
8) Oh, bollocks the numbering's gone all awry. And the colour scheme.
10) Whatever, just watch the video, will ya?


Sunday, 19 December 2010

WIKILEAKS VITAL INTERESTS IN JAPAN: ABIKO OFF THE RADAR



Our Man has WikiLeaks envy. According to the chaps at Tokyo Digital Journalism, WikiLeaks has released a list of strategically important stuff in Japan VITAL to the well-being of every man, woman and child of the United States. The VITAL assets include undersea cables (yawn) and, er, ports (yawn) in Japan. Japanese Apple pie recipes are apparently not VITAL and do not appear in the report.

Now, of course, it would be highly irresponsible of Our Man to advertise exactly which cables and ports are VITAL to the interests of the United States because then the terrorists would learn that, for example, the Port of Chiba is apparently VITAL to the Yanks, so you'll just have to click on the link above and find the details your goodselves.

But really, are these assets really of any baring to the well-being of the United States? Maybe if the terrorists took out the Port of Chiba, shipments of 3-D TVs to the trailer parks of the South before Christmas might be NEGATIVELY IMPACTED. OVER.

But Our Man doubts it.

So what's the point of the list? Is it just an inventory of what's what in America's kingdom, ala Norman the Conqueror's Domesday Book? Is it a Christmas shopping list of things to get for the country that already has everything? Is it the work of a bored State Dept lackey who wrote down any old shit just to keep the higher-ups happy? Your guess is as good as Our Man's (probably better, actually). But:

Abiko was not mentioned. The cradle of civilisation that is Abiko did not even merit a "mostly harmless" mention.

Not. Even. Once.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

OUR MAN'S SPIFFY NEW LOOK



Don't know why Our Man bothers. Maybe you can figure out what he's about, Lord knows he's given you all enough source material by now to get your pop psychology teeth into. But anyway, he digresses.

Don't know why Our Man bothers, BUT, he can now do a LOOK AT MY SWANKY NEW BLOG LAYOUT post because he's fairly confident this is how it's gonna look for the foreseeable future. But, as every hack headline-writer knows, The Future is Uncertain. It always is, being the future and all. It's like that refrain that passes for wisdom in less advanced places than Abiko: "You always find what you've lost in the last place you look." Of course you sodding do, because once you've found it, you stop looking.

And Our Man is going to stop looking for the ideal layout. (See what he did there? Ed.) This is what you are gonna get. The long list of blogs that Our Man hardly ever clicked on in the Age of Twitter has gone, though a streamlined one, whose arteries will no doubt soon be clogged up again, is being ably held together by Our Man's slinky assistant Mildred, whose silhouette appears on the Agents Provocateurs page.

Other less-than-exciting changes include adding a few Field Agents including Good and Bad Japan and Politicomix who both were left off the Greater Abiko Co-Prosperity Sphere's payroll for no reason Our Man can ascertain. Our Man's handlers move in mysterious ways.

Gone also are: the three clocks telling the time in London, New York and Abiko; the quotes of the day; and Yahoo translate. Oh, and labels. Basically Our Man jettisoned anything he never used.

But enough about ME. What about YOU?

Ha. Just kidding. Our Man has dreamed of churning out funny over-priced T-Shirts for the masses, and he may do that virtually and stick a link on the strapline, but other than that, this is what ya gonna get.

Loads faster at least, huh?

Less is more ohhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

LIFE COACH: THE MOVIE



Just experimenting folks. Do not be alarmed. Trying out this to see if it's got legs. Yes, yes, back to the novel tomorrow.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

TOKYO HOOTERS: NEITHER BROTHEL NOR BISTRO



Orange.

Neither red hot, nor yellow-bellied: it's somewhere in-between, a perfect corporate colour for Hooters, which just opened its first branch in Tokyo.

But then you already knew it was here, right? Someone in Hooters Ministry of Propaganda has been doing his (or could it possibly be a her?) job spreading its hot wings among the bloggers, tweeters and papers (remember them?) in the last month or so.

Anyway, you may well ask what on earth a fairly past-it bloke like Our Man was doing there. He was there to infiltrate a cell of journalists, of course, and he'd be lying if he said he didn't enjoy himself. But, butt butt...

Correct Our Man if he's wrong, but didn't we do the whole 70s thing, you know, back in the 70s? That whole women-as-sex-objects thing. And orange.

Oh, but this time it's ironic, so it's OK.

Tee hee, how the feminists must be laughing. See, this time round it can't be sexist because the young ladies were smiling. Of course the whole place was staffed with pretty young female things. Our Man did spot a man, and a woman who wasn't dressed like Daisy Duke who appeared to be over 30, but presumably they were performing the role of Mama-san and her eunuch there to keep the girls from getting out of order. You know how girls just wanna have fun, huh?

Fun. Yes, that would be the post-feminist empowerment thing. These young ladies were having fun. They wanted to be the objects of the male customers' attention, because that's empowering. It's OK being a sex object if you want to be, you goooo girl. Flash your tits, wobble your arse, while the Hooters honchos charge over the odds for food as tasteful as the orange ceiling; it's all just a bit of fun. Yes, how much spontaneous fun the girls must be having when they launch North Korean-like into a synchronised arse wobbling, tits shaking clappy dance thing.

So there was Our Man at a table of middle-aged chaps as the 20-somethings had their little bit of fun. So, what's the problem Our Man? Aren't you a man? Isn't this male paradise on Earth? Aren't you supposed to leer when a young lady flashes her cleavage at you on the house? What kind of a man are you Our Man, if you feel uncomfortable ogling the girls?

The kind of man who wants to ogle on his own terms, not the corporation's. The kind of man who is old enough to be the girls' father. The kind of man who likes to keep things simple.

Look, you want to sell sex, open a brothel. Want to sell food, open a restaurant.

Don't give Our Man the Disneyized version that's neither.

And they weren't showing any football on the telly.

OURMANILEAKS: NOT MAKING THIS UP

Hey, howdya like the new Cable-Friendly layout?

Don't care if you do or don't, but the thing loads loads faster. While Our Man gets stuck in to his Hooters post, why not enjoy this surely best-of WikiLeaks cable. Tell you what, the US State Department rocks. The writer could get a job here, if Our Man was hiring.


Secret handshake The Guardian.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Sun sets on Asahi English language paper



So, time's up for the Asahi Shimbun English language paper. Our Man understands that management informed staff a few hours ago that the Asahi (is it still Evening News? Daily Thing? Morning Glory?) will print its last English paper on February 28th.

That's really all Our Man knows, but allow him to string this report out ala Daily Mail style just to get the column inch count up (such things used to be important, sob):

1. They are gonna keep pumping out whatever they do in English on Kindles and iPads.
2. Not sure if any of the good folk at the Asahi High Command have explained what an iPad is to any of the staff.
3. The International Herald Tribune thing (the Grey Lady's plainer sister) will continue to be printed, but sans the five-page slip of the locally produced Asahi English rag.
4. Who knows what the impact on jobs will be, but you can bet it won't be good.
5. OK, the IHT was always a better read than the Asahi, but still.
6. The last time Our Man actually bought a copy was over a year ago. And then he skimmed past the dull Asahi stuff to read the slightly less dull IHT stuff. So Our Man feels a pang of responsibility for failing to support the paper.
7. Back in 2001 or so the great exodus of God's People from the poisoned chalice of the Daily Yomiuri to the Asahi began. But despite the Asahi's reputation as a left-wing paper and the Yom's as the Ministry of LDP Truth, actually, folk in the know said it was a lot more fun at the Daily Yom than the Promised Land.
8. The mind boggles.
9. Our Man is sorry though to see the end of another locally produced English language publication. Er, that is, he is so happy they are embracing a digital future. But really, someone needs to tell them about Google, facebook, twitter, RSS readers and such before they embark on this perilous trip into digital obscurity.
10. And lord knows, the pressure to abandon print on the last two local English language dailies in Japan - the Daily Yomiuri and the Japan Times - must be intense.

For all our sakes, Our Man hopes the bean counters don't prevail.

Once it's gone, it ain't coming back.