Click here to go to Day 1 of the 2012 Japan Election Diary.
Beware labels. Just because you've read the label, doesn't mean you know what's inside. And Our Man is not just talking fruitcakes.
Picture a student with a red rash. You needn't picture how he got the rash, just know that it was a rash. And it was red. The student went to the doctor, showed him the rash. The doctor poked it and prodded it, and stroked his chin. Finally he said: "You are suffering from ruber temerarium, come back in a day or two if it gets worse." The student was crestfallen. If it gets worse? He had no idea what was ailing him. And this was in the olden days before the internet. He went to the university library, searched through the card catalogues on the ground floor and found a card for a dictionary of Latin terms. He went to the reference floor on the second floor, found the right shelf and pulled the dusty tome from the shelf, and sat at an empty desk to leaf through the pages until finally he found the right entry. Ruber temerarium... Latin for "red rash."
Labels are reassuring things when you don't have a clue what's inside. Google articles about Japanese politics and you'll find terms like "right-wing" LDP, "left-leaning" DPJ (Our Man's guilty of using that one) as if knowing the label means you know how the fruitcake will taste.
Speaking of fruitcakes, it strikes Our Man that he hasn't introduced the dramatis personae of this morality play he's trying to piece together from the Japan election with bits of string and knotted hankies. He had been hoping, like the good novelist he aspires to be, to let the characters tell their own stories through their actions, and just fill in the gaps. But the candidates don't seem to be doing much of anything, at least as far as Our Man can tell as seen through the ink-stained Influencing Machine of this morning's copy of the Japan Times. Although they did helpfully provide a vox pop about ex-Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara quitting the day job to pursue a career on the national stage, so Our Man will take this as a starting point to do some fact checking by way of introducing OUR POTENTIAL FUTURE PRIME MINISTER.
This blog series
is now a great
Cleaned up and
Guts Pose: Diary of a
features a previously
by me and foreword
by Michael Cucek.
You can buy it here.
that won the Akutagawa Prize -- Japan's Booker Prize -- about a bunch of rich kids gambling, brawling and shagging around, famously through a paper screen. He is not like Japanese men from years gone by, he is a Japanese man from years gone by.
e became an idol to teens who wore their hair long and clipped on sides known as a "Shintaro" cut. Back in the '50s. His debut into international politics by attempting to buy the disputed Senkaku Islands off the coast of China for Tokyo set off a series of missteps that culminated in Beijing and Taiwan rattling sabres, Chinese consumers smashing Toyotas and Japan slipping into recession for the first time since the earthquake. That's leadership.
Do not make the mistake of labelling this fruitcake.
Go to DAY 6