Wednesday, 26 September 2012

SHINZO ABE II: RETURN TO JURASSIC PARK


Just when Our Man thought he was on the sidelines, the goalposts moved and he found himself back on the field of play. (What are you on about? Since when did you know the first thing about sports? - ed)

Back in April, by a strange twist of fate, Our Man found himself in possession of a ticket to attend a fund-raiser for the right wing Machimura Faction -- if not the beating heart, then the pacemaker of the Liberal Democratic Party which was at the heart of the Japanese political establishment until four years ago. Whether its heart was still beating after the political defeat of 2008, was doubtful. The seismic shock of losing the election to the left-leaning Democratic Party of Japan had sent the right wing toppling off the political stage. Until the earthquake in March 2011 knocked everyone off their stride.

Our Man was one of 3,000 people* at Tokyo Prince Hotel gathered to welcome the new recruits for the various Diet races that would play out that year, but really it felt like they were there to pay their last respects to the faction that had brought us prime ministers Koizumi, Fukoda and Abe. Certainly the smell of institutional stewed vegetables was strong.

Dinosaurs one and all. I thought. We all thought. But it seems one of them has come back to life.

Shinzo Abe just won re-election as President of the LDP. A blue blood of Japanese politics, and a whipper-snapper at 58, he was a prime minister for a year in 2006. His Dad was a pol and his grandad was a prime minister, and former member of the Tojo cabinet. The guy's a legacy pol, with very unpleasant tendencies. 

And now he's back in with a shot at being Prime Minister. Again. And here's why it's bad. And here's why it's very bad.

*They were people. But don't think that they were what you and Our Man typically think of as a bunch of people - men, women, boys and girls, young and old, gay, straight, Abikan and non-Abikan, no. This was no representative bunch of people. Around 98% were men. And an even higher percentage were considerably past the retirement age. So it would be more accurate, though cruel, to say it was a mass funeral waiting to happen.

Friday, 21 September 2012

THE USSR, AND MY Y-FRONTS' PART IN ITS DOWNFALL



The girls were watching members of AKB48 personally test the springability of various celebrity transvestites' plastic surgery bits on prime time TV over at the mother-in-law's tonight, and Our Man realised he has been feeling a bit more out of it than usual.

Granted, this is not unusual for Our Man, he does on the whole enjoy his splendid isolation, but every now and then it's good to catch up with the rest of the world. But after attempting to see it from Mitt Romney's perspective, Our Man was accused on Twitter of being a gaijin with untrustworthy insights into Japan. Which was quite insulting, until he came round to the view that, yes, he is a gaijin and yes, his views on Japan are untrustworthy. Though what that all had to do with Mitt the Younger, he couldn't follow. Well, that's the limits of 140 characters for you. 

Anyway, here's a link that you probably all know about, but just in case you all are as out of it as Our Man is, here it is anyway: 


They have 40,000 out-of-copyright books that you can download to your ereader. Our Man picked up for his Kindle a War and Peace, a couple of Twain essays, Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, a couple of H.G. Wells novels and some Sherlock Holmes adventures all for free. You can't help but go high-brow when everything is published pre-1923.

Which is all marvelous, but distracts, like this blog post, from the main task at hand, which is to finish writing an essay on Tokyo Disneyland, North Korea and the true story of Our Man's Y-fronts and their part in the downfall of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or the Socialist Soviet Republics, Our Man forgets the right order at this time of the morning. 

One interesting fact that Our Man stumbled upon in the course of researching (researching?? - ed) the essay: Bet you can't guess (unless you can read numbers bolded up in green later on in this post) the bar tab that "the father of Tokyo Disneyland" ran up, just in the first month of land purchase negotiations with a bunch of Urayasu fishermen? It was back in 1961, but in today's money it would be worth...

$80,000

Pretty good considering you can't find a drop of liquor in Tokyo Disney for love or money these days. And negotiations dragged on for nine years.

Anyway, Our Man is going to offer the essay to Granta for first refusal. Hopefully they will refuse it sharpish, then Our Man will publish it asap as an Amazon single. You have been warned.

Carry on.

Monday, 17 September 2012

THE INNOCENCE OF THE GOATS: SENKAKU QUESTION ANSWERED


The girls in the typing pool are all a flutter over some new movie that has been doing the rounds. Apparently it features Tokyo Governor Nantoka Ishihara dressed as Mao Tse Dong committing diplomatic relations on a panda on the disputed Senkaku islands' famed topless beach. The panda is believed to be Chinese, sources close to the panda speaking on condition of anonymity said. Our Man urges all right-minded citizens to look the other way. It is entirely possible the panda is a goat. It could in fact be a Korean goat in a panda suit, a so-called Comfort Goat, although Osaka Governor Hashimoto said there is no evidence to prove the existence of panda-suited goats (that's quite enough of that. Got anything serious to say? - ed)


OK, the solution to the Senkakus in three words...

Move Ishihara there.

If the Tokyo governor loves the bloody place so much, he can bloody well live there, killing several flightless seabirds with one stone. The islands would be populated, Tokyo can be free of the senile old coot, and Japan will be happy to hand the islands over to the Chinese as long as they promise to keep him there with a never-ending supply of Comfort Goats. Think of it as Napoleon and St Helena (or "The Senility of the Lambs?" think about it - ed.)

Win win, baby.

Carry on.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

DOES THE SUN NEVER SET ON MURDOCH'S EMPIRE?




What with the Middle East in flames and Japan vowing to ditch nukes by 2030, or until the political climate changes, Our Man dropped the ball on the other massive story, the Hillsborough findings. If you have no clue what that is all about, you could do no worse than checking in with Agent Jo over at Ten Minutes Hate who has an excellent summary of what it's all about, from the Scouse perspective. She promises she'll have more to say once she's made it through the whole report.

Our Man's interest in the story, apart from enjoying watching the establishment squirm, is in seeing the truth about the cancer that is Rupert Murdoch'S form of journalism being exposed. Of course, brothers and sisters, the apologists are out in force, their arguments are along the lines that:
  1. We knew no better at the time
  2. It was just a rogue editor
  3. You can't blame the current Murdoch minions, it was such a long time ago.
  4. Besides, there are worse papers now, such as the Daily Mail and The Telegraph and The Star
To which Our Man responds:
  1. Anyone who bothered to check at the time would have known what we know now.
  2. Just a rogue editor. Just rogue reporters. Just a rogue chairman of the board. Just a rogue senior copper or two. Hmmm. How many does rogues does it take to become a perversion of justice? How many perversions until it's a conspiracy?
  3. Any journo who willingly took the Murdoch dollar since the 1980s did so leaving their morality at the door. Any journo who claims they didn't know (or likely didn't care) ain't much of a journo in Our Man's estimation.
  4. No doubt. But two wrongs don't make a right and all that.
Our Man isn't advocating a lynching of the tabloid journo or any hate mob fired up on righteous indignation. Just a fair appraisal of who the real villains are in this piece. And Billy Bragg has it pretty much spot on:

International executives
They hang their heads in shame 
And tell us with their hands on hearts 
The paper boy's to blame 
But everyone who loves that kiss-and-tell
You must share the blame as well

Carry on.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

UNDERCOVER OF THE MOB



So, seems there is much more to the Libya killings than an idiot preacher's rants and the idiot mobs' response. Our Man will respectfully butt out of this, since he clearly has no idea what's what, and has no intention of running for President, so has the luxury of shutting up. Anyway, here's a link to show the attacks were premeditated and the mob thing was just a cover. But then, if you are reading OMIA for breaking news, then the fourth estate is more severely fucked than even Our Man had imagined.

Carry on.

LET'S NOT GO TO WAR OVER THIS SHITTY VIDEO


It would be comically surreal if some really decent people hadn't been killed by the mob over such a shitty video. Our Man hasn't watched it all the way through, it was turgid beyond belief. Go on check it out for yourself, a 13 minute excerpt is here. Dare you to make it as far as that screen grab.

The whole thing is predictably shitty. The shitty acting, the shitty dialogue, the shitty direction, the shitty intention behind the video, the shitty, predictable reactions to the whole thing. And want to know what's really shitty? Our Man has to go to bat for this piece of crap as an expression of free speech. Look, it's a piece of incendiary crap, but how many of the screaming mob actually saw it, or just decided to go out and vent at the nearest American target?

Our Man has no inside intel to offer and he never discusses any matters of intelligence on this blog, you know the drill, but...

If your omnipotent God (talking to all you monotheists out there) is so thin-skinned that this piece of crap merits the death of, by all accounts, a decent bloke, and in pre-terror days, possibly elicit a declaration of war, then, well, Our Man can only suggest you find another imaginary friend to follow who's a good deal less touchy.

But as shitty as this video is, and as silly as all religions are, we really can't have folks killing ambassadors over it. And Our Man doesn't really think it was anything other than a pretext for the anti-American mob. The only other pretext could be to promote "pastor" Terry Jones' hate-filled agenda under the fig leaf of free speech.

Our Man finds it hard to see any qualitative difference between Terry Jones and Osama Bin Laden. Or put it this way, Jones is doing Bin Laden's bidding.

Such is the state of Our Man's addled mind. Can some sane, rational adults please find a way to keep the crazies in check?

Carry on.

Monday, 3 September 2012

BACK TO SCHOOL FOR OUR MAN


As Our Man types this little note, Our Woman is feverishly sewing the last stitches in a bag for Our Littlest One's earthquake protection hat (see pic here) that all elementary school kids are issued with, but hopefully will never need. Again.

And it's back to school for Our Man. The sweatfest of August is history, and he can get on with the important stuff. Like, er, well lots of stuff. He's got an outline of his next essay. It's about Tokyo Disneyland. Well, it's ostensibly about the place, but it's more about North Korea; the crossovers between capitalism and communism; and the nature of slavery. Something for everyone. Er, that is, it's a small world after all, eh readers?

And Our Man should really get back into following what's going on over here politically. There are a couple of things that have finally got through his thick skull:

  1. The Japanese government is less a ship of state than a fibre-glass swan paddle boat adrift in the Abikan inland sea.
  2. And the opposition is no better.
  3. Where does that leave Japan?
  4. When the Yomiuri Shimbun drops the opposition Liberal Democratic Party to go courting Hashimoto, the "charismatic" "unaligned" "populist" "nutjob", and you can actually see why...
  5. ... then you know we are in trouble.
Our Man humbly suggests we all ought to sit up and make sure our papers are in order. Shisaku has an excellent post about the rise of Hashimoto -- yes H-san is a Comfort Women Denier. See also this excellent piece about Hashimoto by Spike Japan, rapidly becoming Our Man's favourite essayist. Well, of essayists who are still alive at least. Speaking of which, it's about time that Armchair Asia rose from the dead and weighed in too, the political dialogue here has veered, no doubt much to her dismay, into her territory. 

Abiko expects.

Well, you have your orders, what are you waiting for? Carry on.