Saturday, August 14, 2004

Vote for which wonderful candidate?

Yea, wonderful was used sarcastically. I cannot vote for Bush because not only has he trashed what I thought were, at least in theory, traditional Republican stances---control of spending etc. (actually this seems to be more of a myth than policy anyway)---he sent our military into Iraq for reasons which he still cannot explain clearly and got nearly 1,000 American soldiers and many, many more Iraqis killed. Having been in the Air Force, this misuse of our military men and women angers me greatly. We will probably lose at least hundreds of more lives in the years before we can leave.

I had thought of voting for Kerry---and am still considering it. However, the more I hear from him, and his allies, the more I want to vote for Ralph Nader as a protest vote. Let's see, Hollywood actors seem to be pulling out the stops to get rid of Bush, and since Kerry happens to be the alternative, get him in office. Wow, the Hollywood candidate. Movie stars for Kerry. Not impressive. Makes me very leary of him. And I won't even mention Kerry's embrace of Michael Moore, who is the left's extremist nutcase answer to Rushy Limbaugh. (Along with Paul Krugman of the NYT).

Then this week Kerry spoke of how he wouldn't have sat for seven minutes after being told of planes hitting the Twin Towers, but would have left and....and what? His explanation for his vote authorizing Bush to decide to invade Iraq is gutless. Legislators use that excuse to duck their duty to declare war or not. This way, if it goes well, they can say they voted for it. If not, they can use the Kerry ploy to say, yea, I voted to allow the president to decide to go to war, but I didn't vote for war. Spineless crap. Now he is talking of troop withdrawals from Iraq!! So let's see, we go invade a country, cause huge damage physically, politically, and socially, then cut and run. Is that what he means? If so, then Ralph will get my vote. He has no chance to win, thank goodness, but he can keep me from puking while voting for one of the others. Oh, and Kerry trying to put on the "I am a hunter and gunowner" act fools nobody. Listen to his deer hunting story---it sounds like a joke, but he was serious. Perhaps someone should take him snipe hunting...

Thursday, August 12, 2004

38 straight days of 30 plus centigrade

A record in Tokyo. Strangely enough, although I have always disliked hot weather and preferred winter and autumn, the heat only bothers me when I go to work. Naturally, I wear a tie which doesn't help.

When I cycle, it doesn't bother me at all. Just take plenty of water--3 liters in a CamelBack, a bottle of sports drink and stop for more if necessary. Rode 54 miles today and never noticed how hot it was. Did get a little dehydrated though.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Aaahhh...the Japanese have a unique love and respect for nature, much more so than other cultures have....Posted by Hello

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Americans never apologize

This is the most recent slur against Americans by many Japanese. It is supposedly because if we apologize, we admit liability and can be sued. This came from the accidental sinking of the Japanese ship near Honolulu by a US Navy sub. According to the Japanese government and especially the press, America did not apologize for that. Remember how many times Bush and others apologized? It got so bad that a lot of columnists--no, not the right wing nutter type--were writing angry columns about us over-apologizing. Especially to a country with a murderous past in WWII in China and other countries. Note that Japan did not apologize to China until 1995--50 years after the war ended.

The skipper of the sub came to Japan a year or so later, after the court-martial to personally apologize. Many of the families refused to see him, saying that if he had been sincere he would not have waited a year. As soon as I heard that, I understood why the Chinese do not trust nor accept the Japanese apology. After 50 years? Obviously insincere. In fact, for many politicians of the nutty rightwing here, which includes many factions and supporters of the ruling LDP, do not see anything wrong with what they did in China. Nanjing is a Chinese and American lie anyway, they claim.

Anyway, Americans and Japanese apologize for very different things. Americans don't apologize for some things that Japanese normally apologize for, and visa versa. Japanese, for example, will intentionally or accidentally bump into you, push you, step on your foot, perhaps even knock you down, and will not utter a single word of apology--well a large percentage won't. Especially on the train. Apparently, all personal responsibility ends once you enter. Knock down granny before she knocks you down. This behavior often applies on sidewalks too.

However, they will apologize for things that seem trivial, and puzzling to Americans. For example, some students while learning English will apologize for making a mistake. Drives me nuts. Apologies, all the time, everywhere if you are a customer or temporarily in somebody's consciousness. But if it is something big, hell will freeze over before you get an apology. Ask China.

(Since our excursion into Iraq, and the perverted, criminal behavior of a few of our MPs there, it has become harder to criticize Japanese actions in WWII. The dodge is to switch the argument to the U.S. actions. It seems whatever the US does serves as an excuse for anything Japan does or has ever done. There is little sense among many of the possibility that Japan was wrong in its actions no matter what other countries do or did.)

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Gaijin...urrrrg! I despise that word

Contrary to many simple minded non-Japanese, that word does not simply mean foreigner. Gaikokujin is a respectable word for foreigner. Gaijin is often preceded by the word baka, or idiot. The word is at least slightly derogatrory and you won't hear someone who is trying to be polite to you call you a gaijin.

Until very recently, the word was only used when referring to people of European descent. (Many Japanese view us with favor and deference compared to how they view non-whites. That in itself is quite disgusting). Now, it is supposedly being used for all races and nationalities---at least that is what some of the English language newspapers say. (Often these papers serve as explainers and apologists for unpleasant Japanese realities to gullible foreigners).

One interesting thing is that when I was in college in the US, most Japanese there would refer to Americans in general as gaijin. Now if that bigoted word means foreigner, why the hell were foreigners (Japanese) in America calling American citizens foreigners?

Gaijin literally means outside person. Traditionally, and even today, to be outside the group is very uncomfortable for most Japanese. In fact, ostracism used to be a severe punishment in old Japan and still serves that purpose today. The outsider in the American way of thinking has been viewed as an attraction, often someone fighting for good. That wasn't and isn't the Japanese point of view. So the next time someone calls you a gaijin, put an end to it fast. I do. And for goodness sake, if you are a foreigner don't run around calling yourself a gaijin. If you insist on doing so, place the aforementioned baka in front of it. It will then describe you better.

A family death 10,000 odd miles away

For the second time this year, there has been a death in my family. On January 4th, it was my aunt Daisy who died at least 10 years early from smoking related causes. Last Thursday, my uncle Blaine, a retired Washington D.C. Metropolitan PD detective died 10 or so years early from a heart attack. He too, had smoked since he was a teenager.
Since I won't be able to go back for the funeral, I can just sit here with memories of him. He was a man whom I greatly respected. He achieved a lot with his life, something not easily for people born and raised in rural West Virginia. I am especially sorry that I hadn't seen him for about 15 years.