Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bring in the clowns

I made a mistake.

No, I didn't make a mistake when I went out for an early lunch by expecting people who were walking down the sidewalk-less street not to try to force me to into traffic because they didn't want to give me any room. I ain't that dumb.

No, it wasn't a mistake I made a few days ago by not responding to the fellow who informed me that "Japanese don't like to make mistakes. It's both a strong point and weak point of Japanese culture." I did not bother to ask which nationalities do like to make mistakes, because asking such a question would have been a waste of time.

No, the mistake has not been because I have rarely bothered with the predictably simplistic responses of my associates about the Senkaku Island dispute. No surprises there.

My first mistake of the day was to turn on my fine Victor flat-screen TV, wait 5-8 plus seconds for it to load garbage (including spam!) before I could change channels, reduce volume or do anything but curse the day I first saw it.

But the real mistake was to watch what is jokingly referred to as "news" in the US. CBS news in particular.

For this morning CBS' Katie Curic, who is being paid millions of dollars for something, explained to the world what the US could learn from the Japanese education system.

"First thing in the morning, Japanese children bow to their teachers. It's a small gesture that says a lot, reports CBS News correspondent Celia Hatton. "

But wait! It gets even more simplistic and irrelevant to education in the US. Many Japanese would likely call it simplistic and irrelevant to education in Japan.

And ineffective teachers aren't fired or sidelined -- they're given extensive retraining, explains the president of Japan's teachers' union.

"It's impossible for someone to get through the system who is incompetent," said Yuzuru Nakamura, president of Japan's Teachers' Union.

I need to check the definition of the word "incompetent." So do many Japanese who would disagree with Mr. Nakamura. Look at English language teaching in many schools. Remember the stories about JET a few months ago, where one Japanese English teacher used his JET assistant only to read from a book in order to teach pronunciation? Isn't there something deeply wrong with that?

Several years ago, a teacher who repeatedly made racist comments about a student of mixed heritage was retrained and reinstated after 6 months. On the other hand, I have heard of the case of a teacher who, in front of his students admitted to smoking marijuana while in university overseas, was put on administrative duty and banned from ever teaching a class again.

How could any of this be applied in the US? No wonder nobody in their right mind watches that garbage anymore.

Wonder if Katie and friends would be interested in looking at TV news in Japan for lessons US TV news could learn?

Well, at least I did not watch ABC and info hunk David Muir pose, mug, and primp for a story mainly about himself.

Edited 3PM

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Whaling bites back

Apparently having no life, and having run clean out of Torikai shochu, I have spent too much of a cool, clear, harvest-moon evening reading comments on English language news reports concerning the Senkaku dispute. One theme which I have noticed is the number of folks who doubt Japan's version of the collision of Coast Guard and the Chinese fishing vessel because they claim Japan cannot be believed since one of its ships rammed a Green Peace vessel and then falsely reported that Green Peace had rammed it.

No matter the truth behind the claim, Japan's reputation as a bad guy in whaling is working against it. I don't know how serious or widespread the view is at present, but one has to wonder if whaling is really worth the damage it is doing to Japan's image, especially the whaling in the Antarctic.

Of course, Japan could just ignore any damage and continue in order to show its "strong will" to other countries.

*I have read that the Japanese Coast Guard has video to support it's claim of being rammed by the Chinese vessel, but I have not been able to find any videos online. I have not watched TV much in the last few weeks and have no idea if it was shown on the news.

Rambling about Senkaku

While we wait to see just how the release of the Chinese captain in the Senkaku dispute plays out in domestic politics, it interesting to read the readers' comments* on US news reports on the subject. I have noticed this pattern since the problem began---lots of folks with your typical American name like "Johnson" from Nebraska who show an unusual grasp of the history---generally backing China's views or more extreme---supporting China in this argument. Those comments which support China seem to get "recommended" much more than others no matter how extreme or absurd they are.

I am impressed. I never dreamed that your average American was so interested in East Asia, not even the Asian-Americans who live there.

Somewhere over the past week I read about the power of nationalist bloggers and their ability to pressure the Chinese government. Wonder if some of those folk speak and write English well enough to post all over the Internet. (Answer: Yes)

We can hope that China overplayed it this time, by showing how far they are willing to push, and how much they are willing to go outside of what much of the world would consider a reasonable reaction.

In June, PBS News Hour produced a report on the growing dependency of the US on Chinese production of rare earths and how a few companies were trying to get government assistance in reopening some of the mines which had been closed earlier due to environmental concerns** and low-priced Chinese competition. Maybe China's cute little ploy of threatening to cut off? (or to have actually cut off?) rare earth shipments to Japan will give those efforts a much needed boost. If the US continues being distracted by such things as whether or not masturbation is a sin, then it will have to worry about a China that now produce 95% of the world's supply and obviously has little hesitation about using that for leverage.

Methinks (along with many, many others) that China is at least a temporary loser, exactly because it did play the unreasonable bully so well. Obama spoke of the importance of the US-Japan alliance in a way which was obviously a warning---or at least a strong hint to China---and Sec of State Clinton assured Foreign Minister Maehara that the Senkaku Islands were included in the US treaty obligations. And then we even had Obama bring up the continuing problems with the renminbi with the Chinese prime minister. Any plans by China to exploit a DPJ/Futenma rift in US-Japan relations certainly fell flat.

Unfortunately, China does not yet view things that way as it continues to force the issue by demanding an apology and compensation from Japan.

Of course I am biased, and I have no idea how things will play out. I do have an idea, however, that although there may have been a number of very good reasons for Japan to have let the captain go, that the DPJ is going to (already is) be seen as giving in to China. Maybe I just hang out with a strange group of people, but I can almost guarantee to a person that they will view it as caving in to China. The Oz Lady will gain more evidence for her theories about the naturalized citizens Kan & Ozawa as handing the country over to China. A few other fellows will view it as a failure to show the world Japan's "will" without regard to potential consequences.

*Not all of these NYT comments are, of course. But a read through them should reveal plenty.

**Rare earth mining is reported to be a huge environmental problem in China too.

Edited: 6:20PM

blogger spell check does not recognize the words: bloggers, renminbi.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Six years and this is my most popular post?

My Yes Man, Males Escorts, and the English Conversation Club.

I still get 10-15 or more visits to that post every single day, 3 years after I wrote it as more or less a joke. I am sorry.

I am sorry to say that guys hoping to come to Japan and make a million yen being a male escort/English conversation host might just make a million yen should such a job exist. Of course, you will starve on a million yen too.

Those golden years are over. Forget it. The odds of getting women to pay you large globs of money to do nothing other than chat them up in English and then take them to a love hotel for a bit of fun is about a gazillion to one. Were it possible, I would have tried it myself.*

Ain't gonna happen now, if it ever did. And really, look in the mirror and ask yourself why any woman would pay you for that. Would women where you are from pay you just to chat and bed them? If yes, take a shot. If not, gomen ne...

Should I be wrong, please put me in contact with one of those establishments.

Sept 25: I have learned that there are some bars call b*tl*r bars where one might find employment as a host, though I am not so sure that foreign men who don't speak Japanese could work there. And I hear they wouldn't want to even if they could.

*The One With Whom I Share a Mansion probably would not have objected much back in the day had I got "big money" for it. Now she would probably try to sell me to such a place for about ¥300.

Never say no to Panda

Via Twitter Hiroko Tabuchi of NYT. Never say no to Panda. This (release of the ship captain involved in the Senkaku dispute) does not look good domestically for the government....Or for anyone else, I would guess without knowing any better.

Replaced after the original went private. Censorship always fails, you know....

Twitter reports

that Japan has released the captain of the Chinese boat involved in the Senkaku dispute. Ohh, this does not look good for domestic politics, I fear.
And Obama has called the US-Japan alliance "a cornerstone of world peace and security." Perhaps it means a bit more than Blinky's pout in the Senkaku dispute---the non-existent dispute which just may exist after all.

The gloves come off

China has gone too far. It may take a month of research and a specialist's knowledge* of The Law of the Sea to determine who is correct in the-territorial-dispute-which-does-not-exist-except-that-it-does** concerning the Senkaku Islands and to figure out why China has decided to escalate the incident to the (increasingly risky) level that it has, but men-of-more-words-than-action like our hero Shintaro "Blinky" Ishihara have no time for such wimpy school-marmish nonsense.

Earlier this week, Ishihara, upon learning of China's cancellation of a visit of 1,000 young Japanese to the Shanghai Expo, issued this bone-chilling response: "Even if they ask me to come, I will not go." (Japan Times)

OH. MY. GOD. We have gone beyond the point of war now. We have gone Blinky. Imagine the fear and regret that such a comment from a novelist-turned-politician must have struck in the hearts of the Chinese leadership!

Just suppose you were holding a party in your home, and Blinky, who has spent decades insulting you and your family, refused to come if for some reason you suddenly decided to invite the crusty old bigot. How would you feel?

I call for calm.

*Another Futenma?

**Newly appointed Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara has stated: "There is no territorial dispute in the East China Sea....The Senkaku Islands are an integral part of Japan's sovereign territory." Japan Times

Thursday, September 23, 2010

日本茶党, birthers, and the Oz Lady.

Yes, 茶党, not 茶道*。

And here I thought the Tea Party and the Birthers were some sort of "Only in America" thing. But on the day of PM Kan's victory over Ozawa, I was chatting with my old friend and ex-tutor whom I shall refer to as the Oz Lady as that fits both her name and her interesting ideas.

Claiming to speak no English--which, of course is not exactly true but very close in her case---she only knows what she reads in Japanese---or hears via the rumor mill. She has some strong political opinions, many of which have to do with the threat of foreigners to Japan. She once asked me about non-citizens' ability to vote in the US (the US is only standard that counts) before going into a mini-rant about the DPJs proposal to let non-citizens vote in local elections. (Her teaching experiences have not reduced her fear of foreigners although she does not dislike non-Japanese people---only the abstract idea of resident foreigners plotting to harm Japan). She has expressed concern about the rightwing's claim that the US would not defend Japan in case of attack, but would somehow instantly pull its troops out and abandon the country in the midst of it all. She also wants a strong Japan that can say no to any country without any repercussions. Naturally, China is a huge threat to Japan, as are those hidden "panda-huggers" in the Japanese government who are handing the country to China.

You would never know or suspect her true beliefs if you did not know her quite well. She seems like a somewhat typical mid-30s gal from the hills of Nagano who is not a member of the college educated white collar workforce. This is what makes her interesting---more interesting in a way than many of the folks I speak with. I like to believe her thoughts represent a different group, although they may only represent her.

In a discussion of the Kan/Ozawa contest, she seemed pleased when I told her that Kan had won. Then she asked me about US politics and if a naturalized US citizen could become president. When I said no, she asked about members of Congress. Naively believing she was actually interested in US politics, I went into an overly detailed answer to a question that she cared not a whit about anyway. It turns out that she was only asking about the US so that she could establish where Japan stood in relation to The Gold Standard of the Universe.

She let me in on a secret. Neither Kan nor Ozawa are Japanese! It seems both are naturalized Japanese citizens with Kan being Korean and Ozawa being Chinese (or visa versa, I was so surprised to hear her say this, I forget which is which). Not only did she say that with a straight face, she was obviously angry about it. Either would sell the country to China, she said, without explaining why a Korean would do so.

We soon moved on in our chat, but I must say that I was disappointed after our conversation. Extreme goofiness is neither an Only in America phenomenon nor something uniquely Japanese.

Anyway, I am still trying to absorb the fact that several years ago she looked at me with her "black eyes" and informed me that I have red hair. All my life, people had lied to me and said it was brown. How could a southern barbarian have anything but red hair?

This is meant not to disparage her. She just gets some interesting ideas from somewhere. I grew up with folks like her...

*Humor, or what must pass for it. 茶道 generally means tea ceremony (the way of tea), but 茶党 would mean Tea Party if it were a real word.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Unapologetic and ain't even gonna discuss it.

A group of six American former POWs ended their official visit to Japan today. Earlier this week, soon to be ex-Foreign Minister Okada* apologized to the men for the treatment they had received as POWs. The treatment included being forced into slave labor for certain Japanese companies and enduring beatings at the hands of people at the said companies, which the POWs said were worse than what they received from the understandably angered soldiers whom they had been fighting.

They have not received an apology from the corporations (or their successors) for the brutality they endured. In fact, those corporations have refused as much as a meeting with these men. Which corporations?

Nippon Steel

Mitsui Mining Company (Now Nippon Coke and Engineering Company)

Kawasaki Heavy Industries

and a number of so far unnamed others. Up to 60 companies used POWs as slave labor. None made any public comments on the visit of the former POWs/slave laborers.

I hope to never hear again about some supposed special Japanese honor---at least concerning those who run these companies.

I am personally embarrassed about Nippon Steel being listed here.

Related article here. I hope to get a fuller listing of the 60 companies later.

*Okada will be replaced by Seiji Maehara---not related to the apology

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ozawa, the Pinko Commie

It seems that the esteemed Washington Post published an idiotorial on the DPJ contest on Saturday. We don't know who wrote the piece, but I suspect that person may actually be a Ozawa mole sent to the Post in order to prove Ozawa's statement that Americans are "simple-minded." (WTF do we keep talking about monocellular? Is this the equivalent of goofily literal "Honorable teacup" type translating?)

[Ozawa] in his current incarnation he is less friendly to the U.S.-Japan alliance, and more attracted to China's dictatorship, than most Japanese leaders...Washington Post

Thank goodness we still have Old-School news media like Rush Limbaugh and talk radio, The Washington Times, and the editorial page of the Washington Post to keep us informed. I had never heard nor read anything from Ozawa that indicated he was "attracted to China's dictatorship." Unfortunately, the Post provided no links to check out that assertion.

Things do not bode well for the DPJ and the US government in the future no matter who wins if Japan in any way rocks the "alliance" boat. Where is "Change" Obama??????

Why am I always the last to know? More here and here.

By the way, isn't the Post's online site one of the worst of the "newspaper" sites on the web?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The continuing education of a wannabe well-mannered man

This morning I decided to get out of my environmentally friendly mansion (I learned we folk in Japan have these by reading the comments on Paul Krugman's recent NYT op-ed) on a cool crisp late summer day expected to only reach 34 centigrade.

As I tried to enter the gate at upscale Denenchofu station, a lady exited by aiming right for the gate I was nearing even though we were the only two people there, and she could have easily taken a closer gate. I, still having a bit of barbarous, uncouth USA manners, yielded to let her rush through the gate first.

I hopped on the front car of an Ebisu-bound train and seeing as how the seats were mostly full except for a few spots which were half taken by folk who seemed very reluctant to share (but still of impeccable good-manners) I went to the head of the car where I could watch out the front---a popular spot for young children and elderly men with runny noses.

Soon enough, grandpa joined me and began repeatedly sniffling and a few moments later let fly two full-bore, open-mouthed, ear-drum splitting sneezes. Despite his concern for others and beautiful country good manners, I for some odd-ball reason (remnants of memories of my mother or teachers knocking me upside the head for such refinement), found myself moving to the opposite end of the car. He had put his hand somewhat in the vicinity of the front of his buffalo mouth, after all. Seems that I have not yet developed a tolerance for inhaling the mucous and spittle of others if I can avoid it.

I got to Ebisu and went to Ebisu Garden Place to relax a bit, look for good light and something interesting to photograph. Finding little, I soon gave up and decided to enter a new Starbucks there to have a cup of liquid charcoal and a synthetic sugar donut. Soon 3 fellows who were apparently working this fine Sunday entered and sat at the counter across from my table. One fellow, a gentleman in his late 40s/early 50s with the jet black hair of a 5-year old, sat right at the corner and placed his already chair-shaped bum on the edge of his seat while scooting the unused portion of his chair out into everyone's way. People would have to squeeze sideways to get by our wig wearing or at least hair-painting fellow to enter or exit.

I admired this fellow. Three or four people squeezed by him with obvious difficulty, but even though he glanced back, he made no effort to move his seat one cm forward. Finally, a lady with a baby carriage had to exit and she started moving the chair at my table to the right to get by. Being an ill-manner foreigner, I rudely helped her and then moved my whole table so that she could exit. Lard ass with the painted hair or wig looked at me. Being a lout, I glared at him. Apparently not realizing that I was a dangerous violence-prone foreigner, he responded by simply turning back to his chat with his fellow Very Important People. His chair remained where it was.

Soon I left to return home. At Ebisu station I walked to the end of the platform so I would have less of a chance of having to pull a Three Stooges rush for the door. As the trained arrived, I was pleased to find that my Charisma Man persona attracted two women who could not resist getting close to me and decided to rush for the same door I was entering, despite the fact that we were the only three entering that car which (as I recall) had 5 doors. Damn. I've still got it.

I chose to stand next to the door even though there was plenty of room to sit. Sitting might have made someone uncomfortable or reluctant to sit next to me due to my propensity to chat up strangers in English, or my objectionable body odor. Since these defects rarely pose problems for anyone who wants to stand two inches from the end of my nose on a train, standing seemed the polite thing to do.

I was soon distracted by the ad about "Why men want sex" and "Women need love" and became a bit lost in the thought that such a thing may actually be simplistic horse-pooky, but not distracted enough to miss the tie-less Western guy in a suit playing with what looked like an iPhone while pushing his left index finger knuckle deep in his left nostril. Eeewww, thought I. Only non-Japanese would do such a thing. Never have I seen a native Tokyoite do it....oh, well "never" meaning within the last week.

Finally, I reached Denenchofu station got off and entered Precce, the supermarket for people with more money than brains, looked around and rediscovered that they have not had a new item since the Jurrassic before deciding to walk the 10 minutes to Yukigayaotsuka Tokyu to get something for lunch.

Ten minutes sweaty minutes later, I entered Tokyu. Now Tokyu owns Precce, but sells the exact same products at about 20-30% lower prices. The clerks don't put every single item in separate vinyl bags---including candy bars---and they don't bow and say "welcome" before checking you out, and they don't ask you 900 stupid questions every single time, but they are much faster than those at Precce. But that's why Tokyu is less expensive. The service is "less."

After getting my curry mix, an avocado, and a drink, I went to the register. Amazingly, a young fellow---not a woman---was manning it. I remembered that fellow. I remembered him from a few weeks ago, not only because he was a rare male in that job, but because he....uhhh, how can I put this?...stank. No, Stank with a capital S. Whew!!! I could smell him 4-5 feet away. I should have moved to another register, but the lines were too long and I was next. I tried to hold my breath. Whoa. Was he foreign, I wondered, for I have heard and read----from no less an authority than the New York Times Magazine---that Japanese have almost no body odor. I have even heard more than a few Japanese say that when comparing themselves with non-Japanese. That's one reason, in spite of their being extremely polite, some people are reluctant to sit next to a foul-smelling thing such as me on the train. Standing next to me is, as mentioned, ok. Hmmm. Maybe Precce adds the surcharge-for-morons so that its clerks can afford to bathe and use deodorant. Or, maybe they only hire real next-to-no-body-odor Japanese.

I returned to my environmentally friendly (because I reduce energy usage as much as possible to avoid the high costs) mansion with no insulation, absurdly inefficient air-conditioning and heating, with hollow plastic interior doors and a "Western" bedroom that one cannot put a twin-sized or bigger "Western" bed in 'cause a doofus designed the hallway and entrance. I environmentally-friendlily microwaved my lunch (like I have choice) and sat down with a Asahi "The Master" Philsner and wondered what will happen when I return to the rude, crude, straight-talking, debating, Neanderthal-ic USA with my refined good manners. People will admire and love me, I'm sure. Tyler Bru^le'! would appreciate it if nobody else.

Blogger spell check does not accept "donut" as a real, properly spelled word.

I reserve the right to tweak this a bit over the next few hours. My editor is me, and he is slow, lazy, cannot spell, or properly proofread unless he is being paid to do so. Plus, I follow the Japan w/o Sugar style-guide which supersedes other rules.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nearly every time I check this blog I find posts that I wonder if I have somehow written. It's full of observations about Tokyo things that I thought only I noticed. Perhaps I am not entirely crazy after all. Or perhaps I am not the only one who is.

Tokyo rain etiquette. In addition to her comments, I enjoy the way that folks will stop in front of any exit---subway, shop---and block everyone else while they leisurely open their umbrella (after removing it from the vinyl umbrella wrap) before stepping out into the rain as if a single drop on an unprotected noggin would be fatal. And mama-chari-ists swerving into a pedestrian's path to avoid a .0001mm puddle? Hell , some will swerve directly into the path of another on a road bike at speed risking serious or fatal injury to avoid a wet tire. Oh, the stories that I could tell....

Friday, September 10, 2010

Nobel Paul in Japan

Krugman flew in a few days ago and has been blogging on his NYT blog about Japan. A day or so ago, he wrote that the biggest single reason for the decline in Japan's GDP is the aging of working-age population. He now has a NYT op-ed Things Could Be Worse.*

Like their Japanese counterparts, American policy makers initially responded to a burst bubble and a financial crisis with half-measures.

I recall some pretty aggressive action by the US back in the last quarter or so of 2008. What's the "Like their Japanese counterparts" stuff?

So I find myself almost envying the Japanese. Yes, their performance has been disappointing. But things could have been worse. And the case Democrats now need to make — the case the president finally began to make in Cleveland this week — is that if Republicans regain power, things will indeed be worse.

Always happy to read Krugman as I know I am getting the unbiased opinion of an economist, not a politician.

(The comment section of this op-ed---now closed---is full of entertaining and informative comments. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Japan, in contrast to the US, has a very good unemployment insurance system. Where does that kind of horse manure come from? [added later] A few challenged Krugman's assertions about Japan very well, I thought.)

*Yes, for example there could be 40,000 suicides per year---many related to economic problems----instead of 30,000. "Things could be worse." Noble Laureate.

Language study, Japanese style

Kinda. Designed for those studying "business English" (what is that?), this from the Japanese language WSJ can be used to study/improve Japanese too. Especially things like "shied away from" (に)尻込みした which would keep one from translating it as meaning ass packed in the same way that 単細胞 (tansaibou) simple-minded has been translated as meaning monocellular organism.

Blogger spell check does not recognize the word "mistranslate." It does accept mistranslated, mistranslates, and mistranslation as correct.
Maybe Ozawa challenging Kan ain't so bad after all. I have heard and read some discussion about the debates between Kan and Ozawa being a rare opportunity in Japan. They have certainly been of a different tenor than the arguments heard from the LDP as of late. If one can hear any arguments from the LDP.

Ozawa, who rightly or wrongly has gotten a lot of criticism for being selfish (not only from the media, but from regular voters), has an excerpted interview in Mainichi in which he criticizes the enshrinement of Class A war criminals at Yasukuni and again shows support for voting rights for permanent residents in local elections. He also addresses Futenma, although there is nothing new in what he says about that issue. Basically, it's a problem that need to be solved and requires the involvement of the US government and Okinawan residents:

Concerning Futenma, we have no choice but to come up with a good idea for settling the issue through talks with Okinawa residents and the U.S. government. We can't come up with any idea without talking with them. Mainichi

The excerpts offer nothing new or earth shattering, but one could believe that should Ozawa win, things would still be much better than any current alternative party. Of course the problem is, how will voters react if he become head of the DPJ and prime minister. Folks I talk to are not enthusiastic.

Friday, September 03, 2010

"Andy Warhol politics"

The Pink Paper pretty much nailed the feeling, if not the reality, of what Gerald Curtis called a creative destruction era of Japanese politics (I do wonder though, what is creative about it?) and the revolving-door prime ministership:

The situation is so dire that Japan – still one of the most prosperous and technologically advanced economies in the world – is now routinely underestimated... ...Perhaps more alarmingly, many of its own people seem resigned to being second best. Financial Times

Some of the folks I talk to believe that second best is unrealistically optimistic (edited to add: meaning that the sense of resignation is very real.)

Blogger spell check does not recognize prime ministership as a word. It does suggest however, ministers-hip.

PM Kan requests advice from a wise man

Mr. Ozawa, in yesterday’s press conference about Okinawa and the U.S., you said that people could impart wisdom so that both the Americans and the Okinawans would be convinced,”... ...If there is such a piece of wisdom, please educate me." Japan Real Time

who, it turns out, had none to offer except "some kind of" wisdom "for every body to be satisfied."

Oooohhhhh. Ahhhhhhh. Now that's wisdom.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The (only) land of four seasons

Ahhh. September has arrived. Soon we will be enjoying autumn with its cool, crisp nights (in Tokyo? Are you insane?) and mild, warm days. The less sensitive were unable to discern the beginning of the change in seasons today, 'cause after the hottest August since 1946, it was just another 34+ degree day in Tokyo.

Unlike me, some have sense enough to avoid the sun.

Weirdo Japan, part 120 million

First read this post:

News of the Weird phenomenon is when we easily dismiss bizarre incidents from our own society, because we know they originated in a minor subculture, were committed by people with some kind of problem, were done by a marginalized group such as “rednecks” or criminals or fringe political elements, etc. However, we don’t have the same insider knowledge about “weird news” from most other cultures. As a result, when we read something sensational or peculiar, our attempts to practice cultural relativism kick into overdrive and we may accept the item as representative rather than anomalous....Talk to the Clouds

then watch this.

Or visa versa.

And I am joining the evil MSM in posting this. You can bet that some people overseas will see this and believe it to be true about Japan in the same way that some people here will read Fujiwara's The Dignity of the Nation and other nonsense and believe it has something to say about the US or other foreign countries.

Correct. I've nothing better to do...

Apologies to Our Man for using something from R. Murdoch's company. Blame Twitter.