Saturday, April 30, 2005
Whatever the market will bear.
But first, some random musings. No rhyme or reason to it, just what the mood strikes me.
It looks like the Popemobile may be for sale. NOT, the bullet proof box that Pope John Paul II used to go through crowds after some jerk tried to kill him. However it is a popemobile- now. Its on E-bay and the sky is the limit on bidding. Seems Pope Benedict XVI likes Volkswagens.
Spike over at Hongkie town had an interesting contrast between Sarong Party Girl (SPG) and Xiaxue the two "stars" of Singapore blogging over the subject of sex for money. SPG asks the question my ex wife did, "Why do it for free?" As the S.O. always reminds me, free is most expensive. ( Nobody rides for free!!!! You always pay for it-either up front, or in emotional pain and dollars, Euros, HK$ later). Reading her post though, its clear that SPG does not understand the first thing about market economics and the law of supply and demand. She is selling an overvalued product:
It's a pathetic amount, in fact. [S$]300 for sex with a complete stranger you're probably not going to be attracted to? Damn. I'd set my price somewhere at over a thousand dollars, and not without a health report first.Young and naive, she, like many women, place an unnatural value on her triangle of love. As any experienced traveler to Singapore knows, the going rate for a free-lancer is S$ 150-200 for all night and you should not pay a penny more. At least she is honest about a woman's motivation though:
In my opinion, sex for money is something you have to seriously think over, and definitely not something you do because you need the money, and certainly not with someone you do not know. I thought about it long and hard for several months before I actually did it, and it wasn't too bad. I had sex for money because it was something I wanted to do. You know, just so I can call bullshit on what most people say about sex for money, and I must say, I can. It's no different then dating someone rich, you're just a little more financially comfortable.
This woman must have been related in some distant way to my ex. Same twisted thought process. Spike nails it when he says:
Just because you don't come from a background of extreme poverty and are facing a choice between a dollar an hour mopping floors or a month's salary in one night for a fuck doesn't mean that others aren't facing that situation every day. I don't think there's a single woman in Geylang or Orchard Towers who is there because she wants to be there, because as a little girl she said, "when I grow up, I'm going to have sex with strange men twice my age and three times my weight for money!"
Money talks, however, and there are no shortage of volunteers for the privilege of having sex with me every time I go to Orchard Towers in Singapore or Wanchai in Hong Kong. That scene gets real old, real quick though proving to me that the thrill is in the hunt. I just don't want to have to chase the prey for ever is all. That's what I like about Asia, you don't have to go through all the crap you do in America to close the deal. And like Spike, it is intoxicating when you first get over here, where " it seems like enormous empowerment to walk into a bar, see 50 women there, and know that I could be having sex with any one of them within an hour if I so choose. The fact that I'd have to give them money is almost beside the point."
Ah, and ask me again why I don't want to go back to the USA?
Speaking of doing the dirty deed, I watch CNN this morning while finishing breakfast (big mistake, now I have to hurry up and finish this then head out the door and chase the little white ball.) . They had a story, actually a series of stories on infidelity as a lead in to their show this weekend of CNN Presents about of all things , infidelity. Their first story was about the fact that with maybe one exception they could animals who mated with only one partner. DUH! Like that should be a shocker to anyone. Like the concept of monogamy should have any meaning in the animal kingdom. There, you feel the need for a scrump, you scrump. No problem. What in any way does this have to do with the human condition? However it did lend a certain Darwinian level of proof to what I have known for years: That no matter how beautiful the girl, someone, somewhere, is tired of having sex with her.
The second story was about, Internet "infidelity". I use quotes there, because in CNN's defintition, merely surfing porn or going to an on line dating site constitutes infidelity. What? Last time I checked, "penetration however slight" was required to actually qualify as infidelity. If this is the new definition of cheating then, hell, 95% of American husbands qualify as cheaters. As proof they showed a story of a woman who divorced her husband after she went snooping on his computer. Little bitch installed a Spyware program and found nude pictures on the hard drive and she tracked down his history of web sites searched. The story took the " woman as a victim" approach; making her out to be totally innocent, while her sleazeball husband was sneaking around behind her back. B.S!
It was amazing. I found myself shouting at the TV, calling the now ex wife, a stupid c**t. ( Just like Michelle Malkin) Talk about Main Stream media bias. As portrayed in the story, (which never came out and said if her husband actually had cheated on her or not....) the woman was totally innocent, had done nothing to push her husband away, and he was just a total slimeball. She had the nerve to ask him about e-mail's he had received. ( Dummy. Always password protect your e-mail account and never let the wife have access to it.). Then she went snooping on her own. Discovered nude pictures of women on his computer. ( Big deal.)
Seems to me CNN , in the intertests of being "fair and balanced", should tell the story the way it really is:
" Jane Doe, who could not hack the program as a wife, failing to provide sex on an as needed basis; refusing to give blow jobs; spending money like it was water; became extremely upset that her husband might dream of a better life, where his needs as man were fufilled. Instead, as is the case with most American women, she felt it was necessary to control every aspect of his life, and beat him into a docile servant. John Doe, being a decent human being, sought solace on the Internet, rather than book a plane ticket to Thailand where he could have his eyes opened to what else is out there, and is far better than his current existence. Instead he struggles through, out of a misguided sense of loyalty. His reward for being patient and dealing with his dreary existence? She takes her "evidence", finds a sleazy attorney , and then proceeds to fuck him out of every thing he has worked hard for in "X " years of marriage."
Now that would be closer to the truth I think. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.
And finally, if you really want to get turned off on sex, check out Expat at Large's post on conservative wacko Ann Coulter. It (literally) offers a different view of the blond media mogul.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Yes it was a slow day today!
create your own visited country map
Hat tip to Hongkie Town!
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Nothing he says or does will be good enough
"Remorse expressed for the war of aggression should be translated into action," Mr Hu said after their talks at the Asia-Africa summit in Jakarta.
"[Japan] should never do anything again that would hurt the feelings of the Chinese people or the people of other Asian countries."
What he is talking about there is visiting Yasukuni Shrine here in Tokyo, the symbolic equivalent of the President of the United States visiting Arlington National cemetery. They also object to the revisionist school books that are supposedly being used in Japanese schools.
Its an emotional issue given the history of Japanese misdeeds in Asia and the suffering it caused. It also tends to ignore the very real facts of the case.
Fact 1)- Yasukuni is not a Japanese government owned Shrine. It is run private religious foundation that has run the shrine since the Japanese government was forced to give it up after the second world war. No Japanese government official has any say in who is enshrined there. The foundation offers a strong defense of its logic on its web site though. Now last time I checked, Koizumi is the "Japanese" Prime Minister.
Now the point of view of the Yasukuni gate keepers is definitely not an American one and I have no doubt that it pisses off the Chinese. ( They never refer to the war as WWII). However it is the accepted war memorial in Japan. And politicians going there is not new. According to Hideaki Kase in a speech to the foreign Correspondents Club in Tokyo：
First I would like to point out to you, this problem is a relatively new, going back at the most 26 years, but mainly for 15 years.
When I joined this distinguished Club, no member would have bothered about the Emperor honoring the shrine by his visit, or of our prime ministers paying homage there. In those days, there were members who covered the birth of Manchukuo, or who were survivors of HMS Repulse when she went down off the Malay coast, and there were many who reported the war in the Pacific. To them, how a nation honored its war dead was up to each nation. The Emperor Showa [Hirohito]personally paid homage to Yasukuni Shrine on eight occasions after the termination of hostilities of the Second World War in 1945. He visited the shrine in November 1945, October 1952, October 1954, April 1957, April 1959, October 1965, October 1969 and November 1975.
Prime Ministers Shigeru Yoshida paid homage to the shine five times between 1951, a year before Japan regained independence, and 1954, Nobusuke Kishi twice during his 3 years and five months in office, Hayato Ikeda four times during his term of 4 years and four months; Eisaku Sato 11 times in 7 years and eight months; Kakuei Tanaka five times during his 2 years and 5 months; Takeo Miki three times in 2 years; Takeo Fukuda 4 times during his 2 years; Masayoshi Ohira 3 times during his 1 year and 7 months; Zenko Suzuki 8 times during his 2 years and 5 months and Yasuhiro Nakasone 10 times between December 1982 and August 1985. If Mr. Koizumi keeps his word, which I believe he will, that he intends to pay homage to the Yasukuni Shrine the day after tomorrow, he will be the first premier to do so since Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto went to the shrine in August 1996. Mr. Ohira incidentally was a devout Christian.
The current controversy over the Prime Minister's visit to Yasukuni Shrine stems from a number of thorny issues. One has to do with the principle of separation of state and religion as set forth in the constitution. Under this principle, those who oppose worship at Yasukuni Shrine by cabinet members contend that the government is prohibited from associating in any manner with religion. However, the current controversies were brought about mainly by strong opposition to Mr. Koizumi's announced intention to pay homage to the shrine as raised by the governments of the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Korea. Their basis for opposition is that the so-called "Class A war criminals" who were tried by the so-called "Tokyo International War Tribunal" were enshrined there as deities among the war dead.
In my view the statements of both China and Korea amount to interference in our internal affairs. How a nation honor its war dead should be decided by that nation only. I am deeply worried that such tactics practiced by the two countries could seriously harm our relations with them. According to a number of recent public opinion surveys, more than 50 percent of those polled support the Prime Ministers visit to Yasukuni Shrine.
That's a slim majority in favor, American politicians would pay attention to it, why not Japanese. Oh I forgot, since President Hu runs a COMMUNIST COUNTRY he forgot about that whole listening to the people thing.
Fact 2)- Less than 1% of Japanese Schools have any intention of using the textbooks. And the fact that they are produced privately in a country that has Constitutional guarantees of Freedom of Speech does not faze the Chinese a bit. To quote from Gaijin Biker:
"In response to China's complaints, Japan's ambassador to Beijing, Koreshige Anami, unleashed one of the great smackdowns in diplomatic history. Again from the BBC:
Earlier,Japan's ambassador to Beijing defended the new text books in the face of criticism from China.Koreshige Anami said the textbooks were produced by private companies and not the government."In Japan we ensure freedom of speech and publication," he told the Chinese foreign ministry, according to an embassy spokesman.
Read the whole post here.
A little disigenious, since Japan does have an approval process. However they have no way to compel a school to use the books. Unlike China, that tells a little creative history of its own.
(Thanks to Japundit for the graphic!)
Japundit and Boing Boing also point out another incredibly petty example of China telling other people what to do.
Like I have said from the start this is a contrived matter to accomplish the Commie's bidding. Nothing Koizumi does will make them happy nor should he try.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Out of circulation for a while
Friday, April 22, 2005
Progress...or the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Now, whenever I come here I the first thing I do is make the circuit of some of my favorite bars. Hari's is always a good jumping off point. In point of fact I never made it out of there last night. The combination of a long day, lousy flight and about 5 Carlsbergs did me in, and by 01:15 I conceded defeat and went up stairs. Some real sweethearts ( with prices to match...) in the bar though.
The other thing I ALWAYS do is head to Victoria Peak. Now I have been here enough that the novelty of going up and taking pictures of the harbor has worn off some, however I always used to enjoy going up to the Peak Tower , and breaking away from the crowds to sit and sip coffee in Pacific Coffee and ponder the every growing gap between the things I want to do, and the resources with which I have to accomplish them. Today was no exception. EXCEPT they are doing a huge amount of construction so all passengers exiting the tram are routed through the coffee shop. In addition, Madame Tussands museum has taken up what used to be all the window space that faced Victoria Harbor. I sat in the coffee shop I ( somehow by the grace of God, I got a seat) , reading my book, wondering if this was by design to increase the people traffic over to the shopping mall across the street.
It so funny, there is so much to do here in this city and places to go. And yet, recently I find I just enjoy being here not doing much at all. Today I took 2 hours reading my book, occasionally looking up to check the view. Did some shopping, then hiked back to the ferry and off to Kolwoon. Given all that's here, I should be more aggressive about getting to see things. However there is some joy is just doing nothing, so long as its doing nothing in a totally different place.
Tonight, however I'll be doing something ( or someone). Besides the view is still awesome.
Always captivates me.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Waiting, waiting, waiting
I love to travel. I especially like to travel by my self here in Asia. The S.O. is dutifully pissed off at me, because I just told her 4 days ago I was going and NO she could not come along. This is my time, and where I want to go, she could not go.....If she had come along it would have been a repeat of the Bangkok trip in January. I'll explain that in a minute.
Traveling by your self, it is all up to you. You set your schedule, go where you want to, sit and do nothing if you want to. Walking through the airport is an adventure of sorts, watching people and observing what they do and say. I always wonder where they are going and what has brought them here to Tokyo. Standing in immigration, I struck up a conversation with the punk clad young girl in front of me. ( What is it with young women and Pippi Longstocking socks? This chick had striped ones that went all the way up........). She was on her way to Los Angeles. Was probably about 23 or 24, had a half open purse that was crammed chock full of stuff covered on the top by the obligatory pink Hello Kitty small towel that is common among young Japanese women. Between talking to me, she sent e-mail in Japanese on her cell phone. Would not call her cute, just intriguing..( 2 beers and she would be in window no problem..). Alas she was late, I was early, after the "I" stamp she turned left, I turned right and that was that. Another potential boink partner gone forever.
Then you get to the lounge. Lots of business people passing through coming back from China. Folks dressed nice, others ( mainly American sad to say..) who look like bums: T-shirt, jeans, cheap goatee, and a stupid ball cap. I guess that is something I carry on from my mother. She believed that traveling was something you dress up for. I know, it makes no sense, especially given the cattle car nature of economy travel these days. Nonetheless, I always try to look a little bit more snappy when I travel: nice pants, button down shirt, maybe a sports jacket if I feel like it. Besides I've been told looking nice will help you get upgraded.
Not today. Tried hard though, turned on the charm, smiled, made sure I got to a cute woman ticket clerk. She started to work it and then wham!, "I sorry Skippy-san, you were too cheap to buy a good ticket so I cannot upgrade you."
"Courtesy upgrade?", I hopefully ask.
She smiles, then shakes her head no. Dekinai. (No way. Next time spend a few bucks eh?). Back to the back I shall go.
So its here in the lounge wondering where to go. Kolwoon or Wanchai? Stop at Hari's bar to look over the usual suspects, or head straight to Wanchai where the odds of getting better value and performance are? (YMMV-Your mileage may vary). Decide to start at Hari's for a beer, then push on over to Wanchai. Yea, that's the ticket. Besides, I've never had good luck in Kolwoon anyway. ( Well, there was the Chinese nymph that one time......). Now I'm perking up. Need to throttle back on the beer some and sleep on the plane. Need to be awake for a night time foray a few hours from now.
Yea, like I said. I do love to travel. Hope this trip goes well.
P.S. Forgot to explain the Bangkok (via Singapore) trip with the SO. As I e-mailed a friend at the time:
"If your idea enjoyable vacation you mean a week without sex, while the [S.O] has a cold, moving from store to store to subway station to temple to store to store, standing for God knows how long near fitting rooms waiting for her to try on dresses she doesn't buy, or sitting at jewelry counters watching my savings go up in smoke (potentially), all the while seeing a parade of incredibly boinkable Chinese, Thai, Indonesian, and Malaysian girls go by, tormented by the knowledge there is absolutely no way I'm gonna get to boink them.......well, then I guess its a good vacation. Me, I like a slightly different cup of tea. So I prefer to think of this week as an act of charity that diverts me from my real charity mission of redistributing wealth from the US to Thailand; one person at a time......"
And that's a fact!
Busy Busy Busy!
Lots to talk about, not time to say it. Did watch NHK this morning and they showed some N. Korean news broadcasts. They are unique to say the least. Imagine a broadcaster standing up and shouting the news at you! No lie that is how they do it, he does not report, he exhorts. Lots of concern here in Japan about the coming N. Korean -Japan soccer game in June.
Good Morning from the Worker's Paradise!
Ja Ne! Off to the station and then catch the train for Narita. Next time you have to go a long way to the airport, remember me......2.5 hours in train rides when its all done. Thank God for cold beer in the lounge.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
We have a Pope!
U.S. Catholics are not going to be happy I think. Turning their back on the "Social Justice" Cardinals, the College of Cardinals selected a man rumored to be a Vatican hard liner. While the conventional wisdom is that Cardinal Ratzinger was elected because he will be an "interim pope" ( he is 78 years old), I think there was also intent to send a strong message to the Church and in particular to the American Church, don't go out looking for women priests, wedding rings for male priests and basically telling them to get back on board the Catholic bus.
It will be interesting to see how Pope Benedict XVI makes his mark.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
The Babe Theory.
After getting slammed (good naturedly) by CDR Salamander during a discussion of who was the bigger babe Coulter or Malkin, ( the correct answer is Malkin, until she opens her mouth, which then destroys any and all pruient fantasies one may have about her), I wandered through the streets of Blogville looking for a place that was open late night. Through the wizardry of the internet, I ended up in Publius Pundit, looking for a beer and some humor. I was quickly thrown out and stumbled over to WILLisms, where I read an in depth dissertation on the fact that successful democratic revolutions have one thing in common: hot babes out marching in the demonstrations. First spouted by T.J. O'Rourke in his parliament of Whores book:
Best of all, there were hardly any beautiful women at the [Housing Now!] rally. I saw a journalist friend of mine in the Mall, and he and I pursued this line of inquiry as assiduously as our happy private lives allow. Practically every female at the march was a bowser. "We're not being sexist here," my friend insisted. "It's not that looks matter per se. It's just that beautiful women are always on the cutting edge of social trends.Remember how many beautiful women were in the anti-war movement twenty years ago? In the yoga classes fifteen years ago? At the discos ten years ago? On Wall Street five years ago? Where the beautiful women are is where the
country is headed," said my friend. "And this,"he looked around him, "isn't it."
I agree with the poster, Mr O'rourke may be onto something. Consider his proof:
Or maybe this:
Or how about this from Venezuela:
Now contrast that to this:
No wonder Bush wants to bring democracy to the Middle East........
Good luck buddy!
Meanwhile, I recommend everyone check out more of the Venezuelan babes here!
Monday, April 18, 2005
And so it begins, the process to select a new Pope.
Me, I hope a Social Justice Cardinal wins. I believe that this is the great contribution that the first 21st century pope can make, defining the issue of the gap between rich and poor and reminding the world that having a large poor population is drag on all of society. Problem is, conservatives equate this view with Socialism and Marxism so there is an inbred bias against it.
However I'll maintain my position, this is the place the next Pope can make a real impact.
Lets face it the American church is not going away and they will continue to push Rome. As John Allen of CNN points out: " "I'm pretty sure the next pope is not going to be an American," he said. "The Vatican takes its diplomatic independence far too seriously to elect a pope from the world's lone superpower."
The other issue is the math, which is stacked against a non-European. Here are the stats for the College of Cardinals:
Below is the geographic distribution of cardinals voting in the conclave:
Latin America: 20
North America: 14
United States: 11
Source: The Associated Press
I recently reread a great history about the Papacy called, " Hitlers Pope. The secret history of Pius XII" It's a great read and is not disrepectful of the Pontiff at all , despite the title.
May the best man win!
More noise on the streets in China!
Amazingly enough the planned riot in Bejing was canceled. According to the Washington Post:
"The decision to keep Beijing calm showed Chinese authorities wanted to calibrate the popular rage against Japan that has boiled into angry protests over the last two weeks, lest it slip out of control and further poison the atmosphere. Japanese and Chinese leaders also called for restraint as the Japanese foreign minister, Nobutaka Machimura, scheduled two days of talks here Sunday and Monday aimed at bringing under control what has become a crisis in relations between Beijing and Tokyo. "
I am going to say it again, the masters in Beijing are up to something. The timing of this little rash of noise is highly suspect IMHO. One would have thought that the Chinese would be seeking to tone things down a bit after passing the anti secession law. Nope, not our boys in Beijing, they seem to have a different idea. I am still wondering what they really hope to gain by this series of events. As the Peking Duck points out:
"I just want to pose the simple question(s): Has China derived any benefit from this exercise? Has it improved its standing in the world in any way? Are the world leaders impressed or are they upset by what they see? Is this likely to encourage new investment in China or scare it away? Is this a sign of continued political maturity and wisdom or of a descent into raw emotionalism?"
The Duck then goes on to voice the opinion that the leadership of the Communist Party may be playing with fire, e.g. that they are content with demonstrations that divert attention from the Party and its (mis)rule of China. However as is wont to happen these types of things can take on a life of their own, which would "scare them "s**tless". Maybe, but they know they can simply call out the tanks again if that happens.
My theory is that Beijing is happy if they can keep the heat on Japan, they can keep the heat off of Beijing. Its the old first law of thermodynamics. After all there are some things coming due that will impact China and the US and Japan. For one thing, the Bush administration intends to turn up the heat on China to devalue its currency. Also the G7 meetings are coming up, at which will resurface the irritation of the European members of the G-7, who blame the United States and the Pacific Rim for the magnitude of current global imbalances.
Now add to that the fact that summer is approaching soon, and the Chinese traditionally trot out the Peoples Liberation Army for "exercises". After this years party Congress they are going to want to make a show of how they believe they can kick Taiwan's ass if it came to a military showdown.
And finally China could just be paranoid. Was Willy Lam points out "Having apparently steadied the course in the Middle East, the Bush administration is turning to Asia to tame its long-standing "strategic competitor." I'm not so sure the course in the Middle East has been "steadied", but China and by adjunct N. Korea are still well in the view screen . There is still this annoying little problem of Kim Jong Il, missiles and nukes, all within range of my little domicile in Tokyo.........
The next few months should be interesting to say the least.
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Oh Boy! Here we go again
Anyway, here was today's headline(s): (front page Asahi Shimbun)上海反日デモ数万人に。。。。。。二邦人襲うわれけが！（Translation: In Shanghai many thousands demonstrate against Japan....2 Japanese attacked and injured. ) Does anyone need further proof that these demonstrations are not orchestrated by the powers that be in Beijing? From the Japan Times comes this translation of their explanation: " Chinese authorities can try to dissuade citizens from vandalism, but they cannot stop it because of the number of people and their passion against Japan, said Liang Yunxiang, an international relations professor at Peking University. "You should consider this factor -- this kind of thing is very impassioned, so the government can only give advice," Liang said."
So when the students took to the streets in Beijing (北京）, and the tanks mowed them down, that was simply providing advice? I don't think so Tim!
The ostensible reason for the demonstrations has to do with a proposal to give Japan Permanent membership on the Security Council. Now I do not recall Kofi " I had nothing to do with the Oil for Food Scandal " actually proposing this. Nonetheless its the party line. Listen: "Beijing is alarmed at a proposal to give Japan a permanent seat on the Security Council. Such status carries veto power over U.N. actions and is now held by only China, the United States, Britain, France and Russia. "I think that permitting the demonstrations provides leverage by creating a very public symbol of the depth of anger among the Chinese people toward Japan," said Murray Scot Tanner, a China specialist at the Rand Corp. Premier Wen Jiabao cited the protests Wednesday when he said during a visit to India that Tokyo won't be ready for a Security Council seat until it faces up to its history of aggression."
Uh Huh...Yea sure.......
How about China's history of aggression when it mowed down students in Tianamen Square....or when it invaded Korea when it looked like Kim Il Sung was going to get his ass kicked? Or maybe we should mention the little matter of the invasion of Tibet? Or the Commie invasion of Hainan..........Any of those ring a bell you worthless Chinese commie bastards?
Need more proof? Here is some, the damned Chinese arranged the demonstration through the Internet........!
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Idle musings on a Saturday--No politics here!
Have been following some of the commentary about Prince Charles' recent marriage. Seems a lot of the tabloids have been pointing out that Camilla is .....well, a beer goggle find. Bitchbert has posted some great cartoons on the subject. I love the one with the new ending to the fairly tale:
"And the prince ran off with the aging concubine" ( I thought concubines were supposed to be young and luscious).
It finally warm enough to play golf in shirt sleeves! I was beginning to wonder if spring was EVER going to come. But today's its nice and the course is turning green, but there were no Tiger Woods style chip ins for me today. Lots of sand shots though.
Meanwhile in the Japanese tabloids "Sexperts urging modern men to go the extra-marital mile "
Pointing out that having flings can have anti-aging effects for women. Maybe, but how healthy is getting shot or knifed in bed by a jealous husband for us selfless souls who are helping these women?
Sakura is just about gone, but Masamania has some great shots from Ueno Park. In particular check out the last picture.
There's more news about Chinese hatred of Japan, but that will have to wait for another time. I just ran out of beer!..........Time to go get more.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
China and Japan
In case anyone missed it, there were some big riots in Beijing this past week against Japan and Japanese things. A large crowd of "spontaneous" protestors attacked the Japanese embassy in Beijing. According to Simon at "Simon's World" :
"The Government has already put a clamp on official media reports, but modern communication techniques (including BBS and blogs) and hints of official involvement show that even the Government is divided on how to handle this turn of events. Ironically Japan is now demanding an apology from China. On Sunday the riots continued in both Guangzhou and Shenzhen. The US Consul General in Shanghai was worried enough to issue an alert to American citizens. The danger is this snowballs completely out of Beijing's control. Are they willing to take on what they've created?"
Here in Japan its hard for any one to accept that the riots were anything but scripted by the government, especially in view of Beijing's iron fist in other areas. So it leaves one asking why? Why does the Chinese government wish to embark on a Campaign to elevate the level of tension with a country that is also a major trading partner with both China and the US? There is no real answer to that question although there are a lot of theories.
Some folks think this centers around the desire of Japan to become a member of the UN Security Council. Others think it is about the continuing perception that Japan has failed to come to grip with her brutal history in the region and has not made atonement for what happened then. ( Never mind that they have apologized some 19 times officially by my count!).
This includes what other nations consider to be controversial textbooks , that distort the true history of the time between 1931 and 1945 when Japan ruled the Northeast part of China in Manchuria and in fact, many folks in that region still can speak Japanese as well as Mandarin.
While all of these issues provide the backdrop, I believe there is a much more sinister reason at work here. This is part of a Chinese government campaign to keep the pressure on Taiwan. The passage of the anti-secession law last month, is the first step of a careful campaign to isolate the island nation and keep the US off balance with relation to the United States commitment to defend Taiwan in case of attack. By turning up the heat on Japan, they are hoping to divert attention away from the island, and give Japan second thoughts about allowing US bases in Japan and Okinawa to be used in case of a Chinese attack on Taiwan.
Long term, I don't believe the Chinese intend to take Taiwan through military force. They want to give everyone the impression they can though, and that is one reason they are feverishly modernizing their military. However a head to head showdown with the US would hurt China and they know it. The roof would cave in on both the economic and the military front. An overt military thrust on the island would galvanize other Asian nations who are already uncomfortable with China's growing military prowess. That's not to say, China would not go and do something stupid, but they would have to feel like they had been backed into a corner and they are not there yet.
No, I believe the Chinese know that it is best to bide their time. First, I am sure they have no illusions about what George W. Bush would do in case of attack ( "Let slip the dogs of war"). Against the backdrop of Iraq and other military intervention they should have no illusions about his firmness. However if they can continue to isolate the island of Taiwan, while keeping both Japan and the US off balance by being unpredictable (and in need of Chinese trade) they can strengthen their bargaining position as they see it. They know the President has his hands full with other issues and he won't be there forever. In the interim between now and 2008 , they can keep economic pressure going by stalling on devaluing the Yuan and buying up US debt. ( People are only slowing beginning to wake up to the perils of economic blackmail underwritten by the spiraling US debt). They can take a carrot and a stick approach with Japan ( the riots are part of the stick), and they can work hard to get the captives to forge their own chains by continuing to push for some sort of "one country, two systems" nonsense and perhaps get Taiwan to bite. Then they can simply strangle Taiwan and renege on the deal the way they are doing in Hong Kong. And they can hope the US continues to shrink its military through its long term "better business practices".
Its a clever strategy, but not without risks. Japan is already making noises about stepping up to the plate for its own defense. A threatened Japan actually hurts China's efforts to undermine the US position. As far as military forces go, the Pacific is something of a growth industry for the US Military these days and force levels should remain constant. So my prediction is that you will see China offer up something to Japan as a carrot in the near future. And as the year progresses they will see-saw back and forth between confrontation and concession.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
From around the blogosphere, things to see and read!
For starters, here's funny thing that Englishman in Osaka has found. Let him explain it:
"There's the Osaka subway and the London tube. I'm sorry but there's simply no comparison. One is clean, comfortable, cheap, spacious, and efficient. The other is the London tube. For further information (and a good laugh), I urge you to listen to this wonderful song. PLAY THE SONG! " Its a great laugh and if you have taken the "tube" ( or for that matter the Washington Metro) all of us on this side of the Pacific will be thankful the next time we ride JR, MTR or MRT......
Speaking of Englishman in Osaka, he's made me aware of the new Japanese blogging law. Namely " Japanese law states that in the month of April, any Japan-based blog MUST have at least one cherry blossom photo on it. Failure to comply can result in a six month prison sentence, which seems rather harsh to [me], but [I'm] not going to argue with them about it. The notorious Japanese Sakura Police (JSP) are once again out in force, knocking on the doors of bloggers who've thus far failed to post at least one sakura photograph. Usually a verbal warning is given, followed by arrest three days later if still no photo has been put on the blog" Thank goodness I am in compliance.
And of course, there is the usual political garbage, primarily from the chorus of right wing wackos, about the Pulitzer Prize photos this year.
Terrorists on Iraqi Election day
Namely, they are upset that the photographers did not get shot themselves while photographing the news. While these photos are of tragic things, they do not seem out of context for other Pulitzer Prize photography. Or has Michelle Malkin et al forgotten the famous picture from the Spanish Civil War?
Finally, if you are not reading Expat at Large, you should. He has a great discussion on the two types of bloggers:
"There are bloggers who write. And there are bloggers who report.
The writer bloggers tell stories.
The reporter bloggers tell ABOUT stories."
Sadly the latter type are winning in the numbers of readers competition while guys like me who can't figure out which type I am, suffer along with poor readership. (However, you guys who have stumbled in here can change that......LINK TO ME!)
So here's to be made famous,
The "C" word and women........
Today though, I'm not really out to write about Malkin's peculiar politics....I'll save that for a another day when I'm more up to it. However after posting about her the other day, I went back and looked at the responses to her article on the Republican authored Schiavo memo.
As you might guess she got a flurry of comments on other blogs:
"Michelle Malkin is a c**t.
Posted by: hostile on April 7, 2005 at 11:17 AM PERMALINK"
There is about six more posts just like that till one wag points out:
"Check your talking points, dude. The Official Left-wing Anti-Malkin punch-word is "whore."Posted by: Once a dem on April 7, 2005 at 11:21 AM PERMALINK"
Either way its harsh and not the right way to bring someone like Malkin down to size. As another commenter points out:
"Nice hostile - thanks for elevating the discussion. I prefer to think of Malkin more accurately as profoundly disturbed. And incapable of rational thought. Oh, and racist, oddly enough, even against he own race, which takes a particularly sad strain of self hatred, I guess. Let's be precise in our criticism, shall we?"
Now that's more reasoned and more polite.
Ever notice however, when women argue they have a certain code words they use? They will call another woman "stuck up" , or "immature" to start with. Then if the argument continues they may call another woman a "bitch" or even a "tramp". As in, " She is such a tramp" ( Really? Can I have her phone number?).
They may even use the S word......"She's such a slut". "You dress like a slut".
In certain uses, the term slut or whore can even be complimentary. I'm not sure how, but I've seen women do it. " I'm going to surprise my boyfriend tonight.....and act like a whore." ( And if he does not like it, call me eh?).
But you NEVER, EVER, will hear the C word unless a woman really wants to slam another woman. Even men don't use that term (much...). Its a totally derogatory term. Its the WMD of slang words. Especially if a woman uses it.
If you call a woman a "c**t" stand by for incoming rounds. Trust me I know, I was married to one once.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
This is why I hold both hands on the overhead strap on the trains.
Nonetheless it gets a lot of media play. The number normally cited is 2,201 groping cases in 2004, which is up over 100% from 1996 when the last statistics were published. Now in a train system that moves 7, 000,000 people a day, statistically speaking that's still pretty good. However if you are a school girl in uniform on her way home, one probably has a very different opinion. So I keep my hands held high and in plain sight.
Women only cars:
Monday, April 11, 2005
May God Bless the United States Marines!
God Bless the United States Armed Forces!
"A spectacular finish of birdies and bogeys finally ended when Woods produced the most important shot of all -- a 15-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole to capture his fourth green jacket and finally put away the gritty Chris DiMarco."
The birdie putt on the playoff hole was evidently something to behold.
Tiger walking away to be fitted for a 4th green jacket.
Subliminal statements: The top 10 awards for 2004
"TAVARES, FL -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 01/04/05 -- "The Stupidest Statements Awards" of 2004, bestowed on famous people for their misjudgments and misstatements, have just been announced by Mega Genius(r), "the man with the perfect IQ" (TM) (real name Jim Diamond). His annual prizes of recognition for what he calls "crash-and-burn lapses in intelligence" by well-known personalities are just for fun. Beginning with what he calls the stupidest statement of the year, each award is followed by a quip from Mega Genius.( The other name Skippy-san would like to use.......).
1. George W. Bush, U.S. President, for his declaration at the signing of the $417 billion defense-spending bill: "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." August 5, 2004. (Mega Genius: "Just as I suspected.")
2. Jessica Simpson, singer and reality-TV star, for the compliment she gave Gale Norton, Secretary of the Interior, while touring the presidential mansion: "You've done a nice job decorating the White House." March 14, 2004. (Mega Genius: "From the same woman who thought that buffaloes had wings.")
3. Paul Hornung, 1956 Heisman Trophy winner and (Caucasian) commentator on Notre Dame football broadcasts, for his reason that the university must "ease it up a little bit" on its academic restrictions: "We can't stay as strict as we are as far as the academic structure is concerned because we've gotta get the black athlete." March 30, 2004. (Mega Genius: "I think his alma mater already eased up a bit too much.")
4. George W. Bush, U.S. President, for his warning to an audience in Poplar Bluffs, Missouri, about the effects of frivolous lawsuits on health care: "Too many good docs are getting out of business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country." September 6, 2004. (Mega Genius: "I think I just had a light stroke.") (Skippy -san comment: "Notice how GW is the person who makes it twice?")
Man! I just can't get a break here!
5. Latrell Sprewell, Minnesota Timberwolves' NBA player, who, despite making more than $14 million per year, suggested that he would not go all out to help his team win a championship, for his reason for turning down a three-year extension for $21 million: "I got to feed my family." October 31, 2004. (Mega Genius: "We'd like five Begula caviar shakes with black-truffle, organic, fingerling fries, please.") (Skippy-san:" I'd sure like to tray to make ends meet on 7 mil a year........)
6. Jimmy Swaggart, evangelist, for his Biblical guidance in a televised sermon: "I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I'm gonna be blunt and plain; if one ever looks at me like that, I'm gonna kill him and tell God he died." September 12, 2004. (Mega Genius: "I'm building another ark.")
7. Charles Barkley, former NBA player, for his explanation of why players charged into the stands and brawled with fans during a Pistons-Pacers game, which resulted in the NBA issuing the harshest suspensions in the Association's history: "Anytime a fan touches you, you have the right to beat the hell out of him." November 22, 2004. (Mega Genius: "Seven hundred thousand U.S. attorneys just groaned in unison.")
Come on buddy! Just bring it on!
8. Col Allan, Editor-in-Chief of the New York Post, for the newspaper's front-page headline: "KERRY'S CHOICE Dem picks Gephardt as VP candidate." July 6, 2004. (Mega Genius: "Okay, so we were flat-out-wrong... but, by golly, we were first.")
"You just blew your chance to cover the world".
"Well I don't live in the world, I live in fucking New York City"
from the movie, "The Paper".
9. Terry McAuliffe, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, for his premature proclamation on the evening of the general election, just before 8 p.m. EST: "This is the best election night in history." November 2, 2004. (Mega Genius: "He exclaimed to the disappearing Cheshire cat.")
10. Ashlee Simpson, pop star, for her explanation of being busted when a backup voice track was miscued during her "Saturday Night Live" performance revealing that she was lip-synching, due to what she alleged later was acid reflux: "I feel so bad. My band started playing the wrong song. I didn't know what to do, so I thought I'd do a hoedown." October 23, 2004. (Mega Genius: "Sister of Jessica... daughter of Marge and Homer?")
Sunday, April 10, 2005
More Cherry Blossom potpourri.....
Leaving via Otemon Gate
The area around the palace is beautiful any time you go, but particularly this time of year:
Cherry trees near the Palace
It is also a great place to watch people While sitting and sipping a cold Asahi I did come up with a few random observations on life and my favorite subject women!
First, on the way out of the park heading for Otemachi, I saw my dream combination. Western guy, driving a BMW convertible , HOT looking Japanese babe in the passenger seat ( remember its backwards over here...she is the left seat!). Sign me up for that! I knew instinctively that, there has to be a story here. Suspect it involves money, sexual favors, and a lot of Louis Vuitton purses and jewelry changing hands.
So inspired by my dream, I waltz on over to the Mototmachi Building, as the basement shopping mall there is a good way to while away the time. Make the circuit of the shops including the Chinese Delicatessen ( Its a front for the expensive Chinese restaurant on the 36th floor Foo Luck Lamm or something like that....). Sigh, no free Shumai samples today!
OK enough is enough, I'm starving! So I wander through the connecting tunnel into Tokyo Station ( 東京駅） hop on the Tokaido line and engage in another of my favorite sports: watching the girls on the train and figuring out which one I would really like to sleep with. Expat at Large's recent postings on the Ladder Theory provided an interesting backdrop to my mental imagining, plus it keeps me awake and from missing Yokohama station where I need to get off.
In reality there is not a one, I'm sure....but its great fun, especially the Goth wannabe who got on in her black Pippi Longstocking dress with striped socks that went all the way up.....
( I am short of breath just thinking about it while I type this!)
Speaking of Expat at Large, he tipped me off to an interesting dialogue on AsiaXPAT where some bonehead man ( "Guards...Off with his head(s)!") posts to the women's column that all Western men in Asia want to boink anything that moves. Maybe that's true ( about 90% true in my case..) , he's an idiot for posting it. Its kicked off a firestorm of disapproving replies from resentful Ang Moh, Gweilo and Gaijin shrews. Moron.
"The one" gets off at Kawasaki, leaving me alone and still crammed into a seat. At last, I hear the welcome words that Yokohama is shortly arriving ( e.g. we are arriving for you grammar nuts...the Japanese grammar literally translates the first way.) Time to get off and fight the crowds and my increasingly growling stomach.
I know where I am going to go to dinner as its were I am supposed to meet Harumi, but first decide to go window shopping at Takashimaya. That gives me the opportunity to practice one of my favorite spectator sports, watching women shop for shoes.
This is a combination of girl watching, maintaining a safe distance, and not being observed while doing it. The best place to do this sport is the first floor of the Keio department store in Shinjuku. There, the women are brutal. They look for shoes in a way that would do Imelda Marcos proud. I'm serious, these women move about picking up the shoes, looking, slipping them on and then pushing each other out of the way to get to the sale table. The young ones are by the HIGH ( and I mean High heels) heel shoes (Also known as F*%K me pumps") The older ladies are fighting over the "sensible shoes". You see a lot of well dressed tuna when in Takashimaya and that's ok with me.
Alas the time comes and I cannot put off meeting the S.O. ( significant other.......e.g. that which both excites and torments me......). So off I head to Ootoya which as least has the benefits of being both cheap and tasty. More on that some other time.
So many women....not enough time!
Saturday, April 09, 2005
Have to tell you about the Sakura!
An A-4 backed by beautiful trees.
One thing every one loves in Japan is the ponds filled with Carp fish (鯉）。
Harumi by the KOI ( Carp) pond.
Here's on of the General: Douglas McArthur looking around:
The caption on the statue says, " Japan's democracy, the father of: McArthur."
Uncle Doug looking over the Sakura.
And finally just one of the beauty that is Cherry Blossom season here.
So beautiful, too bad it does not last!
Hurry here soon! By next week it will ALL be on the street......
Thursday, April 07, 2005
More right wing buffonery......
There are times that I really come to realize: Michelle Malkin is a twit. Now her blog is popular, so through links I get drawn in. Today was one of those days.
As many of you know, it has been exposed that a Republican strategist, Brian Darling, attached to Sen. Mel Martinez staff was the actual author of the memo. Darling resigned and Martinez accepted his resignation. (DUH!). Now people are calling her on it.
According to her people responded thusly:
"Giddy e-mailers are demanding that conservative bloggers, including myself, "retract" and "correct" "right-wing lies" about the Schiavo memo. This one's typical:
Eat it Malkin!!!! You Repugs have been exposed again. Ha! Ha!
And so's this one, which was sent to me 18 times (so far): F**K YOU! THE MEMO WAS REAL!
And, of course, there's the requisite whore mail:
I've said it before and I'll say it again... You are a STUPID F****G WHORE! "
( from her blog)
Now that's a little harsh even if she is good looking. Ranking Republican or no, a republican authored a memo that urged the Republican party to use the Schiavo case for its own twisted political gain. Malkin would have you believe that at best its a misunderstanding, at worst a Democratic fake. If that's the case why did Darling have to resign?
There are times when even conservative icons such as the Asian beauty herself are wrong. In those instances its best just to shut up and take your lumps like a man...or a woman...(or even a whore). Me, I'll believe the memo was a fake the day I see Michelle Malkin pose nude in Playboy! Come to think of it that would be a better use of bandwidth.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Finally, Sakura wo sakimasu! The Cherry Blossoms are blooming!
I love this time of year. For me it is symbolic of the all the hopes and also the disappointments that I have experienced since I first came to Japan over 5 years ago. At the time fleeing a loveless and sexless marriage to a not so typical American shrew ( meaning she was twice as selfish and twice as whacked in the head.) I arrived in Japan, not knowing what to expect, but not entirely happy to be here. Soon after I arrived it was Cherry Blossom season. Suddenly, going to work each morning was a total joy. On a really good morning, as walked up to my office building, I could see the Cherry Trees and also see Fuji-san quite clearly. And in that moment, I knew I was free and had found an existence that I had been dreaming about for so many years. I knew I had finally crossed over and I could not go back. Now that time has passed, I know that was the right decision, my only regret that I waited so long to do it. I should have sent the shrew packing years ago and gotten my ass over here to Asia.
To me the blooming of the Cherry blossoms is symbolic of both new hope and also, as the years have passed, fear that I cannot maintain this superior existence in the future. My ability to keep working for this company will rapidly evaporate with the coming of the next year. I know that, having milked every opportunity to keep myself in the same job that I have come to both love and hate. Now as the time runs out, I worry for the future, fearing that I will never no life as good as it is now.
When I get in these fits of fearful introspection, I always watch one of my favorite movies. Tonight it was " A river runs through it". The part at the end, where Paul catches the really big fish seems particularly apt to my current situation:
"I knew then, that in that moment I was witnessing perfection; my brother Paul stood not on the bank of the Bigfoot River, but suspended above the earth; free from its laws, like a work of art.
And I knew just as surely, and just as clearly, that life is not a work of art. And that the moment could not last."
Its how I feel about this current period in my life. I desperately want this beautiful existence to continue, to continue my travel and to be insulated from the harshness that is the outside world and most assuredly the life of commuter America. However without gainful employment, a means to pay the crushing payments that always seek to engulf me (the obscene amount of alimony the ex extracted through America's corrupt family court system), my idyllic existence will not be able to last.
Now I have paid a big price to get to this current state of being. My children, I get to see seldom, my daughter has only spoken to me once since her graduation from High School. My son and I seek to reach out to each other, neither of us really knowing how to communicate; more regrettably neither of us wanting to make the effor that is required. I should feel guilty about that. However, I do not. The only thing I feel guilty about is not feeling guilty. I guess that means I am callous, however I choose to think it means that I have come to realize that life is not fair, and that you have to seek happiness for yourself. No one else is going to give it to you.
I miss my children, but not the life I spent with them. I am also comforted by the knowledge that they are both strong and are survivors. Hopefully some of those characteristics came from me. I believe so.
So with this bittersweet reality hanging over me, I will set out view the new birth and the new life that the budding Cherry Blossoms represents this weekend.
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Well I'm impressed
Sunday, April 03, 2005
Pope John Paul the Second passes away....
Karol Wojtyla was an unexpected choice for pope when he was elected in 1978, aged 58. He was the first non-Italian for 450 years and was seen as an outsider for the job. He took the name John Paul II. One of his first visits was to Poland - the first papal visit to a nation under Communist rule. But his tour gave strength to people and helped sow the seeds of the revolution that would come 10 years later.
After two frail predecessors he was seen as a man of action. He was that and a lot more.
Saturday, April 02, 2005
The Suzy Wong problem.......
My take: Caveat emptor applies here.
Friday, April 01, 2005
It may be up to us, how Asia based blogs may be the last true bloggers in the World.
Be afraid...be very afraid......
"The possibilities that [FEC commissioner Bradley] Smith lays out are chilling and, if enacted, could spell the end of blogging as we know it. Indeed, it could turn much of what is published on the Net into a samizdat-style activity.
"Bigger blogs will come under closer scrutiny, which means that any expression of support on CQ with a referential hyperlink may well get valued at more than the $2,000 maximum hard-cash contribution. In order for me to operate under those conditions, I will need to hire a lawyer and an accountant to guide me through the election laws and calculate my in-kind donations on almost an hourly basis. How many bloggers will put up with that kind of hassle just to speak their minds about candidates and issues?"
As is pointed out by Mike Krempasky of Red State: "Make no mistake - Democrats and Republicans together got us into this mess, including President Bush - who in the most glaring example of political cowardice of his administration signed McCain-Feingold.
But now that it's becoming clear what sort of disaster we're heading for as this law evolves and expands - the Democrats own this one. The Republican members of the FEC have seen the edge of the cliff and are trying to back away, only to be frustrated by the three Democratic appointees on the Commission. So I hope that our friends on the left side of the blogosphere will join us in urging those Democrats to stop this before it's too late.
Consider it the first opportunity for the left-of-center bloggers to have their very own Sister Souljah moment."
If this comes to pass, then like everything else in America, sharp witted political commentary will have to be outsourced. It will be us expatriate Americans who may have to save what is left of the First Amendment. Since after all, there's no crackdown on blogs overseas . (How I wish that were true!)