Category Archives: History

Korean Fall Harvest Festival: A Time for Food, Family, and Telling Japan to Passive-Aggressively Fuck Off

Republic of Korea Navy (대한민국 해군): Happy Chuseok (추석)/Hangawi (한가위)

The Republic of Korea Navy (ROK) wishes everyone a Happy Korean Harvest Festival. Also, eat dicks, Japan (via: https://www.facebook.com/ilovenavy)

Ah, Chuseok (추석), Korean Harvest Festival, a time for families to come together, honoring their ancestors, indulging in a plethora of  rice cakes, fruits, and other delights  of a bountiful harvest,  all while getting pissed on wonderful seasonal rice wines.

The ROK Navy would like to take this beautiful autumnal moment to extend their heartfelt well-wishes for a happy and joyous Chuseok (즐거운 한가위 되세요), evoking the beauty of this Asian fall festival through images of copious fruits ready for harvest on fall-colored tree branches (because, duh, autumn) and flying birds (Asians love Asian-y looking birds). Also, the ROK Navy would like to let everyone know, especially Japan, that during this joyous Chuseok: DOKDO IS KOREAN TERRITORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Chuseok, and stay ever-vigilant, friends, because you never know what those shifty Japanese might do while you’re drunk, full of mochi Korean mochi Songpyeon, and enjoying seasonal, Sumo Korean Sumo definitely NOT AT ALL related to Japan, Ssireum matches.

A Comprehensive Explanation of the Japan/China Situation for Laymen and Yacht Enthusiasts

chun li vs e honda

This is a visual metaphor to help understand the situation visually with pictures

People back on the”‘sane” side of the world often turn to me like I’m actively involved in shaping the future of Asia. They think I have magical inside knowledge of the tensions between North Korea and the rest of the far East, or that I possess a deep understanding of the going rate of worn school girls’ underwear.

They’ve recently been asking me about all this China and Japan ruckus. I’ve decided to put it in simple terms to help the international community better understand this complex situation:

The Beginning

Japanese Whaling Ship

Fuck, we hit another foreigner!

Japanese people are always hitting foreigners with their boats.

Whenever they journey out into the sea, they inadvertently find ways to crash into some other foreign peoples’ ships. This is why the Tokugawa Shogunate gave up on seafaring and Japan never mastered the art of trans-oceanic travel until the Meiji Chocolate Era.

Japanese people know this. They have an intense fear of everything outside the confines of their happy islands. Japanese tourists know that in their travels they might be forced into a boat, slowly turning the wheel of destiny to lead them into an inadvertent collision with outsiders.

This would be tragically stressful for the Japanese tourist, requiring at least three unique apologetic phrases, much like when entering an elevator*

*Japanese people are also afraid of elevators because you smell funny. They apologize when entering an elevator because they feel sorry that they hate your smell so much. Isn’t that nice of them?

The Problem

Fish cocktail

A Traditional Japanese Breakfast, made from live, screaming baby fish and Shochu

Japanese people despise their gods and shake their fists in contempt at the sky because of the irony of hating boats and having an insatiable appetite for fish.

Every year brave men and women are put through rigorous game show segments where they play human tetris or fall into boiling water. This is meant to weed out the weak, who are thrown into meaningless bureaucratic jobs, much like the babies thrown upon the cliffs of Sparta.

The survivors become Noble Fisherman and Defenders of Japan, constantly wrestling with the fact that they will one day literally collide with their destiny.

The Situation:

The Situation

Not a fish, not even a Lobster, despite Red Skin and Lobster Moves

The Situation between China and Japan:

Reenactment China Japan

China was Hang'n Out with Goats, Mind'n their Biz...

China was in their little boats, get’n all out there, explore’n shit. They found a small island with goats, as seen in the picture above. The goats are represented by coins in the picture because of their value*

*The Chinese like goat island because goats are an important resource in China, accounting for about 27% of China’s current energy systems, a figure estimated to rise by as much as 13% by 2020.  They also like to eat goats.

Japan had previously run a bonito flakes* factory on the island and had decided to check into restarting their operation there.

*Bonito Flakes are a fish based breakfast cereal in Japan

China spotted Japan at full steam off their starboard bow*  They waved goodbye to their goat friends, packed up all their opium, and shipped out to avoid the inevitable collision.

…But Opium makes you slow

*Observant readers might take offense to my nautical terminology, but in China, they use nautical terms opposite the way that you do.

The ships collided and the Japanese Noble Fishermen/Defenders of Japan took the Chinese captain hostage for fraternizing with goats*

*Japanese people hate goats because their meat smells like you smell in an elevator. They will complain about mutton incessantly.

The remaining Chinese were allowed to sail off in their junk ships.

The Hostage

Chinese Fisherman

How Many Birds Does Your Soul Weigh?

From there, the poor fisherman was brought to Japan, throngs of people politely jeering at him and calling him names that could possibly be interpreted as offensive, then apologizing to their hostage in case they’d offended him.

He was brought to their Great Hall, to meet their tiny Emperor on his cute little throne. The Emperor commanded his servants to bring the ceremonial birds to weigh the fisherman’s soul in an ancient Japanese ritual of weighing peoples’ souls with birds*

*Birds are important to Asians, look at Asian shit in Asian museums for more information

The Bird Weighing Ceremony was complex, vague,and a waste of time, giving the poor Chinese fisherman valuable insight into the Japanese Political System, but one does not question mystical Asian shit.

The Response

mochi

All Your Mochi Are Belong to Us, Bitches!

The Chinese media caught wind of their fisherman’s capture and the populace responded, suspending all production of Omiyage (translates to ‘Useless Japanese Souvenirs made in China’)  and Omiyage Mochi (‘Crappy Japanese dessert made from beans that functions as a Useless Japanese Souvenir Made in China; A Way to Kill Old People ‘).

Japanese people cannot travel without acquiring Omiyage to bring back to friends and family, even within their own country. This brought Japanese transportation systems to a halt, all people hiding in their homes to avoid travel.

In addition, they were without their Mochi Omiyage supply, the second most important food on the Japanese Food Pyramid next to fish.

Japan was caught in a bind, taking a strong stance against goat fraternization, but now with their populace in fear of leaving their homes. Without people to go fishing and without their mochi imports, Japan was caught between their ideals and their survival.

The Resolution

Geisha

Inside I'm a ball of Hate Rage, but outside I'm passively frown-y

Japan relented and released the Chinese Fisherman. Their stoic response claimed victory, but everyone knew they’d bitched out.

Chun Li Owns Your Soul

U'sa Bitch, Japan!

China welcomed their fisherman hero home with one of those parades with dragons. He became a national hero and they built a Chinese restaurant on the goat island, making him the manager.

He now works there 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days per year. You can even go there on Christmas. Lunch buffets are a reasonable $6.99, Dinner $10.99, drinks not included, please tip the waitstaff.

In Conclusion

I hope I’ve been able to better enlighten people on the various political shadow games behind the scenes here in this interesting world of intrigue. Thank you for joining me on this journey through Eastern Asia. I hoped you’ve enjoyed learning as much as I’ve enjoyed helping open your eyes to this mysterious land of mystery.

Now you’ll sound really smart and worldly at your white people yacht club parties and score mad bitches and cougars.

Japan Ain’t All Hello Kitty: A Government Beyond Change?

If you like the kind of leader you'd find idling around a convenience store looking at porno mags....you'll love Japan

If you like the kind of leader you'd find idling around a convenience store looking at porno mags....you'll love Japanese Politics

The Japanese government likes to lives in a little bubble world all their own. It’s as if they don’t realize that the choices and decisions they make influence an entire country of people under them.

Equally, most Japanese people have become disinterested  in the whole governmental process. They don’t seem to care who leads them, and realize that their government failed long ago They lack all hope for change and care little for politics.

While I enjoy my life in Japan, the good comes with a healthy dose of bad. Much of this bad comes from the political sphere.

Here’s the laundry list of a primer. I hope it encourages further exploration on the issues presented.

Hereditary Positions: The majority of lawmakers are able to hand down their positions to sons upon retirement.  If you thought the Bush, Clinton, and Kennedy dynasties were a problem in America, you’d go nuts here. According to the excellent article mentioned above, some 40% of the LDP benefits from this practice. With Japan’s strong sense of duty towards parents, grandparents, and so on, policies way past their prime are perpetuated via a sense of duty. People continue to vote for candidates because they recognize the name and the platform. Recent events to change this practice seem to have stalled out when politicians realized they wouldn’t be able to easily nominate their kids anymore.

Ministries of Uselessness: The former Health Minister calls women “baby-making machines,” the foreign ministry advocates sending schoolgirl stereotypes and french maid outfitted girls abroad to promote culture, and  with rampant resignations and even suicides, the various ministries exist in absolute chaos. The Prime Ministers quickly fire and change staff as their platforms sink and the PMs themselves flip yearly now so your time as a Minister of _____ is usually about as long as that of a Spinal Tap drummer.

Foreign Descendants: It’s a Xenophobic country in a global world. The recent economy has heightened peoples’ fears regarding outsiders. The government, in their shortsighted ignorance has decided to pay Latin American guest workers to leave the country and never return. These ‘guest workers’ are of Japanese descent, mostly Peruvians and Brazilians whose family lines comes from the Japanese who settled in those areas during Japan’s drive to expand. When they were finally allowed back in country in the 1990s, they found themselves limited to the most menial and dangerous jobs. Now they’re being primed to leave. Not only is this a horrible slight to people that share history and blood with Japan, but it’s a horribly shortsighted idea in a country where the workforce is shrinking drastically because of the falling birthrate.

Gaijin: For those of us without the luck of being a foreigner of Japanese descent, The Ministry of Justice is looking to take over management of the “Alien Registration Card” system, AKA: Gaijin Card to better watch for us pesky foreigners. The centralization of the process away from local governments will lead to a slew of new checks and balances, allowing for more monitoring of our whereabouts and changes. It seems like the country really doesn’t want anyone here.

Child Pornography: You can read my rant on this issue here, but needless to say, Japan’s current stance on child pornography laws is far below the International norm. This is somewhat disgusting, but because of partisan politics, the LDP and DPJ can’t even seem to agree on a bill to bring the laws up to standard. When a government is sitting around debating child pornography, it’s officially hit rock bottom.

Wartime Past: A huge problem with Japan is that they’ve adopted this extremely peaceful mentality, but have never actually come to grips with what happened in WW II. The country just collectively forgot the entire chapter. It’s as if a guy cheated on his gf, she found out, and he just told her “I’ll never do it again, let’s not talk about it any further.” The rest of the world is the gf, they’d like to talk it over are eagerly awaiting, lists in hand, to hear them. It shouldn’t take 67 years to apologize for the Bataan Death March. It’s great that you’ve adopted such a peaceful little world, but if you don’t accept what happened and educate people, history is bound to repeat itself.

Bridges to Nowhere: In America, a big issue of the recent campaign was Governor Palin’s ‘Bridge to Nowhere.” In Japan, everywhere is a bridge to nowhere. The Central Government’s big idea to keep the economy going is to constantly fund public works projects, no matter how useless. Driving through the countryside yields reinforced mountainsides, kilometers away from any forms of civilization, grand roads and tunnels that connect farming villages, and tetrapods covering the entire coastline. Local governments have become akin to beggars or perhaps even little mafias, grabbing money from their central daddy and inventing useless projects and inflating costs to skim money for other things. Congratulations, the whole country is run like a mafia!

No Clear Choice: I sometimes ask my students questions when things are bugging me. I’ve followed the two parties of Japan, the LDP and DPJ, for some time now. In all that time, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the difference. It just seems like a bunch of people that couldn’t hack it in the hierarchy broke away with the same platforms in order to be higher up in a new hierarchy with a different name. My students have failed to explain any differences to me as well. Some have said it’s like a choice between Coke and Pepsi. I’d say it’s more like a choice between last year’s Coca Cola can design and this year’s Coca Cola can.

Whales: I’m not anti-whaling at all. I’m not exactly pro-whaling either, but if you can find me some concrete examples of how whaling is an integral part of the culture, than so be it. From what I’ve seen in Japan, no one really likes the taste and the stockpile of whale meat is currently far outstripping demand to the point where the government has made overtures to the population to get more into eating the stuff so they can get rid of it and have better reason for killing more whales. Their entire platform on whaling seems to stand on others telling them they shouldn’t. Children also practice this annoying habit of doing the opposite of what’s suggested in the face of reason. You’re not children, you’re the government of the second most powerful economy in the world.

Indigenous/Captured People/Burakumin: The Diet only recently recognized the Ainu people as an indigenous people of the country. That’s progressive by Japanese standards. Korean-blooded people, many brought to Japan as laborers against their will or as slaves in past wars still lack the rights of normal Japanese citizens even though they’ve often lost complete connection to their original lands. Congrats, you just recognized the Ainu, refuse to recognize people that were brought here against their will, and won’t recognize Japanese people that settled in other lands. Also, people with past family histories of being leather workers or butchers still can’t get a good job. Awesome!

General Stupidity: Taro Aso is a moron who can’t even read. Listen, I come from a country that knows idiot leaders too, we can smell one of our own. The guy fails at reading Kanji, gaffes a mile a minute, comes from his little bubble land of hereditary politicians, and ran a family company that literally rode its way to the top on the backs of Korean workers and POWs. I could go on and on about him, but by and large, you could say this about everyone currently in the Japanese Government. They’re so backwards that they seem to exist solely to maintain their grips on the little political bubble world they live in. Any attempts to shatter it, via a modernization of the election process, fund-raising, or progressive laws are met with hostility, and again, more stupidity.

I hope you enjoyed this primer on some of the major issues currently plaguing the Japanese Government. It’s my hope that it’ll send folks off researching some of these topics in further detail.

For the record, I’m not really much of a grumpy hater, and I do enjoy my daily life in Japan. The country still manages to soldier on quite efficiently and if the gov has anything to do with train times, I applaud them.

What do yall think? What gets under your skin the most?

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‘The Pacific’ Trailer hits the web

Image Courtesy of Pacific Fans

Image Courtesy of Pacific Fans

World War II can often be a touchy subject here in Japan, and I’m often a bit apt to keep my views about it to myself, living in a country that’s never quite come to grips with their role in the war.

It’s a shame, seeing the education students get often neglects exactly what they were doing during the 1930s and 1940s, but at the end of the day, although they resolutely refuse most apologies, at least they’ve become an extremely peaceful country that also refuses most forms of military action.

Anyway, HBO debuted the trailer for their new WWII show, ‘The Pacific’ about two days ago and I haven’t really seen it hit anywhere in the Japan-o-sphere, so I figured I’d link to it and write a bit about it.

It’s produced by Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, and Gary Goetzman for HBO films and looks to chart the same course as ‘Band of Brothers,’ an exceptional miniseries that covered the war in Europe, this time focusing on the US Marines in their island hopping campaign across the Pacific against Imperial Japan.

My grandfather fought in Okinawa and is still haunted by the memories. Although I’ve read as much as possible on the subject, I’m really excited to see this series unfold on the small screen.

The previous series had a gravity and quality to it that made it absolutely amazing to watch. I highly recommend checking it out when it hits in 2010.

Maybe a few Japanese eyes will catch it and learn that my people weren’t just the marauding, nuclear holocaust loving douchebags they sometimes seem to think we were.

Here’s the trailer!