An ad I saw on my trip

Japundit brings us a translation of a kooky ad I saw on my trip. It’s a clever ad in that it appears to invite people to imagine how great learning English could be while in reality doing the imagining for them:

If I could speak English, I would . . .

  • I would live in Hawaii with lots of dogs.
  • I would eat all the desserts in the world!
  • I would buy the materials for aroma therapy and mix them myself.
  • I would lecture the loud foreigners on the train.
  • I would raise my children in America: one artist, one computer programmer.
  • I would go work in a foreign marketing firm.
  • I would start a dental office for foreigners.
  • Read the rest over at Japundit or NEOMARXISME. We can’t make these up folks!

    [時事]Korean Public Execution UPDATE and more footage 北朝鮮の公開処刑

    UPDATE: The follow-up is just an analysis from Japanese TV where they interview people and stuff. THERE IS NO NEW FOOTAGE ON THE 2ND PART.

    映像:PART 1 (映像)、 PART 2(大いに解説)

    The video of the North Korean public executions has moved here.

    UPDATE 2: PHOTIOS provides some explanation for what’s happening in the video for those who don’t speak Japanese:

    The video shows two consecutive days. During the first day you see a group of people brought to watch the trial and execution. It occurs out at the execution ground with the posts prepared on the other side of a van. The trial takes about twenty minutes. The crowd is then led around the van and two of the prisoners are executed, the other nine sentenced to prison terms. The crime? Crossing into North Korea from China numerous times to help North Koreans escape and being paid by a broker in China to do it. Immediately after they are shot you can here a guard ask loudly “Are they dead?”.

    On the second day the “trial” is even quicker, with the execution posts being put up during the trial. One man is executed for the same crime. Following the execution a guard loudly announces to the crowd, “this is what you get if you do not respect and work for Kim Jong Il Shogun”.

    And here is a follow-up program from Japanese TV on the footage of public execution in the DPRK. The executions are reportedly part of the crackdown on defections that is taking place.

    Stay tuned for a more detailed look at the videos.

    Japanese Lesson Quickie #1

    なかったことにしよう - Let’s pretend it didn’t happen.

    ↑ A sentiment that is communicated silently in Japan all the time, such as in encounters with people like this:

    I also had no respect for train etiquette. I learned that, first of all, it’s a real taboo to bust through the gates and not pay. It is also a taboo to talk on your keitei (Cell-Phone) and to make a scene by talking too loud and animated. Also, eating a meal while you ride the trains is a real no-no too!

    HOWEVER, some foreigners, like some of thhe people in my circle off work-friends, including myself do not ALWAYS follow these rules. I have tried hard, but on occasion, you recieve an important phone call while on the train. You can either just brush it off or answer it, and once you do that, you perpetuate the “Filthy Gaijin” stereotype. I have learned that you can bust through the games and no-onne, I mean NO-ONE will say anything. I have seen this point proven when someone I knew jumped through the games, and went back to ask for directions to the same train attendant who saw him do it.

    It was totally disrespectful of the norms of Jjapanese society, but what can you do? It was so easy and convenient. Sure, I would get pangs of guilt when I first did it upon arriving in Japan, but that lasts about as long as the walk from the platform to my seat. In less than a minute, my thoughts had shifted to that foxy little school-girl who’s rubbing her naked.. supple.. lovely smooth tanned thighs agaist my leg. Ahh, the upsides of being a young white man in Japan.

    I have also felt guilty when some drunken gaijin acts like a food on the last trinas, pissed drunk. I have seen the patience of some commuters tested to the limits when some drunken dude being so annoying that I’m sure he would have been beaten to a pulp anywhere else in the world.

    I have eaten entire McDonalds meals on the train, late for work and needing to fill my stomach before meeting a potential client. I have also talked on my cel phone, taking and making calls that could have easily been postponed until my desitantion.

    Lest it sound like I’m trying to criticize this guy, let me say that I’ve done all that and worse in Japan, and he atones for his sins later in the post. I totally understand where he’s coming from, for the most part.

    Japanese Quiz #2 日本語で芸能クイズ!

    In an effort to further alienate my readers, here’s a J-Pop quiz in Japanese!




    Abiru Yuu Wrapupあびる優について最後の一言

    Top right?

    Some of you may be wondering: what the hell does all this matter? Are you just using this as an excuse to post pictures of chicks?

    But in all actuality, this incident is revealing of all sorts of pernicious elements in Japanese society. Let me recount some key events :

  • Abiru admits to robbing a market on the TV show Coming Doubt 2/15.
  • 2ch explodes with anger at her, angry e-mails follow.
  • Japan’s daily tabloids make a fuss over it.
  • Nippon TV and Hori Productions apologizes, explaining that “she blew out of proportion a shoplifting incident that happened when she was 11.” Nippon TV says that it was “inappropriate” to use someone’s criminal record as a question on a quiz show.
  • Abiru is suspended and her manager fired.
  • Nippon TV releases the results of an internal investigation: According to a report of an internal investigation by Nippon TV, the story of Abiru’s past theft came up during a meeting between the TV Station and Abiru’s agency, after which it was used on the show. It is said to have aired without the management’s approval at either a program meeting or at editing.
  • The police question Abiru over her involvement.
  • The English language media seem to take some notice, but totally miss the point.
  • It was the concerted effort of 2ch that made this the scandal that it became. 2ch users sent “more than 200 e-mails” calling for the girl’s arrest and punishment. I find this tactic extremely distasteful because it reminds me of the US’ Religious Right complaining about supposed indecency on American TV.
    Continue reading Abiru Yuu Wrapupあびる優について最後の一言

    Nippon TV Internal Inquiry Results Released (Abiru Yuu Pt. 2) DS:  「カミングダウト」調査結果発表-

    She's still hot

    Daily Sports reports that Nippon TV now knows just how Abiru Yuu’s scandalous past made it onto the quiz show:

    According to a report of an internal investigation by Nippon TV, the story of Abiru’s past theft came up during a meeting between the TV Station and Abiru’s agency, after which it was used on the show. It is said to have aired without the management’s approval at either a program meeting or at editing.

    Now, what I think is so strange is how quick the station is to melt under any kind of pressure. Whatever happened to free speech? I realize that Japanese TV, while somewhat more liberal about showing naked breasts (thought they’ve grown far more conservative recently) and English swear words than the US, is still extremely sensitive to “inappropriate” broadcasting, which includes political speech, mention of the mentally ill or ethnic minorities, and various words for sexual organs or behavior. But what, really, is so “inappropriate” about mentioning someone’s checkered past?

    Strangest of all is the fact that these TV stations are so careful without the threat of government fines, as in the US. There is a law in Japan stating that TV broadcasters must refrain from broadcasting “harmful and inappropriate” material, but there is no enforcement provision at all. Can someone with some knowledge about this clue me in please?

    The Strange Case of Abiru Yuu あびる優の窃盗事件(キャプ+英語解説)

    UPDATE:映像だ!映像きたー!Watch the video here!
    She'd steal your heart without you even knowing it.
    Blowing up the headlines at 2ch news is the case of Abiru Yuu (18), the Japanese idol who admitted to robbing a supermarket, leading to the store’s eventual bankruptcy. The admission came on a Feb. 15 broadcast of Nippon TV’s “Coming Doubt” where secrets are revealed about certain stars and other celebrities have to guess whether the allegations are true. You can see a screen capture (with convenient subtitles) here. Here is a translation of the captions:

    (A still of Abiru smiling) Abiru Yuu once participated in a group theft that bankrupted a store.
    Upper right caption: True or false? Abiru Yuu once participated in a group theft that bankrupted a store.
    ABIRU: Well, it was a while ago… we took out whole boxes.. it went on for about 6 months…
    ABIRU: Oh, I guess (the shop) did close down… I can’t say for sure whether the place closed as a result of what we did…
    (Still of Abiru) Is Abiru’s confession TRUE or FALSE???
    (Abiru hangs head in shame and holds up a placard saying “True”)

    What’s so offensive, apparently, is that she didn’t seem at all remorseful, laughing and joking about it the whole time. She has made a name for herself as a character who offends people, so she perhaps thought this was just a part of the act. (More background [Japanese] can be found here)
    Continue reading The Strange Case of Abiru Yuu あびる優の窃盗事件(キャプ+英語解説)

    Spam in Japanese part 2 いろんな迷惑メールその2


    “Nice to meet you. I’m Yukari. You were looking for a sex friend, right? Mind if I apply? Umm, I have a boyfriend, but he’s not satisfying me, so please become my fuck buddy. It looks like we live close to each other, so first of all I’d like to confirm our sexual compatibility. Here’s a simple profile:
    Sagara Yukari (My real name, but the kanji are secret for now lol, 24 years old, work as a telephone operator. My 3 sizes (bust, waist, hip?) are 92-61-88 (cm), and my breast are G-cup (about a D in American sizes). I’m kind of like an albino, so if you prefer tanned gyaru then you might not like me. Umm, I’m kind of a masochist when it comes to sexual habits… That’s why I’m a little unsatisfied when I have sex with my boyfriend. I’d like soft SM, like where you’d tease me by inserting from the back, or taking me on dates in a miniskirt with no panties, how about it?
    Or are you looking for a normal sex friend who isn’t a masochist woman? Um, anyway I await your reply☆”

    It’s written well enough so that someone with their guard down might actually respond. Click “Read the rest” to see the original Japanese.
    Continue reading Spam in Japanese part 2 いろんな迷惑メールその2

    The Non-formation of Intellectual Individuals at the Root of Society’s Fragility


    OK, back to real posts. This opinion piece from Toyo Keizai (E. Asian Economy) Magazine comes a bit late, but it’s a very thought-out leftist stance that I have yet to see in the English language. Here you go:

    by Yamaguchi Jiro (Professor, Hokkaido Univ.)
     ← Wow, it looks like he’s got a WordPress blog! Cool! And here‘s the Japanese original of this article:

    The politics of 2005 have already begun. This year there are few major elections, save for the Tokyo Assembly, and it is predicted that there will be little change in Japan’s political situation. Quite the contrary, with the 60th anniversary of the end of WW2, we should perhaps make 2005 the year in which we recap how far Japan has come since the war and further the debate on Japan’s future path.

    Looking back at the 50th anniversary of the war’s end 10 years ago, we must acknowledge a huge difference in the international environment and domestic opinion. 10 years ago, Murayama Tomiichi, then chairmnan of the Japan Socialist Party, had the Prime Minister’s seat, and public opinion displayed reflection over the past half-century along with a sense of atonement with the victims of the War. Furthermore, Japan bent over backward to achieve resolution on various pending issues, such as aid for “comfort women” and reconciliation ceremonies with the various countries in Asia via PM Murayama’s 50th Anniversary talks.

    However, 10 years later, the Japanese public overflows with the exact opposite sentiment, as shown in their distrust of surrounding countries and their dissatisfaction with being made the villain of modern history. The PM is visiting Yasukuni Shrine, and plenty of people support him. And as Japanese-American military cooperation deepens, we have gone so far as to send SDF troops all the way to the Middle East. The postwar framework of the SDF and security has been dismantled, and Article 9 of the Constitution has already lost its significance as a norm. And in the case of the Japanese hostages in Iraq, the opinion that those who oppose the government’s policies deserve to die reached all the way to parts of the mass media. Continue reading The Non-formation of Intellectual Individuals at the Root of Society’s Fragility