“In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell
In a very surprising turn of events, I have found myself in the position of being a propagandist for the state and Big Pharma. It’s true. I am now reading and broadcasting the “news” (read: “propaganda”) to millions of people living in Japan.
It disturbs me to have to read some of this stuff that comes on the newswire. I didn’t expect this, nor did I ask, for this news job. It fell into my lap. What am I going to do about it?
If I tell the truth, I will most likely get in a lot of trouble if not fired. If I follow the “party line” and report the propaganda as written, I will wind up hating myself and quitting… This has happened already twice. Unfortunately, it is pre-determined; these are my only two choices. It’s just the way it is. I don’t want to get fired, but it will happen if I tell the truth. If I do like everyone else and be a parrot of the lies, then I will keep my job.
I just cannot parrot the lies. I think the news has lost all credibility, and station ratings go down, because people know they are being fed propaganda. I think people are smart enough and mature enough that, if they are given the facts, they can make intelligent decisions for themselves.
Anyhow, let me briefly explain how I got into this curious position.
I was hired to be the producer/director of a prime time show on a major broadcasting station in Tokyo. Of course I have a staff of 5 people, including me. I was also told that I would have a professional news reader to come onto the show and read the news.
The day before the first show, at rehearsal, I was told that we didn’t have a news person and that I was expected to read the news. This shocked me. Regular readers of my blog know that I am the kind of guy who likes to have fun and joke around, but I take my news and financial information dead serious. I think that if a station is going to do “The News” then they’d better damn well do a professional job, or there’s no point in doing it. No one likes a half-assed job.
I was a professional news person and even hosted my own news and topics program for a few years on CNN Japan called, “News Wave” up until about 1993 or so. I have also been the news person on many programs over the years. The last time I was the news anchor was October of 2009. I thought that was going to be my last time.
I thought wrong.
I was dumbfounded when I was told that I was expected to do the news. As a producer/director (engineer, script-writer, co-host and coffee boy) I pretty much had my hands full each and every show as it is a live broadcast and in live broadcasts, mistakes are verboten!
So I became the news anchor. Not by choice, but by, well… like I said, it just fell into my lap.
Don’t get me wrong; the news needs to be done. So since there was no one else qualified to do it, I was stuck.
Now, here’s where the problem begins. I am a voracious reader. I know the news is written for people around the education level of an eighth-grader, so lots of facts are omitted, but sometimes the propaganda is just too blatant that I can’t stand it. Also, from years of experience, I have come to have a very healthy skepticism of what passes for “news” these days.
Let me give you two examples of news stories that I had to read that just made me roll my eyes. But, before I do that, let me quote George Orwell once again.
“Omission is the greatest form of lie” – George Orwell
Keep that in mind. The news stories are not written so that I must directly speak a falsehood. But they are filled with important omissions which turn some of them into blatant propaganda.
Read this next bit of news – the kind of news ALL news reporters read verbatim – and tell me what’s wrong with this picture?
LONDON, April 11, Kyodo
Foreign ministers of the Group of Eight countries on Thursday wrapped up their two-day meeting in London, condemning North Korea over its nuclear and missile development programs and warning the group will take additional steps if Pyongyang fires missiles.
In a chair’s statement released after the gathering, the G-8 foreign ministers “condemned in the strongest possible terms” North Korea’s active nuclear weapons development and ballistic missile program.
The statement also criticized North Korea’s “current aggressive rhetoric,” saying “this will only serve to further isolate the DPRK.”
Folks, like I said, this is blatant propaganda. I just couldn’t bring myself to read this as is. If I did, I would be a tool of the propagandist. This sort of news is a lie of omission and can only serve to stoke public opinion into supporting a war against North Korea that will get a bunch of innocent people KILLED! That’s right. This is a lie and this news is written to further a political agenda. I read the news the way it was written but added a critical fact to the very last paragraph that I think people need to know. I said;
“The statement also criticized North Korea’s “current aggressive rhetoric,” saying “this will only serve to further isolate the DPRK.” While conveniently ignoring the fact that US B2 Stealth Bombers, capable of dropping nuclear weapons, have been making threatening flights over South Korea just seconds away from North Korea.”
Gee, isn’t this little fact a bit relevant to the story? Not if you are a propagandist for the state.
Saying this, though, is called telling the truth. How in the world can we expect the North Koreans to NOT be bellicose when US bombers are buzzing their territory? Hell, the USA carpet-bombed North Korea during the Korean War killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians! Of course they scream to high heaven when US bombers are flying around, within seconds of their country. Please refer to: Ubuntu Peace Education Project website:
In the Korean War, the U.S. demonstrated its willingness to attack Korean civilians in order to injure unidentified military partisans. In doing so, it violated international humanitarian law and provisions of the Geneva Conventions. Among illegal actions engaged in by U.S. soldiers and the U.S. command during the Korean War 1950-53 war were the destruction of clearly marked hospitals and destruction of irrigation dams at Kusongand Toksan that provided water for 75% of North Korea’s food production.
The Air Force at the time reported that the “subsequent flash flood scooped clean 27 miles of valley below”, noted the flood waters wiped out supply routes as well as villages, and acknowledged that the loss of the rice crop will mean “starvation and slow death.”
Napalm attacks more widespread than those ultimately banned in Viet Nam 16 and carpet bombing destroyed 75% of North Korea’s cities and villages….
The American planes had bombed the entire city (Pyongyang) multiple times in the Korean War and obliterated virtually everything in it. Indeed U.S. reports cite a general ordering a stop to the bombing of Pyongyang since “nothing worthy of a name” was left standing.
Why we are stoking the flames of war with the North Koreans – a country that can’t even feed its own people – is just beyond comprehension to me. The people need to wake up and see that they are being manipulated.
The next story that I had to read also made me want to pull my hair out. It was about a 74-year-old man dying from Bird Flu in China. Horrors! I can’t find the exact text, but it went like this:
China – In the last two weeks, eleven of the 43 people infected with bird flu in China have died, the World Health Organization said Friday.
The latest to succumb was a 74-year-old male patient from Shanghai.
Bird flu, again? You are kidding me right? We go through this Bird Flu nonsense every 4 or 5 years. In fact, the last time this sort of sensationalism was going on, I wrote about it and predicted this story coming up. Big deal? Let me also make a wild prediction that I think there will be a war in the Middle East within the next year or so.
Eleven people die in China and that makes the news!? What a joke. How about a little reference here?
First off there are over 1.34 billion people in China. Over 65,000 people die in traffic accidents in China per year (that’s over 185 a day!) Chinese factories are very dangerous and every year there are hundreds of thousands of fatalities and injuries! I have read where about 300 people die everyday in China in factory or industrial accidents!
And these clowns want us to worry about eleven people dying of the flu? And one of them was a 74-year-old man when the average life-expectancy in China is 72! WTF?!
They call this “News”? I call it propaganda!
I simply refuse to be a propagandist for the state….
In Japan Nuclear Disaster Update & Strong Criticism of Western Media Sensationalism I wrote:
Remember my Golden Rule about TV: “90% of everything you see on TV is bullshit; the other 10% are commercials.”
Actually, it astounds me that people do accept what what the media says as gospel truth. Don’t forget that this is the very same media that told us 3 years ago that Swine Flu was going to kill more than 50 million people worldwide. This was the same media that told us that the USA had to invade Iraq because of Saddam’s nooklar weapons. This was the same media that told us that SARS also was a killer virus that was going to wipe out entire populations. This was the same media that told us that Bird Flu was going to do the same.
As of today, worldwide deaths from Swine Flu: 82. No nuclear weapons for Saddam (if he had any, do you really think we would have invaded Iraq?). Worldwide deaths from SARS: 100. Worldwide deaths from Bird Flu: 80. Don’t even get me started on Man Made Global Warming!
Japanese Steamship Posters.
Here is a collection of early 20th century travel posters for Japanese steamship companies (from the book Miwaku no Funatabi, published by the Museum of Maritime Science, 1993).
Wonderful, aren’t they? They make me long to have some time to take a vacation to anywhere so I can forget all my troubles if only for a few days!
WHOOPS! How did that last one get in there?！
See the entire collection of 14 posters here at Pink Tentacle.
Yep! This is the way it is; get all your money out of the bank. Put it in a mattress or under the flower planter. Put it anywhere but the bank!
What’s going on in Cyprus is coming to a neighborhood near you. Don’t say you weren’t warned! Smart folks like me (we’ll if we really were smart, we’d be rich) read Zerohedge everyday and knew in 2011 that the criminals and idiots that run our government’s had no way out of the current economic mess so they would, eventually, come to steal money in people’s bank accounts.
That “eventually” happened about 10 days ago.
I’m hoping that dear reader has kept up on what’s really going on in Cyprus and Europe so that I don’t have to go too much into detail… But, just in case they are not, here goes:
Cyprus is bankrupt. To pay for the debt, they decided to steal people’s money in bank accounts. They figured that the people they could screw the most were Russians who were ex-KGB and mafioso types so that the regular people, Joe-Blow types, wouldn’t get too upset. They figured if they made it look like bad guys were getting screwed, and not Joe-Blow, no one would complain too much.
F*ck the rich, right?
Well, the Euro Einsteins in the (as Fred Reed would write) “Gubbmint” figured wrong as it now looks like the ex-KGB and Russian mafioso types have already snuck all their money out of Cyprus while the geniuses weren’t looking. Well, hell! Of course they did! That’s why they are ex-KGB and mafioso types! Do you think they became a part of the underworld because they were standing around like Joe-Doofus? Er, I mean, “Bending over and holding their ankles like Joe-Doofus?”
No way! This is the real world!
Now it is the average Joe-Blow who will, of course, get F*cked! You didn’t really think ex-KGB and mafia people were going to get f*cked did you? I mean, what planet are you living on?
Anyhow, I’m drinking now so I’m on a roll….
This is how it is, folks:
1) Get your money out of the banks*
2) I don’t care who your are, you’re about to get f*cked (people living in Japan, please take a number!)
3) Get as much gold or silver or real estate as you can (hard to steal that sh*t!)
4) Get weapons, canned food, a damned good home alarm system, a safe and keep money and important sh*t at home.
5) Make a plan with neighbors to watch each other’s houses when you, or they, are gone.
*= Get your money out of the banks? Yes, Mike (that’s me) says. But! If you have zero in the bank then the feds will be suspicious, so keep a token, but substantial enough, amount in those banks not to draw attention to yourselves. Trust that if you own a million dollar home yet only have $30 dollars in the bank, the tax office will be suspicious…. Point? KEEP A “SACRIFICIAL LAMB” amount of money in the bank to divert attention from yourselves.
Dear Readers! The sh*t is hitting the fan much faster than anyone realizes (I believe). Prepare now!
The people who are running our government and our corporations (in the latter case, for the most part) are completely and totally incompetent!
Here is an analogy of what is going on. I cannot state specifically the company, or government run airlines doing the following, but this is a real-life example that is going on right now and it should be raising the hair of shareholders in this company!…. This is typical, from what I’ve seen, how things are going…
Make no mistake about it, this kind of incompetence and mal-investment is caused by government interference in the economy and easy-credit.
Here’s the example:
There’s an airlines in Japan. It has a new manager. She is totally over her head and has zero business experience. What she is doing is appalling.
Listen to this and you tell me if you think I am wrong!
On May 1st, this new airlines manager, she has decided to completely change the flight schedules for all routes on the entire airlines.
Is there any reason or scientific data to support this change? No. It is a “feeling.”
Then this new manager has cut the working hours on the most popular routes, of her most experienced pilots, from 20% ~ 50%! Of course, all the experienced pilots are unhappy.
I think it is pretty much common knowledge that unhappy employees don’t do good work. It gets worse… Read on!
This new manager, to complicate matters, has also completely fired all ground and support staff – who have been there for years – and replaced them all with brand new people! That’s right! The entire support teams, from check-in, to luggage, to in-flight dining, to navigation and book-keeping; these have all been changed completely!
So far, so good?
Well, I don’t know… Maybe…
Maybe these changes do make sense? Maybe these are the ideas of a dedicated and experienced professional. Maybe Richard Branson could pull this off? I’m not sure. But the person in charge has never ran an airlines before. She is guessing.
But the next change is just a jaw-dropper and makes me fear for the future of this airlines:
Not only has the new manager cut all the experienced pilot’s schedules by 20% ~ 50%, and fired the complete ground and support crew staff, she has also implemented a completely new check-in, maintenance, navigation and in-flight computer system that doesn’t go online until May 1st! This means that no one is able to use the new computer system until it is already online ON THE DAY THE NEW SERVICE IS UNVEILED!
There will be no training and testing of the new system!!!!
Is she completely mad? Actually, no.
She is just over her head and incompetent. There is no excuse for such actions. She has also surrounded herself with “Yes-men.”
You can bet your bottom dollar that there won’t be a single flight that takes off or arrives on-time and on schedule with such a scatological management system.
Fact is that even the staff are now complaining. Fact is that even staff of this new boss are now ridiculing her to other people as being “completely incompetent.”
No doubt. This is what happens when you surround yourself with “Yes men.”
It’s simple. You wanna change the flight schedules and experienced pilot’s flight times? No problem.
Do that from May 1.
You wanna change the flight schedules, experienced pilot’s flight times and complete flight support crew? Well, now you are asking a lot, but it is not impossible; maybe do that too from May 1. Or, perhaps, best to wait for six weeks? Difficult call; that’s why management has to make informed and logical (and scientifically based calls).
You wanna change the flight schedules, experienced pilot’s flight times and complete flight support crew as well as a totally and completely revamp the computer system (throwing away the old system) – all at the same time?!
Are you nuts?
Your flights and customer satisfaction are dependent of flights being on time and a comfortable flight. No one cares about the computer system or ground crew you use. Changing so many things at once is just plain foolish and a sure-fire way to screw things up and…
THEN CREATE A BAD REPUTATION FOR YOURSELVES!
Not a good way to start your new service!
….But that’s the way it is, folks.
And that’s the kind of “leadership” and “management” we have today. It’s the same in many private companies and the government. Why? Because government meddling in the economy causes for mal-investment and a distortion of true market realities and conditions.
This story about the airline is typical, my friends. I am talking about a company that I work with. It is obvious what is going to happen: Things are going to be screwed up and the other companies, whose support is critical, will lose trust.
Losing trust is the death nail; it takes a long time to build trust; it only takes one second to ruin that trust.
And now we come full circle: Japan has closed banks in the past and stolen people’s money. It’s happened in the USA and now Europe….
What are you going to do? Do you still trust your savings in any bank? Do you still trust the company management and government…. With these kinds of people in charge?
Your families’ health and safety are up to you and only you. You have been warned.
Like I wrote last year, this planned inflation by Shinzo Abe and the LDP is going to be the death of Japan’s economy. A few weeks ago, a spike in oil and gasoline prices was announced (You Wanted Inflation, You Got It: Japanese Gasoline Price Rises To Eight Month High) then about ten days ago a 9.75% increase in wheat prices was announced. Please refer to my satirical blog post entitled: Shinzo Abe Resigns as Japanese Prime Minister:
The headlines read, “Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Resigns!”
… Well, sorry to get your hopes up, but not yet he hasn’t… But he will in a few months… Food prices are about to soar over 10% on many items! Shinzo Abe hasn’t resigned yet, but let me state it here: Shinzo Abe will not last out 2013. I predict that his tenure could end as early as August 2013. Why?
They wanted inflation; they now have it. Idiots! Food prices in Japan are about to soar. Zero Hedge reports in Japan Food Prices Set To Soar As Government Hikes Wholesale Wheat Prices By 10%.
Well, of course it was all predictable. Really, I mean this isn’t rocket science; it’s third grade mathematics. I don’t know what world these politicians are living in, but in the real world, two plus two equals four. Need I explain more? So, if math doesn’t lie then when you devalue your currency by 20%, then your costs are going to go up by 20%… Especially in a country that imports nearly all of her energy needs (and just a few of her nuclear power plants running)!
A weakened yen would help exports, as I pointed out, IF the export business were robust. But it is not. And it’s not wholly in the dumpster because of a high yen. Don’t look now but the entire world in in recession and that, my friends, is probably the biggest reason the export business is tanking.
For proof that the export business is near-death worldwide, please refer to Wikipedia and The Baltic Dry Index:
The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) is a number issued daily by the London-based Baltic Exchange. Not restricted to Baltic Sea countries, the index provides “an assessment of the price of moving the major raw materials by sea.
Now that you know what the stick used for measuring is, here is a recent article about that definitive report concerning the health of the export business. From Investment Watch, this article from Dec. 12, 2012 entitled, Standstill: The Charts That Prove The Global Economy Is In Serious Trouble:
Amid growing concern that the global economy is teetering on the edge of a total collapse, governments in Europe, China and the United States continue to manipulate statistics in an effort to paint a picture of recovery and a return to normalcy.
But despite their best efforts to fabricate positive employment numbers, GDP growth, currency stability and stock market health, the stark reality is that the global economy is at a standstill, and has been since before the crash of 2008.
In Here’s Why A Weak Yen Will Destroy Japan, I wrote:
The clowns in the LDP think a weak yen will rescue Japan’s faltering economy by making exports cheaper… Sounds good… That is, if there anyone to buy Japanese goods.
I fear that the weaker yen will be the last straw in breaking the Japanese Economy. Here’s my reasoning why…
China and Japan are in a row over islands. Boom! Down goes exports to Japan’s biggest trading partner. Please refer to the NY Times article, “Japan Trade Suffers as China Ties Deteriorate“:
“Shipments to China, which is Japan’s biggest trading partner, tumbled 14.1 per cent as demand dropped for Japan-branded products…”
Also refer to Japanese Car Sales Plunge Amid China Rage.
Europe is in no condition to be big spenders on anything as Euro states are already in deep recession.
The USA isn’t in good shape either as it is in recession too and Japanese cars aren’t selling well due to Fukushima and other issues.
Gee? So what will a weak yen certainly buy for Japan? Answer: How about a 10% increase across the board on energy imports?
OK. I was wrong. It’s more than 10%! I was in error. Sue me!
Now, lucky reader, the other shoe has dropped: Japan has announced a 14% ~ 19% across the board increase in energy and utility prices. Please refer to: Market Watch: Japan’s utilities to hike rates amid weak yen
TOKYO–Japanese utilities, forced to idle their nuclear power plants over the past two years and facing higher fuel costs due to a weak yen, are now looking to push through double-digit rate hikes for their commercial customers.
The action comes at a bad time for some Japanese companies that were hoping the fall in the yen and much-trumpeted efforts by the government to turn round the economy would help improve their prospects.
While the government has raised some concerns about the raising of power rates, the move seems inevitable given the prior deregulation of electricity prices.
–Weak yen pushing up imported fuel costs for Japanese utilities
–Rate rises of 14%-19% expected to come into force
–Higher electricity prices likely to hit smaller corporations most severely
Some people will say, “But Mike, these increases are only for commercial customers!” Yeah, right. As if they won’t pass the costs onto the consumer… Once again, I think that mathematics are pretty simple here. If they get hit with a 14% increase in costs, they will pass that onto the consumer. I’ll also bet that a 14% increase in costs will cause them to increase the costs of the goods that they are trying to ship overseas thereby damaging exports.
Thank you Shinzo Abe and your planned inflation and 18% depreciation of the yen. I reckon we can expect more of the same.
With things going this well with the yen at 95 to the dollar, imagine how great things will be when the yen hits 120 to the dollar!
Woo-hoo! A 40% across the board increase in energy and food prices! We’ll be rich!
The police in Japan do not have any right to search you or your car without justifiable cause or reasonable suspicion that you are committing a crime. Meaning that just because they’s stopped all cars driving along to check everyone with a breathalyzer, to see if they’ve been drinking, you are not required to consent nor do they have any right to force you to consent to this test or any search.
That goes for all illegal searches and idiotic things like entering Narita airport when those clowns ask you for your drivers license and to open your car trunk or luggage to search for whatever it is they are searching for.
If people in Japan don’t start putting their foot down, then this country is going to keep becoming more and more like the police state the United States has become.
I’ve been preaching and preaching to all the Japanese people I know to begin to stand up for their rights. Too many Japanese people submit to illegal and unconstitutional searches, I think it’s time to start saying politely, “No!”
Several months ago, I took my family to Guam (I am never going to Guam again because of the TSA, but that’s another story). At Narita, I witnesses a female security agent fondling searching what looked to be a 8 or 9-year-old girl. Her dimwit parents stood there and were laughing and taking photos!
As the father of a child who has been molested by a stranger, I grew furious. I stopped and walked over to the security agent who was molesting searching the little girl and said,
“That’s completely illegal and a crime for an adult to fondle a child like that. This is a crime!”
I then demanded that the security agent call her supervisor. The search stopped immediately. When the supervisor arrived I gave him a piece of my mind and reiterated the charges of child molestation. He meekly responded,
“She didn’t use the detection wand on the child?”
“No!” I protested. I again reiterated that it is a crime under Japanese law for any adult to touch the body of any child like that, under any circumstances, and that I would report it to the police. I looked at the parents of that poor girl and said,
“Don’t let this happen to your kids again!”
Once again, folks, Japanese law is the same as US law in this case; the police have no right to conduct a search on your or your possessions without reasonable cause. Just because you are driving a car into the airport is not reasonable cause.
A week or so ago, I was driving into Narita to pick up my friend Shea (please refer to: The REAL Reason Japan Lost the War! Let the Truth Finally Be Known!) I was early as I entered the airport. I sighed that I had to endure the circus show again at the entrance of Narita again. As usual, they asked me to show my driver’s license and to open my trunk so that they could look into it.
The security guard was a young overweight guy who looked like this could be his first day on the job. He was visibly nervous, almost shaking, as he tried his darndest to recall his lines, “May I see your driver’s license and please open the trunk for an inspection,” he stuttered.
I very politely replied, “No, thank you.”
He looked shocked. He repeated and so did I. This went on for a while; him demanding that I show him my papers and allow a search and me saying “No thank you.” He seemed a nice guy. I could tell that this wasn’t computing in his pea-sized brain.
I felt my devil horns growing larger out the sides of my head.
After a few minutes and dozens of cars lined up and honking their horns behind me, the guy called over his supervisor, a woman who was another rent-a-cop… This lady wasn’t in a happy mood and she, I’m sure, wanted to show Young Trainee that she could be as tough as the male supervisors. She began demanding that I comply.
“No, thank you,” I said. I added, “I haven’t done anything wrong so you have no reason, nor do you have the right, under Japanese law, to stop and search me. I don’t have to submit to a search when I enter Haneda airport. I don’t see why I have to submit to a search at Narita airport.” I wanted to add a nice salutation like, “Sugar tits!” but I figured that I should lay off the niceties.
Oh, my gosh. This lady started to get really huffy and started ordering me to do all sorts of things to comply with her authority. Again, I stayed very calm and cool, and extremely polite, and asked, “Do you have any reason to think I am doing something wrong?” She answered in the negative. But demanded that I open my trunk to let them inspect it. I told her that there were 2 bottles of water, a soccer ball and a football in my trunk. That was all. She still said that she needed to see what was in the trunk.
I asked her why she didn’t believe me and asked her if she had any reason to not believe me when I told her what was in my trunk… Heck, I’m a nice guy! At least I told her! She still demanded that I open the trunk.
Well, this went on in circles with this lady. Her insisting that she has the right to demand my papers and search my car; me telling her that the law is the law and she doesn’t have that right…. Me staying calm and polite while she was starting to squeeze out sparks from her head as time went on.
It was obvious that this conversation wasn’t leading to romance.
Finally, after a few minutes, a real policeman came over and asked what the problem was. I told him;
“These folks insist that they have the right to search my car. I told them that they don’t have that right under Japanese law. I told them that unless they have a reason to think I am breaking the law, then they cannot search my car. They insist that they do have that right.”
The policeman then kneeled down next to my car, looked me in the eyes, and very politely said, “Yes. I’m so sorry for the inconvenience. I know we do not have the right to search your car, but we ask everyone for their cooperation. May we please ask for your cooperation, too!”
I looked at the guy. He was pleading with me and not being a jerk so I said to him, “OK, please tell these two that they have no right to search my car.” Right in front of me, the policeman turned around and told them this. Then he turned and looked at me for approval… Heck, I didn’t have much time left over anymore so I said to him, “OK. Like I told them, I got two bottles of water and two sports balls in the trunk. Now, I’m going to open the trunk for you this time, but remember that I am not going to let you folks do this again. Please tell your supervisor.”
I popped open the trunk and they looked in. The policeman smiled at me and saluted… I drove off.
Those same clowns, that lady and that fat kid at Narita, had better hope that I don’t get into their line next time I visit. Because next time I plan on getting to the airport at least an hour early…
Anyhow… That’s what happened. Folks, don’t allow the police to do illegal searches on you or your property. If you get stopped by the police at night on a sobriety check point, don’t get angry. Be very polite and tell the police that you do not consent to a search and also tell them that they have no right to be randomly stopping cars.
It’s the law of the land.
NOTE: I have confirmed this information with two Japanese professional lawyer friends, so you can take this advice to the bank; in Japan, even the police do not have the right to search you without reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime. Just because you are driving your car or walking along the street, they do not have the authority to stop and search you. If they try, just remain respectful and polite and say, “No thank you.” Use common sense to determine how to handle the situation that is best for you.
Yesterday, I went to Daikanyama near Shibuya with my friend Shea. Daikanyama is a very high-class shopping area full of boutiques. Of course, because of that, it’s always full of beautiful girls and women walking around in high fashions and $700 dollar shoes. Because of this, I knew I had to dress up.
I had on an expensive custom tailored business suit… Shea had on a Polo-shirt and short pants.
I was fashionable. My friend, Shea, was, well frankly speaking, a complete embarrassment and stuck out like a sore thumb…
Everyone else is running around in winter coats and jackets but my friend Shea looks like he just stepped off the plane from Miami… Come to think of it, he did! (See the lady on the right with the gray coat? She is thinking, “My goodness! Look at that dumb foreigner! It’s still winter time!”)
As we sat at an outdoor “convenience store cafe” watching the world go by. I spied a couple of foreigners walking on the opposite side of the road. They had a map in their hands and were obviously looking for a building. They walked back a forth a few times, looking at the map, then discussing just where in the heck they were going…
They seemed kind of lost.
I said, “See those two guys? They’re lost. And you know why they are lost?”…. Shea just shook his head…
I screamed, “They are lost because the Japanese can’t draw a map to save their f*cking lives!…”
Shea laughed. I knew then that I had to finally share the truth with the world about World War II that I have learned from living in Japan. And that’s why we’re here, dear reader. Move over Smithsonian Institute! Now I am going to relate to the world what I told Shea and that is, I believe, one of the untold true reasons why Japan lost World War II…
But first, some facts about Japan and the Japanese:
1) Generally speaking, to be politically correct, the Japanese are Cartographically challenged; meaning the Japanese can’t draw maps. Nope. They can’t.
If you’ve ever been to Japan before than you know that, while having a map is better than not having a map, when you are looking for a particular building in Japan, using a Japanese map is a sort of exercise in Zen Buddhism. The map can get you “sort of” close to your destination, but actually finding where you are going will require you to be able to connect with some outer force like Obiwan Kenobi.
“Use the force, Young Luke! Use the force!”
Besides using the force, you’ll also have to ask several people where the building or address your are seeking is located. In many cases, even if you ask the next-door neighbor, they won’t know.
2) The Japanese (well, at least my wife and all the people I know who live in Tokyo) have a terrible sense of direction. They never know which way is North, South, East… Whatever. They don’t have a clue. I haven’t been able to figure out why that is exactly but I think it is because Tokyo is such a massively big city with 40 storey buildings in a 360 degree direction all around you. Since the buildings are so high up, there are Tokyoites who have never seen the sun rise their entire lives! (You think I’m joking, but I’m not)… Since these good folks don’t normally see the sun rise, nor set, they have no idea which way is East or West. (Unless they go to someplace like Guam – which doesn’t matter about directions, because all the Japanese know about Guam is that it is a 3-hour plane ride away to an island and it is and warm.)
Since they don’t know which way the sun rises, they certainly haven’t a clue as to which way is south.
3) In Japan, most roads do not even have names! You know that big road near my house where the buses go up and down on it? You know what its name is? Do you know what it is called? Nope. No one else does either. It is just called (depending on who you are talking to), “That big road near our houses that the buses go up and down on.” I’m not making that part up either. In Japan, you have to be a true Zen Master to be able to decipher the craziness of the way roads are set up and what the are to be referred to as. Really.
And, on that issue, besides the roads not having names, since this is such an old country, the cities aren’t set up like American cities. In America, the cities and streets are all relatively new (last hundred years or so) and lined up in rectangular blocks. The streets all have their own names and the blocks are numbered in a logical sequence. You know, “A” street, “B” street, “C” street, etc. with houses numbered in 100 blocks.
In Japan, the cities are hundreds of years old so it is an indecipherable hodge-podge.
So, dear reader, now that you know this information, this brings us to the point of the day and the real issue here: Knowing this information, you now know the truth why the nation that had not lost a war in 2500 years, a nation that hadn’t been humbled in battle even once before, lost World War II…
It had to do with addresses, roads and the post office in Japan.
The Real Reason Japan Lost the War!
You see, the longer the war went on, the worst things got. By 1942, things were going very badly for Japan. Japanese forces were spread thinly all throughout Asia. Japan needed all the soldiers they could get.
All the able bodied guys were drafted and sent off to the front. Now, who were the guys who were probably in the best physical shape back in the 1930′s and early 40s? Well, the people who were running around as part of their jobs! That’s right! And who had jobs that required them to be physically fit and run around all day, everyday?
The guys working at the Post Office. Of course!
Think about it! Who says this: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”? The US Postal Service does, right? So the guys in Japan say basically the same thing, but, as the Japanese are wont to do, the verbiage comes out a bit different. Here it is:
“Happiness is a loving each mail letter to be the delivery now!”…
Or something like that.
Anyway, the Japanese postal workers who ran around delivering mail all day were in much better shape than the guys sitting at office desks all day, so the government sent those guys off first to the front to fight in the war. And this caused all sorts of unintended consequences. Sure these ex-postal worker guys were rough and tumble and ready to go for the war effort, but, then who is left to deliver the important mail? Who could possibly decipher the address and the street system for delivering mail on time since the experts were now gone? Who could do these appointed rounds except the postal worker guys with experience who had been doing it for years and years? Nobody. That’s who.
You see when US soldiers sent letters back home asking for help, those pieces of mail got delivered correctly, promptly and on time and because a brain-dead chimpanzee can understand the American road and address numbering system.
But, on the other side of the fence, when the Japanese soldiers wrote letters back home, those letters were now being delivered by confused housewives and replacement postal workers who didn’t have a clue as to where anything was located. So whenever a Japanese soldier would write, “Trouble! Help! Send lawyers, guns and money!” then that letter would take an extra 3 or 4 days (more?) to get delivered…
And, you know, when the shit is hitting the fan at the front, 3 or 4 days is a lifetime.
And now you know the real reason why Japan lost the war.
NOTE: Don’t believe me? OK. Take this test and see for yourself. Here is a map of a typical US neighborhood. See? Everything is in a line and the numbers are straight and logical. If you start anywhere and go one street and turn right, then turn right at the next street, then turn right once again, you’ll wind up right where you started in the same place….
Next is a map of Harajuku. Chaos. This is typical of Japan’s streets… If you start anywhere and go one street and turn right, then turn right at the next street, then turn right once again, you won’t be where you started from; you’ll be totally lost and up serious deep-shit creek! Try it yourself! Take the “Mike Test”; start at any point, A, B, C or D. Go up a street and turn right at the first street you come to… See? You are totally now completely and hopelessly lost.
To my friend, Shea.
OK. Japan has all sorts of cute things that I just don’t understand and this came along my desk today from a friend asking for a helping hand.
OK. Here it is:
The Tailly is the invention of Shota Ishiwatari. The Tailly is a motorized electronic tail that girls (mostly – I hope) wear. (Or maybe guys would wear it and it would stand erect when they see a hot girl – oh no, that would be on backwards then, wouldn’t it?) It wags just like a dogs tail and somehow reacts to the wearers heart rate. When the wearer is calm, it wags slowly, when the wearer is excited, such as when they meet a friend, the tails wags more vigorously…. Just like a dog’s tail would do.
See the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=gRZHoegjssA#!
Shota is doing come Crowd Funding and needs your help. He’s got about two more days to hit his target of $50,000 (USD) in order to start production. Shota only has $14,000 right now and he needs help.
OK, Shota, here you go… I hope you get a few extra bucks from this post.
Good Luck! I don’t think this will catch on, but who knows? maybe the next thing is we’ll see humans at the park running around sniffing each others asses?
To see more about the Tailly, click here: http://www.indiegogo.com/tailly
For some reason, Facebook has banned me from sending out friend requests. Facebook claims that they have banned me because I “sent out friend requests to people who I don’t know personally.” Really?
WTF!? Hello Facebook. If it’s friend I know personally out in the real world, I don’t need to become their friend on Facebook. If I want to talk to my friends in the real world I have a cellphone and another “book” it’s called a “Phonebook.”
Pretty amazing, eh? The Phonebook allows me to call friends over a virtual line and arrange what is called, a “Face to face meeting at a restaurant or coffee shop.”
Look, Facebook is for making friends in the virtual world. I don’t need it for real world.
FB sucks, eh? They ban us from sending friend requests in the virtual world. Morons! In the real world, we don’t need FB to make friends. Isn’t the purpose of FB to make friends we normally can’t meet?
One of my real friends, Rick Barton wrote: “I fully concur! Especially since that dick Zuckerberg or whatever his name is started it to get laid bc he couldn’t in the real world! Then he insults us by not believing we have the ability to tap “accept” or “decline.”
I already wrote about Facebook’s prying into our business. Please refer to: Fight Back Against Facebook Prying: You Know Everyone!
So why have I been blocked? As I said, Facebook claims I’ve been sending out unsolicited friend requests. But I have only sent out requests to folks who operate in my circles and are heavy readers and followers of the publication that I have been a regular columnist now for nearly ten years.
I also, in Japan, sometimes send out (but mostly receive) friend requests from many Japanese folks who are regular listeners to my radio show. I simply cannot say “No!” to them! (Why would anyone on radio alienate listeners?) So, I have sent out requests. Not a lot. But have done it. I get many more friend requests than I send out by a ten-fold.
But now I realize why people can get blocked. It’s because, recently, when you accept a new friend on Facebook, it has has been asking, “Do you know this person outside of Facebook?” Of course, I always answer, “Yes!” Why do I do this? It’s NONE OF FACEBOOK’S DAMNED BUSINESS!
Did I say, Facebook sucks? I did. OK.
I often get emails out of the blue from people asking for help with business in Japan. They usually want an introduction or want information. I usually try to help them too.
In fact, I think I could give out an entire list of people who’ve I helped with their business in Japan and haven’t asked them for anything in return. (I’m hoping that some of them might comment and give confirmation of that fact at the end of this blog.)
I’m the kind of guy that wants the economy to get better (funny, that!) and think that if I can help my friends or connections to make more money, and create jobs that benefit everyone, then where’s the downside? I am sometimes offered monitary reward and, of course, am eager to accept it, but I think just about everyone I’ve helped can attest to the fact that I have never been pushy about money.
I think people should be honest and pay what they think is fair.
Until now, I’ve helped at least a good three dozen people. I made connections for them because I have a good reputation. You don’t live, as a foreigner in Japan, for nearly 30 years unless you build a reputation of someone who works hard and is trustworthy.
Ask any of the old-timers in Japan and they’ll tell you the same thing: “About 97% of all foreigners in this country are undependable and shady. All the ones who have been here a long time and have a good reputation all know each other and trust each other.” This reputation is as good as gold.
I use my reputation and trust to help people. I am not bragging but because of who I am and how I operate business, I think that’s why I can call up the president or ranking executives of major Japanese and International corporations directly on the phone and make appointments with them; they know if I call, I am not wasting their time and that I have a reason or idea that has mutual profit potential.
Mutual profit potential? Those are the key words here. When the business idea is good for everyone all around, people listen. I never bring along business ideas that are one-way streets.
Of course, there have been a few who used me to get connections then dumped me. But that’s OK. My connection, that I took over a decade – sometimes over two in many cases – to build are loyal to me and not to the people I introduced. I’ll ge my just rewards sooner or later. Long-term business partners take care of each other.
That’s just the way it is.
The other day, I got another letter from a guy who runs a fishing magazine in the USA. He wanted me to basically work for him for free. It’s OK. I get lots of those. But I thought, “What the heck? I’ll see if I can find someone who this can be mutually beneficial with and introduce them.”
I wish I hadn’t done that.
The guy’s name is Ben at Coastal Angler Magazine (I’ll hide his last name because, well, you’ll see why later). He seems confused. He is rude and certainly doesn’t know how to write business letters. He, who began by asking me for help started becoming rude as time went by and it was quite obvious, from his emails, that he seemed not to understand his own business. Finally, I became irritated at his bad attitude and asked him not to write to me anymore.
I think you’ll find this exchange a great example on how to NOT do business in Japan – or anywhere else for that matter. Ben’s mails will be in yellow. My responses in blue. And I will also add commentary between.
Here it is:
Coastal Angler Magazine is one of the largest outdoor publications in North America, with a circulation base of 500,000 copies per month. There are countless Japanese manufacturers who seek to sell their products to our readership, but we don’t seem to be able to bring them in as advertisers. I’m looking for a liaison that can rep our publication to the Japanese marine (fishing) industry.
You seem to be an adman much like myself. Why don’t you visit our website at www.coastalanglermag.com and either let me know if there’s a direct fit or if you can advise us on finding an “on the ground” Japanese representative. I assure you the potential advertiser base is huge and that this will be a very lucrative endeavor for the right person. By the way; do you like to fish?
Editor In Chief
Coastal Angler Magazine
The Angler Magazine
Well, he starts off nice enough. I like to fish. So I answered. This sounds like it could be a fun job for one of my friends who might need some business – in this day and age, who doesn’t need some business? So I answered:
You kiddin’? Before I left the USA to move to Japan, I went fishing 4 or 5 days a week, every week for 6 months (I was a stock broker and had already earned my commissions for the next 6 months and, since I was leaving, there was no reason to keep selling as I wouldn’t have received the money…. So… Why not go fishing everyday?)
I was fishing off the rocks in my secret hole along the California Coast about 15 minutes drive from Camarillo. It was a hairy climb down the rocks but the fishing was awesome and there was never anyone else there (maybe it was too dangerous and they were too smart and I was too fishing crazy!)… I got so good at it that I knew just by the way the weather conditions (direction of wind, temperature, tides, etc) were if I would catch a lot of fish or not (but, you being a pro yourself, you already know that!)
I love fishing. I dream about fishing…. In fact, I dreamt about trout fishing in Oregon last night (seriously!) Here’s a humorous article I wrote on Lew Rockwell that mentions how I had a major gout attack and could hardly walk, yet that didn’t deter me from fishing: http://www.lewrockwell.com/rogers/rogers237.html
Interestingly enough, also last night I had dinner with the biggest tuna dealer in the United States, David Leibowitz, and advised him on selling his Tuna Jerky into Japan. His tuna are all line caught so I suspect that, while a tad bit different, I’ll bet he has connections to makers like Shimano and Daiwa.
Let me look at this and get back to you over the weekend when I have more time.
Well, so far, so good, right?
David has appeared on numerous covers in our Boston edition. Where are you located? Have you seen our publication?
Editor In Chief
Coastal Angler Magazine
Wait a minute? “Where are you located?.. Have you seen our publication?” What? Isn’t this the guy who wrote to me saying, “I’m looking for a liaison that can rep our publication to the Japanese marine (fishing) industry”? My address clearly states that I’m in Tokyo… What does he mean “Where are you located?”
Here I began to get a tad bit suspicious that this guy drinks too much. Nothing wrong with drinking. Nothing wrong with fishing and drinking; definitely something wrong with drinking and writing business correspondence though… Still… I ignored this bizarre part… (Like I wrote, “I love fishing!”
I’m in Tokyo. David lives about 35 minutes away from me.
I haven’t checked the magazine yet… I will tomorrow…
Mike in Tokyo Rogers
I am still in need of Asian sales representation. I am certain that a strong market exists, I just need someone there to go get the money. Let’s talk further to see if this project is of interest to you.
Editor In Chief
Coastal Angler Magazine
Woah! Wait a minute! First off, initially, the guy wrote that, “I’m looking for a liaison that can rep our publication to the Japanese marine (fishing) industry (emphasis mine)….and either let me know if there’s a direct fit or if you can advise us on finding an “on the ground” Japanese representative.” But now he says he wants “Asian sales representation”??? I wonder if this is one of those people who thinks that ‘Tokyo is the capital city of China’? (Really, I have been asked that question many times).
Second, he wrote that he wanted a “Japanese representative.” Now, I know that many people have a hard time with written English, but when I see “Japanese representative” that says, “A Japanese national to represent his company” Not “Some guy (foreigner included) to represent his company in Japan.” It seems there is a huge difference, to me, between a “Japanese representative” and a “Japan representative.” If there are any third grade English teachers out there reading this, could you please confirm that?
Nevertheless, I ignored that part (again) and I had asked two of my friends who work at fishing magazines about it (hell, I don’t know. I figured they might). They gave me a very common sense answer that made me think, “Oh? I kind of thought so…. Sorry to bother you guys!”
I sent your materials to two friends that I know that might be of assistance… The basic reply I got was that they said the local businesses (Daiwa, Shimano, etc.) are de facto different businesses than the ones operating in the west even though they have the same names. I get the impression that what they mean is that the US distribution of “Shimano” is actually a different company in that it is a subsidiary. This means that the domestic side wouldn’t set aside a budget to advertise in a foreign magazine because sales there do not benefit them.
Of course, I don’t know the details, but I reckon this is true.
For advertising in the USA concerning, Shimano for example, you’d have to talk to these people: http://fish.shimano.com/publish/content/global_fish/en/us/index/about_us.html#
For example, Shimano in Japan does all sorts of stuff like sports bicycling, etc. You need to talk to the USA reps.
Wish I could be of more help.
I don’t know. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I was trying to be polite and professional.
Feb 26 (5 days ago)
I am very familiar with Shimano. There are 100′s of manufacturers there who do make US ad buys.
Sent from my iPhone
Ben seemed like he didn’t like what I wrote and got a bit pushy and most definitely
rude. This is, after all, Japan and one doesn’t write short and curt mails to
people they are asking favors of. Faux Pas Ben! I wonder why he can’t see the contradiction
in what he wrote, “There are 1007s of manufacturers there who do make US ad buys”?
Well, of course, for one, he is exaggerating… For two, if that were true and he knows
that, then why can’t he make the sales himself? As Homer Simpson would say, “Doh!”
Still, once again, I tried to be polite…
Can you tell me the names of some of these companies? I don’t know.
I am under the impression that the Japanese companies sell all their products to USA subsidiaries or they sell by a “No return” policy. A no return policy would mean that some middleman company buys these products and would handle the advertising.
I’m not arguing with you at all, just trying to understand this situation…
Right after sending this email to Ben, I decided to call one of my friends directly at the fishing publication to get his two cents. Then I wrote back to Ben again… Basically my pal said, “Mike, think about it. Why would a business that is trying survive in the domestic market advertise overseas when there is already an overseas branch with a budget and sales team to handle that market? It’s a jurisdiction issue.”
I just talked to my friend, Hiroshi, who is an executive at this publisher that is the biggest fishing/water sports magazine in Japan…
He seems to think that what you are saying is incorrect; that domestic manufacturers wouldn’t advertise in the USA unless they had representation in the USA… And if they had representation in the USA, they’d let them handle it.
This seems to make very much sense to me as I know this is the same situation in other businesses due to tax laws in the two countries.
I am willing to ask again for you, but I need more specifics rather than “100′s of manufacturers.”
It’s true. I know that. The big Japanese manufacturers have US subsidiaries for tax and other business reasons. Companies structure this way and territories fall under different jurisdictions. There is no reason why the, say, Japan branch of the company, who is only concerned with sales and profitability in Japan, would advertise to foreign countries… Sales there benefit the local subsidiary. Shimano world, for example, might annually set aside a budget for their US branch, but the US branch would have jurisdiction on how that budget is used. The Japanese branch would not. Still, Ben won’t have it. I guess it is understandable that a guy who works at a fishing magazine wouldn’t have a clue as to how jurisdiction over territories works in international companies… Why should he? He knows how to edit print and tie a hook. He doesn’t know jack about how big companies – especially big Japanese companies – work.
Yet, still being a nice guy (dumb guy?) I ask that he furnish me with leads on this “100s of manufacturers” as I don’t work for free (nor am I interested in ‘letting my fingers do the walking – for a few hours for no pay – in the Yellow Pages’) and, if they do exist, then he should at least tell me who they are….
Ben then writes me a very dumb question that is a sort of challenge, I suppose:
Why then would these same manufacturers attend expensive trade shows in the US.
Coastal Angler Magazine
Frankly speaking, I couldn’t believe that Ben wrote this. “Why would these same manufacturers attend expensive trade shows in the US”???? Are you kidding me? Ben! Have you never worked at or with a manufacturer? Are you so out of touch that you don’t know why they attend trade shows? They certainly don’t do it for fun, you know. They do it as it is part and parcel of their business; they need to know what’s going on in the market and what other manufacturers are doing and going to do. They go to see new products. Have you never been to a trade show? Hell, if not NO WONDER YOU CAN’T SELL ADVERTISING TO THESE PEOPLE! I’ve been to lots of trade shows, maybe one hundred of them by now. I know why these people attend. It’s obvious.
This really made me convinced that Ben hasn’t a clue as to what he’s doing. Of course if you want to sell something to someone, you have to get to know them and understand what their needs are. It’s called “Needs selling” and a very basic concept for any salesman: “Get to know the client. Understand their needs and sell them a solution for those needs.” Ben doesn’t understand his clients enough to know why they attend trade conventions? Astounding!
Well, with that, I am fed up with Ben… If his understanding of his own business – and business in general – is so rudimentary, then I can’t help him. I wrote:
You’re kidding with that question, right?
Of course they attend these trade shows (like all manufacturers in all businesses do – not just fishing related – because they want to see what other manufacturers are doing. And, maybe, make business connections! Pretty basic, stuff. Ben.)
It shouldn’t come as any big news to you, should it, that the Japanese have traditionally been accused of copying (stealing) ideas.
I am surprised by two things, Ben;
1) If you know that the Japanese are coming to these trade conventions? Then why the heck don’t you guys approach them for sales? Why are you asking me?
2) You are asking a stranger to help you (me) but your arrogance and bad attitude are certainly a big minus for you.
No wonder you have a hard time getting clients.
Please don’t bother me anymore.
2:19 AM (3 hours ago)
No problem dick head
Sent from my iPhone
Wow! In his initial email to me, Ben wrote:
“There are countless Japanese manufacturers who seek to sell their products to our readership, but we don’t seem to be able to bring them in as advertisers.”
Is there any wonder why he can’t bring them in as advertisers? Well, Ben, from my point of view, there’s no surprise there. Hell, that Ben, with an attitude and lack of knowledge like that, has any advertisers at his magazine is a point of wonder
And there you have it, folks. Seriously is there any wonder why Ben’s company can’t get advertisers? Is there any wonder why he can’t get any help selling his magazine? Nope.
Is there a good lesson here for the rest of us? Yep.
It’s a great lesson in how NOT to be a good salesman and it’s a great lesson in “How to NOT Win Friends and Influence People.”
NOTE: I placed Ben’s name and contact here as a favor to him. Hopefully some fishing manufacturer will see this and contact Ben for advertising. If Ben does get any ads from this, I get 18% commission, the Japan standard rate for selling advertising. – Signed “dick head”
NOTE: I really did ask David Leibowitz if he knew Ben and if he was ever on the cover of this magazine. This is David’s real reply:
“Hustlers and Ho’s”
“Pimps – The real life”
“Makkin and Jacking”
“12 inch plus”
“bald is best”
But not “bass fishing jerk off” it’s a scam