Haiku reflections on Japan, International or other matters

Abe and Pearl Harbour

First visit by a

Japanese PM to Pearl

Harbour a big deal


Following Barack Obama’s visit to Hiroshima earlier this year, news has come of an impending first ever visit by a Japanese Prime Minister to Pearl Harbour (真珠湾 in Japanese) to honour the victims of Japan’s World War II attack, which officially brought the US into World War II.  Shinzo Abe will visit in late December.

I think this is fitting as Barack Obama is about to leave office and you-know-who will be officially in place in January.    Though I think Barack Obama should have apologised during his visit and did not, I still think it was an important visit (preceded by John Kerry’s visit of course) which should be reciprocated while the same president is still (technically) in office and now it will be.  Shinzo Abe’s wife is already said to have visited by herself which I think was a good idea.

Anyway, over to the rest of the world and keeping in mind what I said before about a possible domino effect in Europe of the wrong kind of people getting into office, good news has come from Austria at least where the far-right party have been defeated by an independent party politician who has grasped the reins of power.   One less country to worry about in that regard.


Haiku reflections on Japan


Silence from above,

struck dumb by mother nature

or awe-striking skill


Silence, the film based on the (very good) book by Shusaku Endo and which I’ve been waiting to see for a while and mentioned late last year , is finally coming out judging by the advertisements I’m seeing cropping up everywhere.  It stars Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield as the two Portuguese priests who go to Japan to look for their persecuted fellow priest played by Liam Neeson, and is directed by Martin Scorsese.   Ciaran Hinds, another Northern Irish actor, plays another big role. He’s a good choice I think.  I watched a trailer for it today.  I wonder how Scorsese settled on the first two actors here. Their Portuguese accents are actually ok from the trailer but will they hold up for a whole film?  I hope it doesn’t turn out like the actor who played Sam in Lord of the Rings who, I thought anyway, couldn’t stick to the one accent!! Or Hollywood attempts at Irish accents. Cringe.  If they chose actors with a natural non-native English accent, not necessarily Hispanic or Iberian, who also happened to have star appeal it might be better.  Or just not have accents at all.  Andrew Garfield actually looks good with a beard while Liam Neeson is looking super thin in his role (obviously given the conditions he ends up in he’s not going to be well fed but it’s so strange to see him so emaciated looking).   The role of the Daimyo (feudal lord) whom the two young priests and Neeson’s Fr. Ferreira encounter was supposed to be played by either Ken Watanabe or Koji Yakusho but I didn’t spot either of them in the trailer.  Maybe their schedules clashed but the man who seemed to be the Daimyo did look otherwise familiar as did another of the Japanese cast.   If it had been either, I think Yakusho would have been better. He has more of a presence I think.   Still, it’s good to see other actors getting to show their stuff.

In other good Japanese-related movie news, depending on how you see it, Toshiro Mifune has recently been given a star on the Hollywood walk of fame.  I say depending on how you see it because if they can give one of these stars to a person like the US President Elect (which was actually vandalized during the elections), it makes it less meaningful to see it being given to a deserving film actor.   He’s not the first Japanese actor or actor of Japanese origin to get one. George Takei and the late Pat Morita (Mr Miyage!) have one well-earned star apiece as well.   George Takei has recently expressed a lot of concern about talk about camps for immigrants by the soon to be new White House resident, given that he himself had to enter one of the World War II American camps for Japanese immigrants as a boy.  He really is going after immigrants it seems.

Japan is somewhat worried at the moment, for one thing because of the earthquake and tsunami that struck yesterday in the Fukushima coastal region – luckily no one died this time but it’s naturally a cause of concern – and on a political level because the aforementioned white house creature has announced he wants to pull out of the proposed TTP agreement.    I don’t know the ins and outs of this agreement but it was something Barack Obama hoped to see ratified before he left office.   Another project of Obama’s that T has no time for it seems.

International or other matters

The Mad House

Panic everywhere 

but let’s hope that good sense comes

forth to rule the roost


Well, the orange oaf got into the White House – dear god.  Poor Hilary Clinton.  I felt bad for her in her speech which was very gracious even when spoken between gritted teeth and barely-held back tears.   Out walking her dog the next day however.  That’s one chilled out woman.   So people didn’t give her a chance thinking she was ‘up to something’, ‘too snooty’ and so on.   I understand America’s a very poor place for a big percentage of the population and they wanted change and jobs. But there’s change and there’s him.

As for world reaction, Russia’s delighted, China is smug (the ‘look what happens when you let people vote’ kind of smug apparently – settle down China, democracy still rules!!), Japan is worried because of the security deal they have with the US, all the more important now considering he has access (albeit highly-controlled) to the big button against provocative North Korea, and probably the threat of losing the guarantee of exporting their cars to the US – something D T has remarked on in a resentful way to attract voters who want the American car industry rejuvenated).  The right-wingers of Europe are ecstatic.  Let’s hope that doesn’t produce a domino-effect around Europe and the world.  Just days before the first anniversary of the Paris attacks, the NF party leader M le P was delighted with the result and among the first to issue congratulations.  My country’s Prime Minister also issued congratulations on behalf of his people – the backpedalling hypocrite….ugh.  Diplomacy or not, please don’t claim to speak for me (I didn’t vote for this guy).

This brings me to the Paris attacks of which the first anniversary is today.  The Bataclan is being re-opened and while I’m no fan of the singer performing (he likes to perform for very dubious heads of state – no principles), I’m just glad the band who were playing that night aren’t back. I had like most people never even heard of them (Eagles of … huh?) before that awful night but I thought from the very beginning that they totally milked the tragedy to get their five minutes of fame.  They’re blacklisted from the place now anyway.  They probably voted for Trump.  They have been blacklisted for saying some of the staff were linked to the terrorists. Trying to drag out their 5 minutes of fame.  Atrocious thing to say about people who were probably among the victims.  And if they managed to survive, they’ll be forever marked by grief, and survivor guilt.  Maybe I’m giving them too much time here so I’ll say no more about those nobodies of rock.

Well I hope things work out ok.  I’m neither pro- or anti-America.  I appreciate America greatly for what it has given the world in terms of music, film/tv, literature, peace-making politicians abroad (they’re not all war-mongers you know, look at Northern Ireland – the Clintons especially were good here but I’m thinking of others too).  I’ve been to the US (in George W’s time, yeah I know…) just once for a few days and liked it.  I’d like to go back but once this madness dies down if it ever does or preferably once Trump is out (do I have to wait 4 years though?? We’ll see). Even though I don’t think the person in the White House has a great influence on a person’s enjoyment of a holiday in the US – his hateful speech towards just about everyone does not make me want to spend money getting to and staying a few days/weeks there.  Things were tense in George W’s time (a lot of it his fault) but it did not affect my time there in any great way. A bit of nervousness arriving at the airport due to a needlessly intimidating passport officer but that aside, it was a lovely end to a round the world journey.

It has faults too of course just like any other country.

Democracy anywhere, not just in the US with its complicated electoral system, is still a great system and even if it doesn’t seem like everyone is listened to by the people in power, people should feel lucky they have the freedom to say what they need to say if they choose to say it and not be imprisoned/tortured/killed for it. As Hilary C said Americans have to give him a chance (even if through gritted teeth!).  So the Americans who didn’t vote for him – and most of the rest of the world – wait with bated breath … for the first chance they get to get him out of the White House!!  They’ll be watching him like a hawk that is for sure. He seems to have calmed down a bit already so here’s hoping that continues.