Haiku reflections on Japan, International or other matters

Happy new year 2017

Less earthquakes, poor weather

more gems in cinema and

happy blog writing


Well, 2017 is fast approaching, just less than half a day left for me here but just a couple of hours away for Japan.   How amazing it would be to celebrate New Year’s in Tokyo.  I might try for next year.  Apparently, the countdown is going to be a second or more longer this year to ensure that world clocks match up with atomic clocks.  Sounds odd to me but I guess we have to make sure those atom seconds aren’t running ahead of us!  It will be odd for people who don’t know of this – they might be thinking ‘hey that was way too silent why isn’t everyone celebrating! Oh ok here we are!’

Speaking of silence, I’m re-reading the novel by Shusaku Endo and am finding it as brilliant as when I read it first.  The film Silence is coming out tomorrow in the UK and Ireland so I’ve got that in my diary to go and see.

Glad to see Shinzo Abe made his visit to Pearl Harbour.  That went as expected.   I saw an interesting documentary this week on a British television channel, known for good quality and credible documentaries, alleging that Pearl Harbour may just have happened with the prior knowledge, via newly discovered intelligence, of Churchill and Roosevelt, both hoping to bring the US into the war.  They apparently just let Japan get on with this attack much to the shock of certain senior navy staff who were unaware of this going on and genuinely were shocked when they found out (so Tora tora tora still is factual in depicting the shock of certain senior staff)

Meanwhile, Abe also has to keep on the good side of Russia who they are trying to negotiate with over the Kuril islands.   Putin is arrogant as ever in his negotiations.

While I don’t think it takes much to antagonise China, you can’t blame China and South Korea for wondering why Abe stays silent on apologies or at least expressions of ‘condolence and regret’ for Japan’s treatment of their two countries during and prior to World War II.  Maybe he thinks he does not need to given the fact that prior, less hawkish, Japanese prime ministers have done enough apologising which he maybe didn’t agree with at the time – ‘Right! That’s enough apologising to you two – we’re done!’   I know he needs the US on his side considering North Korea is threatening and China are always on the ready but I find his behaviour all so obsequious when it comes to the US, and now Russia.

I hope 2017 is a good year for people in Japan – less earthquakes, threatened or real, less freaky weather, less threats from their neighbour North Korea, more equality for women in the workplace and hopefully more good films come out of Japan (over anything else in my opinion as someone looking in).  I hope to make this a year I get to travel to Japan by which time I’ll have improved my Japanese a whole lot more.    Even if I haven’t, I’d survive no problem on what I have.

I hope 2017 is a good one for you all blog writers out there !!



Haiku reflections on Japan

Happy ending (?) in Hokkaido

Happy ending in

Hokkaido for lucky child

sparks needed debate


Good to know that the 7 year old boy abandoned by his parents as punishment in the Hokkaido woods has been found safe and well.    How he survived on only water while staying in that hut was amazing.   Kids are tough but it’s amazing to find he survived without eating, with only water to drink, and no wonder his first words,after confirming who he was, were ‘I’m hungry’.    Sounds like any child to me : ) Who knows why he went so far. The innocent curiosity of a child who underestimated the wilds of Hokkaido,  not taking his parents seriously (if you throw stones at moving cars and people then you can’t be that worried about what your parents will say), or something deeper.

You don’t have to be a parent to comment on this.  We were all kids once right?  The parents went way too far.   A few minutes alone is a long time in the mind of a child.  The 5 km he walked until he found the hut is a lot for a child too.  According to a website I found measuring walking distances, 5 km would take a healthy fit adult walking at a leisurely pace an average of 60 minutes (about 45 minutes if they were more purposeful) so it probably took him, with his little legs, much longer (leisurely or purposeful = not taking the mick here but being scared of animals or other things and looking for somewhere to sleep before nightfall would fall in to the purposeful category I would imagine).   The people from the local village looking for him obviously did not reckon on him going so far.

As a person without kids, I hesitate to suggest what I would have done but I will as I’ve looked after enough of them (thus acting as guardian for however long or short a time). They could have spoken with him about why he felt the need to throw stones at cars and people.   Or maybe bribed him with something until they got home and then given him a good talking to.    This will no doubt reflect badly on them but I’m not saying they were to blame for such disconcerting behaviour.  He could have picked up this behaviour from kids at school or seen it on tv.  It will still reflect badly on them.  They were lucky he wasn’t killed by a bear or attacked by something else or someone else in those 7 days.

Who knows how awful the kid feels.  He is said to have accepted his father’s apology with a ‘nod’ and an ‘ok’.   That doesn’t mean much as he was maybe too ashamed to make a fuss in front of people as he probably knew of all the effort put in to looking for him. He might not have known what to say otherwise as maybe he’s not used to an apology from his parents.  Either way, when you’re that age,  your parents are supposed to be the sensible ones and the parents will come out looking the worst in this.

This has opened up a debate on treatment of children in Japan.  Spoilt or not (and they’re not all spoilt by any means, Japan has neglected kids like any country and even spoiling kids rotten to make up for absence is a sort of neglect), this would be terrifying for any child, even if they initially saw it as an adventure, and it will leave a mark on him though I have to say he still eventually needs to learn not to throw stones at cars or people or other living creatures ( just ward it off with a stick if possible).     A lesser punishment would obviously have been enough to teach him this.  Not leaving him at the side of the road for god knows who or what to find him.

Anyway I guess they feel bad enough as it is and are extremely ashamed.  The shame of making international headlines won’t help.   I hope the family sort this out between themselves and get to continue their lives in peace.




Haiku reflections on Japan

One flower less it seems

It seems the flower

of Scotland has grabbed second

place in Pool B and …


… thus grabbed a spot in the quarterfinals.   Sorry Japan.  Well, even though they still have a match to play tomorrow evening, which they will win I think, it looks like the Brave Blossoms will not be advancing to the next stage of the World Cup.  If Samoa had won today, they would be but Scotland won and it was a real narrow win, quite nail biting actually.     Scotland are going to be playing Australia in the quarter finals.  I’m happy in one sense that Scotland got through, being a good neighbour (I haven’t been to Scotland yet amazingly but I’d like to), but it would have been great to see Japan go through for the first time ever to a quarter-final stage.   Still, I’m sure they’ll bow out in style tomorrow evening.   The US will be keen to leave the world cup with at least one win so they’ll be alert but I still think Japan will beat them. Not 64-0 as South Africa did, probably a much smaller score and maybe a narrow win as well.

So we’re playing Les Bleus tomorrow and I’m looking forward to that immensely.  Such a big build up to it so I hope it doesn’t end up being a dull match for all that.

Happy to hear Georgia have got their 3rd place spot and thus automatic qualification to the next world cup.

Up to last night’s match between New Zealand and Tonga, I had not seen two teams perform a war dance in front of each other.   I think Tonga’s appeared more ‘fearsome’.   I’m not being sarcastic.  It’s nice to watch but the other teams just eyeball them and smile at the end (if they do anything).  Pool C is the only pool in this particular world cup with more than one team with a war dance ritual.   But I had not seen it before or don’t remember it at least from previous world cups, the only occasion I’m likely to watch these nations play rugby against each other.

In related news, rugby 7s is going to be introduced into the next Olympics, in Rio and only next year (it does not seem that long since London put on such a good show), and, more common to Japan, baseball is being considered for Tokyo 2020.  I think baseball (野球) might have been introduced to Japan around the same time as rugby, i.e. in the last, say, 30 years of the 19th century, given the foreign influence of that time (as I went into in a previous rugby-related post), but even so baseball is clearly huge in Japan which, if you’ve ever been there, you’ll know.  Rugby is obviously catching on but it is still not as big as baseball (and possibly football or サッカー where Japan also field good teams in international tournaments, both for the men and women).   I think introducing Rugby 7s and baseball is a great idea but how many countries really play baseball in a big way? The USA, Japan and Cuba are only three I know of.    Maybe more countries will take it up knowing it’s going to be in the Olympics.   China are probably already on it haha.   Anyway, two more enjoyable sports to add to the mix.    I’d prefer those two than golf, another introduction I think for next year or possible introduction for later, any day of the week.   ZZZZZZZ.    Yes, I know I don’t have to watch it but really….