Criminal Minds (not the tv show!)

Crime novels the

next thing to look out for but

only if books are cheap!


Has anyone read Keigo Higashino’s stuff?  I’m interested in getting started on his crime novels which are apparently the best-selling crime novels in Japan (not that they have to be best-selling but you might as well go for the best!).   I saw one reviewed lately but was taken aback by the price of it, even for a paperback!  I’ll try to get my hands on a copy somewhere as this novelist looks good to me and it will be a change from the usual stuff I read from Japan.   Incidentally, I came across a new work by Murakami H lately.  The hardback copy only which was also ridiculously pricey.  I haven’t spent that much on individual books since I bought  his 1Q84 (in its split set up of 1-2 and then 3 separately) and while that was worth it, it was hard to part with that much cash in one go at the time!   Anyway, this new one really doesn’t look that good to me.

I got two of Murakami’s first published short stories (re-published in the one book) out of the library a couple of months ago but I just couldn’t get into them.   I guess I have Murakami fatigue.   I rarely bring books back to the library unread so that was something.

Anyway back to all things crime, I managed to see A third murder on the plane on the way to Japan earlier this year.  It’s a good film starring Koji Yakusho.   I was stoked to see it was a film option as sometimes the film options aren’t great and I did want to see that one.   Also, this actor happens to promote this airline so that’s possibly another reason but not necessarily as he’s almost always in good films, which I’m sure show up on some airline film programme somewhere around the world.

A film I still haven’t seen which I have in my recommended film list is After the Storm, already out a year or more.  Another more recent one, to return to the crime theme, is called Shoplifters.  This looks really good, looking again at a complex family set up.  I think it is the late Kiki Kirin’s last film.

I’ll be looking out for those two family-themed films directed by Hirozaku Kore-eda who is just brilliant, as I may have said before 😉

I caught a pretty good drama lately – a horror called Crow’s Blood.  It’s about a transfer student with a major secret which brings nothing but woe to the school.  It’s quite good for something set in a high school (which I usually avoid) but Japan does horror pretty well as we know (though South Korea is catching up or has maybe surpassed Japan in the horror field). I’ve added that and another drama I checked out lately to my list in the drama and documentaries page.

Well, if anyone can recommend any other good dramas or novels, crime or otherwise, drop me a line.





French pens say no to Le Pen

Well done to the French,

or those who voted at least,

on their choice today


Congratulations to Monsieur Macron for becoming the new President of France, beating his opponent well with 65% of votes to the loser’s 35 (roughly).   To all the hate-filled fear mongers who support the clown in the White House or other such clowns, around Europe and the world, bog off.  Ok, like I’ve suggested before Macron may not be everyone’s cup of tea.  Roughly 23% abstained from voting at all and a lot of people only voted for him to stop her getting the Presidency but that does not matter.  The French vote made most of the world breathe a sigh of relief today.  It’s like the opposite of the American situation in that the economic-minded, not quite a people person won over someone who’s (clearly) trouble.  Meanwhile, the defeated candidate has said what in her concession speech? Well, she has pledged to form a new party even more right-wing than the one she heads already (well she stepped down temporarily as President of her party to go for the Presidency but even so)?   Unbelievable.   Macron has quite the task ahead of him and the general elections in June mean le Pen’s party, in whatever form it takes, will probably become the main opposition party.    He’d better do his job well as she will probably be back in another few years.  I also wish Mélanchon’s party well in these elections as he seemed ok (a bit too much to the left though like a French Bernie Sanders? Well I hope they get their spot anyway).




Kowtowing to the wrong people

Most twisted news I

have heard in a while in the

women’s affairs sphere

So the UN are compiling a secret vote as to whether to allow Saudi Arabia onto a body which discusses and deals with women’s rights.  You have got to be joking.  The only reason I heard of it was that over the last couple of days, our Minister for Foreign Affairs has refused to reveal whether he said yes or no to it.  The secret part of it is that Saudi Arabia won’t know who voted for or against them or who voted at all.   So yeah I guess they’d find out if it was all over the media but people have a right to know what their government is getting up to internationally.  So who cares if they find out.  Surely we don’t need their business that much?  They don’t deserve our beef!  It’s the UN who need their head testing even considering it though I suppose they might think they will be helping women in Saudi Arabia, or they can keep an eye on Saudi Arabia.  Rather naive I think as Saudi Arabia has so far got away with murder, literally, at home and abroad, and knows it can because people depend on it for oil.

Anyway, our Foreign Affairs minister says he’s not telling anyone, even people in the government cabinet (which I find hard to believe) and our Prime Minister is looking insincere, which he is in my opinion, for not being clear on whether he brought it (women’s issues) up with the Saudis on a previous trade mission trip in 2014.    I can’t imagine he did bring it up specifically, the kowtowing groveller that he is.  Too interested in getting business from that place.    Though he is meant to be stepping down soon (leave already!), I can’t see his replacement being any better.  I’m talking about this here because Japan’s PM seems very fond of Saudi Arabia also (and well he is PM of a country where women have had to fight to keep their own name after getting married for flip sake), and often seems to be kowtowing in the most obsequious manner (to use the onomatopoeia ぺこぺこ). These two PMs are not the only ones almost afraid of bringing Saudi Arabia to task on this very important issue and making them change their backward attitude to women and give them legal rights to carry out things that are normal in most civilised countries but they’re the ones who interest me most obviously.   An extreme example of too much money (made from their oil which sadly many countries want) and no sense.  Leaders of countries including mine are afraid they might lose business.  Pathetic.  They should make them improve before inviting them on any such bodies, if they absolutely have to do that.    Some proof of improvement, I think, would be the introduction of laws to allow women certain rights which the rest of the world would then see.  And abolishing certain existing laws of course.   Politicians in many countries have deplorable, sad attitudes to women, including their female counterparts in parliament, and women under the yoke of the Catholic Church here and elsewhere had it hard for a long time also – so it’s not just there that religion affects  laws and/or attitudes.  Saudi Arabia and other countries nearby still, however, choose to remain a world apart.  Of course, some men have had it hard there too like the blogger who was flogged for revealing information about the country through his blog.  But for women it is a whole lot worse.

No, I have not been there and I have no interest in going in the next lifetime.   I wouldn’t put my time or money into the tourism industry of a country, Saudi Arabia or neighbouring countries with similar attitudes, that treats women like that.  Hell, I don’t even like the idea of visiting the US on holiday, which I otherwise would like to do, while the orange clown is in charge, nor France should Le Pen win this weekend (and I don’t think Macron is a great choice either but she’s awful, not as bad as her old dinosaur father but just as harmful to France’s future as he would have been).