Poetry Day

Happy national

poetry day to all my

fellow haiku scribes!


Well, for the day that’s in it – National Poetry Day – I thought I should come back and write a post.  I haven’t been around in a while despite all that’s been going on over in Japan’s part of the world:

North Korea is

posing a bigger threat but

Aso still an ass.


Yes, North Korea is one thing but having a minister like Aso on your team who says things like ‘H~~~ had the right idea in the 1930s’ (won’t type out his name for obvious reasons) is no help to politics in Japan or Japan’s reputation abroad.  You’re on the brink of being wiped out by a bullying nutcase neighbour and you hero worship another genocidal nutcase from the past?   What an ass (to put it mildly).   Shinzo Abe with his raised right arm tendencies doesn’t help either!!    I’m glad he’s getting a scare from the current governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, who has formed a new party which is already threatening his poll ratings, already low.  She says she won’t run against him in the next elections to be PM because she wants to focus on Tokyo 2020.    She was his defence minister at one point and is a conservative populist (don’t like that word too much) but apparently she wants to challenge the political old guard. Becoming the first female governor of Tokyo has given her a good start there!   The Party of Hope is the name of her party. Let’s hope it lasts a while and doesn’t turn bad.  She certainly is scaring him in the polls.  We can’t let long-time leaders like right-arm raising Abe get too comfortable can we.     Things are certainly looking very dark over there right now, even with the Party of Hope hoping to bring some light in.  I’m almost glad I’m not in Japan these days.

Speaking of darkness of another kind, and onto one of my favourite topics of conversation, film, A third murder, Hirokazu Koreeda’s most recent film (for the first time in a while, or ever, not really about family issues which is his speciality), which premiered at the Venice International Film Festival this year, explores the dark side of being a lawyer defending a client who admits to a crime even if the lawyer doubts his guilt.  Is he covering up for someone? Well, who cares!!  I’d like to see this at some point.


Kore-eda strikes

again to give us a slice

of life in Japan.


I have another film to see before that, which is also about a pretty dark area of society – American society.   It’s called Wind River, set on a reservation (the actual Wind River reservation where it was filmed) in Wyoming where an experienced park ranger helps an inexperienced FBI agent to investigate the death of a young Native American woman, found lying dead in the snow.   Missing or murdered Native American women (and First Nation women in Canada) is an ongoing problem, mostly neglected if not ignored by authorities (in Canada at least, I’m not as sure about the US) and reservations in America have other problems too.    Some very good actors in this and it’s directed by the man who screen-wrote Hell or High Water last year (also a very good film where Jeff Bridges, a very good actor most will agree, as the Texas Ranger chasing sibling bank robbers – robbing branches of the bank which has taken back their ill mother’s farm/house – has his scenes stolen (geddit?) by the actor playing his Native American (Comanche)-Mexican partner, who plays the grieving father of the murdered young woman in Wind River – a brilliant character actor).  I’ve read some very interesting books lately exploring the history of Native Americans and the American West.  I  admire to some extent the chiefs and rebels from various tribes who resisted and only gave in for the good, or so they were led to think, of their people.  They were robbed in every way and yes the murder of settlers by some Indians was definitely not right either but ‘there were good and bad Indians and good and bad whites but the whites only saw the bad in the Indian’, to paraphrase a quote from one leader.  Incidentally, one of the books covers the Texas Rangers who were originally created as a form of militia back in the 19th century in order to hunt down Indians.  There were some white figures in US history who come out looking relatively good but not enough of them. I’ve watched and am watching some dramas and documentaries on the subject as well (which also cover earlier periods, in the 17th and 18th centuries, when the early pilgrims arrived in the East of the States) but the books are brilliant.   I got both out of the library – and am waiting for another one, long live libraries – but am planning to buy one of them now so I can have it in my collection to refer to in the future.   Definitely not a book that will be left in 積読/tsundoku state (the Japanese term for books bought and then left piled up and unread) – not that many books I buy are.

Back to Japan, well I don’t think there is that much else happening there at the moment (though on the positive side, in terms of film, it’s nice to see good films continuously coming out, especially by Hirokazu Kore-eda).  They have their hands full I imagine with North Korea, and certain idiotic politicians.

So that’s it for today.  I hope no-one minded me going off-track there to talk about a non-Japanese issue.   Actually, apart from the fact the film mentioned is a worthy one (and starting a film blog is something I’m not ready to do yet), there are some parallels in the story of native Americans with Japanese history, as back in the 19th century if not earlier, the Japanese government also mistreated and wiped out most of the Ainu, the aboriginals of Japan.  They also humiliated other Japanese who weren’t seen as equal to them.   They could do what they wanted and got away with it.


The world is small with

governments showing

evil in common


More in another while.




Renshuu refurbishment

Change is mostly a

good and positive thing but

in this case it ain’t.


Well I visited Renshuu the other day after a week or so away (see last post) and I found they had changed the format of the site.  I’m kind of annoyed because I can’t find where I left off!!    It’s neater alright, ironically, but it was much easier to go back to where you left off with the old format.  I hope they’re not going to mess around with it any further.   I don’t want it going down the Memrise sinkhole route!

I watched a documentary this weekend morning about sinkholes – yeah fascinating you say but in fact it was very interesting – after what happened in Hakata that time (see previous post). This was mostly US-focused, particularly Louisiana and Florida.   Sinkholes are far more dangerous than you would think.  I wondered while watching it if it was such a good idea that the Hakata cities authorities rebuilt the street so quickly that time.

On a human level, it is amazing how greedy some housing developers are – not just in America but everywhere-  that they know full well that they are building housing developments on sink-hole vulnerable plots of land and yet it is the eventual home owners who are left to deal with the, often tragic, consequences of it.  And how they even get to development stage is amazing.  So it’s not just property developers at fault (but city authorities who allow them to go ahead without proper assessments of the land).   Real estate agents are also guilty of hiding the truth about properties they are in charge of selling.  Anyway, not only might the homeowners lose their lives but also the value of their house which they find they can’t sell on because of this geological feature that no one can do much about, and that they were knowingly left unaware of.  so they are doomed to stay there.   Some public authorities have special sinkhole zone maps people can refer to if they want to research an area in which they wish to buy a house which is something but not all public authorities have these.  Unless you’re eyeing up an area already known for sinkholes (in which case why?), it’s probably not on your list of things to research when thinking of buying a house!  The documentary also featured people who are aware of sinkholes in their area but due to technology that will warn them of anything that will ‘activate’, so to speak, a threatening sinkhole and/or a genuine love of their community, when they could otherwise afford to move, decide to stay put despite the risk.

Well, I’ll try to think of something less grim for my next post : (










See ye later Memrise


There once was a site called Memrise

which when I started was like the sunrise

but it then went to town

on being a clown

so I thought I’d go elsewhere to memorize

Yeah I thought I’d start with a Limerick this time to express my opinion of Memrise which I haven’t visited in over 2 months or so.   I just don’t enjoy it anymore, mostly because the founders have really gone to town on dragging it down with their clowning around with the format.   There were some nice fellow learners on it at times.  I might return out of curiosity (to see how much I ‘have to’ water because it keeps bringing up words you know you have long memorised for watering) but elsewhere my Japanese perfecting adventure continues.

Thanks all the same Memrise – it was (mostly) nice while it lasted.