Haiku reflections on Japan, International or other matters

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).

Haiku reflections on Japan, Snapshots of Japan

Women’s Day and colourful language

Happy Women’s day 

to women, vulnerable

and tough ones, worldwide


Life is still a challenge for many women out there in various countries and in various ways – whether it be crazy laws barring them from very basic rights (education for example), having female genital mutilation forced on them as children (but not just as children), being forced as children to marry older (sometimes much older) men, discrimination based on their gender preference, domestic abuse, discrimination in the workplace (glass ceilings, even getting into work in the first place or back into work) or sexual harassment – セクハラ – in both the workplace and the street when they’re just going around minding their own business.

Regarding the last example above, I’ve had verbal comments of a certain nature thrown at me by total strangers (but not just strangers sadly).   This is tough but do you respond to strangers or not? Responding is only giving them the attention they want, not responding encourages them to go on and on and but in any case you’re not responsible for what they think of you (at first I struggled with that phrase ‘it’s none of your business what others think of you’ but it does make sense).

You’d love to ask them what their mother/sister/aunt/daughter would think of what they just said and what they would say if their own mother/sister/aunt/daughter had such a comment made to them.  They’d probably come up with some half-witted response because they’re half-wits.  No actually.  Total dimwits.  They’d then go on and say it to some other woman no doubt.   Or shocker they might not say it to anyone ever again but you wouldn’t know that at the time and you may feel that you gave them a little bit too much attention even while trying to make a valid point to them.  Keep walking or walk away if you’re able to.  Being verbally abused like this is the verbal version of what I imagine chikans are about.  They are trying to defile you in some way.  Thank god most countries have not had to introduce separate train carriages for women, as in Japan to give one example (I think either India or Mexico or both were planning to bring them in too) and I hope it never becomes necessary either.   It would be sad if it became second nature for city councils worldwide to build these carriages.   Dare I say it also drags good men (of which there are plenty) down with the bad?

However, if you’re in Japan (or anywhere else but this is a Japan blog obviously) and you are groped either in a train carriage or anywhere else, a couple of sentences in Japanese, which might help if you have the strength in you at that paralysing moment to speak at all are: ‘私から手をはなせ!’ is ‘Let go of me’ (lit: get your hands away from me or off me – it can be shortened to ‘はなせ!’) or another I’ve heard which I’m unsure of but would use if I had to is you could grab the person’s hand (I know, you wouldn’t even want to touch the person but bear with me), hold it up high and say 誰の手ですか?’whose hand is this?’  I don’t really know any effective swear words in Japanese sorry.

I was in an East European city a while ago (first time – great city!) and as I had no idea of the language and like to learn a bit of the lingo in advance I made a point of learning ‘let go of me!’ at least.  I had no hassle there in the end – verbal or physical and I have to say I didn’t expect to even though I perceive the men from the country in question to be quite macho – and I would have used a lot stronger language than that to be honest (and in English so there was no mistaking my dislike of any unwelcome attention!), but I didn’t have to use any in the end.   They wouldn’t deserve my effort to try to remember it on the spot in their own language anyway and well most people know what F*** **f means anyway!   Pardon the language but it is our choice what language we use and some people (women and men alike) don’t like to hear women using such strong language which is sexism as well*.  Saying you’re not interested or trying to think of other diplomatic rejections is polite but not enough unfortunately for some men. Bad language also creates adrenaline, I read recently, which is of course handy in threatening situations.

* That said there is one word that makes me baulk and it is the c word that ends in t.   I’ve had it used against me (by a family member) and thought about uttering it to others (and I’ve actually used it against inanimate objects).  But I hate it and try not to use it. I’ve revised this paragraph but it’s the same thing as before only shorter.

Anyway girls (and some boys) remember it’s not about you it’s very much their issue (that includes girls slagging off other girls by the way) just in case you don’t hear/read it enough.

Haiku reflections on Japan

The Quiet Room

Stress and bad times lead

this girl to the ‘quiet room’

to sort her head out.


‘Welcome to the Quiet Room’ クァイエットルームによこそ (2007) is a film I came across the other evening.   Two of the most well-known actors in it were Yu Aoi and Tsumabaki Satoshi (the latter from Orange Days which I watched and wrote about before, though I didn’t recognise him at first as he had a heavy punk look in this).  Yu Aoi kind of annoys me sometimes with her ‘not quite all there’ vibe but she was actually really good in this despite being even more ‘not quite all there’.  The main actress is Yuki Ueda who I thought I recognised from something but I couldn’t put my finger on where.  She ends up in a psychiatric hospital after an overdose of sleeping pills caused by a very stressful job mixed with guilt over what has become of people in her life.   Her boyfriend is partly responsible for her ending up there too.   He probably belongs in there himself.  The hospital naturally has a mix of ‘personalities’ being the type it is and one particular nurse, who while still no match for Nurse Ratchett, is not too far off.   I won’t say what becomes of  Akusa Sakura (the main character) but it’s a very quirky, enjoyable film.  The quiet room refers to the isolation ward she’s seen in first.   I definitely recommend it.

Also, just by chance after mentioning Keanu Reeves in a previous post (and as Orange Days was also in my head) what else do I find but 47 Ronin which I had not managed to see (I had found it on i-tunes but was reluctant to pay to even rent it given the bad reviews!!).  It wasn’t as bad at all as the reviews say.  I found it quite enjoyable and I’m not just saying that because Hiroyuki Sanada and Tadanobu Asano, both of whom I have lots of time for, are in it (along with Ko Shibasaki from Orange Days – the lead female role opposite the afore-mentioned Satoshi Tsumabaki – and Rinko Kikuchi).   Honest.   Some of it is far-fetched but anywhere you have not just fantasy but also Hollywood versions of a part of any country’s history , well…

One other actor in it playing the Shogun’s right hand man plays the young version of the cruel death camp guard in The Railway Man (the older version is played by Hiroyuki Sanada).  Connecting all these actors in different ways is fun.