Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year 2014! The Year of the "Hose"!

Happy New Year 2014! The Year of the "Hose"!

This joke might be hard to understand for foreigners who don't speak Japanese or vice versa.... Next year is the year of the Horse... But "Horse" and "Hose" are written the same way in Katakana (the Japanese alphabet for foreign words - there's 3 alphabets in Japan, but the way, but that's another story....)

Horse in Japanese is "uma." When a Japanese studies English, they learn that "uma," in English, is pronounced: "ho-su." Which, you can probably guess, is the same pronunciation - and the same word - as the garden watering device... Also, hence, the pose that looks like I might be "riding" the hose.

The joke really gets to be an "inside joke" when you realize that in the red circle at the top right, there is a mix of the Japanese alphabet "Hiragana" (the language for Japanese things) for the "ho" and in Katakana for the "su." It's a curve ball!

It's a 13-year-old level joke, but I think it wouldn't occur to most Japanese so some of them think it's hilarious!

WelI, as we all know, a joke that must be explained isn't that funny… I guess, you'd have to be here to appreciate it!

Anyway, have a safe and Happy New Year!

May all your dreams come true in 2014!

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Young People Don't Care... And That's a Good Thing.

The following is just my two cents. Take it or leave it... I've found out that what I think usually doesn't cause the world to turn upside down anyway. Don't send me your mails about "My father fought in...." My dad did too. Know what? I don't care. - Mike (young at heart)

You'll read the news and they'll constantly tell you about bad blood between Japan and her neighbors. Every time some dumb Japanese politician (all over 65-years-old) goes to Yasukuni Shrine, the shrine that supposedly glorifies Japan's past military aggression, the politicians in China and Korea (all over 65-years-old - excepting that lunatic who currently "runs" North Korea) all lose their incontinence and shat their adult diapers. They raise hell and scream about what the other lunatics who "run" Japan are doing and complain about "Japan's war-time militarism" and "past aggressions." (Note: I suspect that Japanese prime ministers visiting Yasukuni shrine while in office could be a sign of senility... We should look into that!)

The news services get into a big tiff and saber-rattling commences along with the typical lame excuses and press conferences....

It's a big deal to the (all over 65-years-old) crowd. But you know what? From my point of view, the vast majority of younger people don't care.

Anytime you see these anti-Japanese or anti-whatever demonstrations on TV, you'll see mostly old people and a few young lunatics in the crowd... Of course, the world has more than enough lunatics to go around for every country... Unfortunately. But you know what?

From my point of view, the vast majority of younger people don't care.

The vast majority of young people from China or Korea (that I've met) and ALL the younger Japanese people I know and live with simply don't care.

World War II was a different world to them. It has nothing to do with them at all. I think you'll be hard-pressed to find a Japanese under 50-years-old who was garreting Chinese civilians in Shanghai in 1942 or administering puncture wounds to Koreans about the same time.

Nope. I'd reckon you couldn't find a single one.

Just like you couldn't find a single former slave owner alive today in the Southern USA.

It's past history. The younger people just seem to not care. And it's a good thing.

I cannot give any data or statistics on how the young people think, especially in Japan, but I can give you anecdotal evidence.

Ever heard of a South Korean boys group named, "Big Bang"? No? Neither had I until my then 17-year-old daughter told me about them about a year or so ago.

Big Bang is massive in Japan; along with several other Korean pop-acts. 

Big Bang

Folks in the west have heard of Paul McCartney or the Rolling Stones. Yes. They played or are playing at Tokyo dome in recent days or early next year. Tokyo Dome holds about 55,000 people... Probably the only western acts that could sell the place out today is Paul McCartney returning to Japan for the first time in 11 years - Doing tons of Beatles songs, by the way - and the Rolling Stones, coming back to Japan for the first time in nearly ten years...

But, in Japan, neither Paul nor Mick Jagger can claim any bragging rights over Big Bang; especially when it comes to young people. The McCartney shows were filled with 55 to 70-year old people. The Stones will probably have the same. 

Big Bang? Three nights at Tokyo Dome sold out within the first 2 hours and packed with 150,000 screaming young girls and guys... And they did the same last year too!

I'm not too hip on today's top of the charts pop music, but I have asked many Japanese women ages between 17 and 35 and they all know who Big Bang is... The Beatles or the Stones? Not so much. Ask any Japanese under 25 if they've ever heard of the Beatles and they'll all say, "Yeah... I think so. But I don't know any of their music..." They don't... But I reckon there's not a single Japanese under 25 who hasn't heard of Big Bang.

It's simply amazing.

(Photo of Japanese teenager showing vicious anti-Korean hostility... Nah, this 18-year-old Japanese girl doesn't just love Big Bang, she worships them! 

To these fans, and many young people just like them, World War II was in a different age in a different universe; they simply don't care about it at all....

I asked my now 18-year-old daughter about Big Bang and she told me that "...all my friends love them! They sing in Japanese that isn't native speaker Japanese, but that's OK. It is what makes them 'cute.'"

I asked my 35-year-old radio station assistant about Big Bang and she told me, "They are huge! All my friends like them. You just cannot get tickets for their shows anywhere!" This is from a girl who works at a radio station, on the most popular show on that station; you'd think she could get tickets if she pulled some strings. No way.

Last night, I asked a 42-year-old woman who runs a restaurant in my neighborhood about Big Bang. Of course she knew who they were. She went on to tell me that several of her close friends are "Big Bang crazy."

Like I said, none of these people were bayoneting people in South East Asia about 70 years ago. They don't care. It has nothing to do with them... Just like neither you nor I owned any slaves on southern cotton plantations.

Another world. Different countries in a different universe at a different time. It has nothing to do with them and their lives. It's other people's baggage. It seems the younger people don't want to carry it... Hell, I don't either.

These are real people who I live and interact with. The clowns in the Japanese government who have never had a real job, who steal our tax monies to line the pockets of their well-connected friends, and hire their friends for cushy government jobs are the ones who care about shit that happened 70 years ago...

It is all a part of these oldsters world and part and parcel of their jobs to maintain controversy so that they can justify spending our taxes on insane nonsense and keeping their friends happy...

Thank god for people like the members of Big Bang. They don't seem to care either about World War II, nor do they seem to care about what (over 65-year-old) politicians do. They care about now and their lives and their fans.

Check this. This video is nearing 100 million views on Youtube. Big Bang has many videos (even singing in Japanese too! - a language that is banned by the government in Korea (who are all people over 65-years-old, by the way...)

Here they are at Tokyo Dome for the final of their 2012 Japan tour shows. Laugh all you want, these guys are the real thing.... (Think about it: 2013 tour? $110 a ticket multiplied by 165,000 people... That's about $18.1 million dollars - give or take a few yen!) 

And REALLY thank god that these young people and their fans will someday soon be in their 60s... Maybe then, we can put this WWII friction to rest... 

Why not? World War II is ancient history, it has nothing to do with today's young people. They don't care. And I think that's a good thing.

(This article inspired by my good friend Andrew Sirkis living in northern Japan)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas in America and Christmas in Japan

I made this silly photo comparison. It speaks for itself.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you!

May all your dreams come true in 2014! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Japanglish and Intentional Misspellings!

OK, there's Japanglish, where the Japanese do their darndest to try to get it right....

And don't... But it works anyway....

Then there's Japanglish, where the Japanese do their darndest to try to get it right....

And do... But it doesn't work in practice... I mean, anyway you look at it.... What? This kid's mom dressed him this way for a school birthday party???

Then there's Japanglish, where the Japanese do their darndest to try to get it right....

But fail miserably... "I can act to bad girl"? What the heck does that mean?

Then there's Japanglish, that isn't even Japanglish, it's just smart marketing...

Sandrich? Get it? "A rich ice cream sandwich." This was intentional as the Japanese usually have a problem with their "L's" and "R's" - they do not have a problem with their "W's" and "R's."  

"Sandrich"? Good idea!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

An Interview With America's Top Bitcoins Expert: Bitram "Bitty" Coins

This interview with a Bitcoins expert is just too good to ignore...


Reality Check: 

Today, I interview Bitram "Bitty" Coins, the nation's leading expert in the Bitcoins market. 

GN: Mr. Coins, I am happy you consented to an interview. 
BC: Call me Bitty. 
GN: OK, Bitty. I want to find out what this Bitcoins deal is all about. 
BC: It's about liberty. It's about a new international market. It's about a New World Currency Order. 
GN: It's also about buying 10,000 Bitcoins for $50 in 2009, which are worth $13,000,000 today. 
BC: I call this value-added investing. 
GN: I call it a digital tulip mania. 
BC: I see that you are a skeptic. 
GN: You have very clear eyesight. 
BC: Maybe I can persuade you otherwise. 
GN: Give it your best shot. 

BC: Let me tell you about the #1 benefit. You get complete privacy. 
GN: Complete? 
BC: That's right. 
GN: How does this work? 
BC: You go to an exchange and buy Bitcoins. 
GN: You mean like Silk Road? 
BC: Not Silk Road. The U. S. government shut it down. 
GN: Then maybe Sheep Marketplace, Silk Road's replacement? 
BC. It went out of business when someone stole $100,000,000 in Bitcoins -- maybe the biggest theft in history. 
GN: How did he do this? 
BC: Nobody knows. 
GN: Will the police catch him? 
BC: The police can't do anything about it. 
GN: Why not? 
BC: Because, with Bitcoins, you have complete privacy. 
GN: So does the thief. 
BC: That's the price of complete privacy. 
GN: Then what recourse do the victims have? 
BC: Well, one of them said this. "I won't find this guy. Somebody else will. I assume he'll be jailed, blackmailed, tortured or killed." I find this inspirational. It's 100% privacy at work. 
GN: Are these heists a pattern? 
BC. Not at all. They are random. 
GN: But there are so many of them. Here is a list. (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=83794.0)

BC: It's just a cost of doing business anonymously. 
GN: Because there are no contracts. 
BC: Correct. 
GN: Because there are no courts. 
BC: Correct. 
GN: Because no one knows who he is dealing with. 
BC: Correct. 
GN: So, if you get robbed, you lose everything. 
BC: Yes. But the risk is low. 
GN: How low? 
BC: No one knows. 
GN: Because the Bitcoins market is 100% secret. 
BC: Correct. 

GC: Let's get back to your account of how I get 100% secrecy. Let's say that I buy some Bitcoins on an exchange. A reliable exchange. 
BC: A good idea. 
GN: How do I get money to the seller of Bitcoins? 
BC: By a bank draft. 
GN: Is there a public record of this? 
BC: Not on a Bitcoins exchange. 
GN: I mean at my bank. 
BC: Oh, sure. It shows that you have spent the money. 
GN: So, I don't transfer the money secretly. 
BC: Correct. 
GN: Then how do I get 100% secrecy? 
BC: Because no one can follow your money after you transfer it. 
GN: Even me, if it gets stolen. 
BC: Correct. 

GN: What if I want to sell some of my Bitcoins? 
BC: No problem. You sell them, and you get dollars. 
GN: Untraceable paper dollars? 
BC: No. Digital money. 
GN: But digits can be stored only in a bank. 
BC: Correct. 
GN: Then the digits -- dollars -- wind up in my bank account. 
BC: Correct. 
GN: So, this is not secret. 
BC: Of course not. It's central bank digital money. 
GN: So, to maintain 100% secrecy, I must never sell my Bitcoins for dollars. 
BC: Correct. 
GN: What can I buy with Bitcoins? 
BC: Illegal drugs. 
GN: What else? 
BC: Computer programming. 
GN: Anything else? 
BC: Not much. But there are more things all the time. 

GN: So, let me be clear about this. I give up dollars, with which I can buy anything, so that I can buy Bitcoins, which can't buy much of anything. 
BC: You are buying secrecy. 
GN: But I can go to my ATM and get currency. I can spend currency anywhere. I can spend it on anything offered for sale for dollars. This leaves no trace. 
BC: But there is a record of this withdrawal. 
GN: There is a record of my withdrawal to buy Bitcoins. 
BC: True. 

GN: Then why should I buy Bitcoins? 
BC: Because they keep rising in price. 
GN: Why do they go up in price? 
BC: Because of success stories. 
GN: Give me one. 
BC: In 2010, you could have bought 10,000 of them for $25 in pizza. 
GN: But in 2009, someone paid $50 for 10,000 Bitcoins. He took a 50% loss. 
BC: The dollar-denominated price of Bitcoins is volatile. 
GN: So, I should buy them as a speculation. 
BC: We don't call this a speculation. 
GN: What do you call it? 
BC: Buying the money of the future. 
GN: Will it buy more things in the future than illegal drugs and programming? 
BC: Of course. 
GN: What is the evidence of this? 

BC: It is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 
GN: That's the New Testament's definition of faith. 
BC: Say, you really know your Scriptures! 
GN: I do. This one comes to mind. "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal." 
BC: Right! Lay up your treasures in the cloud! 
GN: But not in Silk Road or Sheep Marketplace. 
BC: Right.

It gets even more interesting from here on. Read the rest of the interview here: http://bit.ly/1bCOxNl

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Communist Makes More Sense Than the Government???? A Cold Day in Hell...

I was standing in front of Yoga station in Tokyo this morning and was watching this Communist politician railing on Abenomics, Sales Tax increases and Secrecy laws... 

I listened for a while... I thought, "Gee... I can't believe that it's a Communist who actually makes more sense than the clowns we have in power now!..." 

I also thought, "Must be a cold day in hell...."

More things to ponder....

You also have to wonder how it is possible that a politician would; 1) have a platform that is against raising taxes and; 2) Can still lose and election; all the while being a 3) Hot babe! 

Need proof? Read: My Serious Commentary on Today's Japan Elections (And Some Hot Babes!)  http://modernmarketingjapan.blogspot.jp/2013/07/my-serious-commentary-on-todays-japan.html

Monday, December 2, 2013

Never Mined the Bitcoins - Here's the Scam Pyramid

Gary North has written what I think is the best thing I've read on Bitcoin in quite a while. Please refer to: Is Bitcoin a Ponzi Scheme? 

I've spoken and written a lot about Bitcoin. I think the most popular was: The Bashful Bitcoin Numismatist. And I've even been on WHDT TV interviewed about the subject: Bitcoin Not a Feasible Currency.

Well, for the first time in a few months, I finally had a crerative inspiration. This "art" is everything I think I could possibly say about Bitcoin in one image. You know, they say that a "Picture speaks a thousand words..." 

I made this and must give all credit and apologise to the Sex Pistols. 

Here is my last comment on the Bitcoin subject. This says everything I want to say:

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Punk Changed Society... Here's Proof...

Punk music changed society. Before punk people had long hair and TV and entertainment people wore nice clothes on broadcasts or whatever.

I guess I should nod to the Ramones. They performed on stage in the regular clothes....

But now, it's even gotten to other areas of entertainment.

Thank GOD for punk!

I'm only going to do what I want. I hope you do too!

My Demons

My fight with myself is living and doing what I want to do...

I don't want to work with dishonest people and I don't want to work with dickheads...

There's lots of dickheads...

I only wanna work doing what I want to do, working with people who I like...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Working With Thieves, Liars and Crooks

I hate working with people I don't like and people who are thieves, liars and crooks. Most people will say that they agree with me but the actual fact is that, unfortunately, most people who are thieves, liars and crooks don't think that they are. Or, perhaps, to give them the benefit of the doubt, they don't realize that they are.

If they did realize it, and the extent of it, they'd have difficulty looking in the mirror and sleeping at night.

Most people who lie and cheat do so to protect themselves. Their number 1 priority in life and their work is protection of their position. It is not the success of the project or the success of those around them. It is a narcissistic image of themselves that they feel they must protect. Even if it is a lie.

The largest group of these kinds of people are, in Japan, for example, middle management level executives (I'm sure the USA is the same). These are the kinds of people who will extol the troops to work hard and honestly and diligently and to be dedicated to their coworkers and company, yet, while not at work, they do things like run around and have affairs with other women or they lie about small details. 

It's a case of "Don't do what I do. Do what I say."

I hate working with people like that. I have no respect for them.

Some might say that the part of lying about small details is a minor problem and that everyone does it. It's probably true. But, on the other hand, consider this: If someone will tell lies about small insignificant things, you can bet that they will lie about important things too.

I want to be happy that's why I try to always tell the truth no matter how difficult it is. This makes for a situation, though, that is not conducive to having many friends. I've been complained to before at work by coworkers that my way of talking is too direct and some people don't like it... But I think beating around the bush and not saying things directly can often lead to a situation that leads to an untruth being spoken so I'd like to avoid that whenever possible.

I have at least two friends who I know who try to live the way I do. Of course, we are humans and so not perfect so every once in a while a lie might slip, but I know that I, and they too, make every effort to never tell a lie, even a tiny one. 

It sucks having a guilt complex that makes one worry and contemplate stupid fibs we've told to others... So much so that we worry about it overnight or for days on end.  

There's a famous book about this subject that I'd like to recommend to everyone. It's called "The Road Less Traveled" by F. Scott Peck. It is about this subject and how difficult living really is when you make every effort to tell the truth all the time and not say even the tiniest of white lies. It also is about how trying to live this way is a true way towards real happiness.

Here's an example that I like to use about what I call "Silly lies". Many people lie all the time. Say coworkers want you to go a party with them one night. But you don't want to go. So, instead of saying, "I don't want to go." You fib and say, "Oh? Sorry. I have to do some studying that evening." (or some other excuse). Later, on the party night, your friends are walking home and they bump into you by chance. You've obviously been out having a good time.

You've been caught in a fib. You are embarrassed. You've lost credibility and respect. They know you lied.

Come to think of it, why did you lie? Why didn't you say the truth? Why is it so difficult for us in this society to come right out and say, "Gee. Thanks for the offer. Please don't be offended, but I don't want to go." That sounds easy, but it's not and people do get offended.

But in our society, lying all the time is accepted. And, in spite of what we say, we teach our children to lie all the time too!

You are sitting at dinner with your wife and kids. The phone rings. It's the boss. Your wife covers the phone. You say, "Tell him I'm not here right now."

Why did you do that? It's just postponing the inevitable. And, you just taught your kids that it is OK to lie. Great work. You get the parenting award for the day.

Yes, you did! Don't deny it. You just showed your kids by your actions and your words that it is OK to lie. Thanks a lot. Now, who is to blame when they get in trouble at school for lying or, later, learn and practice the same lesson to you?

Many years ago, I worked at Prudential in the USA before coming to Japan. From that experience, I vowed that I would never work with liars and dishonest people again. That vow has been very hard to keep.

I sold, insurance, annuities, financial instruments, etc. I had several bosses and some of them were some of the most dishonest people I have ever met.

When joining a company like that one is taught that we are to help people with their finances and make sure they have money for retirement, emergencies and things like that. The fact of the matter is that 97% of those people work to churn people's accounts and generate commissions.

Even though I was the youngster in a district of 60 some guys selling these instruments, I was always a top 5 salesman and made a lot of money. I bought a big house and had three cars. I was a top salesman because I always tried to do what was best for the clients.

Some of my bosses wouldn't have that. One guy even said to me once, "Yeah. That's great that you worry about the customer, Mike. But what about the health of the company?" (I think he is a executive at Prudential now).

What a fool. Doesn't this guy realize that doing what is best for the people and the clients and making them all happy and satisfied customers automatically protects the health of the company? I guess not. Profits were #1. The people be damned. I started getting real disillusioned around 1982.


The last straw was a wonderful lady named Mrs. Lopez (not her real name). Mrs. Lopez was 44-years-old at the time. She didn't drink nor smoke cigarettes. She had a handsome husband and a beautiful 10-year-old son.

She was my client and I had never sold her anything. She didn't need anything. The Lopez family weren't rich, but they weren't poor. The Lopez family had all their life and health insurance. They had a paid for house. Her husband had a great job and they had savings and some investments. 

They also had a cat. The cat had kittens. We became such good friends that I even took one of the babies.

One day, at the young age of 44, Mrs. Lopez has a stoke. Everyone was shocked. After leaving the hospital, her entire left side of her body was paralyzed. I went to see her.

I could tell that she was devastated too. She was sitting when I arrived and seemed embarrassed when she had to use her right arm to lift her left arm up and rest it on the table. Poor woman. I will never forget that moment. She seemed ashamed of herself when she meekly shot a glance into my eyes as she raised her arm. Oh, the tears she must have silently cried. 

She didn't need to feel ashamed. She was still a wonderful human being and a great mom.

Under the rules of her insurance policies, some sort of disability like that automatically made the insurance policies paid up for life. That meant she didn't need to pay for anything and they were worth thousands and thousands of dollars tax-free. I went to her house and explained that to her and her husband. They were relieved.

I was shocked. How could this vibrant and wonderful woman who didn't drink or smoke have to suffer such a terrible fate in the prime of her life?

When I returned to work the next day, I reported to my bosses what had occurred and the advice that I gave those good people (the correct advice). My boss was upset because he thought I missed the good chance to make a sale and generate commissions. He insisted that we go back the next night. We did.

There he lied and broke the law by doing what is called, "twisting." He bent the facts to make it look like it was a good idea for her to cancel all her old insurance contracts, and buy a new one. Get it? These contracts are worth thousands of tax-free dollars and this crook tricks them into cashing them in and buying a new one so that he can collect a 55% commission on the first year's premium payment!? 

What an a*shole!

He was at least 25 years older than me and psychologically dominated the conversation over me. I couldn't say a word. I walked out of that house shell-shocked.

I went home and spent the next three days crying and getting drunk. After the first night I decided that I wasn't going to do this anymore and I was going to quit my job. When I told my parents, they thought I was nuts. It was 1982. I was 24-years-old and I was making more than $96,000 a year and I was going to quit.

But, before I quit, I was going to make damned sure that Mrs. Lopez didn't get ripped off. I sobered up and went to see her.

I told her that, under California law, when a new policy is issued, the insurance company had 14 days within that they must deliver the policy otherwise it becomes null and void. I told her that, if she was afraid to talk to this guy (understandable) then to ignore him. No matter what, "DO NOT MEET HIM NOR ACCEPT THIS DOCUMENT WITHIN THE FIRST 14 DAYS!"

I fully explained the law to Mrs. Lopez and her husband. They were, of course, noticeably upset. I told them that I was resigning because of this and that this case wasn't the first time that something like that had happened but that this was the most blatant breaking of the law that I had ever seen so far. They understood and the policy was never delivered and so it was cancelled.

A few weeks later, my boss found out (or figured out) what I had done. I was called into the district office manager's office and there, with alcohol on my breath, I quit just as they began to reprimand me. I stated my disgust for their dishonest way of doing business and walked out.

It was then and there that I decided that I would never work with dishonest people like that ever again....

Unfortunately, it is a very difficult promise to keep. So far I have been pretty successful, but have found myself in times when new people came in and realized that they were, well, untruthful; they were living a lie.

I tried to get out of those situations as soon as I could. I still try.

There's a lot of bad people out there who lie and cheat and steal. Our duty to our kids and ourselves is to not become one of them. It is a very hard thing to do.

Telling the truth and trying to live a good life is not like flipping on a switch... It is like climbing a high mountain and, what really matters, is not so much always telling the truth, but being conscious of the effort to do so always, everyday, every second.

The truth is a very high mountain to climb. It is a very long, steep road. Even with telling the truth everyday, you will still never reach the top before you die. The point is to make the effort to tell the truth everyday...   

Oh, and try to avoid working with thieves, liars and crooks... Their disease is infectious.   

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Tokyo Olympic Torch, Er, I Mean Tokyo Olympic Zippo Lighter

This short video speaks volumes about the farce... 

Is there anyone who thinks this sort of thing with the "sacred" flame doesn't happen all the time?

Maybe Japan Tobacco can be the major sponsor of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

R.I.P. Abenomics: Record Trade Deficit Now 15 Months in Row

The situation is laughable... Well, it would be if it weren't true: Abenomics is a dismal failure. Now, a record trade deficit of Japan for another record 15 months in a row!

From Zerohedge - Abenomics Humiliated Again As Japan Posts 15th Consecutive (And Record) Trade Deficit

Overnight Japan posted its latest, September, trade numbers which were absolutely abysmal, as the trade deficit rose to a fresh record high of 932 billion yen ($9.5 billion), the 15th consecutive monthly shortfall. The deficit for April-September rose to nearly 5 trillion yen ($51 billion), also a record for the first half of the fiscal year.

Why is this? Well, like I wrote in December of 2012 (I just love to brag that I was right and also see major news sites falling in line): Here's Why A Weak Yen Will Destroy Japan

...what will a weak yen certainly buy for Japan? Answer: How about a 10% increase across the board on energy imports?

From Forbes Magazines, please refer to: Japan's Energy Dependence 

Data from the Energy Data and Modeling Center (EDMC), Institute of Energy Economics, Japan, for 2008 published in the APEC Energy Overview (2010), paint a stark picture of Japan’s energy vulnerability: 

– Of total primary energy supply (508,327 kiloton of oil equivalent (ktoe)), 85 percent (433,725 ktoe) was imported.  The breakdown of primary energy was coal 23 percent, oil 44 percent, gas 17 percent, and other 17 percent.  

–For final energy consumption in ktoe, the industrial sector took 45 percent; the transport sector 24 percent; and other sectors 31 percent.  By type of energy:  coal 11 percent, oil 53 percent, gas 9 percent, and electricity and other 28 percent.  

Don't forget that these are 2008 figures - three years before the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster. Things have gotten much worse since then. Now take all that imported oil and natural gas (and coal) and jack up the price 10%... What do you get?

Couple that sum with the 2% inflation rate targeted by the new government of Shinzo Abe and you get a collapse of the Japanese economy.

Hell, while I (sadly) chuckle over this news (as I've said a hundred times: "Math is a bitch" and "Data doesn't lie") I'll let my friends at Zerohedge kick the Abenomics fans a bit more... (Haven't I done that enough?!?!)

The worst news: Abenomics is now impacting the country so adversely, the boost in GDP as a result of consumption is now over thanks to a detraction from the net trade deficit: "As a result, the net export contribution to growth is likely to be weaker than we had expected, and it may be around zero in Q3, after 0.5ppt in Q1 and 0.3ppt in Q2." Make that negative...

...In short: with every passing month Abenomics does merely more of what it was meant to do - cripple the economy, destroy the workers and hurt end consumers, while the soaring stock market helps just the ultra wealthiest. Good job Goldman Sachs advisors to the BOJ. 

Goldman adds more data:

Another significant trade deficit in September on higher imports: The trade balance continued to show significant deficit at ¥932.1 bn, following the deficit of ¥962.8 bn in August. Export values came in at +11.5% yoy, slowing down from +14.6% yoy in August...

...Exports to Asia and Europe slow down, imports from China surge: Looking at exports by region, exports to the US remained buoyant in September in value terms, rising 18.8% yoy (+20.6% yoy in August) while there was a slowdown in exports to Europe (September: +14.3%, August: +18.1%) and Asia (+8.2%; +13.4%), exports to China also declined (+11.4%; +15.8%). Meanwhile, imports from China grew 30.9% yoy (+17.6% yoy in August), contributing to the growth of Japan’s overall import value by 6.7% points. Imports of electric machinery from China, telecom equipment in particular, are growing rapidly, with the September figure coming in at +55.8% yoy (+23.2% in August).

This is basically what was predicted... This should come to no surprise to anyone who:

1) Understands 3rd grade mathematics
2) Has a lick of common sense
3) Understands Japan's economic problems since the late 80s and how Japan has tried to deal with them.

We are watching a slow-motion train wreck...

... Can't wait to see how a Sales Tax increase magically makes things all better or how adding over $60 billion dollars to the deficit will help for the 2020 Olympics.

Go Abenomics!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Destroy All Japanese Mascots - But I Wouldn't Kick Her Out of My Futon for Eating French Fries

Japan loves cute shit. It's everywhere here. I can't stand it. I think it might have been Hello Kitty who really broke this cute shit out into the open... (But that's just my personal opinion and obsessive dislike and life-long vendetta against everything and all things Hello Kitty...) 

This shitty mascot crap just drives a man to drinking...

Of course everyone has heard by now about how Fukushima Industries made their new mascot and actually made a great one. It's named "Fukuppy." Seriously. You can't make this stuff up... Er, I mean, you can't make this stuff, "uppy."

"I'm Fukuppy. Nice to meet you. I think I'm kind with a strong sense of justice but people say I'm a little bit scatterbrained." The company also says the name comes from Fukushima Industries and Happy. 
Fukushima + Happy = Fukuppy! Perfect!

I hate the character. Love the name, though... It's a perfect mix of tortured Japanese use of English and a stupid character with a shit-eating grin... Like they all have.

Fukuppy, indeed.

Like I said, Japan has always had these stupid-assed cute characters. This country drowns in cute. Here's some photos so that you guys get the idea of what kind of dumb crap passes as promotion in this country... As you can see, they all have a similar trait: weird-assed looking and supposedly cute as hell (as if some kid would find Fukuppy cute! Yeah, about as cute as drinking a canister full of soft drink laced with cesium 124 and cyanide....) 

Who is this clown? I don't know. What difference does it make? A mascot for something or another...I think it's supposed to be a baby dear... Maybe a fishing company that clubs baby seals to death... Or maybe a Bio-tech company that performs bizarre animal reconstruction experiments like this on this poor GMO-fed rabbit-dear cross breed who has no real mother.

I think this one must be the mascot for some company that's into produce, like selling tangerines or something like that. I figure it's a dumb dog that likes oranges... Go figure...

Let me guess... The sun, the clouds, music... A hydro-electric power company that dumps particularly malignant cancerous industrial waste into the rivers and drinking water!... Having a cute mascot makes that all OK!

I know this one. It's the mascot for the police. This makes it cute when the fucking police hide behind trees and give you traffic tickets because you didn't come to a COMPLETE STOP at that stop sign even though there wasn't another car or pedestrian around for miles! Assholes!... I know that if you or I ran around without any pants on they'd throw our asses in jail... A cop mascot running around bare-assed naked?... Cute! 

Move along, nothing to see here, folks....

Oh, how cute! Some part-timer in a monkey suit is acting like they are happy because some idiots actually spent money on a concrete statue of themselves... Probably the ONLY tourist who'd want their photo taken along that eye-sore statue. FAIL!

Woah! Wow! I love this mascot! I wouldn't kick her out of my futon for eating beef in a sesame bun! For some reason, I think I just got a Big Mac!


....Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah... Dumb Japanese mascots...

The other day, the clowns who run the local government decided they'd waste tax money on making our own local mascot to stop people from speeding around on the neighborhood streets. Einsteins actually thought they'd get more promotion for this campaign by asking the locals in my neighborhood for submissions to the contest. Only people who live in the immediate two neighborhoods got to participate in this contest. 

Well, I got a submission form in my mailbox too. At first, it irritated me. But then my wife talked me into making a submission. She told me that they said they'd pick the 3 best submissions then have a contest at the local department store and the visitors could all vote for their favorite mascot... She mentioned that, since I have a radio show, with a bunch of twisted fans who like to listen to punk rock and loud music in the mornings, that if I got into the final three, I could say it on the radio and get lots of fans to come down and stuff the ballot boxes...

My devil horns started to appear out of the sides of my head...

So here is my submission to stop people from speeding down the local neighborhood streets. Her name is "Lorrie" (as in the British vernacular for "truck")... Lorrie had the misfortune of walking down one of the neighborhood streets when some asshole smoking Hi-Lite cigarettes and a Kamikaze towel wrapped around his forehead - who thinks a school zone is actually a freeway entrance - ran over poor Lorrie in a two-ton truck and squished her like a grape.

Lorrie is cuddly brown with X's for eyes and a cute bunch of tire tracks along her back. Her cute red tongue sticking out could be turned into a key chain or something (always gotta think about merchandising, right?)

Seriously, I did submit this to the contest organizers... Jerks, they didn't even have the courtesy to send me a "thank you" note.

I think that Lorrie more clearly represents the dangers of driving stupid than some cute assed mascot like Fukuppy (But Fukuppy's name is clearly a winner!)

Of course, those assholes running the contest won't choose dear Lorrie... I guess black humor doesn't get it here in Japan.... But, really, if you saw a sign with my mascot on it, you'd know EXACTLY what that meant, right?

I figure that, by some act of god, if I do win, Lorrie can get better and we'll put that cute McDonald's girl inside the mascot suit... The tire tracks along her back will be probably most indicative of the life of the girl inside: laid all over the country as she's run over.

Ah, but the contest organizers will fuck it up and pick some dumb-assed character like that naked flasher police mascot pervert.   

I need a drink... 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Fear of a Spam Planet

On yesterday morning's radio show, I spoke about convenience store Spam rice balls I found the other day at my local convenience store... Which I was surprised about because you usually only see these things in places like Hawaii or Saipan... Now they sell them in Tokyo? 

Do people actually buy these things?

"Imported" from Okinawa...

Then a few days after finding the spam rice ball, I find a news story about new Spam flavored Macadamia nuts that recently went on sale in Hawaii.

The LA Times had the story entitled: Spam-flavored nuts exist, people!:

When you think of Spam, a satisfying crunch isn't exactly the sensation that comes to mind. It's more of a soft, squishy bite, unless you're talking about Spam-flavored macadamia nuts. But if you're imagining little pink nuts covered in some sort of Spam meat dust, you should be warned that there is no actual Spam in, on, or around the nuts. 

Yes, these Spam nuts contain no actual Spam. 

The nuts are made by the Hamakua Macadamia Nut Co. in Hawaii. According to President and Co-Owner Richard Schnitzler, the nuts get their Spam flavor from a special Hormel seasoning blend. 

"Spam has a cult following in Hawaii and so it seemed like a good idea," Schnitzler said. 

The company developed the meat-free flavoring with Hormel. The nuts were tested at a show in New York about three years ago, and according to Schnitzler, the sales have been solid ever since.

Spam flavored Macademia nuts? Yuck! 

Well ,like I said, I spoke about these things as a big joke on my show, but maybe the joke is on me... Because, the same night as the radio show, I was at our favorite sushi restaurant and there, lo and behold, they had Spam sushi on the menu!!!! 

You kidding me? I, of course, just had to order one even though I hate Spam.

Makes for a funny photo...

Sure enough, Spam sushi with a little bit of egg between the Spam and the rice... This just shows how far western society (and now Japanese) have fallen!

But, anyway, as on my radio show yesterday and this blog right now, I am your humble reporter just reporting the facts.

.... It's a worldwide 'Spam Boom!' Fear. People. Fear.

And you heard it here first....See? I told you! That just shows how much of a fashion and trend leader I am!!!! 

Yes. It does look terrible... There's a reason for that!

Do you like Spam, Sam?

No I do not like Spam, Sam I am!

Oh, sorry in Okinawa it's not called Spam... It's called "Canned pork"

"Canned pork"? Mmmmm.... That sounds even better!

If you want to order Spam Flavored Macadamia Nuts, here they are on Amazon! http://www.amazon.com/Spam-Macadamia-Nuts-4-5-Oz/dp/B004N9RTRQ

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