Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year 2015! あけましておめでとうございます!

(Revised Jan 1, 2015)

Well the year 2014, with all its ups and downs, has ended. Thank god! It was a difficult year for me. I hope that it was a good year for you. 

View of Mt. Fuji from Isehara taken on the morning of Dec. 31, 2014

2015 is the the Year of the Sheep in the Chinese Calendar. It is said about the sheep:

"I am a passive onlooker 
I let bygones be bygones 
Goodness brings me fortune 
I believe in the human race 
I understand the meaning of giving 
My cup is never empty 
I am loyal and just and in others I trust 
I am the sheep"

I wish that you and your family have a safe and healthy New Year's holiday. 

May all your dreams come true in 2015. 

God bless you and yours with health and prosperity.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Economic Illiteracy and How Japan is Responsible for the Destruction of the Western Economies

The things that get printed in the Western press about Japan never ceases to amaze me. The most recent article that made me smirk and roll my eyes came out on the Washington Post Blog the other day...  I guess there's a good reason that articles like this make it to a blog and not the actual newspaper; maybe someone is paying attention at the editorial desk at the Washington Post after all...

Get this: The story claims that Japanese people not having sex is going to be responsible for the destruction of the western economies.

That's right. Because the Japanese do not have enough sex (trust they do - they pay for it), and therefore they don't have enough children, this supposedly will result in the collapse of the western world economies. This article is currently doing the Internet rounds and I have been asked to comment many times. So, since my comment is the same every time, I thought I'd save myself some effort and just blog my response to this. My response is below the article quote... So, first, kindly, read a bit on this interesting economic theory.

From the Washington Post Blog: Japan’s sexual apathy is endangering the global economy:

Because Japanese people aren't having kids – which is both partially a product of, and perhaps driven by some of the same factors as, their relative disinterest in sex or sexual relationships – the population is shrinking. It's shrinking very, very fast. The Japanese population dropped by 212,000 people last year, the largest decrease on record. The birth rate is still falling, with only 1.03 million live births last year, a record low and dramatic decrease from 1.21 million the year before... 

This isn't just bad because it means the Japanese economy will have fewer workers and thus be less productive. It's setting up an economic time bomb that will go off before long... For any economy to stay healthy, there need to be enough taxpayers to support all the retirees. But Japan's population is shrinking and aging simultaneously, which means that the number of old people is skyrocketing just as the base of taxpayers shrinks.

Here is my response to this article: 

1) Japan is too crowded as it is. Japan is the size of California yet it supports a population that is 1/2 the size of the US population. 

2) Who cares about the world economy? I don't. I am worried about my own and my immediate family; I don't give a rat's ass about the USA or the EU or people living 6000 miles on the other side of the earth. 

3) Here's my vote for Idiot Statist Quote from the article: "For any economy to stay healthy, there need to be enough taxpayers to support all the retirees." Why? What kind of economic theory is this? Why should I pay taxes to support people I don't even know? (All the while the government takes a cut off the top). And why should other people pay to support me? What happened to individual responsibility? Why is the government even in the business of social security? The government should serve one function and one function only (if that): To protect the nation from foreign invasion. Where in the constitution of Japan or the USA does it say that the government should run a retirement Ponzi scheme (or run national parks, roads, airport security, farm production, dictate how large colas can be at fast food restaurants, what you can and cannot eat or drink, etc...) If big government were the answer to our problems, then the Soviet Union would have been a very successful nation. But it wasn't. 

We don't need more taxpayers; we need to shrink the government (and its out of control spending) and get it out of the health insurance business, the food safety business, the retirement fund ponzi business, the business of "Morality Police" (gambling, drugs, prostitution), giving tax monies to foreign governments in foreign aid, on and on and on.... Phase out Social welfare programs and cut government spending.... If we do so (we won't) then this population "problem" and lessening tax revenues are no longer a problem. Problem solved!

PS: History shows that the government built on fiat currency and deficit spending will out spend revenues in every case; Increasing revenues will only serve to prolong the inevitable collapse of this corrupt fiat Ponzi scheme that we have built today. The sooner the Japanese (and USA) government collapse into bankruptcy and new management takes over, the sooner we can try to make a system that can be sustained; it's obvious to anyone paying attention that this system is NOT sustainable. 

We have been mortgaging our children's and our children's children's future for decades. This shit has got to stop. "What cannot continue, won't." (Can't remember who said that!) 

This photo is not from the Washington Post Blog. These are some girls I took a photo of in Osaka at Nanba station (I think it was). If you like this photo, please use as you wish (Credit Mike in Tokyo Rogers, please!) 

NOTES: So, you say you want these people taking care of your welfare and your life and your families well-being?! You have got to be kidding me!

And while I am railing on government over-reach, you folks know that right now there is a butter shortage in Japan? That's right. It's hard to find, and if you do find it, it's being rationed to one block per customer.

Yes, I do have butter. I always keep extra on hand. I have to; after three years in a row of not having butter because of shortages (and being a guy that likes to cook and bake) I decided not to get short handed again.

The world's third largest economy and we can't keep butter on the shelves? And this has happened now for 3 years in a row. Why is that? Because the morons running the government control milk and butter production. 

These assholes can't even handle making butter and people want them to control their lives and health and the nation's prosperity???? 



For an easy to read and simple to understand explanation of how the economy works, may I recommend: Henry Hazlitt - Economics in One Lesson

Saturday, December 27, 2014

WTF? New Year's (Shin Nen Kai) Party! 新年会パーティー

What the Funday on InterFM is having a New Year's Party! (新年会!)

Inter FMの人気番組WTF(What the Funday?)が2015年1月26日月曜日に開催する新年会パーティーのプロ­モビデオ!

What the Funday? Every Sunday morning 8 am ~ 11 am InterFM. Listen on Radiko live here:

What the Funday? on InterFM webpage:

What the Funday on Facebook:

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Internet, the Handicapped and the Future of Production

Santa went to visit some children and their moms at the biggest Kids hospital in Kansai the other day. He received lots of warm thanks from people. He does appreciate it.

Santa goes to visit these children's hospitals every year. But do not think that he does these things because he is a good person. That's not it at all. He does it because it is a small way to payback for all the bad things he did in his life; it is a sort of retribution. 

I do these things, as Santa, for just a few days a year, because of my own feelings of guilt. I do it for me; because I am selfish. Don't think I do it because I am a good person.

I think I could go to do these volunteer things everyday for the next 100 years and I'd still be in serious arrears in the payback column. I did lots of bad things that I regret and always will regret. I spent much of my 20s and 30s doing as I wished, not caring for other people; I spent that time creating bad karma.

Then my 3rd daughter was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

I saw lots of things during that time. Of course, it changed my life. I was a bastard before that happened (still am now, but maybe, not so bad... I hope.) But today, my wife and children, and especially my daughter - who miraculously recovered and is now a university student, inspire me to work to be an honest and good person.

It's not easy.

Now a university student

This brings me to today's post....

I saw a great short presentation by James Corbett. James runs the "Corbett Report" from Osaka and spoke about how communication has evolved.

He started with a pen and said, "The pen is mightier than the sword." But he also gave a short history lesson. Did you know that phrase started at least in the 7th century, and it wasn't said back then that the "Pen is mightier" (as there were no pens in the 7th century), the saying was "Words are mightier than the sword." People knew, even back then, that words and ideas could change the world.

James then went on to discuss the printing press and the internet and how, by use of the internet, anyone, even you or me, have the power now to reach out to millions and millions of people just like the ultra wealthy who own TV and radio stations! Because of the internet, individuals like you or me are not bottlenecked because there are only a few TV channels and because the costs of running a TV channel run into the tens of millions of dollars. The internet allows us to spread our ideas to the world and the costs are within grasp of most people and even children. It is truly a revolution that is the biggest communications revolution since Gutenberg's printing press. There is a link below to James Corbett's video presentation below. Check it if you have time!

This might not seem so earth shaking to you and it is probably obvious to everyone (except people like me)... 

And, several months back, it got me thinking about a new business idea. An idea that I am now propping up with some friends. It is an idea that will allow us to run a business and to help a few handicapped people to get a job and help them to earn a living. Because I think working is fun and making money is a great way to build positivity in ones life and help them have a dream and a good self-image and worth.

On that note, I was chatting with a friend of mine an hour or so ago. He surprised me when he wrote:

"I'm disabled and do not even have a keyboard for my computer. I use voice recognition software, and merely talk to my computer and it types what I want to say. The problem with that is... typographical errors! This small text box on Facebook messaging is my nemesis. Lots of typos... At this point in my life, I don't mind being disabled. I do enjoy saying what's on my mind, however."

I am so impressed by this. Well done! 

Because of how the internet has changed communication and the way labor can be sent far away from the office to be completed....Some partners and I have come up with an idea that also uses the concept that workers need not be in the office to do their jobs; they can do them at home! We have come up with an idea that can give jobs to a few handicapped people who can do skilled work from their keyboard, at their desk, in their own home, and earn a fair wage and make money. 

It has dawned upon me that the internet boom will help the handicapped immensely to work and earn a living; they don't need to ever leave home! Our new idea and technology will not only drive a profit, it will help society.

We have come up with an idea for a company and called it, "Robot 55." I cannot divulge too much information as to what the company does just yet. I can say that it is in a creative field and involves art, design and video. So someone with a good design sense or training in that field, would be perfect!

The new company will launch on January 5 and, at this time, and I can say that I am now looking for candidates who can work at home, are handicapped, are native Japanese speakers and have at least a high school level education. The candidates must also have a relatively new Apple computer (our software runs only on Apple). English ability a plus but not needed.

If you know someone who fits that bill, have them write to me and send their bio to me at   

Last Note: 

Over these last 7 years or so, I have been working with many start-up companies. I have come to the conclusion that there is a fundamental problem with the way many of the people who start up companies think: They all state the goal is IPO. Then they work solely for that purpose: the purpose of making lots of money in order to go public.

Making lots of money is good. But it shouldn't be the primary goal of your life or even your company. The primary goal of life is happiness (I think); the primary goal of the company should be something like; to make people happy. Or; to make society a better place; or to create a better life. 

You see, if the goals are to make people happy or to make society a better place, etc., and then if the company succeeds at doing so; THEN THE MONEY WILL NATURALLY FOLLOW! It also is impossible to gauge the value of doing a job that makes one happy and contented; jobs that cause stress, worry and unhappiness are everywhere and a dime a dozen.

To make the primary goal of "Making money" isn't good because we can make money cheating people, taking advantage of them or just plain treating them like shit.... Which lots of people in management do.

This new company "Robot 55" has two primary goals: "To help society" and "To have fun." In fact, our company motto is "Let's Have Fun!"

If you know anyone, who is disabled, but can use a computer and has an Apple machine (with some design background) is a fun person, native Japanese speaker, and wants a part time job they can do at home, have them contact me!

Until then, you have a Great New Year!


See James Corbett's video here: The net is mightier than the sword | James Corbett | TEDxGroningen 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Santa Visits Children at Osaka's Largest Children's Hospital

Today, Santa went to the Osaka Medical Center and Research Institute for Maternal and Child Health to see the kids and bring some Christmas cheer! (That hospital is huge!) 

Some kids and moms were ecstatic... Some little kids, as usual, freaked out! Merry Christmas! 今日、サンタクロースが大阪府立母子保健総合医療センターに遊びに行きました!子供達!早く元気に出して退院して!来年、皆のうちでサンタとあいましょう!

A Super Giant Massive "Thank you!" to Santa's assistants and to all the nurses and doctors who do a fine job day in and day out! 

May all your dreams, and the dreams of the children and their mothers and fathers, come true in 2015!

If you'd like to volunteer or learn more, check: 
(Sorry. In Japanese language only.)

Friday, December 19, 2014

WTF? "What the Funday" Shinenkai - Free New Year's Party!

Hey! WTF? (What the Funday?) is having another concert! But this one is so special, and it is at the beginning of the year, that we're not calling it a concert. We're calling it a "Shinenkai" (New Year's Party!) And it is free (of course) but you need to have an invitation to get in!

Definition of Shinenkai on Wikipedia:

"A shinnenkai (Japanese 新年会, literally "new year gathering") is the Japanese tradition of welcoming the arrival of the New Year, usually by the drinking of alcohol. A shinnenkai is generally held among co-workers or friends in January. Like the many festivals (matsuri) and celebrations that the Japanese are known for, a shinnenkai is their way of getting together to celebrate a new year and to make promises to each other to do their best for this year while wishing each other good luck and fortune..."

This is the first Premium Event of 2015 
and only 250 people will be invited! 

This year's WTF? "What the Funday" on InterFM Shinenkai party features and awesome lineup of Japan's best Punk and Retro bands:

The Neatbeats! The 50 Kaitenz! The Privates!

You definitely want to be at this show. This lineup is awesome and we could have made this a regular concert, selling tickets for $50 each and filled a 1000 capacity venue! But no! This is a Premium Event and only 250 people will be invited! 

Imagine that, some of Japan's best bands and you can basically be standing on their toes as they perform! 

The WTF? Shinenkai party and it's free (if you have aforementioned invitation!) How do you get an invitation? Send and email to: "WTF? Shinenkai! New Year's Party!" and you might win! 

(Oh, and come "Like" our Facebook page too!

Just to let you check out how awesome this line up is, here's some videos:

The Privates - Drive All Night (Come "Like" their FB account!)

The 50 Kaitenz - Hey! They Were on TV! (Come "Like" their FB account!)

                The Neatbeats - Snakey Baby  (Come "Like" their FB account!)

Besides these great bands, the drinks will be a dirt cheap ¥500 each (about $5) not to mention the house special which is about $3 cocktails (it is, after all, a New Year's party, Japan style!) And with free entrance with an invitation, it will be the party of the year! Also, Furukawa Taro and me, Mike Rogers, will be hosting the ceremonies.... Who knows? Perhaps rock star and famous person extraordinaire George Williams just might show up!

So, don't miss the coolest show of 2015!!!! The InterFM WTF? "What the Funday" Shinenkai 2015!

Be there!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Be Skeptical of Everything!

You need to be skeptical of everything. 

As I always say: "80% of everything you see on TV is bullshit. The other 20% are commercials."

I remember in my university days, getting high constantly at the dorms because, what else was there to do? There was this guy named Tim there at the time. I thought Tim was some sort of brain damage; he certainly looked a bit crazy with his always messed up curly hair... Kind of like what that Peanuts character Pigpen would have looked like as a university student... Tim looked and acted crazy; but, since he was harmless, and also liked Punk Rock, we let him hang around.

One day, while I was in a very, er, "enlightened mood," Tim walked up to me, and in a very serious and stern manner looked me straight in the eyes, pointed at me, and said, "Everything.... you..... know...... is..... wrong!" Then he smirked, paused, turned around and walked away.

Like I said, I thought he was crazy, but not dangerous crazy. It confused me at first, but then I laughed at him... Nutcase!

Hell, who would guess that 40 years later, I'd realize that the guy was right?

At that time, I believed the history books at school and the stuff on TV... But, I'll be damned, Tim was right; it was all wrong.

Now, after reading books and doing some research on my own (rather than being told what to think at school) I know the truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor.... I know the Lusitania was carrying arms... Most definitely the Israelis attacked the USS Liberty, Kennedy was killed in a conspiracy and I don't believe Oswald acted alone... 

And I definitely do not believe Bush or Obama have a brain… OK. That last one is a joke. They both have a brain: they have someone else assigned to do their thinking for them. 

The moon landing though? Walking on the moon? 1969? 45 years ago? Sure. I believe that one too! 

Lessee... The moon is about 225,000 miles away. The Int'l Space Station is 200 miles in orbit and today the USA doesn't have the ability to send a rocket there! Think about that! 

So we're supposed to believe that the USA sent a manned rocket to the moon, 225,000 miles away and back nearly 50 years ago but we can't send a rocket up 200 miles to the International Space station today? Hmmm? How does that work? 

OK, let's play a mind game! Imagine it's 1904. A few people have designed cars with the internal combustion engine and they construct them... Most of these cars can do about 18 miles an hour. They even have races against horses to see which is faster! 

One day, though, some of these car designers say that they have a new car that goes over 1500 miles per hour! They even have pictures and witnesses to claim that they saw it do so! These witnesses were there! 

But then, poof! As quick as it appeared, it disappears.... No sign of the car ever again. It just vanishes leaving no trace… 

50 years later and no one ever saw that car again. It's disappeared, poof, kaput, vanished, vaporized, extinct, gone; no old body chassis to examine at the museum, no parts, no engine, no tires, no driver. 


Oh, and the old photos of the car have been lost forever. So, I'm still supposed to, though, believe that this car existed?

1904 Rolls Royce. Incredible! 
This car drove to the moon and back! Can you believe it?

You need to be skeptical of everything. 

As I always say: "80% of everything you see on TV is bullshit. The other 20% are commercials."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

100% Proof Bill Cosby is Completely Innocent and Justin Beiber is No Worse Than Most Guys.

"Thou shalt have no other gods before me." - Exodus 20:3  

"Thou shalt have no other gods before me." You know what that means? I reckon it doesn't mean that you shouldn't worship Jehovah or Allah, or God, or the great Spaghetti Monster. I think it means that you should not worship any other "god" over doing and living a good life and doing right by yourself and your family and others. It means that things like "Fame," "Fortune," "Money" or "Power" should not be your "other gods before me." You are supposed to live a life doing what is "right." (Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindis, Jedi and atheists welcomed.)

Let's keep that in mind as I'm going to throw this post together quickly because I am appalled at what I see from Americans on Facebook concerning Bill Cosby. This post is about today's American and US mass media.

Before I go on, let me say that I am not a fan of Bill Cosby. Have never been really. I grew up in a military household with a Japanese mom; jokes about living in the ghetto or in a black family were not familiar to me, so, well, I often didn't "get" the joke. Oh sure, I've laughed at some of his jokes (Flip Wilson too), but that was about it. I have never, even once, seen the Cosby TV show. 

I don't think I missed too much either.

Here's a fact: As of this very moment (December 16, 2014, 5:24 pm Japan time) Bill Cosby is, just the same as you or me, totally and completely innocent of any and all charges of rape or molestation, etc. Under the law of the land, in the United States, a man is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law by his peers. That Bill Cosby hasn't even been charged by the police shows, as I said, Bill Cosby is undoubtably innocent. And he will remain that way until, (if) he is convicted in a court of law.

I don't even want to discuss it really. It doesn't matter to me. I have more important things to worry about than whether some old guy took advantage of some women... 

But, there is one thing.... 

I've worked in the mass media in one capacity or another since 1978... I've seen lots of things... I've seen how many women "passed auditions" for some producers... Some of them I know to this very day.

It's the way it's been done for many women in show business since the beginning of Show Business; you know, it's called the "Couch Audition." Happens all the time. And it will keep happening no matter what.

Many women have come out to accuse Bill Cosby of raping them 20, 30 or more years ago. 

My biggest question I'd like to ask is: 

"Why now? Why do they speak out about these crimes now, so many years later? Why is it that, many years ago, when these things were alleged to have happened, that these aspiring starlets kept their mouths shut? Did they deem their show business careers as too important to risk speaking out and stop this alleged monster from doing the same thing to other women? Was their career more important than justice? Did they have the god of 'Fame' before justice or 'doing what was right'? Was that why they didn't speak out?"

And, if that is the reason (the price of fame and fortune - or some would call, "A deal with the devil") what does that say about the morality and clarity of judgement about these women? 

Doesn't this question cast serious doubt over that morality as well as judgement - and common sense and decency - of these women? 

Think about it. Put yourself in their place: You are an aspiring star. You go meet a movie producer who rapes you. Of course, you keep quiet and tell no one because you wanted the part in the movie, right? Well, right? 

Yes or no? Which is it?

That it took these women so long to speak out seems to indicate that they had other, more important, priorities to attend to, rather than seeing that justice be done. 

Funny that! Fame and fortune does have a very strong allure... 

American society is way too concerned with Celebrity Culture... The USA bombs, killing and maiming and making brown skinned children handicapped or orphaned in Middle Eastern countries 24/7 and Americans are worried about what girls were abused and sacked 30 years ago....

Strange priorities no?

Let me get off the point for a second... Take the hatred for Justin Beiber by the average white American Male. I think it's just bravado and machismo by these American males who must have immaturity and self-confidence issues to feel they have to bash Beiber. 

All these men saying that they think Justin Beiber sucks or he has a small dick or whatever just show how immature these American men are; it just shows their jealousy. I don't hate Justin Beiber. I don't care. But I can say definitively that, if I were a multi millionaire 19-year-old guy driving around in a $350,000 sports car, having tons of money, with tons of women wanting to get into may pants constantly, then I'm sure I'd be getting into all sorts of trouble. 

No doubt about it. Hell, I wasn't rich and famous at all and I still got myself into all sorts of trouble and did lots of things I am ashamed of! 

If I were rich and famous (and good looking with lots of Hollywood star friends and big breasted American model girlfriends) American men would hate me just like they hate Beiber! Why? Because I'd be living the exact same douchebaggery dream that 98% of all American males would love to live (and can't, yet they are not mature enough to admit it, so they bash people like Beiber). 

And you know, if today's average Joe-Blow dumb ass American guy were rich and famous, they'd be taking advantage of women, other people, the 'law'; taking advantage of everything and getting fucked up constantly on drugs and booze. You know, being just impossible to be around....

Basically the entire world would be a nail and they'd hold the hammer.

Of course they would. I would too if I were a young man again. The difference between me and the male Beiber and Cosby detractors is that I will freely admit it. 

I don't hate Justin Beiber (or Bill Cosby), I am not a fan. But, like I said, if I had their money and fame and was a young man again, I'd be doing all sorts of hijinks and getting myself into lots of trouble. 

Today, I am pulling for Bill Cosby because, like I said, at this moment in time he is innocent and I'm pulling for Justin Beiber because I'm sure that I would be just as bad as him if I were in his shoes (if not worse!)

I'm also pulling for these two guys if only because all the douchebaggery American Males are not. 

This kind of reminds me of the story in the bible where the village was about to stone to death the woman convicted of adultery and Jesus said to them, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

Thanks to Michael McThrow, Jason Brown and Robert Jefferson


NOTES: You just gotta marvel at how so many American people will consistently complain about "Injustice in America" but turn around and crucify and virtually convict Bill Cosby as being a serial rapist when he hasn't even been charged... Is this an example of their idea of "Justice"? Cognitive Dissonance?

NOTES TWO: I am a producer too. I can honestly say that I have never, ever had a "couch audition" for any girl to be on one of my shows... I can't say that I haven't thought about it though. Nor can I say that I am enough of an angel to condemn those who, through a free exchange between two consenting adults, worked out an, er, "employment deal." If I were a hot young girl and wanted to get into Hollywood, I cannot say that I wouldn't perform in many auditions if I thought I might get a break.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Go Vote Campaign!

You won't believe this. 

I didn't believe it either at first.... 

I was asked by a good friend to do some sort of narration for some organization (I suspect is funded by the LDP - Not sure) to make a commercial narration for people to go out and vote today (Dec. 14, 2014) in the Japan General Election.

I didn't tell them that I was an anarchist and that I do not condone voting.

Why? Well, I thought it was quite jaw-dropping that; 1) I am a foreigner in Japan and, as such, have no right to vote anyway so it's weird that I would be asked and then, telling people to go out and vote (isn't it?) and, 2) Like I said, I am an anarchist so I don't believe that voting changes anything and it is a waste of time.

I saw famous inventor and genius, Dr. Nakamatsu campaigning in front of Futakotamagawa station the other day. I'd vote for him (or some of the hot babes running) any day... 
I mean, if I voted; which I don't.

Like Mark Twain said, "If voting could change anything, it would be illegal."

So, I did the narration anyway, just to be able to say, someday, that "I am one of the few foreigners in Japan who (sort of) helped Shinzo Abe get re-elected."

Regular readers of this blog will know what I think of Shinzo (or any of the rest of them!)

So. I did it. I made the commercial. I write this down now because I don't want any skeletons in my closet. I have no idea where this is being broadcast, but was sent a Youtube link a few hours ago.

Here it is. Please watch on Youtube and give it a "Thumbs Up" if you like it!...

It was fun recording this, though. The people who are making these announcements are good folks with good intentions.

Dear Mother-of-all-that-is-gravy, please forgive me for what I've done!

It doesn't matter anyway... Abe will get re elected and continue to ruin this country and her currency with his insane "Abenomics.".

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Places to Visit in Tokyo: The Mansion of General Maresuke Nogi - Japan's model of feudal loyalty, self-sacrifice and suicide.

I was walking from Roppongi to Aoyama itchome station yesterday when I happened upon a home that looked to be at least 150 years old. That's not so unusual in a country as old as Japan. But a few minutes walk from Roppongi station? That was a bit surprising.

General Maresuke Nogi standing in front of his house in Minato ku. 
You can visit this house today. It's still standing there!

I noticed the sign said that the public was welcomed (do not enter the actual home) so I walked into the grounds. It was the former residence and stables of one of the most famous Japanese in history; General Maresuke Nogi. 

You can see that in the above black & white photo of General Nogi at the top of this article, 
he was posing in front of the steps at the front door, standing just next to the right

General Nogi was the Japanese general who lead Japan to victory over the Russians on land in the 1904 - 1905 war that was the first war in history where an Asian country defeated a European nation. That was an event that was most probably instrumental in building Japanese nationalism and the belief, in some circles, that Japan could defeat western nations.

That war was back in the day of the Big Powers and when militarism was pretty much common practice amongst them all and you know the Japanese military were just as hard-core as the next; probably much more so. As a history geek, I've read much about that and admired General Nogi as he was able to pull off that victory over the Russians - especially since the Russians were in defensive positions - it was trench warfare - both sides had "machine-gun type" of weapons - and the Russian troops had outnumbered the Japanese 2 - 1! 

You know, this Big Power mentality started even before the days of Napolean and, unfortunately, in a few nations, still continuing on to this day.

House to the left and statue. Trail heading to where there used to be a well.

Who was General Nogi and what did he do? Why is he so revered in Japan?

Count Nogi Maresuke was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army and, later, a governor of Taiwan. He was one of the commanders during the victory over China in the war of 1894 - 1895. He was the Japanese General in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 – 1905 who defeated the Russians in a brutal war. 

Satsuma Clan samurai

General Nogi thus became a national hero in Imperial Japan as a model of feudal loyalty and self-sacrifice. He would later become the example of the "dark" Japanese tradition of ritual suicide. In the Satsuma Rebellion, he lost a banner of the emperor in battle, for which he tried to atone with suicidal bravery in order to recapture it, until ordered to stop. 

In the Russo-Japanese War, he captured Port Arthur but he felt that he had lost too many of his soldiers (about 50,000 Japanese soldiers died along with 50,000 Russian troops in a preview of trench warfare for World War I), so General Nogi requested permission to commit suicide, which the emperor refused. 

These two events, as well as his desire not to outlive his master (junshi), motivated his suicide on the day of the funeral of the Emperor Meiji. 

For you folks living here in Tokyo, my wife says that she thinks it is because of General Nogi that an area near Roppongi is called, "Nogizaka" (Nogi hill). Makes sense. 

Trail from home leading down to the garden

I looked up information on General Nogi and the home I was visiting on the "Prominent People of Minato City" webpage. Here's what it says about the home and history of General Maresuke Nogi as a prominent figure from Minato Ku:

Biography 1849-1912.
Military man and army general.
Maresuke Nogi was the third son of Maretsugu Nogi and served in the Boshin War and the Seinan War. After studying in Germany, he took to the field as the Brigade Commander of the 1st Infantry Regiment in the Japanese-Sino War and was the Commander of the 3rd Corps in the Russo-Japanese War.

Nogi shrine is just down the trail behind the house from the street.

Association with Minato City:
From his birth to suicide, his fierce life reflected the times General Nogi, who is referred to as a military man of Meiji, was born in the manor of the daimyo Mori Kainokami of the Chofu clan in Azabu Hidakubo, Edo. His childhood name was Nakito, and he was renamed Marehito as an adult. The grounds of the manor had formerly contained the original “Ubuyu no Ido” (well), where Marehito’s father is said to have poured cold water on the young Nakito, who was crying because of the cold, but in a redevelopment of these grounds it was buried. The grounds of the manor had also contained the bronze statues of General Nogi and Urauri Tsuji, a boy who financially supported his family by selling papers on which was written fortune-telling advice, but they have been moved to the old Nogi Manor. The stone monument that for many years indicated the manor as the birthplace of General Nogi has also been moved, to Sakurazaka Park, which is south of Roppongi Hills. The old Nogi Manor and the stables, which are designated tangible cultural properties of Minato City, are In Akasaka, where Nogi spent his life from 1879. The stables consist of a valuable brick structure, and it is said that the manor was designed by Nogi himself, based on a building of the French army headquarters. Nogi Shrine was built nearby after his death, and the slope in front of the shrine was named Nogizaka. His remains rest in Aoyama Reien (Name of Cemetery).

Breath-taking beauty of old Japan and traditional gardens just 5 minutes walk from Roppongi!

The former residence and stables of General Maresuke Nogi in Minato Ku is a very nice place to visit. You can relive history and see how it was in Japan 120 years ago. As I walked back out the entrance to the huge busy street in front of the home, I could imagine what this place had been once: a small shopping street and there would have been a parade and streamers flying when Nogi returned a national hero after defeating the Russians.

It was the apex, or at least one of them, of Japanese military power and something that indirectly lead to World War II. 

Visit yourself! See what Japan looked like 120 years ago, just a short walk from Roppongi station. Entrance is free! Information below. I think it might be a great quiet place to eat my bento lunch and enjoy the trees, the birds and nature... Right in the middle of Tokyo.

*Birthplace of General Nogi (Roppongi Hills, 6-9 Roppongi) 
*Old Nogi Manor and stables (Nogikoen, 8-11-32 Akasaka) 
*Nogi Shrine (8-11-27 Akasaka) 
*Tomb of Maresuke Nogi (Aoyama Reien, 2-chome Minamiaoyama)
*Map (Sorry, Japanese):

Monday, December 8, 2014

War is insane and it makes politicians and people do insane things

War is insane and it makes 
politicians and people do insane things.

Military and political leaders makes mistakes,
during war even if these decisions 
seem "right" at the time. 
Innocents suffer.

Whether or not their side was "right" 
or their side was "wrong," 
may all those who died in World War II 
rest in peace.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Public Education in America: "Dec. 7, 1941 - A Day That Will Live in Germany!" ~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Well, it's almost that day again. Almost every year I spend hours writing something about Pearl Harbor (or Hiroshima and Nagaski, etc.) attempting to give the truthful background on such events and not the propaganda that is taught in US public high schools.

And, invariably, I will be bombarded with comments by people who went to those high schools and "studied," and now believe - without question - said propaganda... Basically, about Pearl Harbor, the story goes along the lines of; "The dirty Japs bombed Pearl Harbor as a sneaky surprise attack. We were just standing there, minding our own business, not bothering anyone, and they bombed us! Out of the blue! Just like that! We hadn't done anything to them!" 

(If you think this, ask yourself one question: "When has the USA ever minded their own business in international affairs?" Answer: "Never.")

Killing innocent women, men, and children in Hiroshima and Nagasaki has an excuse runs along the same lines of tortured logic and incorrect "facts," but I'll save that for summer. This year, I thought I'd spend a bunch of time (about three minutes on Photoshop) on an "original artwork" (picture) about said Pearl Harbor events.... 

Actually, this isn't so much about "said events," it is a critique of what is taught in public schools. It is a critique of the public education system. 

This serves to compile all the arguments people usually send me about the reasons killing women and children were OK in Hiroshima and Nagasaki or Dresden or the firebombing of Tokyo.... (Or why it's the same excuses to this very day for bombing, killing, orphaning and maiming brown skinned children in the Middle East in at least seven nations today, 24/7...Bringing them freedom or fighting terrorism...)

When these people write to me with this ridiculous propaganda, there's really no point in arguing with many of them... They weren't taught reasoning and deduction in school... Nor, can you tell by what they wrote were they ever taught logic... Don't even get me started on their wretched grammar and diction - It's worse than mine!

So, here it is. In one little picture, my impression of 50% of the US public school graduates understanding of history... This covers all history subjects for them. (Laugh now, but it's probably much worse than 50% ~ probably in the 80s or 90s! See video below!)

You know, they say a picture speaks a thousand words... 

For more truthful history, please read: 

Robert Stinnett - Day of Deceit

Thomas Woods - The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History

Get ready to "facepalm" when you watch this video:

Last comment on today's America:

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Gaijin Gourmet: My Favorite Robot (Sushi) - Hamazushi

There's a great restaurant near my house. It's a "Robot Sushi" restaurant. The food is delicious and it is super cheap. The signs below say, "Sushi train ¥100 a plate," (about $0.84 USD) but on weekdays, during lunch time, the plates are ¥90 each (about $0.75 USD).

The place is called, "Hamazushi" and this place rocks! It's the best sushi for the price in the entire world, I reckon. The restaurants are immaculately clean and the service is fantastic. Of course the service is fantastic; this place is basically run by robots!

This particular Hamazushi has about 80 tables. It is packed every weekend. So I came during the week this time, but still they are doing a brisk business.... Notice the waitress in the above photo? No? Why is that, I wonder?

Oh! I see. We don't need a waitress. This is our table, number 42. Right by the number 42 at the middle top, you can see our touchscreen menu. That's our waitress for today. She takes the orders and delivers most things to the table.

Let's see how it works!

Don't be shy! This touchscreen menu is bilingual and can do Japanese or English. And she never messes up my order!

After I enter my order, then Ms. Touchscreen Waitress takes the order and all of them are delivered to me on our trusty and reliable old friend, Mr. Conveyor!

But, wait a minute! If the orders come down the conveyor, what's to stop other people from taking my order? Ah? Ms. Touchscreen places my order on a special red tray and when my orders approaches my table (table 42) our beautiful and sexy voiced Ms. Touchscreen waitress says, "Now arriving at gate 42, your order of Maguro (or whatever) sushi!"
The bells ring and you know the order has arrived... Did I mention that kids just GO CRAZY over this restaurant? They love to press the touchscreen and make the orders. They love how our bilingual waitress informs us of our orders approaching... Kids have so much fun! Especially when ice cream or cake is ordered and arrives! 

Of course, Ms. Touchscreen Waitress plays funny bells and whistles for the kids when their desserts arrive! Genius!

Different plates of sushi. My wife loves Ankimo.... It's a seasonal dish kind of like Foie Gras. Of course Hamazushi evens has these delicious offerings.

Tuna! Who doesn't love tuna? Especially when the fish is freash and delicious and it only costs ¥100 (about $0.84 per dish!) Incredibly good!

My favorite is sashimi. Yep! They have that too! Same food quality and safety; same delicious freshness... Same low price!

Sushi heaven!

Ah? There is a human here (someone has to clean the tables and take special orders!) Great quick service too at Hamazushi. 

If you like sushi, and I do, you'll love Hamazushi... Especially if you are on a budget and/or have kids! 

You just cannot beat the quality, food safety, freshness and service of Hamazushi! If you go there, tell them "Mike sent me!" (Oh, but you'll have to press the "English" button on the touchscreen or she won't understand what you are saying!

Hamazushi! For price and quality (and fun for the kids) 5 stars! There are Hamazushi restaurants all over Tokyo. See their webpage (Sorry, Japanese only!)

Most Hamazushi restaurants are open from 11:00 until 11 pm. 

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